Wikia leasing office space to WMF

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Geoffrey Plourde
Mr. Mingus;

Wikia and wikimedia do the same thing for different reasons. It makes no sense to stovepipe development teams when collaboration (wiki's bread and butter) is in progress. Its a symbiotic relationship and good business in my humble opinion.



________________________________
From: Brian <[hidden email]>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Sent: Friday, January 23, 2009 12:31:49 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Wikia leasing office space to WMF

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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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Geoffrey Plourde
In reply to this post by David Levy-8
Mr. Levy;

I respectfully believe that you are asking the wrong question. Rent is only a small part of cost. The whole cost should have been the arbiter in this matter, and I suspect it was from the posts by personnel.




________________________________
From: David Levy <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Friday, January 23, 2009 1:05:22 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Wikia leasing office space to WMF

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

Geoffrey Plourde
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
With a move you have several costs. The rent is only a small part. Travel is another factor. If rewiring is needed, it will cost even more. All these costs add up to make a real price.




________________________________
From: Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Sent: Friday, January 23, 2009 1:15:06 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Wikia leasing office space to WMF

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

Geoffrey Plourde
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
Beating on a dead horse is not a valid point.


________________________________
From: George Herbert <[hidden email]>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Sent: Friday, January 23, 2009 1:47:54 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Wikia leasing office space to WMF

On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 1:42 PM, Anders Wegge Keller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Delirium <[hidden email]> writes:
>
> > There's a reason organizations that depend on public goodwill try to
> > avoid even the appearance of impropriety in this sort of respect,
> > and auditors usually suggest avoiding those sorts of entanglements.
>
>  Could you please keep the amount of crackpotish kookery at a minimum
> at this list?



I'm somewhat confused - Delirium's comment here is reasonable, accurate, and
a legitimate concern, as opposed to some of the rest of the thread.


--
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Geoffrey Plourde
In reply to this post by Anthony-73
Its the same software for both parties, and its open source. Please just drop it.




________________________________
From: Anthony <[hidden email]>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Sent: Friday, January 23, 2009 6:41:34 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Wikia leasing office space to WMF

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

Chad
On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 12:23 AM, Geoffrey Plourde <[hidden email]>wrote:

> Its the same software for both parties, and its open source. Please just
> drop it.
>

If you would please be so kind as to summarize your viewpoints in
fewer messages. The past 10 to this thread have all been by you.

-Chad
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Naoko Komura
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 3:16 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:

> 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).
>

Hello, Thomas.

I admire your persistence in putting your question forward until your
question is answered.  :-)  Let me try to answer your questions by giving
you the background of this negotiation.  So the number of total quotes
collected are ten including Wikia.  The criteria of request for quotes were
1) the space needs to house minimum five personnel  and (2) the project team
needs a meeting room.  These ten quotes are not apple-to-apple comparison,
for example parameters such as total space availability, infrastructure
readiness, meeting room availability, distance from the WMF, access to
kitchen, noise level, furnished and etc.  Of course, the price varies too.
We narrowed down our selection to two office space candidates, one is a
shared office (open space) with architects and a game software company,
which is near the Moscone Center (15 minutes walk from the WMF).  Let's call
this space X for simplicity's sake.  Wikia's sub-lease space, let's call it
W, offered a smaller floor space than X, but the workspace is enclosed and
can be shut down from noise, and access to a kitchen and toilet were better
than X.  Connectivity was ready to go, we just need to install a router for
WiFi.  W's asking price was more than X, but we said our offer price would
not be more than the price quoted by X.  So, W evaluated if they can rent
out space higher than our offer price.  As there was no higher bidder than
us, W had agreed to offer the space at our offer price.  So the fact that W
is even closer-walking distance (5 minute) which saves about 20 minutes per
trip per person was additional advantage for us.  The traffic between the
satellite office is not just by the project team, but it includes HR, IT and
Finance so this 20 min/trip/person cannot be under-estimated if you
translate it into the 15 months span.  Finally, the fact that the project
team can walk over to Wikia's tech team and exchange ideas or chat by the
water foundation comes on top of fair financial evaluation summarized
above.  I will try my best not to bug Wikia's tech team when they have
deadline to meet though. :-)

FYI - I posted the following reply to blog about 8 hours ago, but since it
hasn't cleared the spam check, let me just insert here;
"On the space front, the bid from the Wikia's space was matched to the
equivalent office space in SOMA.  Leasing office space from the walking
distance location has a great advantage for the project team and the WMF.
As the project team will meet with the WMF's tech team regularly and
administrative resource such as HR and Finance are shared, keeping the
satellite office at walking distance helps save time from going back and
forth.  On the tech collaboration front, we are not treating Wikia's
development work as the solution.  Their work is one of the modified
MediaWiki we are evaluating along with what's out there such as deki,
uniwiki and numerous extensions developed by MediaWiki developers.  The
project team will produce its own code, but if the solution is out there
already, why not collaborate, incorporate, and make it available for
existing and next users of MediaWiki?  Isn't that an open source project all
about? "

I wish you all a jolly weekend.

