Thanks Thomas; we're sorry about it too.
The real problem won't be so much "who will take over the work" -- Jennifer had only been on the job about five months, so she was mostly in building/thinking/planning mode rather than executing mode. So the real problem will be a hit to our ability to plan and think deeply about program work in general. (What I mean by that is our thinking will be stalled, and won't advance as quickly as it would have with a CPO in place. And some long-wanted, hoped-for work will be on hold, or will proceed more slowly than it otherwise would have.)
Here's an example: As you know, we have long wanted to create a program making grants to volunteers -- both to chapters and individual Wikimedians. Erik and I launched the chapters grantmaking process prior to Jennifer's arrival, but by ourselves we didn't have capacity to put much time into it. When she arrived, Jennifer picked it up and successfully made grants to 21 chapters. We had wanted to expand the program to include grants to individuals, which Jennifer would have done. With her leaving, three things will happen. 1) The existing chapters grants still need to be managed. 2) The launch of individual grants will be delayed. And 3) Our longer-term, big-picture thinking about grantmaking will be slower to evolve, because it won't benefit from having a person whose primary job is thinking about that kind of work.
So --in my example above-- there's an immediate problem, which is who will manage existing grants. (The answer to that isn't determined, but it will probably be Erik. He has lots of other work to do, but happily he also has enormous capacity for throughput.) But the bigger problem is that our overall capacity to get smarter and more thoughtful about grantmaking in general, and to expand the existing program, will happen more slowly than it would have with a CPO in place.
I don't mean to dismiss your question: it's a good one, and the answer is essentially that different people will pick up different bits of work -- essentially, we revert to the world before we had a CPO, in which some combination of me, Erik, Frank, Jay and Cary handle it.
If anyone needs a particular contact for work they'd been doing with Jennifer, please let me know, offlist or on, and I'll find or create an answer for you.
From: Thomas Dalton
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Announcement: Jennifer Riggs leaves Wikimedia
Sent: 17 Sep 2009 8:44 AM
2009/9/17 Sue Gardner <sgardner(a)wikimedia.org>:
> However, Jennifer and I have agreed that despite those contributions,
> she ultimately will not be a good fit for the Chief Program Officer
> role. That doesn't mean her path will never cross ours again, and
> it's not a decision intended to reflect badly on her skills or
> abilities. Obviously we both wish things had played out differently.
I'm sorry to hear that. I wish Jennifer the best of luck with her
future career and you the best of luck finding a replacement.
It sounds like there will be several months between CPOs - who will
take over Jennifer's duties in the interim?
foundation-l mailing list
Genachowski is a gem. Thanks for the heads-up, Mike!
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mike Godwin <mgodwin(a)wikimedia.org>
Subject: FCC Chair Julius Genachowski praises Wikipedia in speech today
"And let us not forget that the open Internet enables much more than
commerce. It is also
an unprecedented platform for speech, democratic engagement, and a
culture that prizes creative
new ways of approaching old problems. In 2000, Jimmy Wales started a
project to create a free
online encyclopedia. He originally commissioned experts to write the
entries, but the project
only succeeded after moving to volunteers to write them
collaboratively. The result is Wikipedia,
one of the top 10 most visited websites in the world and one of the
aggregations of human knowledge in our history. The potential of
collaboration and social media
continues to grow. It is changing and accelerating innovation. And
we’ve seen new media tools
like Twitter and YouTube used by democratic movements around the globe."
See attached PDF for the full speech.
IRC office hours for the strategy plan will be held as usual.... next
office hours will be: 04:00-05:00 UTC, Wednesday 23 September
Local timezones can be checked at http://tiny.cc/kReRZ
It's a big week - the launch of the call for participation will happen
Our office hours are in #wikimedia-strategy.
You can access the chat by going to https://webchat.freenode.net/ and
filling in a username and the channel name (#wikimedia-strategy). You
may be prompted to click through a security warning. It's fine.
Facilitator, Strategic Planning
Imagine a world in which every human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge. Help us make it a reality!
"George Herbert" <george.herbert(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> The only useful parking near there is at 3rd and Jessie, or southeast
> of the building, but if everyone can commute in it's a safe walk from
Well, the main city garage at Mission and 4th to 5th - the largest in
the city and most fairly priced too - is two and a half big blocks
away from NewMont/Natoma, and for any usage its almost always the best
actual parking spot in SOMA for normal people. While parking on
Mission lacks plausibility, parking on Howard St. or south thereof is
at least plausible.
On a side note, there's always been some impressive if not strictly
commercial talent at the 'school of "art"' across the street. It could
be fruitful to try exploit some of that talent for focused article
The following was posted to the Group Contact noticeboard on Meta.
