Money, politics and corruption

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Money, politics and corruption

Milos Rancic-2
Besides having a great time on Wikimania, I've heard a number of
complains which put a shadow on a really great event. At some point of
time I was even a bit depressed.

I was thinking a lot about should I raise this issue or not; and if
yes, then how. After the first issue I thought not to talk about it at
all. After the second, I thought that it is better not to talk. After
the third, I thought that I should contact some people privately.
After the fourth I've realized that I should talk about it publicly.
Then a couple of more issues came which convinced me that I have to
talk about that publicly. We are open community and serious issues,
those which affect many people, should be discussed publicly.

I will talk without mentioning names, but I will try to be precise
enough. In other words, I don't want to talk about people and
organizations, but about problems. Taking care about problems is much
more important than making witch hunts.

It also should be noted that all of those problems are "natural" and I
don't see that any of them is able to hurt Wikimedia movement, if we
put it under control. It also should be noted that there are many
successful corrupted organizations, like FIFA and OIC are. However, I
hope that we won't go that way.

I've heard about two serious corruption issues among chapters. And as
I am living in a deeply corrupted country, I am personally very upset
with this. However, those two cases are too obvious not to be
recognized and fixing is in ongoing phase. However, I am very deeply
concerned about what is going with the rest of 20+ chapters. And what
will happen with them when they are able to become corrupted. We need
an audit system for checking how things are going on in all chapters.
In this case I am much more concerned about chapters than about WMF,
but it would be good to have a common international body which would
audit all of the important issues among chapters and WMF.

What I am able to realize a couple of months earlier, everybody are
able to realize when those things become public. I've already
mentioned privately that I am deeply concerned with the connection
with US business interests and present WMF strategy (not to be
confused with whole Strategic Planning, but partially yes). It is now
a public issue, although my concern has been seen by very limited
number of people. And I am quite sure that it was not about spreading
my concern via informal channels, but about recognizing the problem by
a number of Wikimedians separately. I hope that Strategy Planning will
fix those problems -- if properly implemented.

There is a split between those who are coming from rich and poor
countries. Wikimania social networking was about various groups. I am
lucky that I am connected well and that I know where should I ask and
what should I ask. However, there are Wikimedians who are not well
connected and who don't know where to ask and what to ask. I am also
from a country similar to Poland and I had a feeling like I am just in
a little bit weird city of my own country. But, many Wikimedians came
from very different parts of the world, as well as they were not able
to buy their confidence. If we want to be a global movement, we have
to think about them. It is not just about Wikimanias, it is about
every social interaction in which Wikimedia is involved. Thus, I fully
support Wikimedia Israel initiative for helping spreading Wikimedia
projects into developing world. And if organizations from Israel are
not welcomed everywhere, there are many other Wikimedia chapter which
could help.

Wikimedia is now a global movement and global culture. It is not
anymore a site with cool content, but an organization and movement
with worldwide impact. *All* decisions of WMF, chapters and their
bodies are now political decisions in the international sense. So,
*before* making *any* decision, please consider political impact of
your decision. If you need help, you can ask various Wikimedians or
hire a professional in international relations.

WMF and chapters have enough money now to be attracted by careerists.
Persons who try to put themselves as "mid-players", between Wikimedia
organizations and people and organizations who are working with WM
organizations. WMF and chapters should be explicit in noting to
everybody that such behavior is not acceptable and to Wikimedians that
they are safe of it.

Closely connected with the previous previous is the fact that many
Wikimedians feel that they are alienated from Wikimedia leadership
(not just WMF and staff, but more about some amorphous mass of
influential Wikimedians). There was an incident in Dormitory 6 because
of misunderstanding between organizers and dormitory management. I
would say that it shouldn't be a big deal, as such problems can happen
everywhere. What was not usual is the reaction of the part of
Wikimedians who were there. Some of them were cool and just somewhat
frustrated because of this. However, the reaction and feeling of the
other part was "We shouldn't call them [WMF and organizers]. They will
not help us. They don't care for us. They have fun in the city,
although we have problems here."

This feeling is irrational in the particular case. Organizers took
care about them, of course. However, I didn't hear this from a couple
of well connected Wikimedians who were there. I didn't hear it from
Europeans and inhabitants of other OECD countries. I've heard this
from not so rich Wikimedians who were far away from home; from those
who felt insecure in a distant country and who feel a gap between
those with money (and/or connections) and them.

This list is consisted of our first serious real-world problems. Yes,
I know that we used to be virtual, online, onwiki. I know that those
problems are new for us. But if we want to stay as a global movement,
we have to fix them. Otherwise, we'll be just another attempt for
creating a decadent society which main purpose is to make fun for rich
and wannabe rich. And, by the way, to explain to poor how rich world
looks like.

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Re: Money, politics and corruption

