Wikia leasing office space to WMF

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Wikia leasing office space to WMF

thekohser
I was very surprised to read on the Wikimedia blog a post from Naoko Komura,
the WMF program manager heading up the Wikipedia Usability Initiative,
funded by the Stanton Foundation.

Post:
http://blog.wikimedia.org/2009/01/21/a-note-on-the-wikipedia-usability-initiative/

To quote Komura,

"On the space front, we had outgrown our current space in the South of
Market area of San Francisco, and we were in search of space specifically
for this project. I am happy to announce that Wikia has agreed to sublease
two of their conference rooms to the Wikimedia Foundation for the project
duration (Jan'09-Mar'10). Daniel [Phelps] collected a dozen bids for the
space in SOMA, and Wikia matched the best offer."

I submitted a comment to the blog, but over seven hours later, it is still
not published, and there is a history of my questions to that blog being
ignored or censored.  So, I'm going to ask here, and I'll also advise the
list moderators that this message is being copied to members of the press.

Could we have more detail, please, on the note that "Wikia matched the best
offer"?  Were the other ten higher bidders also given the opportunity to
match the best offer?  Why was Wikia chosen on a "second and adjusted offer"
basis, rather than choosing the good-faith firm that submitted the lowest
offer initially?  Was the first low bidder given the chance to further
discount their rate?  If so, what was their response?  If not, why not?

I have to agree with Steven Walling's comment on the blog.  He said, "I find
the idea of the Foundation working that closely with Wikia, literally and
figuratively, discomforting. We already have enough people confused about
the difference between the two organizations, and to be honest, this feels
like nepotism."

Actually, it's not nepotism.  And, there are no uniform laws regarding
nepotism.  It's potentially worse.  Self-dealing, which is what this really
smacks of, is covered in case law, judicial opinions, and some statutes.

I have been assured in countless places that "Wikia and the Wikimedia
Foundation are complete separate organizations" and that there were "no
business relationships" between the members of a past WMF Board that was 60%
comprised of Wikia employees/owners. Considering the past Wikia/Wikipedia
fiasco of Ryan "Essjay" Jordan, I would have thought the WMF would be
hyper-sensitive to working in concert yet again with their neighbor down the
street.

In summary:

We know Wikia was recently laying off workers in the economic downturn.
Presumably, Wikia now has excess office space per employee.  WMF gets a
grant, presumably funded by tax-deductible dollars.  Expending that grant on
office space is served up to an ostensibly "open" and "fair" competitive
search among 12 candidate landlords.  A lowest bid is received.  However, a
bidder who happens to have strong personnel ties to the Board of WMF and the
Advisory Board of WMF, is given the opportunity to match the lowest bid,
which they do, since they have empty office space doing them no good empty.

Net result:  Tax-advantaged dollars will be transferred to a for-profit
corporation with an "inside track" to the decision-making body of the
non-profit organization.

It strikes me as fishy, to use a gentle word.

--
Gregory Kohs
Cell: 302.463.1354
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Thomas Dalton
> Could we have more detail, please, on the note that "Wikia matched the best
> offer"?  Were the other ten higher bidders also given the opportunity to
> match the best offer?  Why was Wikia chosen on a "second and adjusted offer"
> basis, rather than choosing the good-faith firm that submitted the lowest
> offer initially?  Was the first low bidder given the chance to further
> discount their rate?  If so, what was their response?  If not, why not?

I'd appreciate answers to those questions as well.

> I have to agree with Steven Walling's comment on the blog.  He said, "I find
> the idea of the Foundation working that closely with Wikia, literally and
> figuratively, discomforting. We already have enough people confused about
> the difference between the two organizations, and to be honest, this feels
> like nepotism."

It does seem likely to confuse. Only a couple of days ago I had to
explain to someone that we had nothing to do with Wikia and had to
qualify that by mentioning that there was some sharing of personnel,
in future I'll have to qualify it even more.

> Considering the past Wikia/Wikipedia
> fiasco of Ryan "Essjay" Jordan, I would have thought the WMF would be
> hyper-sensitive to working in concert yet again with their neighbor down the
> street.

I don't see the connection there, I'm afraid. Essjay's employment at
Wikia had nothing to do with WMF, it just happened to be how we all
found out about his true identity.

In WMF's defence, this sentence from the blog may at least partly
explain the decision:

"Wikia has been doing intensive work on the usability front and making
the code available to public, so I look forward to collaborating with
the Wikia technical and product teams to exchange ideas and learn from
their work."

