Liam Wyatt wrote:
I've always believed that Wikimedia is an education
charity that happens
to exist exists in a technology field. I often note in presentations that
I give that the Wikimedia vision statement does NOT use the words,
Internet, or Wiki, or Encyclopedia. But these appointments indicate the
Board and WMF Executive believe Wikimedia is a technology charity that
happens to exists in the education field.
This is sort of nitpicky, but there's a somewhat important distinction
between Wikimedia and the Wikimedia Foundation, though the two are
obviously heavily related. Wikimedia is a global movement dedicated to
creating free educational content and bringing it to the world. The San
Francisco-based Wikimedia Foundation is a large player currently in this
movement, mostly due to how fund-raising operates on Wikimedia wikis.
You and I both know this, of course, but we should try to be precise, even
if the naming is abominable. :-)
These appointments will make a crucial difference to
how the new WMF
strategic direction will go - and clearly the leadership is wanting to
make us act more like a Californian dot-com and less like a global
education charity. Less "community consensus building" and more "move
fast and break things" - is the message I am reading here.
The counter-argument: the numeric reality is that a sizable portion of
Wikimedia Foundation staff is (and has always been) technology-related. If
the Wikimedia Foundation continues to have, as Sue's "narrowed focus" put
it, two primary focuses, engineering and grant-making, I think you'd
expect/hope that the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees would be
experienced and competent in technology and financial administration.
All that said, I don't really disagree with most of your e-mail. The
diversity issue is one to always be mindful of. Your main point about what
the Wikimedia Foundation is (technology organization in education or
education organization in technology) is reasonable. There's
but I think we're still looking at the larger issue identified in the
"Something" thread: the vision for what the Wikimedia Foundation is going
to do not in 100 years, but in the next 5 to 10 years, is missing.
The other issue that I see, interwoven with the missing vision, is that
the Wikimedia Foundation has ballooned in size and is an incredible
outlier within the Wikimedia movement. It's time to consider bolstering
the other Wikimedia chapters instead of continuing to create one
super-chapter that's unreasonably and unmanageably large. It's time to
treat the Wikimedia Foundation as we would Wikimedia California or
Wikimedia United States and hold the Wikimedia Foundation to the same
standards as we hold Wikimedia DC, Wikimedia DE, and all the others to.