Wikia leasing office space to WMF

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
If it is trivial to review, it is probable trivial to code. Like all code
that is of interest, it needs to be properly reviewed. As we are talking
open source even you may review such code. If that is what it takes to have
your paranoia get some rest ... Have a look at SELinux, and in the mean time
I am interested to see some contributions from the CIA, or the NSA or their
Serbian equivalents  to MediaWiki. When they are of interest, I would like
to see them localised at BetaWiki and yes, the translators of the CIA are
welcome to localise at BetaWiki as well because in the end we all benefit,
all in our own way.
Thanks.
     GerardM

Can we please get some sanity ? Cooperation will help us forward, we all
need to get along enough so that we can appreciate the good things that we
share. It is in the sharing that the "other" becomes a friend or at least
more friendly.

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

> 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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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by geni
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.


If the CIA send their changes back and they're of suitable quality, I
expect they'll go in. The NSA contributes lots to Linux!


- d.

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

David Levy-8
In reply to this post by Geoffrey Plourde
I wrote:

> > To clarify, did Wikia match the lowest bid?

Geoffrey Plourde replied:

> 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.

I'm certainly not implying that rent was the only valid consideration.
 I asked the question because there was confusion regarding this
specific point (with many people under the incorrect impression that
Wikia's bid tied the lowest).

I personally agree with the decision to rent office space from Wikia,
but I also agree that it's likely to come across as suspicious to many
(and therefore warrants intense scrutiny).  As others have noted, the
mere appearance of impropriety (even where none exists) can be
injurious to an organization's reputation.  Thus far, I'm pleased with
the forthright response from those involved in the decision.

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

David Levy-8
In reply to this post by Geoffrey Plourde
Geoffrey Plourde wrote:

> Beating on a dead horse is not a valid point.

I don't regard that as a remotely fair description of Delirium's input.

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

David Levy-8
In reply to this post by Naoko Komura
Naoko Komura wrote:

[snip]

> [Wikia]'s asking price was more than X, but we said our offer
> price would not be more than the price quoted by X.  So,
> [Wikia] evaluated if they can rent out space higher than our
> offer price.  As there was no higher bidder than us, [Wikia]
> had agreed to offer the space at our offer price.

Hence your statement that "Wikia matched the best offer."  That seems
entirely reasonable.

Is it correct to assume that Erik Möller erred in stating that Wikia
was offered "a fair market rate based on the average of the other
options ... obtained"?

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Anthony-73
In reply to this post by Geoffrey Plourde
Geoffrey,

I mostly agree with you that there's nothing wrong per se with the Wikimedia
Foundation sharing office space with Wikia.  From Erik's description of the
bidding process, I think the WMF is overpaying, though.  I think the "used
car salesman" analogy is appropriate.  There are lots of price points where
the WMF and Wikia both benefit.  The WMF seems to have gone out of its way
to help Wikia come up with the maximum such price point, while they should
have played harder to get.  Why wasn't Wikia made part of the bidding
process exactly like all the others?  Why were they given a suggested rate
which was then accepted?  How much of the process was explained to Wikia, or
known by anyone affiliated with Wikia, before the deal was accepted?  Why
does the press release describe the process one way (Wikia matched the
lowest bid) but Erik describe it another way (Wikia was offered the average
bid)?  From the descriptions provided it looks like the WMF decided to rent
space from Wikia, and then they took a bunch of bids to figure out a market
price.

This said, there are others who have in the past expressed very different
opinions about this sort of thing.  When the announcement was made that the
Wikimedia Foundation was moving to San Francisco, I asked whether or not
Wikia might be willing to donate some office space to the WMF (
http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2007-September/033264.html).
Florence Devouard quickly answered saying that even if they were, the WMF
shouldn't accept it (
http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2007-September/033276.html).
In Florence's mind, the potential for conflicts and appearance of conflicts
was so great that the Wikimedia Foundation shouldn't even accept office
space from Wikia *for free* (
http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2007-September/033279.html
).