There is a certain amount of logic in working with one of the biggest
non-WMF MediaWiki users on this project.

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Michael Bimmler
In reply to this post by thekohser
On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 8:37 PM, Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I'll also advise the
> list moderators that this message is being copied to members of the press.

Thanks for the heads-up, now I'm frightened...

Seriously, I have nothing against you raising these questions, but
sentences like the above won't help your cause and will just allow
other people to dismiss your arguments more quickly.

M.

--
Michael Bimmler
[hidden email]

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Brian J Mingus
In reply to this post by thekohser
I'm glad someone is concerned about this issue. Wikia has always smacked of
"they wouldn't let us show ads on Wikipedia, so here is the for-profit
branch of Wikipedia with ads." There are potential conflicts of interest at
nearly every level of the Wikia/Wikipedia relationship.

On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 12:37 PM, Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I was very surprised to read on the Wikimedia blog a post from Naoko
> Komura,
> the WMF program manager heading up the Wikipedia Usability Initiative,
> funded by the Stanton Foundation.
>
> Post:
>
> http://blog.wikimedia.org/2009/01/21/a-note-on-the-wikipedia-usability-initiative/
>
> To quote Komura,
>
> "On the space front, we had outgrown our current space in the South of
> Market area of San Francisco, and we were in search of space specifically
> for this project. I am happy to announce that Wikia has agreed to sublease
> two of their conference rooms to the Wikimedia Foundation for the project
> duration (Jan'09-Mar'10). Daniel [Phelps] collected a dozen bids for the
> space in SOMA, and Wikia matched the best offer."
>
> I submitted a comment to the blog, but over seven hours later, it is still
> not published, and there is a history of my questions to that blog being
> ignored or censored.  So, I'm going to ask here, and I'll also advise the
> list moderators that this message is being copied to members of the press.
>
> Could we have more detail, please, on the note that "Wikia matched the best
> offer"?  Were the other ten higher bidders also given the opportunity to
> match the best offer?  Why was Wikia chosen on a "second and adjusted
> offer"
> basis, rather than choosing the good-faith firm that submitted the lowest
> offer initially?  Was the first low bidder given the chance to further
> discount their rate?  If so, what was their response?  If not, why not?
>
> I have to agree with Steven Walling's comment on the blog.  He said, "I
> find
> the idea of the Foundation working that closely with Wikia, literally and
> figuratively, discomforting. We already have enough people confused about
> the difference between the two organizations, and to be honest, this feels
> like nepotism."
>
> Actually, it's not nepotism.  And, there are no uniform laws regarding
> nepotism.  It's potentially worse.  Self-dealing, which is what this really
> smacks of, is covered in case law, judicial opinions, and some statutes.
>
> I have been assured in countless places that "Wikia and the Wikimedia
> Foundation are complete separate organizations" and that there were "no
> business relationships" between the members of a past WMF Board that was
> 60%
> comprised of Wikia employees/owners. Considering the past Wikia/Wikipedia
> fiasco of Ryan "Essjay" Jordan, I would have thought the WMF would be
> hyper-sensitive to working in concert yet again with their neighbor down
> the
> street.
>
> In summary:
>
> We know Wikia was recently laying off workers in the economic downturn.
> Presumably, Wikia now has excess office space per employee.  WMF gets a
> grant, presumably funded by tax-deductible dollars.  Expending that grant
> on
> office space is served up to an ostensibly "open" and "fair" competitive
> search among 12 candidate landlords.  A lowest bid is received.  However, a
> bidder who happens to have strong personnel ties to the Board of WMF and
> the
> Advisory Board of WMF, is given the opportunity to match the lowest bid,
> which they do, since they have empty office space doing them no good empty.
>
> Net result:  Tax-advantaged dollars will be transferred to a for-profit
> corporation with an "inside track" to the decision-making body of the
> non-profit organization.
>
> It strikes me as fishy, to use a gentle word.
>
> --
> Gregory Kohs
> Cell: 302.463.1354
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Andrew Whitworth-2
In reply to this post by thekohser
On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 2:37 PM, Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I submitted a comment to the blog, but over seven hours later, it is still
> not published, and there is a history of my questions to that blog being
> ignored or censored.  So, I'm going to ask here, and I'll also advise the
> list moderators that this message is being copied to members of the press.

