[Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

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[Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

jmh649
Regarding to Oliver's comment: "My concern is that when staff reached out
the Board replied with a letter indicating they had full and unanimous
confidence in our
leadership."

This statement is not really true. We had a formal vote regarding the ED in
November and it was not unanimous. The vote unfortunately has not yet been
made public.

--
James Heilman
MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian

The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine
www.opentextbookofmedicine.com
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

Pierre-Selim
2016-02-29 20:58 GMT+01:00 James Heilman <[hidden email]>:

> Regarding to Oliver's comment: "My concern is that when staff reached out
> the Board replied with a letter indicating they had full and unanimous
> confidence in our
> leadership."
>
> This statement is not really true. We had a formal vote regarding the ED in
> November and it was not unanimous. The vote unfortunately has not yet been
> made public.
>

Just a question, do you think transparency is about having those kind of
vote in
public minutes ? The comment you made worries me a lot.


> --
> James Heilman
> MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian
>
> The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine
> www.opentextbookofmedicine.com
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--
Pierre-Selim
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

Oliver Keyes-5
In reply to this post by jmh649
On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 2:58 PM, James Heilman <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Regarding to Oliver's comment: "My concern is that when staff reached out
> the Board replied with a letter indicating they had full and unanimous
> confidence in our
> leadership."
>
> This statement is not really true. We had a formal vote regarding the ED in
> November and it was not unanimous. The vote unfortunately has not yet been
> made public.
>

Very well, let me quote directly from the email sent to staff by
Patricio Lorente in his role as Chair of the Board:

"We are working with Lila to put together a plan to address these
issues. We are confident that she has the capability and the
commitment needed for this challenging time, and we know that, at the
present time, she is listening carefully to the Board, to you, and to
the community. **To that end, the Board remains unanimously committed in
our support of Lila in her role** and in her efforts to adapt her
leadership and to address these issues."

Asterisks mine. If your commitment and straw poll wasn't unanimous
your chair lied to staff, and that's not a great opening to our
rebuilding.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

Joseph Seddon-6
Similarly the following remark was made by Patricio at the all staff
meeting in November:

*"I want all of you know that the Board unanimously agreed to support our
current leadership."*

I would ask for the sake of the staff and community that a speedy and clear
explanation of whatever vote occurred be made.

Seddon

On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 9:39 PM, Oliver Keyes <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 2:58 PM, James Heilman <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Regarding to Oliver's comment: "My concern is that when staff reached out
> > the Board replied with a letter indicating they had full and unanimous
> > confidence in our
> > leadership."
> >
> > This statement is not really true. We had a formal vote regarding the ED
> in
> > November and it was not unanimous. The vote unfortunately has not yet
> been
> > made public.
> >
>
> Very well, let me quote directly from the email sent to staff by
> Patricio Lorente in his role as Chair of the Board:
>
> "We are working with Lila to put together a plan to address these
> issues. We are confident that she has the capability and the
> commitment needed for this challenging time, and we know that, at the
> present time, she is listening carefully to the Board, to you, and to
> the community. **To that end, the Board remains unanimously committed in
> our support of Lila in her role** and in her efforts to adapt her
> leadership and to address these issues."
>
> Asterisks mine. If your commitment and straw poll wasn't unanimous
> your chair lied to staff, and that's not a great opening to our
> rebuilding.
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>



--
Seddon

*Advancement Associate (Community Engagement)*
*Wikimedia Foundation*
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

Chris Keating-2
In reply to this post by Oliver Keyes-5
On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 9:39 PM, Oliver Keyes <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 2:58 PM, James Heilman <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Regarding to Oliver's comment: "My concern is that when staff reached out
> > the Board replied with a letter indicating they had full and unanimous
> > confidence in our
> > leadership."
> >
> > This statement is not really true. We had a formal vote regarding the ED
> in
> > November and it was not unanimous. The vote unfortunately has not yet
> been
> > made public.
> >
>
> Very well, let me quote directly from the email sent to staff by
> Patricio Lorente in his role as Chair of the Board:
>
> "We are working with Lila to put together a plan to address these
> issues. We are confident that she has the capability and the
> commitment needed for this challenging time, and we know that, at the
> present time, she is listening carefully to the Board, to you, and to
> the community. **To that end, the Board remains unanimously committed in
> our support of Lila in her role** and in her efforts to adapt her
> leadership and to address these issues."
>
> Asterisks mine. If your commitment and straw poll wasn't unanimous
> your chair lied to staff, and that's not a great opening to our
> rebuilding.


