[Foundation-l] About transparency

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Sat Dec 29 11:38:49 UTC 2007

Derrick Farnell wrote:
> I agree with SJ. Radical transparency seems to fit perfectly with the
> radical collaboration model used by Wikipedia.  If we can give anonymous
> users the power to vandalise a page, which can then be seen by everyone,
> including the media, then I don't see why we can't let everyone see our
> decision-making processes, warts and all.
> I also think that the term 'radical transparency' is a bit loaded: the word
> 'radical' seems designed to scare people in this context. Why not just use
> the word 'transparency'?! It is surely lesser forms of transparency that
> should have a qualifying term - e.g. 'semi-transparency'. It would surely be
> misleading to refer to such forms of semi-transparency simply with the term
> 'transparency'.
> But I have a much, much deeper concern about Florence's post. Why are we
> merely being presented with the decision not to have 'radical transparency'?
> I appreciate that the board must be able to make certain decisions without
> consultation with the rest of the community, but surely not on such an
> incredibly fundamental issue as this? I'm new to this community and am
> wondering what rules are in place to dictate which decisions are made by the
> board and which by the community as a whole? 
I don't think that we can fairly talk about "radical" transparency 
unless we have an understanding of transparency.  Presumably then we 
might achieve radical transparency by opening up some areas that might 
normally be done outside the public eye.

There are two things in my mind that are essential for transparency:
    1. Make all normal reports in a timely fashion.  This applies 
particularly to financial statements.  I'm not just talking about 
audited statements.  Periodic statements that are clearly marked 
"Unaudited" are perfectly acceptable on an interim basis.  Nothing makes 
people more antsy than a lack of proper reporting; it gives the 
impression that something is being hidden.
    2. Establish a Board policy about which kinds of matters should be 
confidential.  If the matter does not clearly fall into that list it is 
public by default.


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