Wikimedia Foundation elections/Board elections/2007/Candidates/Danny/questions

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2007 board elections
Organization



Sharing accounts[edit]

What is your opinion on family members/close friends using another person's Wiki account? Would you vouch not to allow other people use your account as <unnamed> board member did? MatthewFenton 16:56, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

I am completely opposed to that. Having an account means having the responsibility that comes with an account, and it should not be taken lightly. If a family member wants to comment, they should create their own account. Danny 17:41, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure if Matthew's referring to me as the "<unnamed> [ex-]board member" but I did edit with your account here. Angela 05:15, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Fair-use[edit]

What is your stance on fair-use? Should we use it? How much fair-use should we use? MatthewFenton 16:56, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

I am opposed to the preponderance of Fair Use in the English Wikipedia and some other languages. Fair Use may be acceptable under very limited circumstances, but I think that we have failed to explore all of the creative ways that we can avoid this. This goes beyond simply taking more photographs. An organization of our size can obtain alternative images, pressure organizations to release images, and come up with innovative ideas to replace existing fair use images with completely free ones. Only if all other avenues have been explored, and there is no alternative to an image which is vital to the integrity of an article, should Fair Use be exploited. Danny 17:41, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
Instead of fair use, would you be opposed to using non-free images with the permission of the copyright holder (assuming no free equivalent exists and the copyright holder refuses to freely license)? — Omegatron 03:31, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I would. Our purpose is to promote free content. I would only support using such images when the only alternative is a fairuse image. Danny 22:17, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
So you would prefer free images > with-permission images > fair use images? Note that with-permission images are currently prohibited on English Wikipedia. — Omegatron 00:37, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
Not to encroach on Danny's answer to this but even though Wikipedia's goal is to use as few fair use images as possible (or at least, the general consensus is that this is the goal, I don't presume to know all that much about the inner workings of Wikipedia), wouldn't the fact that an encyclopedia's goal being to inform people in a clear and concise manner may warrant the use of an image obtained and used with the permission of the copyright owner in an effort to properly inform the reader. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. (And I'm sorry if this makes little sense, is is 4:38 AM here right now. I just thought that this point was worth mentioning.) Bobbias 08:40, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Core issues[edit]

You mentioned that you think the Board should focus on core issues. What are those core issues?--Shanel 17:05, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

I believe I hinted at some of these in my statement: "Where is the fundraising strategy? Where is the technical road map? What is the plan for sustainability?" I believe that ensuring the longterm sustainability of the Foundation is the primary goal at this juncture. Running servers costs money (c. $60,000 a month), salaries cost money, office expenses cost money, so that it is reasonable to guess we are paying about $100,000 a month on operating costs, without considering special costs, such as travel, Wikimania, etc. In other words, we can go through a million bucks in less than a year--and we are growing. I think it is unreasonable and unwise to have that come just from small donations from our readers.
This leads to my second point--fiduciary responsibility--the primary responsibility of the Board. As an employee, I questioned whether money was always spent wisely. As a board member, I would like to see the appointment of an independent ombudsman for the foundation to examine the finances and ensure that the money is spent within proportion to our means. I would like to cut down on excessive travel costs (and would like the Board to report to the community how much each Board member spent on travel in the past year.) We are paying a lot of salaries today: in previous positions I held, I was subject to an annual performance review, and would like to see that implemented in the Foundation as well. I would also like to know whether salaries are commensurate with the market value of the particular staff member in that position. Are people being paid too much for too little output, or alternately, are we underpaying people, thereby putting ourselves in a position where we can lose core members of our team.
Finally, I would like to see the introduction of more professional Board members, to include true "captains of industry and academia," who have no personal ties to the individual projects, who can oversee the projects from a necessary distance, help the community to decide on new directions, and provide us with the much-needed financial sustainabililty. Danny 17:59, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
Do you think that your resignation without explanation was a sign of professionalism ? Why haven't you present your complains about the Board members strategy before ? ~Pyb 11:53, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
My resignation was a personal decision based on my dissatisfaction with the way the WMF was headed. Rather than throw my hands up in disgust, I have decided to try and change that by running for the Board. I have raised my concerns within the confines of the office/board in the past, and now I am raising them with the community. Danny 21:01, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Non-membership organization[edit]

Last December, the Wikimedia Foundation revised its bylaws to change itself from a membership organization to a non-membership organization. In a membership organization, the trustees are directly responsible to the membership; in a non-membership organization, the trustees are ultimately responsible only to one another (and indirectly to donors, who presumably will not donate if they feel the trustees are not being responsible). Do you feel that the Foundation, constituted as it is as a non-membership organization, provides sufficient structural checks and balances to ensure that the trustees observe their fiduciary responsibilities appropriately? Would a return to a membership structure, with the ability of members to bring policy proposals themselves at the annual meeting or by other methods, to remove board members by appropriate vote, and to sue the Foundation under certain conditions limit the ability of the Trustees to do what they need to do? If you do support a return to a membership structure, how would you determine who the voting members are? Kelly Martin 18:31, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

While I cannot comment fully on the legal ramifications of a membership organization, I believe that this option should be reinvestigated and formal membership be created if at all possible. The reason is precisely as you stated above--it would foster greater responsibility of the Board to its constituents. Rather than limit what the Board could do, it would actually enhance their abilities, because they would be operating in greater compliance with the will of the community of members. Above I proposed the idea of an independent ombudsman as one means of providing checks and balances. I think that membership is yet another such means. As for what membership requirements are, I have no doubt that it would entail paying a membership dues, however, I think we should investigate the possibility of combining dues with some other, non-financial contribution to the Foundation. For instance, annual membership could cost $50 and 1,000 edits. This latter step will ensure that the Foundation is not controlled by a vested party, which does not participate in the projects. Danny 18:45, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
What do you see as being the benefit behind payed membership compared to a system based on (non-financial) merit? Even with a mixed system, how do you respond to the argument that the ability of individuals to pay dues discriminates against those who cannot. ElC 20:42, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
One of the big mistakes we frequently make is to believe that the WMF is sui generis. There are many other international organizations, and we should be looking at the models they offer before determining our own model. Every organization that I know of with membership uses money as a means of determining membership. When this was discussed in the past, various options were proposed, including sponsored members (if membership is 5 dollars, I give 100 dollars to support 20 members), different rates for different countries, etc. While the problem you raise is real, it behooves us to examine how other organizations handle the same problem and come up with a workable solution. Danny 20:59, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Ads[edit]

