Board statement regarding biographies of living people

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Board statement regarding biographies of living people

thekohser
The purpose of my question was to examine the carbon impact on our global
environment by holding this meeting in Berlin, which (by my estimation) is
quite a ways off from the point of "least cumulative distance" that could
have been achieved for at least the mandatory attendees.  All of that
additional jet fuel and hotel consumption (laundered sheets, poor recycling
standards, etc.) is something to consider if the polar ice melts and floods
San Francisco one day, thanks to CO2-accelerated warming.  A shorter-haul
Boeing 737 flight burns about 200 pounds of fuel per passenger.  I can only
imagine that a trans-continental flight, plus a trans-Atlantic leg to
Berlin, is likely burning at least 400 pounds of fuel per passenger.  Return
trip makes that 800 pounds of fuel.  I hope each of the San Francisco-based
attendees feel comfortable that their burning of 800 pounds of jet fuel
(about 114 gallons) in order to attend the conference in Berlin (a
conference that, as far as I can tell, had zero "dial-in" conferencing
options offered) was justified?

I get the impression that there is a corporate culture afoot at the
Wikimedia Foundation that stifles any attempts to optimize meetings and
conferences in ways that might be more economical and environmentally
friendly, with innovations such as Skype and video-teleconferencing.  My
sense is that "interesting" and "exotic" places are chosen instead... San
Francisco, the Netherlands, Berlin, Taipei, Alexandria (Egypt, not
Virginia), Buenos Aires, etc.  I suspect it's part of the corporate culture
to get the "backwater" taste of St. Petersburg (Florida, not Russia) out of
everyone's mouth, to select all of these far-flung, non-English-speaking
locales for a Board that consists mostly of North Americans who speak
English, and who are funded mostly by U.S. dollars.

I know that regarding a recent trade conference that was only 124 miles from
our headquarters, my Fortune 100 employer sent down an edict that only one
of the 3 people from our team of 14 personnel who were interested in going,
could actually attend.  Certainly, this was more of an economic decision
than a "green" decision, but frankly, the two are often hand-in-hand
outcomes.  Is the Wikimedia Foundation very "green" in its governance
practices?  I know that Wikia, Inc. touts its dedication to "Green", but
what about the WMF?

Here's a 100-gallon aquarium:
*http://tinyurl.com/100-gallon-tank*

Imagine it full of jet fuel, then setting a match to it, sucking oxygen out
of the air, and replacing it with carbon-laden molecules.  That's what each
of the North American board members did to enable travel to Berlin to hold
their meeting which seems to have exhausted most of the attendees.

--
Gregory Kohs
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Re: Board statement regarding biographies of living people

Michael Bimmler
On Fri, May 1, 2009 at 10:06 AM, Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The purpose of my question was to examine the carbon impact on our global
> environment by holding this meeting in Berlin, which (by my estimation) is
> quite a ways off from the point of "least cumulative distance" that could
> have been achieved for at least the mandatory attendees.  All of that
> additional jet fuel and hotel consumption (laundered sheets, poor recycling
> standards, etc.) is something to consider if the polar ice melts and floods
> San Francisco one day, thanks to CO2-accelerated warming.  A shorter-haul
> Boeing 737 flight burns about 200 pounds of fuel per passenger.  I can only
> imagine that a trans-continental flight, plus a trans-Atlantic leg to
> Berlin, is likely burning at least 400 pounds of fuel per passenger.  Return
> trip makes that 800 pounds of fuel.  I hope each of the San Francisco-based
> attendees feel comfortable that their burning of 800 pounds of jet fuel
> (about 114 gallons) in order to attend the conference in Berlin (a
> conference that, as far as I can tell, had zero "dial-in" conferencing
> options offered) was justified?
>
> I get the impression that there is a corporate culture afoot at the
> Wikimedia Foundation that stifles any attempts to optimize meetings and
> conferences in ways that might be more economical and environmentally
> friendly, with innovations such as Skype and video-teleconferencing.  My
> sense is that "interesting" and "exotic" places are chosen instead... San
> Francisco, the Netherlands, Berlin, Taipei, Alexandria (Egypt, not
> Virginia), Buenos Aires, etc.  I suspect it's part of the corporate culture
> to get the "backwater" taste of St. Petersburg (Florida, not Russia) out of
> everyone's mouth, to select all of these far-flung, non-English-speaking
> locales for a Board that consists mostly of North Americans who speak
> English, and who are funded mostly by U.S. dollars.


