WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

Anthony-73
On Fri, Sep 4, 2009 at 9:51 PM, Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> A little bird suggested I ask if the Foundation will be filing a Form
> 990-T once it finds a tenant, as it would be a business activity over
> $1,000 unrelated to a non-profit mission and would thus possibly
> trigger IRS rules regarding Unrelated Business Income Tax (which are
> rather strict).  Among other things, the 990-T is a public form, so it
> would force the Foundation to disclose further information on its
> operations.
>

Ah Greg Greg Greg.  You should have run this one past me first.  Rents
generally are not subject to UBIT.  This is not, however, a reliance
opinion, and can't be used to avoid penalties.
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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

geni
In reply to this post by thekohser
2009/9/5 Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]>:
> So, not having known that 3,000 square feet was the sum total of the
> current WMF space on Stillman, my original but unpublished hunch was
> correct.

Given how spectacularly incorrect your published accusations were
that's a pretty pathetic defense. Are you going to apologise?

--
geni

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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

thekohser
In reply to this post by thekohser
"Geni" wrote:

++++++++++
Given how spectacularly incorrect your published accusations were
that's a pretty pathetic defense. Are you going to apologise?

--
geni

++++++++++

I reported that the Wikimedia Foundation is seeking to sub-let space that it
itself is renting.  I have an e-mail from the property management firm
confirming "the Wikimedia sublease".  Erik Moeller has confirmed that the
Foundation is seeking to sub-let space.

Which "accusations" do you speak of?

Why in the heck would I "apologize" for scooping the story that the
Wikimedia Foundation is seeking to sub-let office space, if only the
speculative intentions were a little off-base (I did not realize that the
WMF does not intend to stay at Stillman Street a while longer, since the
Foundation failed to communicate any significant "We're Moving Soon!"
announcement to the community).  I have issued a clarifying statement in the
blog comments field, and that should be sufficient, unless someone feels
they've been libeled by the Internet Review Corporation.  I've received no
such legal complaint.

When the Watergate story broke, it was felt to be a largely "contained"
story.  Leslie Stahl once commented, *"*CBS sent me. It was a measure of how
unimportant CBS thought the story was in the beginning."  As more
information seeped out, it became clear that it was a story with much wider
implications.  Consider me a Leslie Stahl, circa 1972.

Greg
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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

Thomas Dalton
2009/9/5 Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]>:

> "Geni" wrote:
>
> ++++++++++
> Given how spectacularly incorrect your published accusations were
> that's a pretty pathetic defense. Are you going to apologise?
>
> --
> geni
>
> ++++++++++
>
> I reported that the Wikimedia Foundation is seeking to sub-let space that it
> itself is renting.  I have an e-mail from the property management firm
> confirming "the Wikimedia sublease".  Erik Moeller has confirmed that the
> Foundation is seeking to sub-let space.
>
> Which "accusations" do you speak of?

"That's curious, considering they had "outgrown" space in January 2009, such
that they needed to shuttle Ruth and Frank Stanton's money over to Wikia's
accounts receivable to expand their footprint."

That is an accusation of illicit dealings for personal gain. It
doesn't matter than you didn't explicitly accuse them, no reasonable
person could interpret that sentence (in the context of your previous
comments) as anything else.

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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

geni
In reply to this post by thekohser
2009/9/5 Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]>:
> I reported that the Wikimedia Foundation is seeking to sub-let space that it
> itself is renting.  I have an e-mail from the property management firm
> confirming "the Wikimedia sublease".  Erik Moeller has confirmed that the
> Foundation is seeking to sub-let space.
>
> Which "accusations" do you speak of?

"Now, only eight months later, are we to understand that instead of
having “outgrown” its office space on Stillman Street, the WMF is
swimming in surplus floor space, that they need to hire Grubb & Ellis
to sub-let it out to someone else?"

 WMF is swimming in surplus floor space?

> Why in the heck would I "apologize" for scooping the story that the
> Wikimedia Foundation is seeking to sub-let office space, if only the
> speculative intentions were a little off-base (I did not realize that the
> WMF does not intend to stay at Stillman Street a while longer, since the
> Foundation failed to communicate any significant "We're Moving Soon!"
> announcement to the community).