You mentioned above that you believe it is necessary to pursue other methods of raising money than small donations by readers. Do you believe that advertisements (or optional advertisements) should be added to raise money? Should we go after donations from large corporations? Do you have any other ideas for raising money? —METS501 (talk) 19:52, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

The first thing we have to realize is that money is not a dirty word, even though that sometimes seems to be the prevalent feeling among some of our editors. The second thing to realize is that running a website our size requires money--lots of money. Going on the basis of our average donation being $25, it would take 2,400 donations--80 donations a day--just to keep the servers running for a month. Just processing that amount of donations required a signicant amount of work. Last I checked, selling t-shirts brings us in about 600 dollars a month, so that in 100 months, we have enough t-shirt money to pay for one month of server costs, provided we do not grow and we do not buy anymore hardware. I think it's kind of obvious that we need some new strategies for the long run.
Advertising is one such strategy, which should be considered. Ads do not need to be obtrusive. We can control their content, size, etc. We can make them optional for registered users. I believe that they should be reconsidered. But that is not the only way to raise money. Just before I left, I brought a small boutique branding company to present itself to the board. Branding products with our logo can be a very lucrative source of income that might even eliminate any need for advertising. Unfortunately, the meeting did not go as well as planned. The evening before, another staff member made an unfortunate public scene, somewhat tarnishing our name before this company. After the presentation, the Board promised to get back to them within two weeks, but that did not happen, further tarnishing our name. To me, that is utterly unacceptable. Perhaps there are other companies, but have they been adequately explored? Or have we just tossed an opportunity away.
Actually not. We are in discussion with the said-company. A contract has been drafted, but the board opposed signing the current version, for many reasons, including the fact the deal proposed in the contract was very much unbalanced in disfavor of the Foundation and its projects. Making business and earning money in this way is one thing that looks very promising, however any agreement signed with a third party should be a win-win situation. This is not yet the case with the company you are referring to. Better take our time now, than taking hastily a decision and regret it later. Anthere
Let's face it. There are many companies who have made offers that could have provided us with a steady stream of income. We must do much more to take advantage of those opportunities while they are available. This is the business side of running a corporation, and it is essential, whether it is branding agreements, live feeds, or other opportunities.
Last but not least, the money that we raise can do so much to help us further our mission, and not just pay for bandwidth and hosting. Jimmy once asked on one of the mailing lists for us to imagine what we could do if we had $100 million at our disposal. There were some great ideas there to obtain, liberate, foster, and promote free content and free knowledge. Those are the kinds of things that money will make possible. Rather than asking ourselves "Should we have advertising?" we should ponder, "What is it costing us not to have it?" Danny 20:40, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Sister projects[edit]

What are your opinions on sister projects to Wikipedia? Do you believe they are adequately supported by the board and staff? For example, on Wikinews we had the opportunity to accredit and send a reporter to the G8 conference. This was left entirely to the local community instead of having input from board members who were asked to become involved. I suppose I'm asking is the board too distant, particularly from fringe projects that have great potential if given more support. --Brian McNeil / talk 21:32, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Let me start off by saying that I am one of the most active contributors to Wikisource in English, and have contributed extensively to the Hebrew Wikisource as well. I also launched Wikijunior on Wikibooks, and set the format for the first three books (Big Cats, Solar System, and South America), so I have a special place in my heart for the sister projects. I believe that the Board should do everything in its power to strengthen these projects, and integrate them with one another, to create a real web of knowledge. I am proud to have been behind the links on this page to Wikispecies and Wikipedia, and to pages like this, where our encyclopedia content is expanded on in Wikisource, and I believe more of the same should be done with Wikinews, Wikibooks, and the other projects. In English Wikipedia, especially, where it is gradually becoming harder for people to contribute meaningfully, the sister projects could be a great outlet for all of the energy of our eager contributors, to the benefit of all the projects. So yes, I believe that they should be supported more, and much greater effort should be made to promote them. Danny 21:50, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
You didn't answer the question of how the sister projects are currently dealt with in your opinion: sufficient support or not? Does the Wikimedia family consist of favourite children and neglected stepchildren, or are all loved equally?--Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 14:34, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I think that more attention should be paid to sister projects and smaller languages than is currently the case. I do not know if I would go so far as to call them neglected stepchildren, but I think the focus should be on all of our Wikimedia projects, and not just Wikipedia. Danny 16:47, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Change[edit]

What is the top 3 things you want to have changed in the current strategy of the foundation? Thanks, Effeietsanders 23:12, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Unfortunately, I do not know what the current strategy of the Foundation is, and am not sure there is one. That said, I would like to see some mid- and long-term planning in several areas: 1. a survey of assets; 2. financial planning; 3. sustainability planning. We have to move away from living hand to mouth, and plan for five years from now, not just five days from now. At the same time, I would like to see something along the lines of Robert's Rules of Order implemented in the governance of the WMF. I would base all of this on the milestones that we set for ourselves in Frankfurt seven months ago. Danny 23:26, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Added Value[edit]

What kind of value do you add to the current set of boardmembers in the area of Legal, Financial, Accounting etc expertise? Thanks, Effeietsanders 23:12, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

One of my strengths as a Board member will be that I not only know what I know, but more importantly, what I don't know. I am neither a lawyer nor an accountant, and believe that those jobs should be left to professionals. I would consult with those professionals, and pay serious attention to what they have to say, rather than guessing about the law.
As an employee, I did handle some financial matters and participated in the first audit. In fact, the basic audit file, which contains all of the important information for the auditors was compiled by me and is still labeled "Danny's Audit File." I know the auditors personally, and would be happy to assist in some capacity, realizing, of course, that the real work is that of the bookkeeper and staff. At present, two members of the Audit Committee live in the Netherlands, which makes me wonder how much they will be able to assist in a hands-on way, while doing an audit for an American 501 (c) 3.
In general I believe that it is not the role of a board member to meddle but to oversee. I would like to bring in more professionals in fields like fundraising, auditing, legal, accounting, etc., as board members, consultants, and staff. The job of the Board is to find the best possible people to fill these roles. Danny 23:37, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Business dev. and GHGs.[edit]

What are your thoughts on the foundation's hiring of a business developer?

How would you vote on the board about the foundation reducing or offsetting anthropogenic greenhouse gases, e.g. power used by hardware, flights, etc.?

