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User:Cimon Avaro/Candidacy 2006

The Big PictureEdit

While I most emphatically encourage people who are going to vote in the Board of trustees elections to consider the very practical problems facing the foundation in the future, and the various candidates expressed views on how to best to confront them (and indeed ask all of us hard questions to force us to clarify our stances); it would be unfair to ask people to mechanically choose only on the basis of our view of such minutiae (vital crucial minutiae, to be sure). For one thing, such answers will always fail to predict how a candidate will respond to the unforeseen. So in the interests of showing my more general thoughts about the meaning of what we are about, here are some thoughts of mine on that subject.

MissionEdit

While it is lofty to talk about bringing together the whole of human knowledge into a package that can be freely distributed, both in the sense of beer, and in the sense of unchainable by perversions of intellectual property rights, our mission does not end there; and arguably it did not start there.

Using a collaborative wiki-based system of writing, editing and endlessly re-editing content was originally intended to be merely a tool, a servant to a higher level project to produce a scholarly reference work. Amazingly what has transpired has turned this concept on its head, and in the very near future, it is possible we may yet come full circle. The constant developement of the wiki-system of editing, far beyond the original capabilities of bare-bone wiki-engines, may yet end up facilitating a way of substantially increasing the scholarly quality of substantial parts of the knowledge-base itself rather than all of it eternally being just raw material; at least in terms of what a casual reader of our repository of knowledge will see at first glance.

This evolution that has snuck upon us in a most natural fashion, will have profound implications on how we collectively and separately, individually view our core mission. It will necessarily mean that our mission will attain several facets/aspects to it, which may immediately appear paradoxical. One key word that begs close examination is the word "whole" in the phrase "whole of human knowledge". It may well be, that in the coming years some people will emphasize the meaning of whole, that denotes all, and work on their part to make sure that no relevant information falls through the cracks due to either excess zealousness on part of people honestly attempting to determine what the word "relevant" means in the context of our mission; or on the either side, because of lack of people willing and able to write content about some relevant subjects, for whatever reason.

The same word "whole" can be viewed from a different angle, emphasizing the meaning "not fragmented". It is and has been very legitimate to seek out ways to condense things to what is essential, not swamping the readers with endless clutter and reams of interminable text from which it is next to impossible to find the information one needs, much less be able to digest it. It is wrong (in my opinion) to go so far as to say that our NPOV policy or our yearning for comprehensiveness makes this an unattainable, ever receding goal. In my view these two sides of the same word have made sure that our work stays pulsating, vibrant and dynamically alive, while we grow, and while our software improves in leaps and bounds.

Our StoryEdit

The blooming of Wikimedia is an exciting narrative. We are all participating in one of the signal stories of the first decade of the millennium. Participating in it is something which naturally will be something we shall all remember with pride in years to come, and while we are continuously engaged in it, no matter how small or large, humble or grand, our indivudual contributions to it are. Even our failings are part of that great narrative, and the history of this decade, and beyond. While our mission is a beacon for us, our narrative(s) mark a path-work with sign-posts, landmarks and fabulous vistas changing through the seasons and as construction goes on at an ever accelerating pace.

While we know not precisely how this narrative will unfold in the coming year(s), one thing is guaranteed. The best days are yet to come. Our content is pre-destined to usher a new age of knowledge dispersion, starting with the One Laptop Per Child program, but not ending there by any measure. We will almost certainly achieve a milepost sometime in the next decades when a significant portion of the world population has edited our content, and even earlier we will rejoice when most people in the world have access to it, and many many people have indeed read our material, and been given the gift of knowledge by it. This is no small thing. Knowledge can change conditions in the world, espescially knowledge which brings together views from diverse parts of humanity, under our unifying Grand Concept of Neutral Point Of View.

It will serve us well, if we do not only look to our mission, but keep an eye on our narrative as well. The mission unites us, but the narrative is where both our opportunities and dangers loom. To all things there is a season, but we have to make sure that we always have enough seed money to keep our projects supplied and renewed with material resources and hired personnel. The excitement of our real acheivements must never cloud our eyes from the things which must be done (or not done, as the case may be) right now, to make sure that nothing irretrievable will happen around the corner. The main ways continuing advancement can be ensured, is making big changes slowly, and preferrably in a fashion that is reversible, if we come to a dead end. But this is not to say that we should not act timely to ward off and fence out the monsters in the landscape, which ever threaten any attempt to build something grand. The mockers, the saboteurs and our own human failings must never prevail over our essentially beneficient purpose. Nor should sloth ever be allowed to leave us exposed to liabilities of other kinds that come with the terrain. Not all knowledge is risk-free, and even less so lies, slanders or propaganda.

