[Foundation-l] Some views with regard to current discussion

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Fri Apr 20 01:28:13 UTC 2007

Jan-Bart de Vreede wrote:

>Ray Saintonge wrote:
>>The opinions may be a little raw, and though Florence and Erik may 
>>differ significantly, they are at least open enough to let us know their 
>>opinions without dancing about in cryptic diplomatic niceties.  It would 
>>be of benefit to hear from other board members as well.
>Hi All,
>As a non-elected board member of the Board of Trustees I try to stay out 
>community discussions. You have four board members who are doing a very 
>good job at this (even if this is not always public). However, recent 
>events prompt to at least post a message here explaining my viewpoints 
>on certain issues.
As the person who asked for input from other board members, let me thank 
you for your contribution.  The differences that appear when two very 
strong board members seem to be taking opposing positions can make 
things look worse than they really are.

>With regards to the current discussion going on Foundation-l between 
>board members and Danny as a former employee I can say that I feel it is 
>distracting from the really important discussion. In my view the 
>community is the most important asset (not the brand, not the content). 
>Trying to find a way to run a non-profit entity within the law and 
>trying to harness the power that this community has at the same time is 
>very important. We do this in order to make sure that the foundation is 
>doing the things that the community needs to make the different projects 
Excellent.  When some others raise alarmist points about the imminent 
collapse of the WMF the general membership becomes justifiably worried.  
The risks that have been mentioned do deserve serious consideration, but 
not to the point where hastily considered actions dominate what we do.  
The frequent suggestion that the logos and domain names are more 
valuable than the community too easily leaves the impression that the 
board has lost its direction.  Viewed in strictly monetized terms these 
assets are obviously worth more, but there are ways of looking at value 
that do not involve money.

>On a different matter I have expressed my opinion that I do not feel 
>that former employees should be able to run for an elected board 
>position within a year of their departure. 
>Lets be very clear on this. Although this is my point of view I feel 
>that you can only make this kind of decision after elections have just 
>taken place. So if Danny feels that he wishes to run he is of course 
>free to do so.
I agree with this.  Perhaps it could also apply to appointed board 
members, and employees could include other persons who have had 
significant contracts with WMF.   In short any situation that might give 
the impression of a conflict of interest.  The decision should not need 
to wait until after the next election as long as it's clear that the 
effective date of the provision will be after the election.

>Feel free to mail me privately with your thoughts or post them to this 
>public forum. I will probably not be posting a lot of public replies if 
>we get into a lot of details. As mentioned before I try to stay out of 
>community discussions as this is simply not my role but in this case I 
>wanted to make an exception.
I perfectly understand this.  Nevertheless, occasional interventions by 
less vocal board members can help the rest of us to keep perspective on 
the issues of the day.


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