Thanks. -- Jeandré, 2007-06-17t00:18z

I believe that hiring a business development team is essential to the futureof the Foundation as it achieves financial sustainability. As for greenhouse gas emissions, I would point out that at 43 years old, I do not own a car, nor do I even know how to drive one, and am a firm advocate of public transportation. I would like to see the Board reduce its travel expenses significantly, and will make any travel costs I may incur available for community scrutiny. On the other hand, hardware is essential to the operation of the Foundation and would be reluctant to cut down these costs unless viable alternatives are offered. I will study the proposal in the email you cite, and consult with people more suited to respond regarding its viability. Danny 01:18, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Resignation[edit]

You recently resigned from your job in the Foundation front-office. You said (and I'm paraphrasing here) that you did not want to elaborate on on your reasons, until later when you were running for the board. Now that you are, I would like you to elaborate on the reasons you quit. Thanks. Raul654 03:33, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

PS - here is the message I was thinking of. Raul654 03:40, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I left at a very diffeicult time for the Foundation. It was already known to us that Brad was on his way out, the company hired to find an ED reported that the organization was not sufficiently mature for such a step, and the Foundation was foundering. We were already put in the uncomfortable position of having various responsibilities assigned to various board members. I, for instance, worked with Erik--in fact, I feel that I worked surprisingly well with him--however, everyone recognized that the current situation could not continue for long. It was a drain on the Board members, and it is not the role of a board to manage (or in some cases, micromanage) and organization. In fact, that makes it impossible for them to fulfil their true role of oversight.
At that time, I challenged certain decisions, particularly financial decisions that were being made, and was told that it was not my business. At a meeting of the staff following the board meeting, we were all subjected to a lengthy rant by Florence as to who could fire who. Understand that this was a time when the office staff needed support after a long and tense week. We did not get that. In fact, we were told by Florence at the time that she woudl be stepping in to fill the role of (paid) CEO while provided that she could maintain her position as chair of the Board. When asked what if this was impossible, she informed us that there was no other way forward. I believed and continue to believe that this was a direct conflict of interests that was potentially damaging to the Foundation. That night I slept on it, and when I saw the practical implications of this attempt the next morning, I resigned in protest.
This is an abridged account of what happened, but summarizes the main points. Danny 20:17, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

We seem to have a different memory of that meeting :-) And certainly, the way you report it does not fit well with my memory of these days. But whatever. I applaud your bold decision of resigning in a time where you did not agree anymore with the vision of the board. ant

Why ignore the call to not stand for board member[edit]

It has been explicitly stated that it would be good practice if a former employee of the foundation should not stand for election as a board member. You choose to ignore this position.

  • Do you think that having been an employee makes you more qualified for this role and are you open for public criticism on your performance as an employee for the WMF ?
  • You did not react to the statement of intent to modify the rules to standing for election for former employees after this election, do you not agree that it is better for you to maintain some distance because given your brusque way of leaving I would suggest that you have damaged your ability to cooperate with people on the board and in the organisation?
Thanks, GerardM 05:31, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I think the question is moot. If you have criticisms of my performance, you are welcome to make them. I would hope, however, that this does not degenerate into a series of personal attacks, reflecting your opinions of me. As for modifying the rules, apparently the Board did not see fit to follow this suggestion, so it is not really relevant.
The question is not moot. It was clear in the original post that it was not considered to be ethical to change the rules at that stage of the game. The arguments are pertinent, they are imho correct and you have not addressed any of them. In the same way as you have not indicated why you left your job and why you left it in the way you did. The fact that you are standing for election does not make the arguments why it would be better for you not to go away. GerardM 20:04, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I think this is relevant somehow to gerard's comments..I believe/think that for the board members to be efficient is that there should be between each member and the other some sort of symbiosis..I don't know (I sometimes misinterpret) but I think there is some tension between you and the other members..the question is..will you be willing to work harmoniously with other members? (not saying that you don't say no of course)..good luck...--The Joke النكتة‎ 07:33, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Even after leaving, I have continued to contribute to Wikipedia, Wikisource, and Commons on a regular basis. While there does exist some tension between other board members and me, being a board member does not necessarily mean agreeing with every other board member. It is the tension of the dialogue that is really productive to everyone, and if I believe that other board members are wrong, I will call them on it. On the other hand, I believe that a newly elected board with fresh blood can do wonders to lead the Foundation to the next level. Danny 16:06, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Is there not only tension between you and the board but is there not also tension between you and people in the office as I have been told ??? GerardM 20:04, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps you should check your facts. I get along rather well with several of the Board members and office staff. Danny 13:20, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
Ok, I have checked my facts .. nothing changed from my perspective..You have not answered the primary question and you have serious issues with several of the people you say you get along rather well with raised serious issues when they are asked what it would be like to have you on the board. GerardM 16:18, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
Do you think you could put your personal issues aside, and work together with all other boardmembers in good spirit for the sake of the Foundation? Thanks, Effeietsanders 19:08, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
The goal of my candidacy is to restore genuine fiduciary responsibility to the board and all its members. My personal issues revolve around what I perceive to be a dangerous level of unprofessionalism among certain, but not all, board members, which could potentially cause us to lose our 501 c 3 status. If I see these things happening, I intend to call the people on them for acting out of order. Being part of a team does not mean acquiescing when that team--or certain members of that team--acts irresponsibly. I have asked for an account of Board travel expenses in the last six months. Being on a board is not a question of popularity but of fiduciary responsibility. Danny 20:01, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Out of curiosity, whose job do you consider it is, to provide an account of Board travel expenses ? Do you think financial information should be provided by individual board members ? By the chair ? By the executive director ? By the COO ? By the accountant ? Let's imagine this is the 1st of july and you were elected on the board. If I understand well your focus, your first request will be to ask for an account of expenses. Can you describe the steps you will follow to get this information ? thanks
I would imagine that the chair would have the information at her fingertips. Danny 17:56, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

topoffic[edit]

what can you tell us about whale hunting? 172.200.48.100 14:06, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Opposed. Danny 15:57, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Office evolution[edit]

In what way do you forsee the office (and staff) evolving under your tenure as a board member, should you be elected? i.e. would you be in favor of expansion, contraction, status quo, more interns, new positions, less, what?Swatjester 01:05, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

