I agree that nothing needs to be kept secret for my sake. I am have always
been fully supportive of discussing the issue of board conduct and my
MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian
The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine
A summary report of the first stage of community consultation for the 2016
Wikimedia Foundation strategy process has uploaded to Commons in PDF
This is in preparation for the second stage of consultation, which will
begin on Meta next Friday, March 4. We will update when that process is
ready to go.
Senior Community Advocate
(1) 415 975 1874
Chris, I think you are misreading something that I wrote.
> On 2/28/16 1:03 AM, Chris Sherlock wrote:
> > The Jimmy sent an email to the mailing list:
> >> It was written at a time when there were efforts underway by
> >> Patricio to get James to agree to a joint statement. It is an
> >> encouragement to James to be honest with the community about what
> >> happened. It is not a full explanation of what happened - he
> >> already knew that.
> > And yet, when he was advised by James that in fact that effort was
> > spearheaded by James and not Patricio, he turns around and states
> > that he didn’t know as he wasn’t involved.
> Both of those things are true. I knew they were talking, I didn't know who who initiated it.
Yes, but you need to be more clear. At the risk of playing semantic games, your exact words here are “efforts underway *by Patricio* to *get James to agree* to a joint statement.
You are implying here that the effort was all on Patricio’s side, which has nothing to do with who initiated the conversation. I’m sure you didn’t mean that, but nonetheless you’ve said it now.
Given that the Board asked James to leave their meeting, you wouldn’t be able to clarify a point that’s been puzzling me for some time?
1. When James was made to leave, then did anyone tell him that there was going to be a joint or prepared statement from the WMF?
2. If so, did anyone ask James not to email the mailing list? And why did you feel that was so inappropriate?
3. Please help me in understanding - do you feel that Chatham House Rules must apply in the removal of an executive even to the point they are unable to announce their own departure?
> > Jimmy has just now written
> > that it was the Wikimedia Foundation that “encouraged [him] to be
> > honest with the community”.
> No, I said that I wrote him a personal letter to that effect.
I follow, the mistake here is mine. I apologise for getting that wrong.
Jimmy, will you respond to some of the other points I made? In particular, what you wrote to James was dreadful. Even if you feel that his actions were wrong, surely you can see that your inflammatory words are unbecoming of someone of your stature within the Wikimedia Foundation?
There are a lot of other questions that have been asked, but that would be a reasonable start. I don’t think you quite grasp how many people were shocked at the way you dealt with James when he was removed.
Jimmy Wales has never declared a conflict of interest or loyalty when
acting as a WMF trustee. He is co-founder of Wikia Inc, set up in
2004, a commercial company that often benefits from new MediaWiki
developments, and clearly he benefits financially from resulting
profitability of Wikia. The original vision for Wikia was as a
"Google-killer" open search engine, so it would seem highly prudent
for Jimmy to have declared a conflict of interest and avoided WMF
board discussions and votes in relation to new development projects
around open Knowledge Engines / Search Engines.
I welcome some feedback as to whether the general perception of
Wikimedians is that WMF trustees should be seen to do more to declare
and manage their potential conflicts of interest, and whether Jimmy
Wales is perceived to have a conflict of loyalties when steering the
WMF board member in areas which overlap with Wikia Inc.'s marketing
strategy, and that they might otherwise fund commercially.
With regard to his potential conflict of loyalties when serving as a
voting unelected trustee on the WMF board, Jimmy Wales has stated:
"I did not have any conflict of loyalties during that process.
Spending a reasonable portion of our IT budget on an ambitious project
to improve search and discovery, and to conduct research and community
consultation on that, is a great idea for Wikipedia and for the
broader Wikimedia movement and I strongly support it."
Most recently Jimmy Wales has been arguing the case against
introducing charges for commercial reusers of WMF services, with an
obvious reuser of MediaWiki code improvements and WMF supported open
project data being Wikia Inc.