Nathan Awrich
On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 6:30 PM, Milos Rancic <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Besides having a great time on Wikimania, I've heard a number of
> complains which put a shadow on a really great event. At some point of
> time I was even a bit depressed.
>
> I was thinking a lot about should I raise this issue or not; and if
> yes, then how. After the first issue I thought not to talk about it at
> all. After the second, I thought that it is better not to talk. After
> the third, I thought that I should contact some people privately.
> After the fourth I've realized that I should talk about it publicly.
> Then a couple of more issues came which convinced me that I have to
> talk about that publicly. We are open community and serious issues,
> those which affect many people, should be discussed publicly.
>
> I will talk without mentioning names, but I will try to be precise
> enough. In other words, I don't want to talk about people and
> organizations, but about problems. Taking care about problems is much
> more important than making witch hunts.
>
> It also should be noted that all of those problems are "natural" and I
> don't see that any of them is able to hurt Wikimedia movement, if we
> put it under control. It also should be noted that there are many
> successful corrupted organizations, like FIFA and OIC are. However, I
> hope that we won't go that way.
>
> I've heard about two serious corruption issues among chapters. And as
> I am living in a deeply corrupted country, I am personally very upset
> with this. However, those two cases are too obvious not to be
> recognized and fixing is in ongoing phase. However, I am very deeply
> concerned about what is going with the rest of 20+ chapters. And what
> will happen with them when they are able to become corrupted. We need
> an audit system for checking how things are going on in all chapters.
> In this case I am much more concerned about chapters than about WMF,
> but it would be good to have a common international body which would
> audit all of the important issues among chapters and WMF.
>
> What I am able to realize a couple of months earlier, everybody are
> able to realize when those things become public. I've already
> mentioned privately that I am deeply concerned with the connection
> with US business interests and present WMF strategy (not to be
> confused with whole Strategic Planning, but partially yes). It is now
> a public issue, although my concern has been seen by very limited
> number of people. And I am quite sure that it was not about spreading
> my concern via informal channels, but about recognizing the problem by
> a number of Wikimedians separately. I hope that Strategy Planning will
> fix those problems -- if properly implemented.
>
> There is a split between those who are coming from rich and poor
> countries. Wikimania social networking was about various groups. I am
> lucky that I am connected well and that I know where should I ask and
> what should I ask. However, there are Wikimedians who are not well
> connected and who don't know where to ask and what to ask. I am also
> from a country similar to Poland and I had a feeling like I am just in
> a little bit weird city of my own country. But, many Wikimedians came
> from very different parts of the world, as well as they were not able
> to buy their confidence. If we want to be a global movement, we have
> to think about them. It is not just about Wikimanias, it is about
> every social interaction in which Wikimedia is involved. Thus, I fully
> support Wikimedia Israel initiative for helping spreading Wikimedia
> projects into developing world. And if organizations from Israel are
> not welcomed everywhere, there are many other Wikimedia chapter which
> could help.
>
> Wikimedia is now a global movement and global culture. It is not
> anymore a site with cool content, but an organization and movement
> with worldwide impact. *All* decisions of WMF, chapters and their
> bodies are now political decisions in the international sense. So,
> *before* making *any* decision, please consider political impact of
> your decision. If you need help, you can ask various Wikimedians or
> hire a professional in international relations.
>
> WMF and chapters have enough money now to be attracted by careerists.
> Persons who try to put themselves as "mid-players", between Wikimedia
> organizations and people and organizations who are working with WM
> organizations. WMF and chapters should be explicit in noting to
> everybody that such behavior is not acceptable and to Wikimedians that
> they are safe of it.
>
> Closely connected with the previous previous is the fact that many
> Wikimedians feel that they are alienated from Wikimedia leadership
> (not just WMF and staff, but more about some amorphous mass of
> influential Wikimedians). There was an incident in Dormitory 6 because
> of misunderstanding between organizers and dormitory management. I
> would say that it shouldn't be a big deal, as such problems can happen
> everywhere. What was not usual is the reaction of the part of
> Wikimedians who were there. Some of them were cool and just somewhat
> frustrated because of this. However, the reaction and feeling of the
> other part was "We shouldn't call them [WMF and organizers]. They will
> not help us. They don't care for us. They have fun in the city,
> although we have problems here."
>
> This feeling is irrational in the particular case. Organizers took
> care about them, of course. However, I didn't hear this from a couple
> of well connected Wikimedians who were there. I didn't hear it from
> Europeans and inhabitants of other OECD countries. I've heard this
> from not so rich Wikimedians who were far away from home; from those
> who felt insecure in a distant country and who feel a gap between
> those with money (and/or connections) and them.
>
> This list is consisted of our first serious real-world problems. Yes,
> I know that we used to be virtual, online, onwiki. I know that those
> problems are new for us. But if we want to stay as a global movement,
> we have to fix them. Otherwise, we'll be just another attempt for
> creating a decadent society which main purpose is to make fun for rich
> and wannabe rich. And, by the way, to explain to poor how rich world
> looks like.


With any group of people there is always the difficulty of bridging
the "in group" and everyone else. It's worth pointing out that to many
people, the ability to go to Wikimania is one of the characteristics
that separates the "in group" from the rest of us. It's interesting
that even among attendees, you noticed a divide.

One thing that perpetuates such divisions is withholding of somehow
privileged information (i.e. choosing that something widely known
among a certain group of people should stay "private" from those not
already in the know). As an example I'll mention two of the problems
you listed: firstly, the concerns about the WMF and its connection to
US business interests, and secondly the notion of confirmed corruption
within Wikimedia chapters. Perhaps these are common knowledge among
subscribers to internal-l, but I don't miss many threads on this list
and I haven't seen either issue mentioned as a significant problem.
For me what you've written are facts of first impression, and you
didn't include much specific information that would allow me to grasp
their real importance.

Nathan

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Re: Money, politics and corruption

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by Milos Rancic-2
Hoi,
Our community is not perfect. That is good. There are people who spend an
inordinate amount of time on Wiki related subjects; I am one of them. There
are people who go to Wikimania, I have been to all of them. There are people
with a large amount of influence; when you heared Jimmy speak I am one of
them. I am not perfect.

There are many people with loads of influence and as I have been there from
quite early it was relatively easy for me to cut out a niche. I am not on
influential-l or secret-l or cabal-l.

Like yourself I have heard of incompetence, money grabbing, power plays. I
have seen some. However for me it does not matter.  Many of these people
have their own agenda and if it the time of the items of such an agenda are
in the here and now, they shape our world. Many of the items of my agenda
are in the agenda and I could not be more happy about that. I also know that
it upsets others.