I don't mean to be pugilistic here, but...so? A blog isn't really a
publicly accessible forum, even if some people choose to open theirs
as such. Also, which members of the press are you forwarding the
traffic to?

> Could we have more detail, please, on the note that "Wikia matched the best
> offer"?  Were the other ten higher bidders also given the opportunity to
> match the best offer?  Why was Wikia chosen on a "second and adjusted offer"
> basis, rather than choosing the good-faith firm that submitted the lowest
> offer initially?  Was the first low bidder given the chance to further
> discount their rate?  If so, what was their response?  If not, why not?

I'm not sure it matters, the deal with Wikia provides an interesting
opporty for a number of reasons, not just the bottom-line financial
ones. Wikia has been doing a lot of work with MediaWiki, especially
concerning usuability. Also, there is a location issue that's worth
considering too. Close proximity to the WMF headquarters, an
as-good-as-best cost, and an opportunity to work near other engineers
on a similar project is quite a good package deal that isn't really
worth second-guessing. Even if the next 10 closest bidders all matched
or beat that same price when given a second chance, they probably
could not have matched the other benefits of the Wikia offer.

> Actually, it's not nepotism.  And, there are no uniform laws regarding
> nepotism.  It's potentially worse.  Self-dealing, which is what this really
> smacks of, is covered in case law, judicial opinions, and some statutes.

It's like when companies hire new people, they like people with
significant experience in the same industry. It's not nepotism to say
that you want to work with, and to work near, people who are doing
similar work as what you are doing. It's also not nepotism if you
aren't showing undo favoritism: Wikia matched the best offer and
brings additional value to the deal in a number of other ways that I
doubt could be matched by any of the other bidders.

> We know Wikia was recently laying off workers in the economic downturn.
> Presumably, Wikia now has excess office space per employee.  WMF gets a
> grant, presumably funded by tax-deductible dollars.  Expending that grant on
> office space is served up to an ostensibly "open" and "fair" competitive
> search among 12 candidate landlords.  A lowest bid is received.  However, a
> bidder who happens to have strong personnel ties to the Board of WMF and the
> Advisory Board of WMF, is given the opportunity to match the lowest bid,
> which they do, since they have empty office space doing them no good empty.
>
> Net result:  Tax-advantaged dollars will be transferred to a for-profit
> corporation with an "inside track" to the decision-making body of the
> non-profit organization.
>
> It strikes me as fishy, to use a gentle word.

It's fishy that the WMF choose a bid that was equal to the best bid
financially, and had additional non-financial value as well? That's
not fishy, that's good business. Fishy would be if the WMF choose to
accept Wikia's bid if it was not equal to the lowest bid on the table
(and even then, it might still make sense considering the added value
of the Wikia bid). That Wikia may be struggling financially is not
surprising in this economy either, so I don't know why you even bring
that up.

--Andrew Whitworth

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Brion Vibber-3
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
On 1/23/09 11:49 AM, Thomas Dalton wrote:
>> Could we have more detail, please, on the note that "Wikia matched the best
>> offer"?  Were the other ten higher bidders also given the opportunity to
>> match the best offer?  Why was Wikia chosen on a "second and adjusted offer"
>> basis, rather than choosing the good-faith firm that submitted the lowest
>> offer initially?  Was the first low bidder given the chance to further
>> discount their rate?  If so, what was their response?  If not, why not?
>
> I'd appreciate answers to those questions as well.

Wikia's space is physically closer to WMF's main office than the best
other bid, making it easier for the project team to work with the main
office. (We'd much rather keep them *in* our main office, but we're
simply out of room!)

The fact that Wikia also has software developers working on MediaWiki
usability is a big plus as well -- being physically close to Wikia's
office makes technical collaboration with their team easier, which
translates directly to benefiting end users.

These benefits would be present even if the price didn't match the best
other offer, but would have been outweighed by a significant price
difference (or being able to increase our primary space at an effective
cost, say by taking over the space next door which is alas not currently
available).

> "Wikia has been doing intensive work on the usability front and making
> the code available to public, so I look forward to collaborating with
> the Wikia technical and product teams to exchange ideas and learn from
> their work."
>
> There is a certain amount of logic in working with one of the biggest
> non-WMF MediaWiki users on this project.

Bingo.

-- brion

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Ting Chen-2
In reply to this post by thekohser
The Foundation was searching for rooms because the current rooms are
already quite crowded (everyone who had visited the office can confirm
this) and because we will start the usability project we are going to
hire three more developers.