I believe that it is time for the office to expand in all of these ways. We need more staff--the current staff is overworked--to fill many different positions--not just technical. As an employee, I had a number of interns in the office on a day-to-day basis: one of them has currently taken over the job of Business Development, but the others faded away after I left. I would like to reinvigorate that. THe groundwork is alwready in place and one of the local colleges has stated to me that they woudl recognize this work as part of the students' volunteer requirements. I also had a group of law students from Stetson College, who were eager to work on OTRS and other basic legal issues on a volunteer basis (with possible credit being awarded to them. We even hosted a workshop for them in the office, however, there was no follow-up from our legal counsel. Off the record, their names are still sitting on my desk. Danny 15:56, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Whistleblower policy[edit]

What do you think of the recently passed whistleblower policy? Anthony DiPierro 10:54, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

In my earlier response to this question, I have questioned the actions of several board members and given examples of how I think they breached their fiduciary responsibility. While I continue to have grave concerns about certain actions of board members and the long-term implications this may have on the legal status of the Foundation as a 501 (c) 3, I have decided to remove the specifics at this juncture, with the promise that I will call for an internal investigation of these things if I am elected.
I remain opposed to the whistleblower policy as it now stands, since it leaves either the Board Chair or the (currently non-existent) CEO as the ultimate authority. My problem is that if these individuals are guilty of breeching the trust of the community and donors, there is no recourse for action. In other words, to whom do you blow the whistle if the Chair or CEO are in violation of trust?
This relates strongly to Mbimmler's question below. There are two options left: 1) the State authorities, who could investigate the situation, remove 501 (c) 3 status, and cause havoc to the Foundation (I have chosen not to go that path); or, 2) the one power that remains stronger than all board members—the community which elected them and to whom they are accountable.
I have removed my statements in good faith, and I trust that the people who challenged me will do the same. Danny 20:31, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
Since you removed the specifics of your accusations, I will similarly, in good faith, remove the specifics of my defense. However, I note that you neither removed the accusations toward my husband and I, nor provided any facts, any proof, to sustain your accusations. As far as I am concerned, the accusation toward me still stands, and an accusation of embezzlement toward a public person and the chair of a Foundation, without any proof, is simply libel. Between you and I, wikipedians are used to edit wars and throwing accusations to each other faces, even when non based. However, let me mention that in your accusation, you not only attacked me, but also my husband, who is not a wikipedian. I talked with him today of the whole issue, and he is hesitating between making a public statement on Foundation-l or asking that I request a legal settlement of the whole affair. Let me similarly state that, in case you are elected, I will not accept to work with you on the board until the issue is settled properly. I do not think it is reasonable to expect the chair to work with another board member, when an accusation of embezzlement with no proof brought is standing between the two people. I trust the community to accept that delay, given the seriousness of the accusation. Regardless of the elections, I would appreciate that you provide as soon as possible proof of my breach of fiduciary responsability as you previously described. I believe you are a deeply committed person, who would agree that a case of abuse should be investigated, whether you are elected or not elected. Now, my deep feeling is that you were simply misguided by unclear statements from previous collegues. I was informed yesterday that the issue we are talking about was actually discussed at office level last year, and it may be that you simply misunderstood the situation. I would fully understand that, given that it was not within your responsability to handle reimbursement requests, and you might have only received uncomplete or unclear information. If so, I would be happy if you simply state that there was a misunderstanding. Best Anthere

<comments removed>

Danny, you are strongly out of line here! "Immoral" to take care of children? As Anthere has noted, she is willing to volunteer - but has to have someone take care of her children. Gosh, wouldn't we all love to have a wife at home to take care of our households and children so we can work and do volunteer work? In this day and age it should be clear that it is not the private responsibility of women to sort out childcare. We have to organize our society so that it is possible to work AND volunteer AND have families. If you incur expenses attending some function, you expect (rightly so) your travel costs to be met. If a someone is the primary caregiver for one or more children, then they need to pay someone to replace themselves while they are on other business. This is not automatically the job of the spouse, who may be committed to other activities. It is just a legitimate business expense, end of story. Until this is clear in the minds of all men, we will not have gender equality! --WiseWoman 22:31, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I feel strongly that board members who are not in a privileged financial position should be offered assistance when needed, so as to prevent (if I could use a possible hyperbole) a system favouring being staffed by "the millionaires." I very much like your idea of independent oversight, but am also interested to learn more about your own moral stance with regards to these questions of merit-driven egalitarian aid. ElC 20:54, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

<comments removed>

Over the course of the last few months, I have been observing the dispute between both of you with growing alarm. I urge you both, in the strongest possible terms, to apply utmost care in avoiding any sort of accusatory rhetoric. Let's not get the lawyers involved. I'm certain there is a middle ground to be reached here. If there's anything at all that I could do to help mediate, please do not hesitate contacting me. ElC 06:12, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

even after falling very sick of an unidentified type of food poisoning after dinner (remember, when i sat next to you?), i worked in the office the rest of the week as best i could, and ate very low cost (if at all), just as i lived very low-cost in florida the next month i came. all of this time had to be arranged with my regular teaching job: all lessons missed had to be done at a leter time still, which i did at my own time-expense as i do all my voluntary work here, double work in a way for me, at no cost for the foundation, and no extra income for me. on the last day of my stay i felt well enough to go shopping myself (instead of eating out etc), and since public transportation in florida is nowhere near the quality i am used to in europe, i was advised to rent a car so i could travel easier, if only for a day, it was approved without much ado as well. i do not accept your unprofessional accusation therefore. still, all the best, oscar 09:45, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Then you should have no problem with my request to make your travel receipts public, or if I ask you to give a brief summary of what you learned about our bookkeeping practices when you were here, since checking that was ostensibly the purpose of your visit. Danny 13:55, 18 June 2007 (UTC)


You are proving the point why it is not a good thing for you to stand as a board member. You abuse information that you learned in the line of performing your job. You make it seem as if things happened that are not proper. You abuse the information that is not yours to open up as part of a political campaign. This is exactly the kind of strategy what gives American politics a bad name. This is exactly the point why you should not run.
You do make the point why you should not run. Please withdraw your candidacy!! GerardM 15:40, 18 June 2007 (UTC)=