- Naoko




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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by geni
Hoi,
When the CIA or any other American governmental organisation has something
to share that is of benefit to us, we should be gracious and thankful and
accept and reflect what boon we have been given. Recently we accepted some
advice from Apple. The people around the UNICEF usability extensions have
worked to make their software functional on head. There is a lot of great
work done outside of the WMF and it is at our collective loss when all this
important work is ditched.

If you think the CIA is evil per definition, fine. It does not change one
iota the effort that Brion will put into checking into their code or anyone
else's code. In the end the code makes it obvious if the CIA is evil in
this.
Thanks,
     GerardM

2009/1/24 geni <[hidden email]>

> 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

Nikola Smolenski
On Saturday 24 January 2009 08:48:56 Gerard Meijssen wrote:

> When the CIA or any other American governmental organisation has something
> to share that is of benefit to us, we should be gracious and thankful and
> accept and reflect what boon we have been given. Recently we accepted some
> advice from Apple. The people around the UNICEF usability extensions have
> worked to make their software functional on head. There is a lot of great
> work done outside of the WMF and it is at our collective loss when all this
> important work is ditched.
>
> If you think the CIA is evil per definition, fine. It does not change one
> iota the effort that Brion will put into checking into their code or anyone
> else's code. In the end the code makes it obvious if the CIA is evil in
> this.

CIA is evil by definition. If they offer you something, it will be something
that may seem to be beneficial for you, but will in fact benefit them. Given
that CIA has much more resources than you, you can never be sure if their
help will in fact be detrimental to you.

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
I am glad that I have left my paranoia to a guy who is good at assessing
whatever it is we get in the sense of code. In the mean time we have been
using the CIA fact book for years now. They indeed have more resources and
we have been using them. You know what, when we get code from the CIA, you
can review this sane code as well.
Thanks,
     GerardM

2009/1/24 Nikola Smolenski <[hidden email]>

> On Saturday 24 January 2009 08:48:56 Gerard Meijssen wrote:
> > When the CIA or any other American governmental organisation has
> something
> > to share that is of benefit to us, we should be gracious and thankful and
> > accept and reflect what boon we have been given. Recently we accepted
> some
> > advice from Apple. The people around the UNICEF usability extensions have
> > worked to make their software functional on head. There is a lot of great
> > work done outside of the WMF and it is at our collective loss when all
> this
> > important work is ditched.
> >
> > If you think the CIA is evil per definition, fine. It does not change one
> > iota the effort that Brion will put into checking into their code or
> anyone
> > else's code. In the end the code makes it obvious if the CIA is evil in
> > this.
>
> CIA is evil by definition. If they offer you something, it will be
> something
> that may seem to be beneficial for you, but will in fact benefit them.
> Given
> that CIA has much more resources than you, you can never be sure if their
> help will in fact be detrimental to you.
>
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Dan Rosenthal
In reply to this post by Nikola Smolenski

On Jan 24, 2009, at 3:21 AM, Nikola Smolenski wrote:

> On Saturday 24 January 2009 08:48:56 Gerard Meijssen wrote:
>> When the CIA or any other American governmental organisation has  
>> something
>> to share that is of benefit to us, we should be gracious and  
>> thankful and
>> accept and reflect what boon we have been given. Recently we  
>> accepted some
>> advice from Apple. The people around the UNICEF usability  
>> extensions have
>> worked to make their software functional on head. There is a lot of  
>> great
>> work done outside of the WMF and it is at our collective loss when  
>> all this
>> important work is ditched.
>>
>> If you think the CIA is evil per definition, fine. It does not  
>> change one
>> iota the effort that Brion will put into checking into their code  
>> or anyone
>> else's code. In the end the code makes it obvious if the CIA is  
>> evil in
>> this.
>
> CIA is evil by definition. If they offer you something, it will be  
> something
> that may seem to be beneficial for you, but will in fact benefit  
> them. Given
> that CIA has much more resources than you, you can never be sure if  
> their
> help will in fact be detrimental to you.
>
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And that's evil? That sounds like how any profit-seeking corporation  
ought to work as well.  I fail to see how a governmental intelligence  
agency is evil by definition.

-Dan

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

John Mark Vandenberg
In reply to this post by Nikola Smolenski
On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 6:21 PM, Nikola Smolenski <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Saturday 24 January 2009 08:48:56 Gerard Meijssen wrote:
>> When the CIA or any other American governmental organisation has something
>> to share that is of benefit to us, we should be gracious and thankful and
>> accept and reflect what boon we have been given. Recently we accepted some
>> advice from Apple. The people around the UNICEF usability extensions have
>> worked to make their software functional on head. There is a lot of great
>> work done outside of the WMF and it is at our collective loss when all this
>> important work is ditched.
>>
>> If you think the CIA is evil per definition, fine. It does not change one
>> iota the effort that Brion will put into checking into their code or anyone
>> else's code. In the end the code makes it obvious if the CIA is evil in
>> this.
>
> CIA is evil by definition. If they offer you something, it will be something
> that may seem to be beneficial for you, but will in fact benefit them. Given
> that CIA has much more resources than you, you can never be sure if their
> help will in fact be detrimental to you.

