[Foundation-l] bylaws (second call)

Michael R. Irwin michael_irwin at verizon.net
Wed Aug 16 06:43:54 UTC 2006

Anthony wrote:

>On 8/14/06, Brad Patrick <bradp.wmf at gmail.com> wrote:

>>- 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?
Yes/No.   I favor breaking up effective lines of control and influence 
around infrastructure teams and projects.  In this approach, Jimbo's 
opinion becomes irrelevant unless a project is found to be in violation 
of specific agreements between the infrastructure (Wikimedia Foundation) 
and the project (Wikipedia, Wikiversity, etc.)   Obviously in this 
approach one could be a valued member of Wikiversity and an ignored 
member of the mob on the mailing list for Wikipedia or Wikimedia Foundation.

>>- 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.
Consider possible grants from the U.S.G.   At the moment the U.S. is 
spending well over a couple of hundred billion/year  to "win hearts and 
minds" by shipping professional soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan in an 
alleged "War on Terror".  

It might be cost effective to spend a billion dollars on one million  
$1K portable computers that could be used as infrastructure for schools 
and internet based import/export businesses, ten billion dollars on 
fiber trunks to currently bandwidth limited areas, and a hundred million 
dollars on an unsolicited proposal from the Wikimedia Foundation to make 
neighborly online communities available to exchange information between 
citizens of Iraq, Afghanistan, the U.S. and the rest of the World while 
creating valuable content for everybody.

Of course it could only be available if we were interested and pitched 
it convincingly.   Personally I would just as soon decentralize and keep 
foundation costs low.

Of course for those rabidly opposed to the U.S. military we could pitch 
essentially the same thing to Commerce (import/export .... increased 
trade)  or the Peace Corp (does it really make sense to ship singe 
volunteers to single villages when a fiber optic cable and a few local 
computers could make world class data products available on demand?)

>Money is great, but if it comes from a few large donations from a few
>Big Rich Guys, it's probably not worth it.
Its the strings that matter not the origin.   

>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.
Like it or fork it.   A firm no on Wikiversity might be useful for 
generating another foundation helpful in distributing free 
knowledge.....   E unum pluribus.     Limbo appears to be deadly for 
volunteers participation.


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