Wikia leasing office space to WMF

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Ziko van Dijk
2009/1/23 Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]>
>
>
> The natural state of these discussions is that there are always people
> pissing in the wind. That spoils things somewhat.
>

Hear hear, true words in a typical Dutch wording. :-)
I am amazed about the transparency and openess the staff members are giving
here, and I am looking forward to the results of these splendid work
conditions.

Kind regards
Ziko


"Wer durch des Argwohns Brille schaut,
sieht Raupen selbst im Sauerkraut."
Wilhelm Busch

--
Ziko van Dijk
NL-Silvolde
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Delphine Ménard
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 20:53, 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.

I never thought I would say what comes next.
As much as I have been a fierce defender of a clear cut between Wikia
and Wikimedia, I must admit that I find this solution to be one of the
best things that has happened to the usability project.

About space: been there, and yes, Wikia's headquarters are a street
away, so really easy to plan meetings and make sure things happen in
coordinated fashion between the Wikimedia office and the Usability
project.

About working near Wikia: Wikia, as was said elsewhere, is one of the
biggest Mediawiki users out there and therefore has, in my opinion,
probably the best incentive to make sure that Mediawiki develops in a
way that makes sense for the users. They already have a pretty big
developper team, and having them at hand will definitely broaden the
usability project vision on what a wiki can/should do to be more user
friendly.

Who more than a commercial user of Mediawiki has an interest in its
evolution _for the best_ of users?

I see absolutely no conflict of interest. Where? Seriously? Wikia is
renting walls, tables and chairs to the Wikimedia Foundation, that's
all. And on top of that, they bring to the coffee machine talks tons
of ideas and experience in the daily use of the software.

And frankly, without this thread, everyone would have forgotten the
move two days from now and seen nothing in it. Gee, it's time to grow
up and stop seeing the cabal everywhere.

Cheers,

Delphine
--
~notafish

NB. This gmail address is used for mailing lists. Personal emails will get lost.
Ceci n'est pas une endive - http://blog.notanendive.org

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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]>:

> 2009/1/23 Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>:
>> Sounds good. Could you calmly and sensibly explain it to me, then? How
>> did you come to decide that the addition benefits of working in
>> Wikia's offices were worth the extra money? (I'm willing to accept
>> that there could be a good explanation, I'd just like to see it.)
>
> I already named some of them - greater proximity, shared kitchen use,
> shared speakerphone use, established Internet connectivity. The other
> space we were looking at also had noise issues: open concept with two
> other tenants, and some noise every day at 6PM due to music lessons in
> the same building.

I was looking for something a little more quantitative. I know it is
difficult to quantify these things, which is why, in my experience,
charities usually err on the side of caution. In fact, the model
governing documents for the UK Charities Commission explicitly forbids
any such dealings with companies that share directors with the charity
(I'm not sure the law requires such strict rules, but they are
certainly recommended).

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Brian J Mingus
In reply to this post by Delphine Ménard
This time next year I have no doubt Wikipedia will be much more usable.
Delphine, this sentence is the first time I have ever typed the word
'cabal'.

I do hope people continue to express concern about the Wikipedia/Wikia
relationship. The existence of Wikia doesn't make a whole lot of sense,
except the $$$ kind.


On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 4:13 PM, Delphine Ménard <[hidden email]>wrote:

> On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 20:53, 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.
>
> I never thought I would say what comes next.
> As much as I have been a fierce defender of a clear cut between Wikia
> and Wikimedia, I must admit that I find this solution to be one of the
> best things that has happened to the usability project.
>
> About space: been there, and yes, Wikia's headquarters are a street
> away, so really easy to plan meetings and make sure things happen in
> coordinated fashion between the Wikimedia office and the Usability
> project.
>
> About working near Wikia: Wikia, as was said elsewhere, is one of the
> biggest Mediawiki users out there and therefore has, in my opinion,
> probably the best incentive to make sure that Mediawiki develops in a
> way that makes sense for the users. They already have a pretty big
> developper team, and having them at hand will definitely broaden the
> usability project vision on what a wiki can/should do to be more user
> friendly.
>
> Who more than a commercial user of Mediawiki has an interest in its
> evolution _for the best_ of users?
>
> I see absolutely no conflict of interest. Where? Seriously? Wikia is
> renting walls, tables and chairs to the Wikimedia Foundation, that's
> all. And on top of that, they bring to the coffee machine talks tons
> of ideas and experience in the daily use of the software.
>
> And frankly, without this thread, everyone would have forgotten the
> move two days from now and seen nothing in it. Gee, it's time to grow
> up and stop seeing the cabal everywhere.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Delphine
> --
> ~notafish
>
> NB. This gmail address is used for mailing lists. Personal emails will get
> lost.
> Ceci n'est pas une endive - http://blog.notanendive.org
>
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Delphine Ménard
On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 00:35, Brian <[hidden email]> wrote:
> This time next year I have no doubt Wikipedia will be much more usable.
> Delphine, this sentence is the first time I have ever typed the word
> 'cabal'.

