Jimmy Wales wrote:
And when it
comes to inviting an outside
member, how is that member going to be chosen? Will there be a public
dialogue about who the best figure is for this role, or will they
simply be appointed?
It would be absolutely fine to start a public dialogue about it right
now. Who do you recommend we approach?
From my perspective, it would be ideal if there were some well-known
outside figure who has at least some familiarity with our projects. I
don't mean 3000 edits and posts to the mailing list regularly, but it'd
be nice if he/she had an account and occasionally edits or at least
reads. Just about the worst possible thing, IMO, would be a complete
outsider who has no idea why things work here or don't, but is
well-known enough to try to impose some outside ideas of how things
"should" be done. Whether that would end up being a real problem
depends partly on personality, of course.
Of the *very* prominent Free-with-a-capital-F folks, none come to mind
immediately. Had this been a year ago, I might have suggested
approaching Lawrence Lessig, but he seems to currently be on the board
of advisors of Digital Universe, and his statement on joining suggests
he buys into their "Digital Universe is the cure for what Wikipedia does
wrong" mantra. Bruce Perens is somewhat well-known for free software
advocacy, and is well-connected with tech companies if that's the sort
of thing we're after.
Partly it would help if people in favor of an outside board member said
why it would be helpful to have one, which would help guide how to
choose which one. =]