Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

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Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

Gregory Maxwell
Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation


SAN FRANCISCO and REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ --
Omidyar Network today announced a grant of up to $2 million over two
years to the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that
operates Wikipedia, one of the world's top 5 most visited websites.
The Wikimedia Foundation has also appointed Matt Halprin, a partner at
Omidyar Network, to its Board of Trustees.

The grant will support Wikimedia's key goals: to bring free
educational content to every person on the planet, to engage and
empower more people to author that content and to continually increase
the quality and breadth of the information provided through
Wikimedia's projects.

"We are very grateful for Omidyar Network's support. I am also
delighted to have Matt joining us," said Michael Snow, chair of the
Wikimedia Foundation Board. "His extensive experience with online
communities, trust, and reputation, will make him an excellent
addition to our Board. Matt also has a background in strategy
development, which will be particularly useful for us as we embark on
the collaborative strategy development project, Wikimedia's top
priority for the coming year."

"The Wikimedia Foundation is a critical player in the growing social
movement toward greater transparency and openness. I am honored to be
serving on the Foundation's board," said Matt Halprin, Partner,
Omidyar Network. "Wikipedia reaches and engages millions of people
every day, enabling information sharing in a collaborative, online
platform. Omidyar Network sees great potential in Wikipedia as it
continues to expand in emerging geographies, where this social impact
will be magnified even further."

Before joining Omidyar Network, Halprin was most recently Vice
President of Global Trust and Safety at eBay. Prior to eBay, Halprin
served as a Partner and Vice President at the Boston Consulting Group,
where he worked with technology clients on strategy issues.

In addition to direct financial support, Omidyar Network will dedicate
internal resources and engage its network to support Wikimedia's
strategic planning process, communications work, and recruiting.

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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

Thomas Dalton
2009/8/25 Gregory Maxwell <[hidden email]>:
> Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation
>
>
> SAN FRANCISCO and REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ --
> Omidyar Network today announced a grant of up to $2 million over two
> years to the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that
> operates Wikipedia, one of the world's top 5 most visited websites.
> The Wikimedia Foundation has also appointed Matt Halprin, a partner at
> Omidyar Network, to its Board of Trustees.

Hmmm... I'm not sure the community will be very happy with the idea of
selling seats on the board (which is what this looks like, however
good a board member he may be).

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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

thekohser
In reply to this post by Gregory Maxwell
Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation


+++++++

Ah, yes... the other shoe drops.  This is similar to the time when Amazon
invested $10 million in Wikia, Inc., but they insisted on installing Jeffrey
Blackburn from Amazon (
http://www.muckety.com/Query?SearchResult=30740&SearchResult=97356&graph=MucketyMap?_r=2D)
onto the Wikia board of directors.  You don't want to throw $10
million at
something without having someone on the "inside" to pull a few strings.

Thus, we see why Halprin now sits on the WMF board.  It's to keep an eye on
the $2 million.  And all "transparently" announced on the very same day!
Bonus that Halprin also probably oversees the part of the $4 million that
Omidyar invested in Wikia, whose co-founder (Jimmy Wales) might be sitting
next to Halprin at the next board meeting, or whose OTHER co-founder (Angela
Beesley) might be found "advising" the WMF board from the position of chair
of the WMF Advisory Board.

If you're having trouble envisioning a Venn diagram of this arrangement, let
me try to help you.  Imagine a few grains of rice (Jimbo and the WMF
board).  Then imagine the color white (Halprin).  Imagine some tasty
flavored sauce (Beesley).  Then visualize a guy lining up the yummy rice on
his fork (Omidyar Network).

