Not sure anyone realise that here, but... my suggestion to go for a
model such as the Apache Foundation is not entirely gratuitious.
2 years ago, I have been elected to represent the Foundation members.
For a little while, I tried to set up the membership stuff and some of
you may remember the discussion around the member dues.
That discussion went nowhere. So, for a year, Angela represented all of
you and I represented no one :-)
At the following elections, we just dropped these two notions of
volunteer representative/member representative.
Our bylaws are severaly outdated, and on several points, totally
inappropriate. In short, they need to be *changed*.
I invite you to have a good look at them, and in particular to the whole
sections about membership :
Does that section fit with reality ?
Since these bylaws needed many changes (not only on the membership
part), a new draft has been proposed and is currently on the board wiki.
This new version has a very short "membership section".
The community is still taken into account in ARTICLE II, where a new
section has been proposed (section 4).
Board members selection process is in ARTICLE III, section 3.
The rest of the bylaws are a huge improvement compared to current ones.
ARTICLE III - MEMBERSHIP
The Foundation shall have no members.
Section 4. Community.
The Foundation acknowledges the valuable contributions of volunteers
throughout the world for their dedication and tremendous work. The
Foundation defines as one of its purposes the enhancement of the various
Wikimedia communities throughout the world in their respective languages.
Section 3. Selection.
The Trustees shall serve until their successors are elected and
qualified. Selection shall be in the following manner:
(1) Trustees Elected from the Community.
At least two (2) Trustees shall be selected from the Community by vote
of the Community. The Board of Trustees shall determine the dates, rules
and regulation of the voting procedures; they shall appoint two
Inspectors of the Election from the Community to oversee the election
procedures who shall report and certify the results within thirty days
of any vote.
(2) Other Trustees.
The remaining number of Trustees shall be elected by the Board. Names of
individuals shall be nominated for selection by the Board. The Board
shall endeavor to select Trustees who will best fulfill the mission and
needs of the Foundation. Individuals who are not selected unanimously
may be elected by a majority of the Board.
These bylaws have not been approved. They are still in the draft mode.
For all I know, they could stay here forever, because beside myself, I
did not see other board members working on them. And I did not really
see any comments from them either.
I am uncertain whether I should give much energy on new bylaws, even if
the current official ones are nonsense within the current situation.
Uncertain because of the lack of reaction of board members, and the near
lack of reaction of the community.
Being just a board member, I can not *force* the other board members to
vote. I am not in charge of organising meetings where we could vote or
at least discuss together. In short, if a resolution to approve new
bylaws is set up, I have NO certainty this will *ever* result in an
It takes a lot of energy to work on a topic when it is so pointedly
ignored by peers.
Hence my trying to turn toward you.
How many editors work on the projects ? thousands
How many people are registered to this list ? a few hundred
How many people are active on this list ? A couple dozens
How many people from wikitech commented on the Apache model ? 0
How many people from this list commented on the Apache model ? less than 5
As I said... it takes a lot of energy...
But please, try to see the big picture ...
Our current bylaws describe a very mixed model, which has been much
complained about in the past 2 years (I criticized it myself when it was
It has 2 members elected by the community, for a limited time
And 3 members, appointed by Jimbo, and permanent till they die or resign
And does not limit members to 5.... but makes no mention of how increase
would be done.
The second version of the bylaws (the ones standing on the board wiki)
is the same (it would make no difference in terms of board of trustees
organisation), but for pointing out a reality : there is no Foundation
Roughly, this model would be what I would qualify as a Private
Foundation. Or Business Foundation. It is a Foundation which focus a lot
on the efficiency of business (except that there is no business
model...but well...) and would privilege addition of famous or wealthy
members in the future.
DON'T GET ME WRONG ! Right now, the majority of board members wish very
much that there be community members on the board... but that's in good
part because we are currently still 5 members. Now, imagine we add 2
famous guys. We'll have a board of 7 with 2 from the community only.
Then, imagine we add 2 other big guys. The community part will be 2/9.
Of course, the addition could be of 2 guys from the community. In such
case, they would be appointed.
