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Statement to the Associated Press

 

 

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wikimail at inbox

Mar 10, 2008, 6:18 AM

Post #26 of 43 (12009 views)
Permalink
Re: Statement to the Associated Press [In reply to]

On Sun, Mar 9, 2008 at 9:17 PM, Felonious Monk
<feloniousmonk.wikipedia [at] gmail> wrote:
> Mr. Merkey--
>
> But back in 2006 you were saying something entirely different:
>
> "I can share with the community that Mr. Wales deletion and rewrite of the
> article was in no way was based on any legal solution or legal resolution --
> he did it solely of his own initiative and as a courtesy after performing a
> through review of the entire history of the article."
>
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Election_candidates_2006/En/MerkeyArchive
> I'm wondering what the AP will think of your past statement, which totally
> contradicts your statement to them shared here. There is no middle ground
> between the two. Either you being untruthful then or you are being
> untruthful now. Which is it?
>
>
> Paul Mitchell, FeloniousMonk

Merkey's recent statement actually contradicts itself to some extent,
in that he first says that the "influence" was granted "in exchange
for a substantial donation", and then it later says that it was done
"as a courtesty" [typo is not mine]. The "in exchange for a
substantial donation" part suggests a quid-pro-quo, but the rest of
the statement as well as that original statement only suggests that a
donation was made and then Jimmy did exactly what he would have done
anyway (Merkey even states in the most recent statement, that the
influence was simply used to make sure the article would "adhere to
Wikipedia's stated policies with regard to internet libel"). There's
quite a bit of middle ground, actually, and the fact that the phrase
"as a courtesy" is used in both statements leads me to believe that's
a direct quote from the email exchange that took place.

Of course, Jimmy has decided to call Merkey's recent statement
"nonsense", rather than clarifying what about it was incorrect.
Should we take this to mean that Jimmy claims that *none* of the
statement was correct?

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wknight8111 at gmail

Mar 10, 2008, 6:36 AM

Post #27 of 43 (12014 views)
Permalink
Re: Statement to the Associated Press [In reply to]

On Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 3:33 AM, Ray Saintonge <saintonge [at] telus> wrote:
> Alex wrote:
> > And I assume you sent something to this regard (hopefully more
> > substantial) to the AP as well?
> >
> That wouldn't be a wise idea. You don't maintain the high ground by
> getting into the gutter and flinging the same kind of mud, especially
> not if AP doesn't do anything with the material they have recived from
> Merkey. I'm sure they get complaints of this sort just as much as OTRS
> gets them from and about other people.

What also wouldn't be a good idea is the same kind of secrecy and
silence that people have been complaining about for months. If you act
like every other company in the world, you're going to run into the
same kinds of problems. There is always forgiveness to be had if
people are honest about their mistakes. On the other hand, if things
were truly "transparent" as people seem to claim, then finding the
necessary proof to debunk these accusations should be a simple matter
of searching through old records. Make all the truth known and keep
all your information in the public eye, and you don't need to defend
against anything, sling any mud, or suffer any unsubstantiated
allegations.

--Andrew Whitworth

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nawrich at gmail

Mar 10, 2008, 6:41 AM

Post #28 of 43 (12000 views)
Permalink
Re: Statement to the Associated Press [In reply to]

Uh, what records are you talking about? All of Jimbo's personal e-mails? Do
you want his bank statements, too? A top 10 website is going to attract a
lot of strange claims, and the Foundation and associated people don't need
to release a barrage of responses and records to each one - or they'd be
doing nothing else. Seriously - every new claim shouldn't be viewed as an
opportunity to paint the organization as neglectful, secretive and
anti-community. If you really want to feel like an insider, maybe that eBay
auction hasn't finished yet.