One major risk to the over-arching Wikimedia construct (a bazaar with cathedral size proportions) is seeking not only natural self-determination for the constituent projects and chapters, but a distancing fragmentation from our essential unity. Our cultural, regional, national, ethnic, gender-based, natural ideological and all other differences should be woven into a seamless fabric; a fabric of many threads, but interwoven so it will never shear.

An Experiment in Personal TransparencyEdit

Here are some thoughts on the resolutions that the previous boards have considered, passing some, and not passing others. Mostly I will not indicate whether the resolutions passed or not, as this is intended principally to give an insight into my personal thought processes, and not in any shape or form as a criticism or second guessing the decisions already made. It is of course also eminently possible that in discussion with the smart people on the board at the time I could have been persuaded that my thoughts were less than enlightened, so for that reason too, take this as a glimpse into the way my mind works, nothing more, nothing less.

I have summarised many of the resolutions legalese text into a simpler form, as faithfully as I was able, in these cases giving a link to the full version at the top. -- Cimon Avaro 02:14, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Resolution on fundraising committee membershipEdit

[1]

Rebuttals, further querys or other comments Add yours below:


Hiring the CEOEdit

(This resolution is way too long to even summarise with any justice to it, so go see it directly at: [2]

However, here are the votes (which were given extraordinarily in full for each member of the board):

  • Angela - Oppose. --Angela 02:17, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Anthere - For Anthere 12:08, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Jimmy - For --Jimbo Wales 17:02, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Tim - For Tim Shell 17:59, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Michael - For --MDavis 15:02, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, there were (at least from the top of my head I can't really think of any realistic third option) two ways this could have gone, the functions listed under the responsibility of the CEO could have been filled by several volunteers or part-time employees each given their own sector to manage, or they could, as the plan now seems to be, concentrated under one full time CEO. But they most certainly will be vital to be managed by someone.
I can't say I personally have a firm preference for either model, both have their upsides and downsides, though I would tend to think this was the approach to at the very least try out first; for the reasons outlined below.
The downside of placing all this responsibility on the plate of one individual, is that the person chosen has to be a very special person indeed, for them to be able to pull it off, we really are getting to be that huge. This downside is mitigated by the fact that being an employee, that person shall, if they prove to be a disaster, be sackable (let's not mince words here), and then we can go back to plan B. The big upside for this plan is that it only requires finding that one Ideal Person, and not a whole slew of competent people to manage each aspect, and that being a single person, that person will provide clarity both within the community and to the outside world ("The Buck Stops Here" principle); instead of folks having to chase down who the person really is they have to talk to, in a kafkaesque bureaucratic nightmare of people passing the buck.
The big upside of having a team of managerial staff both from our community and from outside our community, on a pure volunteer or part-time or low-paid full time basis or a mixture of those, is that it would only be necessary to find for each position on the team one person good at each one aspect, rather than a multi-talented miracle worker. The downside is that it could in a nightmare scenario turn into the bureaucratic morass described above, where it would be a problem in itself to find the precise person who can help you, particularly in issues which border or span two or more different aspects of our operations. This possible downside might be mitigated by finding and specifically focusing on finding people who work well as a team. Whether that task is harder than finding an all-round talented guy to manage the whole ball of wax, is anybodys guess.
In summary, I would say that second guessing the decision taken, on balance, I find it that though this may not turn out to be a success, it is better that this model is tried out first, as I honestly believe, that sacking a disastrous professional CEO and falling back on forming a team of managerial staff is *much* more painless to do, than disbanding a team and finding some poor sucker to pick up the pieces.

Rebuttals, further querys or other comments Add yours below:


Internal wikiEdit

(full text of the resolution below)

Resolved that the following people may be given access to the Internal wiki:

  • all board members and officers of the Wikimedia Foundation
  • up to five persons from each chapter's board, among which president and treasurer
  • up to three persons from each committee, preferably chair and vice-chair
  • employees of the Wikimedia Foundation and its chapters (on request of the employer)
  • any individual that gets 80% support among the current members of internal who expressed their opinion

The Board can veto any person even if covered by the proposed policy. People are to be removed from the wiki if they no longer fall under this policy.