Thus the Foundation has either to lease offices in the vincinity or have
to move completely into a new, bigger site. The Foundation has set up a
list of criterias in search: First of all, move to a new site is more
costly than lease additional office. Second the office that are searched
should be near the main office, for better communication and tech
supports. Third the office must have sufficiant tech infrastructures.
And naturally it should be of a convinient price.

After checking many possibilities at last the Foundation had decided to
lease the offices from Wikia, mainly because all criterias above fills
at best by the Wikia site. The lease contract is a standard contract
with no additional terms. The lease price is average SF lease price. It
is directly beside the main office and it provides the infrastructure we
need.

That's all. There are no other things running here.

The board was informed about the searching of additional or new office
while its October 2008 meeting and was informed about the leasing of the
Wikia office in its January meeting. And if someone is interested in
this: I am told that Jimmy is not involved in this matter, neither on
the WMF side nor on the Wikia side.

Ting

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Brion Vibber-3
> (We'd much rather keep them *in* our main office, but we're
> simply out of room!)

I'm curious, how did that happen exactly? You didn't get the office
that long ago and most of the recent hires have been planned a fair
amount of time in advance. Why did you get a bigger office to start
with?

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Nathan Awrich
In reply to this post by Ting Chen-2
Out of curiosity, will the cost of leasing the space be deducted from the
usability grant funds?

Nathan
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

George William Herbert
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 11:53 AM, Brian <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I'm glad someone is concerned about this issue. Wikia has always smacked of
> "they wouldn't let us show ads on Wikipedia, so here is the for-profit
> branch of Wikipedia with ads." There are potential conflicts of interest at
> nearly every level of the Wikia/Wikipedia relationship.
>

Wikia's content is nearly entirely orthogonal to Wikimedia Foundation
projects.  It's hosting community projects (for profit, using ads for
revenue) which aren't encyclopedic or educational.

There's no more conflict of interest in what they're doing (as a business
model) than a conflict with Google, Facebook, Myspace, etc.

The personnel overlaps are a potential conflict of interest.  The board's
job is to review and avoid actual conflicts of interest.  If this was in
fact the same cost as any other reasonable alternative, and had the
additional proximity benefits with Wikia personnel doing the same general
type of work, then the Board having reviewed it and OKed it is fine by me.

Leaping from "obviously needs scrutiny" to "assuming bad faith" is poor
form, Brian.  That is not helpful.


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

thekohser
In reply to this post by thekohser
> "Wikia has been doing intensive work on the usability front and making
> the code available to public, so I look forward to collaborating with
> the Wikia technical and product teams to exchange ideas and learn from
> their work."
>
> There is a certain amount of logic in working with one of the biggest
> non-WMF MediaWiki users on this project.

Bingo.

-- brion

++++++++++++

It would appear that nobody is concerned about giving the landlord a
leg up on ITS for-profit competitors by supplying them in particular
with a ready feed of intellectual capital in the form of the friendly
Stanton-funded developers?  Lucky for Wikia, Inc.!  I mean, assume
good faith all you want, but if I were a biotech firm trying to
develop a synthetic blood plasma, boy would I love to have the Red
Cross' top research scientists parked in my meeting rooms every day.
And PAYING me for the privilege, to boot?  That's just gravy.

It sounds to me that the (reasonable) criteria that ranked proximity
to WMF and cognate activities as high as, or higher than, monthly
rental rate rather "wired" this contract to Wikia, Inc. from the
get-go.  Kudos for putting on the dutiful show of obtaining 12
separate bids, but the outside world is seeing this for what it is --
a show of equanimity to gloss over a pre-determined outcome.

As for Master Bimmler's concerns about the "fear" imposed by mention
of the media watching, it's only natural for someone who has recently
and historically been censored for asking pertinent questions, to want
some sort of "back up" to assure him he is not living in a digital
version of a Kafkaesque nightmare. If your team would stop censoring
"WP:BADTHOUGHTS", maybe there wouldn't be such a rush to the media?

Gregory Kohs

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Brian J Mingus
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
I do not assume bad faith - by assuming I assume bad faith you are assuming
bad faith.

Your close critics are often your best friends. So long as they aren't
threatening legal action or forwarding their criticisms to the press, they
are forcing you to introspect and determine whether there really is a
problem.