The problem with behaviour that is not good / acceptable is that at some
stage it will be recognised and it will kill off the people in a similar way
as to Essjay. The best indication that such things can happen is the upset
of our capable, competent and upright former chair. I was convinced that he
would be re-elected and I would have welcomed his re-election.

When there is substance to "officials" with problematic credentials, it is
certain that this will be noticed. When the system gets manipulated to keep
them where they are, it will get noticed. When they are chapter officials
and they damage the chapter it will be the members of the Foundation that
have the possibility to force the issue.

From my perspective, I hate it when there are half formulated accusations. I
am sure that I will work well with Milos in our little committee and like
pinky and the brain, we will conquer the world. <grin> we even have a
mandate to do so in our strategy plan </grin>
Thanks,
       GerardM

On 14 July 2010 00:30, Milos Rancic <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Besides having a great time on Wikimania, I've heard a number of
> complains which put a shadow on a really great event. At some point of
> time I was even a bit depressed.
>
> I was thinking a lot about should I raise this issue or not; and if
> yes, then how. After the first issue I thought not to talk about it at
> all. After the second, I thought that it is better not to talk. After
> the third, I thought that I should contact some people privately.
> After the fourth I've realized that I should talk about it publicly.
> Then a couple of more issues came which convinced me that I have to
> talk about that publicly. We are open community and serious issues,
> those which affect many people, should be discussed publicly.
>
> I will talk without mentioning names, but I will try to be precise
> enough. In other words, I don't want to talk about people and
> organizations, but about problems. Taking care about problems is much
> more important than making witch hunts.
>
> It also should be noted that all of those problems are "natural" and I
> don't see that any of them is able to hurt Wikimedia movement, if we
> put it under control. It also should be noted that there are many
> successful corrupted organizations, like FIFA and OIC are. However, I
> hope that we won't go that way.
>
> I've heard about two serious corruption issues among chapters. And as
> I am living in a deeply corrupted country, I am personally very upset
> with this. However, those two cases are too obvious not to be
> recognized and fixing is in ongoing phase. However, I am very deeply
> concerned about what is going with the rest of 20+ chapters. And what
> will happen with them when they are able to become corrupted. We need
> an audit system for checking how things are going on in all chapters.
> In this case I am much more concerned about chapters than about WMF,
> but it would be good to have a common international body which would
> audit all of the important issues among chapters and WMF.
>
> What I am able to realize a couple of months earlier, everybody are
> able to realize when those things become public. I've already
> mentioned privately that I am deeply concerned with the connection
> with US business interests and present WMF strategy (not to be
> confused with whole Strategic Planning, but partially yes). It is now
> a public issue, although my concern has been seen by very limited
> number of people. And I am quite sure that it was not about spreading
> my concern via informal channels, but about recognizing the problem by
> a number of Wikimedians separately. I hope that Strategy Planning will
> fix those problems -- if properly implemented.
>
> There is a split between those who are coming from rich and poor
> countries. Wikimania social networking was about various groups. I am
> lucky that I am connected well and that I know where should I ask and
> what should I ask. However, there are Wikimedians who are not well
> connected and who don't know where to ask and what to ask. I am also
> from a country similar to Poland and I had a feeling like I am just in
> a little bit weird city of my own country. But, many Wikimedians came
> from very different parts of the world, as well as they were not able
> to buy their confidence. If we want to be a global movement, we have
> to think about them. It is not just about Wikimanias, it is about
> every social interaction in which Wikimedia is involved. Thus, I fully
> support Wikimedia Israel initiative for helping spreading Wikimedia
> projects into developing world. And if organizations from Israel are
> not welcomed everywhere, there are many other Wikimedia chapter which
> could help.
>
> Wikimedia is now a global movement and global culture. It is not
> anymore a site with cool content, but an organization and movement
> with worldwide impact. *All* decisions of WMF, chapters and their
> bodies are now political decisions in the international sense. So,
> *before* making *any* decision, please consider political impact of
> your decision. If you need help, you can ask various Wikimedians or
> hire a professional in international relations.
>
> WMF and chapters have enough money now to be attracted by careerists.
> Persons who try to put themselves as "mid-players", between Wikimedia
> organizations and people and organizations who are working with WM
> organizations. WMF and chapters should be explicit in noting to
> everybody that such behavior is not acceptable and to Wikimedians that
> they are safe of it.
>
> Closely connected with the previous previous is the fact that many
> Wikimedians feel that they are alienated from Wikimedia leadership
> (not just WMF and staff, but more about some amorphous mass of
> influential Wikimedians). There was an incident in Dormitory 6 because
> of misunderstanding between organizers and dormitory management. I
> would say that it shouldn't be a big deal, as such problems can happen
> everywhere. What was not usual is the reaction of the part of
> Wikimedians who were there. Some of them were cool and just somewhat
> frustrated because of this. However, the reaction and feeling of the
> other part was "We shouldn't call them [WMF and organizers]. They will
> not help us. They don't care for us. They have fun in the city,
> although we have problems here."
>
> This feeling is irrational in the particular case. Organizers took
> care about them, of course. However, I didn't hear this from a couple
> of well connected Wikimedians who were there. I didn't hear it from
> Europeans and inhabitants of other OECD countries. I've heard this
> from not so rich Wikimedians who were far away from home; from those
> who felt insecure in a distant country and who feel a gap between
> those with money (and/or connections) and them.
>
> This list is consisted of our first serious real-world problems. Yes,
> I know that we used to be virtual, online, onwiki. I know that those
> problems are new for us. But if we want to stay as a global movement,
> we have to fix them. Otherwise, we'll be just another attempt for
> creating a decadent society which main purpose is to make fun for rich
> and wannabe rich. And, by the way, to explain to poor how rich world
> looks like.
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: Money, politics and corruption

oliver keyes-2

The problem with general accusations that hit nobody in particular is that it's rather hard to follow up on them. I'm sure there is probably at least one corrupt or biased employee of the foundation or chapter somewhere in the world - it's a human weakness. Nothing can really be done about it unless, as gerard says, it hits the fan.