--
Gregory Kohs
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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

Nathan Awrich
In reply to this post by Gregory Maxwell
This is good news. It doesn't seem strange to me at all that a major donor
gains a limited voice on the Board, particularly when the donor can offer
expertise and connections in addition to funding. It also serves as a more
plausible explanation for Halprin's appointment than the conspiracy theory
about Wikia, corrupt practices and misuse of tax-free funds.
We voted for these Board members, in most cases repeatedly; it does them a
disservice to essentially accuse them of abusing the trust granted them by
the community. In fact I think the Board and the development people have
been doing a great job - with the credibility of a professional organization
and talented slate of directors, they've brought in a great deal of funding
for specific initiatives and operating costs. There are areas for continued
improvement, of course, but no basis for the unrelenting and accusatory
sniping.
One thing I'm curious about... Why did this announcement come from Greg?
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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

Chad
In reply to this post by thekohser
On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 4:07 PM, Gregory Kohs<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation
>
>
> +++++++
>
> Ah, yes... the other shoe drops.  This is similar to the time when Amazon
> invested $10 million in Wikia, Inc., but they insisted on installing Jeffrey
> Blackburn from Amazon (
> http://www.muckety.com/Query?SearchResult=30740&SearchResult=97356&graph=MucketyMap?_r=2D)
> onto the Wikia board of directors.  You don't want to throw $10
> million at
> something without having someone on the "inside" to pull a few strings.
>
> Thus, we see why Halprin now sits on the WMF board.  It's to keep an eye on
> the $2 million.  And all "transparently" announced on the very same day!
> Bonus that Halprin also probably oversees the part of the $4 million that
> Omidyar invested in Wikia, whose co-founder (Jimmy Wales) might be sitting
> next to Halprin at the next board meeting, or whose OTHER co-founder (Angela
> Beesley) might be found "advising" the WMF board from the position of chair
> of the WMF Advisory Board.
>
> If you're having trouble envisioning a Venn diagram of this arrangement, let
> me try to help you.  Imagine a few grains of rice (Jimbo and the WMF
> board).  Then imagine the color white (Halprin).  Imagine some tasty
> flavored sauce (Beesley).  Then visualize a guy lining up the yummy rice on
> his fork (Omidyar Network).
>
> --
> Gregory Kohs
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>

Wow. Just....wow. Wikimedia, this really really doesn't look good. Regardless
of how it's intended, it REALLY doesn't look good.

-Chad

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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

Robert Rohde
In reply to this post by Nathan Awrich
On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 1:12 PM, Nathan<[hidden email]> wrote:
<snip>
> One thing I'm curious about... Why did this announcement come from Greg?

It appears to be an Omidyar press release (not a WMF one) issued
during just the last hour.

Beyond that I won't try and speculate on why the Board didn't say
anything sooner.

-Robert Rohde

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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Nathan Awrich
2009/8/25 Nathan <[hidden email]>:
> This is good news. It doesn't seem strange to me at all that a major donor
> gains a limited voice on the Board, particularly when the donor can offer
> expertise and connections in addition to funding. It also serves as a more
> plausible explanation for Halprin's appointment than the conspiracy theory
> about Wikia, corrupt practices and misuse of tax-free funds.

The cash is obviously useful, and I think this kind of arrangement is
fairly common in the charity world, but it will inevitably cause drama
in the community.

> We voted for these Board members, in most cases repeatedly; it does them a
> disservice to essentially accuse them of abusing the trust granted them by
> the community.

I don't recall an intention to sell seats on the board being mentioned
in any of their candidate statements...

> One thing I'm curious about... Why did this announcement come from Greg?

That bit I have to agree with you on, I was very curious about it. It
seems the press release was issued, Greg found it and realised it
hadn't been posted here so did so. Why it wasn't announced here at the
same time the press release was sent out, I don't know...

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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

Anthony-73
On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 4:22 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:

> 2009/8/25 Nathan <[hidden email]>:
> > This is good news. It doesn't seem strange to me at all that a major
> donor
> > gains a limited voice on the Board, particularly when the donor can offer
> > expertise and connections in addition to funding. It also serves as a
> more
> > plausible explanation for Halprin's appointment than the conspiracy
> theory
> > about Wikia, corrupt practices and misuse of tax-free funds.
>
> The cash is obviously useful, and I think this kind of arrangement is
> fairly common in the charity world, but it will inevitably cause drama
> in the community.


