[Osmf-talk] Membership applications from Skobbler employees
frederik at remote.org
Thu Aug 25 07:52:50 UTC 2011
On 08/25/11 02:00, SteveC wrote:
> On 8/24/2011 4:17 AM, Frederik Ramm wrote:
>> At least here in Germany, the Wikimedia Foundation does not have a
>> reputation of good governance, and does not enjoy a lot of trust.
> Why is that, and how can we avoid it?
I'm not a Wikimedia insider myself and only know stuff that was widely
reported. In 2010, the German foundation created a special working group
(the "AG Verantwortungsstruktur" dealing with things somewhere in
between our Strategic and AoA working groups) which went on to install a
second legal body (a so-called gGmbH in addition to the existing
so-called e.V.) under a shroud of secrecy which caused a lot of bad
press and made some high-ranking people resign in protest. Only last
month, a board member quit Wikimedia claiming she could not do her job
because the treasurer (another board member) was holding back important
information. The chairman of the board was publicly attacked for spying
on a working group tasked with distributing a EUR 200k project budget,
leading the the resignation in protest of the chairwoman of that working
group and a legal investigation into whether he was breaching data
And this is only what transpired publicly (sources, in German, e.g.
reports have also been in the mainstream media e.g. Der Spiegel; since
the general public does not distinguish between Wikipedia-the-project
and Wikimedia-the-foundation this of course reflected badly on Wikipedia
even though 99.9% of Wikipedians are totally uninterested).
What can we do to avoid it?
Call me a cynic, but from my (limited) experience with other
not-for-profits and I tend to thinkg that the amount of fear, hate,
mistrust, and general bad karma is proportional to the size and budget
of the organisation.
If we manage to keep OSMF small and relatively unimportant, then we'll
avoid problems like those. If we aim at 10k members, a yearly budget in
the six figures, and full-time staff, then we *will* have these problems
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