Assuming, as I do, that there is some amount of sensitive material on this Internal wiki, I think the wide range of people who are given access, espescially from the chapters, makes sure quite nicely that no real untoward things shall happen on Internal, or the wider community will surely hear about them. Additionally, in general I would repeat that having these kinds of oasis where people can discuss and plan within an atmosphere of confidence, is in general beneficial, and alleviates the need and urge for totally clandestine back channels. My view is that people will do what people will do, and if they don't have some semi-confidential way to discuss things, they will do it totally in secret, breeding both a feeling of guilt for the participants, and leading to an unhealthy genuine conspiratorial culture.

Rebuttals, further querys or other comments Add yours below:



Travel expenses for person representing foundation at confrenceEdit

full text

Person will represent the foundation at a particular useful confrence, and this one time the foundation foots the bill for travel expenses up to 750$, with the person making a report to the board, and telling what E-mail addys, business cards, phone numbers etc. that person gathered while there.

Much as they travel, board members can't be expected to attend every confrence at which Wikimedia should be represented at. If good people are willing to spend time doing this, no reason they should be out of pocket as well. As Wikimedia gets bigger and more of a globally recognized phenomenon, this sort of stuff needs to happen more, not less.

Rebuttals, further querys or other comments Add yours below:

Note that the person in question did not make any report at all. Anthere




Chapters committee rulesEdit

full text

At least five voting "members" and some voteless "advisers" meet at least once every two months. Three members consititute a quorum. New members are appointed by the agreement of board and committee. One trustee is an adviser. A chairperson appointed by board responsible for meetings and talk to committee has six months term unless resigns or is sacked by the board. Same term for vice-chair, who will do the same as chair, if needed.

Committee passes resolutions which are acted on. Suggestions for these are from voting or non-voting members, or outsiders if they get one of the same to support it, and regardless of source, need a seconding. Vote is by majority of voting members.

Proposals usually at meetings, but mailing list is okay. Once seconded, four days time to vote, or be considered abstaining. In case of tie, come back to it next meeting.

Not much to say about this, pretty nicely thought out resolution, nice balance all round. Five voters is tight enough to prevent extreme sillyness, and avenues for people from the outside to bring stuff for consideration are clearly provided. And for this committee specifically, one trustee as advisor should be plenty.

Rebuttals, further querys or other comments Add yours below:







Board electionEdit

About your board election:

  1. Why does simply being accessible mean you are a link between the community and the board? Isn't being accessible kind of de rigeur, expected, par for the course?
    ANSWER: I did not say I would simply be accessible. I said I would search out ways to bridge the divide. Simply being accessible is no longer good enough. I would not merely endeavour to be a link. The major task is to educate the communities (that is provide information in a format that gets through to the communities) about how the Wikimedia Foundation can help them (and hardly less about the ways that the Foundation is unlikely to effect their developement).
  2. Your proposals are kind of vague. It's nice to say that Wikipedia is a long term project but what does this actually mean, what will you try to influence the Board to do? Hard proposals and ideas are good: for instance, we have weekly freely distributed database dumps, but what measures could be taken to further archive our content and disseminate it?
    (will answer this in breath and detail later, but well before application for candidateship closes)
  3. Your proposal is also vague on how we would work with EFF and Gutenberg; for instance, with Gutenberg an obvious idea is to try to merge Wikisource with Gutenberg.
    ANSWER: Merging Gutenberg and Wikisource in the immediate future is pure pie in the sky. The projects are too large and well developed, each with its own approach. What can and should be is increasing give and take between those projects, and coöperation in general. There are ongoing discussions over how to best facilitate that.
  4. What is your position on advertising and Wikimedia Foundation sponsored projects? This would seem to be a vital issue since en.wikipedia.org is now one of the most popular sites online, and most of the candidates seem to think that a major increase in funding is needed (and advertising is an obvious source)? --Rhwawn (talk to Rhwawn) 03:37, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
    ANSWER: If any one of the candidates are representing that Wikimedia Foundation is desperate for cash (and I don't think any of them really do), that would be purest FUD. The question of advertising on wikipedia is not primarily an ideological one for me personally (I find that there is philantrophy funded by advertising, that is quite useful); but a pragmatic one. All reasonable post-game analysis of the mechanics of how Wikimedias funding has worked in the past, and modeling of the future (hugely expanding) opportunities to recieve money from people who like to give, points very strongly towards a view that advertising, far from being an obvious source of funding, is in clear fact counter-productive. (Even though conceivably advertising would reap financial rewards which superficially would eclipse voluntary donations, it would slow down the real work of the foundation, which is to facilitate the building of our various repositories of human knowledge, because simply put, many people would not contribute the work of their voluntary labour, which is our true great value, incalculably higher than the difference between plausible ad-revenues and voluntary and charitable funding.) -- Cimon Avaro