There is no record in the WMF board minutes for 2015 of Jimmy Wales
having ever declared a conflict of interest or loyalty for Wikia Inc
or for any other reason, nor of any other trustee doing so. In order
to comply with standard company law, these are expected on the
standing agenda for board meetings, and it is worrying for a
Foundation with control of $100m assets to never have a trustee or
director ever declare an interest as a reason to abstain from a vote
Jimmy does not appear to see there may be a public perception of
conflict of interest or loyalties when he is involved in steering
the WMF strategy for prioritizing new developments that are likely to
benefit Wikia Inc. The Knowledge Engine / Search Engine project was
discussed by the board during 2015 and Jimmy has been a public
advocate of the project since it was publicly leaked. The overlap of
what is thought to have been the original proposal to the Knight
Foundation with Jimmy Wales' original vision for wikia.com, being
"Search Wikia", described as a "Google-killer search engine", is an
obvious concern. Jimmy Wales: "Obsession: Currently, it’s wikia.com.
It is meant to take on Google by creating a search engine where all
the editorial decisions are made by the general public and all the
software is open."
Nine years later Jimmy is promoting the same ideas but with the WMF
investing charitable donated funds to support a development that will
benefit Wikia, rather than it being commercially funded while using
much of the same rhetoric, such as the importance of transparency.
4. Search Wikia interview
6. Company directors and trustees are expected to declare both
"conflicts of interest", normally interpreted as having a direct or
indirect financial interest, and "conflicts of loyalty" where their
non-financial interests may be seen to potentially influence their
judgement as a board member. There may be no demonstrable conflict for
this to be an issue, it only needs to be potentially be seen to be an
issue by others, in order to require a declaration.
7. "Take advantage of Wikia's custom research solutions to achieve
campaign objectives, including brand lift studies, target audience
insights, and more!", "Reach the right audience with the right message
using Wikia's multitude of targeting opportunities, including
demographic, psychographic, geographic, contextual, genre, devices,
conquesting, and more!" http://www.wikia.com/mediakit
I just want to split out a concept that came up in the big threads of the
last few days:
Some members of the WMF Board of Trustees are giving strong signals (like,
saying it outright) that the BoT can't fully take on the role of movement
leadership or community representation. Not because they think it shouldn't
happen, but because structurally and legally and practically the board of
Wikimedia Foundation Inc has different roles to fill.
I think we should consider what roles and structures we *do* want as
members of the Wikimedia movement community. And I think we should think
about that and talk about that carefully before rushing into details like
Perhaps we should explicitly accept WMF as a "first among equals" org
within the movement, with specific roles like tech development and
fundraising (or other emphases as well) while other orgs concentrate on
different specific issues. Or even just "one among equals" that happens to
have specialized in those roles.
This probably means we should think about "umbrella" structures to
coordinate and represent and look forward.
And that's something we should *definitely* not rush into. If a mismatch in
hopes for what the WMF BoT can and should do has been a factor in
communication and leadership issues in the past, then it's very important
we not make the same kinds of mistakes in any new structures that might be
Act with passion.
Talk with thought.
Don't run with scissors.
I have finally decided to subscribe to this mailing list, but I will endeavour to keep my monthly post limits down, as requested :-)
== Who am I? ==
First, some background. My name is Chris Sherlock, and may be better known to some of you as Ta bu shi da yu (or Tbsdy lives) on Wikipedia. I was quite involved in Wikipedia many years ago, and I was involved in some fundamental aspects of Wikipedia during the time I was active - in particular, I initiated the Administrator’s Noticeboard and I created the  tag. I was an administrator three times from memory, and attempted to fairly apply blocks, protect pages, mediate in disputes, and attempted to discuss and influence policy and guidelines, through consensus. I am a strong believer in the five pillars: Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, we write from a neutral point of view, we offer free content, we should treat each other with respect and civility, and we should use common-sense to achieve those ends.
I am no longer active within Wikipedia. This is largely because I suffer from quite bad depression, and in the past it caused me to make mistakes on more than one occassion. The last mistake I made was when I objected to a signature being wikilinked to a non-existent user account; I rather stupidly created an account for this person and then de-redlinked it by creating a user page. I immediately revealed who I was on WP:AN and what I’d done, but unsurprisingly this was considered an egregious violation of WP:POINT. I was subsequently desysopped, and will forever more be seen as having left Wikipedia “under a cloud”. I am not complaining about this, this was the correct decision by those who made it at the time, and it is I who must alone take responsibility for my actions. But I feel that I need to disclose this and give some background as to who I am as I’ve not been on Wikipedia for many years.
