[Wikimedia-l] Democratizing the Wikimedia Foundation

Theo10011 de10011 at gmail.com
Sat Nov 3 18:38:08 UTC 2012

On Sat, Nov 3, 2012 at 10:30 PM, Anders Wennersten <mail at anderswennersten.se
> wrote:

> Theo10011 skrev 2012-11-03 16:12:
>>> There isn't a lot of doubt where the centers of power are.
>>> Regards
>>>  I do not understand what you refer to in this statement. Could you
> please elaborate what you believe is the centers of power?

Sure, let's see. You questioned who has the power to decide, as opposed to
Nemo's analogy of a rubber-stamping hall. Centers of power, are dominant
forces that define a particular time and decide the overall direction. They
influence rather than give the appearance of direct interaction. In this
context, I was pointing out that these ideas are conceptualized by a small
minority in private, suggestions like let's have an FDC, let's remove
fellowships, cut spending and narrow focus, even earlier decisions like the
image filter and chapter fundraising change might have been byproducts of
that - it is hard to distinguish. Depending how closely you followed these
developments, the centers of power that came up with those suggestions
never changed, the discussions and arguments did, but they emerged from the
same place.

What you might perceive as control and power, is a limited sandbox provided
to give the appearance of power, for example, Sue placed her thoughts on
Meta before presenting them, between the hundreds of points on the talk
page, not a single thing was reconsidered, the board unanimously approved.
Your own meeting with the FDC, a hand-picked committee proposed and formed
by the same group, with the presence of two board members, in WMF offices,
who will eventually decide if they even want an FDC in 2 years.

There seems to be a nebulous mix between the executives, along with certain
board members, not all, perhaps even advisers and outside forces that
dictate whatever decisions are to be made, for everyone. Maybe this is a
particular area where transparency would be appreciated. Given that
individual board votes are made public now, there aren't a lot of instances
where board members disagree, if ever, with whatever the Executives provide
them. Most of these decisions rarely try and conflict the wider editor base
directly, as learnt from some past instances. To clarify I'm only talking
about where these ideas are proposed and conceptualized, not what follows,
the process of complaint, feedback and the eventual approval. There is no
recourse for challenging these changes, no other side of the argument, no
veto power, perhaps that's what the aim of this exercise ought to be.


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