VoteEdit

You gote my Vote, just don't forget to reminde me ((because voting starts at 1 September).

Good Luck (Puntori 13:20, 4 August 2006 (UTC))

Collaborative consensus-based nature.Edit

Question. -- Jeandré, 2006-08-05t10:22z

Chapter/boardEdit

What do you think of the relationship ? Do you see the relation as a federation type or a branch type ? (without or with legal ties). Do you think that chapters should have an authorization to use brand name and logo for deals (such as a DVD publishing) or should the Foundation handle this from a legal perspective ? What is your position in term of membership (should the Foundation have members or not ?). Anthere

ANSWER: My analysis of the parameters which would necessarily guide these decisions (there are many thorny jurisdictional and cultural questions to consider, which will necessarily require both consultation with real lawyers, and discussions with the people in their various jurisdictions, regions and cultures, before I would attempt to make a final evaluation on how I would see us best proceeding), is as follows:
If the question is, should the Florida based Foundation respond to requests from chapters who would like to use the logo, trade mark and other things it holds legal title to (this is the important bit), and where it has the legal standing to give such permission - my answer would be a clear yes, as long as it wasn't something detrimental to our mission. Most cases where I would see this happening, it would be silly not to give permission, if we had the legal standing to do so, and the thing itself is something useful.
Now the question of ownership of local trademarks and or licencing (or should that be sub-licencing?) the immaterial assets that the foundation currently holds in trust for the communities, is much more hairy one.

PS: would you mind discussing these topics on meta with all editors rather than on the english wikipedia only ?

Sure. Cimon.

Separation (or lack of) between organisation and projectsEdit

Hi Cimon. What is your opinion, and hence your platform, about how best the ties between projects and organisation can be cleared, once and for all. In other words, what do you think about board members or paid employees of the Foundation holding such responsibilities as stewards or bureaucrats or admins in some of the wikimedia projects? Thanx. notafish }<';> 12:44, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

ANSWER: Frankly, as long as the board members and paid employers are people of integrity, I don't see any problem at all with them rolling up their sleeves to do real work in the projects, as long as those people are people of integrity to start with, which is a result we would hope to acheive to start with. In fact such a grounding in the day to day work of the communities should be as compulsory as anything in a 99% or more purely volunteer operation can be ;) The only thing I see needs clarification is making sure in some way that actions done by the authority of the Foundation be somehow marked out from the work the foundations functionaries do as private editors, private admins, private bureaucrats etc. be clearly separated from each other. How this is best done, however, will require some discussion, so we do not cause negative unintended consequences. -- Cimon Avaro 09:50, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
P. S. Personally I don't use my admin and bureaucrat functions as much as I probably should. I have been listed as an inactive admin and an inactive bureaucrat respectively for this very reason. I take no pride in this, but rather I find it embarrassing. Administrative actions really aren't about power, nor can they or should they ever evolve into such powers. They are for facilitation purposes only. And there is real facilitating to do, shame on me for not participating in it more. -- Cimon Avaro 09:22, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Abbreviated guards of the future of the www, in your candidacy statementEdit

CC I can guess - Creative Commons? Would you care to explain what EFF, FSF, and SFLC stands for? // habj 21:21, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

*bump* The question should be easily answered, I think. // habj 04:58, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Oops, sorry about that... Creative Commons, Electronic Freedom Foundation, Free Software Foundation and Software Freedom Law Center. Sorry for being so tardy in my responce. Apart from the candidacy, I have some significant real life things going on right now, but that is really not in any shape or form an excuse for not addressing your relevant inquiry immediately. -- Cimon Avaro 05:47, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Antheres QuestionnaireEdit

Composition of the boardEdit

What is your opinion on how the board should be constituted ? Do you think it should exclusively be composed of editors of our projects ? If so, rather elected or appointed ? Do you think we should have some people external to our community ? In those listed in the past two months on Foundation -l, can you list those you think would be great board members and those who might reveal dangerous for our dream ? Do you have names to suggest for board expansion ?