You are missing one essential point here: This meeting was designed as
to allow joint meetings between the chapters, the board and the WMF
staff, something you cannot simply imitate by using videoconferencing.
Everyone from a corporate environment will be able to tell you that
physical meetings are still more productive than the best
videoconferencing or dial-in conference there is. Furthermore, I do
not assume that any of the chapters has expensive video-conferencing
technology (does the WMF have?). If you take the distribution of
chapters into account, then Berlin suddenly becomes much more
reasonable, both in terms of length of travel (and thus CO2 emissions)
as well as cost for the individual participants, who mostly will not
have funds available compared to the WMF, so it is not that surprising
either that the WMF probably had higher travel expenses than this than
most of the (non-Asian) chapters.

Michael



--
Michael Bimmler
[hidden email]

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Re: Board statement regarding biographies of living people

Michael Peel-2
In reply to this post by thekohser
 From the Chapters point of view, Berlin is pretty much as central as  
you can get (restricting locations to those on the surface of the  
planet!). I don't know the distribution of developers, so can't  
comment about that. If you look at the board meeting alone, then yes,  
it would probably make much more sense to hold it elsewhere - but  
combine it with the other meetings, and Berlin is a very sensible  
place to hold it.

Voice and video conferencing have come a long way, but are not even  
close to meeting in person in terms of time-effectiveness or effect  
on relations, especially if the people involved haven't met each  
other before. Until meetings can be held in immersive 3D  
environments, I doubt things will improve (and even then, meeting  
over tea/beer can't happen, which is incredibly useful to get to know  
someone).

The locations that you list for board meetings all tally extremely  
well with places that other events have happened in - mostly  
Wikimanias - and I would assume that the dates are in very good  
agreement. It makes a huge amount of sense for board members to go to  
those events (whose location isn't determined by the board), and once  
they're all together why not hold a board meeting?

Note that within the academic world, far more exotic and far-flung  
places are chosen for conferences. In comparison, the WMF is  
incredibly restrained!

BTW, I trust that, since you are so in favour of being "green", you  
never go on holiday to foreign countries, and avoid making any  
unnecessary trips (be it long or short distance)?

Mike Peel

On 1 May 2009, at 18:06, Gregory Kohs wrote:

> The purpose of my question was to examine the carbon impact on our  
> global
> environment by holding this meeting in Berlin, which (by my  
> estimation) is
> quite a ways off from the point of "least cumulative distance" that  
> could
> have been achieved for at least the mandatory attendees.  All of that
> additional jet fuel and hotel consumption (laundered sheets, poor  
> recycling
> standards, etc.) is something to consider if the polar ice melts  
> and floods
> San Francisco one day, thanks to CO2-accelerated warming.  A  
> shorter-haul
> Boeing 737 flight burns about 200 pounds of fuel per passenger.  I  
> can only
> imagine that a trans-continental flight, plus a trans-Atlantic leg to
> Berlin, is likely burning at least 400 pounds of fuel per  
> passenger.  Return
> trip makes that 800 pounds of fuel.  I hope each of the San  
> Francisco-based
> attendees feel comfortable that their burning of 800 pounds of jet  
> fuel
> (about 114 gallons) in order to attend the conference in Berlin (a
> conference that, as far as I can tell, had zero "dial-in" conferencing
> options offered) was justified?
>
> I get the impression that there is a corporate culture afoot at the
> Wikimedia Foundation that stifles any attempts to optimize meetings  
> and
> conferences in ways that might be more economical and environmentally
> friendly, with innovations such as Skype and video-
> teleconferencing.  My
> sense is that "interesting" and "exotic" places are chosen  
> instead... San
> Francisco, the Netherlands, Berlin, Taipei, Alexandria (Egypt, not
> Virginia), Buenos Aires, etc.  I suspect it's part of the corporate  
> culture
> to get the "backwater" taste of St. Petersburg (Florida, not  
> Russia) out of
> everyone's mouth, to select all of these far-flung, non-English-
> speaking
> locales for a Board that consists mostly of North Americans who speak
> English, and who are funded mostly by U.S. dollars.
>
> I know that regarding a recent trade conference that was only 124  
> miles from
> our headquarters, my Fortune 100 employer sent down an edict that  
> only one
> of the 3 people from our team of 14 personnel who were interested  
> in going,
> could actually attend.  Certainly, this was more of an economic  
> decision
> than a "green" decision, but frankly, the two are often hand-in-hand
> outcomes.  Is the Wikimedia Foundation very "green" in its governance
> practices?  I know that Wikia, Inc. touts its dedication to  
> "Green", but
> what about the WMF?
>
> Here's a 100-gallon aquarium:
> *http://tinyurl.com/100-gallon-tank*
>
> Imagine it full of jet fuel, then setting a match to it, sucking  
> oxygen out
> of the air, and replacing it with carbon-laden molecules.  That's  
> what each
> of the North American board members did to enable travel to Berlin  
> to hold
> their meeting which seems to have exhausted most of the attendees.
>
> --
> Gregory Kohs
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l