If the Board had decided, formally or informally, not to sack Lila in their
November meeting then frankly "unanimous commitment to support her" is the
only thing they could have done.

The only course of action open to a Trustee who felt they *could not*
support Lila continuing, if there was no majority to sack her right away,
would have been to resign themselves (which none of them did).

Doubtless many of them used "support" in the meaning of "do whatever is in
their power to help improve Lila's performance and reduce stress on the
staff, while keeping a very close eye to see whether their original
instinct was in fact correct and whether Lila's departure was in fact
inevitable."

(I also fail to see how the knowledge that the WMF Board retained
confidence in the ED's abilities by a 5-4 or 7-2 or whatever vote would
have helped *anyone* in November)

Regards,

Chris
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

Oliver Keyes-5
On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 5:23 PM, Chris Keating
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 9:39 PM, Oliver Keyes <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 2:58 PM, James Heilman <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> > Regarding to Oliver's comment: "My concern is that when staff reached out
>> > the Board replied with a letter indicating they had full and unanimous
>> > confidence in our
>> > leadership."
>> >
>> > This statement is not really true. We had a formal vote regarding the ED
>> in
>> > November and it was not unanimous. The vote unfortunately has not yet
>> been
>> > made public.
>> >
>>
>> Very well, let me quote directly from the email sent to staff by
>> Patricio Lorente in his role as Chair of the Board:
>>
>> "We are working with Lila to put together a plan to address these
>> issues. We are confident that she has the capability and the
>> commitment needed for this challenging time, and we know that, at the
>> present time, she is listening carefully to the Board, to you, and to
>> the community. **To that end, the Board remains unanimously committed in
>> our support of Lila in her role** and in her efforts to adapt her
>> leadership and to address these issues."
>>
>> Asterisks mine. If your commitment and straw poll wasn't unanimous
>> your chair lied to staff, and that's not a great opening to our
>> rebuilding.
>
>
> If the Board had decided, formally or informally, not to sack Lila in their
> November meeting then frankly "unanimous commitment to support her" is the
> only thing they could have done.
>
> The only course of action open to a Trustee who felt they *could not*
> support Lila continuing, if there was no majority to sack her right away,
> would have been to resign themselves (which none of them did).
>
> Doubtless many of them used "support" in the meaning of "do whatever is in
> their power to help improve Lila's performance and reduce stress on the
> staff, while keeping a very close eye to see whether their original
> instinct was in fact correct and whether Lila's departure was in fact
> inevitable."
>
> (I also fail to see how the knowledge that the WMF Board retained
> confidence in the ED's abilities by a 5-4 or 7-2 or whatever vote would
> have helped *anyone* in November)
>

Well, for me at least it would have given the impression that there
was actually support and genuine empathy and understanding of the
issues and concerns at the board's end. Because what "unanimous"
achieved - beyond, as we're now discovering, apparently not being
true, or at least being very economical with the truth - was conveying
the message that the board was not particularly worried. That the
efforts staff had made to surface issues, at risk to their own neck,
had not been convincing, and that we were essentially on our own when
it came to working out the problems.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

Andreas Kolbe-2
In reply to this post by Chris Keating-2
On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 10:23 PM, Chris Keating <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 9:39 PM, Oliver Keyes <[hidden email]> wrote:
> **To that end, the Board remains unanimously committed in
> > our support of Lila in her role** and in her efforts to adapt her
> > leadership and to address these issues."



> > Asterisks mine. If your commitment and straw poll wasn't unanimous
> > your chair lied to staff, and that's not a great opening to our
> > rebuilding.
>
>
> If the Board had decided, formally or informally, not to sack Lila in their
> November meeting then frankly "unanimous commitment to support her" is the
> only thing they could have done.
>
> The only course of action open to a Trustee who felt they *could not*
> support Lila continuing, if there was no majority to sack her right away,
> would have been to resign themselves (which none of them did).
>


Chris,

I really, really disagree.

