[Foundation-l] wikicouncil

hillgentleman hillgentleman.wikiversity at gmail.com
Sat Dec 29 19:18:07 UTC 2007

I want competence in the bureaucrats (i.e. the executive director et.
co.) and the right of a final say in the community in any fundamental


On 29/12/2007, Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> On 12/29/07, Florence Devouard <Anthere9 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> > I will take as an example the recent resolution passed by the board
> > regarding the license under which our projects are running. My memory is
> > that you and Jimbo were the primary actors of the license reform.
> The license migration resolution was one of the most frustrating
> experiences for me as a Board member: When the three people tasked to
> look into the issue couldn't agree, there was no clear path to any
> kind of decision, and what followed was a debate that was only
> concluded with a resolution due to attrition. The last thing it would
> lead me to argue is that the current Board should ever attempt such a
> process again.
> Should a decision like the licensing reform have been made by
> - the Board
> - the Executive Director in consultation with her staff
> - a Wikicouncil
> - the entire community?
> I think that question should be open to debate -- and to me the answer
> could very well be, in future: "The ED in consultation with staff,
> experts, and Wikicouncil members" or "The community through a
> project-wide vote".
> Let me ask you this:
> - Is it important, even critical, that we have a governing Board that
> can effectively provide oversight with regard to the Foundation's
> financial reports, its audit, and its budgets, that can competently
> hire, evaluate and fire an Executive Director, that knows to perform
> reference and background checks, that can ensure legal compliance and
> protect our tax-exempt status, that can reach out to international
> networks to raise funds for the organization?
> - Do the current criteria for Board membership -- making a lot of
> edits on the projects, being a valued community member, being elected
> by your peers -- help to constitute a Board that can serve this
> function?
> - If they do not, how does expanding the Board with more community
> members and, simultaneously, creating a community-run Wikicouncil help
> us when it comes to learning lessons from the last year regarding
> corporate governance?
> - Your main fear appears to be that non-community members on the Board
> will sell us out to corporations or other external interests. To what
> extent do you believe this concern could be mitigated through a
> Wikicouncil, through a clear definition of scope of responsibilities,
> through delegation, through orientation of new Board members? Are
> people with competence in corporate oversight and governance more
> likely to be "evil" than those without it?
> Best,
> Erik
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