[Foundation-l] Foundation Discretion Regarding Personnel Matters

Nathan Awrich nawrich at gmail.com
Fri Dec 14 05:15:40 UTC 2007

No disrespect intended, and I hope and believe that you and the Board
work with the interests of the organization foremost in your mind.  I
do disagree, however, with the judgment seemingly displayed on this
issue. It seems as though it would have benefited the organization to
have simply stated at the time of separation between WMF and Ms. Doran
that there were personnel issues which the Board was bound to

Additionally, a heads up about imminent disclosure would also have
been in order given the fact that you consented to an interview with
the Register (of all publications) and presumably were aware that the
story would be published. At this point, the appearance is that the
Board withheld information from the community about a material failure
of due diligence in hiring - and then commented publicly to a
glorified newsblog known to attack Wikipedia without providing the
community fair warning of yet another assault on our credibility.

Now, I may be reading the situation in exactly the wrong way - but I
would like a more elaborate description of why this might be so, and I
imagine I am not alone. There are still many unknowns regarding the
truth here, and the Foundation can only benefit from providing
clarity. If the WMF is unable to comment any further because of
continuing legal constraints (which is completely possible) that too
would be pertinent information. If you intended to convey this in your
response below, it isn't clear  to me.


On Dec 13, 2007 11:58 PM, Mike Godwin <mgodwin at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> Nathan writes:
> > The community assumes
> > that the Board operates in good faith, but that faith must be upheld
> > by the Board through disclosure of information material to the
> > community.
> I agree that the Board should generally disclose as much as it is
> legally able to do so.
> > And assuming that the Board believed that the community did
> > not need to be involved in this situation, surely the interview
> > between the Register and Mike Godwin alerted them to the fact that
> > press coverage was inevitable in the near future. If it were me, I
> > would have wanted to get out in front of that story.
> Speaking as journalist and an editor as well as a lawyer known to
> specialize in freedom of expression issues, I think we did fine. Now,
> you may disagree about this, and I respect your disagreement, but
> please understand that even a community-oriented, volunteer-driven
> enterprise can't always share all the information it has regarding a
> personnel matter. There are legal constraints that apply to the Board,
> to staff, and to anyone acting formally on the Foundation's behalf.
> Now I were you, I'd Assume Good Faith on the part of the Foundation
> (and on my part too, I hope) and ask instead what event or person gave
> this (oddly speculative and disconnected) story to our good friends at
> the Register.
> And that is pretty much all I'm going to say on this list about the
> Register story or its subject matter.
> --Mike
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