That fight was lost years ago when the Wikimedia Foundation became a
non-membership organization.  I doubt this is "fairly common" among
membership organizations.  Wales was right when he said that the community
is irrelevant.

> We voted for these Board members, in most cases repeatedly; it does them a
> > disservice to essentially accuse them of abusing the trust granted them
> by
> > the community.
>
> I don't recall an intention to sell seats on the board being mentioned
> in any of their candidate statements...


We don't even know (yet?) which board members voted for and which voted
against this arrangement.
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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

Gregory Maxwell
In reply to this post by Nathan Awrich
On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 4:12 PM, Nathan<[hidden email]> wrote:
> One thing I'm curious about... Why did this announcement come from Greg?

I simply saw it on PRNewswire and figured folks here would appreciate seeing it.

I have no clue why it wasn't already posted here but the coordination
of press-releases can be a tricky thing especially when most of the
staff and the board is in Buenos Aires. Do they do siesta in
Argentina? :)

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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Anthony-73
2009/8/25 Anthony <[hidden email]>:

> On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 4:22 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
>> 2009/8/25 Nathan <[hidden email]>:
>> > This is good news. It doesn't seem strange to me at all that a major
>> donor
>> > gains a limited voice on the Board, particularly when the donor can offer
>> > expertise and connections in addition to funding. It also serves as a
>> more
>> > plausible explanation for Halprin's appointment than the conspiracy
>> theory
>> > about Wikia, corrupt practices and misuse of tax-free funds.
>>
>> The cash is obviously useful, and I think this kind of arrangement is
>> fairly common in the charity world, but it will inevitably cause drama
>> in the community.
>
>
> That fight was lost years ago when the Wikimedia Foundation became a
> non-membership organization.  I doubt this is "fairly common" among
> membership organizations.  Wales was right when he said that the community
> is irrelevant.

When did Jimmy say that? I rather suspect you are taking something he
said out of context...

>> We voted for these Board members, in most cases repeatedly; it does them a
>> > disservice to essentially accuse them of abusing the trust granted them
>> by
>> > the community.
>>
>> I don't recall an intention to sell seats on the board being mentioned
>> in any of their candidate statements...
>
>
> We don't even know (yet?) which board members voted for and which voted
> against this arrangement.

We may yet find out. Minutes of board meetings are being published
again (after a period of secrecy).

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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

Anthony-73
On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 4:42 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
> > membership organizations.  Wales was right when he said that the
> community
> > is irrelevant.
>
> When did Jimmy say that? I rather suspect you are taking something he
> said out of context...


Many years ago, but my source is confidential.
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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

James Forrester-5
2009/8/25 Anthony <[hidden email]>:

> On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 4:42 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:
>>
>> > membership organizations.  Wales was right when he said that the
>> community
>> > is irrelevant.
>>
>> When did Jimmy say that? I rather suspect you are taking something he
>> said out of context...
>
> Many years ago, but my source is confidential.

I've heard that you frequently post claims that you fail to back up,
but my source is confidential.

Please.

Oh, and someone told me to do this, but unfortunately I'm not allowed
to say who instructed me so to do.

James.
--
James D. Forrester
[hidden email] | [hidden email]
[[Wikipedia:User:Jdforrester|James F.]]

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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

Jan-Bart de Vreede-2
In reply to this post by Gregory Maxwell
Hi All,

Little note from Argentina. Both Jay and most members of the board  
have been wrapped up in a two hour press conference for Wikimania 2009  
over here. It does come down to a timing issue. I expect Michael will  
post on Foundation-l about this in the next hour or so.  Also as  
announced earlier today Jay will post a Q&A on some of this material  
later today.

Please don't let the human timing issue influence your thinking on  
this issue, and hold on a little while longer until the Q&A has been  
posted, as it will probably answer most of your questions. Short  
summary from where I am sitting: I am very grateful that Omidyar is  
willing to offer us not only a large grant but is also willing to  
donate advice and expertise to us on how to reach out strategic goals.

