[Foundation-l] WMF and the press

Birgitte SB birgitte_sb at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 27 18:26:42 UTC 2008

--- On Sun, 4/27/08, Florence Devouard <Anthere9 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> From: Florence Devouard <Anthere9 at yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] WMF and the press
> To: foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
> Date: Sunday, April 27, 2008, 9:14 AM
> Anthony wrote:
> > On Sun, Apr 27, 2008 at 5:39 AM, Florence Devouard
> <Anthere9 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >>  If we must maintain a common voice, the main
> question left is "who is in
> >>  control of the information distributed", and
> what will be the channels
> >>  of distribution of the information. In an
> internet area, the one who has
> >>  control over the information distributed or not
> distributed, has in
> >>  reality control of the organization. That's
> basic strategy.
> >>
> > It's unclear to me exactly what you're trying
> to say, but when you put
> > it that way, isn't it obvious that maintaining a
> common voice is a bad
> > idea?  The leaks to the press, then, are not
> disastrous, but the only
> > hope for salvation.
> > 
> > In any case, the explanation that the press is
> considered bad because
> > the Foundation seeks to maintain a common voice is a
> good one.  In a
> > private response someone said to me that the
> Foundation dislikes the
> > press because the Foundation is doing inappropriate
> things (my
> > paraphrase).  My response was that even if *some
> individuals* in the
> > Foundation are doing inappropriate things, it is still
> in the best
> > interests of the Foundation *as a whole* to reveal
> those things, so
> > that it is much more likely that similar things
> don't happen again.
> As far as I can say, no individuals are doing inappropriate
> things in 
> the Foundation, so there is nothing to reveal.
> The problem is that, in our organization, just as in any
> organization, 
> there are sometimes some disagreements in the way things
> are run (eg, 
> Lodewijk this morning). These disagreements are normal. And
> the 
> appropriate way to help solve these disagreements is by
> talking through 
> them.
> What is bad is to make too much noise around each
> disagreement, putting 
> too much importance in them, or inventing arguments,
> inventing other 
> stories to further fuel the disagreements.
> Ant

The way to lower the noise is for the disagreements to be less unexpected, which requires being more upfront about where individuals opinions are from the beginning before it becomes a big deal.  In all I agree with Anthony that "we must maintain a common voice" is a false premise. The problem is not the press it is the concept of a common voice.  As long as the board attempts to maintain one common voice these problems will continue.  

First of all I think the premise that a common voice is required is inherently questionable.  Secondly, even if is good for other organizations, it isn't working for WMF.  It hasn't worked and, since the line has already been crossed, leaks will certainly continue.  It is past time the concept was abandoned. 

Birgitte SB

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