Nathan

On Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 9:36 AM, Andrew Whitworth <wknight8111 [at] gmail>
wrote:

>
>
> What also wouldn't be a good idea is the same kind of secrecy and
> silence that people have been complaining about for months. If you act
> like every other company in the world, you're going to run into the
> same kinds of problems. There is always forgiveness to be had if
> people are honest about their mistakes. On the other hand, if things
> were truly "transparent" as people seem to claim, then finding the
> necessary proof to debunk these accusations should be a simple matter
> of searching through old records. Make all the truth known and keep
> all your information in the public eye, and you don't need to defend
> against anything, sling any mud, or suffer any unsubstantiated
> allegations.
>
> --Andrew Whitworth
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l [at] lists
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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wknight8111 at gmail

Mar 10, 2008, 6:58 AM

Post #29 of 43 (11998 views)
Permalink
Re: Statement to the Associated Press [In reply to]

On Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 9:41 AM, Nathan <nawrich [at] gmail> wrote:
> Uh, what records are you talking about? All of Jimbo's personal e-mails? Do
> you want his bank statements, too? A top 10 website is going to attract a
> lot of strange claims, and the Foundation and associated people don't need
> to release a barrage of responses and records to each one - or they'd be
> doing nothing else. Seriously - every new claim shouldn't be viewed as an
> opportunity to paint the organization as neglectful, secretive and
> anti-community. If you really want to feel like an insider, maybe that eBay
> auction hasn't finished yet.

I'm specifically talking about not having to release individual
statements to each allegation. If relevant information wasn't hidden
in the first place, we wouldn't need to worry about carefully
releasing bits of it on demand. Call me a radical in this regard (the
label fits nicely), but there is a lot more transparency that we
should be demanding from this organization.

If a board member or foundation employee speaks to a donor about the
content of their wikipedia article, those conversations should be
logged. I personally don't think that too many of these conversations
should be happening anyway, at least not in an official context. In
this way, we avoid this he-said-she-said nonsense. I don't want to
have to take Jimmy's word for it any more then I am willing to take
Mr. Merkey's word. This is not me saying that I don't trust Jimmy, but
instead saying that if enough information was available for me to
research the topic myself, that I wouldn't have to employ trust at
all.

Most (except where prohibited by law) correspondence involving board
members acting in an official capacity should be made publicly
available. We can allow, of course, for other exceptions where
disclosing information which is barred by the privacy policy. If a
board member is having a conversation and they don't want anybody else
to know about it, chances are good that they shouldn't be having it.

--Andrew Whitworth

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Platonides at gmail

Mar 10, 2008, 7:13 AM

Post #30 of 43 (12022 views)
Permalink
Re: Statement to the Associated Press [In reply to]

Andrew Whitworth wrote:
> Most (except where prohibited by law) correspondence involving board
> members acting in an official capacity should be made publicly
> available. We can allow, of course, for other exceptions where
> disclosing information which is barred by the privacy policy. If a
> board member is having a conversation and they don't want anybody else
> to know about it, chances are good that they shouldn't be having it.
>
> --Andrew Whitworth

There's a difference between not wanting anybody else to know about it
and allowing anyone to read your mails.


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saintonge at telus

Mar 10, 2008, 12:24 PM

Post #31 of 43 (12022 views)
Permalink
Re: Statement to the Associated Press [In reply to]

Andrew Whitworth wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 3:33 AM, Ray Saintonge <saintonge [at] telus> wrote:
>
>> Alex wrote:
>> > And I assume you sent something to this regard (hopefully more
>> > substantial) to the AP as well?
>> >
>> That wouldn't be a wise idea. You don't maintain the high ground by
>> getting into the gutter and flinging the same kind of mud, especially
>> not if AP doesn't do anything with the material they have recived from
>> Merkey. I'm sure they get complaints of this sort just as much as OTRS
>> gets them from and about other people.
>>
> What also wouldn't be a good idea is the same kind of secrecy and
> silence that people have been complaining about for months. If you act
> like every other company in the world, you're going to run into the
> same kinds of problems. There is always forgiveness to be had if
> people are honest about their mistakes. On the other hand, if things
> were truly "transparent" as people seem to claim, then finding the
> necessary proof to debunk these accusations should be a simple matter
> of searching through old records. Make all the truth known and keep
> all your information in the public eye, and you don't need to defend
> against anything, sling any mud, or suffer any unsubstantiated
> allegations.
It's rarely that simple. We are often dealing with issues of privacy.
If Jimbo shows up at Wikimania with a bimbo on each arm it's not by
business if he happens to be cheating on his wife. I should be civil
and cordial with the bimbos if the circumstances require, but it's not
up to me to start moralyzing about the situation with him or them. It's
not up to me, when I get home, to write about the incident so that
everybody knows about it. While there, when a large group goes out to a
night spot it's not up to me, when somebody decides to pick up the tab
to ask whether that person is or is not making a business expense
claim. We don't publicize the salaries of the staff. When a Marsden or
a Merkey introduces himself through an OTRS complaint there is often a
pastiche of truth, illusions and confidentialities; we cannot assume
that a person determined to remove embarassing information will limit
himself to untrue statements or ethical means.