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Re: Board statement regarding biographies of living people

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by thekohser
2009/5/1 Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]>:
> The purpose of my question was to examine the carbon impact on our global
> environment by holding this meeting in Berlin, which (by my estimation) is
> quite a ways off from the point of "least cumulative distance" that could
> have been achieved for at least the mandatory attendees.

What is that estimation based on? Europe is pretty central when it
comes to the distribution of people on the planet, and we had
representatives from all over the world.

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Re: Board statement regarding biographies of living people

Nikola Smolenski
In reply to this post by thekohser
Дана Friday 01 May 2009 19:06:55 Gregory Kohs написа:
> additional jet fuel and hotel consumption (laundered sheets, poor recycling
> standards, etc.) is something to consider if the polar ice melts and floods

Laundered sheets at least don't add any polution, because people would have to
launder their sheets at home too.

> friendly, with innovations such as Skype and video-teleconferencing.  My
> sense is that "interesting" and "exotic" places are chosen instead... San
> Francisco, the Netherlands, Berlin, Taipei, Alexandria (Egypt, not
> Virginia), Buenos Aires, etc.  I suspect it's part of the corporate culture
> to get the "backwater" taste of St. Petersburg (Florida, not Russia) out of
> everyone's mouth, to select all of these far-flung, non-English-speaking
> locales for a Board that consists mostly of North Americans who speak
> English, and who are funded mostly by U.S. dollars.

These locations are chosen mostly in order to increase interest in
Wiki[mp]edia around the world.

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Re: Board statement regarding biographies of living people

Anthony-73
On Fri, May 1, 2009 at 5:44 PM, Nikola Smolenski <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Дана Friday 01 May 2009 19:06:55 Gregory Kohs написа:
> > additional jet fuel and hotel consumption (laundered sheets, poor
> recycling
> > standards, etc.) is something to consider if the polar ice melts and
> floods
>
> Laundered sheets at least don't add any polution, because people would have
> to
> launder their sheets at home too.


I quote George Costanza when I say "not every day!"
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Re: Board statement regarding biographies of living people

Nikola Smolenski
Дана Saturday 02 May 2009 02:58:05 Anthony написа:

> On Fri, May 1, 2009 at 5:44 PM, Nikola Smolenski <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Дана Friday 01 May 2009 19:06:55 Gregory Kohs написа:
> > > additional jet fuel and hotel consumption (laundered sheets, poor
> >
> > recycling
> >
> > > standards, etc.) is something to consider if the polar ice melts and
> >
> > floods
> >
> > Laundered sheets at least don't add any polution, because people would
> > have to
> > launder their sheets at home too.
>
> I quote George Costanza when I say "not every day!"

Apartmenthaus am Potsdamer Platz did not change sheets during our stay.

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Re: Board statement regarding biographies of living people

Chad
2009/5/2 Nikola Smolenski <[hidden email]>:

> Дана Saturday 02 May 2009 02:58:05 Anthony написа:
>> On Fri, May 1, 2009 at 5:44 PM, Nikola Smolenski <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> > Дана Friday 01 May 2009 19:06:55 Gregory Kohs написа:
>> > > additional jet fuel and hotel consumption (laundered sheets, poor
>> >
>> > recycling
>> >
>> > > standards, etc.) is something to consider if the polar ice melts and
>> >
>> > floods
>> >
>> > Laundered sheets at least don't add any polution, because people would
>> > have to
>> > launder their sheets at home too.
>>
>> I quote George Costanza when I say "not every day!"
>
> Apartmenthaus am Potsdamer Platz did not change sheets during our stay.
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>

Dear lord, are we really debating on whether or not sheet changing
really makes a difference in a conference? By that logic, we should
never attend conferences anywhere and always stay in our hometowns
and attend remotely. Most asinine thread on foundation-l in quite a long
time, IMHO.