Spectacularly off-base. You threw in a bunch of accusations and
innuendo based on a complete misunderstanding of events.

The foundation doesn't talk about the particulars of it's office much
but descriptions and photos do exist and It wouldn't have taken much
work to realize that the amount described was pretty much consistent
with the foundation's entire office.

> I have issued a clarifying statement in the
> blog comments field, and that should be sufficient, unless someone feels
> they've been libeled by the Internet Review Corporation.  I've received no
> such legal complaint.

So only in the face of lawsuits will you ever consider apologising?
Thats... impressively amoral.

> When the Watergate story broke,

The people involved were far better at what they did than you are.
Investigative journalism is hard and involves more than grabbing a
factoid then coating it with acusations and spin which support your
world view.

--
geni

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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

Yann Forget-2
In reply to this post by thekohser
Gregory Kohs wrote:
> Consider me a Leslie Stahl, circa 1972.

We should stop feeding the troll, especially this particular species of
novice self-made spy.

Yann
--
http://www.non-violence.org/ | Site collaboratif sur la non-violence
http://www.forget-me.net/ | Alternatives sur le Net
http://fr.wikisource.org/ | Bibliothèque libre
http://wikilivres.info | Documents libres

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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

Anthony-73
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
On Sat, Sep 5, 2009 at 9:35 AM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:

> 2009/9/5 Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]>:
> > Which "accusations" do you speak of?
>
> "That's curious, considering they had "outgrown" space in January 2009,
> such
> that they needed to shuttle Ruth and Frank Stanton's money over to Wikia's
> accounts receivable to expand their footprint."
>
> That is an accusation of illicit dealings for personal gain. It
> doesn't matter than you didn't explicitly accuse them, no reasonable
> person could interpret that sentence (in the context of your previous
> comments) as anything else.


Perhaps, but that part hasn't been disproven.
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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

Anthony-73
In reply to this post by geni
On Sat, Sep 5, 2009 at 9:50 AM, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>  WMF is swimming in surplus floor space?
>

Well, yeah, that's been confirmed actually.  They have 11000 sq ft, plus
3000 sq ft, plus whatever they have at Wikia, and they only need the 11000
sq ft.  Maybe they haven't moved in on the 11000 sq ft yet, but surely
there's a deal signed already?  Or is that too speculative?

Personally, I think the tone of the piece was overly accusatory.  It
suggested that the WMF was compounding on its Wikia self-dealings, when in
actuality, according to Brion, it is correcting them.

Anyway, I see Greg has added an "author's note" to the piece, and an
apology.  I'm glad to see that.
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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

Austin Hair
In reply to this post by thekohser
On Sat, Sep 5, 2009 at 10:29 AM, Gregory Kohs<[hidden email]> wrote:
> When the Watergate story broke, it was felt to be a largely "contained"
> story.  Leslie Stahl once commented, *"*CBS sent me. It was a measure of how
> unimportant CBS thought the story was in the beginning."  As more
> information seeped out, it became clear that it was a story with much wider
> implications.  Consider me a Leslie Stahl, circa 1972.

Hi Greg,

I'm sorry to tramp on your Pulitzer aspirations, but it seems that
we've once again encountered a disconnect between your world and the
one the rest of us live in.  Far be it for me to stop you from
exposing WMF Inc.'s insidious real estate plans, but this has gotten a
little too crazy even for this list.  I've placed you on indefinite
moderation with the goal of improving the signal:crazy ratio.

I'm flying home today after attending Wikimania 2009 and a few days of
post-conference traveling, and will be out of contact for the next 36
hours or so.  Ryan may be available this weekend to tend to the
moderation queue, but I'm afraid that you might find some delay in
posting for the next few days.

Have a great weekend.

