Just to remind you, Luis Bitencourt-Emilio is one of the Wikimedia Foundation's unelected trustees. He publicly supported the infamous "monkey" NFTs, widely thought to mirror racist tropes,* and used one as his social media avatar when first appointed to the board.

In the last 24 hours a class action lawsuit is in the news, suing celebrities who were paid to promote the same Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs now considered "fraudulently misleading". It remains bizarre that the Wikimedia Foundation, considered a technology-leading organization with a core commitment to ethical behaviour, is publicly represented by someone who was openly part of the BAYC fanbois with such bad judgement they helped this alleged pyramid scheme. This background of lousy judgement does not meet the requirement for anyone sitting in top-level governance over the activities and massive funding for Wikimedia projects and operations.

As was previously remarked in this email thread, "We should have looked at that history and trod more carefully." More worryingly the defensively circling the wagons at the beginning of the year to brush off the questions this raises shows that the Wikimedia Foundation nor the governance committee they rely on to "vet" unelected trustee appointments, failed.

* A context here from an analysis by David Gerard "It does seem pretty likely that the Ape bros are at least casually racist. For one thing, they clearly feel at home in those corners of internet edgelord culture whose syncretism includes the troll disposition that has characterised the identitarian right since at least the eighties, the performative nihilism that has come to characterise disaffected digital natives in the wake of the Great Recession, and the ironic hipster racism that somehow always stops being ironic after a while. For another, they are shilling crypto, a project of the far right since day one." [3]


1. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/business-news/celebrity-promoters-sued-over-bored-ape-nft-endorsements-1235279115
2. https://futurism.com/the-byte/celebrities-bored-apes-are-hilariously-worthless-now
3. https://davidgerard.co.uk/blockchain/2022/02/06/bored-ape-yacht-club-and-neo-nazis-so-much-reaching-for-just-four-bananas/

On Thu, 13 Jan 2022 at 16:02, Lane Chance <zinkloss@gmail.com> wrote:
Dariusz, Chair of the BGC: "Cryptocurrency and blockchains were not a factor here – the Governance Committee, and then the Board, were considering other things..."

This is so wrong it's painful to read. The fundamental job of the Governance Committee is to ensure that appointed trustees do not come with the potential to cause harm to the Wikimedia 'brand' and the community.

A WMF trustee that promotes Bitcoin and NFTs? Compare with the WMF statement "We at the Wikimedia Foundation strive to ensure that our work and mission support a sustainable world" - now in the bin as it lacks any credibility from here on, as the governance committee and therefore the board of trustees does not believe in these values. This is not a successful appointment, Luis Bitencourt-Emilio is not welcome as they are a controversial and damaging addition to the board.

Ref: https://wikimediafoundation.org/news/2019/09/19/how-the-wikimedia-foundation-is-making-efforts-to-go-green

On Thu, 13 Jan 2022 at 13:40, Dariusz Jemielniak <darekj@kozminski.edu.pl> wrote:
Dear Dan,

Thank you for the feedback!

The search for a trustee with an expertise in product and technology began a few months ago. One of the problems we identified was that the Wikimedia Foundation CTOs (Chief Technology Officer) are usually not staying for a long period of time, and then there was also a CPO (Chief Product Officer) transition. It was also important that the new CEO (Chief Executive Officer) would like to have a trustee with relevant experience and leadership in the tech world (as would the Board itself), but also with the understanding and experience of how technology and communities can work together, so, as you said, Reddit experience is very relevant.

The other critical factor was diversity – the search was prioritizing candidates with experience outside of Silicon Valley, in non-English speaking countries, preferably from the Global South.

And, of course, we also needed a commitment to spend enough time on the Board work – to be engaged and present. For example, Luis met online and offline with Wikimedia volunteers from Spanish and Portuguese-speaking communities, he is eager to help us with his knowledge and experience. Cryptocurrency and blockchains were not a factor here – the Governance Committee, and then the Board, were considering other things Luis brings to the table, the needed expertise, diversity and commitment.

I personally am not particularly fond of cryptocurrencies, even though I appreciate blockchain as a technology, and support e.g. decentralized science (https://decentralized.science/). We as a movement have not had a uniform stand on this, and I’m not sure if we should, though.

