[Foundation-l] This is not an Advertisement @ pgunn

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Tue Jan 2 20:24:09 UTC 2007

Kat Walsh wrote:

>I do
>believe in free content, not anti-commercial content; I don't think an
>ad-supported project is desirable or something I would support, but
>not for anticommercialism. I am happy for the writing I have
>contributed to be used for any purpose, so long as it remains free;
>that's a really powerful idea, and now one that I am happy to support
>at an organizational level.
That's the bottom line.  What's most frightening is the thought that at 
some future time someone or some future board would turn all these 
efforts into something proprietary.  I think we are safe with the 
present Board, but we do need to safeguard against such eventualities in 
the longer term.

>Though I speak only for myself, I think it is fair to say that the
>Board knew there would be some people, even many people, upset and
>disappointed with the decision; most of us now come from within the
>community and are aware of how communities will react even if a call
>for community comment does not happen every time. Sometimes doing what
>you think is the best decision, considering all the factors, means
>making some people unhappy with you.
>It's impossible to do anything new and still please everyone all of
>the time; changing anything usually means upsetting something that
>someone else thought was important, maybe even relied on. 
This has to do with mastering the art of bringing a broader community 
into a decision.  Anthere has noted elsewhere that the committee system 
has not been as successful as it might have been.  Some people are 
content to work in their particular area of interest, and nothing more.  
They may even be willing to participate actively in a WikiProject.  (I 
would rename WikiProjects tp Study Groups, but that's another story.) 
That's fine; they shouldn't need to be dragged further into 
wiki-politics.  Others will complain endlessly about what is wrong, 
without ever putting forth a constructive suggestion. They are a fact of 
life about which nothing can be done; they will not be improved by 
giving them greater opportunity.  Still others do have more to 
contribute, but have difficulty finding the right place to help.

Perhaps what went wrong with the Committees was that the call to 
participate was so general that everyone waited for the other person to 
volunteer.  Perhaps too the original annoncement left the feeling that 
we were being offered a closed list of committees whose structure was 
pre-determined.  Such an impression can be left unintentionally.  As 
established committees get older, the appearance of a closed group gets 
more pronounced.  Committees need to report and recruit.  Some will work 
better in a confidential environment, but that only makes the need to 
report and recruit more acute.  Recruitment needs to be more active.  
Any existing member of a committee should be on the lookout for others 
who take an interest in those matters that fall within the committee's 
terms of reference, and who appear willing to offer new ideas rather 
than just putting out an unremitting stream of complaints.  When they 
are identified a committee should be prepared to actively invite them to 
be a member of the committee; people are more likely to feel welcome 
when they are asked to join.  Committees should also be ready to divide 
or to form sub-committees when they get too big or when one topic tends 
to dominate the committee's activities more than all the others combined.

>It's our
>responsibility to keep the projects running according to our stated
>goals. Which includes raising enough money to keep the data flowing
>and the lights on, and making sure that what we do doesn't conflict
>with putting together free-content reference works.
It's the crunch of reality. 

>It is expected courtesy to publicly
>acknowledge such large gifts, and doing so by means of a logo or a
>namedrop does not change its nature; in 2005 we even thanked Yahoo!
>for their donation with a press release trumpeting it.
Did anyone complain about the banner to thank the sponsors at Wikimania?

>We could have communicated the decision better. Organization of the
>fundraiser has been somewhat shaky, was held back by a few surprise
>difficulties, and could certainly be improved; lessons learned for
>next time.
All things considered I would attach no blame.  I would have preferred 
no ad, but I don't think that enough happened to warrant strong reactions.


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