Danny, I am disturbed by the way you've brought an employee issue into a public discussion. Was it really necessary to do so? 71.236.22.236 16:02, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
Danny, while I am very aware of the work that you have done for Wikimedia projects, for the office and for the foundation at large, I see with much regret that you have now, during 3 days, publicly accused two board members of misappropriating money and getting improper reimburses. My questions are: 1) Do you think it is okay to drop such notices just by the way (you mentioned the accusation against oscar in a sub-clause) in a public forum as part of an election campaign? Do you not consider it better to raise such accusations in a correct way? If you feel that the chair of the board has acted illegally in her capacity as chair, you should, if anything, write a letter to the oversighting body, i.e. the Board of Trustees, submitting evidence. Raising this matter en passant here, without any proofs, but still outspokenly accusing, makes me doubt whether you will be a valuable board member. 2) Ante, on this page, after you made the accusations against Florence, you were asked whether you can still work together with the board. You confirmed you could. Now, you raised severe allegations against a second board member. Do you still think you will be able to cooperate with these (and possibly other) board members, even if you are actively and publicly opposing them? Thank you. NB: These questions are not rhetoric. --Mbimmler 12:21, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
I have no idea what the "recently passed whistleblower policy" is. Perhaps someone could provide a link? But I do think it's unfortunate and rather unprofessional that candidacy questions are being answered in such a way as to throw in little allegations about other board members. Is it really necessary? Could the questions have been answered without that? ElinorD 12:49, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
It's foundation:Whistleblower_Policy --Mbimmler 13:17, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Mbimmler, and the whistleblower policy is something he is opposed to (not to mention inapplicable to him since he's no longer an employee): His problem is with the board members themselves. How can you expect him to feel comfortable with bringing his complaint up with them, if he believes they are the problem? As I understand he made his issues with the board in general, and board members in particular (including ones not mentioned here) explicitly clear, multiple times, and left because he felt he had no other choice. To Danny: would you be willing to give a fuller account of your accusations here, with evidence (if evidence can be submitted, excluding privacy concerns, and other concerns). Swatjester 14:14, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

I don't refer to the Whistleblower Policy as what he should have done. I'm just saying that common sense says "If you have a problem with X, you go to the person/body/board who oversees X". Who is this in Florence's/Oscar's case? Well, the board in corpore, obviously. So he should have laid his evidence before the board, either in written (as in, in a formal letter) or during a meeting. Now, let's assume he has done this and the board ignored it. Well, okay, matters get more difficult here. If the WMF was a members association, he should have mentioned it at a General Assembly. However, it the WMF doesn't have members. Now, I'm not familiar with legal procedures in the US, but sure there are employer-law provisions et al. for such a case? Besides, he could have even mentioned it in a Wikimedia environment if he feels that the board is seriously acting in a bad way. However, then, I expect certain a stringent report with clear evidence and not a en passant sentence during an election campaign. I'm sorry, but to me this is still unacceptable. Let me clarify: I'm not at all against whistleblowing and acting, if something is done in a wrong/illegal way. I think this is a good idea. But just casually dropping by a few defamatory words without any evidence or explanation behind it? No. --Mbimmler 14:37, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
Well we'd need more information from Danny on whether he did that or not. But as you said yourself, the step above Florence is the board in corpore, and if his problem is with multiple boardmembers then that step is compromised too. What then would be his recourse? I'm certainly not qualified to answer, it's a little obscure for me, though maybe Mindspillage might know the answer to that. However the fact that such a situation is entirely possible and not planned for seems extremely discomforting to me, more so than Danny's judgement in this election: If proper avenues were provided he wouldn't have done this (IMHO). If the avenues did exist and he didn't take advantage of him, well then certainly the onus is on him. The question then, is, Danny did you take the above steps to their final resolution? Swatjester 15:11, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Checkuser policy[edit]

What is your opinion of the privacy policy, particularly relating to checkusering of adminship candidates? Majorly (talk) 13:24, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

I support the privacy policy, but believe that under certain circumstances it can be circumvented to protect the legal integrity of the Foundation. Danny 20:18, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Communication with communities[edit]

Smaller communities in my experience can have problem drawing attention of the Board to important community issues where Board input is really necessary. Do you recognise such needs are currently left unanswered, and what could change to let the Board process such requests?--Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 15:06, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

It is unfortunate that some of the smaller, or rather mid-sized, communities have little say in the Foundation, largely because they are less present in the day-to-day deliberations on IRC, and there communities may not be as organized as some others. At the last Wikimania, I asked why we were not sponsoring anyone from the Slovak community to come, even though it was the fastest growing Wikipedia project at the time. I have been involved in some small way with Hebrew and Arabic, and hope, if I am elected to extend that to other languages that should be more involved. I plan on beginning with Catalan, Greek, and Korean, and hopefully extending that to other languages. I would also like to see the revitalization of the ambassador program, and have representatives of each community who are known to the Board be points of contact. It may also be helpful to have online meetings of regional/linguistic representatives (for instance, Spanish, Catalan, Basque and Galego) or a meeting of representatives of smaller projects (Hindi, a smaller project, is by no means a smaller language), to share their concerns with the Board. Danny 15:49, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Who should in your opinion be the point of contact for the Communities? The Board of Trustees or the Executive Director? Or maybe the Volunteer Coordinator? And could you maybe share your thoughts on how exactly the Foundation could be helping out? Thanks, Effeietsanders 19:05, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
In an ideal world, it would be the ED, as instructed by the Board. In other words, the Board should create a strategy for developing certain languages, and in some instances, allocate moneys to help those languages along. The Board might approve the alloocation of funds for regional conferences (Jimmy once had a wonderful idea of sponsoring a conference for Arabic-language Wikipedians and academics). In the day to day operations and communications, however, the primary contact should be the office staff. Danny 20:38, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Foundation Growth[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation is growing at much faster rate now than ever before. We are trying to establish ourselves as a stable, mature, international non-profit organization. What type of organizational and management skills can you offer that will benefit the foundation?