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen also responded, stating that he completely agreed with
Florence (
http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2007-September/033281.html).
"Being perceived as tied at the hip to Wikia could potentially be
disastrous."  Then Angela chimed in, with the following:

"Wikia's donations towards the Foundation would be better spent elsewhere
rather than causing further confusion about the relationship between the two
companies by sharing an address.  Added to that, Wikia is in San Mateo which
is not ideal and not where Wikimedia is planning to be, and there is very
limited space in Wikia's office." (
http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2007-September/033321.html
)

Not sure if these three still feel this way, and are just keeping quiet
about it, or if they've changed their minds.  At least some of the details
of Angela's view have changed, and sharing some space is of course different
from sharing all of it.  But each of the three cited as one of the major
detriments to Wikia *donating* office space to the WMF, that it would be
perceived as a conflict of interest.

Anthony

On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 11:58 PM, Geoffrey Plourde <[hidden email]>wrote:

> 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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>
>
>
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Platonides
In reply to this post by Nikola Smolenski
Nikola Smolenski wrote:
> 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.

If the CIA were to hand you a improved-mediawiki binary, sure. You could
very well be suspicious about it. But we're talking about open source.
They would be providing the changes, which are to be reviewed, like any
other code, or perhaps even more, due to coming from the CIA.

Take into account that CIA and NSA need good software, too. So if they
add a backdoor, they would need to add it *and* at the same time make it
easy to protect from it, as they wouldn't want their own systems spied
by their own rootkit (and someone will end up forgetting to apply it).

Instead, contributing good fixes, make everything easier.

OTOH I encourage you to review selinux. That would make a great heading
'Nikola Smolenski discovers NSA backdoor on Linux code'


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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Brian J Mingus
> If the CIA were to hand you a improved-mediawiki binary, sure
PHP is an interpreted language. Surely you wouldn't use someone elses byte
code.


On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 8:32 AM, Platonides <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Nikola Smolenski wrote:
> > 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.
>
> If the CIA were to hand you a improved-mediawiki binary, sure. You could
> very well be suspicious about it. But we're talking about open source.
> They would be providing the changes, which are to be reviewed, like any
> other code, or perhaps even more, due to coming from the CIA.
>
> Take into account that CIA and NSA need good software, too. So if they
> add a backdoor, they would need to add it *and* at the same time make it
> easy to protect from it, as they wouldn't want their own systems spied
> by their own rootkit (and someone will end up forgetting to apply it).
>
> Instead, contributing good fixes, make everything easier.
>
> OTOH I encourage you to review selinux. That would make a great heading
> 'Nikola Smolenski discovers NSA backdoor on Linux code'
>
>
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Naoko Komura
2009/1/24 Naoko Komura <[hidden email]>:
> 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.

Persistence is certainly not something I'm lacking! Some disagree
about how admirable that is, though...

> 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

How did you narrow it down? Was there something specific the cheaper
bids were lacking?

>, 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.

Well, it certainly sounds like you made the right decision between X
and W - a better solution for the same cost, who wouldn't take it? So
it seems the only question remaining is about how you came up with the
shortlist.

Thank you for helping me understand this decision.

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Alex Zaddach
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
Brian wrote:

>> If the CIA were to hand you a improved-mediawiki binary, sure
> PHP is an interpreted language. Surely you wouldn't use someone elses byte
> code.
>
>
> On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 8:32 AM, Platonides <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Nikola Smolenski wrote:
>>> 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.
>> If the CIA were to hand you a improved-mediawiki binary, sure. You could
>> very well be suspicious about it. But we're talking about open source.
>> They would be providing the changes, which are to be reviewed, like any
>> other code, or perhaps even more, due to coming from the CIA.
>>
>> Take into account that CIA and NSA need good software, too. So if they
>> add a backdoor, they would need to add it *and* at the same time make it
>> easy to protect from it, as they wouldn't want their own systems spied
>> by their own rootkit (and someone will end up forgetting to apply it).
>>
>> Instead, contributing good fixes, make everything easier.
>>
>> OTOH I encourage you to review selinux. That would make a great heading
>> 'Nikola Smolenski discovers NSA backdoor on Linux code'
>>

This is getting rather off-topic, especially for this thread, and
possibly for the list as well.

