On Sun, Jan 30, 2022 at 6:11 PM Nathan <nawrich(a)gmail.com> wrote:
I had the same reaction! Lots of old memories.
I wonder, did we ever find out if the Lila-era WMF paid lots of
ex-employees in exchange for non-disparagement?
Reading through the thread, I find it very confusing
how hard people
worked to make sure information like that never got out.
I think it’s less interesting how many/how much was spent on
non-disparagements, and more interesting what a general post-mortem of
that period would show.
Some questions asked then are still things that would be useful to ask (at
least about the future, it’s been six years so probably not *that* useful
to ask them about 2015-2016 anymore):
(1) What mechanisms was/is the board using to measure ED performance? for
example, at the time, the board did not do executive team exit interviews;
why not? has that changed? A board shouldn’t micromanage an ED of course,
but it also has a responsibility to make sure it has some idea what is
(2) What mechanisms was/is the board using to measure organizational
health? For example, in 2015 we did an employee engagement survey only when
morale had already plummeted over a cliff; the board never asked for one.
Should it have? If not, what should it have been doing instead? (The way it
did listen to staff—anonymous backchannels available only to certain
staff—was… honestly not ideal. I understand that the HR team now does
regular engagement surveys; no idea if those are reported to the board’s
Talent and Culture Committee?)
(3) Does the board have any bright line tests for new appointed board
members in terms of what positions and past actions are/aren’t acceptable?
How is appointment, more generally, handled? (The board genuinely does
badly need experienced tech company leadership, because for better or for
worse WMF is a tech company. But what lessons could have been learned from
the failed(?) appointments during Lila’s tenure? Would any of them have
been relevant now?)
(4) What has the board done to address the challenge of the lifetime board
seat, and “founder syndrome” more generally? When I posted here about this
question a year ago, many employees and long-time editors immediately
**but privately** thanked me for raising the issue. That is, in my
experience, much more telling about the WMF staff experience than anything
to do with board elections.
It’s almost certainly too late to do a proper post-mortem - it’s been
almost six years! - and it’d certainly be a distraction from Maryana’s new
leadership. But perhaps the next generation of community-elected board
members could pick up the forward-looking versions of these questions.
 Non-disparagement clauses might be interesting to understand within
that context, but simply listing who did/didn’t take one, or how much was
spent, *without the broader context *of legitimate exec team turnover,
burnout, disempowerment, low pay for employees expected to live in SF, etc.,
would be unhelpful to the movement and possibly damaging to those
 membership not updated in 2+ years?
; minutes not updated in 7+ years?