:D

To be fair, I didn't so mean the word cabal for your intervention as
for other interventions in this thread, but yours was the shortest to
answer to :P

> I do hope people continue to express concern about the Wikipedia/Wikia
> relationship. The existence of Wikia doesn't make a whole lot of sense,
> except the $$$ kind.

Yes, as I pointed out, I am the first to have been concerned and I
will be again when there is reason to be. I firmly believe this
renting of offices isn't a reason.

Cheers,

Delphine
--
~notafish

NB. This gmail address is used for mailing lists. Personal emails will get lost.
Ceci n'est pas une endive - http://blog.notanendive.org

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Michael Snow-3
Delphine Ménard wrote:

> On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 00:35, Brian <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>> I do hope people continue to express concern about the Wikipedia/Wikia
>> relationship. The existence of Wikia doesn't make a whole lot of sense,
>> except the $$$ kind.
>>    
> Yes, as I pointed out, I am the first to have been concerned and I
> will be again when there is reason to be. I firmly believe this
> renting of offices isn't a reason.
>  
Likewise, I was not thrilled that we ended up reopening this can of
worms, after the effort that had gone into removing all financial
connections to Wikia. But I'm persuaded that it is the right choice for
Wikimedia as a business decision, and our responsibility is to make such
choices, not avoid them in deference to those who will believe the worst.

--Michael Snow


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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Thomas Dalton
2009/1/24 Michael Snow <[hidden email]>:

> Delphine Ménard wrote:
>> On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 00:35, Brian <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>> I do hope people continue to express concern about the Wikipedia/Wikia
>>> relationship. The existence of Wikia doesn't make a whole lot of sense,
>>> except the $$$ kind.
>>>
>> Yes, as I pointed out, I am the first to have been concerned and I
>> will be again when there is reason to be. I firmly believe this
>> renting of offices isn't a reason.
>>
> Likewise, I was not thrilled that we ended up reopening this can of
> worms, after the effort that had gone into removing all financial
> connections to Wikia. But I'm persuaded that it is the right choice for
> Wikimedia as a business decision, and our responsibility is to make such
> choices, not avoid them in deference to those who will believe the worst.

You need to strike a balance there - people thinking the worst is a
bad thing for the foundation and does need to be weighed into
determining whether something is a good business decision or not. The
key thing is how you justify it to the community and the public, and I
do think some numbers would help there - how much extra did you pay?
How much time will be saved by being nearer to the WMF offices? That
kind of thing.

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Anthony-73
In reply to this post by Delphine Ménard
On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 6:13 PM, Delphine Ménard <[hidden email]>wrote:

> Wikia, as was said elsewhere, is one of the
> biggest Mediawiki users out there and therefore has, in my opinion,
> probably the best incentive to make sure that Mediawiki develops in a
> way that makes sense for the users.


And what better way to do that then to have people come down to the Wikia
office and work on improving Wikia's software, while the Wikimedia
Foundation pays for not only the developers, but rent on the space they use
while developing!
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Thomas Dalton
2009/1/24 Anthony <[hidden email]>:

> On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 6:13 PM, Delphine Ménard <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
>> Wikia, as was said elsewhere, is one of the
>> biggest Mediawiki users out there and therefore has, in my opinion,
>> probably the best incentive to make sure that Mediawiki develops in a
>> way that makes sense for the users.
>
>
> And what better way to do that then to have people come down to the Wikia
> office and work on improving Wikia's software, while the Wikimedia
> Foundation pays for not only the developers, but rent on the space they use
> while developing!