== Issues in the WMF ==
The Wikimedia Foundation has been going through a long period of turmoil. I have recently been critical of the direction in which it has taken and I feel that it is best if I put my concerns into writing.
The WMF is a force for good in society. It’s why many, many people donate to Wikipedia every year. It’s why the Knight Foundation gives us grants. I think it’s important to understand why we command such a level of trust. The WMF has a very clear position on our guiding principles  - we believe in freedom and open source, and we want to ensure that all projects are accessible to every human being on the planet. To do this requires us to be extremely transparent in the way that we conduct ourselves. We also want to be accountable to our volunteers, donors and to those who use our resources.
These are very, very important principles. They are non-negotiable, and without them the WMF cannot conduct day-to-day operations, much less have a vision for all of humanity to be given equal access to knowledge for the good of all.
We aren’t doing a very good job right now.
=== Issue 1: A lack of transparency at the Board level ===
Meetings by the Board of Trustees are held in secret. Whilst there will always be matters that must be discussed in confidence, this should in practice be very limited. I believe the problems with the openness of the board is highlighted quite well by reviewing the minutes of most of the meetings. Let’s look at the last meeting from November 7-8 . This was the meeting in which James Heilman was removed from the Board. Yet I see absolutely no mention of any discussion of his removal whatsoever. To find anything, you need to look at the resolutions .
One of the issues that has been highly contentious has been the Knowledge Engine. This was a pivotal part of the vision and direction for the Wikimedia Foundation, and of course it was highly controversial. Yet I see *no* mention of it anywhere in any meeting minutes. This was a strategy driven by Lila and the Board, yet where is it mentioned? Was it discussed outside of these meetings?
If so, then there is a problem with the meeting minutes. Under Florida Statute title XXXVI, chapter 617 deals with non-profit corporations. 617.1601 handles Corporate records. It specifically states that:
> "A corporation shall keep as records minutes of all meetings of its members and board of directors, a record of all actions taken by the members or board of directors without a meeting, and a record of all actions taken by a committee of the board of directors in place of the board of directors on behalf of the corporation.” 
Note that a record should be taken of all actions taken by members or board of directors *without a meeting*. This means that if some action is taken, even if it’s not in the BoT meeting, it must be recorded. There clearly were actions taken around the Knowledge Engine, yet it is not documented! Aside from violating the statute, it’s very bad that action around such an important area weren’t documented anywhere. This is a massive failure of transparency.
In fact, the meeting minutes are awful no matter which way you look at them. They have limited to no information, they don’t explain what action was *actually* decided and they seem to be incomplete.
I would like to propose that all meetings be recorded, and that confidential portions be redacted and inaccessible from those who should not see them. But meetings should still be recorded. I believe that the current situation where James Heilman was removed could never have occurred if the meeting was indeed recorded. I am very, very suspicious that there is pressure brought to bare on members of the BoT and that certain members who are very influential can gain inordinate ability to push through their viewpoints to the disadvantage of other members.
At the very least, I believe something like Robert’s Rules of Order should be followed at a minimum. The way that meetings are run within the Foundation are dreadful.
=== Issue 2: Secrecy and denigration of other members within the BoT ===
I fear that there is bullying and deliberate obfuscation within the Board of Trustees. I, like many others, was shocked at the language and character attacks used against James Heilman after he was removed from the Board of Trustees.
Jimmy Wales wrote the *most* shockingly savage, uncivil, rude and frankly hateful comment  I have seen in all my time on Wikipedia, and I saw a lot of abuse:
> "[Questions asking why Heilman was removed from the board have] been answered clearly. As a quick review - my vote to remove him was because of a pattern of behavior and actions that I viewed as violating the trust and values of the community. One example emerged clearly after he was removed - he made a false claim about why he was removed, and I got a unanimous statement from every board member involved that it was false. The community deserves better than that. James has made a lot of noise about why he was dismissed which is utter and complete bullshit. He wrote a nice piece for the Signpost about transparency which implied that the board got rid of him for wanting more transparency. Utter fucking bullshit.”
When Jimmy was called out on this dreadful behaviour, he wrote that:
> "It isn't invective. It is just a factual statement. When I explain myself in clear detail repeatedly and someone keeps insisting that I'm dodging the question, I can only say: I've already explained that.”
