A statement[1] released at the time said,

"Over the past six months, a Wikimedia UK trustee led two Wikipedia-related
projects, Monmouthpedia and Gibraltarpedia, in a way that seemed to some
observers to blur his roles as a Wikimedia UK trustee, a paid consultant
for the projects’ government partners, and an editor of the English
Wikipedia. This raised questions in the Wikimedia community about whether a
trustee was able to balance appropriately the interests of his clients with
his responsibilities to Wikimedia UK, the values and editorial policies of
Wikipedia, and whether any conflict of interest that arose as a result was
effectively managed.

"To better understand the facts and details of these allegations and to
ensure that governance arrangements commensurate with the standing of the
Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia UK and the worldwide Wikimedia movement,
Wikimedia UK’s trustees and the Wikimedia Foundation will jointly appoint
an independent expert advisor to objectively review both Wikimedia UK’s
governance arrangements and its handling of the conflict of interest."

The present situation is not entirely dissimilar: questions about the
then-board's conduct (prior to Chris Keating's chairmanship), and
specifically its handling of conflicts of interest, first arose in the
community and then made their way into press reports.

It's worth remembering that the above WMF/WMUK statement only came about
ten days AFTER the press started picking up on this.

And while it's true that WMUK and WMF jointly commissioned the report, my
recollection is that WMUK did not have much choice in the matter.

The governance review eventually vindicated the community concerns, finding
that there had indeed been significant governance failings.[2]

It seems to me WMUK became a more mature organisation as a result of this
episode. A similar approach and outcome may well be possible for WMFR as



On Fri, Aug 4, 2017 at 4:45 PM, Ilario Valdelli <> wrote:

> Interesting but: "The review, commissioned by Wikimedia UK..." exactly
> who? Board, community, general assembly, group of members?
> Kind regards
> On 04/08/2017 17:32, Andreas Kolbe wrote:
>> Ilario,
>> A few years ago, WMUK was required to undergo an independent governance
>> review. The review was jointly commissioned by WMUK and WMF. The results
>> were public.[1] That option is available for WMFR today just as it was
>> available for WMUK a few years ago.
>> Andreas
>> [1]
>> ernance-wikimedia-uk/governance/article/1170282
>> On Fri, Aug 4, 2017 at 3:35 PM, Ilario Valdelli <>
>> wrote:
>> In my opinion there is a little bit confusion.
>>> The audit is required by someone (in this case the board) and the audit
>>> reports to the entity requiring it (the board).
>>> To communicate or not depends on the board. If the board required it to
>>> have a clearer picture to take a decision, the board can keep it private
>>> mainly if there are some personal questions involved in the audit.
>>> In this specific case if there is a problem between the staff and the
>>> community (as I understand) the audit cannot be managed nor by the staff
>>> neither by the community, because are the two conflictual parties and to
>>> communicate the results to both parties may revamp this conflict.
>>> But at the same time I understand that also the board is considered
>>> untrusted by the community, so I agree that any audit will be considered
>>> invalid by every parties. In computer science this may be called
>>> "starvation condition" (
>>> /Starvation_(computer_science)).  A good governance, like a good
>>> algorithm, should avoid it.
>>> The biggest problem of starvation is not the condition itself, which can
>>> be blocked somehow, but the most strange solution that people would use
>>> to
>>> solve it. Someone would unplug the power and to reset the system, someone
>>> would burn the system and someone would simple wait that the system will
>>> solve the starvation by itself.
>>> At that point the FDC has taken the best decision, IMHO, like an external
>>> party, can unblock the starvation.
>>> Another solution is the General Assembly, but personally I think that the
>>> silent crowd will be the most representative party in this question and
>>> in
>>> general the silent crowd will take always the most moderate position. I
>>> don't see so much moderated position to attract more consent.
>>> Kind regards
>>> --
> Ilario Valdelli
> Wikimedia CH
> Verein zur Förderung Freien Wissens
> Association pour l’avancement des connaissances libre
> Associazione per il sostegno alla conoscenza libera
> Switzerland - 8008 Zürich
> Tel: +41764821371
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