ANSWER: I think we should look for a Goldilocks Scenario. Not a board too hot with community activists (numerically), nor too cold with outside experts or stone idols there to raise its credibility towards the outside world. Some "big names" recognizable in the outside world appointed would not be disastrous, but they should both bring something tangible to the board, and essentially have total commitment to our mission, rather than being pure figure-heads. From the list posted on Foundation-l, the two I feel the closest fit of the "type" of people we should look for are Larry Lessig and Eben Moglen, though I am aware that even those two people are encumbered in ways that don't make them the ideal fit; but that should give some indication of how I think in general terms. A few years back I jokingly suggested George Soros; and semi-seriously Jürgen Habermas

CopyrightEdit

Do you think the Foundation should be a publisher ? If not, do you think it should control what is publish, through the authorization (or not) of use of our brands ? Do you know of one project currently trying to be edited and in conflict with the Foundation on that matter ?

ANSWER: For reasons of legal liability, I wouldn't evaluate we are yet in the stage where it is the best fit for us to carry the risk of litigation for content published in permanent form. When and if our various quality drives enable us make the determination over content that is both stable and reasonably safe from risks of litigation, that might be plausible down the road, and we definitely should pursue it as a dream for our future, if for no other reason, than a goal to spur us on. At the same time we should make every effort to facilitate re-users who are willing to take individual responsibility for the liability, so that that liability would be as low as we can reasonably help them to have to shoulder. In the mean time, the living, editable version should in general focus more and more on making our content value quality over quantity, as our Chairman of the Board has already indicated.

MoneyEdit

What should be the business plan of the Foundation ? How would you suggest it earns money ?

(Will answer this in detail, sooner rather than later.)

Threat and forcesEdit

Can you cite 3 forces of the Foundation ? Can you cite the main 3 threats for our projects as of today ?

ANSWER: Yes I can; and yes I can, respectively. ;)
More seriously, the three greatest strengths of Wikimedia in order of diminishing importance; are primarily the unending breadth of the voluntary contributors to our projects, secondarily the re-usability of our content which feature will ensure that the projects will continue, even if the Foundation should fall (ghod forbid), and finally tertiarily the commitment to our mission, integrity and idealism of the people in positions of trust within the organization (may it continue to be so forever and evermore).
The three greatest plausible nightmare scenarios for wikimedian projects are as follows (not making a distinction which of these is actually the greatest, in no special order of precedence):
First: Hubris arising from our prominence on the web could lead to the brickbat of wikiality becoming a genuine phenomenon, and cause us in general beginning to think that wikimedias projects define reality by virtue of us being so popular, rather than us being energized to constant action in improving our content from the humble acknowledgement that wikimedian projects are and will remain unfinished works for all eternity. Complacency is our greatest enemy. Our greatest defence against this is the breadth of our contributors committed to our mission, and examining critically each aspect of our operation, asking the hard questions, and discussing our shortcomings in a mostly cordial atmosphere of communicative action.
Second: Again stemming from our popularity, we will inevitably become (and have already become) targets of people who do not share our charitable mission of bringing neutral knowledge shared to all, but are rather moved by an agenda or profit motives and an interest in instating data that show themselves in a charitable light in our projects, rather than neutral knowledge that will genuinely benefit humanitys store of wisdom and informed exposition of what reasonable people believe, as encapsulated in our NPOV policy. Our greatest defence against this is the breadth of our contributors committed to our mission, and debating our content on the talkpages of articles, and jealously guarding the neutrality of all our content.
Third: Actual real world litigitous actors, who can and will be able to cause us great nuisance and waste of time and loss of useful manpower which would be better expended to activity to do constructive things to improve our organizational structures, software and content. In short, because of our essentially open nature, distraction from doing the work itself, has always been one way that we have always, and will always be hindered. Our greatest two defences are the way in which the foundation is incorporated so that such actors can not cause actual lasting damage to our projects because the foundation will even in the extreme case carry the can, leaving the content still free for the projects to reconstitute themselves under a different aegis; and the continuing integrity, idealism and commitment to our mission of those people entrusted with positions of authority and trust in our organization.