Who cares if Wikia benefits? It's the benefit to WMF that matters. As
long as it is an undeniably good business decision for WMF, the fact
that it's also a good deal for Wikia doesn't factor into it. I've yet
to see any numbers, though, so I don't know if it was undeniably good.
(I think it was good, but that's not enough when you're a charity
dealing with potential COIs.)

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Sue Gardner-2
2009/1/23 Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>:
> 2009/1/24 Anthony <[hidden email]>:
>> On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 6:13 PM, Delphine Ménard <[hidden email]>wrote:

My reply isn't specific to what Thomas wrote; this is a general
comment on this thread.  I've been reading it with a lot of interest,
and there are a couple of things I'd like to add to what's already
been said.

First, I want to be clear – it was my decision to sublet the space
from Wikia. I believe it's the right thing for Wikimedia :-)

It's the right decision from a practical standpoint, for the reasons
outlined earlier by Erik and others. And beyond that, I also believe
it is appropriate and reasonable for the Wikimedia Foundation and
Wikia to have a normal working relationship – one that is neither
overly entangled, nor exaggeratedly distant.  Wikia does not do
exactly what we do, but it does similar work.  It makes sense for us
to have a collegial, friendly relationship with Wikia, exactly as we
do with dozens of other organizations who do work that is similar to
ours, or aligned with it.

I would also say that I am happy we're talking about this, and I hope
the people asking questions are finding the answers reasonably
reassuring :-)

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

George William Herbert
In reply to this post by Anthony-73
On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 6:41 PM, Anthony <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 6:13 PM, Delphine Ménard <[hidden email]
> >wrote:
>
> > Wikia, as was said elsewhere, is one of the
> > biggest Mediawiki users out there and therefore has, in my opinion,
> > probably the best incentive to make sure that Mediawiki develops in a
> > way that makes sense for the users.
>
>
> And what better way to do that then to have people come down to the Wikia
> office and work on improving Wikia's software, while the Wikimedia
> Foundation pays for not only the developers, but rent on the space they use
> while developing!
>


This is a bizarre attitude.  Mediawiki is an open source software package.
Everyone should benefit from improvements, and we should take any
opportunity to cooperate with any company willing to invest time and money
into helping with that.

The suggestion that we should not cooperate with Wikia in this improvement
is absurd.


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

geni
In reply to this post by Sue Gardner-2
2009/1/24 Sue Gardner <[hidden email]>:
> I would also say that I am happy we're talking about this, and I hope
> the people asking questions are finding the answers reasonably
> reassuring :-)

Depends. The wikia is a large user therefor we should work with them
argument is somewhat worrying because well we know the CIA is also a
large user.


--
geni

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Anthony-73
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 9:47 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:

> 2009/1/24 Anthony <[hidden email]>:
> > On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 6:13 PM, Delphine Ménard <[hidden email]
> >wrote:
> >
> >> Wikia, as was said elsewhere, is one of the
> >> biggest Mediawiki users out there and therefore has, in my opinion,
> >> probably the best incentive to make sure that Mediawiki develops in a
> >> way that makes sense for the users.
> >
> >
> > And what better way to do that then to have people come down to the Wikia
> > office and work on improving Wikia's software, while the Wikimedia
> > Foundation pays for not only the developers, but rent on the space they
> use
> > while developing!
>
> Who cares if Wikia benefits? It's the benefit to WMF that matters. As
> long as it is an undeniably good business decision for WMF, the fact
> that it's also a good deal for Wikia doesn't factor into it.


It doesn't factor into it?  You'd make a terrible used car salesman!

Anyway, I think you're reading more into what I wrote than I intended.
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Anthony-73
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 9:52 PM, George Herbert <[hidden email]>wrote:

> On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 6:41 PM, Anthony <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 6:13 PM, Delphine Ménard <[hidden email]
> > >wrote:
> >
> > > Wikia, as was said elsewhere, is one of the
> > > biggest Mediawiki users out there and therefore has, in my opinion,
> > > probably the best incentive to make sure that Mediawiki develops in a
> > > way that makes sense for the users.
> >
> >
> > And what better way to do that then to have people come down to the Wikia
> > office and work on improving Wikia's software, while the Wikimedia
> > Foundation pays for not only the developers, but rent on the space they
> use
> > while developing!
>
> This is a bizarre attitude.  Mediawiki is an open source software package.
> Everyone should benefit from improvements, and we should take any
> opportunity to cooperate with any company willing to invest time and money
> into helping with that.
>
> The suggestion that we should not cooperate with Wikia in this improvement
> is absurd.


