Archive for the ‘Board of Trustees’ Category
The Review presents a timeline of events relating to Carolyn Doran, former Chief of Operations at the Wikimedia Foundation, who was found to have been a convicted felon. Below research compiled by The Review’s resident culture vulture, the fiery angel:
A Herndon woman pleaded guilty yesterday in Fairfax Circuit Court to unlawful wounding of her boyfriend, who was shot once in the chest Aug. 25.
Carolyn Bothwell, 27, of the 1100 block of Player Way, said she entered the plea after the prosecution offered to recommend probation. She said she did not want to risk losing custody of her 3-year-old son.
Bothwell’s attorney, Gerald Bruce Lee, said in court that if the case had gone to trial, the defense had planned to … Read the rest of this entry »
Something monumentally offensive has happened this week on Wikipedia, and the powers that be are trying to sweep it under the rug. All Wikipedia critics should take this excellent opportunity to write letters to the Editors of their local and regional newspapers, and to contact their elected officials. The public opinion of Wikipedia can and should be changed by these six simple points:
To borrow from the “Brady Bunch” theme song, here’s the story… of a man named Jimmy…
Wikimedia Foundation Board of Directors includes: Jimmy Wales (Chairman Emeritus) and Michael E. Davis (Treasurer). Wikimedia Foundation also enjoys the services of a former Board member, who remains a member of the Communications Committee of the Wikimedia Foundation and also chairs the Foundation’s Advisory Board: Angela Beesley.
Contrast the above list of individuals with a list of key players at the for-profit Wikia, Inc.: Jimmy Wales (co-founder), Michael E. Davis (Treasurer and Secretary), Angela Beesley (co-founder and vice president for community relations).
Non-profit and for-profit board members and accountants both have fiduciary duties to act in the best interest of their organizations. By various laws and governance principles they have to recuse themselves or avoid involvement when there is a conflict of interest. Even a perceived conflict can be corrosive to governance and is sometimes prohibited because donors and volunteers lose faith. Someone who is on the board of Wikimedia Foundation or prepares its finances and also has a financial stake in Wikia should be very careful about taking positions within Wikimedia properties that could benefit Wikia by directing traffic there, banning things from Wikipedia so as to distinguish it from a commercial site, making Wikipedia less attractive to constituents than Wikia, etc. Actions that seem to raise a conflict might include hiring personnel from the volunteer Foundation to work at the for-profit corporation, installing Wikia, Inc. employees into positions of power within Foundation properties, selectively banning some commercial links while allowing others, travel and speaking engagements for the Foundation that are also used to drum up support for the for-profit venture, etc.
It would appear that all of these warning signals have been played out in reality at the Wikimedia Foundation. Read the rest of this entry »
Ordinarily, updates go at the bottom somewhere, but this particular update basically destroys the whole point of this post.
Ludwig de Braeckeleer, the person whose article is at the centre of this blog post, has retracted his statement that Virgil Griffith was hired by Wikipedia to create the Wikipedia scanner.Â In his post, he says:
“On July 26, OhmyNews alleged that Wikipedia may have been infiltrated by Intelligence Agencies. The story attracted more than 50,000 readers in just three days, was highly debated on the Web, and translated in several languages.(*)”
“(*) This article has been revised. “
He didn’t even go so far as to suggest why he had made the mistake, or to apologise, or anything else.Â Bad form, Ludwig, bad form!
There is still a miniscule chance that the original statement was still true, but if that is the case then Ludwig (or Ohmynews) were presenting extremely bad form by backing down.Â To make such a statement, stated as fact, and then to retract it with no explanation is really terrible.Â It has the result of greatly improving Wikipedia’s image, and of taking all of us here at Wikipedia Review for a ride.
I am keeping the rest of this blog post for the sake of an archive.Â Bad form, Ludwig!
Within a larger Wikipedia Review message thread, a comment was made that Wikia officials say, “Wikimedia and Wikia are completely unconnected. There is no financial, legal, or any other connection between the two…”
That’s like asking the Bush Administration if there is a connection between Big Oil’s influence on the administration and the decision to go to war in Iraq. I’m pretty sure you’ll be told “there’s no financial, legal, or any other connection between the oil industry and the Commander In Chief”.
I’m not even going to get into the staffing “connections”, but you may want to look into the roles of Jimmy Wales, Angela Beesley, Michael E. Davis, and (until he was discovered to be lying about his credentials) Ryan Jordan, vis-a-vis Wikia and the Wikimedia Foundation. Each of these holds (or held) prominent positions in both entities. In the real world, this usually generates some measure of separation to avoid perceived or actual “conflict of interest”, but how well is it actually being done over there? Gil Penchina (CEO of Wikia) was in attendance at Wikimania 2007. Why is that, if he’s “completely unconnected“?
I would say having 9,460 outbound links from Wikipedia to Wikia is most certainly not “completely unconnected” — especially considering that when Jimmy Wales authorized “nofollow”, many of the links to Wikia were exempt from that Google-dampening measure. Read the rest of this entry »