Austin

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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Anthony-73
2009/9/5 Anthony <[hidden email]>:

> On Sat, Sep 5, 2009 at 9:35 AM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
>> 2009/9/5 Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]>:
>> > Which "accusations" do you speak of?
>>
>> "That's curious, considering they had "outgrown" space in January 2009,
>> such
>> that they needed to shuttle Ruth and Frank Stanton's money over to Wikia's
>> accounts receivable to expand their footprint."
>>
>> That is an accusation of illicit dealings for personal gain. It
>> doesn't matter than you didn't explicitly accuse them, no reasonable
>> person could interpret that sentence (in the context of your previous
>> comments) as anything else.
>
> Perhaps, but that part hasn't been disproven.

Nor has the existence of a teapot in orbit. We do not disprove
accusation, we prove them or shut the hell up.

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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

Geoffrey Plourde
Its a serious charge that is difficult to prove. The publicly released financial statements are too general in nature to be useful. The only way to prove/disprove this allegation and head off others is for the Foundation to become more transparent. It is natural for people to come to assumptions when information is not available to them. The currently available financials are simply not transparent enough to prove what is going on.




________________________________
From: Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Sent: Saturday, September 5, 2009 7:54:49 AM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

2009/9/5 Anthony <[hidden email]>:

> On Sat, Sep 5, 2009 at 9:35 AM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
>> 2009/9/5 Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]>:
>> > Which "accusations" do you speak of?
>>
>> "That's curious, considering they had "outgrown" space in January 2009,
>> such
>> that they needed to shuttle Ruth and Frank Stanton's money over to Wikia's
>> accounts receivable to expand their footprint."
>>
>> That is an accusation of illicit dealings for personal gain. It
>> doesn't matter than you didn't explicitly accuse them, no reasonable
>> person could interpret that sentence (in the context of your previous
>> comments) as anything else.
>
> Perhaps, but that part hasn't been disproven.

Nor has the existence of a teapot in orbit. We do not disprove
accusation, we prove them or shut the hell up.

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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

Geoffrey Plourde
In reply to this post by geni
The best way to end this in the future is to give the community a brief heads up along the line of "Hey y'all, we will be moving to NEW ADDRESS effective DATE" This lets us know beforehand that the business address is going to change, and allows the Foundation to leverage moving support from SF Wikimedians.




________________________________
From: geni <[hidden email]>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Sent: Saturday, September 5, 2009 6:50:30 AM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

2009/9/5 Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]>:
> I reported that the Wikimedia Foundation is seeking to sub-let space that it
> itself is renting.  I have an e-mail from the property management firm
> confirming "the Wikimedia sublease".  Erik Moeller has confirmed that the
> Foundation is seeking to sub-let space.
>
> Which "accusations" do you speak of?

"Now, only eight months later, are we to understand that instead of
having “outgrown” its office space on Stillman Street, the WMF is
swimming in surplus floor space, that they need to hire Grubb & Ellis
to sub-let it out to someone else?"

WMF is swimming in surplus floor space?

> Why in the heck would I "apologize" for scooping the story that the
> Wikimedia Foundation is seeking to sub-let office space, if only the
> speculative intentions were a little off-base (I did not realize that the
> WMF does not intend to stay at Stillman Street a while longer, since the
> Foundation failed to communicate any significant "We're Moving Soon!"
> announcement to the community).

Spectacularly off-base. You threw in a bunch of accusations and
innuendo based on a complete misunderstanding of events.

The foundation doesn't talk about the particulars of it's office much
but descriptions and photos do exist and It wouldn't have taken much
work to realize that the amount described was pretty much consistent
with the foundation's entire office.


     
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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Geoffrey Plourde
2009/9/5 Geoffrey Plourde <[hidden email]>:
> Its a serious charge that is difficult to prove. The publicly released financial statements are too general in nature to be useful. The only way to prove/disprove this allegation and head off others is for the Foundation to become more transparent. It is natural for people to come to assumptions when information is not available to them. The currently available financials are simply not transparent enough to prove what is going on.

