On 29 February 2016 at 19:10, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466(a)gmail.com> wrote:
No. You are either transparent and honest, or you are not.
Or you could be opaque but honest. "Honest" and "transparent" are not
There are several things that organizations cannot reveal, for legal,
contractual, or ethical reasons - or at least they cannot reveal them
without risking serious censure, lawsuits or in some cases regulatory
charges. Reputational risk is bad enough, but if a board member leaks
something that leads to a credible threat of legal action or regulatory
charges - even with the best of intentions and with no ill-will intended -
not only does the board need to take action, but it needs not to compound
the error in judgment by broadcasting it.
Jimmy gave an example in an earlier post of the need to not reveal the
terms of a contract that was extremely favourable to the WMF as a condition
of the contract - the condition added because the contractor did not want
to offer the same terms to other organizations. If a board member leaked
that to, say, a competitor of the contractor, that would violate the
contract, even if the intention was good (such as trying to obtain
favourable terms from the competitor as well). Now...keep in mind that
revealing the fact of a leak would have the same net effect of saying
"Company A is giving us a special deal", i.e., the very thing that the
contract is supposed to prevent. If the board removed a member for a
scenario along this line, they would be being honest, even if they were not
being transparent because they did not reveal the precise reason for the
That is a scenario, and I have no inside knowledge or any reason at all to
believe that this is what occurred on the WMF Board. But I can think of
several other similar scenarios that would fall into the same "honest but
not transparent" response.
So please, let's stop pretending those two words mean the same thing.