[Foundation-l] Wikimedia Foundation Website

Jeff V. Merkey jmerkey at wolfmountaingroup.com
Thu Aug 24 18:21:31 UTC 2006

effe iets anders wrote:

>>I would assume that of all the Wikimedia sites under this umbrella of
>>projects, the Wikimedia Foundation Website is the one site where the
>>Foundation sets the content, tone, message it  communicates to the world.
>What do you mean exacly by that?
There is the digital world and the real world. The foundation is the 
interface to the real world. While community concensus is important
for the Foundations community participation and success, I don't see how 
the cyberspace community and its concensus mentality can
effectively address real world issues. Let's be honest, the Foundation 
has to deal with all the fallout from the community's interactions
and content on the various sites. A good analogy would be a company or 
group who have an attorney to represent them in court.

The foundation represents the community to the real world and acts as 
their "representative". Letting the community take over this role
would be like a litigant asking his lawyer to sit and watch while the 
client goes pro-se. I think there needs to be a limit as to where this line
is drawn on how far community concensus extends. It's ultimately up to 
the foundation, and I do not speak for them,
but I would think the community would want the Foundation's 
representation independent of it to increase the safety buffer and
strengthen their effectiveness as an advocate on their behalf. Allowing 
the concensus driven community, whose goals for the most
part are completely alien to real world issues, to dictate the message 
of the Foundation without the necessary checks and balances
would send a message of chaos to financial contributors and those who 
want to drive initiatives with the foundation without being concerned
that they would be run over by some splinter group in the community with 
an agenda.

The Foundation is the communities advocate, buffer, protector, and 
mentor. It should be independent of the whole community voice,
while balancing the communities dreams, goals, and desires. Allowing two 
community members to sit on its board provides this
avenue of communition, but there are checks and balances. The Foundation 
can certainly take suggestions from the community on
its external messages, and clearly does and is there for the community, 
but that's a far cry from driving its direction.

This is simply my humble opinion, and I don't speak for the Foundation.

All my love,


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