I believe I have been openly critical of Wikia since the idea was first
presented. It's been several years since I commented on Wikia, and my
attitudes on it haven't really changed. I believe the project would have
been more successful if headed up by the Foundation. I could engage in a
lively debate as to whether or not the content of those projects are
educational. It's really a level of analysis fallacy that your making here.

Name a resource that hasn't been shared by the Foundation and Wikia.

On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 1:28 PM, George Herbert <[hidden email]>wrote:

> On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 11:53 AM, Brian <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > I'm glad someone is concerned about this issue. Wikia has always smacked
> of
> > "they wouldn't let us show ads on Wikipedia, so here is the for-profit
> > branch of Wikipedia with ads." There are potential conflicts of interest
> at
> > nearly every level of the Wikia/Wikipedia relationship.
> >
>
> Wikia's content is nearly entirely orthogonal to Wikimedia Foundation
> projects.  It's hosting community projects (for profit, using ads for
> revenue) which aren't encyclopedic or educational.
>
> There's no more conflict of interest in what they're doing (as a business
> model) than a conflict with Google, Facebook, Myspace, etc.
>
> The personnel overlaps are a potential conflict of interest.  The board's
> job is to review and avoid actual conflicts of interest.  If this was in
> fact the same cost as any other reasonable alternative, and had the
> additional proximity benefits with Wikia personnel doing the same general
> type of work, then the Board having reviewed it and OKed it is fine by me.
>
> Leaping from "obviously needs scrutiny" to "assuming bad faith" is poor
> form, Brian.  That is not helpful.
>
>
> --
> -george william herbert
> [hidden email]
> _______________________________________________
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>
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Aryeh Gregor
In reply to this post by thekohser
On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 3:31 PM, Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]> wrote:
> It would appear that nobody is concerned about giving the landlord a
> leg up on ITS for-profit competitors by supplying them in particular
> with a ready feed of intellectual capital in the form of the friendly
> Stanton-funded developers?

All the changes are going to be open-source, and the development
process will be open.  I can't see why you would object to Wikimedia
collaborating with one of the largest end-users of MediaWiki on
improving the software.

I can't see what the claimed conflict of interest is, either.  Did
anyone involved in the decision, from Wikimedia's side, have any
connections to Wikia?  So far both Brion Vibber and Ting Chen have
said that it was the best offer, and neither of them is or ever has
been affiliated with Wikia in any way to my knowledge.

If there's no conflict of interest, then what grounds are there for
suggesting any wrongdoing?  If the deal is good for Wikia, why should
Wikimedia care one way or the other, if it was the best offer from
their perspective?  So good for Wikia, they offered the best terms and
might get better access because of it.

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Michael Snow-3
In reply to this post by Nathan Awrich
Nathan wrote:
> Out of curiosity, will the cost of leasing the space be deducted from the
> usability grant funds?
>  
Normal overhead costs were budgeted into the grant from the beginning.
That's one of the reasons we're not using it to hire 30 developers at
$30,000 a year, but setting more realistic goals for it. While I can't
say exactly offhand what the accounting mechanics will be, the lease
should have no negative effect, either on our ability to execute the
usability grant as intended, or on the use of unrestricted donations for
the normal purposes of the foundation.

--Michael Snow

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Erik Moeller-4
In reply to this post by Michael Bimmler
The issue is pretty plain and simple:
* Our Office Manager explored several options, including Wikia;
* We've suggested to Wikia a fair market rate based on the average of
the other options we obtained;
* After some negotiation, Wikia accepted. Weighing other pros and cons
of the space against other options, we decided to go with Wikia;
* Neither Jimmy Wales nor anyone else involved with both WMF and Wikia
was involved in this decision-making process, to avoid any conflict of
interest.

I know that Wikia/WMF related stuff is pretty exciting, but really, we
have work to do. We're not going to not make a decision that is right
just because it creates fodder for trolling. (And I hope that if this
turns into a troll-fest, the list moderators will take appropriate
action.)
--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

David Levy-8
Erik Moeller wrote:

[snip]

> * We've suggested to Wikia a fair market rate based on the average of
> the other options we obtained;
> * After some negotiation, Wikia accepted. Weighing other pros and cons
> of the space against other options, we decided to go with Wikia;

To clarify, did Wikia match the lowest bid?

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Erik Moeller-4
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
2009/1/23 Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>:
> I'm curious, how did that happen exactly? You didn't get the office
> that long ago and most of the recent hires have been planned a fair
> amount of time in advance.