What I mean to say is that in this model, the community existence would
really be recognised up to 2 people, which would be elected by the
community. The rest of the members would come from an internal decision.
Self-appointing board... with no terms limit.
The Apache model is entirely different. I would call it a public
Foundation or a Community Foundation. Majority of members would be
garanteed from the community. There would be term limits. It would be a
collective running. This is very much the model of our local
associations in Europe... and that might be where the problem lies. I
think the model of Associations (public/members) is very much european;
whilst the model of Foundation (private/upon appointement) is very much
american and hard to understand by europeans.
Which model would be better in our case ?
I dunno really.
One model insists more on business. It would certainly be more business
efficient in the long run. It will certainly be more stable and more
reliable (only limited turnover in the board). Likely more professional.
I can envision a group of famous people seating on its board, with 3-4
meetings per year. Some staying there forever because that looks good on
their business card, even though they do nothing at all (this is already
the case of one of our member). A big and well-paid staff to run the
business. And little by little, disinterest by the community.
But this might be the best choice to create bonds with the big firms,
the big NGOs, as that Foundation will appear more solid and trustworthy.
More money... could mean better support of the projects and of our goals.
The second model will be more lively. A bazaar of some sorts. We could
expect the board to get more involved in every-day running. More
volunteer work probably. It will be much more difficult to organise,
because of the noises of campaigning from new candidates, of the public
discussions. It will be more of a social construction. Less stable due
to turn-over of board members. We would not have such a good image in US
business, but we might be loved by free-movement organizations and
citizens all over the world.
I suppose we'll have less money... but we may have more ideas because of
the boiling culture.
In the end, I think there is both a cultural clash in what we are trying
to set up... and an issue of courage.
If we pick up the first model, I think things can go very quickly and
with little pain. This summer, at Wikimania, we'll meet big names (I say
"we" because Jimbo already have breakfast with them regularly... but the
board should appoint them... so it would be nice that the board members
actually know the people they get recommandation to appoint). We can
think of who would be best asset, just ask him, and by september, we'll
have a nice board with new big names and maybe one community member we
like. And with luck, more money, more introduction and new opportunities.
If we pick up the second model, it will be much more painful. The
community (and not Delphine and I alone :-)) will need to do its
homework. Seriously discuss a mean to select members. Seriously discuss
organisation. And not only stay mute on the list or not only say "this
will never work" or not only blame the board just to be so inefficient
without proposing solutions. We'll need to sweat together. And we'll
need to convince quite a few people that this is the way to go.
I would prefer the second model myself, but I will NOT fight for it
*alone*. I will not alone try to push for a system if there is no
*active* support. I will not try to set up a scheme to see it abandonned
on the board wiki.
I thought it over and over. I am not sure which one of the two models
would be best for the goals of the Foundation. According to our habits,
we would say "first option". But are we not precisely amongst those who
proved that a decentralized, transparent model, largely based on
volunteer work and using the goodwill of non-expert people may be
As I can not be sure whether it would be the best choice for the
Foundation, I tried to see how I would appreciate each model as an
individual and I invite you guys to do the same with self-honesty
(estimate which one would be best for the general good and which one
would be best for you).
I have little interest in the first model as an *individual*.
This model is humiliating to me. The big actors in this model would be
the big names, which I do not have the chance to meet or talk with. The
strategy of the Foundation would be done between Jimbo and the big names
in 5 stars conference halls or in far-away islands, where no one will
ever think of inviting me (eh, best to keep the circle of people small).
I will simply be offered the results of brainstorms of important people
to implement and vote upon (I don't know why I use future, this is
already happening). I will have the great opportunity to prepare the
path of the big people in doing their homework so that they better
shine. Community representatives would be second rate board member.
The other people in the Foundation would be the staff, who would make a
(good) living of what I do full time for free (and who receive the
religious ceremonies from community when the board gets the fire).
I say "I", but I am quite convinced many would feel just the same.
That would leave the benefit of working for a great cause...
But would the biggest cause be the projects ? Or the Foundation ?
Where are we in these models right now ?
In the middle. We have some community representant, but the relations
between community and Foundation are disorganised. We'll soon have new
appointed board members. I do not expect new appointments to help
reducing the lack of communication.