Is the NSA also evil, because the created selinux and gave it to the
open source community?

open source is a non-zero sum game.  In open source, an improvement is
able to be beneficial to everyone even when the donator was being
selfish and building it only for their own needs.

--
John Vandenberg

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Nikola Smolenski
In reply to this post by Gerard Meijssen-3
On Saturday 24 January 2009 09:31:13 Gerard Meijssen wrote:
> whatever it is we get in the sense of code. In the mean time we have been
> using the CIA fact book for years now. They indeed have more resources and

That is an excellent example, CIA fact book is full of CIA's propaganda and
you can never be sure what is propaganda and what is a fact.

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Nikola Smolenski
In reply to this post by John Mark Vandenberg
On Saturday 24 January 2009 09:34:32 John Vandenberg wrote:
> Is the NSA also evil, because the created selinux and gave it to the
> open source community?

No, NSA is evil because it conducts massive illegal spying operations such as
ECHELON.

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by Nikola Smolenski
Hoi,
Sorry, I stated a fact. The CIA fact book has been used for years now. It
was obvious that you would find it an excellent example, but it does show
how much removed you are from this daily practice.
Thanks,
     GerardM

2009/1/24 Nikola Smolenski <[hidden email]>

> On Saturday 24 January 2009 09:31:13 Gerard Meijssen wrote:
> > whatever it is we get in the sense of code. In the mean time we have been
> > using the CIA fact book for years now. They indeed have more resources
> and
>
> That is an excellent example, CIA fact book is full of CIA's propaganda and
> you can never be sure what is propaganda and what is a fact.
>
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Nikola Smolenski
On Saturday 24 January 2009 09:43:54 Gerard Meijssen wrote:
> Sorry, I stated a fact. The CIA fact book has been used for years now. It
> was obvious that you would find it an excellent example, but it does show
> how much removed you are from this daily practice.

Sorry your fact is irrelevant to the argument at hand. The question is whether
intelligence agencies such as CIA can be trusted, and the fact that a number
of people are trusting them still doesn't show that they should be doing so.

> 2009/1/24 Nikola Smolenski <[hidden email]>
> > On Saturday 24 January 2009 09:31:13 Gerard Meijssen wrote:
> > > whatever it is we get in the sense of code. In the mean time we have
> > > been using the CIA fact book for years now. They indeed have more
> > > resources
> >
> > and
> >
> > That is an excellent example, CIA fact book is full of CIA's propaganda
> > and you can never be sure what is propaganda and what is a fact.

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by Nikola Smolenski
Hoi,
So the fact that the CIA and the NSA are evil helps us understand why we are
paying market prices to Wikia, why we are likely to benefit from the Wikia
developed software and why people, all coding MediaWiki, meeting at a water
cooler is a great idea.. and incidentally there is no music practice at the
Wikia office.

Thank you, this will surely help in these deliberations..
      GerardM

2009/1/24 Nikola Smolenski <[hidden email]>

> On Saturday 24 January 2009 09:34:32 John Vandenberg wrote:
> > Is the NSA also evil, because the created selinux and gave it to the
> > open source community?
>
> No, NSA is evil because it conducts massive illegal spying operations such
> as
> ECHELON.
>
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Nikola Smolenski
On Saturday 24 January 2009 09:54:41 Gerard Meijssen wrote:
> So the fact that the CIA and the NSA are evil helps us understand why we
> are paying market prices to Wikia, why we are likely to benefit from the
> Wikia developed software and why people, all coding MediaWiki, meeting at a
> water cooler is a great idea.. and incidentally there is no music practice
> at the Wikia office.

I never said nor implied any of this. You just made that up. From everything I
can see, the decision to lease this space from Wikia was completely
reasonable.

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

John Mark Vandenberg
In reply to this post by Nikola Smolenski
On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 6:42 PM, Nikola Smolenski <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Saturday 24 January 2009 09:34:32 John Vandenberg wrote:
>> Is the NSA also evil, because the created selinux and gave it to the
>> open source community?
>
> No, NSA is evil because it conducts massive illegal spying operations such as
> ECHELON.

And how does that relate to selinux, or how does the CIA activities
relate to their contributions to MediaWiki ?

--
John Vandenberg
Currently reading [[Guests of the Ayatollah]], which highlights the
CIA intervention of [[Operation Ajax]], which results in an apology in
2000.

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Nikola Smolenski
On Saturday 24 January 2009 10:02:17 John Vandenberg wrote:

> On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 6:42 PM, Nikola Smolenski <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > On Saturday 24 January 2009 09:34:32 John Vandenberg wrote:
> >> Is the NSA also evil, because the created selinux and gave it to the
> >> open source community?
> >
> > No, NSA is evil because it conducts massive illegal spying operations
> > such as ECHELON.
>
> And how does that relate to selinux, or how does the CIA activities
> relate to their contributions to MediaWiki ?

Given that we know that NSA conducts massive illegal spying operations, there
is possibility that selinux is altered in a fashion that will make it easier
for NSA to spy on selinux' users. I don't know what are CIA's contributions
to MediaWiki, but unless it is trivial to review them, I would not accept
them.

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