Growth can be unpredictable for a number of reasons - changing
assumptions about capacity needs, revenue, etc.; the normal
unpredictable factors in any hiring process, etc. This is all expected
and normal for an organization that was, last year, essentially in
start-up mode. The Stanton usability grant, specifically, was not a
planned or anticipated opportunity: we always expected that we'd be
doing significant work in that area, but we were lucky to find a
funder whose goals were lined up with ours to allow this to happen on
a larger scale and sooner than we expected.
--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Andrew Whitworth-2
In reply to this post by thekohser
On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 3:31 PM, Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]> wrote:
> It would appear that nobody is concerned about giving the landlord a
> leg up on ITS for-profit competitors by supplying them in particular
> with a ready feed of intellectual capital in the form of the friendly
> Stanton-funded developers?  Lucky for Wikia, Inc.!  I mean, assume
> good faith all you want, but if I were a biotech firm trying to
> develop a synthetic blood plasma, boy would I love to have the Red
> Cross' top research scientists parked in my meeting rooms every day.
> And PAYING me for the privilege, to boot?  That's just gravy.

Wikia didn't make the decision, the WMF did. The WMF decided to accept
Wikia's bid because of the benefits that the deal brought to the WMF.
The fact that Wikia also happens to benefit from the arrangement
(while, at the same time, receiving the lowest financial compensation
of any of the bidders), is just a nice coincidence for them.

You're ignoring the fact that this arrangement is the best deal for
the WMF, and is the most efficient and most responsible use of it's
funds. Of course, If the WMF instead used their money in a less
responsible manner by going with a higher bidding landlord, you'd find
fault with that too, wouldn't you Greg?

> It sounds to me that the (reasonable) criteria that ranked proximity
> to WMF and cognate activities as high as, or higher than, monthly
> rental rate rather "wired" this contract to Wikia, Inc. from the
> get-go.  Kudos for putting on the dutiful show of obtaining 12
> separate bids, but the outside world is seeing this for what it is --
> a show of equanimity to gloss over a pre-determined outcome.

Let's recap: Wikia submitted the LOWEST bid. The deal with Wikia is
saving the WMF money, and bringing the WMF additional benefits as
well. I don't mind people crying wolf when a real misdeed has been
committed, but no such misdeed has occured here. The WMF solicited
bids, there were two bids that tied for lowest price, and the WMF
selected the option that brought the most value with it. This is good
business and responsible use of tax-advantaged dollars.

> As for Master Bimmler's concerns about the "fear" imposed by mention
> of the media watching, it's only natural for someone who has recently
> and historically been censored for asking pertinent questions, to want
> some sort of "back up" to assure him he is not living in a digital
> version of a Kafkaesque nightmare. If your team would stop censoring
> "WP:BADTHOUGHTS", maybe there wouldn't be such a rush to the media?

So all this time it's been our fault that we get trolled? Shame on the victim!

--Andrew Whitworth

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
2009/1/23 Erik Moeller <[hidden email]>:
> * We've suggested to Wikia a fair market rate based on the average of
> the other options we obtained;

Average, or cheapest? If it really was average, then you're going to
have need to justify precisely how the added bonuses from Wikia are
worth whatever the difference was between the cheapest and the
average. You need to use an abundance of caution when you're a charity
doing business dealings with a company whose board overlaps with
yours.

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Michael Bimmler
In reply to this post by Andrew Whitworth-2
On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 10:14 PM, Andrew Whitworth
<[hidden email]> wrote:

>> As for Master Bimmler's concerns about the "fear" imposed by mention
>> of the media watching, it's only natural for someone who has recently
>> and historically been censored for asking pertinent questions, to want
>> some sort of "back up" to assure him he is not living in a digital
>> version of a Kafkaesque nightmare. If your team would stop censoring
>> "WP:BADTHOUGHTS", maybe there wouldn't be such a rush to the media?
>
> So all this time it's been our fault that we get trolled? Shame on the victim!

Oh, that's fine. I mean, the journalists flooding me with requests to
give a statement about the censorship on Wikimedia lists are a
somewhat annoying pack, but then I knew this when I signed up for the
job. I'll pass on the compliments to "my team" (blimey, I forgot the
end-of-year-performance-assessments).

About Kafka, I can assure you that we will give you notice of the
hearing a bit earlier than they did there. And I'm more into stately
court rooms, I am not so fond of suburbian blocks.

Thanks,
Michael

--
Michael Bimmler
[hidden email]

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