[Foundation-l] Erik's New Job
innocentkiller at gmail.com
Wed Dec 19 19:12:14 UTC 2007
While I too appreciate the clarifications from Erik and Sue on the issue, I feel
that this issue will have left a bad taste in my mouth in regards to
Erik and Sue
over the issue transparency from the ED's office.
I'm hearing a lot of promises and reassurances to be more transparent from
here on out. I just hope to god someone follows through on that.
On Dec 19, 2007 10:31 AM, The Cunctator <cunctator at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Dec 19, 2007 3:52 AM, Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> > On 12/19/07, phoebe ayers <phoebe.wiki at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > I find the lack of public search less worrying than the complete lack
> > > of public discussion over what the position might do and why we might
> > > need someone as Deputy Director in the first place. One difference
> > > between WMF and other organizations is historically we *have*
> > > discussed things like this.
> > I don't believe that hiring and staffing decisions are something that
> > belongs on a public mailing list. This is not a question of
> > transparency, it's a question of competency and knowledge.
> It is a question of transparency.
> > - Competency: Wikimedia has a strong culture of "everyone can do
> > anything and comment on everything". It's a culture of self-selection
> > and free association. A 14-year-old may make as meaningful
> > contributions to an article about the British nobility as a
> > 50-year-old tenured professor (or someone pretending to be one,
> > *cough*).
> You can't let sleeping dogs lie, can you?
> > And that's fine when you are dealing with a self-correcting
> > encyclopedia that is built through a process of deliberation and
> > consensus-building, and where it's an acceptable characteristic that
> > any given article may be rubbish at any given time.
> > But an organization cannot function under the same parameters. You
> > cannot "revert" a bad hiring decision; you cannot "rollback" money
> > that's been spent. So you want to make sure that you have a competent
> > core team that makes these decisions. Not every decision benefits from
> > a scattershot approach of asking hundreds of self-selected interested
> > individuals what they think: you end up spending too much time
> > separating noise from signal.
> Requesting transparency is not the same as demanding wiki rules for hiring.
> This is a pathetic strawman.
> > - Knowledge about the needs of the organization will typically be
> > concentrated among a fairly small group of people. This is also not a
> > question of transparency: Our meritocratic systems of volunteer
> > participation make it relatively easy for anyone willing to spend
> > enough time to be in the loop on almost anything. [It could & should
> > be easier still!] But only a tiny number of people have a full-time
> > role in Wikimedia or can afford to spend a near-equivalent amount of
> > time _caring_ about the needs of the organization. And even among
> > these, knowledge and interests are specialized: into technology,
> > chapters, administrative work, fundraising, etc.
> This is self-serving nonsense. Wikimedia is special, but the job skills
> needed for the position listed can be acquired any number of ways.
> > It's the _job_ of the Executive Director to have a high level view of
> > the operational needs of the Foundation. And if she is any good at her
> > job, then she will concentrate and process in her mind a fairly large
> > amount of knowledge on this topic: more so than anyone else.
> > Increasing the number of people involved in the decision does not
> > necessarily increase the quality of the decision; unconnected
> > additional bits and pieces of information do not self-assemble into a
> > hiring strategy.
> > The Foundation has gone through many dramatic transitions and
> > disruptive changes throughout its history. What it needs at this point
> > in time is a little bit of harmony and trust: We're trying to do
> > something amazing, and we need to pull together to get it done. And
> > whether we're paid or not, we all appreciate support, kindness and
> > generosity.
> Ah, the poor Foundation. It needs love and trust, not oversight and
> Give me a break!
> > Sue & I will try to be transparent about what we're doing & why.
> Good start so far!
> > Though I haven't officially started yet, I am volunteering on a number
> > of important fronts -- so much so that I won't have much time to spend
> > on mailing list conversations. But I hope that I'll be able to give a
> > reasonable length update about what I've been up to after the
> > holidays. And once I'm officially on the job, I'll try to post updates
> > on a regular basis. :-)
> The funny thing is, Erik certainly may have been the best candidate for the
> job anyway. But by not having engaged in an open process and, worse, not
> being willing to admit they screwed up when they didn't, everyone involved
> (the Board, Sue, and Erik) are making things worse.
> But please, don't ask for our harmony, trust, generosity, support, and
> Earn it.
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