If a board does "straw polls" to avoid having to record votes in the public
minutes, that is a problem.

If the chair of the board says the board is unanimous when the board is not
unanimous, that is a problem.

If a board feels dissenting board members have to resign, that is a problem.



> Doubtless many of them used "support" in the meaning of "do whatever is in
> their power to help improve Lila's performance and reduce stress on the
> staff, while keeping a very close eye to see whether their original
> instinct was in fact correct and whether Lila's departure was in fact
> inevitable."
>


This is not, I repeat NOT, what "unanimously committed in our support of
Lila in her role" means to the casual reader.

Please don't defend people writing in riddles.

There seems to be this idea in the Wikimedia universe that it's okay for
leading Wikimedia lights to write messages whose surface meaning turns out
be at stark variance with the facts, as long as it can be shown with
hindsight that there is a particular way of parsing the statement that
makes it compatible with those facts.

This sort of sophistry is not helpful. It does not build trust.

It's like me telling you "There isn't a single error in this document." So
you proceed on the assumption that the document is correct. And when you
find out, to your cost, that what the document said was complete
balderdash, I then turn around and tell you, "I never said the document was
correct. It is a total lie to claim I said that. I said that it didn't
contain a single error, and I absolutely stand by my statement. What I said
was 100% correct. The document contains hundreds of errors, not a single
one."

How much trust would you have in anything I might tell you next time?

If leaders have something to say, they should make every effort to say it
in such a way that anyone capable of speaking English understands it the
right way the first time, rather than sculpting sentences with hidden
trapdoors yielding secret meanings diametrically opposed to what the
message seemed to mean.



> (I also fail to see how the knowledge that the WMF Board retained
> confidence in the ED's abilities by a 5-4 or 7-2 or whatever vote would
> have helped *anyone* in November)
>


No. You are either transparent and honest, or you are not.

Andreas
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

Risker
On 29 February 2016 at 19:10, Andreas Kolbe <[hidden email]> wrote:

> <snip>
>
> No. You are either transparent and honest, or you are not.
>
> Andreas
> _______________________________________________
>

Or you could be opaque but honest. "Honest" and "transparent" are not
synonyms.

There are several things that organizations cannot reveal, for legal,
contractual, or ethical reasons - or at least they cannot reveal them
without risking serious censure, lawsuits or in some cases regulatory
charges.  Reputational risk is bad enough, but if a board member leaks
something that leads to a credible threat of legal action or regulatory
charges - even with the best of intentions and with no ill-will intended -
not only does the board need to take action, but it needs not to compound
the error in judgment by broadcasting it.

Jimmy gave an example in an earlier post of the need to not reveal the
terms of a contract that was extremely favourable to the WMF as a condition
of the contract - the condition added because the contractor did not want
to offer the same terms to other organizations.  If a board member leaked
that to, say, a competitor of the contractor, that would violate the
contract, even if the intention was good (such as trying to obtain
favourable terms from the competitor as well).   Now...keep in mind that
revealing the fact of a leak would have the same net effect of saying
"Company A is giving us a special deal", i.e., the very thing that the
contract is supposed to prevent.  If the board removed a member for a
scenario along this line, they would be being honest, even if they were not
being transparent because they did not reveal the precise reason for the
removal.

That is a scenario, and I have no inside knowledge or any reason at all to
believe that this is what occurred on the WMF Board.  But I can think of
several other similar scenarios that would fall into the same "honest but
not transparent" response.

So please, let's stop pretending those two words mean the same thing.

Risker/Anne
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

Andreas Kolbe-2
On Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 12:52 AM, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> So please, let's stop pretending those two words mean the same thing.
>


They don't mean the same thing at all. But would you really dispute the
statement that WMF leaders should be both transparent AND honest?

Transparency is a fundamental WMF value.

Nobody here is talking about vendor agreements; at least I am not. I have
no problem whatsoever with your scenario. If the WMF enters into an
umbrella agreement or business deal with Google or whoever, then that is
something the community should know. If the WMF gets computer hardware at a
preferential rate, absolutely no one is interested in that.