As you may recall: the next year will be crucial for us as an  
organization in determining our long term strategy. But that process  
is shaped by YOU. The tremendous strategy project (details at http://strategy.wikimedia.org 
  ) started a month ago is making good first steps. The Board of  
Trustees does not own any of the Wikimedia projects, you do.  
Participate on the strategy wiki (and encourage others to do so) to  
help determine the future direction of our organization, you will  
probably have more impace than any single board member ever will...

Jan-Bart de Vreede
Vice Chair Wikimedia Board of Trustees



On 25 aug 2009, at 17:41, Gregory Maxwell wrote:

> On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 4:12 PM, Nathan<[hidden email]> wrote:
>> One thing I'm curious about... Why did this announcement come from  
>> Greg?
>
> I simply saw it on PRNewswire and figured folks here would  
> appreciate seeing it.
>
> I have no clue why it wasn't already posted here but the coordination
> of press-releases can be a tricky thing especially when most of the
> staff and the board is in Buenos Aires. Do they do siesta in
> Argentina? :)
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l


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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

Anthony-73
In reply to this post by James Forrester-5
On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 4:57 PM, James Forrester <[hidden email]>wrote:

> 2009/8/25 Anthony <[hidden email]>:
> > On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 4:42 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]
> >wrote:
> >>
> >> > membership organizations.  Wales was right when he said that the
> >> community
> >> > is irrelevant.
> >>
> >> When did Jimmy say that? I rather suspect you are taking something he
> >> said out of context...
> >
> > Many years ago, but my source is confidential.
>
> I've heard that you frequently post claims that you fail to back up,
> but my source is confidential.
>
> Please.
>
> Oh, and someone told me to do this, but unfortunately I'm not allowed
> to say who instructed me so to do.
>

Huh?
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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

Brian J Mingus
On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 3:13 PM, Anthony <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 4:57 PM, James Forrester <[hidden email]
> >wrote:
>
> > 2009/8/25 Anthony <[hidden email]>:
> > > On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 4:42 PM, Thomas Dalton <
> [hidden email]
> > >wrote:
> > >>
> > >> > membership organizations.  Wales was right when he said that the
> > >> community
> > >> > is irrelevant.
> > >>
> > >> When did Jimmy say that? I rather suspect you are taking something he
> > >> said out of context...
> > >
> > > Many years ago, but my source is confidential.
> >
> > I've heard that you frequently post claims that you fail to back up,
> > but my source is confidential.
> >
> > Please.
> >
> > Oh, and someone told me to do this, but unfortunately I'm not allowed
> > to say who instructed me so to do.
> >
>
> Huh?
>

It reminds me of this article I read in the NYT yesterday:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/25/health/policy/25zeke.html

Dr. Emanuel has written over a million words on health care and somewhere,
in one of his papers, its possible to twist his words into making him sound
like he's saying something that he doesn't actually believe. Except in your
case you don't even have actual source material to twist about so its much,
much worse.
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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

James Forrester-5
In reply to this post by Anthony-73
2009/8/25 Anthony <[hidden email]>:

> On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 4:57 PM, James Forrester <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
>> 2009/8/25 Anthony <[hidden email]>:
>> > On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 4:42 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]
>> >wrote:
>> >>
>> >> > membership organizations.  Wales was right when he said that the
>> >> community
>> >> > is irrelevant.
>> >>
>> >> When did Jimmy say that? I rather suspect you are taking something he
>> >> said out of context...
>> >
>> > Many years ago, but my source is confidential.
>>
>> I've heard that you frequently post claims that you fail to back up,
>> but my source is confidential.
>>
>> Please.
>>
>> Oh, and someone told me to do this, but unfortunately I'm not allowed
>> to say who instructed me so to do.
>>
>
> Huh?