But this is a broken system. Balancing between the Business Foundation
and the Community Foundation, so that no one knows where to put his ass.
At this point, in large part, this now depends on you. If you want to do
a more Community Foundation, we need bylaws which reflect this. We need
to set up the organisation (on a type of Apache model for example). We
need to convince those who are not convinced.
If you want to do a more Business Foundation, the bylaws are ready to be
voted upon. Members are knocking at the door.
A very bad thing would be to stay forever in the middle of two seats,
with unsuitable bylaws, disorganisation, frustrated community and angry
Sorry for the long rant.
I hope it clarifies the current situation.
A few disparate feature thoughts from recent conversations:
* "Mail this article to a friend" and "Mail this image to a friend" --
badly needed functionality
* "Flag problem with this article" -- useful interface feature, though
what it does once you apply such a flag might be refined over time.
* User watching -- add the option to watch the edits of particular
anons or new users [logged-in users could opt out of being watchable].
In addition to "/newbies" have an "unwatched newbie contribs" RC
* Metadata about revisoin stability : A subtle but visible "recent
newbie edit" flag to articles to indicate that someone with no history
has edited the page recently, and this flag has not been reset.
Provide a way for any non-new editor to unset the flag.
** A feature to prepare for the future, but not to apply unless
necessary : an "accept but delay" editing patch for new users -- new
users can see their own changes to an article; logged-in users can see
the "recent newbie edit flag" and also the latest changes; other users
see the last version before this edit. Anon readers who try editing
the page (not seeing the newer revision) would be editing the text of
the old revision (with the standard warning), so a set of newbies
could conceivably overwrite one another's changes in quick succession
without realizing it; but other editors could learn to compensate and
work through the histories of especially current events articles with
rapidly changing content and information.
<quote who="Erik Moeller">
> I don't know how common this is:
> # 01:30, June 19, 2006 RadioKirk blocked "Shout magazine (contribs)"
> with an expiry time of indefinite (username, existing company)
> # 01:02, June 19, 2006 RadioKirk blocked "Shi star entertainment
> (contribs)" with an expiry time of indefinite (username, existing
> # 21:04, June 18, 2006 RadioKirk blocked "ParsInternet (contribs)"
> with an expiry time of indefinite (Username (name of existing
> # 00:59, June 19, 2006 RadioKirk blocked "Hammond Publishing
> (contribs)" with an expiry time of indefinite (username, existing
> Given that we probably want people to identify who they work for,
> especially when editing articles where this is relevant, is it a good
> idea to block company accounts without any edits on sight? If so,
> perhaps we should at least modify the talk plage template to indicate
> to the user how they can put the company information on their user
> page? See
> for an example of the current template.
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
To start a bit of a different thread, are corporate accounts bad per se? Individuals posing as
corporations are unacceptable, but what about corporations acting/editing under an official
capacity? Corporations are not automatically "POV pushers", as they may come in good faith just
as other contributors do. Bad apples would be obvious and would damage corporate reputation, thus
mitigating abuse of Foundation projects.
Implementation may be as simple as linking the userpage to an official online statement from the
corporation. I envision such accounts to be attractive to spokespersons interested in editing
articles to remove or challenge unfair statements, without the need to create anonymous proxy
accounts or to contact the OTRS team. Any additional editing would be a bonus.
I am interested in hearing a variety of thoughts on this issue. It is no secret that corporations
are increasingly monitoring information about them on Foundation projects, and I hope a process
such as this might alleviate some of the anxiety about corporate image. As a special-circumstance
Thanks, George Chriss
> As to anonymity...
>> > in, required or otherwise, I think recent history has shown that
>> part of the
>> > lingering appeal to many in the community is that anonymity will be
>> > respected.
> I don't know anyone actively interested in being a member of the
> foundation (whatever that means) who wants their identity to be hidden
> *from the foundation*. Hidden from other editors and from the general
> public, perhaps. I can imagine the former being the case in a
> theoretical sense; but I would like to know of a single example so
> that we're not setting up a complete hypothetical as a strawman.