Wading through old records doesn't always help, even if they are all
available. Old claims are often murky and coloured with certain points
of view that are more implicit than explicit. The proof may indeed be
there, but the parties involved will interpret it quite differently.
When someone comes to me with a stck of restaurant receipts claiming
that he was entertaining clients, and now wants to claim them for tax
deductions I am don't want to spend a lot of time going through them
one-by-one to verify the validity of the claims.

Ec

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saintonge at telus

Mar 10, 2008, 12:35 PM

Post #32 of 43 (12014 views)
Permalink
Re: Statement to the Associated Press [In reply to]

Nathan wrote:
> If you really want to feel like an insider, maybe that eBay
> auction hasn't finished yet.
She had to relist. It seems she fell afoul of eBay rules about naming
third persons in the description. The two items have four and five days
more to run. In the last listing she put $500 starting bids for each,
but with an unspecified reserve. Each has received one bid for the
opening amount, but which is not enough to meet the reserve.

I have both lots on my eBay watchlist.

Ec

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saintonge at telus

Mar 10, 2008, 12:42 PM

Post #33 of 43 (11998 views)
Permalink
Re: Statement to the Associated Press [In reply to]

Andrew Whitworth wrote:
> If a
> board member is having a conversation and they don't want anybody else
> to know about it, chances are good that they shouldn't be having it.
So. No pillow talk!

Ec

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wknight8111 at gmail

Mar 10, 2008, 1:39 PM

Post #34 of 43 (11994 views)
Permalink
Re: Statement to the Associated Press [In reply to]

On Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 3:24 PM, Ray Saintonge <saintonge [at] telus> wrote:
> It's rarely that simple. We are often dealing with issues of privacy.
> If Jimbo shows up at Wikimania with a bimbo on each arm ... It's
> not up to me, when I get home, to write about the incident so that
> everybody knows about it.

This isn't exactly the issue, if Jimmy or anybody else brings a
mistress to Wikimania, I think they shouldn't have an expectation of
privacy about that. I'll chalk this one up to being a bad example.

> While there, when a large group goes out to a
> night spot it's not up to me, when somebody decides to pick up the tab
> to ask whether that person is or is not making a business expense
> claim.

It's not up to you, but when the receipt comes in to the treasurer (or
whoever the receipt goes to), that kind of thing should be made
public. I personally would be fundamentally upset to learn that my
donation money, and the money from other donors, was being spent on
random dinners out. I'm certain that most other donors would be
similarly upset.

> We don't publicize the salaries of the staff.

True, but in the audit we get a total for how much money is being
spent on salaries. It's probably not too hard to make educated guesses
about who gets paid what.

> Wading through old records doesn't always help, even if they are all
> available.

Wading through old records never helps, if the records are
unavailable. Saying that finding answers could be difficult is a far
cry from saying that everything should be a permanent secret, and that
the foundation should operate itself like the CIA.

> Old claims are often murky and coloured with certain points
> of view that are more implicit than explicit. The proof may indeed be
> there, but the parties involved will interpret it quite differently.

