[Foundation-l] About transparency

Derrick Farnell derrick.farnell at gmail.com
Sun Dec 30 09:00:31 UTC 2007

Thanks for explaining all of that Florence.

Re ads, I think showing the amount needed to keep the projects going in the
fundraising banner would have helped greatly, as a motivator. Surely, if the
banner showed that the amount raised so far was below that needed, then this
would encourage more donations. As it is, no one has any idea, from the
banner, that the amount raised so far falls well short. But I guess this has
already been discussed.

Re 'radical transparency', I understand each of your points, but I do not
accept that it is literally impossible ("I am not *presenting* you with a
*decision* of non-radical transparency. I am telling you that we can not
provide radical transparency anymore."). I think that a person's perception
of possibility of something depends on how much they want it. As I say,
'radical transparency' fits perfectly with the radical collaboration model
of these projects.

Also, you say the board dictates the general strategy of the Foundation. To
me, this kind of decision simply *must* be made by the community as a whole,
given that the projects are the product of the community.

I could go on (and on), but I think I've said enough in this thread now, so
I'd better stop!

Derrick Farnell

On Dec 29, 2007 6:33 PM, Fred Bauder <fredbaud at fairpoint.net> wrote:

> For example, I assume it is not the case that
> >> the board has the power to introduce adds without any consultation?
> >>
> >> Derrick Farnell
> >
> > It is a good question.
> >
> > Probably best to mention right now that the WMF board has not decided to
> >  add advertisements :-)
> >
> > But, I think the Wikimedia Foundation staff has technically the power to
> >  introduce ads.  Then the Wikimedia Foundation board has the power to
> > request that ads be removed. If the board decides not to remove the ads
> > placed, the community has the power to elect new members in may, and
> > then vote the ads to be removed. Or the community can decide to shame so
> >  much the board members that they will resign in disgust and be replaced
> >  by new community members, who can then vote the ads to be removed.
> >
> > "Power" is a complex notion. It is different if approached from a legal
> > perspective, from a technical perspective or from an ethical
> > perspective.
> >
> > I am against putting advertisements on the articles. This has been my
> > position since 2002, when I joined the projects. I will never agree to
> > this.
> >
> > Now, it may be, this year, or next year perhaps, that we will realize
> > that in spite of our efforts, only relying on altruistic gifts will not
> > be sufficient. I do not know if you realize, but our current revenue is
> > quite significantly below what we will need this year. And in front of
> > such a situation, we probably have three paths (other paths exist, but
> > require investments, additional human resources or will take too much
> > time).
> >
> > Path 1 is diet. As in "serious diet". Diet will mean that the websites
> > which have been working very smoothly for the past 18 months or so, will
> >  not work so well. Sluggish, perhaps even down sometimes. A sluggish
> > site  will automatically lose audience, which will lighten the pressure.
> > Diet will also mean losing some staff. I am not quite sure which one we
> > can really afford losing right now.
> >
> > Path 2 is business deals. Such as advertisements. If ads on articles is
> > too controversial, perhaps a consensus position will be to put ads on
> > the search pages.
> >
> > Path 3 is relying on big donors. But big donors have a serious drawback,
> >  which is called "loss of independence". There is no mystery, when a
> > donor give you 25% of your annual revenue, it is quite expected that
> > they will try to influence you. Perhaps will it be light, or perhaps
> > will it be much heavier. Perhaps big thank yous on the website, perhaps
> > pushing so that the board accepts as its treasurer someone of big donnor
> >  staff, perhaps asking for exclusive use of our trademarks, perhaps
> > asking that "annoying" board members be removed from the board, perhaps
> > suggesting certain partnerships rather than others. Loss of independance
> >  would be a terrible thing to happen. Much more dangerous than
> > advertisement actually, because it may not be reversible at all.
> >
> > I am not *presenting* you with a *decision* of non-radical transparency.
> > I am telling you that we can not provide radical transparency anymore.
> > As for the good old regular transparency, I wish there was more
> > willingness to provide it.
> >
> > Ant
> The problem is the slippery slope one. It is assumed that if there is
> advertising we would go whole hog. A limited program could raise enough
> money, but not overdo it. For example, the Foundation could accept
> advertising from selected non-profits and charities.
> Fred
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l

More information about the foundation-l mailing list