Best regards,
Dariusz (chair of the BGC)

On Thu, Jan 13, 2022 at 1:40 PM Dan Garry (Deskana) <djgwiki@gmail.com> wrote:
Thanks for the update, Nataliia. Knowledge and expertise in product and technology is a skill set that has been lacking on the Board, and it's great to see the Board addressing this by co-opting product and technology leaders. Luis's experience, such as his time at reddit, will likely be very applicable to our movement.

However, I'm surprised that the Board chose to co-opt someone who seems to have such a public focus on technology like blockchains and cryptocurrency, and that this focus of his was omitted from this announcement.

It would be helpful if we could hear from Luis how he intends to use his knowledge and expertise to contribute to the movement as a Board member, and to what extent he considers blockchain and cryptocurrency to factor into that.


On Wed, 12 Jan 2022 at 17:20, Nataliia Tymkiv <ntymkiv@wikimedia.org> wrote:

Dear All, 

Please join me in welcoming Luis Bitencourt-Emilio to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. Luis was unanimously appointed to a 3-year term and replaces a board-selected Trustee, Lisa Lewin, whose term ended in November 2021 [1].

Currently based in São Paulo, Luis is the Chief Technology Officer at Loft, a technology startup in the real-estate industry. He brings product and technology experience from a globally diverse career that has spanned large technology companies including Microsoft, online networking sites like Reddit, and a series of entrepreneurial technology ventures focused in the USA and Latin America. Luis has led product and technology teams across Latin America, the United States, Europe and Asia. He is passionately involved in building and promoting the entrepreneurial ecosystem for Latin American-based startups. 

Luis has more than two decades of experience across product development, software engineering, and data science. At Microsoft, he led engineering teams shipping multiple Microsoft Office products. At Reddit, he led the Knowledge Group, an engineering team that owned critical functions such as data, machine learning, abuse detection and search. He was deeply involved in Reddit’s growth stage and worked closely with Reddit’s communities in that evolution. Luis also co-founded a fintech startup to help millennials manage and automate their finances.

His career has also been shaped by a visible commitment to recruiting diverse leaders. At Reddit, Luis was a key member of the recruitment efforts that achieved equal representation of women engineering directors. Luis says his proudest achievement at Microsoft was building their Brazilian talent pipeline by working closely with local universities to place thousands of engineering candidates at Microsoft, as well as his involvement in expanding global recruitment to markets including Ukraine, Poland, Great Britain, the EU and Mexico. 

Luis was educated in Brazil and the United States, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering with Honors from the University of Maryland. He is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English. He is also a proud father and dog lover. 

I would like to thank the Governance Committee, chaired by Dariusz Jemielniak, for this nomination process as well as volunteers in our Spanish and Portuguese speaking communities who also met with Luis or shared their experiences.

You can find an official announcement here [2].

PS. You can help translate or find translations of this message on Meta-Wiki: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_noticeboard/January_2022_-_Luis_Bitencourt-Emilio_Joins_Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_of_Trustees 

[1] Lisa Lewin served from January 2019 till November 2021: https://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/Resolution:Renewing_Lisa_Lewin%E2%80%99s_Appointment_to_the_Board_of_Trustees,_2021 

[2] https://diff.wikimedia.org/2022/01/12/luis-bitencourt-emilio-joins-wikimedia-foundation-board-of-trustees/

Best regards,
antanana / Nataliia Tymkiv
Chair, Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees

NOTICE: You may have received this message outside of your normal working hours/days, as I usually can work more as a volunteer during weekend. You should not feel obligated to answer it during your days off. Thank you in advance!

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prof. dr hab. Dariusz Jemielniak kierownik katedry MINDS, Akademia Leona Koźmińskiego

członek korespondent Polskiej Akademii Nauk

faculty associate Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University

Ważniejsze książki: Collaborative Society (2020, MIT Press, z A. Przegalińską), Thick Big Data (2020, Oxford University Press), Common Knowledge? (2014, Stanford University Press)
Ostatnie artykuły:
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