The whole thing is absurd.

But I never suggested that you shouldn't cooperate with Wikia.  Do whatever
you want.  It's not my money.
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

George William Herbert
In reply to this post by geni
On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 7:07 PM, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:

> 2009/1/24 Sue Gardner <[hidden email]>:
> > I would also say that I am happy we're talking about this, and I hope
> > the people asking questions are finding the answers reasonably
> > reassuring :-)
>
> Depends. The wikia is a large user therefor we should work with them
> argument is somewhat worrying because well we know the CIA is also a
> large user.
>

What the CIA has admitted doing to Mediawiki (adding in the classification
levels and more robust audit trail stuff, etc) is consistent with increasing
usability for some commercial environments, where current access control /
management features are somewhat marginal.


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

Geoffrey Plourde
In reply to this post by thekohser
Mr Kohs;

Some of your points have merit as there are many areas in which we can and should improve. However, I must respectfully note that your comments here serve only to divide a already fractured community even further. As a Californian, I disagree with your assertions of nepotism and favoritism most vehemently.

Since you live in Pennsylvania, you may not be aware of this but rents in California tend to be fairly exorbitant. San Francisco is no exception. Office space has always been at a premium. When looking at bids, I assume that our hard working staff took many factors into consideration, as price is one out of many important items. One major factor would be the working dynamic and utilization. Wikia and Wikimedia, although different types of corporations, utilize the same software for similar purposes. This means that the Wikia office space would be usable by Foundation staff, as it would already be designed for those working with wikis. With another landlord, the Foundation might need to reconfigure the space, which costs time and money. Also, Wikia staff would be competent enough to assist with problems and capable of making changes. Another landlord might be difficult to reach or unable to work with staff to alleviate problems. Also they might not be
 able to understand what staff would need and be difficult to work with. The real cost is never just the sticker price, its all the hidden surprises. Renting from a similar organization eliminates these hidden surprises and makes for a smooth transition.

You also make the assertion of nepotism and impropriety. I fail to see why this is improper. Big whoop, Jimbo owns Wikia. Everybody knows it and it has never been hidden. He isn't going to profit from a simple subletting deal. Wikia has bills too and I assume has to pay rent. This makes the transfer of money moot, as money goes into private coffers all the time to keep nonprofits going. There is nothing wrong with this agreement, and it in no way means that Wikia and Wikimedia are joined.

My final point is that you have made these allegations without access to Board and staff documents. You therefore do not have the whole picture and have no standing to criticize those who do. This attempt to create division has no place and distracts us from the Foundation's goal.

Sincerely;

Geoffrey Plourde


________________________________
From: Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Friday, January 23, 2009 11:37:37 AM
Subject: [Foundation-l] Wikia leasing office space to WMF

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

Geoffrey Plourde
In reply to this post by Michael Bimmler
Press contacts take note. Please enlighten any reporters with a basic primer in common sense.




________________________________
From: Michael Bimmler <[hidden email]>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Sent: Friday, January 23, 2009 11:53:27 AM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Wikia leasing office space to WMF

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

Geoffrey Plourde
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
Wikia is a way to utilize MediaWiki for profit. The United States is a capitalist society, and this should be encouraged. Also Wikia hosts many fansites and I don't hear them complaining about people playing ball.




________________________________
From: Brian <[hidden email]>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Sent: Friday, January 23, 2009 11:53:59 AM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Wikia leasing office space to WMF

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
> _______________________________________________
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>
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Geoffrey Plourde
In reply to this post by Brion Vibber-3
Brion;

Thank you for your enlightened perspective on how the sticker price isn't the only cost.




________________________________
From: Brion Vibber <[hidden email]>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Sent: Friday, January 23, 2009 12:08:27 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Wikia leasing office space to WMF

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

Geoffrey Plourde
In reply to this post by thekohser
Mr Kohs;

You are beating on a dead horse. Mr. Vibber has brought forth a list of perfectly valid reasons why this space was taken. LET ME REITERATE THE COST OF REWIRING/RECONFIGURING SPACE IN CALIFORNIA. Why should a taco stand use a dry cleaning shop when it can get another taco shop?






________________________________
From: Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Friday, January 23, 2009 12:31:33 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Wikia leasing office space to WMF

> "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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