The Foundation has been sufficiently transparent. The reasons for
leasing office space from Wikia were explained in detail when that
deal was done (I think Sue [could have been someone else from WMF]
explained it on this mailing list after people [probably me] drew
attention to the need for an explanation). The plan to move into a
single, larger office was mentioned ages ago. I don't see any need for
an announcement of the old office going on the market, it is an
obvious part of the process.

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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

David Gerard-2
2009/9/5 Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>:

> The Foundation has been sufficiently transparent. The reasons for
> leasing office space from Wikia were explained in detail when that
> deal was done (I think Sue [could have been someone else from WMF]
> explained it on this mailing list after people [probably me] drew
> attention to the need for an explanation). The plan to move into a
> single, larger office was mentioned ages ago. I don't see any need for
> an announcement of the old office going on the market, it is an
> obvious part of the process.


Indeed. There's transparency, and then there's answering every piece
of gibbering from someone who's announced elsewhere that there is
nothing he does on any WMF site that is not intended as trolling.


- d.

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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

Geoffrey Plourde
The plan may have been mentioned ages ago, but a press release about the move would have eliminated the opportunity for trolling.



2009/9/5 Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>:

> The Foundation has been sufficiently transparent. The reasons for
> leasing office space from Wikia were explained in detail when that
> deal was done (I think Sue [could have been someone else from WMF]
> explained it on this mailing list after people [probably me] drew
> attention to the need for an explanation). The plan to move into a
> single, larger office was mentioned ages ago. I don't see any need for
> an announcement of the old office going on the market, it is an
> obvious part of the process.



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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

Nathan Awrich
On Sat, Sep 5, 2009 at 7:19 PM, Geoffrey Plourde<[hidden email]> wrote:
> The plan may have been mentioned ages ago, but a press release about the move would have eliminated the opportunity for trolling.


They haven't moved yet. I bet we can safely let this topic drop, though.

Nathan

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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Geoffrey Plourde
2009/9/6 Geoffrey Plourde <[hidden email]>:
> The plan may have been mentioned ages ago, but a press release about the move would have eliminated the opportunity for trolling.

Why would the press be interested in the WMF putting the offices they
are about to move out of on the market? The move itself will be
newsworthy and I'm sure there will be a press release about it, but it
hasn't happened yet. A plan to move isn't worthy of a press release -
it would only cover a single sentence ("The WMF has more staff than it
has room for desks, so it is planning to move to new, larger
offices.").

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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

geni
2009/9/6 Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>:

> 2009/9/6 Geoffrey Plourde <[hidden email]>:
>> The plan may have been mentioned ages ago, but a press release about the move would have eliminated the opportunity for trolling.
>
> Why would the press be interested in the WMF putting the offices they
> are about to move out of on the market? The move itself will be
> newsworthy and I'm sure there will be a press release about it, but it
> hasn't happened yet. A plan to move isn't worthy of a press release -
> it would only cover a single sentence ("The WMF has more staff than it
> has room for desks, so it is planning to move to new, larger
> offices.").

I'm sure signpost would be interested. It usually is. Press release is
probably the wrong term though.



--
geni

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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

Anthony-73
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
On Sat, Sep 5, 2009 at 7:27 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:

> A plan to move isn't worthy of a press release -
> it would only cover a single sentence ("The WMF has more staff than it
> has room for desks, so it is planning to move to new, larger
> offices.").


Is that all they have, a plan?  They're offering to sublet their place based
on nothing but a plan?  They've only got a month to move out, and they
haven't even found the place they're moving into yet?
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Re: WMF seeking to sub-lease office space?

Thomas Dalton
2009/9/6 Anthony <[hidden email]>:

> On Sat, Sep 5, 2009 at 7:27 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
>> A plan to move isn't worthy of a press release -
>> it would only cover a single sentence ("The WMF has more staff than it
>> has room for desks, so it is planning to move to new, larger
>> offices.").
>
>
> Is that all they have, a plan?  They're offering to sublet their place based
> on nothing but a plan?  They've only got a month to move out, and they
> haven't even found the place they're moving into yet?

Of course not. They have begun implementing that plan. At no point
during that implementation until they actually move is there anything
particularly newsworthy.

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1234