[Foundation-l] Future board meeting (5-7 april 08)

Brion Vibber brion at wikimedia.org
Fri Apr 11 20:17:33 UTC 2008

Hash: SHA1

Thomas Dalton wrote:
> On 11/04/2008, Gerard Meijssen <gerard.meijssen at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hoi,
>>  Why ? Ask yourself, what good does disparagement do.
> Depending on your definition, simply informing the public of
> wrongdoing could be considered disparagement, and that certainly can
> do some good.

We already went through this discussion internally. The document as
written is quite explicit that constructive discourse is something to be
encouraged and is not being restricted in any way -- I certainly
wouldn't have signed it otherwise.

This isn't about saying "in my opinion, Wikimedia would be better off
doing X instead of Y" or "Z was a bad call and should have been done
differently", it's about saying "Wikimedia are a bunch of incompetent
jerks!" -- and vice versa (Wikimedia can't say "Brion was a moron" after
I hypothetically leave, but we're free to disagree about actual things).

As for why this sort of agreement is required; as employees we are
agents of the Wikimedia Foundation, working on its behalf. As company
representatives, we're expected to behave ourselves like adults -- our
behavior reflects on the company, and the company's behavior reflects on
our own professional reputations.

In an ideal world, we wouldn't have to write this sort of thing down and
sign it, as it would simply be understood. We also shouldn't have to
spell out that yelling and throwing objects at one another is
unacceptable behavior.

But sometimes people do behave inappropriately, and that reflects poorly
on everybody. Making the rules explicit reminds everyone what is
expected; making the agreement two-sided encourages everybody to
remember they're professional adults and act like it, as it's in all our
best interests.

- -- brion vibber (brion @ wikimedia.org)
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