Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

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

Peter Gervai-5
On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 22:57, James Forrester<[hidden email]> wrote:
> Oh, and someone told me to do this, but unfortunately I'm not allowed
> to say who instructed me so to do.

Must've been The Voices.

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

Peter Gervai-5
In reply to this post by Jimmy Wales-3
...still, I have to acknowledge that money is the root of Evil, and
it's getting harder and harder as these dollar bills start to pile up
where do they go and why...

...the reports get more and more vague, the report items get more and
more broad, and at the end we start to see hundreds of those bills go
out for "consultancy", "administration" and "travel expenses" titled
items...

But I don't necessarily talk about ourselves but successful NGOs in general.

Pitiable world we live in.
grin

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

Anthony-73
On Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 5:09 AM, Peter Gervai <[hidden email]> wrote:

> ...still, I have to acknowledge that money is the root of Evil


Feel free to send all yours to me.
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Re: Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation

Svip
In reply to this post by Peter Gervai-5
2009/8/26 Peter Gervai <[hidden email]>:
> ...still, I have to acknowledge that money is the root of Evil

Sure, if world peace is evil.

By the way, you might want to read up on Wikipedia on that phrase,
where it will undoubtedly tell you that it is "the *lust* for money
that is the root of all evil".  Not money itself.

It's like democracy.  Democracy is an empty shell you put political ideas into.

Similar with money; they have no spirit or faith in themselves, it is
what we make of them; if it is evil, then so be it, if it is good,
well, we can do that too.

Unless - of course - you really do think that money is evil, then I
will acknowledge Anthony's comment, and send the remainder my way.

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

Christophe Henner
Hey,

I've read most of the topic on my blackberry so might have missed some
point but I'm surprised of the reactions.

In my opinion there's only two questions "Is OM an organisation close
to WMF and supporting other NPO sharing some of WMF goals ? " the
answer is yes. So I don't see the problem in receiving a 3m$ donation
from another NPO sharing some goals with the WMF.

Second question, is " Does Matt Halprin brings interesting skills to
the current board ?" and yes it does.

So we have a really huge donation made by a friendly organisation and
an interesting new board member and then we still have people
moaning...

Anyway, I, for one, am really happy with receiving 1/3 of last year
budget in one donation, in-kind donations and a great new board
member.

All the best,


Christophe

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

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
hear hear  !!
Thanks,
     Gerard

2009/8/26 Christophe Henner <[hidden email]>

> Hey,
>
> I've read most of the topic on my blackberry so might have missed some
> point but I'm surprised of the reactions.
>
> In my opinion there's only two questions "Is OM an organisation close
> to WMF and supporting other NPO sharing some of WMF goals ? " the
> answer is yes. So I don't see the problem in receiving a 3m$ donation
> from another NPO sharing some goals with the WMF.
>
> Second question, is " Does Matt Halprin brings interesting skills to
> the current board ?" and yes it does.
>
> So we have a really huge donation made by a friendly organisation and
> an interesting new board member and then we still have people
> moaning...
>
> Anyway, I, for one, am really happy with receiving 1/3 of last year
> budget in one donation, in-kind donations and a great new board
> member.
>
> All the best,
>
>
> Christophe
>
> _______________________________________________
> 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

thekohser
In reply to this post by Peter Gervai-5
Here's a simple series of questions:

(1) On which boards of directors (either for-profit or non-profit) has Matt
Halprin been newly seated, since 2006?

(2) To which of those organizations has the Omidyar Network made a
significant financial contribution or investment?

(3) What is the result of the count of organizations in # 2 divided by the
count of organizations in # 1?

(4) At which percentage in # 3 would we begin to postulate that, since 2006,
Matt Halprin typically serves on boards of directors where his employer's
money is at work (or at stake)?

Am I correct that Halprin draws a measurable income from Omidyar Network, or
that Omidyar Network would be considered his primary means of income?

With my experience having founded the enterprise that led to Wikipedia
altering its "Vanity" guideline to become a more comprehensive "Conflict of
Interest" guideline, one might say I'm somewhat "street wise" on Conflict of
Interest issues.  I'm perfectly able to see how COI would come into play
here, regardless of the inability of others here to see (or even to imagine)
that.

I look forward to the answers to my above questions.  Or, sweep them under
the rug, if that is your inclination.

