[Foundation-l] About transparency

Derrick Farnell derrick.farnell at gmail.com
Mon Dec 31 10:35:52 UTC 2007

Contrary to my previously stated intention not to, I can't resist replying:

> When it comes to opening a new project, both board and community must
> make the decision (as we learned the hard way a few years ago), because
> the entire community is concerned and the Foundation supporting the
> project is concerned as well.
> When it comes to changing a license, both board and community must be
> involved in the decision.
> When it comes to choosing our stewards, both board and community must be
> involved.

I don't see why all of the above cannot be decided solely by the community.
If you mean that there is a legal necessity for the board to be involved in
each of the above three decisions, why can't it be reduced to a rubber stamp
role? Do the laws regarding foundations actually state that the board must
be more than a rubber stamp?

However, when it comes to closing a project because it is a huge
> copyright violation and threat of a huge lawsuit, then no vote of a
> community will make a difference.

I wouldn't have a problem with the board making such urgent decisions
without community consultation - as long as such decisions are followed by a
full explanation of the decision, including why community consultation
wasn't deemed possible.

Or when it comes to hiring an accountant because we can not reasonably
> run a 5 million dollars organization with no accountant, then it is
> Foundation job to make that decision. Not the community.

I also don't have a problem with the board deciding which particular
accountant should be hired. I'm more concerned with decisions regarding the
actual running of the projects. For example, I think it should be the
community who decides whether it is *necessary* to hire an accountant -
however obvious that decision is - given that the money to pay the
accountant ultimately derives from the voluntary work of the community.

Or when it comes to decide to open a new hosting location, it would also
> be unreasonable to expect us to put that to vote to the community.

I don't see why. Again, it would the community's hard work that would
ultimately pay for such a new location, so why shouldn't the community

Incidentally, I posted the minutes of the last irl board meeting here:
> http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Minutes/October_6-7%2C_2007
> Beyond the usual complains about our financial statements, can you
> answer to:
> * Does that help identify what our daily activity is about ?


> * Does that appear threatening ?

Yes - I think it's threatening to the future of Wikimedia that the board is
anything more than a rubber stamp. If the community has the ability to
create an encycopedia that can rival, if not better, Britannica, then it can
surely be trusted to directly govern itself.

> * In which areas would you like to be more informed?

I'd like the community to be so involved in the decision-making process that
there would be no need for it to be merely 'informed' later on.

> * In which areas would you like to be more involved ?

I'd like the community to be more involved in every area. :-)

Derrick Farnell

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