There comes a point where one must conclude that the probability of an
improvement in a situation has decreased beyond the point that it can be
Just over a year ago the first Board meeting of Wiki Educational Resources
ltd - Wikimedia UK - took place. At that meeting a number of decisions
were made and actions allocated to individuals present who confirmed their
intention and ability to undertake those actions.
In the event there was a failure by inaction, and then a disappearance.
The internet enables a virtual company to operate, and there are backup
mechanisms of the telephone and postal services, but ultimately any
organisation relies on the pro-active capabilities of its members which
they have declared they can provide, and their good intentions to actually
do the job they were selected by the wider support group and agreed to
undertake. The fact that the inactions of that member of our team have, in
essence, stopped the further activities of our undertaking and are
preventing our offering the service to members and the public that we had
hoped to provide is most regrettable.
Despite the best efforts of myself and others to motivate our initial team
it is clear that there has been a systemic failure to progress. Subsequent
to that first disappearance there have been other difficulties in
communication both locally (UK) and globally (relations with WMF) and, at
this anniversary point, it is clear that there is unlikely to be any
substantial improvement in the near future.
It is the responsibility of the leader of a group to motivate and guide
the team to produce the desired results. In that, despite a number of
successes, the group has failed to ensure that we reached our initial
targets and I must decide upon an appropriate action to take. In a more
commercial world we would be able to replace the failing component and
move on. In the voluntary one, however, we are reliant upon the individual
to stay motivated as we cannot enforce their due activity upon them.
Similarly they cannot be forced to step aside if they later refuse to
accept that responsibility to act which they took upon themselves at the
start of the venture.
Over recent weeks I have tried to find an acceptable way around this
impasse but now, regrettably, have concluded that one does not exist that
meets the requirements of Company Law alongside the expectations of the
wider group of editors who set this organisation in motion. It it thus the
case that as the leader of this organisation I must take responsibility
for that failure to progress and therefore must tender my resignation to
Alison M Wheeler
Chair / CEO Wiki Educational Resources Limited
ps. It is for the Board to decide whether to restrict any decision on what
action to now take to just themselves - as required by law - or to
accomodate the wider input from those who would be formal members had we
been enabled to progress to the point of being able to accept them. I have
thus copied this to the appropriate email list for information.
> Over recent weeks I have tried to find an acceptable way around this
> impasse but now, regrettably, have concluded that one does not exist that
> meets the requirements of Company Law alongside the expectations of the
> wider group of editors who set this organisation in motion. It it thus the
> case that as the leader of this organisation I must take responsibility
> for that failure to progress and therefore must tender my resignation to
> the Board.
this is disappointing news - and, without being fully aware of the
situation, it seems as if you are being unfair to yourself. Primarily,
I don't understand what the requirements of "company law" are, and how
they would prevent you from taking further action. However, I respect
your judgment and decision, and will accept whatever you decide to do.
From a peripheral perspective (which unfortunately I have taken in
WER/WMUK over the past year or so), it looks to me as if the
non-activity here is of a more general nature - a lack of activity on
Meta, a lack of face to face or IRC meetings specifically about the
chapter, even a lack of ideas for activities etc on this list. I feel
every bit as much to blame for this as the next person.
However, I realise that what I'm saying does not relate directly to
the internal matters of organisation, incorporation, granting of
charity status etc. - this is simply a personal wish that we would
actually use the opportunity to do great things, of which we are more
than capable. But, unless I am mistaken, we already have the legal
structure to undertake projects - perhaps it would be good to have a
period of "taking stock" of where we are, what we have in place, what
is possible to do now, and what we need to do in the near future?
I also think that, in the meantime, we should recognise the great work
that Alison has put into WikimediaUK (amongst which, drafting and
honing the legal documents to get it incorporated, working on a
fantastic bid to host Wikimania), so, to Alison, regardless of what
you decide to do, I'd like to express my warm thanks so far.
Thank you for letting us all know of the situation. As one of those sitting on
the outside looking in, wondering what has been happening since those initial,
enthusiastic meetings where we discussed objects etc., I really appreciate that
you decided to communicate this widely.
I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to thank you for all that you have done, and
tried to do.
As someone who administers a small membership organisation, (where all the
board members are volunteers, with real jobs) I appreciate how difficult it is
when one or more directors don't quite deliver as promised, and how tricky it
is to work around that - the workload usually seems to fall back to the chair.
As for where WER/Wikimedia UK goes from here... I guess that is in the hands of
the other remaining directors, as no-one but them are members or directors of
For what it is worth, in reference to the "absent" director - the articles (31)
allow for "A Director shall cease to hold office if he or she: (f) is absent
without the permission of the Directors from all their meetings held within a
period of six consecutive months and the Directors resolve that his or her
office be vacated, subject to the agreement of the other Directors."
I do hope that this is a stumble rather than a fall for Wikimedia-UK. There is
the support in the wider community for such a thing existing, for it raising
funds and undertaking projects that would benefit the wider wiki* community.