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

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
2009/8/26 Erik Moeller <[hidden email]>:

> 2009/8/25 Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>:
>> How can you have a Q&A on a topic like this that doesn't even address
>> the matter than you have sold a seat on the board? Has the WMF
>> completely lost touch with the community? It should be obvious that
>> this is going to be a highly controversial decision and yet you can't
>> even get the basic announcement right and don't even try and answer
>> the obvious question the community is going to ask.
>
> (begin quote)
>
> Why did the Wikimedia Foundation invite Matt Halprin to join its Board?
>
> Matt's background and skills are a great fit for the Wikimedia
> Foundation Board of Trustees, which has had two "expertise"
> (non-community) seats vacant since last April. Matt is a Board member
> of several other non-profit organizations, which means he will bring
> general non-profit governance and oversight experience to Wikimedia.
> His background at eBay gives him a good understanding of issues
> related to online community, trust, reputation, privacy and content
> quality: all key issues for the Wikimedia Foundation. Matt also has a
> background in strategy development, which will be useful for the
> Wikimedia Foundation as it embarks on its collaborative strategy
> development project. The Wikimedia Foundation believes Matt will be a
> terrific addition to Wikimedia's Board of Trustees.
>
> Is Matt Halprin's Board seat an individual seat, or an Omidyar Network seat?
>
> Like all Wikimedia Board members, Matt will be a member as an
> individual, not as a representative of any particular organization or
> constituency. All Wikimedia Foundation Board members have an
> obligation to put the best interests of the Wikimedia Foundation
> first, and to do their best to support and guide the organization, to
> help it achieve its mission and goals. The Wikimedia Foundation looks
> forward to Matt's participation on the Board.
>
> (end quote)

Those answers don't address the fact that you've just given a seat on
the board to someone that has just given you a big pile of cash. I am
open to being convinced that this is a good thing, but you haven't
even tried to convince me. I am not arguing that Matt isn't a good
choice for the board, I am arguing that the circumstances of his
appointment are inappropriate. Had you discussed the general principle
of selling board seats with the community you might have got a
positive response, but you didn't ask.

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

Sebastian Moleski
Hi Thomas,

On Aug 26, 2009, at 2:20 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>  
wrote:

> Those answers don't address the fact that you've just given a seat on
> the board to someone that has just given you a big pile of cash. I am
> open to being convinced that this is a good thing, but you haven't
> even tried to convince me. I am not arguing that Matt isn't a good
> choice for the board, I am arguing that the circumstances of his
> appointment are inappropriate. Had you discussed the general principle
> of selling board seats with the community you might have got a
> positive response, but you didn't ask.
>
This may be a heretic question but I'd like to pose it anyway: why  
should it be necessary or appropriate for the Foundation to discuss  
this subject with the project communities? How does this appointment  
have any impact on the activities within the projects?

Best regards,

Sebastian

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

Pavlo Shevelo
> this subject with the project communities? How does this appointment
> have any impact on the activities within the projects?

This question  is equivalent to the question:
How does any appointment to the board have any impact on the
activities within the projects?
isn't it?
... or even
How does the board have any impact on the activities within the projects?
right?

So what is/was the reason to 'elect' community representatives to the board?


On Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 8:34 PM, Sebastian Moleski<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi Thomas,
>
> On Aug 26, 2009, at 2:20 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
>> Those answers don't address the fact that you've just given a seat on
>> the board to someone that has just given you a big pile of cash. I am
>> open to being convinced that this is a good thing, but you haven't
>> even tried to convince me. I am not arguing that Matt isn't a good
>> choice for the board, I am arguing that the circumstances of his
>> appointment are inappropriate. Had you discussed the general principle
>> of selling board seats with the community you might have got a
>> positive response, but you didn't ask.
>>
> This may be a heretic question but I'd like to pose it anyway: why
> should it be necessary or appropriate for the Foundation to discuss
> this subject with the project communities? How does this appointment
> have any impact on the activities within the projects?
>
> Best regards,
>
> Sebastian
>
> _______________________________________________
> 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

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Sebastian Moleski
2009/8/26 Sebastian Moleski <[hidden email]>:
> This may be a heretic question but I'd like to pose it anyway: why
> should it be necessary or appropriate for the Foundation to discuss
> this subject with the project communities? How does this appointment
> have any impact on the activities within the projects?

If the WMF board has no impact on the projects why does the WMF exist?
Wikimedia is a community driven movement, big decisions should be made
by the community.

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

Kropotkine_113
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
Just few questions to make my opinion.

Has Matt Halprin been designated to the Board by the Nominating Commitee
(NOMCOM) ? This is explicity required if I read correctly this page :
http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Board_of_Trustees/Restructure_Announcement_Q%26A

If he has, when ? Before or after the 2M$ grant negociation ?

Does he fulfill the Nomitanig Commitee selection criterion : "Membership
in the Wikimedia community" ?
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Nominating_Committee/Selection_criteria#General_needed_traits

Where is the list of the other candidates designated by the NOMCOM ?

Could we see the discussions and the recommandations of the nominating
commitee ?

Is it possible to know which member of the Board of Trustees agree this
appointment ? Or at least juste the repartition support/against in the
Board ?