Andreas
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

Risker
On 29 February 2016 at 20:43, Andreas Kolbe <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 12:52 AM, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> >
> > So please, let's stop pretending those two words mean the same thing.
> >
>
>
> They don't mean the same thing at all. But would you really dispute the
> statement that WMF leaders should be both transparent AND honest?
>
> Transparency is a fundamental WMF value.
>
> Nobody here is talking about vendor agreements; at least I am not. I have
> no problem whatsoever with your scenario. If the WMF enters into an
> umbrella agreement or business deal with Google or whoever, then that is
> something the community should know. If the WMF gets computer hardware at a
> preferential rate, absolutely no one is interested in that.
>


Because, Andreas, I do not want the Wikimedia Foundation to commit
suicide.  On what basis do you say, with complete confidence, that the
basis of the issue is NOT a contract, or a legal agreement, or a human
resources issue - all of which will likely require some degree of
non-transparency?  For example - if the focus of all this excitement is a
human resources issue, there are very, very strict regulations about what
can and cannot be public.  It's why there is an "executive session" at
every board meeting - because human resource issues involving identifiable
persons MUST not be publicly discussed.

I cannot for the life of me imagine what Google sells that the WMF would be
interested in buying, so I'm finding your example a bit weird.  And
unfortunately, there are indeed enough people around here who are so
determined to have total transparency that they *would* believe that
failure to publicly report that the WMF had received computer hardware at a
preferential rate was *failing to be transparent.*

So yes, I do dispute that WMF leaders must always be both transparent and
honest.  Honest, I'll go for - although as we're pretty clearly seeing in
this situation, there's a pretty wide divergence between what different
leaders consider honesty.  But not transparent.  I don't want them
reporting personal human resources issues or other legally confidential
issues publicly - if for no other reason than they'll be slapped with
lawsuits that would be a terrible, terrible waste of our donor's money.

RIsker/Anne
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

Leila Zia
In reply to this post by Andreas Kolbe-2
I discussed with both James and Jimmy the choice of the word "unanimous".
I'm satisfied with their responses. The BoT had a straw poll to make a
decision about the leadership in November and the result of that poll may
or may not have been unanimous (I'm fine with it being a straw poll at that
point in time given the fact that there was a big information asymmetry
among BoT members which would question doing a real poll. I'm also happy to
see that BoT members are listening and want to improve our information
sharing mechanisms). However, all BoT members agreed to support Lila, which
is what Patricio has told us.

As a side note, I'd like to ask that we don't bring the conversations
specifically tagged private to lists or conversations that include a
broader audience. For example, staff were asked to create a safe space for
everyone and not share the content of the November meeting publicly.

Leila
On Feb 29, 2016 5:43 PM, "Andreas Kolbe" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 12:52 AM, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> >
> > So please, let's stop pretending those two words mean the same thing.
> >
>
>
> They don't mean the same thing at all. But would you really dispute the
> statement that WMF leaders should be both transparent AND honest?
>
> Transparency is a fundamental WMF value.
>
> Nobody here is talking about vendor agreements; at least I am not. I have
> no problem whatsoever with your scenario. If the WMF enters into an
> umbrella agreement or business deal with Google or whoever, then that is
> something the community should know. If the WMF gets computer hardware at a
> preferential rate, absolutely no one is interested in that.
>
> Andreas
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