There certainly are people sufficiently active to be considered
potential members who have concluded that they do not want to share
their identity with the Wikimedia Foundation. But I don't think that's
really the issue to be concerned about here. It's the much larger number
who want that identity or other personal information hidden, as
indicated, from other editors or the general public. Let me explain.
The Florida statutes governing nonprofit organizations have detailed
requirements, including many tied to legal membership in the
organization. Given that we have the potential for a very large
membership, this could get quite complex. The idea of using membership
dues as a way to generate funds for Wikimedia was a nice-sounding
notion; in reality, complying with the full requirements of a membership
infrastructure would have substantial technical and administrative
overhead. If the developers are offering to create the code to set this
up and people really want to pay membership dues on the scale necessary,
maybe we should, but already some skepticism is warranted.
One point that has been alluded to is that the Foundation would maintain
records of members' names and addresses. Florida law also provides that
members are entitled to inspect and copy various Foundation records.
This includes, significantly, the record of members itself.
The laws regarding "membership" in this context are based heavily on the
equivalent principles for shareholders in for-profit corporations. In
such corporations, participants may have various business reasons to
solicit each other at their addresses (proxies, buying and selling of
shares, etc.). The corporations also have the resources to dedicate to
the system, as well as the motivation, since they're ultimately
dependent on it for capital.
Many of these principles do not translate easily to the nonprofit
context. The legal membership model probably works well for some common
examples, such as a club organization or the homeowners' association for
a condominium complex. I don't know if it suits our community very well.
Not because it's inconvenient for Jimbo and the professional staff,
though it may be, but because if the community is fully informed about
the legal consequences, I'm not so sure we would choose it.
Let me say it clearly for all of you. If you want to participate in
legal membership in the Foundation, considering just how broadly we
contemplate the concept of membership, you are effectively expressing a
willingness for your name and address to become a public record. Any
member can get a Florida attorney (Jack Thompson comes to mind) to
represent them and ask for the membership records on their behalf. And I
don't expect it will be possible to screen out in advance members you
consider undesirable any more effectively than we can do so for project
Given how strongly attached some of the community is to privacy and
anonymity, I don't know if that's a choice we want to be forcing on
people. Certainly it's not a model we should adopt without making sure
people have thought carefully about it.
Various possibilities lie ahead. One is that we adopt legal membership
with all its attendant rights and responsibilities. If this is done in
the name of remaining "open", it's just as possible that in doing so
we'd be departing from our openness toward those who value their
privacy. Another possibility in the scenario is that depending on how
membership is determined, including cost, we may find that relatively
few people "join". At which point it becomes obvious that despite this
effort, some people will choose to complain that the community is not
represented in Foundation affairs, and it may seem that the entire
exercise was valueless. It should also be observed that any definition
of Foundation membership which is not coextensive with the community
(and I don't see how gaps can be avoided) has the potential to
factionalize people along the lines created by these fissures. A
community divided over member vs. non-member, rich vs. poor, out vs.
closeted, or other potential distinctions is certainly a possibility.
Or, finally, after considering the benefits and drawbacks of legal
membership, we might choose a path without using it. Certainly the
Wikimedia Foundation needs to incorporate the community into its
functions, but it ought to be possible to do that, formally or
informally, in ways that avoid the drawbacks of the legal regime. We
might even occasionally talk in terms of members, but ultimately should
be careful to disavow the statutory definition if we follow this course.
So far, we only have one person proposed to be on the committee with any type of professional
fundraising experience (volunteering for Wikimedia does not count). I would therefore like to make
one last plea to anybody reading this that has any experience with fundraising for a non-profit.
We *really* need at least a few people with relevant knowledge about any major aspect of this
topic (seeking funds from individuals/companies/trusts, tax/reporting requirements, technical
aspects of online fundraising systems and donor/sponsor management).
Please sign up below (in the 'People interested in participating' section) and state what
experience/training you have along with your preferred level of participation in the committee
(full member, advisor, consultant or volunteer):
NOTE: Signing up does not guarantee any role above volunteer.
Do You Yahoo!?