Thanks,

Kropotkine_113


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

Nathan Awrich
On Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 1:51 PM, Kropotkine_113 <[hidden email]>wrote:

> Just few questions to make my opinion.
>
> Has Matt Halprin been designated to the Board by the Nominating Commitee
> (NOMCOM) ? This is explicity required if I read correctly this page :
>
> http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Board_of_Trustees/Restructure_Announcement_Q%26A
>
> If he has, when ? Before or after the 2M$ grant negociation ?
>
> Does he fulfill the Nomitanig Commitee selection criterion : "Membership
> in the Wikimedia community" ?
>
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Nominating_Committee/Selection_criteria#General_needed_traits
>
> Where is the list of the other candidates designated by the NOMCOM ?
>
> Could we see the discussions and the recommandations of the nominating
> commitee ?
>
> Is it possible to know which member of the Board of Trustees agree this
> appointment ? Or at least juste the repartition support/against in the
> Board ?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Kropotkine_113
>


You're misunderstanding the role of the nominating committee and the
selection criteria page. The criteria page, as it notes, is for
brainstorming the type of candidate characteristics the Board needs. The
nominating committee is a group of folks whose role is to help the board
locate promising candidates. Authority to appoint Board members (elected or
otherwise) rests with the Board.

The agita over Halprin's appointment is a little overwrought. Allusions to
community upset or hints at conflicts of interest won't be taken seriously
unless some evidence of an actual problem can be presented. In what
situations precisely will a conflict of interest occur? What evidence is
there that the wider community has any problem with this at all, or is
likely to, aside from a few high-volume Foundation-l posters?

I'm amazed that it hasn't ever hit some people that a confrontational and
self-righteous approach is quite rarely effective at getting results when
your voice is your only power.

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

Sebastian Moleski
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
Hi Thomas,

On Aug 26, 2009, at 2:48 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>  
wrote:

> Wikimedia is a community driven movement, big decisions should be made
> by the community.

Those are undoubtedly interesting assertions. Assuming the second one  
is the case (big decisions should be made by the community), it raises  
even more the question of why it is necessary or appropiate for the  
selection of Foundation board seats to be discussed with the project  
communities, doesn't it? That would really only make sense if you  
expect the Foundation to make decisions that significantly impact  
activities within the projects, something you just ruled out. So why?

Best regards,

Sebastian


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

Marcus Buck-2
In reply to this post by Sebastian Moleski
Sebastian Moleski hett schreven:
> This may be a heretic question but I'd like to pose it anyway: why  
> should it be necessary or appropriate for the Foundation to discuss  
> this subject with the project communities? How does this appointment  
> have any impact on the activities within the projects?
>
> Best regards,
>
> Sebastian
>  
The foundation is nothing. The foundation has no meaning by itself. It's
just a real-world manifestation of the spirit that is our community.
This manifestation is necessary, cause the community as a diffuse object
cannot do things like buying servers, signing treaties etc. The
foundation is an avatar. This is the sole reason why a foundation
exists. To enable the community to act outside cyperspace. Therefore
ideally there should be no decision without knowledge and acceptance of
the community.

Marcus Buck
User:Slomox

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

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Sebastian Moleski
2009/8/26 Sebastian Moleski <[hidden email]>:

> Hi Thomas,
>
> On Aug 26, 2009, at 2:48 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
>> Wikimedia is a community driven movement, big decisions should be made
>> by the community.
>
> Those are undoubtedly interesting assertions. Assuming the second one
> is the case (big decisions should be made by the community), it raises
> even more the question of why it is necessary or appropiate for the
> selection of Foundation board seats to be discussed with the project
> communities, doesn't it? That would really only make sense if you
> expect the Foundation to make decisions that significantly impact
> activities within the projects, something you just ruled out. So why?

I consider "big" to be a stronger term than "significant". There are
significant decisions that aren't big enough to need community
consultation. What individuals to appoint to expert seats falls under
that category, for example. I'm not suggesting the community should be
making the actual decisions on who to appoint, but we should be the
ones deciding on basic values, etc. Whether or not it is appropriate
to sell seats on the board is something so basic that I think it
should be decided by the community (or, at least, decided after
consulting the community, it probably doesn't need an actual vote).

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

Kropotkine_113
In reply to this post by Nathan Awrich
I just ask few questions. I did not mention conflict of interest nor
community upset in my post. I'm not a high-volume Foundation-l poster
(maybe 1 or 2 posts in three years), but an intensive reader.

About the nominating commitee, in this Q&A page :
http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Board_of_Trustees/Restructure_Announcement_Q%26A
I read :
 
"Q : How will the Board appoint the "specific experts" seats?
A : Beginning in January 2009, four Trustees will be appointed by the
Board from a list of candidates selected by nominating commitee."

Which is slighty different than "the nomitaning commitee help the board
to locate promising candidates".


