[Foundation-l] Board-announcement: Board Restructuring

David Goodman dgoodmanny at gmail.com
Mon Apr 28 17:09:36 UTC 2008

Being pragmatic then:
1) trying to convince the existing board that they've made a mistake.
2) voting (with respect to at least the positions that remain open to
be voted on ) for candidates who ware willing to state they oppose
this measure and will work on the board to reverse it.
3) make plain our total repugnance for officers of the foundation who
talk about the people who create Wikipedia as not having or deserving
the right to the running of the project.
4) "Self-selecting fiduciary boards" are a well established way of
preventing organisations from reflecting the will of their actual
constituency. In traditional organisations, where the effective
resources comes from the largest contributors, they serve that
interest. However, the effect of the funding on the success of
Wikipedia is very small as compared to the effect of the work,  & the
board should reflect this.

On Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 12:52 PM, Brad Patrick <bradp.wmf at gmail.com> wrote:
> It would be best for those critical of the Board (and feeling that the
>  community is the most important ideal) to remember that whether you like it
>  or not, agree with it or not, or would have selected an alternative reality
>  or not, it is still the case that the Board is that which governs the
>  Wikimedia Foundation, a US corporation, and is responsible for the ownership
>  of its assets (servers, etc.) and has a legal, fiduciary obligation to act
>  in its best interests.  The Board members are themselves obligated under the
>  law to act in the best interests of the Foundation.  That as a matter of
>  convention means giving due regard to "the community" whatever that term
>  means, but the fact that the Board allows elections to put people up for
>  Board positions in no way whatsoever gives "the community" an *entitlement*
>  to that process or results.  As is oft-repeated, WMF is not a membership
>  organization.
>  Within the spirit of civil discourse, to those who are feeling frustrated
>  and demanding action, I submit - "so what are you going to do about it?"  I
>  suggest you be pragmatic.  You do not have any means of grabbing the reins
>  of power from the Board, and you don't have any entitlement to anything
>  except your ability to participate in a project, if you choose, a chapter,
>  if you choose, or to speak up in some forum.  You don't have a "right" to
>  vote on anything, and the Board could just as easily have a contest than an
>  election to fill Board seats.
>  I have always held that position that a Board composed of wise, talented
>  people with a wealth of experience is the better form of corporate
>  governance.  Self-selecting fiduciary boards have served charitable and
>  educational organizations honorably and well for over four centuries.
>  Stop whining and ask yourself if you have the objective qualifications to
>  lead an international organization.  If not, work on obtaining the skills to
>  be such a leader, if you choose.  Toiling on a project is neither a
>  necessary nor sufficient condition to be a Board member at WMF.
>  On Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 12:29 PM, Andrew Whitworth <wknight8111 at gmail.com>
>  wrote:
>  >
>  > I don't necessarily want to be as confrontational as Jason is here,
>  > but I agree with his sentiment completely. The board is not some
>  > competely separate entity from the community at large. The board is
>  > just another group of volunteers who want to help manage the legal and
>  > financial logistics of this foundation, instead of writing content or
>  > blasting vandals, or whatever. Volunteers decide their own level of
>  > participation, and such decisions are not demonstrations pf any level
>  > of quality, commitment, expertise or intelligence.
>  >
>  > Maybe the current board forgets it's own humble origins as a select
>  > group of highly-motivated community members. I would like to cite an
>  > old adage that says "It is never likely that you alone are correct and
>  > that everybody else is wrong." Taken in context here, I think it's
>  > highly unlikely that the board is so aloof and so omniscient that they
>  > can safely disregard the opinions of the community at large. Or, it is
>  > highly unlikely that what the community at large wants or does not
>  > want should be ignored off-hand.
>  >
>  > --Andrew Whitworth
>  >
>  >
>  _______________________________________________
>  foundation-l mailing list
>  foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
>  Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l

David Goodman, Ph.D, M.L.S.

More information about the foundation-l mailing list