[Foundation-l] transparency or translucency?
parkerhiggins at gmail.com
Sat Jan 10 21:29:57 UTC 2009
I think there's two parallel conversations going on here, which is making it
hard for anybody to come to an understanding.
James, it seems like you're saying that Wikimedia (apparently) espouses
absolute transparency and equality, and in fact only practices those virtues
to the boundaries of common sense. That difference, between the absolute
and the common sense, strikes you as disingenuous.
Everybody else seems to be saying that Wikimedia only ever intended to run
an organization in a manner consistent with common sense, and that realities
of how Wikimedia is run are not, in fact, at odds with the founding
principles, nor have the founding principles been abandoned.
I will acknowledge that it seems your point hasn't been fully acknowledged,
but I don't think it's a very strong point. Perhaps the phrase, "to the
extent possible" has been omitted from some explanations of Wikimedia's
commitment to transparency and equality, but I don't think that has
decreased the overall clarity. Yes, Wikimedia is not absolutely
transparent, and yes, I know you know that. But considering that nobody
realistically expected or expects the organization to be absolutely
transparent and equal, as that would come at the cost of functionality, it
doesn't really make sense to complain about that. And it doesn't represent
a deviation from founding principles.
On Sat, Jan 10, 2009 at 12:53 PM, James Rigg
<jamesrigg1974 at googlemail.com>wrote:
> I do not "describe how - in your opinion - the conduct of the English
> Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation don't live up to those
> I'm actually simply pointing-out that the *stated* semi-transparency,
> and hierarchical structure, of Wikipedia/Wikimedia is contrary to the
> *stated* principles of transparency and no hierarchy.
> Nowhere in this thread have I stated that this is a good or bad thing
> in relation to Wikipedia/Wikimedia.
> On Sat, Jan 10, 2009 at 8:37 PM, Nathan <nawrich at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I don't see the conflict James Riggs is describing. You point to
> > of principles by Jimmy Wales, and then describe how - in your opinion -
> > conduct of the English Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation don't live
> > to those principles. Well, that doesn't shock me and it shouldn't shock
> > The English Wikipedia is quite transparent, more so than perhaps any
> > community or organizational structure I've encountered. Only mailing
> > that regularly deal with personal, private information are closed to the
> > community. Nearly all decision making of any weight is done on-wiki, with
> > complete access for anyone who wants it to all or mostly all discussion
> > precursors.
> > The Wikimedia Foundation is a business, and by the standards of modern
> > business it is also quite transparent. Its financial information, its
> > its employee roster, its job descriptions, its revenue and fund raising
> > model and its long term goals are all available for your discovery. Every
> > major decision that impacts the projects is discussed publicly ahead of
> > time. That *is* transparency, in my opinion.
> > When someone who self describes as a "newbie" that has not joined in
> > on the Wikimedia projects posts to the Foundation mailing list describing
> > what he believes to be a material mischaracterisation, he gets a response
> > from the founder and the deputy director (and former board member) in
> > order. Try doing that with General Electric, or really nearly any other
> > corporation in the world.
> > Your e-mails indicate that you concluded first and asked second, so
> > hopefully you will now reconsider.
> > Nathan
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