--
Alex (wikipedia:en:User:Mr.Z-man)

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Naoko Komura
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 8:36 AM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:

> 2009/1/24 Naoko Komura <[hidden email]>:
> > 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.
>
> Persistence is certainly not something I'm lacking! Some disagree
> about how admirable that is, though...


I think it is a good trait to have and admirable.


>
> > 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
>
> How did you narrow it down? Was there something specific the cheaper
> bids were lacking?
>

More than of the quotes were either above the price range we had in mind or
at the high end within the range.  The price range we had in mind was
$2,500-$3,000 for five to six people.  (Additional desk is for a visiting
staff from the WMF)  There are a few quotes which came below the range, but
the space either lacked a meeting space, lacked infrastructure like LAN, or
required public transportation from the WMF office.  The lease term with
Wikia is $2,500 per month, month-to-month.  The budget allows us to invest
more fund for the space, but we would like to spend the gift prudently.  It
is always better to set aside funds so that we can invest in reusable tools
such as automation of test tools and have ability to expand scope of
usability test and product improvements.

[snip]


> Thank you for helping me understand this decision.


You are very welcome.  Do you think we are CIO ready if the WMF were
U.K.-based entity? :-)

Best,

- Naoko



>
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Brian J Mingus
In reply to this post by Alex Zaddach
It was a clear factual error which I corrected. If you aren't going to
criticize the original comment you have no basis for criticizing the
correction.
At any rate, what exactly is the topic of this thread, in your opinion?


On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 10:42 AM, Alex <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Brian wrote:
> >> If the CIA were to hand you a improved-mediawiki binary, sure
> > PHP is an interpreted language. Surely you wouldn't use someone elses
> byte
> > code.
> >
> >
> > On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 8:32 AM, Platonides <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> >
> >> Nikola Smolenski wrote:
> >>> 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.
> >> If the CIA were to hand you a improved-mediawiki binary, sure. You could
> >> very well be suspicious about it. But we're talking about open source.
> >> They would be providing the changes, which are to be reviewed, like any
> >> other code, or perhaps even more, due to coming from the CIA.
> >>
> >> Take into account that CIA and NSA need good software, too. So if they
> >> add a backdoor, they would need to add it *and* at the same time make it
> >> easy to protect from it, as they wouldn't want their own systems spied
> >> by their own rootkit (and someone will end up forgetting to apply it).
> >>
> >> Instead, contributing good fixes, make everything easier.
> >>
> >> OTOH I encourage you to review selinux. That would make a great heading
> >> 'Nikola Smolenski discovers NSA backdoor on Linux code'
> >>
>
> This is getting rather off-topic, especially for this thread, and
> possibly for the list as well.
>
> --
> Alex (wikipedia:en:User:Mr.Z-man)
>
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Naoko Komura
2009/1/24 Naoko Komura <[hidden email]>:
> On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 8:36 AM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:
>> Persistence is certainly not something I'm lacking! Some disagree
>> about how admirable that is, though...
>
>
> I think it is a good trait to have and admirable.

Well, thank you.

> More than of the quotes were either above the price range we had in mind or
> at the high end within the range.  The price range we had in mind was
> $2,500-$3,000 for five to six people.  (Additional desk is for a visiting
> staff from the WMF)  There are a few quotes which came below the range, but
> the space either lacked a meeting space, lacked infrastructure like LAN, or
> required public transportation from the WMF office.  The lease term with
> Wikia is $2,500 per month, month-to-month.  The budget allows us to invest
> more fund for the space, but we would like to spend the gift prudently.  It
> is always better to set aside funds so that we can invest in reusable tools
> such as automation of test tools and have ability to expand scope of
> usability test and product improvements.

Sounds good. Thank you.

