[Foundation-l] bylaws (second call)

Anthony wikilegal at inbox.org
Mon Aug 14 16:07:09 UTC 2006

On 8/14/06, Brad Patrick <bradp.wmf at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm not going to address this point by point, because my aim is to expand,
> not stifle, discussion.
> Some more grist for the mill:
> - Do you really believe a reduction in US-centrism is going to be
> accomplished by having a high financial barrier to entry?

No, that's why I proposed a membership organization whereby volunteer
members don't have to pay a single cent.

> - Your distinction re billion member organization vs. billion dollar
> organization is intriguing.  How do we get there?

Certainly not by having zero members.  My comment was, I think
obviously, not meant to be a realistic goal (having a billion
members), but to point out the fact that I believe money is merely a
means to an end.  In fact, having a billion members at this point
would have far too much overhead.  We'd have to split the members up
into different groups along some sort of lines.  I'll settle for 100
or 1000 members for the present.

> - How do non-editing, non-computer using people intersect with those who
> presently self-affiliate with WMF et al.?

I don't know of any.  This is one of the things I'd like to see
change, and I think one of the benefits of adopting the structure I've
outlined is that it will encourage more non-editing,
non-computer-using people to get involved with Wikimedia.

> - With such a diluted definition of 'member' what is the real point of being
> a 'member'?  Is it political so members have control of the organization in
> some way? Philosophical, in that we have 'card carrying' members to prove
> allegiance to something? You have not made it sufficiently clear to me, at
> least, precisely what the point is other than 'there should be membership'.
> Membership implies there exists exclusivity or at least a definable
> difference between member and non-member.

The members are the organization.  They are the ones who discuss and
recommend what new projects to set up, how to best integrate the
different projects, how to run pretty much everything that isn't being
handled by one of the individual projects.  When someone comes up with
an idea to get rid of the 9/11 wiki, it'd be the members of Wikimedia
that would talk about whether or not to do this, not the members of
the English Wikipedia.  Eventually I'd like to the members directly
elect 100% of the board.  I don't see that being accomplished without
having a membership based organization.  Do you?

> - If the subtext is money, let's call it out and understand it.  My earlier
> point about "what would we do with a Billion dollars" is that it is a
> difficult question for anyone to answer.  Ask the Gates Foundation.
> (Present staff, ~600, btw).
I just don't see where you get the idea that Wikimedia will be getting
a billion dollars any time soon.  With it following a comment about
"pitching Big Rich Guys for money", it worries me that that's the
direction Wikimedia is headed.

Money is great, but if it comes from a few large donations from a few
Big Rich Guys, it's probably not worth it.

Anyway, the money issue is really a tangential point.  It just
disturbed me and made me think you don't have anywhere near the same
picture as for the future of Wikimedia as I do.

Finally, responding more to Birgitte and Elisabeth, I think both of
whom missed my comment that "I also think the number of members whose
dues get waived will probably outweigh those who don't".  Actually,
you seemed to miss it to, considering your comment about a "high
financial barrier to entry".

My intention is that pretty much anyone who contributes to a Wikimedia
project and has an interest in being a member of Wikimedia could do so
without paying any money whatsoever.  Of course I think the specifics
of how to accomplish this are too complicated to put directly into the
bylaws, which is why I suggested a committee be formed to work out the
details, and to keep them updated on a regular basis.


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