Todd Allen
In reply to this post by Risker
On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 5:52 PM, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 29 February 2016 at 19:10, Andreas Kolbe <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > <snip>
> >
> > No. You are either transparent and honest, or you are not.
> >
> > Andreas
> > _______________________________________________
> >
>
> Or you could be opaque but honest. "Honest" and "transparent" are not
> synonyms.
>
> There are several things that organizations cannot reveal, for legal,
> contractual, or ethical reasons - or at least they cannot reveal them
> without risking serious censure, lawsuits or in some cases regulatory
> charges.  Reputational risk is bad enough, but if a board member leaks
> something that leads to a credible threat of legal action or regulatory
> charges - even with the best of intentions and with no ill-will intended -
> not only does the board need to take action, but it needs not to compound
> the error in judgment by broadcasting it.
>
> Jimmy gave an example in an earlier post of the need to not reveal the
> terms of a contract that was extremely favourable to the WMF as a condition
> of the contract - the condition added because the contractor did not want
> to offer the same terms to other organizations.  If a board member leaked
> that to, say, a competitor of the contractor, that would violate the
> contract, even if the intention was good (such as trying to obtain
> favourable terms from the competitor as well).   Now...keep in mind that
> revealing the fact of a leak would have the same net effect of saying
> "Company A is giving us a special deal", i.e., the very thing that the
> contract is supposed to prevent.  If the board removed a member for a
> scenario along this line, they would be being honest, even if they were not
> being transparent because they did not reveal the precise reason for the
> removal.
>
> That is a scenario, and I have no inside knowledge or any reason at all to
> believe that this is what occurred on the WMF Board.  But I can think of
> several other similar scenarios that would fall into the same "honest but
> not transparent" response.
>
> So please, let's stop pretending those two words mean the same thing.
>
> Risker/Anne
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
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>


Risker,

I agree in general with your message, but there's still a critical
distinction to be drawn there.

There are legitimate reasons that a matter just cannot be discussed. Any of
us who've been on ArbCom, which you have too, know that. And I damn well
know the frustration of it; in a lot of those cases, I desperately wished I
could say why we did what we did, and we'd have gotten a lot fewer rocks
thrown at us. But in those cases, it wasn't possible (and you have to
protect the privacy of the jerks the same way as the innocent victims), so
you endure the suspicion and that's all you can do.

But there's still a critical distinction to be drawn there. In those cases,
we still said plainly "Sorry, but we're not able to discuss that." We
didn't dance around it, or obfuscate, or spin, or try to bury the fact that
we weren't going to answer it in pages upon pages of PR say-nothing crap.
"I cannot answer that", in cases where one genuinely can't, still is an
honest response that's as transparent as possible. Trying to deflect
attention away, bury it, and spin it is dishonest.

So that's the distinction I see there. Spin, PR, and obfuscation are
dishonest in all cases. If you can't or won't answer, then flatly and
unambiguously say that. If possible, at least say in general terms (legal
concerns, privacy, NDA, etc.) why you can't discuss it. Trying to deflect
and hoping people just lose interest is a fundamentally dishonest tactic.

Todd
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

David Emrany
In reply to this post by Risker
Dear Anne

As a community member *I* am interested in knowing if WMF (or Jimmy)
is selling to Google - or to anybody else ... like the Chinese.[1]

David

[1] http://wikipediasucks.boards.net/post/762

On 3/1/16, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 29 February 2016 at 20:43, Andreas Kolbe <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> On Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 12:52 AM, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> >
>> > So please, let's stop pretending those two words mean the same thing.
>> >
>>
>> Nobody here is talking about vendor agreements; at least I am not. I have
>> no problem whatsoever with your scenario. If the WMF enters into an
>> umbrella agreement or business deal with Google or whoever, then that is
>> something the community should know. If the WMF gets computer hardware at
>> a
>> preferential rate, absolutely no one is interested in that.
>>
>
> Because, Andreas, I do not want the Wikimedia Foundation to commit
> suicide.
>
> I cannot for the life of me imagine what Google sells that the WMF would be
> interested in buying, so I'm finding your example a bit weird. >
> RIsker/Anne

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

Craig Franklin
In reply to this post by Risker
My understanding is that the Foundation purchases certain technical and
apps services (cloud email, for instance) from Google.

Cheers,
Craig

On 1 March 2016 at 12:15, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> I cannot for the life of me imagine what Google sells that the WMF would be
> interested in buying, so I'm finding your example a bit weird.
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

Andreas Kolbe-2
In reply to this post by Risker
Anne,


On Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 2:15 AM, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:

> > They don't mean the same thing at all. But would you really dispute the
> > statement that WMF leaders should be both transparent AND honest?
> >
> > Transparency is a fundamental WMF value.
> >
> > Nobody here is talking about vendor agreements; at least I am not. I have
> > no problem whatsoever with your scenario. If the WMF enters into an
> > umbrella agreement or business deal with Google or whoever, then that is
> > something the community should know. If the WMF gets computer hardware
> at a
> > preferential rate, absolutely no one is interested in that.
> >
>
>
> Because, Andreas, I do not want the Wikimedia Foundation to commit
> suicide.  On what basis do you say, with complete confidence, that the
> basis of the issue is NOT a contract, or a legal agreement, or a human
> resources issue - all of which will likely require some degree of
> non-transparency?