When James was removed from the Board, it was done in an incompetent and frankly appalling manner. Nobody advised James as to the exact incidents that caused him to lose their confidence. But yet members of the BoT felt that it was fine to cast aspersions on his character, yet did not answer questions why he was specifically removed. They are still refusing to tell him directly. Here’s an example email that was sent to this very mailing list:
> "I’ll tell you how I experienced it from my point of view: a few weeks ago, I had to turn to the Board in a confidential and important matter for me. And while writing my email, I felt that I probably should not write it as openly and frankly as I would desire; I was unconvinced that it would be held in confidence. I rewrote the mail because I had concerns about James' being on the Board, as I had lost my trust in him. This is, I think many will agree, not a healthy situation.” 
Yet here’s the thing. The one who wote this, Denny, cannot or will not point to any specific incident that led him or anyone else to believe that James couldn’t handle confidential information. And this is what he accuses James of violating - the confidence of the Board! Yet there has not been even a single incident that can lead anyone inside or outside the Board to believe this.
So now the question is: was there someone within the BoT who was white-anting James? It seems rather like it. If the majority of the Board felt that they could not trust James, this cannot have come about independently. It’s very interesting to see in that same email that Denny wrote that:
> Based on some of the comments I have read, I wanted to explicitly address
> these rather, say, interesting conspiracy theories, from my perspective:
> -- James was not removed from the Board because he was demanding more
> -- James was not removed from the Board because of a difference in opinion
> about the strategy of the Foundation.
> -- James was not removed from the Board because of difference in opinion or
> disagreement about the governance of the Foundation.
> -- James was not removed from the Board because he was insisting to see
> some documents that the Board was withholding from him
> -- James was not removed from the Board because any third party wanted him
> removed (like a big pharma company who was unhappy with James on the Board
> and was promising a big donation if he is gone - I am just listing this
> because it was indeed mentioned.)
> -- James was not removed from the Board because he demanded more community
> input or was fighting for NPOV.
> -- James’ removal had nothing to do with the role and composition of
> community-elected vs appointed Board members.
> -- James was not removed from the Board because he dared to ask too many
> uncomfortable questions.
> -- James was not removed because he didn’t want to sign an NDA.
So basically, James was not removed for any just cause. There have been no reasons given as to why the Board lost confidence in him. Yet there is a clear pattern of intimidation and bad behaviour from various Board members.
James, it appears, asked a lot of difficult questions about the actions of Lila and a number of others. This seems to have caused a lot of disquiet amongst the Board, but instead of taking action against Lila, et al. it was decided that James was to be the sacrificial lamb. Yet it appears now that James was entirely doing his duty correctly - his role was to ask these questions and ensure that the WMF was accountable.
=== Issue 3: Accountability of members of the BoT ===
The removal of James Heilman now puts a very public and unfortunate stain on the WMF. James was one of the few people on the BoT to ask Lila about the Knowledge Engine. It was always, it is clear now, that the Knowledge Engine came from her. James asked a lot of questions about what it was and wasn’t, yet from what I can tell he was never given a satisfactory answer. The KE was kept from everyone, and it was only at the end of 2015 that it was ever revealed!
In the transcript of the Discovery team post-mortem with Lila, we get the following:
“Lila: How do we explain the story now? The original idea was a broader concept. Never a crawler. We abandoned some ideas during the ideation phase, but we haven’t been clear what/when we abandoned."
Yet I believe one of the questions James (and others!) had asked was where this fit in to the overall WMF strategy.  From my viewpoint, James was trying to understand the strategy and direction of the WMF because *he was a member of the Board of Trustees*. That was his role! And yet it is clear now that by asking impertinent questions about the Knowledge Engine he made someone or several people very nervous. And so, it appears, he was removed.
This has been an absolute disaster for the WMF. There needs to be accountability. We need to know:
a. What was the scope of the Knowledge Engine?
b. When and where was it discussed within the BoT? What was discussed?
c. Why wasn’t it added to the strategy consultation report? Search is part of Wikimedia’s strategy, yet Lila says that original idea was a “broarder concept”. If so, then where it that concept expressed?