Also, our advisory board (http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Advisory_Board) is filled with experienced and competent professionals. The foundation can benefit greatly from their expertise and knowledge in various fields. Currently, their involvement in the foundation seems limited, how can you change the system to utilize their expertise? Do you think the advisory board should have more influence on decision-making? Vpatel 15:14, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

I believe that my skills have already proved themselves during the twenty months that I worked in the office. For some of that time, I managed the day to day operations of the Foundation, and this was during an enormous growth spurt and some exciting challenges.
As for the advisory board, I believe that this is a huge untapped resource of talents and skills. I have already stated that I would like to see more professionals added to the Board, and I believe that this is an excellent pool of talent and experience from which we can draw. In fact, <radical statement>I believe that they should be the real board of the foundation, with the current board serving in an advisory capacity.</radical statement> If elected, I will work to exploit their talents as much as possible, and to bring as many of them to fulfil board positions as I can, even if this means resigning my own seat to create a newly constitued board of "captains of industry and academia," with the necessary experience and distance to guide the Foundation. Danny 20:49, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
There may be many people reading who do not know what the "day to day operations of the Foundation" are, or what exactly your job description was (it changed a few times, iirc). Can you clarify and describe more fully what sort of work you handled in the office? Thank you! -- phoebe 00:41, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
In the office I wore many different hats. I did everything from answering phones, to organizing Jimmy's schedule, to relaying information between chapters, staff, volunteers, and the office. I kept careful tabs on all transactions, and had daily information on exactly how we stood financially, and would transfer money from account to account as necessary. In general, I was one of three people entitled to sign checks, and did so frequently. I also took over responsibility for wiring money, and paid the salaries of our overseas employees (Tim, Mark, and Delphine). I forwarded legal documents, and handled logo-related issues. I am especially proud of how I set up the system for handling donations, which is still in use today (though the initial spreadsheets have migrated to CRM), the business and partnership deals I negotiated, and the college volunteers I introduced into the office. I raised about $100,000 for Wikimania 2006, and coordinated two training seminars for volunteers (legal and CRM). I also participatd actively in the audit, collecting and compiling all of the necessary information and tracking down receipts, bank statements, etc. In fact, this left me with very little time to work on the projects. Danny 13:57, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Multilinguism[edit]

Hi Danny,

As I see that you did not write your candidate statement in Hebrew too, although you state in your statement that you speak it fluently, I wonder what your view is on the multilinguism of the Wikimedia Organization (so broader as just the Foundation) and her communities. Further, is there any specific reason why you did not write your candidate statement in Hebrew too? Thanks, Effeietsanders 19:01, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

I request yiddish translation. --172.215.115.51 20:39, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

The reason is very simple--I do not have Hebrew capabilities on my current keyboard. In general, however, I support the idea of multilingualism, however, I recognize that English is the most prevalent language among all our users, and therefore serves as the primary language of communication. Danny 20:41, 17 June 2007 (UTC)


OK, also one silly question please. Dear Danny, you have Wikipedia user pages on many languages. But some (namely Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish, Japanese) lack interwikis, why so? The keyboard is not an issue. Best regards, Incnis Mrsi 19:02, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

but on the foundation phone you said you cannot speak english - how does this fit Danny? was this a lie?

Religious Picture Ban – Muhammed (Islam) versus Bahá'u'lláh (Baha'i)[edit]

Islam is a religion which don't want to see/show pictures or images of the founder Muhammed. Baha'i is a religion which don't want to see/show pictures of the founder Bahá'u'lláh. Wikipedia in most languages show respect for Islam and don't show Muhammed. But Wikipedia in most languages show a picture of Bahá'u'lláh. Wikipedia show more respect for the picture ban in islam than it show for the picture ban in Baha'i. What do you think is the cause for this and do you think that Wikipedia shall treat religions equal? Caspiax

I do not believe in censorship on religious grounds, whether it is of images of the Prophet Muhammad or of the Bahá'u'lláh. We can show sensitivity in depicting religious figures, but that does not mean we should censor those images. Danny 13:17, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Project policy involvement[edit]

What are your views on board involvement in writing and implementing policy for the various projects, especially in controversial areas where it appears that community consensus will be difficult to establish, such as on the "attack sites" [1] and biography of living people (BLP) [2] issues? Cla68 01:56, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

I think that the Board should refrain from writing policy unless existing practices threaten the legal standing of the Foundation or run counter to its mission and vision. Danny 13:22, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Working with volunteers[edit]

Do you honestly expect all of the current volunteers at Wikimedia Foundation related projects and committees to continue working if you got elected to the board and secondly, would there be a treshold of people who cease to volunteer what would make you consider not accepting to join the board? -- Mathias Schindler 08:58, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

All the more reason to vote for me. As someone much wiser than me said: "You can't run a corporation like a wiki," which seems to be the situation now. The underlying principle of my platform is fiduciary responsibility and Board accountability, plain and simple. If that is not to the liking of people in power, then there is a big problem with the power structure. If people can threaten to leave because they and their friends will not be able to get away with anything they want, then there is a big problem.
Having said that, I want to add the following. I believe that the current board should be replaced by a professional board consisting of captains of industry and academia. I believe that these people should have some distance from the projects, so that they can make wise decisions without any conflicts of interest or personal benefit, financial or otherwise. I believe that these type of people exist on our advisory board and in Jimmy's rolodex, and it simply remains to flip them over. Make them the real board, and have an elected, active advisory board derived from the community. When that happens, I will gladly resign my seat.
Until then, I will run. If people threaten to quit because I am calling for greater fiduciary responsibility, I will be deeply saddened, but I will not compromise my principles. Danny 13:07, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
The flipside is that "captains of industry" and others who are distant from the project can be seen as more likely (to use a possible hyperbole) "sell the project out from under our noses." We all know that wealth and power are far from guarantees against corruption — neither is sitting on a board for a project you love, but it helps. This isn't to say that the effect of incompetence would not be the same (not to imply this being the case now). Essentially, between elections, the board could, legally, do anything it wanted. You have already proposed a financial oversight mechanism, but what sort of oversight can you offer over major decision-making process itself, of a 'proffesionalized' board? Will the proposed advisory board have the occasional veto power, if so when? Will the occasional plebiscite be held? Not to be paranoic with the whole "outsiders" bit, but I wager I'm not the only person who wanders what, in your vision, will be the sort of basic safeguards which will curtail a Microsoft from buying the whole thing, independent ombudsman and all. ElC 18:28, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
While I appreciate your concerns, I think it would all depend on the people we select to be on that Board. It is not a question of simply having money, but of having experience and knowhow in the fields. The people on our advisory board, for instance, are not likely to sell us out to Microsoft. They have established careers, they have made their mark, and their concern for Wikipedia and our other projects is, I believe, out of a belief in our goals and vision. To be frank, I am more worried about non-professionals staffing the board, especially people who have not made a career for themselves, or for whom this is a career-building move. Their interests are more likely to be personally motivated, and they may not have the necessary distance to see teh big picture and make the right decisions. That said, the role of the advisory board of elected community members is essential, and its powers (yes, powers) should also be determined carefully. Danny 00:57, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
People for whom this is a career-building move — that certainly would be the flipside to my flipside! I can better see now why you favour a dual board-advisory board structure, although of course when I hear the term "captains of industry," alarm bells go off (or on?). But yes, that is fair enough. (I also realize you do not have all the details worked out, which is also fair enough) ElC 04:14, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
Danny, would I be correct to assume Captains of Industry refers to leaders in the free content movement and software industry? Swatjester 14:19, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
Among others. I could foresee the inclusion of encyclopedists (Brad and I went to lunch at one point with a former head of Britannica and TimeLife--he would have been an ideal board member), leading librarians, artists, and public figures. Danny 13:10, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
I agree that it would be great to have input from people who have devoted their lives to the study of how best to structure and disseminate knowledge, but it's also worth recognizing that Wikipedia is in direct competition with Britannica et al. How conflicts of interest be managed? Also, I think every board member needs on-the-ground Wikipedia experience in order to understand in detail how the article-writing process works -- how disputes are often resolved into mutually agreeable solutions, etc. (and how this process often undercuts clarity of wording and cogent large-scale article structure). Would you require board members to spend some time editing? Tlogmer 23:42, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
When I mentioned Britannica as an example, I had a specific individual in mind--someone who also worked for World Book and Time-Life, and has been retired for a long time. As for conflicts of interest, I think they are overstated. We would be best off by collaborating with other organizations who share some, even if not all, of our goals, rather than seeing them as competition. Finally, I do not believe that it is necessary for Board members to have edited Wikipedia or any of the other projects. IN fact, I think that doing so may, in some cases, actually be detrimental. I think this questions stems from a different view of the Board that I have. I do not believe that the Board has a role in resolving conflicts among users or article-writing. Its job, plain and simple, is to ensure that the Foundation maintains the highest level of fiduciary responsibility and to bring in the money so that the editors and volunteers can develop the projects. You need never have edited to oversee an audit, to raise money, or to ensure that the logos and other assets are adequately protected. That is what the Board is there to do. Danny 13:21, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Personal information[edit]