VisionEdit

Can you cite the current three main projects/agreements/priorities of the board ?

ANSWER: To be quite brutally honest, no I cannot. Not only am I not privy to the internal discussions of the board, but my view of what might be "main" may not agree with all the evaluations of the current members of the board. In general terms I would say that the three prime directives which should guide where our priorities lie; should be to ensure that we do no evil, most everything we do is reversible with minimum pain, and that the needs of the communities are in the driving seat, where they are apparent. In many cases we would need to take a long view of things, not letting temporary considerations rule, but in some cases, immediate concerns would have to dictate how we act timely to forestall evil things happening. This can never be a simple calculation, but would need strategical input from both the advisory body and the to be appointed CEO, and additionally much high bandwidth discussion needs to take place at the Board Retreat which is planned. I am sorry if I refuse to give a facile answer to this question; but rest assured that our core mission is what I would look to guide me in any such deliberations.

If you had to decide which are the 5 most important tasks for the board to accomplish in the time of your term, which ones would they be ? (be practical)

ANSWER: This time I have to apologize that the first answer I give is definitely a bit facile. If I had to decide what those 5 things are, I would say something is seriously screwed. Such a decision should never the sole domain of any one person, rather I would (being practical) say that what is important for the board, should follow from extensive efforts at listening to the communities and consulting with committees and the advisory body and CEO, and in depth discussion between the whole of the board of trustees.
The five things I personally see on the immediate horizon in the next year are as follows:
  1. The transition into a professinally run organization. Not only because of our popularity, but also because of the amounts of money the foundation has to handle on a continuous basis. As we also should be able to attract larger sums from individual donors and institutions, both for the projects as a whole, and as targeted funds to further specified aspects of our mission in specific ways, a transition is inevitable. While the essential volunteer fabric of our work will never fade, such immensely beneficial resources can only be attracted, if the organization is competently run, and is seen to be competently run.
  2. A parallel transition toward professional maintenance and upgrading of our hardware and software. The trains have to run on time, and we can only get the best amount and quality of work from our volunteers, if the hardware and software allows them to work to the best productivity level they are able to supply.
  3. Setting up an interface (or several customized interfaces) to the communities that work(s). I personally have no grand plan or preconception of what form the setup will turn out to be, but whether one or several, the setup will have to contend effectively and sensitively with the widely varying activity levels, number of participants and size of overall operations in the different projects and languages. The best option may well be some council-like beast which itself handles these variations in a sensitive and listening manner, or it may not. The advisory body should have a great role in presenting the board with alternatives to choose from, of which the board will hopefully be wise enough to elect one or several that scratch the itch, without irritating the skin of the interface unduly.
  4. Preparing in advance for any dangers that will confront us in the near and distant future. "A stitch in time, saves nine" as the saying goes. Even during a short year long term, it is essential that we keep our eye on the future, and do now everything we need to do, to be safe from legal problems, fraction of our organizational structure, and preventing large scale dissillusionment within our contributor-base, both financial and those that give the invaluable gift of their work, to produce the content itself.
  5. Finally, but not the least by any means, solidify the position of the board itself, not only figuring out the manner in which it will replace its members and add new ones, but clarifying above any doubt that its single most important facet is embodied in the title of its members; that of TRUSTEE. Show by action that the board can always be trusted to appoint competent people and guard and marshal its assets reliably.

Anthere

Question to candidate: EthicsEdit

In a recent wikiEN-I en posting (8/19/2006), Jimmy Wales wrote:

"Most of us do care passionately about the ethics of what we are doing, and how it affects people. Indeed, for most of us, it is part of the very fabric of the reasons we participate. We are human beings, trying to do something good, not automatons puking out soulless "content" [...] we are good, we are ethical, we are trying to produce something important in

the world that matters to the world, and we want to do it the right way."