Where did I say that? We were discussing a very specific thing: that the
board was split, and not unanimous, about whether Lila should stay on, and
that the board chair claimed otherwise in his communication with staff. You
seem to be saying that if the board is split on the matter, that is a human
resources issue and justifies telling staff that the board is unanimous. I
don't follow that reasoning.



> For example - if the focus of all this excitement is a
> human resources issue, there are very, very strict regulations about what
> can and cannot be public.  It's why there is an "executive session" at
> every board meeting - because human resource issues involving identifiable
> persons MUST not be publicly discussed.
>


If there are such issues, then it's still possible to be transparent about
what you can't be transparent about (as Todd's post just arriving in my
in-box points out as well).



> I cannot for the life of me imagine what Google sells that the WMF would be
> interested in buying, so I'm finding your example a bit weird.



Anne, I have mentioned several times in the past few days here on this list
Sue Gardner's 2008 email suggesting that the WMF enter into an "umbrella
relationship/agreement" or "business deal" with Google. In case you missed
it, here is the link again:

http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/sandberg.pdf

Scroll to the very end of the document to see the email in question. I am
still interested in learning what the results of that effort were.



> And
> unfortunately, there are indeed enough people around here who are so
> determined to have total transparency that they *would* believe that
> failure to publicly report that the WMF had received computer hardware at a
> preferential rate was *failing to be transparent.*
>


Perhaps, though I would not count myself among them. Though I have to say,
Richard Ames actually makes a good point in the thread he started on this
topic.


So yes, I do dispute that WMF leaders must always be both transparent and
> honest.  Honest, I'll go for - although as we're pretty clearly seeing in
> this situation, there's a pretty wide divergence between what different
> leaders consider honesty.  But not transparent.  I don't want them
> reporting personal human resources issues or other legally confidential
> issues publicly - if for no other reason than they'll be slapped with
> lawsuits that would be a terrible, terrible waste of our donor's money.
>


I don't want that either. If you know something about this whole affair
that I don't know, and that motivates your writing in this manner, fine;
but I'm still more likely to agree with Todd.

Andreas
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

Erik Moeller-3
> Anne, I have mentioned several times in the past few days here on this list
> Sue Gardner's 2008 email suggesting that the WMF enter into an "umbrella
> relationship/agreement" or "business deal" with Google. In case you missed
> it, here is the link again:
>
> http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/sandberg.pdf
>
> Scroll to the very end of the document to see the email in question. I am
> still interested in learning what the results of that effort were.

Nothing other than establishing some mutual points of contact, as far
as I know. Back in 2008, Sue and I reached out -- as WMF just had
relocated to the Bay Area -- to major tech companies to introduce
ourselves, with the help of Jimmy and some of our early supporters. We
made a pitch for donations, and in-kind hardware support where
appropriate. By and large corporate support didn't go very far,
because usually folks wanted PR benefits at a level we couldn't give
them. Some individual major donors did give their support, as noted on
the benefactors page.

Incidentally, this was also the year in which Google launched Knol,
which was sort of their version of the Knowledge Engine (official
line: "We have no intent of competing with Wikipedia" -> media
reports: "Google launches Wikipedia killer"). It was later converted
to a WordPress blog.

We did continue to cultivate the relationship with Google and
continued to ask for support, and eventually Google made a one-time
$2M donation. [1] As you know, Google also was one of the early
supporters of Wikidata [2], and Sergey Brin's family foundation has
also given to WMF in the past. [3] This was all unambiguously good for
Wikimedia, and is all public knowledge.

Beyond those donations, we've generally had an informal relationship
with changing points of contact over the years. WMF has given tech
talks at Google, for example, or our point of contact might help us
get some passes for the I/O conference. Part of the mandate of the
partnerships hire WMF made last year was to bring more of a systematic
approach to these relationships, and as the org stabilizes it might be
good to seek a broad conversation as to what that ideally should look
like in terms of transparency, lines we shall not cross, etc.