Someone must be accountable for this debacle. Wikimedia has processes and tries very hard to be open and transparent as it sets it’s strategy. Yet the Board of Trustees has now shown that they feel that not only must they set the direction, but they don’t even have to communicate the plans for going foward! And not only do they seem to be setting the direction for the WMF independently of things like the strategy consultation sessions, but they large ignore the many other issues that need to be addressed.
Lila, to her credit, sort of acknowledged this as a problem:
> "It was my mistake to not initiate this ideation on-wiki. Quite honestly, I really wish I could start this discussion over in a more collaborative way, knowing what I know today. Of course, that’s retrospecting with a firmer understanding of what the ideas are, and what is worthy of actually discussing. In the staff June Metrics meeting in 2015, the ideation was beginning to form in my mind from what I was learning through various conversations with staff. I had begun visualizing open knowledge existing in the shape of a universe. I saw the Wikimedia movement as the most motivated and sincere group of beings, united in their mission to build a rocket to explore Universal Free Knowledge. The words “search” and “discovery” and “knowledge” swam around in my mind with some rocket to navigate it. However, “rocket” didn’t seem to work, but in my mind, the rocket was really just an engine, or a portal, a TARDIS, that transports people on their journey through Universal Free Knowledge.”
From the start, it appears that Lila identified a problem, but then neglected to consult with those around her. All the strategy sessions on the planet won’t help if the person at the top will not openly communicate their ideas. And they cannot be corrected if they get it wrong, or at least have it wrong enough that it de-focuses from what is really needed to be done.
That last point is important, incidentally. Wikimedia has many, many issues. So far, all these issues have been seemingly derailed because Lila and others felt that they could focus on search. Search was *always* something that everyone agreed needed to be addressed. But it’s not a panacea.
The consequences of such secrecy and an inability to listen, or to consult properly, have now had tragic consequences. There have been over 12 people leave the WMF to go onto other paid jobs. Pillars of the WMF, such as Siko, have left because they don’t feel they can work in a place that isn’t open, transparent and with people who are accountable for their actions. There has been negative press, and many of our community feel deeply disenfranchised by the acts performed, directly and indirectly, by members of the BoT.
There must be accountability. To start with, James needs to be advised why he was removed. If there was no cause for him to be removed, which is legal under Florida law, then he should be reinstated. An investigation should be done about who knew what about the Knowledge Engine debacle. The various concerns of the Funds Dissemination Committee don’t ever appear to have been addressed properly, and I note that there was a complaint with the FDC Ombudsperson; so that needs to be addressed forthwith, and an explanation given to the wider community about problems around grants and grant applications.
I would personally like to see better accountability around direction and strategy. The BoT must be accountable and in all possible cases their discussions about WMF business should be known to the wider community. If some Trustees feel that they cannot abide by greater scrutiny, then I would like to see them vacate their position. Obviously for issues that must be confidential, then that is another matter. But it should be at the very least noted that confidential matters were discussed, and as much context given as possible.
I would also like auditors to go through Wikimedia to give us some assurance that funds have been spent and allocated correctly.
== Summing it all up ==
So to sum up the issues here:
1. The Wikimedia Board of Trustees is not meeting its own charter. There is a total *lack* of transparency, much of what is done by Board members is done in secrecy and without the input of the community. The Board does not publish adequate minutes. It has very little accountability.
2. There is intimidation and denigration of members of the Board of Trustees. This has very clearly happened to James, people are still slighting his good character and yet it has never been made clear, in any way, why he was removed from the WMF. The *founder* of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, thinks it’s OK to abuse James. At least one Board member has besmirched his good name, but will not or cannot give specific examples as to why he felt he couldn't trust James with confidential information. Denny says that others on the Board feel the same way, but yet again I say: James never gave anyone any cause to believe this.
This is a very important and serious issue. Staff have repeatedly mentioned they feel intimidated. This denigration and intimidation is beginning to permeate the WMF. It is a cancer eating away at the WMF. It is caused by closed-thinking, a lack of transparency and a sense amongst some in top-management that they are entitled to do anything they want, and that they don’t need to listen to anyone except their fellow board members.