> From: [hidden email]
> Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2010 09:28:33 +0200
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Money, politics and corruption
>
> Hoi,
> Our community is not perfect. That is good. There are people who spend an
> inordinate amount of time on Wiki related subjects; I am one of them. There
> are people who go to Wikimania, I have been to all of them. There are people
> with a large amount of influence; when you heared Jimmy speak I am one of
> them. I am not perfect.
>
> There are many people with loads of influence and as I have been there from
> quite early it was relatively easy for me to cut out a niche. I am not on
> influential-l or secret-l or cabal-l.
>
> Like yourself I have heard of incompetence, money grabbing, power plays. I
> have seen some. However for me it does not matter.  Many of these people
> have their own agenda and if it the time of the items of such an agenda are
> in the here and now, they shape our world. Many of the items of my agenda
> are in the agenda and I could not be more happy about that. I also know that
> it upsets others.
>
> The problem with behaviour that is not good / acceptable is that at some
> stage it will be recognised and it will kill off the people in a similar way
> as to Essjay. The best indication that such things can happen is the upset
> of our capable, competent and upright former chair. I was convinced that he
> would be re-elected and I would have welcomed his re-election.
>
> When there is substance to "officials" with problematic credentials, it is
> certain that this will be noticed. When the system gets manipulated to keep
> them where they are, it will get noticed. When they are chapter officials
> and they damage the chapter it will be the members of the Foundation that
> have the possibility to force the issue.
>
> From my perspective, I hate it when there are half formulated accusations. I
> am sure that I will work well with Milos in our little committee and like
> pinky and the brain, we will conquer the world. <grin> we even have a
> mandate to do so in our strategy plan </grin>
> Thanks,
>        GerardM
>
> On 14 July 2010 00:30, Milos Rancic <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Besides having a great time on Wikimania, I've heard a number of
> > complains which put a shadow on a really great event. At some point of
> > time I was even a bit depressed.
> >
> > I was thinking a lot about should I raise this issue or not; and if
> > yes, then how. After the first issue I thought not to talk about it at
> > all. After the second, I thought that it is better not to talk. After
> > the third, I thought that I should contact some people privately.
> > After the fourth I've realized that I should talk about it publicly.
> > Then a couple of more issues came which convinced me that I have to
> > talk about that publicly. We are open community and serious issues,
> > those which affect many people, should be discussed publicly.
> >
> > I will talk without mentioning names, but I will try to be precise
> > enough. In other words, I don't want to talk about people and
> > organizations, but about problems. Taking care about problems is much
> > more important than making witch hunts.
> >
> > It also should be noted that all of those problems are "natural" and I
> > don't see that any of them is able to hurt Wikimedia movement, if we
> > put it under control. It also should be noted that there are many
> > successful corrupted organizations, like FIFA and OIC are. However, I
> > hope that we won't go that way.
> >
> > I've heard about two serious corruption issues among chapters. And as
> > I am living in a deeply corrupted country, I am personally very upset
> > with this. However, those two cases are too obvious not to be
> > recognized and fixing is in ongoing phase. However, I am very deeply
> > concerned about what is going with the rest of 20+ chapters. And what
> > will happen with them when they are able to become corrupted. We need
> > an audit system for checking how things are going on in all chapters.
> > In this case I am much more concerned about chapters than about WMF,
> > but it would be good to have a common international body which would
> > audit all of the important issues among chapters and WMF.
> >
> > What I am able to realize a couple of months earlier, everybody are
> > able to realize when those things become public. I've already
> > mentioned privately that I am deeply concerned with the connection
> > with US business interests and present WMF strategy (not to be
> > confused with whole Strategic Planning, but partially yes). It is now
> > a public issue, although my concern has been seen by very limited
> > number of people. And I am quite sure that it was not about spreading
> > my concern via informal channels, but about recognizing the problem by
> > a number of Wikimedians separately. I hope that Strategy Planning will
> > fix those problems -- if properly implemented.
> >
> > There is a split between those who are coming from rich and poor
> > countries. Wikimania social networking was about various groups. I am
> > lucky that I am connected well and that I know where should I ask and
> > what should I ask. However, there are Wikimedians who are not well
> > connected and who don't know where to ask and what to ask. I am also
> > from a country similar to Poland and I had a feeling like I am just in
> > a little bit weird city of my own country. But, many Wikimedians came
> > from very different parts of the world, as well as they were not able
> > to buy their confidence. If we want to be a global movement, we have
> > to think about them. It is not just about Wikimanias, it is about
> > every social interaction in which Wikimedia is involved. Thus, I fully
> > support Wikimedia Israel initiative for helping spreading Wikimedia
> > projects into developing world. And if organizations from Israel are
> > not welcomed everywhere, there are many other Wikimedia chapter which
> > could help.
> >
> > Wikimedia is now a global movement and global culture. It is not
> > anymore a site with cool content, but an organization and movement
> > with worldwide impact. *All* decisions of WMF, chapters and their
> > bodies are now political decisions in the international sense. So,
> > *before* making *any* decision, please consider political impact of
> > your decision. If you need help, you can ask various Wikimedians or
> > hire a professional in international relations.
> >
> > WMF and chapters have enough money now to be attracted by careerists.
> > Persons who try to put themselves as "mid-players", between Wikimedia
> > organizations and people and organizations who are working with WM
> > organizations. WMF and chapters should be explicit in noting to
> > everybody that such behavior is not acceptable and to Wikimedians that
> > they are safe of it.
> >
> > Closely connected with the previous previous is the fact that many
> > Wikimedians feel that they are alienated from Wikimedia leadership
> > (not just WMF and staff, but more about some amorphous mass of
> > influential Wikimedians). There was an incident in Dormitory 6 because
> > of misunderstanding between organizers and dormitory management. I
> > would say that it shouldn't be a big deal, as such problems can happen
> > everywhere. What was not usual is the reaction of the part of
> > Wikimedians who were there. Some of them were cool and just somewhat
> > frustrated because of this. However, the reaction and feeling of the
> > other part was "We shouldn't call them [WMF and organizers]. They will
> > not help us. They don't care for us. They have fun in the city,
> > although we have problems here."
> >
> > This feeling is irrational in the particular case. Organizers took
> > care about them, of course. However, I didn't hear this from a couple
> > of well connected Wikimedians who were there. I didn't hear it from
> > Europeans and inhabitants of other OECD countries. I've heard this
> > from not so rich Wikimedians who were far away from home; from those
> > who felt insecure in a distant country and who feel a gap between
> > those with money (and/or connections) and them.
> >
> > This list is consisted of our first serious real-world problems. Yes,
> > I know that we used to be virtual, online, onwiki. I know that those
> > problems are new for us. But if we want to stay as a global movement,
> > we have to fix them. Otherwise, we'll be just another attempt for
> > creating a decadent society which main purpose is to make fun for rich
> > and wannabe rich. And, by the way, to explain to poor how rich world
> > looks like.
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > foundation-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
> >
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
     