Generally speaking, when WMF did enter into significant business
relationships, these are a matter of the public record in press
releases and such: Yahoo back in 2005, Kaltura, PediaPress, Orange,
the various WP Zero operators, some data center partners, etc. The
Apple dictionary integration Brion mentions in [4] is an exception to
the rule; contrary to Brion's recollection it actually predates even
Sue Gardner and, as far as I know, was not announced at the time.

Erik

[1] https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/Wikimedia_Foundation_announces_$2_million_grant_from_Google
[2] https://www.wikimedia.de/wiki/Pressemitteilungen/PM_3_12_Wikidata_EN
[3] https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/Brin_Wojcicki_Foundation_Announces_$500,000_Grant_to_Wikimedia
[4] https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-February/082741.html

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[Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

Brion Vibber-4
On Monday, February 29, 2016, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]
<javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','[hidden email]');>> wrote:
>
> The
> Apple dictionary integration Brion mentions in [4] is an exception to
> the rule; contrary to Brion's recollection it actually predates even
> Sue Gardner and, as far as I know, was not announced at the time.


Double checking my email archives I can confirm it was 2006 not 2008, yes.
(That was the year before we hired Sue, and a time when we had no
professional business development people, just informal connections made
via board or the acting ED at the time.) The Apple deal was indeed the
exception that confirmed our commitment to the rule.

-- brion
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

Nick Wilson (Quiddity)
In reply to this post by Craig Franklin
Craig, I believe it is all free (not purchased), per
<a href="https://www.google.com/intl/en/nonprofits/products/#apps#tab5">https://www.google.com/intl/en/nonprofits/products/#apps#tab5 ("Google Apps
for Nonprofits")

On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 6:27 PM, Craig Franklin <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> My understanding is that the Foundation purchases certain technical and
> apps services (cloud email, for instance) from Google.
>
> Cheers,
> Craig
>
> On 1 March 2016 at 12:15, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> >
> > I cannot for the life of me imagine what Google sells that the WMF would
> be
> > interested in buying, so I'm finding your example a bit weird.
> >
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

Kevin Gorman
Popping back earlier in the thread a bit:

The statement "The Board has decided unanimously to back Lila's continued
tenure," was false.  The statement "The Board has decided to back Lila's
continued tenure," was true.  The exact nature of any dissent doesn't need
to be publicized, and really the very fact that there was dissent doesn't
need to be publicized, especially because in what is generally considered
poor governance WMF BoT uses a lot of straw votes to avoid opinions being
recorded transparently  - but one of the earlier statements is true, and
one is false.  They aren't very different statements, and honestly, I do
not understand why the false statement was chosen.

The Board of Trustees needs outside review.  In what should be an
exceptionally transparent movement, they use practices that other
nonprofits that don't have the same values of transparency that we have get
slammed for.

---
Kevin Gorman

On Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 12:31 PM, Nick Wilson (Quiddity) <
[hidden email]> wrote:

> Craig, I believe it is all free (not purchased), per
> <a href="https://www.google.com/intl/en/nonprofits/products/#apps#tab5">https://www.google.com/intl/en/nonprofits/products/#apps#tab5 ("Google
> Apps
> for Nonprofits")
>
> On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 6:27 PM, Craig Franklin <[hidden email]
> >
> wrote:
>
> > My understanding is that the Foundation purchases certain technical and
> > apps services (cloud email, for instance) from Google.
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Craig
> >
> > On 1 March 2016 at 12:15, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > I cannot for the life of me imagine what Google sells that the WMF
> would
> > be
> > > interested in buying, so I'm finding your example a bit weird.
> > >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
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> > New messages to: [hidden email]
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> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> >
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

Andreas Kolbe-2
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-3
On Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 7:24 AM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> > Anne, I have mentioned several times in the past few days here on this
> list
> > Sue Gardner's 2008 email suggesting that the WMF enter into an "umbrella
> > relationship/agreement" or "business deal" with Google. In case you
> missed
> > it, here is the link again:
> >
> > http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/sandberg.pdf
> >
> > Scroll to the very end of the document to see the email in question. I am
> > still interested in learning what the results of that effort were.
>
> Nothing other than establishing some mutual points of contact, as far
> as I know. [...]
>


Thanks for your replies, Erik, and this overview.