Facts do not lie. We cannot account for people's interpretations of
events, but if we have the facts laid out for all to see, we won't
need to rely on Jimmy's interpretation versus Mr. Merkey's
interpretation. We instead could all look at the information and make
up our minds for ourselves. People lie when it is in their best
interests to do so, so we need to take the people out of the loop and
provide the information to the people directly.

> When someone comes to me with a stck of restaurant receipts claiming
> that he was entertaining clients, and now wants to claim them for tax
> deductions I am don't want to spend a lot of time going through them
> one-by-one to verify the validity of the claims.

Ignoring the fact that people really shouldn't be eating out too much
(ideally, not ever) on our donation money, this is still off the
point. If you don't want to go through all the receipts, put them
online so that other people can see them. If the amount of money you
are wasting on food is too embarrassing to post openly, then you are
doing something wrong and need to stop doing it.

The most important issue is, do you really believe that the board of
this non-profit organization shouldn't be held accountable for their
actions or their expenditures? Is it so hard to ask that people
practice some of the transparency that everybody seems to be
preaching?

--Andrew Whitworth

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nawrich at gmail

Mar 10, 2008, 1:51 PM

Post #35 of 43 (11996 views)
Permalink
Re: Statement to the Associated Press [In reply to]

Andrew,

Who is preaching for that level of transparency, except for you? Details of
every conversation and every interaction between members of the staff and
other staff or the public simply can't be made publicly available. That
isn't because the Foundation is operating like the CIA (a comparison that
holds exactly no weight, in my view) -- its because doing so would hamper
the smooth operation of the Foundation. Many interactions are confidential
for many different reasons, and many pieces of information that aren't
specifically confidential are still not released because there is no
compelling reason to do so and no tangible benefit that will result to weigh
against the difficulty of having everyone's activity under a microscope.

I think that your opinion on the expected radical transparency of the
Foundation is at odds with the community - you say that donors expect that
donated money will rarely if ever fund a dinner out, I don't think you are
correct about that. If a donation from me (which, in full disclosure, I
haven't yet made) funded a dinner between Jimmy and a potential large donor,
or even a collaboratve dinner between staff and consultants or some other
arrangements... I would be perfectly happy with that, it is a legitimate
expense. If the Foundation decides something is not a legitimate expense, it
won't pay for it, and I'm satisfied that we have the right people to
consistently make accurate determinations in this regard. If the Foundation
doesn't pay for it, then I don't really care what "it" is. If "it" happens
to be a ticket to Kumite in Thailand, or a chicken fight, or whatever other
objectionable thing... I don't care. It isn't our place to substitute our
moral judgment for the moral judgment of others, particularly when it
doesn't relate to the operation of the Foundation.

Nathan

On Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 4:39 PM, Andrew Whitworth <wknight8111 [at] gmail>
wrote:

> On Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 3:24 PM, Ray Saintonge <saintonge [at] telus>
> wrote:
> > It's rarely that simple. We are often dealing with issues of privacy.
> > If Jimbo shows up at Wikimania with a bimbo on each arm ... It's
> > not up to me, when I get home, to write about the incident so that
> > everybody knows about it.
>
> This isn't exactly the issue, if Jimmy or anybody else brings a
> mistress to Wikimania, I think they shouldn't have an expectation of
> privacy about that. I'll chalk this one up to being a bad example.
>
> > While there, when a large group goes out to a
> > night spot it's not up to me, when somebody decides to pick up the tab
> > to ask whether that person is or is not making a business expense
> > claim.
>
> It's not up to you, but when the receipt comes in to the treasurer (or
> whoever the receipt goes to), that kind of thing should be made
> public. I personally would be fundamentally upset to learn that my
> donation money, and the money from other donors, was being spent on
> random dinners out. I'm certain that most other donors would be
> similarly upset.
>
> > We don't publicize the salaries of the staff.
>
> True, but in the audit we get a total for how much money is being
> spent on salaries. It's probably not too hard to make educated guesses
> about who gets paid what.
>
> > Wading through old records doesn't always help, even if they are all
> > available.
>
> Wading through old records never helps, if the records are
> unavailable. Saying that finding answers could be difficult is a far
> cry from saying that everything should be a permanent secret, and that
> the foundation should operate itself like the CIA.
>
> > Old claims are often murky and coloured with certain points
> > of view that are more implicit than explicit. The proof may indeed be
> > there, but the parties involved will interpret it quite differently.
>
> Facts do not lie. We cannot account for people's interpretations of
> events, but if we have the facts laid out for all to see, we won't
> need to rely on Jimmy's interpretation versus Mr. Merkey's
> interpretation. We instead could all look at the information and make
> up our minds for ourselves. People lie when it is in their best
> interests to do so, so we need to take the people out of the loop and
> provide the information to the people directly.
>
> > When someone comes to me with a stck of restaurant receipts claiming
> > that he was entertaining clients, and now wants to claim them for tax
> > deductions I am don't want to spend a lot of time going through them
> > one-by-one to verify the validity of the claims.
>
> Ignoring the fact that people really shouldn't be eating out too much
> (ideally, not ever) on our donation money, this is still off the
> point. If you don't want to go through all the receipts, put them
> online so that other people can see them. If the amount of money you
> are wasting on food is too embarrassing to post openly, then you are
> doing something wrong and need to stop doing it.
>
> The most important issue is, do you really believe that the board of
> this non-profit organization shouldn't be held accountable for their
> actions or their expenditures? Is it so hard to ask that people
> practice some of the transparency that everybody seems to be
> preaching?
>
> --Andrew Whitworth
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l [at] lists
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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erik at wikimedia

Mar 10, 2008, 1:54 PM

Post #36 of 43 (12004 views)
Permalink
Re: Statement to the Associated Press [In reply to]

On 3/10/08, Andrew Whitworth <wknight8111 [at] gmail> wrote:

> Facts do not lie. We cannot account for people's interpretations of
> events, but if we have the facts laid out for all to see, we won't
> need to rely on Jimmy's interpretation versus Mr. Merkey's
> interpretation. We instead could all look at the information and make
> up our minds for ourselves. People lie when it is in their best
> interests to do so, so we need to take the people out of the loop and
> provide the information to the people directly.

Andrew, an organization that has to treat every unsubstantiated
allegation seriously is an organization that is extremely vulnerable.
It can easily be sent into a tailspin, dedicating 80% of its time just
refuting statements that haven't been backed up in the first place --
and many people will still accuse it of bad faith, and play bait and
switch. So, you published that e-mail, but how about that phone
conversation the other day? And the private meeting?

If you start out by believing that there might be sinister goings-on
at WMF, no amount of transparency will convince you otherwise. If you
start out from a _neutral_ position, you must demand evidence for any
allegation made -- and distance yourself from a source if it
repeatedly fails to provide such evidence. That is only way an
organization and a community like ours can function, without being
vulnerable to destructive individuals.
--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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wknight8111 at gmail

Mar 10, 2008, 2:34 PM

Post #37 of 43 (12011 views)
Permalink
Re: Statement to the Associated Press [In reply to]

On Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 4:51 PM, Nathan <nawrich [at] gmail> wrote:
> Who is preaching for that level of transparency, except for you?

It's probably only me. I did preface my first email by saying that I
was a radical on this issue.

> ... you say that donors expect that
> donated money will rarely if ever fund a dinner out, I don't think you are
> correct about that. If a donation from me (which, in full disclosure, I
> haven't yet made) funded a dinner between Jimmy and a potential large donor,
> or even a collaboratve dinner between staff and consultants or some other
> arrangements... I would be perfectly happy with that, it is a legitimate
> expense.

As with any issue, there is plenty of gray area. There's always a
difference between a legitimate business expense and frivolous
extravagance. I still stand by my position that if you aren't prepared
to share with the public (and more specifically, the donors) the
details of your expenses, then you probably shouldn't be spending the
money. If it's a legitimate business dinner with prospective donors,
there is no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed about that. It's
possible, of course, to leave the name of the donor and the amount of
the donation private.