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Re: Money, politics and corruption

Pronoein
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Corruption is a deep concern because it's a transformative and invasive
force/process. It's not just a stain, it's rather like an oil spill:
growing bigger, with consequences on every level. The more a community
let the corruption in, the more the community is out of its own business.
I understand the worries of Milos, though I have no clue about the
specifics. In its current allusive form, only a few in-the-know can
understand the alarm signal of Milos and judge if the danger is real. I
hope they will have a deep thought about it.

Enucleation, parasiting and phagocyting are known processes in the
biological world. The same happens with institutions, ideas and social
processes. Except that because we are part of those processes, we
usually realize what is happening to us once it is too late.

I don't think that the wikimedian community is so special that
corruption won't occur, therefore justifying a lack of worry or effort
against it.
I don't think that corruption is unavoidable either.


Mankind has never before been able to communicate and think massively
about its common problems. We're living a new era.
No solution is out of reach until someone tries to find if it is. No
human had the opportunity before to share with 1 000 000 of his/her
peers so we don't know anymore what we cannot do about *any* problem.

If auditing is found to be a good solution, then maybe we can obtain
help from the side of AVINA[1], an latino-american organization,
originally founded in 1994 by Stephan Schmidheiny[2], that has
experience and knowledge about trust, self-evaluation and corruption.
They also have an impressive list of hundreds of independent of
organizations capable of auditing.



[1]:
http://www.avina.net/web/siteavina.nsf/page?openform&Sistema=1&idioma=eng
[2]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephan_Schmidheiny



On 14/07/2010 14:06, oliver keyes wrote:

>
> The problem with general accusations that hit nobody in particular is that it's rather hard to follow up on them. I'm sure there is probably at least one corrupt or biased employee of the foundation or chapter somewhere in the world - it's a human weakness. Nothing can really be done about it unless, as gerard says, it hits the fan.
>
>> From: [hidden email]
>> Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2010 09:28:33 +0200
>> To: [hidden email]
>> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Money, politics and corruption
>>
>> Hoi,
>> Our community is not perfect. That is good. There are people who spend an
>> inordinate amount of time on Wiki related subjects; I am one of them. There
>> are people who go to Wikimania, I have been to all of them. There are people
>> with a large amount of influence; when you heared Jimmy speak I am one of
>> them. I am not perfect.
>>
>> There are many people with loads of influence and as I have been there from
>> quite early it was relatively easy for me to cut out a niche. I am not on
>> influential-l or secret-l or cabal-l.
>>
>> Like yourself I have heard of incompetence, money grabbing, power plays. I
>> have seen some. However for me it does not matter.  Many of these people
>> have their own agenda and if it the time of the items of such an agenda are
>> in the here and now, they shape our world. Many of the items of my agenda
>> are in the agenda and I could not be more happy about that. I also know that
>> it upsets others.
>>
>> The problem with behaviour that is not good / acceptable is that at some
>> stage it will be recognised and it will kill off the people in a similar way
>> as to Essjay. The best indication that such things can happen is the upset
>> of our capable, competent and upright former chair. I was convinced that he
>> would be re-elected and I would have welcomed his re-election.
>>
>> When there is substance to "officials" with problematic credentials, it is
>> certain that this will be noticed. When the system gets manipulated to keep
>> them where they are, it will get noticed. When they are chapter officials
>> and they damage the chapter it will be the members of the Foundation that
>> have the possibility to force the issue.
>>
>> From my perspective, I hate it when there are half formulated accusations. I
>> am sure that I will work well with Milos in our little committee and like
>> pinky and the brain, we will conquer the world. <grin> we even have a
>> mandate to do so in our strategy plan </grin>
>> Thanks,
>>        GerardM
>>
>> On 14 July 2010 00:30, Milos Rancic <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>> Besides having a great time on Wikimania, I've heard a number of
>>> complains which put a shadow on a really great event. At some point of
>>> time I was even a bit depressed.
>>>
>>> I was thinking a lot about should I raise this issue or not; and if
>>> yes, then how. After the first issue I thought not to talk about it at
>>> all. After the second, I thought that it is better not to talk. After
>>> the third, I thought that I should contact some people privately.
>>> After the fourth I've realized that I should talk about it publicly.
>>> Then a couple of more issues came which convinced me that I have to
>>> talk about that publicly. We are open community and serious issues,
>>> those which affect many people, should be discussed publicly.
>>>
>>> I will talk without mentioning names, but I will try to be precise
>>> enough. In other words, I don't want to talk about people and
>>> organizations, but about problems. Taking care about problems is much
>>> more important than making witch hunts.
>>>
>>> It also should be noted that all of those problems are "natural" and I
>>> don't see that any of them is able to hurt Wikimedia movement, if we
>>> put it under control. It also should be noted that there are many
>>> successful corrupted organizations, like FIFA and OIC are. However, I
>>> hope that we won't go that way.
>>>
>>> I've heard about two serious corruption issues among chapters. And as
>>> I am living in a deeply corrupted country, I am personally very upset
>>> with this. However, those two cases are too obvious not to be
>>> recognized and fixing is in ongoing phase. However, I am very deeply
>>> concerned about what is going with the rest of 20+ chapters. And what
>>> will happen with them when they are able to become corrupted. We need
>>> an audit system for checking how things are going on in all chapters.
>>> In this case I am much more concerned about chapters than about WMF,
>>> but it would be good to have a common international body which would
>>> audit all of the important issues among chapters and WMF.
>>>
>>> What I am able to realize a couple of months earlier, everybody are
>>> able to realize when those things become public. I've already
>>> mentioned privately that I am deeply concerned with the connection
>>> with US business interests and present WMF strategy (not to be
>>> confused with whole Strategic Planning, but partially yes). It is now
>>> a public issue, although my concern has been seen by very limited
>>> number of people. And I am quite sure that it was not about spreading
>>> my concern via informal channels, but about recognizing the problem by
>>> a number of Wikimedians separately. I hope that Strategy Planning will
>>> fix those problems -- if properly implemented.
>>>
>>> There is a split between those who are coming from rich and poor
>>> countries. Wikimania social networking was about various groups. I am
>>> lucky that I am connected well and that I know where should I ask and
>>> what should I ask. However, there are Wikimedians who are not well
>>> connected and who don't know where to ask and what to ask. I am also
>>> from a country similar to Poland and I had a feeling like I am just in
>>> a little bit weird city of my own country. But, many Wikimedians came
>>> from very different parts of the world, as well as they were not able
>>> to buy their confidence. If we want to be a global movement, we have
>>> to think about them. It is not just about Wikimanias, it is about
>>> every social interaction in which Wikimedia is involved. Thus, I fully
>>> support Wikimedia Israel initiative for helping spreading Wikimedia
>>> projects into developing world. And if organizations from Israel are
>>> not welcomed everywhere, there are many other Wikimedia chapter which
>>> could help.
>>>
>>> Wikimedia is now a global movement and global culture. It is not
>>> anymore a site with cool content, but an organization and movement
>>> with worldwide impact. *All* decisions of WMF, chapters and their
>>> bodies are now political decisions in the international sense. So,
>>> *before* making *any* decision, please consider political impact of
>>> your decision. If you need help, you can ask various Wikimedians or
>>> hire a professional in international relations.
>>>
>>> WMF and chapters have enough money now to be attracted by careerists.
>>> Persons who try to put themselves as "mid-players", between Wikimedia
>>> organizations and people and organizations who are working with WM
>>> organizations. WMF and chapters should be explicit in noting to
>>> everybody that such behavior is not acceptable and to Wikimedians that
>>> they are safe of it.
>>>
>>> Closely connected with the previous previous is the fact that many
>>> Wikimedians feel that they are alienated from Wikimedia leadership
>>> (not just WMF and staff, but more about some amorphous mass of
>>> influential Wikimedians). There was an incident in Dormitory 6 because
>>> of misunderstanding between organizers and dormitory management. I
>>> would say that it shouldn't be a big deal, as such problems can happen
>>> everywhere. What was not usual is the reaction of the part of
>>> Wikimedians who were there. Some of them were cool and just somewhat
>>> frustrated because of this. However, the reaction and feeling of the
>>> other part was "We shouldn't call them [WMF and organizers]. They will
>>> not help us. They don't care for us. They have fun in the city,
>>> although we have problems here."
>>>
>>> This feeling is irrational in the particular case. Organizers took
>>> care about them, of course. However, I didn't hear this from a couple
>>> of well connected Wikimedians who were there. I didn't hear it from
>>> Europeans and inhabitants of other OECD countries. I've heard this
>>> from not so rich Wikimedians who were far away from home; from those
>>> who felt insecure in a distant country and who feel a gap between
>>> those with money (and/or connections) and them.
>>>
>>> This list is consisted of our first serious real-world problems. Yes,
>>> I know that we used to be virtual, online, onwiki. I know that those
>>> problems are new for us. But if we want to stay as a global movement,
>>> we have to fix them. Otherwise, we'll be just another attempt for
>>> creating a decadent society which main purpose is to make fun for rich
>>> and wannabe rich. And, by the way, to explain to poor how rich world
>>> looks like.
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> foundation-l mailing list
>>> [hidden email]
>>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>>>
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Re: Money, politics and corruption

oliver keyes-2

I did like the general principle of the original statement that there should be some formal interplay between the foundation and chapters. Where I come from, charitable organisations are required to send a yearly report (or two, if a charitable company). This contains financial information, auditing info, and suchlike. Would it be possible to (or is it already done) require that chapters also forward these reports to the foundation? I assume a similar regulatory process exists in most countries.
     