Sorry to disturb your foundation-l but I just want to have some
explanations that I didn't find in this thread. Is this possible ? If
not, no problem, I'll go back to other activities.


Kropotkine_113



Le mercredi 26 août 2009 à 14:01 -0400, Nathan a écrit :

> On Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 1:51 PM, Kropotkine_113 <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
> > Just few questions to make my opinion.
> >
> > Has Matt Halprin been designated to the Board by the Nominating Commitee
> > (NOMCOM) ? This is explicity required if I read correctly this page :
> >
> > http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Board_of_Trustees/Restructure_Announcement_Q%26A
> >
> > If he has, when ? Before or after the 2M$ grant negociation ?
> >
> > Does he fulfill the Nomitanig Commitee selection criterion : "Membership
> > in the Wikimedia community" ?
> >
> > http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Nominating_Committee/Selection_criteria#General_needed_traits
> >
> > Where is the list of the other candidates designated by the NOMCOM ?
> >
> > Could we see the discussions and the recommandations of the nominating
> > commitee ?
> >
> > Is it possible to know which member of the Board of Trustees agree this
> > appointment ? Or at least juste the repartition support/against in the
> > Board ?
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > Kropotkine_113
> >
>
>
> You're misunderstanding the role of the nominating committee and the
> selection criteria page. The criteria page, as it notes, is for
> brainstorming the type of candidate characteristics the Board needs. The
> nominating committee is a group of folks whose role is to help the board
> locate promising candidates. Authority to appoint Board members (elected or
> otherwise) rests with the Board.
>
> The agita over Halprin's appointment is a little overwrought. Allusions to
> community upset or hints at conflicts of interest won't be taken seriously
> unless some evidence of an actual problem can be presented. In what
> situations precisely will a conflict of interest occur? What evidence is
> there that the wider community has any problem with this at all, or is
> likely to, aside from a few high-volume Foundation-l posters?
>
> I'm amazed that it hasn't ever hit some people that a confrontational and
> self-righteous approach is quite rarely effective at getting results when
> your voice is your only power.
>
> Nathan
> _______________________________________________
> 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

Guillaume Paumier
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
Hello

[I didn't read the whole thread, apologies if this point has already been made.]

On Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 2:20 PM, Thomas Dalton<[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Those answers don't address the fact that you've just given a seat on
> the board to someone that has just given you a big pile of cash.

It is very common for members of the board of a non-profit
organisation to donate money to support this organisation. Actually,
it's even a recommended fundraising practice: it's a sign of their
commitment. When Board members go discuss with potential donors and
ask them to support their cause, one of the first thing that the
prospect will ask is: « What about you? What do you do to support this
organisation? How much did you donate? ».

It won't help to answer: « Hey, dude, I'm already devoting my time to
this cause, I don't need to donate money ». You're asking someone to
donate money to your cause because you think it's a worthy cause. Why
should the prospect donate to a cause that you don't judge worthy
enough of your own money?

A board member (or volunteer, or anyone who goes around and asks
someone to donate money to a cause) has some leverage if they can
answer: « I donated $2 million because I think this cause is worthy.
How much will you donate? »

--
Guillaume Paumier
[[m:User:guillom]]
http://www.gpaumier.org

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

Thomas Dalton
2009/8/26 Guillaume Paumier <[hidden email]>:

> Hello
>
> [I didn't read the whole thread, apologies if this point has already been made.]
>
> On Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 2:20 PM, Thomas Dalton<[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Those answers don't address the fact that you've just given a seat on
>> the board to someone that has just given you a big pile of cash.
>
> It is very common for members of the board of a non-profit
> organisation to donate money to support this organisation.

I agree, but the WMF isn't like other non-profit organisations. It is
far more community driven. The community is worth far more than a few
million dollars.

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

Robert Rohde
On Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 12:09 PM, Thomas Dalton<[hidden email]> wrote:

> 2009/8/26 Guillaume Paumier <[hidden email]>:
>> Hello
>>
>> [I didn't read the whole thread, apologies if this point has already been made.]
>>
>> On Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 2:20 PM, Thomas Dalton<[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>
>>> Those answers don't address the fact that you've just given a seat on
>>> the board to someone that has just given you a big pile of cash.
>>
>> It is very common for members of the board of a non-profit
>> organisation to donate money to support this organisation.
>
> I agree, but the WMF isn't like other non-profit organisations. It is
> far more community driven. The community is worth far more than a few
> million dollars.

And?  Do you plan to change the amount you work on the project over
this?  Does anyone else?

Yes, the Board should be concerned about how their actions impact and
are perceived by the community.  However, in this case, even if we
assume the seat was outright "bought" for $2M, I don't think there are
that many people in the community that will really care.  In an ideal
world, maybe we'd never make deals like this, but in a pragmatic
world, I don't think this particular deal will lead to much general
outrage.

-Robert Rohde

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