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On Tue, 2006-20-06 at 14:54 +0200, Jimmy Wales wrote:
> > One problem I have with your list and with Jimbo's list is that they
> > propose very few great candidates from Korea or Madagascar.
> I agree with this concern, but how to address it? I do not know of any
> prominent leaders either "outside" or "inside" Wikipedia from either
> Korea or Madagascar... or similar places.
South Korean figures:
* Oh Yeon Ho
*: Founder and CEO of OhMyNews
* Lee Kun-hee
*: Chairman of Samsung
* Kim Chong-Won
*: Founder and CEO of SKC Corporation
* Kim Jeong-Hoon
*: Head of Bell Labs, USA, among other positions
Melagasy (Madagascar) figures:
*: Teacher, journalist, and author (in French)
* Michèle Rakotoson
*: Writer, journalist, film maker
This is by no means a reasonably complete list; merely a selection of
figures notable enough to have entries in the English WP.
Right now, it seems that the membership model is so inclusive, it seems more
reasonable to ask who is *not* a member?
This is not so unreasonable a question. Plenty of people contact us daily
about advertising with us, or using us as a place to add links to their sites.
Just Friday I got a call from a PR firm that suggested we pay them to add
content about all of their clients. Are they "members"? (Note that other PR
firms have been making edits and complaining if they are reverted. Are they
Willie on Wheels has thousands of "edits." Is he a member?
Some of the most active members on this list make very few real content
edits. Are they members?
Membership in any organization implies a certain level of responsibility. By
granting membership--and with it, the right to vote--we are allowing people
to determine the future direction of the organization. It seems that this
would necessitate something more than just goodwill, presence, or a vested
interest in the course of the foundation.
> A few disparate feature thoughts from recent
> ** A feature to prepare for the future, but not to
> apply unless
> necessary : an "accept but delay" editing patch for
> new users -- new
> users can see their own changes to an article;
> logged-in users can see
> the "recent newbie edit flag" and also the latest
> changes; other users
> see the last version before this edit.
This is a more specific case of the stable version or
"Wikipedia 1.0" feature discussed on this list last
week and which I hope will go live, in one form or
another, relatively soon. Especially since the
current failure to distinguish between
stable/"official" and in-progress versions of an
article exacerbate many problems, both social and
technical. If the last revision of an article is no
longer pulled by default for most users, then you
remove much of the incentive for vandals or spammers
since the only people who will see their handiwork are
the editors working on the next version of the
article. Revision wars likewise cool down as neither
side can now seize an article's "prime real estate"
(i.e. its default view) by putting their revisions
into the latest version of an article. Thus you
reduce unnecessary load on the system, and the editing
process becomes more deliberate and civil since only
through consensus will new edits ever make it onto the
stable, or "official" Wikipedia site.
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In the category 'nice to know':
I made a script to measure who is most involved in public mailing lists
discussions, and on which lists.
You'll find a complete list of mailing lists and how their activy changed
For each list you'll find a breakdown of posts by author, with board
activity added separately, e.g. for the foundation list
Powerposters get their own page (*). They are all combined at
Overall board activy on public mailing lists has not significantly decreased
Most change of activity can be alluded to less board posts on technical
Caveat: be careful with interpretations.
1 Please don't confuse number of posts of a person with relevance of that
person's contributions. Less may be more in some cases.
2 People who seem less active may be very active on private mailing lists.
3 Lists that are hardly active may have a private couterpart.
4 People may have posted with different names, some are already interpreted
as aliasses, but probably some not yet.
5 Over time the character of some lists may have evolved as new more
specialized lists were introduced.
6 There is no strict separation between lists. Non technical lists will
contain technical discussions from time to time.
These stats are autoupdated daily.
By the way, I hope to refresh wikistats as soon as a reasonably complete set
of new downloads is available, with most major wikipedias included.
* Known bug: for some powerposters with special chars in their name their
own page is not linked properly.
Unrelated: Delphine pointed out my posts break mail threads.
That was not on purpose e.g. to draw attention.
I follow lists through pipermail and copy/paste texts I quote.
I'll subscribe to mail, and reply in orderly fashion.