Thanks Christophe! I reviewed some of the earlier emails responding to the
June minutes and realized that Pine actually touched on this same topic
just a bit ago and as I recall Katherine gave a great overview of her
approach, so my apologies in bringing it up again so soon. No need to
respond to this email.

With that said, I hope that when the initial framework is released it will
have a bit more information on the motivation and background research that
went into it than the April 2016 Governance recommendations...

If you're coming up with an important overhaul like this and an explicit
goal is to be transparent with the community, it could be worthwhile to
start the process with transparency by being explicit in answering
questions like "who did you talk to", "what did you read and think was
compelling", "what are you unsure about", "is there any empirical
evidence", etc. Maybe the answer to some questions (like empirical
research) is "we don't know and we don't think it's worth the time", but
I'd be interested in hearing that explicitly rather than implicitly. The
WMF is unique: the closest I can think of is the Mozilla Foundation (which
I doubt has great governance) and maybe the Khan Academy (an amazing leader
like Sal Khan makes careful governance less necessary). GNOME and KDE have
tiny budgets with almost no employees, so their boards have little
influence on the software. Environmental nonprofits can be fairly large and
complex, altho the small ones end up as contractors for foundations (e.g.,
SEACC, one of the nonprofits I was involved with). Museums are relatively
simple. Schools and hospitals are the ones that come to mind which grapple
with commonly grapple difficult management decisions on the scale of WMF.
Also, elected boards (even partially) are quite uncommon; Sierra Club is a
notable elected board, but with 15 members it can't be very effective at

Also, if you want to be transparent and not over scope, it may be worth
forecasting categories of how the board expects to allocate its limited
time and then retrospectively reporting on how it actually spent its time
to the community. I see that the Governance recommendation includes a plan
is to have solid annual agenda, and perhaps that will basically address the
issue of the board putting too much on its plate. However, when I read
"Avoid letting minority perspectives disproportionately take up the
Foundation and the Board's attention" it actually kind of bothered me. How
do we know know if something is a minority perspective? Instead of
"minority perspectives", it should be about "minor issues". The problem in
the last year or two was more about the board (apparently) ignoring
perspectives than it was about the board giving them undue attention. My
personal experience and recollection from the book I recommended
earlier, *Governance
as Leadership*, is that it not uncommon for boards to end up spending a lot
of time on housekeeping small items (e.g., bylaws tweaks), which could be
relatively minor.

On Mon, Aug 1, 2016 at 10:41 PM, Christophe Henner <>

> Hi,
> I love to write long emails, but four in a row would too much.
> As said before we are taking up our leadership role.
> The strategy process *is* a black box right now. We (Katherine mostly) have
> been working on the process for a few weeks.
> We will share soon I hope, the first part of that process.
> I would just ask you a little time, it has only been a month that Katherine
> and I have been in our current positions. Even if works was started before
> that, decisions to move forward with a movement strategy is only a month
> old.
> And as said before, this year we are focusing on building the foundations
> we need to get Wikimedia Foundation in a better place. So, basicly, we
> won't go down to the feature level and focus on th global level :)
> Happy to talk on that topic :)
> Le 2 août 2016 7:19 AM, "Joseph Seddon" <> a écrit :
> > Hey Pine,
> >
> > The Wikimedia Endowment is specifically set up to
> >
> > *"act as a permanent safekeeping fund to generate income to support the
> > operations and activities of the Wikimedia projects in perpetuity". [1]*
> >
> > The Endowment acts as the online projects safety net. It will be
> > independent of the Wikimedia Foundation board and importantly It's not
> > there to support the WMF in perpetuity, it's the Wikimedia projects. Even
> > if the WMF is likely to be the main benefactor from the fund; should, in
> > the eyes of the Endowment Advisory Board, the WMF be no longer a fit and
> > appropriate body to support the Wikimedia projects (as a result of legal,
> > fiduciary or other issues), it has the ability to provide fund to an
> > alternative organisation to fulfill that work.
> >
> > Regards
> >
> > Seddon
> >
> > [1]
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > > * WMF remains a single point of failure in the Wikimedia network of
> > > affiliates. I am hoping that mitigating the community and affiliate
> > > dependencies on WMF will be addressed in the strategic plan, so that if
> > we
> > > have another mess like we had prior to Katherine, the affiliates and
> > > community will have a plan that can be executed that ensures the
> > viability
> > > of the Wikimedia sites and affiliates without WMF. WMF can fail in many
> > > ways; besides governance meltdowns, lawsuits and hostile political
> > > environments are also risks. The sites and affiliates need to endure
> even
> > > if WMF weakens, loses its way, or dissolves. I hope that we never again
> > > have a repeat of last year and that WMF is healthy in the future, but
> it
> > > would be prudent to have a strategty for the affiliates and community
> to
> > > continue whether or not WMF is with us.
> > >
> > > Thanks again for your post.
> > >
> > > Regards,
> > >
> > > Pine
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > >
> > > New messages to:
> > > Unsubscribe:,
> > > <>
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Seddon
> >
> > *Advancement Associate (Community Engagement)*
> > *Wikimedia Foundation*
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> >
> > New messages to:
> > Unsubscribe:,
> > <>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> New messages to:
> Unsubscribe:,
> <>

Ben Creasy <>
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
New messages to:

Reply via email to