> We did continue to cultivate the relationship with Google and
> continued to ask for support, and eventually Google made a one-time
> $2M donation. [1] As you know, Google also was one of the early
> supporters of Wikidata [2], and Sergey Brin's family foundation has
> also given to WMF in the past. [3] This was all unambiguously good for
> Wikimedia, and is all public knowledge.
>


The gift from the Brin Wojcicki Foundation is of a little bit of interest,
because its public announcement[3][5] came a mere three days after the
Wikimedia Foundation said[9] it would join Google and other Internet giants
in their protest against the proposed SOPA/PIPA legislation – whose
implementation would have cost those companies *a lot* of money.

Today, we take it for granted that the Wikimedia Foundation is politically
active. But at the time, in 2011, many editors accustomed to practising
NPOV in their writing still assumed that the Wikimedia Foundation, as an
institution, would and should practise the same neutrality.

It always seemed likely to me that the $500,000 Brin Wojcicki Foundation
gift was related to the Wikimedia Foundation's support, especially as
Wojcicki, along with Jimmy Wales, was also on the board of Creative
Commons, where these matters were also being discussed.

At the time, Google critic Scott Cleland wrote[6], "Google led,
orchestrated, politically-framed and set the political tone for much of the
Web’s opposition to pending anti-piracy legislation, SOPA/PIPA, because
rule of law and effective enforcement of property rights online represent a
clear and present danger to Google’s anti-property-rights mission, open
philosophy, business model, innovation approach, competitive strategy, and
culture."

It left a little bit of a sour taste, because the Wikimedia Foundation
seemed to me to have loaded the dice in its communications to the
community, painting the consequences of the proposed legislation in the
most garish and alarming colours – implying that users might become
criminally liable for posting fair-use materials on Wikipedia,[9] that SOPA
threatened the survival of Wikipedia, etc. – in order to maximise community
support for the blackout.

WMF staffer Tim Starling later posted here on this list what seemed to me a
very cogent critique of some of the things the WMF did and didn't say to
the community.[7]

This lobbying partnership with Google has continued in the years since
then, with Jimmy Wales more recently joining Google's Advisory Council[8]
to campaign against European "right to be forgotten" legislation (another
law imposing cost burdens on Google).

One may agree with Google's political positions, for quite different and
independent reasons, but the fact that money changed hands to my mind
tainted the effort.

Andreas



> Beyond those donations, we've generally had an informal relationship
> with changing points of contact over the years. WMF has given tech
> talks at Google, for example, or our point of contact might help us
> get some passes for the I/O conference. Part of the mandate of the
> partnerships hire WMF made last year was to bring more of a systematic
> approach to these relationships, and as the org stabilizes it might be
> good to seek a broad conversation as to what that ideally should look
> like in terms of transparency, lines we shall not cross, etc.
>
> Generally speaking, when WMF did enter into significant business
> relationships, these are a matter of the public record in press
> releases and such: Yahoo back in 2005, Kaltura, PediaPress, Orange,
> the various WP Zero operators, some data center partners, etc. The
> Apple dictionary integration Brion mentions in [4] is an exception to
> the rule; contrary to Brion's recollection it actually predates even
> Sue Gardner and, as far as I know, was not announced at the time.
>
> Erik
>
> [1]
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/Wikimedia_Foundation_announces_$2_million_grant_from_Google
> [2] https://www.wikimedia.de/wiki/Pressemitteilungen/PM_3_12_Wikidata_EN
> [3]
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/Brin_Wojcicki_Foundation_Announces_$500,000_Grant_to_Wikimedia
> [4]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-February/082741.html
>
>
[5]
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/18/brin-and-wojcicki-give-500000-to-charity-behind-wikipedia/

[6]
http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottcleland/2012/01/24/the-real-reasons-google-killed-sopapipa/
[7] https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2012-July/121092.html
[8] https://www.google.com/advisorycouncil/
[9]
http://blog.wikimedia.org/2011/11/15/wikimedia-supports-american-censorship-day/
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