-Chad

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Green stuff.

Domas Mituzas
In reply to this post by thekohser
Hi!

> The purpose of my question was to examine the carbon impact on our  
> global
> environment by holding this meeting in Berlin

Ha! Dude, you're coming to organization that runs 100kW datacenter  
(when other sites of similar popularity go for 10-100MW facilities),  
and talking about carbon footprint? Haha!
I'll skip most of the nonsense about sheets (hotels don't actually  
change them daily nowadays, they are eco-friendly and suggest you put  
a card asking for sheet change.. ;-) and other stuff.

> I suspect it's part of the corporate culture
> to get the "backwater" taste of St. Petersburg (Florida, not Russia)  
> out of
> everyone's mouth, to select all of these far-flung, non-English-
> speaking
> locales for a Board that consists mostly of North Americans who speak
> English, and who are funded mostly by U.S. dollars.

Have you ever been outside US? With statements like this you end up  
just bringing up shame upon your nationals.
English traffic is only half for us (and it includes overseas access  
too), so even if we'd be funded entirely by US, we'd have commitment  
to reach out to multiple parts of our world.

> than a "green" decision, but frankly, the two are often hand-in-hand
> outcomes.

"green" is marketing cover/buzzword for downsizing the business. I  
also work for fortune-something company and have seen various  
limitations on various travel because of economy - and even if we have  
whole VP dedicated to green and ecology, nobody tried the silly excuse  
that not doing the work and not doing the outreach is "better for  
environment". Organizations have their priorities and work to do.

>  Is the Wikimedia Foundation very "green" in its governance
> practices?  I know that Wikia, Inc. touts its dedication to "Green",  
> but
> what about the WMF?

Well, we have compacted our computational tasks into very tiny  
datacenters, and yeah, we can slap "green" on top of that, simply  
because thats what we could afford being ran on donations - yay green.
WMF staff takes public transit or walks to the work (and they can!) -  
yay green.

And, oh well, if we compare, we have millions of users who don't need  
paper encyclopedias, we have hundreds of thousands of contributors,  
who don't come to meetings, etc.

> Here's a 100-gallon aquarium:
> *http://tinyurl.com/100-gallon-tank*
>
> Imagine it full of jet fuel, then setting a match to it, sucking  
> oxygen out
> of the air, and replacing it with carbon-laden molecules.  That's  
> what each
> of the North American board members did to enable travel to Berlin  
> to hold
> their meeting which seems to have exhausted most of the attendees.


we're full of funny examples, aren't we?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rio_Madre_de_Dios,_Peru.JPG

This is tropical rainforest, it produces oxygen. What people without  
knowledge do - they light a match and burn it, in one way or another.  
Burning consumes oxygen too, no forest - no oxygen production as well.

And I have no idea why you put here 'exhausted' in a negative context.  
It was few very high bandwidth and very useful/productive days. I'm  
happy to be exhausted in that way :)

Anyway, in our business - facilitating the knowledge exchange - we're  
extremely efficient. Yes, we have to go to meetings, because they  
provide high bandwidth communication channels.
Yes, we have to fly somewhere, and you seem not to get that it was  
extremely efficient to fly _that_ group of people to Europe.
Yes, we have to use airlines, and if you want to talk about jet fuel  
efficiency, you should talk to airlines, they can stare at your tank  
images and contemplate about "oh, Gregory Kohs is attacking our  
practices, we should do something".

Though, as much as you don't realize what we're doing, you probably  
won't realize too much of anything else, so... why bother.
Go, better travel a bit outside US, then you'll either get some more  
reason yourself, or someone else will put that into you.
Blind bigotry isn't welcome anywhere.

--
Domas Mituzas -- http://dammit.lt/ -- [[user:midom]]

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