You know, Board membership is major appointment and I thinkg that as common both in political elections and job interviews, it would be appreciated if you would publish some kind of personal biography/CV. I feel that we don't know you enough for such important office based on the current personal info you've made available so far.

Second question: on retrospective, how do you look on your recent intervention in the he wiki regarding images. Do you feel that you could have handled things there more smoothly? The Relativity of The Truth 13:19, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

In addition to working for one and a half years at the Wikimedia Foundation office, I have done the following:
  • MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE—A LIVING MEMORIAL TO THE HOLOCAUST, Museum Educator
    • Developed and created innovative educational programs and workshops for Jewish students and teachers, including the Living Museum project and STAJE (Shoah Teaching Alternatives in Jewish Schools). Served on the planning committees for various exhibitions, including the current Resistance exhibition.
  • CONSULTANT,
    • Owned and managed an independent consulting firm, specializing in concept development, writing, editing, and translation. Consulted for the Municipality of Jerusalem, the Smithsonian Institute, the Israel Film Service, The Hebrew University, National Geographic, and high tech and multimedia companies, as well as countless books, documentary and feature films, and television programs, screened in Israel, Europe, and North America. Much of the film and TV work focused on "edutainment" for younger audiences.
  • THE JERUSALEM PUBLISHING HOUSE, LTD., Senior Editor
    • Served as Senior Editor of popular English-language reference books, published in conjunction with leading American and European publishers, including Simon and Shuster, Facts on File, and Henry Holt. Worked closely with Dr. Geoffrey Wigoder, late editor of the Encyclopedia Judaica. Titles include They Made History (Simon and Shuster, Managing Editor), Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (Simon and Shuster, Contributor), Encyclopedia of the Peoples of the World (Henry Holt, Assistant Editor-in-Chief), Dr. Ruth's Encyclopedia of Sex (Continuum, Associate Editor), and others.

In addition, I

  • Assisted in the development of cutting-edge museum exhibits for numerous museums throughout Israel, including the Burnt House Museum, the Wohl Archeological Museum (Herodian Quarter), the Museum of the Palmach, the Yitzhak Rabin Memorial, and the Begin Museum, as well as in Turkey for the Ephesus Archeological Park Visitors Center, in collaboration with Armoni Productions.
  • Wrote the scripts for a series of thirty short documentary films for children, produced by Marathon Films, Inc. of France. The films were shot in Israel, Palestine, Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus.
  • Collaborated in the development and production of The Big Bug Show, broadcast in Israel, Britain, the United States, Mexico, Portugal, Brazil, and Korea. The series was nominated for a BAFTA, the British equivalent of the Academy Awards, for Best Children’s Show.
  • Developed, wrote, and edited The Animated Jewish Year, Sources of Jerusalem, R U Rachel, and Judaism, the last published by Marshall Cavendish, Inc. in 2007.

Consultant and translator for various international film projects, including Watermarks and as location producer for Trembling Before G-d (now a featured article).

I regret any unpleasantness that emerged from the discussions with the Hebrew Wikipedia over image use, and would probably adopt a more concilliatory tone. Danny 18:13, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

What will be achieved?[edit]

In your statement you said "In November 2006, the Board, office staff, and chapter representatives met in Frankfurt for three days to plan for the future of the Foundation. Seven months later, what has been achieved? True, the number of staff members has grown, but that makes the following questions all the more important: Where is the fundraising strategy? Where is the technical road map? What is the plan for sustainability?"


You resigned in March, four months after this meeting. Between November and March you were the Grant Coordinator, meaning you were one of the people in charge of the marketing within the WMF, so you were the one who could have achieved a fundraising strategy, for example. However you didn't achieve that. Perhaps because you were tied by your job description, but I don't really believe this. After March, you became a normal member of the Wikimedia community, so you would have been able to freely write down a fundraising strategy and propose it, but you didn't.

Why?