>> Thank you for helping me understand this decision.
>
>
> You are very welcome.  Do you think we are CIO ready if the WMF were
> U.K.-based entity? :-)

I would need to review the legislation. This kind of deal certainly
wouldn't be recommended, but it's probably legal.

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Chad
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 1:53 PM, Brian <[hidden email]> wrote:

> It was a clear factual error which I corrected. If you aren't going to
> criticize the original comment you have no basis for criticizing the
> correction.
> At any rate, what exactly is the topic of this thread, in your opinion?
>
>
> On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 10:42 AM, Alex <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Brian wrote:
> > >> If the CIA were to hand you a improved-mediawiki binary, sure
> > > PHP is an interpreted language. Surely you wouldn't use someone elses
> > byte
> > > code.
> > >
> > >
> > > On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 8:32 AM, Platonides <[hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > >> Nikola Smolenski wrote:
> > >>> 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.
> > >> If the CIA were to hand you a improved-mediawiki binary, sure. You
> could
> > >> very well be suspicious about it. But we're talking about open source.
> > >> They would be providing the changes, which are to be reviewed, like
> any
> > >> other code, or perhaps even more, due to coming from the CIA.
> > >>
> > >> Take into account that CIA and NSA need good software, too. So if they
> > >> add a backdoor, they would need to add it *and* at the same time make
> it
> > >> easy to protect from it, as they wouldn't want their own systems spied
> > >> by their own rootkit (and someone will end up forgetting to apply it).
> > >>
> > >> Instead, contributing good fixes, make everything easier.
> > >>
> > >> OTOH I encourage you to review selinux. That would make a great
> heading
> > >> 'Nikola Smolenski discovers NSA backdoor on Linux code'
> > >>
> >
> > This is getting rather off-topic, especially for this thread, and
> > possibly for the list as well.
> >
> > --
> > Alex (wikipedia:en:User:Mr.Z-man)
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > foundation-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
> >
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This thread is (supposedly) about Wikia leasing some office space to
the WMF. How it degenerated into a conspiracy-fest about the CIA/NSA,
I haven't figured out yet. In any case, Alex's comments echo my own: this
back-and-forth has veered horribly off-topic.

-Chad
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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Alex Zaddach
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
I'm criticizing the switch from "Wikia leasing office space to WMF" to
"Is the CIA evil?" I just responded to the most recent email in my
inbox; I thought that would be more appropriate than responding to all
17 CIA/NSA-related emails. I was not criticizing you in particular.

The topic of this thread is "Wikia leasing office space to WMF," that
should be rather clear from the subject. And the topic of the list is
"Wikimedia related issues." Its almost on topic for the list (MediaWiki
is at least mentioned occasionally), its certainly not at all related to
the topic of the thread.

Brian wrote:

> It was a clear factual error which I corrected. If you aren't going to
> criticize the original comment you have no basis for criticizing the
> correction.
> At any rate, what exactly is the topic of this thread, in your opinion?
>
>
> On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 10:42 AM, Alex <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Brian wrote:
>>>> If the CIA were to hand you a improved-mediawiki binary, sure
>>> PHP is an interpreted language. Surely you wouldn't use someone elses
>> byte
>>> code.
>>>
>>>
>>> On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 8:32 AM, Platonides <[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>>>> Nikola Smolenski wrote:
>>>>> 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.
>>>> If the CIA were to hand you a improved-mediawiki binary, sure. You could
>>>> very well be suspicious about it. But we're talking about open source.
>>>> They would be providing the changes, which are to be reviewed, like any
>>>> other code, or perhaps even more, due to coming from the CIA.
>>>>
>>>> Take into account that CIA and NSA need good software, too. So if they
>>>> add a backdoor, they would need to add it *and* at the same time make it
>>>> easy to protect from it, as they wouldn't want their own systems spied
>>>> by their own rootkit (and someone will end up forgetting to apply it).
>>>>
>>>> Instead, contributing good fixes, make everything easier.
>>>>
>>>> OTOH I encourage you to review selinux. That would make a great heading
>>>> 'Nikola Smolenski discovers NSA backdoor on Linux code'
>>>>
>> This is getting rather off-topic, especially for this thread, and
>> possibly for the list as well.
>>
>> --
>> Alex (wikipedia:en:User:Mr.Z-man)
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> foundation-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>>
> _______________________________________________
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> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
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--
Alex (wikipedia:en:User:Mr.Z-man)

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Brian J Mingus
Let me make my position clear:
* Correcting factual errors is always appropriate.
* This thread no longer has a clear topic.