As you already asked me about this off-list, and didn't like my
response, I'm happy to give it here:

Sure, but whether or not I believe you, my point is that it's not
really helpful to make comments in a forum in which you can't - or
won't - back them up. It doesn't add light, only heat, and doesn't
achieve anything except damage the movement.

James.
--
James D. Forrester
[hidden email] | [hidden email]
[[Wikipedia:User:Jdforrester|James F.]]

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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Anthony-73
2009/8/25 Anthony <[hidden email]>:

> On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 4:57 PM, James Forrester <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
>> 2009/8/25 Anthony <[hidden email]>:
>> > On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 4:42 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]
>> >wrote:
>> >>
>> >> > membership organizations.  Wales was right when he said that the
>> >> community
>> >> > is irrelevant.
>> >>
>> >> When did Jimmy say that? I rather suspect you are taking something he
>> >> said out of context...
>> >
>> > Many years ago, but my source is confidential.
>>
>> I've heard that you frequently post claims that you fail to back up,
>> but my source is confidential.
>>
>> Please.
>>
>> Oh, and someone told me to do this, but unfortunately I'm not allowed
>> to say who instructed me so to do.
>>
>
> Huh?

I'm pretty sure that last paragraph was sarcasm.

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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

Anthony-73
In reply to this post by James Forrester-5
On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 5:18 PM, James Forrester <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
> As you already asked me about this off-list, and didn't like my
> response, I'm happy to give it here:


Can you prove that I asked you about this off-list?


> Sure, but whether or not I believe you, my point is that it's not
> really helpful to make comments in a forum in which you can't - or
> won't - back them up. It doesn't add light, only heat, and doesn't
> achieve anything except damage the movement.
>

I'm not going to pretend that something isn't true just because I can't
prove it to you.  Many people on this list know that I am not making this
up.  My comment was directed at them, not at you.  If you want to put your
head in the sand, that is your right.

On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 5:18 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>
 wrote:

> I'm pretty sure that last paragraph was sarcasm.
>

Sarcasm generally has a valid point, or else it'd be called nonsense.
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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

Ziko van Dijk
In reply to this post by James Forrester-5
That evil man gets into the Advisory Board without having made one
single edit, by paying simply a lousy 2 million bucks. How terrible.
:-)

Great achievement of our folks, congratulations!

By the way, the Wikimania speeches, will they be to see on the internet?

Kind regards
ZIko



2009/8/25 James Forrester <[hidden email]>:

> 2009/8/25 Anthony <[hidden email]>:
>> On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 4:57 PM, James Forrester <[hidden email]>wrote:
>>
>>> 2009/8/25 Anthony <[hidden email]>:
>>> > On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 4:42 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]
>>> >wrote:
>>> >>
>>> >> > membership organizations.  Wales was right when he said that the
>>> >> community
>>> >> > is irrelevant.
>>> >>
>>> >> When did Jimmy say that? I rather suspect you are taking something he
>>> >> said out of context...
>>> >
>>> > Many years ago, but my source is confidential.
>>>
>>> I've heard that you frequently post claims that you fail to back up,
>>> but my source is confidential.
>>>
>>> Please.
>>>
>>> Oh, and someone told me to do this, but unfortunately I'm not allowed
>>> to say who instructed me so to do.
>>>
>>
>> Huh?
>
> As you already asked me about this off-list, and didn't like my
> response, I'm happy to give it here:
>
> Sure, but whether or not I believe you, my point is that it's not
> really helpful to make comments in a forum in which you can't - or
> won't - back them up. It doesn't add light, only heat, and doesn't
> achieve anything except damage the movement.
>
> James.
> --
> James D. Forrester
> [hidden email] | [hidden email]
> [[Wikipedia:User:Jdforrester|James F.]]
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>



--
Ziko van Dijk
NL-Silvolde

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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

Thomas Dalton
2009/8/25 Ziko van Dijk <[hidden email]>:
> That evil man gets into the Advisory Board without having made one
> single edit, by paying simply a lousy 2 million bucks. How terrible.
> :-)

Not the advisory board, the real one.

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