[Foundation-l] Seat and Donations (SPLIT from: EFF & Bitcoins)

Ting Chen wing.philopp at gmx.de
Fri Jun 24 08:51:36 UTC 2011

Hello Joseph,

yes you are right that it looked not good for the board at that time, 
and we were all aware of that and nobody on the board at that time was 
happy about that. But in my opinion this is the responsibility of the 
board. A board should make decisions according to if it is right or not 
right, and not according to if it looks good or not good. In politics we 
are seeing or saw this all the time: goverment were afraid of make the 
necessary reforms because they fear it would cost them the votes, 
goverment make decisions although we know it is the wrong decision but 
they made it because it will bring them votes.

I think it is important that THIS board DON'T do this kind of things. Do 
the right thing, not the thing that LOOKS right. I am gratitude that all 
member on the current board share this attitude.

And naturally we had discussed about the possibility of splitting the 
announcement of the nomination of Matt and the donation. But actually 
this possibility was on table for less than one minute. Our community is 
smart enough to beat Britannica, such a trick will only looks more 
suspective. By putting the announcement together the board wanted to 
show that we knew it looks bad, we were uncomfortable about it, but we 
wanted to be honest, we didn't want to find our way in any tricks.


Am 23.06.2011 14:05, schrieb Joseph Seddon:
> On Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 6:35 PM, Michael Snow<wikipedia at frontier.com>wrote:
>> On 6/22/2011 10:14 AM, MZMcBride wrote:
>>> Michael Snow wrote:
>>>> I thought it was reasonably understandable, even without perfect
>>>> grammar, that Ting was saying that since Matt is no longer at Omidyar,
>>>> if your insinuation were true, when he left the foundation would have
>>>> needed to bring in someone new from Omidyar to fill "their" board seat.
>>>> I figured that out, and honestly I wasn't even aware until now that Matt
>>>> had left Omidyar.
>>> I'm not sure it counts as an insinuation if it's true. They bought a
>> Board
>>> seat. Honestly, I don't remember much dispute about this point when it
>>> happened in 2009 and looking back at the press releases at the time, it
>>> doesn't seem as though anyone was trying to hide this point. My original
>>> comment was only to say that if someone else (another group or
>> organization)
>>> were willing to put up $2 million or more, another Board seat would
>> probably
>>> become available. It's not as though the Board is incapable of changing
>> its
>>> own structure to meet outside demands.
>> The events happened at the same time, so the connection is pretty
>> obvious, but it was never a quid pro quo. While I was on the board,
>> there was at least one major donor who was interested in being added to
>> the board based on their financial contributions, but that person was
>> not considered a good fit despite being a generous supporter of the
>> organization. So no, the notion that a board seat would be available for
>> money is incorrect. We felt Matt added valuable expertise and would be a
>> good addition to the board, whether Omidyar was donating $1 million or
>> $10 million. As he remains on the board after leaving Omidyar, I presume
>> that's also why he's still there.
> Michael
> I cannot claim to understand what exactly is going through MzMcbride's but
> it wouldn't surprise me if it was similar to what went, and still does, go
> through my mind. I know for a matter of fact it is something that goes
> through the minds of several respected wikimedians. It is this:
> I do not think that most would ever suggest that the foundation board and
> the people on it are that naive as to "sell" board seats. I certainly would
> never believe that for one moment. It was that the connection (which cannot
> be ignored) didn't really look good on our (the community's) part. It was
> the fact that it was assumed that all was good and that it didn't matter. I
> can understand that from the foundation boards perspective since i imagine
> it was probably felt it was all above board and that it all stood on its own
> merits. But the community sees things differently because they would be at
> the mercy of any fallout that could have happened.
> I honestly that Matt's appointment was a fantastic thing. He is someone with
> a lot of knowledge and I wouldn't have battered a eyelid if his appointment
> had been made at any other time. I think more than anything it just made me
> and others feel pretty damn uncomfortable. Its down to the lack of good
> faith that people have when looking in on organisations they don't know and
> it could have really undermined the movements standing. Just simply through
> a lack of looking at the situation from an outside perspective. My personal
> feelings were compounded by the fact that the timing between a donation and
> an appointment to the advisory board had been poorly thought out on another
> occasion and the fact that Omidyar also provided a $4 million investment in
> Wikia. It really muddies the waters thats all and its that which the
> community really wants to avoid.
> At the end of the day, things have moved on without incident but lets not
> simply ignore this issue. I think that there is something to be learnt and
> its that care really does need to be taken when repeating a venture like
> this. Bad faith in the world may bite us next time.
> Seddon
> (Personal View)
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Ting's Blog: http://wingphilopp.blogspot.com/

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