3. The Board must be made accountable. The debacle that is the Knowledge Engine has done untold damage to the WMF, and it must be independently reviewed and a report given as to what happened, and who is responsible for the damage it has caused us. Those at the top should also be accountable for their actions. Jimmy should, at the very least, apologise for his dreadful behaviour on the Wiki towards James. The Board should be accountable for the removal of James Heilman, and in accounting for their actions should be able to clearly explain the cause of them to lose trust in him, and then subsequently remove him from the Board. Meetings must be made more open, and those on the BoT who don’t want more scrutiny should be asked to excuse themselves from the Board.
None of this will be easy. None of this has been easy to write! But I write this open letter to raise issues I feel I cannot keep quiet about, and to urge the community and those in the Wikimedia Foundation to do the difficult by necessary actions needed to restore faith in the WMF.
1. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_Guiding_Principles <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_Guiding_Principles>
2. https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Minutes/2015-11-07 <https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Minutes/2015-11-07>
3. https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:James_Heilman_Removal <https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:James_Heilman_Removal>
4. http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=… <http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=…>
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Jimbo_Wales&diff=70167… <https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Jimbo_Wales&diff=70167…>
6. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk%3AJimbo_Wales&type=rev… <https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Jimbo_Wales&type=revis…>
7. https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-January/080827.html <https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-January/080827.html>
8. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c7/2015_Strategy_Consultat… <https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c7/2015_Strategy_Consultat…>
9. https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Minutes/2015-06-28 <https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Minutes/2015-06-28>
> Message: 5
> Date: Sun, 28 Feb 2016 17:54:26 +0100
> From: Florence Devouard <fdevouard(a)gmail.com>
> To: wikimedia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] What it means to be a high-tech
> Message-ID: <nav8o2$aip$1(a)ger.gmane.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed
> Le 27/02/16 22:41, SarahSV a écrit :
> > On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 6:49 PM, Florence Devouard <fdevouard(a)gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> >> Removing a COI is not the only issue at stake Sarah.
> >> Would WMF get involved into such a process, it would also possibly
> >> its legal reponsibility. Right now, WMF does not get involved in the
> >> editorial process, which allows to claim WMF is only hosting the
> >> If WMF is somewhat involved in an editorial process which results in
> >> paying the authors, then WMF might lose the "host" status.
> >> Flo
> >> Hi Flo, I've heard so many contradictory positions about that over the
> > years that I have no idea what the implications would be.
> > Moving away from the very complex issue of paid editing, Brion opened the
> > thread with different views of what a high-tech organization is, one of
> > which involves lack of diversity, overemphasis on engineering, and
> > exploitation of staff and users at the cost of their physical and
> > health. He argued that the WMF should instead cultivate and support staff
> > and volunteers.
> > So what can we do to move the WMF away from the bad aspects of high-tech
> > organizations and toward a position where the health of the paid and
> > workforces is actively nurtured?
> I had written a LONG email to tell the story of how "Wiki Loves Women"
> ended up NOT funded by Wikimedia Foundation (it is entirely funded and
> supported by partner Goethe Institute).
> But in the end... I thought the whole story would bore people here. So
> let me toss two ideas
> 1) It would be nice that it be possible to ask for grants from WMF that
> would not fall in either of the 4 options, currently
> - annual plan grants (for big official affiliates)
> - PEG (for groups and individuals)
> - individual grants
> - travel grants
> PEG is capped (roughly around 30.000 dollars apparently). So between PEG
> and affiliates... there is a big void.
> 2) It would be nice that WMF set up a system where it is officially
> supporting a project, even though it is not funding it with REAL cash (=
> it is easier to look for other funding organizations when WMF has
> already put a sort of "yeah great project" stamp on it.)
Although cross grants are welcome; it helps so much to go as fast in the
implementation of the projects
Our Algerian UG in advance with the help of several Algerian organizations,
of course if WF supports our projects with strength
that's really nice :)
I see that the discussion on this list exploded and I am very happy to
see that. Now we need to capitalize on this enormous engagement by all
of us and make the real changes.
We need the leadership. WMF staff proved to be much more potent than
So, please, talk to each other, structure this discussion on Meta --
idea by idea, counter-idea by counter-idea --, and call us to
participate there. If you need our help to do this, you have private
and public means to ask for help.
It's your responsibility to yourself and to the rest of us. This is
the right time and you need to do that now!
