On 6/5/06, Jimmy Wales <jwales(a)wikia.com> wrote:
The composition of the board is of critical importance
to insuring that
our core mission and community values are respected.
Of course. But "if someone isn't active anymore, they shouldn't be on
the Board" seems pretty much like a no-brainer to me. And there seems
very little risk in accepting one or two more members from the
community on the Board. After all, this is how we ended up with Angela
and Anthere. It would be nice to hear some of the more concrete
concerns and arguments why we do not speed up this process a little
It would be absolutely fine to start a public dialogue
about it right
now. Who do you recommend we approach?
Well, as Delirium said, we should try to figure out why we need
someone like this on the Board in the first place, and what the exact
roles and responsibilities would be. If our goal is outreach and
fundraising, then it might actually be advisable to not put these
individuals on the regular Board, but on a special Advisory Board,
where their role is to give input on specific questions we send to
them, and where we retain the final authority.
Such an approach has the advantage that we could pick a much larger
number of outside people to serve us, without diminishing the
executive power of the core individuals who actually run the
organization. Here I would recommend people like Lessig, Stallman,
Negroponte, and/or people from the European free culture / free
software community who have good name recognition. I would have
reservations about all these individuals being asked to participate in
votes on resolutions and such, because of availability and strong
opinions that may clash with our culture.
If our goal is to have someone who actually participates in executive
decisions and provides fresh thinking that we may not find within our
community, then I think we should look more closely in non-profits
associated with ICT in the developing world, given our stated mission.
One person who immediately comes to mind is Achal Prabhala, an
important, charismatic and brilliant international leader in the
"Access to Knowledge" movement, i.e. availability of free textbooks
and other learning resources, international IP law, etc. (he gave an
excellent speech at Wikimania on the topic). Someone associated with
Geekcorps (I only know Kaspar Souren) or the Shuttleworth Foundation
would also make sense, I think. Sj could probably drop a few other
important names in that area quickly.
So, let's first figure out which direction we want to take, and then
narrow down the list of names.