On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 12:41 PM, Alex <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I'm criticizing the switch from "Wikia leasing office space to WMF" to
> "Is the CIA evil?" I just responded to the most recent email in my
> inbox; I thought that would be more appropriate than responding to all
> 17 CIA/NSA-related emails. I was not criticizing you in particular.
>
> The topic of this thread is "Wikia leasing office space to WMF," that
> should be rather clear from the subject. And the topic of the list is
> "Wikimedia related issues." Its almost on topic for the list (MediaWiki
> is at least mentioned occasionally), its certainly not at all related to
> the topic of the thread.
>
> Brian wrote:
> > It was a clear factual error which I corrected. If you aren't going to
> > criticize the original comment you have no basis for criticizing the
> > correction.
> > At any rate, what exactly is the topic of this thread, in your opinion?
> >
> >
> > On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 10:42 AM, Alex <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> >> Brian wrote:
> >>>> If the CIA were to hand you a improved-mediawiki binary, sure
> >>> PHP is an interpreted language. Surely you wouldn't use someone elses
> >> byte
> >>> code.
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 8:32 AM, Platonides <[hidden email]>
> >> wrote:
> >>>> Nikola Smolenski wrote:
> >>>>> 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.
> >>>> If the CIA were to hand you a improved-mediawiki binary, sure. You
> could
> >>>> very well be suspicious about it. But we're talking about open source.
> >>>> They would be providing the changes, which are to be reviewed, like
> any
> >>>> other code, or perhaps even more, due to coming from the CIA.
> >>>>
> >>>> Take into account that CIA and NSA need good software, too. So if they
> >>>> add a backdoor, they would need to add it *and* at the same time make
> it
> >>>> easy to protect from it, as they wouldn't want their own systems spied
> >>>> by their own rootkit (and someone will end up forgetting to apply it).
> >>>>
> >>>> Instead, contributing good fixes, make everything easier.
> >>>>
> >>>> OTOH I encourage you to review selinux. That would make a great
> heading
> >>>> 'Nikola Smolenski discovers NSA backdoor on Linux code'
> >>>>
> >> This is getting rather off-topic, especially for this thread, and
> >> possibly for the list as well.
> >>
> >> --
> >> Alex (wikipedia:en:User:Mr.Z-man)
> >>
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> foundation-l mailing list
> >> [hidden email]
> >> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
> >>
> > _______________________________________________
> > foundation-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
> >
>
>
> --
> Alex (wikipedia:en:User:Mr.Z-man)
>
> _______________________________________________
> 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

Geoffrey Plourde
In reply to this post by David Levy-8
I think that in the future the office staff may need to look at preemptive press releases. That would have eliminated this thread quickly.




________________________________
From: David Levy <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2009 3:16:07 AM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Wikia leasing office space to WMF

I wrote:

> > To clarify, did Wikia match the lowest bid?

Geoffrey Plourde replied:

> 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.

I'm certainly not implying that rent was the only valid consideration.
I asked the question because there was confusion regarding this
specific point (with many people under the incorrect impression that
Wikia's bid tied the lowest).

I personally agree with the decision to rent office space from Wikia,
but I also agree that it's likely to come across as suspicious to many
(and therefore warrants intense scrutiny).  As others have noted, the
mere appearance of impropriety (even where none exists) can be
injurious to an organization's reputation.  Thus far, I'm pleased with
the forthright response from those involved in the decision.

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Thomas Dalton
2009/1/24 Geoffrey Plourde <[hidden email]>:
> I think that in the future the office staff may need to look at preemptive press releases. That would have eliminated this thread quickly.