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Re: Money, politics and corruption

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Milos Rancic-2
On 13 July 2010 23:30, Milos Rancic <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I will talk without mentioning names, but I will try to be precise
> enough. In other words, I don't want to talk about people and
> organizations, but about problems. Taking care about problems is much
> more important than making witch hunts.

Unfortunately, we can't really talk about problems without
establishing whether there is a problem. Some vague comments about
some vague rumours of corruption in some unspecified chapters doesn't
really count as establishing that a problem exists. If you have
evidence of corruption within the Wikimedia movement, then you need to
present it. You can choose to present it to us or to the relevant
authorities, but you shouldn't just hint at it.

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Re: Money, politics and corruption

Milos Rancic-2
On Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 3:53 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 13 July 2010 23:30, Milos Rancic <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> I will talk without mentioning names, but I will try to be precise
>> enough. In other words, I don't want to talk about people and
>> organizations, but about problems. Taking care about problems is much
>> more important than making witch hunts.
>
> Unfortunately, we can't really talk about problems without
> establishing whether there is a problem. Some vague comments about
> some vague rumours of corruption in some unspecified chapters doesn't
> really count as establishing that a problem exists. If you have
> evidence of corruption within the Wikimedia movement, then you need to
> present it. You can choose to present it to us or to the relevant
> authorities, but you shouldn't just hint at it.

(This is the reply to all of you who complained about not mentioning names.)

First of all, I am not able to talk about people who complained me.
Second, if I become more precise about chapters, I would again expose
my informants. Third, I am not able to talk publicly about particular
chapters based on private talks because I don't have any document,
just words of a couple of persons to whom I trust.

At last, I've suggested reasonable measures for every mentioned
problem. For example, in the case of corruption, making a proper audit
process should help and it is fully uncontroversial measure.

It should be noted that I am not a member of any kind of audit body
which is able mark particular problems publicly. I've just got enough
information to feel responsible to expose them carefully in public,
with taking care not to hurt anyone.

I am also open for *private* discussion with all relevant people who
are able to fix those problems.

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Re: Money, politics and corruption

Milos Rancic-2
In reply to this post by Milos Rancic-2
Just to make clear about which problems are, because I didn't
structure text clearly. Problems are:

1. Corruption among two chapters.
2. US business interests influence WMF strategy.
3. Gap between those who are coming between poor and rich countries.
4. All decisions of WMF, chapters and their bodies are now a matter of
international politics.
5. Careerists around WMF and chapters.
6. Alienation.

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Re: Money, politics and corruption

Milos Rancic-2
In reply to this post by Nathan Awrich
On Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 3:50 AM, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:
> within Wikimedia chapters. Perhaps these are common knowledge among
> subscribers to internal-l, but I don't miss many threads on this list

Actually, not. Internal-l is just a non-public (which doesn't mean
that it is a private one) fork of foundation-l. It is often used
instead of foundation-l, as well as for information of tactical
importance which shouldn't be exposed publicly in a particular time
frame. And chapters list is a kind of bureaucratic place without many
interesting things to read there.

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Re: Money, politics and corruption

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Milos Rancic-2

 An audit of what exactly?  You mean a financial audit of monies passing through the hands of the WMF ?
That kind of audit?

Will

 

 


 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Milos Rancic <[hidden email]>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wed, Jul 14, 2010 7:13 am
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Money, politics and corruption


On Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 3:53 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 13 July 2010 23:30, Milos Rancic <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> I will talk without mentioning names, but I will try to be precise

>> enough. In other words, I don't want to talk about people and

>> organizations, but about problems. Taking care about problems is much

>> more important than making witch hunts.

>

> Unfortunately, we can't really talk about problems without

> establishing whether there is a problem. Some vague comments about

> some vague rumours of corruption in some unspecified chapters doesn't

> really count as establishing that a problem exists. If you have

> evidence of corruption within the Wikimedia movement, then you need to

> present it. You can choose to present it to us or to the relevant

> authorities, but you shouldn't just hint at it.



(This is the reply to all of you who complained about not mentioning names.)



First of all, I am not able to talk about people who complained me.

Second, if I become more precise about chapters, I would again expose

my informants. Third, I am not able to talk publicly about particular

chapters based on private talks because I don't have any document,

just words of a couple of persons to whom I trust.



At last, I've suggested reasonable measures for every mentioned

problem. For example, in the case of corruption, making a proper audit

process should help and it is fully uncontroversial measure.



It should be noted that I am not a member of any kind of audit body

which is able mark particular problems publicly. I've just got enough

information to feel responsible to expose them carefully in public,

with taking care not to hurt anyone.



I am also open for *private* discussion with all relevant people who

are able to fix those problems.



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Re: Money, politics and corruption

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Milos Rancic-2
On 14 July 2010 15:17, Milos Rancic <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Just to make clear about which problems are, because I didn't
> structure text clearly. Problems are:
>
> 1. Corruption among two chapters.
> 2. US business interests influence WMF strategy.
> 3. Gap between those who are coming between poor and rich countries.
> 4. All decisions of WMF, chapters and their bodies are now a matter of
> international politics.
> 5. Careerists around WMF and chapters.
> 6. Alienation.

I'm not convinced those problems exist, so I'm not convinced that the
costs (in terms of time, money, effort, etc.) of the solution you
propose are worth it. The first thing you need to do is establish that
the problem exists, which means presenting evidence. I understand your
desire not to reveal your sources, but that doesn't mean you can avoid
presenting evidence.