TL;DR: share your thougths on the future direction, plans and goals
In the past weeks dozens of people have shared their analysis and
unsolicited advice on many aspects. I really appreciate all of your
thorough thinking and careful wording in many long posts. While the HR
committee of the BoT and the BoT as a whole are busy contemplating who to
appoint as (interim) and would like to ask you to use your thoughtpower on
some specific forward looking items.
The strategy consultation for the Wikimedia Foundation 2016/2017 Annual
Plan attracted over 500 comments, most of them in rather short posts. A
report with findings from the community consultation has been published.
There is a new call for a movement wide strategy. Please add your name and
share your thoughts and analysis.
After 'narrowing focus' the two main 'programs' of the Wikimedia Foundation
are "tech" and "grant making". After the last reorganization "grant making"
program has been renamed to "community". The breakdown in the latest
financial reports preceded by the terms in the CtA and current AP is:
(1) Improve Technology & Execution: building the technological and
operating platform that enables the Foundation to function sustainably as a
top global Internet organization,
(2) Focus on Knowledge & Community: strengthening, growing, and increasing
diversity of the editing community, and
(3) Support Innovation & New Knowledge: accelerating impact by investing in
key geographic areas, mobile application development, and bottom-up
all of which, to support Wikipedia and eight other wiki-based projects.
(Correct me when I made a mismatch between report and plan. Jaime
Villagomez, the new CFO can probably reflect on that, reaching out to Amy
to contact him. Amy can you ask Jaime to briefly introduce himself to this
list. His predecessor had a pivotal role in financial oversight of
The current strategy consultation makes a breakdown into three areas:
Please share your thoughts and analysis and join the conversation. Who can
see a shift in strategy from the first to the second breakdown, and why?
What are the implications for staff, affiliates, the movement and
Do affiliates, especially funded chapters, have a breakdown in these three
categories reach, communities and knowledge? How relevant is this breakdown
for affiliates? Do you use these names for these programs, or other names?
What kind of programs have affiliates that fall not in one of these three
areas reach, communities or knowledge? APG funded affiliates are evaluated
based on the strategic priorities:
* Stabilize infrastructure
* Increase participation
* Improve quality
* Increase reach
* Encourage innovation
Reaching out to Liam Wyat and Anne/Risker from the FDC. Can you reflect on
shift in strategic priorities? How will APG funded affliliates be evaluated
regarding their programs? Will that continue to be on the list of strategic
priorities or might that be on the list of topic areas mentioned in the
strategy consultation, or something else?
Reaching out to Brion Vibber explicitly. Brion shared some long and
interesting posts last week and started a thread about what it means to be
a high tech organization. My question for Brion is to share his case why
the WMF should be a high tech organization. In the first breakdown above
tech(nology) is explicitly mentioned. Is the second breakdown as 'developer
inclusive' as the first breakdown? Or would technology assume a supportive
role to the leading programs reach, communities and knowledge?
When I read the current statements of mission, vision, values and guiding
principles I hardly get the impression the Wikimedia Foundation is a high
tech organization, or an organization which employs a lot of engineers and
developers. How should the mission, vision, values or guiding principles of
the Wikimedia Foundation be amended to give due weight to engineers and
developers? Could you elaborate on that Brion. Wes you are one of the
C-level staff. On this list people have suggested to appoint one of the
current C-level staff to (interim) ED. I have directed question about tech
to Brion and not you. Could you please introduce yourself?
Another C-level is more well known on this list and is currently CCO. We
know her qualities in communication. Dear Katherine, can you share with the
list your experience with, prior to Wikimedia, with not-for profit
management, building relationships with communities, and your experience
with innovation, ICT and fundraising? Anything missing on the wishlist for
an ED? Katherine, please share your thoughts on the strategic direction of
the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia movement in general.
Anyone who would rather see me, or him or herself, than Katherine as
(interim) ED? I don't belief so. Correct me if I'm wrong. Someone called
for open hr recruiting on wikimedia-l. For some specific roles at the WMF
one of the requirements is to be able to join the conversation on
wikimedia-l. I'm with Jimmy that the Wikimedia Foundation is a great place
to work. And I'm with current staff who feel the place felt more like hell
hole. I'm considering myself to apply for a job. I have been at a 200 plus
employee institution that had the courage to battle a full board out,
including experience with a follow up healing process and reorganization.