Agreed. The questions asked here were extremely predictable and could
have been answered before anyone had to ask them.

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

thekohser
In reply to this post by Anthony-73
Geoffrey Plourde said:

"Why should a taco stand use a dry cleaning shop when it can get
another taco shop?"

Gregory Kohs responds:

I might be able to give a better answer if you could tell us whether
it is Taco Stand A or it is Taco Stand B in your analogy that is the
non-profit charity, funded with tax-deductible dollars, whose donors
probably fully expected that their money would NOT be used to pay rent
to the other, decidedly *for-profit* taco stand.

Geoffrey Plourde also said (twice) that he disagrees with my assertion
of nepotism.

Gregory Kohs responds:

I have never said that this situation is nepotism, and in fact I
corrected someone else that it was *not* nepotism.  I am of the
understanding that none of the members of the WMF Board or staff are
related by blood or marriage to any of the owners or staff of Wikia,
Inc.  I did say (either here or elsewhere) that at one time 60% of the
WMF Board were all employed by Wikia, Inc., but that's not a family
thing, as far as I know.

Let me just ask here... are any of the participants on this list
expert in the legal statutes that surround the issue of
"self-dealing"?  For example, has anyone who has commented thus far
actually read:  26 U.S.C.A. § 4941 (1969)?

Self-dealing includes sale or exchange, or leasing, of property
between a private foundation and a disqualified person; and a
disqualified person may be a foundation manager or an owner of more
than 20 percent of either (i) the total combined voting power of a
corporation, or (ii) the profits interest of a partnership.  I don't
know whether Jimmy Wales retains 20% of the voting power or profits
interest of Wikia, Inc., and I am not asking that, but he could
certainly be considered a foundation manager, no?

Please, in your rush to judgment about the character of my "attacks"
here, take some time to actually explore and learn about United States
law.  The Foundation could be in serious trouble here, and you're
spending an awful lot of energy railing against the messenger.

Greg

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Re: Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Geoffrey Plourde
As a Board trustee, I don't believe that Jimmy would fall under the manager scheme. If this were the case, a Foundation could be barred from buying Apple computers from Apple, if Steve jobs were on their board.




________________________________
From: Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2009 12:53:51 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Geoffrey Plourde said:

"Why should a taco stand use a dry cleaning shop when it can get
another taco shop?"

Gregory Kohs responds:

I might be able to give a better answer if you could tell us whether
it is Taco Stand A or it is Taco Stand B in your analogy that is the
non-profit charity, funded with tax-deductible dollars, whose donors
probably fully expected that their money would NOT be used to pay rent
to the other, decidedly *for-profit* taco stand.

Geoffrey Plourde also said (twice) that he disagrees with my assertion
of nepotism.

Gregory Kohs responds:

I have never said that this situation is nepotism, and in fact I
corrected someone else that it was *not* nepotism.  I am of the
understanding that none of the members of the WMF Board or staff are
related by blood or marriage to any of the owners or staff of Wikia,
Inc.  I did say (either here or elsewhere) that at one time 60% of the
WMF Board were all employed by Wikia, Inc., but that's not a family
thing, as far as I know.

Let me just ask here... are any of the participants on this list
expert in the legal statutes that surround the issue of
"self-dealing"?  For example, has anyone who has commented thus far
actually read:  26 U.S.C.A. § 4941 (1969)?

Self-dealing includes sale or exchange, or leasing, of property
between a private foundation and a disqualified person; and a
disqualified person may be a foundation manager or an owner of more
than 20 percent of either (i) the total combined voting power of a
corporation, or (ii) the profits interest of a partnership.  I don't
know whether Jimmy Wales retains 20% of the voting power or profits
interest of Wikia, Inc., and I am not asking that, but he could
certainly be considered a foundation manager, no?

Please, in your rush to judgment about the character of my "attacks"
here, take some time to actually explore and learn about United States
law.  The Foundation could be in serious trouble here, and you're
spending an awful lot of energy railing against the messenger.

Greg

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