[Foundation-l] How far does AGF extend?

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Fri Dec 14 11:02:25 UTC 2007

Nicolas Montes wrote:
>> *[Assume good faith] page in a nutshell:*
>>    - Unless there is strong evidence to the contrary, assume that
>>    people who work on the project are trying to help it, not hurt it.
>>    - If criticism is needed, discuss editors' actions, but it is not
>>    ever necessary nor productive to accuse others of harmful motives
> The guideline clearly mentions that we should assume that people who work
> for the project are trying to help it not hurt it. But does AGF apply to
> Foundation matters? While some believe that the Foundation has been acting
> in good faith in this situation and say we should trust the Foundation, many
> of us are saying that the foundation should have told us more. However, the
> foundation was clearly not acting in bad faith. They hired someone and
> either did not think to run a background check or forgot to do one. Either
> way, assuming faith with the board is a very dubious thing to do. We can
> assume that the board hired Carolyn Doran in good faith. When Carolyn left,
> she had a right to have her reason for leaving confidential. If the
> foundation wanted to keep her reason for leaving private, they could do so.
> The foundation can not be hold to the tenants of AGF. What the foundation
> does is above the guidelines, not polices, of Wikipedia. Yes, we should
> assume the council is acting in good faith, however, anything that happens
> at the Foundation level should be held to the microscope. Everything that
> the council does should be looked at in good faith, but when something fishy
> shows up, we must look at it AS IF something suspicious is happening.
"Assume Good Faith" is a principle of life.  Those who believe that the 
principle has its origins in Wikipedia's policy pages are suffering 
under a serious delusion.  When a person needs to ask, "But does AGF 
apply to Foundation matters?" I wonder whether that person understands 
the principle at all. I think that the Foundation owes us fuck-all in 
further information about this unfortunate episode.  Sometimes the 
wisest and best-faith approach is to say nothing.  Keeping quiet does 
not violate the tenets of good faith.

Good sense management depends as much on life-experience as a strict 
reading of rules.  People in a serious decision-making position often 
need to weigh a number of factors to achieve the best result.  Some 
people seem to want all the gory details, but to what end?  How is 
Wikipedia going to be made better by revealing these details?  Will it 
do any more than bring vicarious pleasure to a handful of nosy people.  
Meanwhile, The Register (whom some have characterised as the enemy) will 
revel in the additional tidbits. We will have given them the ammunition 
that they supposedly want.

Of the offences attributed to Mrs. Doran, the financially related ones 
may be a cause for concern, but there is at least a possibility that 
some of these might be explained.  The material surrounding the 
Washington Post article about shooting her boyfriend has a lot things 
about the battered wife syndrome.  That leads me to suspect that the 
boyfriend may have been a violent jerk that deserved to be shot.

As I read the available information, the Foundation was right to treat 
her with respect as it has throughout the story.  Maybe some measure of 
trust is what is needed.


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