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

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Wed Dec 19 07:47:42 UTC 2007

George Herbert wrote:
> On Dec 18, 2007 10:55 AM, Ray Saintonge <saintonge at telus.net> wrote:
>> Milos Rancic wrote:
>>> While WMF is better the it was, there are still a number of systematic
>>> problems. The main problem *is* ambivalent position of the Board:
>>> something between despotic, oligarchic and representative democratic
>>> body. (Of course, in the sense of from where power comes, not in the
>>> sense of methods.)
>> This is a fundamental problem in democratic organizations, despite the
>> fact that it has been repeatedly stated that Wikipedia (and hence
>> Wikimedia) is not a democracy.
> I don't know about the "...and hence"; WMF is not en.wikipedia
Nobody is saying that it is.
> WMF is a traditional charity company organization, with the added
> wrinkle that most of the board of directors come from the community
> via open elections.  In that sense we resemble a republic, not a
> democracy, but it's still not a governmental structure... it's a
> charity company, mostly-elected board and hired executive(s) and
> staff.
I'm sure we could have long philosophical debates about the difference 
between a democracy and a republic, or between governance and 
government, and I'm sure that when and where that distinction is 
important I'll be right there insisting on it.
>> Rulership structures want to get on with
>> the business at hand, and it can be terribly frustrating when decisions
>> must be made to wait for any kind of consensus from the populace.  We
>> even have difficulty defining just who that populace is, and that makes
>> it more difficult to know who should be a participant in the consensus.
>> While the Paris Commune of 1871 debated, the outside forces did not
>> hesitate to do what was necessary to run them over.
> I think you're confusing the projects and Foundation too much, and
> misreading how the Foundation works.
> Governmental analogies only go so far, and I think yours have gone
> past the breaking point...
I disagree, of course.  It's in the nature of publics to debate minor 
issues to death, and be completely silent when their input is needed.


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