  1. Are you in agreement with that statement?
    ANSWER: No, I am not, entirely. I do agree with the spirit of the statement implicitly; but my view of ethics stems less from transcendental considerations, and more from the quirky statement of Socrates, that no person knowingly does evil. Fundamentally I view human inability to act rationally in his own self-interest as the source of behaving in an inethical manner. I will give a better exposition of my view of ethics in a general framework, and give a few real-world examples from my own life, stripped to the essentials of how I think in practise, in a separate paragraph below.
  2. If you do, what would you do as a board member to bring that understanding to life in our project?
    ANSWER: See above and below. I will add that since I see ethics essentially as a problem with accurate cognition (as demonstrated below), I see that our job isn't to bring a specific understanding of some passionate spiritual affect we share to life, but to bring life to our understanding of how our actions effect our interests both internally within our own personal mental spere, and externally in the framework of interaction with our surroundings and other actors both within wikimedia and the world outside wikimedia.

≈ jossi ≈ 01:39, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

In depth answer from the candidate on the question of EthicsEdit

Questions from DijxtraEdit

Hello, these are generic questions I decided to submit to every candidate. If you already answered the question in your application, skip it. If you consider any question to be to private for you to answer, feel free to state that and accept my apology for being to intrusive. I also ask you to pardon my English since spellcheckers don't check grammar :-) Here are the questions:

1. Privacy policy of Wikimedia Foundation projects states that: "It is the policy of Wikimedia that personally identifiable data collected in the server logs, or through records in the database via the CheckUser feature, may be released by the system administrators or users with CheckUser access, in the following situations: 1. In response to a valid subpoena or other compulsory request from law enforcement" If such subpoena occurs, would you agree that Wikimedia Foundation complies ASAP or would you request Foundation to dispute that subpoena in court, like Google did in January this year? Let me remind you that the second option requires money to be spent.

2. What is your opinion of WP:OFFICE? Do you think that:

  • It is very good solution to bureaucratisation of Wikipedia, allowing a swift action in cases which need such action. We should widen the circle of people who have the power to use WP:OFFICE.
    • ANSWER: That would depend. See below.
  • It is very good solution to bureaucratisation of Wikipedia, allowing a swift action in cases which need such action. (And only Danny should use WP:OFFICE privilege)
    • ANSWER: Circumstances alter cases. It is *A* good solution to certain real problems with the timeliness that action is taken in real problem situations, it may not be the *BEST* imaginable solution, but it does get the job done. If there is a better solution, no-one has yet presented one, that I remember.
  • I don't like the thing, but we need it so we don't get sued.
    • ANSWER: Even a good thing may have a slight off taste to it. I can't make an informed evaluation on its legal necessity, for that the foundation has real lawyers, and we should implicitly trust their competence.
  • Community is above any user and we should think of WP:OFFICE as temporary measure until we find a way for the whole community to act swiftly in cases of libel accusations.
    • ANSWER: That would be a *GREAT* thing, if possible. I really wouldn't use the term "temporary measure" though, but rather phrase it that this is the best thing proposed, so far.
  • We should move our servers to jurisdiction which makes it hard for people to sue us for libel.
    • ANSWER: The sense I have got from people who should know what they are talking about, is that this a grossly alarmist position, the way things stand at the moment.

3. Have you ever been on a paylist of anybody/any organization/any firm connected to any current member of the board? Please understand this question in the broadest sense possible.

ANSWER: Hehe, let me answer this question in a slightly jocular vein if I may. I worked for Leijonajakelu Oy (a newspaper morning delivery firm) for 15 years. This company was formerly known as Sanomajakelu Oy (even while I was already working there), and a subsidiary of Sanoma Oy whose major owner is en:Aatos Erkko who was knighted by Queen Elisabeth II as a Knight Commander of The British Empire. Queen Elisabeth is the reigning monarch of Great Britain. Angela Beesley has resided in Great Britain, and Angela Beesley is a (still) current member of the board. That is honestly the closest connection I can claim to the Board in an employment capacity, that I can think of.

Thank you for your time, Dijxtra 20:26, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

9/11 WikipediaEdit

Hi, Cimon. In light of the four discussions listed below, what course of action would you take with regard to the 9/11 Wikipedia if you were elected to the board?

Looking forward to your response. Thanks. Andreyi 17:36, 13 September 2006 (UTC)