On 19 September 2012 15:43, Nicholas Jackson
On 19 September 2012 14:13, Andreas Kolbe
I would ask that you resign from the board.
Perhaps it's not my place to say this, but here goes anyway. I've edited
Wikipedia articles on and off for a few years, but after attending a couple
of absolutely splendid local outreach events I was inspired to actually
join the UK chapter and subscribe to this mailing list.
In the two or three months I've been lurking here, I've witnessed two
campaigns for board members to resign, and I have to say I'm beginning to
wonder quite what sort of organisation I've joined. I know almost nothing
about the background to either of these cases, and to be honest I don't
really think I want to know. Maybe the critics do have a point, after
all. Certainly the trustees of a charity should behave with decorum and
integrity, so I wouldn't want to gainsay any legitimate attempts to hold
them to account. But it seems that all the necessary information was made
available to the voting members well before the election, and they
collectively decided that they'd still rather elect these people to the
board. So in the absence of compelling further evidence, which this
doesn't appear to be, I'd have thought that's that until the next election.
I'm on the board of a small educational charity myself, and I'm very glad
that I and my fellow trustees don't have to put up with constant sniping
from the sidelines, calls for our resignation, or suspiciously-timed
articles appearing in the national press. If we did, I'd almost certainly
just say to hell with it, and walk away.
I suppose my question is: does this sort of politicking actually serve the
aims of Wikimedia UK at all, and if not could it perhaps stop soon? It
just seems as though all this infighting does far more damage to the
reputation of the chapter than the fact that one of the trustees was
temporarily banned, under somewhat questionable circumstances, from editing
Wikipedia, or that one of the other trustees might have got a handful of
free leaflets in connection with a pretty cool-sounding outreach initiative
he's working on.
Anyway, if you'll excuse me, I've got a stack of other things to do this
afternoon so I'm going to get back to them.
Yes, indeed. It's an interesting question.
There is a site called Wikipediocracy which critiques Wikipedia and
associated organisations. I *think* (but am uncertain of the timeline) this
issue stemmed from comments raised there.
I'm a member of that site; for a number of reasons, but partly because I
agree with some of the members that Wikipedia is corrupt in places and
partly because it is always worth interacting with your critics.
Certain other people are members of that site, who tend to be a lot harder
in their criticism and disdain for Wikipedia.
There is a balance over what issues of concern need to be taken forward as
true concerns, and which ones are simply blown up out of proportion. Even
then, genuine problems can sometimes be over egged by the WO community.
I'm concerned about transparency and openness - we are not as transparent
as we could be (based on our ideals) so I tend to push in those areas.
It has made me unpopular; I get an appreciable amount of hate mail and
anonymous threats. Following the Fae incident this ramped up somewhat. I
get cold shouldered by others in our community because I am critical.
This is par for the course.
But on this issue; I am happy to press Roger for clarity about his
commercial enterprise, and how the board is responding (i.e. I had no idea
he offered to resign twice - that is the sort of information we should be
sharing!!). I'm not pushing for his resignation, I am pushing for a clearly
delineated situation where everyone is aware of the lie of the land.
Small charities are often subject to corruption; both nefarious and
accidental. I've seen it happen numerous times (and picked apart the pieces
for court afterwards). I am eager we build our charity on more progressive
lines; that exhibit exemplary ethics and professional interactions.
It *appears* Roger's interactions have indeed been ethical here - we just
didn't know about it. And perception of our organisation is one of the
problems we need to address.