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Re: Money, politics and corruption

oliver keyes-2

You claim that the Foundation is tied in with US business interests. Heard of "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"? so far, I've seen none. If the two people you trust are inside say, the Foundation, surely they can do something about it? If not, how is this any more than third-party hearsay?
     
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Re: Money, politics and corruption

Milos Rancic-2
On Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 4:48 PM, oliver keyes
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> You claim that the Foundation is tied in with US business interests. Heard of "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"? so far, I've seen none. If the two people you trust are inside say, the Foundation, surely they can do something about it? If not, how is this any more than third-party hearsay?

While this a kind of semi-public issue, I won't talk about details
publicly. Try to find another source.

And I am completely fine with treating my points as unfounded.

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Re: Money, politics and corruption

Thomas Dalton
On 14 July 2010 16:13, Milos Rancic <[hidden email]> wrote:
> And I am completely fine with treating my points as unfounded.

Ok, then this discussion is over. There is no point us wasting our
time discussing unfounded accusations.

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Re: Money, politics and corruption

oliver keyes-2

I agree with Tom that there isn't really much to discuss, although I support the idea of having chapters copy the foundation in to any legally required audits or yearly reports. Tom, you're more intimately involved; what is the situation with chapters and their responsibilities to the foundation at the moment?
     
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Re: Money, politics and corruption

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
Hoi,
Thomas that is too easy. Even when there is no corruption .... the notion
that this idea lives among our people is upsetting. It is well worth it to
be careful this in our communication. I will argue that we are not good at
getting our message out. It could get more of a priority.

Regular reporting is hard. Ask Sue for instance why she does not find the
time to provide us with monthly updates.. I am convinced that she just does
not find the time. That does not mean that it is sad that there is so little
coming out of the office in the way of information. I believe that with more
information we will not make this feeling go away; I do believe that our
proceedings become less opaque.
Thanks,
       GerardM

On 14 July 2010 17:20, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 14 July 2010 16:13, Milos Rancic <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > And I am completely fine with treating my points as unfounded.
>
> Ok, then this discussion is over. There is no point us wasting our
> time discussing unfounded accusations.
>
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Re: Money, politics and corruption

Lodewijk
In reply to this post by Milos Rancic-2
ok... I dont see how these problems, if they exist, can ever relate to each
other, to cause you to treat them in one email post other than "OMG OMG
everything is breaking down". At the same time, I just dont understand what
you mean. I'll put some questions down, and hope you can treat them in
seperate threads when not related.

2010/7/14 Milos Rancic <[hidden email]>

> Just to make clear about which problems are, because I didn't
> structure text clearly. Problems are:
>
> 1. Corruption among two chapters.
>
what is your definition of corruption here? Bribing to vote for something?
Espionage?


> 2. US business interests influence WMF strategy.
>
What is influence here? Harmful influence? What kind of interests - specific
or general?


> 3. Gap between those who are coming between poor and rich countries.
>
OK, this is a wikimania problem and I understand this problem. However, I
think already everything reasonable is being done here to resolve them.
Could someone from the organization or WMF please reiterate how many
scholarships have been given out?


> 4. All decisions of WMF, chapters and their bodies are now a matter of
> international politics.
>
I dont see how you can ever draw such a general discussion without talking
to all chapters. Even I have not been able to talk with all of them
recently, so please share your communication methods with me - I would love
to be as efficient!
Seriously however, sure the climate gets more political as organizations get
more professional and have different short time interests.


> 5. Careerists around WMF and chapters.
>
Yeah, if you mean here that there are volunteers who would like to make a
job out of their hobby - that is not very unlikely indeed, and not very
unexpected either. That might, if targeted and treated correctly, even be
beneficial. So can you perhaps explain in which way it is harmful, at which
scale you are talking about etc?


> 6. Alienation.
>
This is very very vague, and a complaint I hear since I joined Wikipedia in
2005. What has changed here, how has it become worse, what magical solution
is there now that we never thought of in the last six yeat at the least?

although I sound very critical now, I do thank you for bringing up
discussion. However, discussion is more easy if you are a little more clear
onto what is related, what not - if you treat seperated problems seperately.
Or otherwise explain the problem lying behind them.

best, lodewijk


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Re: Money, politics and corruption

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by oliver keyes-2
On 14 July 2010 16:26, oliver keyes <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I agree with Tom that there isn't really much to discuss, although I support the idea of having chapters copy the foundation in to any legally required audits or yearly reports. Tom, you're more intimately involved; what is the situation with chapters and their responsibilities to the foundation at the moment?

The UK's chapter agreement (different chapters have slightly different
agreements, and I believe WMDE doesn't have an agreement at all and
just operates under tradition and convention) includes the clauses:

"1. The Chapter shall supply a written activity and financial report
in English at least once a year to the Foundation, within four months
of each Chapter year-end.
 2. The Foundation shall supply a written activity and financial
report from the Foundation Board in English to the Chapter within four
months of each Foundation year-end."

I'm not sure how good chapters are at actually sending those reports.
I know the UK isn't as good as it ought to be with activity reports.
The UK has only just finished its first financial year and is in the
process of sorting out the report, which will be send to the
Foundation when it is ready.

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Re: Money, politics and corruption

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Gerard Meijssen-3
On 14 July 2010 16:27, Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hoi,
> Thomas that is too easy. Even when there is no corruption .... the notion
> that this idea lives among our people is upsetting. It is well worth it to
> be careful this in our communication. I will argue that we are not good at
> getting our message out. It could get more of a priority.

We have one person expressing concerns. We have no evidence that those
concerns are widespread. There will always be the odd conspiracy
theorist. There isn't anything we can do to stop that.

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