--Andrew Whitworth

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wknight8111 at gmail

Mar 10, 2008, 3:07 PM

Post #38 of 43 (12002 views)
Permalink
Re: Statement to the Associated Press [In reply to]

On Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 4:54 PM, Erik Moeller <erik [at] wikimedia> wrote:
> Andrew, an organization that has to treat every unsubstantiated
> allegation seriously is an organization that is extremely vulnerable.
> It can easily be sent into a tailspin, dedicating 80% of its time just
> refuting statements that haven't been backed up in the first place --
> and many people will still accuse it of bad faith, and play bait and
> switch. So, you published that e-mail, but how about that phone
> conversation the other day? And the private meeting?

Look at it from the other angle, where information that is intended to
be kept secret (private mailing lists serve as a good and recent
example) aren't. Information that is intended to stay private is being
sent out to all sorts of people with negative intentions. If a
communication that you are engaged in is potentially embarrassing,
maybe you shouldn't be engaged in it? Go off the assumption that at
any time, an email or a taped phone conversation, or whatever could be
leaked to the press. With this in mind, do you do things a little
differently?

> If you start out by believing that there might be sinister goings-on
> at WMF, no amount of transparency will convince you otherwise. If you
> start out from a _neutral_ position, you must demand evidence for any
> allegation made -- and distance yourself from a source if it
> repeatedly fails to provide such evidence.

I'm not making any allegations about anything whatsoever, and I'm not
blindly believing anything I've heard yet. In fact, I'm still
half-convinced that Jimmy is a regular saint with a terrible PR agent.
I take any blanket statement of complete innocence with a certain
grain of salt, but that's mostly because I've become accustomed to
hearing celebrities proclaim their own innocence, and then go to
court/prison/rehab when "new evidence" comes out later.

For instance, it would have been a lot better in my eyes (and maybe
other people would have been less happy with this) if Jimmy had said
"I acted in a way that I thought was appropriate, although in hind
sight it may have been possible for Mr Merkey to have misinterpreted
something I said, and for him to believe that I was going to edit his
article improperly", there wouldn't have been anything else to say
about it at all. Instead, we got "it's nonsense" (which, admittedly is
what some people asked for). If it turns out there is substance to
this allegation, then Jimmy could get nailed both for the original
problems and then for lying about it. If it's not an issue then it's
not an issue, and I certainly don't have anything further to say about
it.

--Andrew Whitworth

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aphaia at gmail

Mar 11, 2008, 1:34 AM

Post #39 of 43 (11995 views)
Permalink
Re: Statement to the Associated Press [In reply to]

On Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 10:18 PM, Anthony <wikimail [at] inbox> wrote:
> Of course, Jimmy has decided to call Merkey's recent statement
> "nonsense", rather than clarifying what about it was incorrect.
> Should we take this to mean that Jimmy claims that *none* of the
> statement was correct?

I have no idea about that, but this thread reminded me Mr. Merkey
demanded me on my meta talk page to address him with the Japanese
honorific "sama" which is only used for addressing the member of the
Imperial House of Japan in main stream Japanese media (and in business
talk addressing customers but I haven't sold him anything of course).
I then assumed no one would be hardly able to satisfy him with verbal
communications and now again.


--
KIZU Naoko
http://d.hatena.ne.jp/Britty (in Japanese)
Quote of the Day (English): http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/WQ:QOTD

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lars at aronsson

Mar 11, 2008, 6:48 AM

Post #40 of 43 (11965 views)
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Re: Statement to the Associated Press [In reply to]

Andrew Whitworth wrote:

> I personally would be fundamentally upset to learn that my
> donation money, and the money from other donors, was being spent
> on random dinners out.

Absolutely, and it would also become a very good media headline.
Everybody loves a scandal about "random dinners" in a charity,
<blink>while the children of Africa are starving!!!</blink> Can we
get a burping Jimbo on the same picture with a starving child?

