[Foundation-l] [Announcement] update in board of trustees membership

Nathan Awrich nawrich at gmail.com
Mon Dec 17 03:26:52 UTC 2007

I would agree with the mixed approach. A board with an executive
committee of community members, and a governance and audit committee
of outside experts. There simply is no substitute for Board expertise
- many crises have been prevented through trained and knowledgeable
leadership above management. Additionally, I think there are benefits
inherent in having 'outsiders' on the Board as long as they do not
dominate it - an unbiased, outsider perspective is often extremely
helpful and itself can avert many errors in judgement (see George
Bush). I think there is no real danger of being bought - the bylaws
seem to legislate against it, and certainly the community would be

As far as perceiving Google as a threat - I think that is a mistake,
really. An encyclopedic effort on the part of Google is no more a
threat to Wikipedia than any paper encyclopedia has been (unless they
go nuts and delist our links from search results). Rather, it is a
furtherance of Wikipedia's mission - and evidence that it is
successful and compelling. Competition, as such, can only improve the
entire field.


On Dec 16, 2007 10:18 PM, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I feel there are two paths for the future. Either we keep a board mostly
> > made of community members (elected or appointed), who may not be
> > top-notch professionals, who can do mistakes, such as forgetting to do a
> > background check, such as not being able to do an audit in 1 week, such
> > as not signing the killer-deal with Google, but who can breath and pee
> > wikimedia projects, dedicate their full energy to a project they love,
> > without trying to put their own interest in front. A decentralized
> > organization where chapters will have more room, authority and leadership.
> >
> > Or we get a board mostly made of big shots, famous, rich, or very
> > skilled (all things potentially beneficial), but who just *do not get
> > it*. A centralized organization, very powerful, but also very top-down.
> >
> > My heart leans toward the first position of course. But at the same
> > time, I am aware we are now playing in the big room and current board
> > members may not be of sufficient strength to resist the huge wave.
> Am I missing something here? Why can't we have a board made up of half
> experts on business, etc. and half experts of Wikimedia projects?
> (Hopefully with substantial overlap.) That said, I'd prefer a majority
> to be from the community. As long as they are willing to take advice
> from the pros, we should get (almost) all the benefits of a
> professional board with the decision making still in the hands of
> people that share our values.
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