[Foundation-l] Letter to the community on Controversial Content

Lodewijk lodewijk at effeietsanders.org
Sun Oct 9 17:16:04 UTC 2011

Discussing 'what if' scenarios in public rarely does any good if those same
people have full power to avoid that scenario in the first place. Both the
community and the board can avoid the sitation that we don't reach
agreement. Therefore, discussing 'what if we don't, what will you do' will
most likely not improve the arguments, discussion or outcome for anyone, but
only makes that very scenario more likely to happen. Let's cross that river
when we get there.

The same goes for the very theoretical 'the board might not accept a board
member nomination'. No such situation happened ever in the history of the
foundation, quite the contrary - they have sometimes appointed people who
ended on the nomination list lower than required *as well* (for example
Oscar). I don't see any reason why that should happen any time soon, so
perhaps discussing that would be a theoretical exersize - very interesting
but hardly productive to this specific discussion.

What would be very constructive for me is getting more hard data which we
can use to have the discussion we need to have. Getting more data about how
our readers think about the topic for example. On whether the difference in
opinion is mainly geographical, related to education/background or to hair
color - whether the community (as has been suggested by some) consists of a
biased group of authors or that this is actually quite representative for
their regions. No conclusions can be drawn automatically from that, but it
would help us in getting to the core of the discussion, and also in figuring
out if there would be a system (filter or not) that both would help resolve
the issues people see, and not obstruct others.

The civil war scenario sounds horrible, but when I read some discussions, it
seems some people are all too eager to steer into that direction, hoping
that 'the others' will steer away first. Perhaps we should just slow down a
bit and map the situation a bit better.

Best regards,


No dia 9 de Outubro de 2011 19:05, Nathan <nawrich at gmail.com> escreveu:

> On Sun, Oct 9, 2011 at 12:40 PM, Risker <risker.wp at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> > Two board members are selected by chaptersl however, the board has
> certain
> > rights to refuse the selected candidates.  Chapter-selected candidates
> will
> > be appointed in 2012.
> >
> > The WMF-wide community holds an election in odd-numbered years to
> nominate
> > three candidates. Again, the board has certain rights to refuse the
> > candidates with the most votes.
> >
> > The remainder of the board members are selected for their expertise, with
> > the exception of the "Founder" seat which is approved on a regular basis.
> >
> > The primary responsibility of Board members is to the Foundation, not to
> the
> > community or the chapters or to any other external agent.
> >
> > This is all available for review in the Bylaws.[1]
> >
> >
> > Risker/Anne
> >
> Thanks!
> To your last point; that's of course true for any corporation. Yet, it
> seems clear and obvious in this case that the Board can't serve the
> Foundation without also serving the Wikimedia community. If the Board
> loses the support of the community, not only will that have election
> repercussions (despite the ability of the Board to determine its own
> membership), it will also be strongly detrimental to the interests of
> the corporation.
> I'm sure the Board understands that you can't please the readers at
> the expense of the editors, particularly when we're at a point in
> project development where editors are not so easy to replace. Just
> like editorial decisions happen in the real world and have real world
> consequences, so also will Board decisions have consequences.
> Now all this is not to say that the Board has already lost the
> confidence of the community, or that any specific members should be
> turned out or anything like that. But it's worth remembering, for
> folks on both sides of this issue, that there are methods of
> addressing any truly schismatic decisions on the part of the Board in
> the hopefully very unlikely case that any are taken.
> Nathan
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l

More information about the foundation-l mailing list