But this is a case when more information is hurting. I don't mean
that we shouldn't investigate possible corruption. But we should
keep things in a larger perspective: the amount of attention
should be proportional to the size of the loss or problem. This
is where mass media so often fails, in favor of good headlines.

Just wait til we find out what the foundation office spends on
paper clips. (Swedish readers might remember "Gemutredningen".)
If they got a different supplier, they might be able to save two
donated dollars each month! My two dollars!!!

Suppose that we spend $2000 to buy a server from IBM. That might
be good value for money. But if IBM's management didn't spend so
much on *their* "random dinners", perhaps we could have had that
server for $1950. Now we have apparently wasted $50 of donated
money for no good reason.

Luckily, however, since the price tag for servers doesn't come
with a specificiation of how much went to "random dinners", we're
never going to find out. Less information for us saves us from
being upset. We might avoid IBM if they were using slave labour,
but generally one doesn't buy servers based on management dinners.
Instead the prudent organization bids for tenders from several
manufacturers and picks the best offer, regardless of the methods
and costs each manufacturer might have.

Similarly, the prudent donor should ask which free content charity
produces the best result for donated money. Could the Wikimedia
Foundation have done better? Are there any stars that shine
brighter in the cyber sky?


--
Lars Aronsson (lars [at] aronsson)
Aronsson Datateknik - http://aronsson.se

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delirium at hackish

Mar 11, 2008, 12:25 PM

Post #41 of 43 (11959 views)
Permalink
Re: Statement to the Associated Press [In reply to]

Lars Aronsson wrote:
> Luckily, however, since the price tag for servers doesn't come
> with a specificiation of how much went to "random dinners", we're
> never going to find out. Less information for us saves us from
> being upset. We might avoid IBM if they were using slave labour,
> but generally one doesn't buy servers based on management dinners.
> Instead the prudent organization bids for tenders from several
> manufacturers and picks the best offer, regardless of the methods
> and costs each manufacturer might have.
>
> Similarly, the prudent donor should ask which free content charity
> produces the best result for donated money. Could the Wikimedia
> Foundation have done better? Are there any stars that shine
> brighter in the cyber sky?
>

These are somewhat different cases, though. In the server case, at the
end of the day if you need a server, you're going to buy it from
someone. If all options seem wasteful, you'll take the least wasteful
one. IBM doesn't have to make you think they're great, only that they're
better than everyone else. But nobody has a hard requirement to donate
to a free content charity, so simply being the best free content charity
is not going to automatically get us anybody's money. We have to go the
added step and convince them that an incremental addition of money will
be spent, at least mainly, on directly furthering something that they
care about, rather than what they would see as wasteful (or even
legitimate overhead, too much of which turns people off when it comes to
charities). If, on the other hand, they perceive that a decrease in our
funding by, say, $100k, will result in us just trimming some fat and no
harm to our actual mission, then they'll withhold the donations.

-Mark


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george.herbert at gmail

Mar 11, 2008, 3:36 PM

Post #42 of 43 (11949 views)
Permalink
Re: Statement to the Associated Press [In reply to]

This issue has now popped up in the press:

http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/more-woes-for-jimmy-wales/2008/03/11/1205125874243.html

Also slashdotted.

Less info there than posted by either side here, but it's out and running...



--
-george william herbert
george.herbert [at] gmail
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delirium at hackish

Mar 12, 2008, 2:13 PM

Post #43 of 43 (11910 views)
Permalink
Re: Statement to the Associated Press [In reply to]

Jimmy Wales wrote:
> I encourage anyone who is tempted to believe this story to consider the
> source.

It's a good thing we have a Wikipedia article to follow up what you mean
by that. =] I had totally not connected in my head that this is the same
guy who offered $50k on LKML for someone to relicense the Linux kernel
from the GPL to something more to his liking. And then sued Bruce Perens
and a few hundred anonymous Slashdot posters for their response to that
offer (and then dropped the suit). And that's not the only set of
groundless accusations, lawsuits, etc. in his history.

-Mark, expecting a summons any day now


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