You can view it at
. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them on
the talk page (
Cross-posting of this email to other project lists is also encouraged.
It has been just over 3 months since the new group contact team was
announced. Since then, we've been busy working on a number of
projects; most of which are “behind the scenes”. It is important to
keep a certain level of transparency to show that we are actually
The role of the group contacts is to liaise with freenode's staff to
ensure a good relationship with those that provide out IRC services,
to help with the smooth running of IRC by encouraging good practices
on the part of channel operators, to deal with channels left without
operators, and to assign cloaks. They try to avoid getting involved in
the running of individual channels.
We are available on IRC in the channel #wikimedia-ops and via e-mail:
irc-contacts(a)lists.wikimedia.org for most issues,
irc-contacts-owner(a)lists.wikimedia.org for matters in which you would
prefer channel contacts not to see your posting, as this goes to only
Our nicks are dungodung, kibble, Rjd0060 and seanw.
* Regular setting of cloaks
* Increased level of activity
* Communicate regularly with channel contacts
What we've done
* Created an internal mailing list to facilitate discussion
amongst the group and channel contacts
* Surveyed all channels in our namespaces and recorded basic information
* Personally contacted all owners of primary channels in order to
open a line of communication
* Manually set cloaks (since the end of July) while we wait for a
new cloak request system to be developed
* Established requirements for and began setting mediawiki cloaks
* Held a meeting to gain community feedback (see log / minutes)
* Appointed a channel contact for the central Wikimedia channel
operator channel (#wikimedia-ops)
* Lots of housekeeping with access lists (see log of public actions)
What you can do
* Please tell us if you find users abusing the Wikimedia name by
causing trouble in other channels while wearing our cloaks. We are
willing and able to deal with these users but can't hope to watch
every channel on freenode.
* Come to our IRC meetings and bring up issues so we are aware and
have more minds working on problems.
* Check the noticeboard for happenings.
* If you help manage IRC, join #wikimedia-ops and contribute to
* Do not hesitate to get in touch with us by e-mail or IRC if you
ever have feedback, suggestions or concerns. We will, at the very
least least, point you to the correct person.
* We plan to continue our higher level of activity.
* Cloaks will also continue to be set on a regular basis and in a
* A new cloak request system is in the process of being developed.
* We plan to hold IRC community meetings on a regular basis, with
the next one scheduled for sometime in November (watch IRC/Group
Contacts/Meetings for further updates).
* We will continue to communicate with and rely on the channel
contacts to inform us if there are any issues within their channels.
* We're here for support if needed at any time.
For the Wikimedia IRC Group Contacts,
> As far as I remember we asked WMF help just once, few months ago.
> There were nothing in the news at that moment.
I'm sorry the original request didn't get through to me, for whatever
reason. (I suspect a spam filter blocked the earlier message because it
contained two long URLs.) I first heard about it when you reposted it on a
mailing list, and I responded immediately to that message when saw it.
> The doc is already in your mailbox. CouLd you please assure me that
> you received it? thanks.
Yes, I've received it. Unfortunately, the text isn't scannable by OCR -- if
some enterprising Italian Wikimedia feels like retyping the document into a
text format, I'd be personally grateful. In the meantime, I'll do what I
can with the scan you sent me.
> And.. Why didn't you ask for it in our private discussion rather than
> using foundation-l?
Well, I generally respond to public mailing lists with public responses,
and, as you will recall, I was responding to other public queries about this
case on this and other public forums.
In general, there's nothing particularly private about legal process, and it
generally serves transparency and knowledge sharing to publicize whatever we
can. This is already a public matter, and there's general interest in our
larger community about the details. I generally share what I can, within
the bounds of legal privilege.
> Interesting. Although the Italian media also reported that I (and
> Jimbo and various others) was being sued for 50 million euros, and I
> haven't seen that lawsuit yet.
We've had a lot of experience of spurious reports of lawsuits originating in
Italy. In the majority of those cases, Wikimedia Foundation itself never
receives service of process -- in effect, the cases only really "exist" in
Italian media. I'm not saying that's the case here, but we haven't heard
anything yet from Italian process servers yet.
I'd like to see any official complaints that have been filed in Italian
courts (or elsewhere) against Wikimedia Italia. The chapter's defense (the
chapter doesn't produce Wikipedia content) should be straightforward under
any European legal regime, but obviously we will take an interest in any
case that seems to be going the wrong way.
> If the edits in question were made during a time when Frieda was on
> the Board of the Wikimedia Foundation (and even if not), I wonder if
> the WMF will contribute to her legal expenses.
WMF routinely provides director-and-officer liability protection regarding
actions taken by WMF directors and officers in the conduct of their duties.