I will answer these questions under the relevant paragraphs. During those four months, I helped to coordinate what Erik calls the "most successful fundraiser in the Foundation's history," netting us over 1 million dollars. I may question the accuracy of the statement, but I did most of the coordinating there. I also launched several business deals, and laid the groundwork for more. I brought people into the March board meeting from a prominent branding company, I made a deal with Nokia in South America, I negotiated new deals, and I worked on a potential grant from a foundation that had already given us $40,000. I was certainly laying the groundwork. When I left, I found myself unemployed--not a situation I am used to being in--and spent the first few months making sure that I had an assured income. I will not live on welfare. That was my first priority. Nevertheless, I offered my services to the Foundation to assist with Wikimania and was turned down. That is unfortunate. Danny 18:37, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

As you said, the time you chose to resign was unfortunate, as Brad was also resigning. In my mind, running for the Board means you want the best for the Wikimedia Projects and for the Wikimedia Foundation. Do you think resigning at that time, and in that way, was the best thing to do for the projects and the foundation?

It would not be proper to compare my resignation with Brad's departure, and I will not do that. Wanting the best for the Wikimedia Foundation and the projects does not mean working in what I found to be unacceptable circumstances. It's not a question of suck up and bear it, but stand up and correct it. That is what I hope to do. Danny 18:37, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

On the hiring issue, do you think that experienced professionals without any clue about what constitutes the Wikimedia Spirit should be hired or that we should hire less experienced people but from the community?

We are talking about a multi-million dollar corporation, subject to very specific laws. For the well-being of the projects and to safeguard our vision, we must have the best possible people in place. You will note that Brad did not come from the Community, nor did Carolyn, Barbara, the current bookkeeper, Sandy (PR), Rob, Vishal, or the new ED and Legal Counsel, when they are appointed. It behooves us to get the best possible people to keep this thing alive. Danny 18:37, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

You also said that the Board of Trustees should be more professional, however you also say the Board should only give directions. If the Board is only giving directions, we would need the board to be nearly entirely (as it is today) composed of community members. Don't you think wanting a professional board to give directions is a little problematic, especially if they're not from the community and therefore won't understand the "Wikimedia spirit"?

The direction given by the board is in financial and legal matters. If I was ill, I would not go to a person who edited medical articles for assistance. I would find the best possible doctor. Same for lawyers, accountants, etc. If I needed assistance and guidance, I would do the same. I believe it is essential that the people we turn to have years of experience in their fields, and that they are chosen for how their fields will assist the Foundation. The concern should not be how the Foundation will assist them in making a career for themselves. People like our advisory board, who come from related worlds, have that experience and know-how. I believe that they are ideally suited for the board. Danny 18:37, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Last, but not least: if you strongly disagree with another board member or a staff member, how can we be sure you won't suddenly resign, or that you won't publicly use, or even display, some information you had while you were on the Board?

If I am on a board, I imagine that I will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. And yes, it is possible that I will resign if the situation is intolerable, or alternately, ideally, if the board can be replaced by a group of professionals like I outlined above. Danny 18:37, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Sorry for the lenght of my questions, and thank you for your answers. Schiste 18:10, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

You're welcome. Danny 18:37, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Headquarters location[edit]

From time to time there has been discussion about whether the Foundation's current headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida, in the United States, is the best location for the office. Do you think that the Foundation should continue to be headquartered in and operate out of Florida, or would you support a move to another location? If you think a move is appropriate, where would you move the Foundation to, and why? Kelly Martin 21:35, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

I will start by saying that we are a Florida registered corporation, so while that may have been an accident, it was a fortuitous one. There is no doubt in mind that, as an American registered charity, our corporate headquarters should be in the USA. If we want to maintain our status, which is advantageous to us from a financial (most donors are American and their donations are now tax-free) and a legal standpoint (we benefit from the constitutional right of free speech in ways that other countries do not). this is where we must be. In addition, taxes and other costs are rather low here, and the law is favorable to us.
I will add to this by saying that a short time before I resigned, I had pressed for a meeting between the office and the current mayor of St. Petersburg, a very friendly and progressive individual. While that did not happen yet, I did take part in a meeting with the former mayor of the town, whose office is down the hall from ours. At that meeting we laid our cards on the table. Let's face it, we are the biggest thing in St. Pete at the moment (apart from the races that are held here annually), and an expanded WMF could do wonders to transforming this town into another high-tech, free culture center. We could be the anchor for a new "Silicon Swamp," in much the same way that Boeing (and later Microsoft) helped enliven Seattle. We already had good relations with local colleges, who provided us with interns, I have personal contacts with the local arts community, local public figures have contacted us, and with some vision, we could be of benefit to a very friendly, ambitious town. The question is, of course, how can the town reciprocate. That kind of thinking requires vision, and is worth exploring. Danny 00:37, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Licences[edit]

Have you read the GFDL? What do you think of the current draft of the GSFDL?Geni 21:37, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

I have read the GFDL, including the current draft. Without legal training, I do not think I am qualified to comment on this. I would rather consult with people more knowledgeable about these matters than me. Danny 13:11, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Ignoring rules[edit]

In what cases do you think Wikipedia's policy 'Ignore all rules' should be applied? Do you think said policy should apply to every wiki overseen by the Foundation? 1ne 03:18, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I do, provided that it is used wisely, i.e., in instances where instruction creep could make strict adherence to policy harmful to the Foundation or others, such as living people. Danny 13:12, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Your religion[edit]

Danny, this may look like jest but this really is a serious question: Given that you are an Israeli Jew, do you think that if you were elected to the board there would be a spate of "Jews run wikipedia" or similar vandalism? In effect, this gives rise to a larger question, in what way do you think the board should deal with external vandalism attacks, especially coordinated, long term ones that are beyond the power of the community to stop? Swatjester 14:25, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

First of all, let me state that I was born in Columbia, South Carolina, was raised and educated in Canada, and lived for a considerable length of time in Israel, before returning to the United States. In other words, I consider myself a little of each--American, Canadian, and Israeli--as each has contributed to who I am. I do not believe that my ethnic or religious identification should have any bearing on my ability to fill this position, nor should my citizenship, gender, etc. As fro recurring vandalism, it is my hope that the long-awaited stable versions will be the beginning of a response to this. Danny 13:16, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
Could I just note that I find this question intensely objectionable. Whether a candidate follows a particular religion - or none at all - is completely irrelevant to that candidacy. You mighty as well suggest that nobody should stand who is a parent, or doesn't live in StP/Florida, or is black. I would hope and trust that the community sees past such non-factors. --Alison Wheeler 11:33, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

Professional?[edit]

By nature and design, wiki communities are an amateur, unstable amalgam of widely differing perspectives and agendas. There is no individual or collective responsibility and no competence test for participation. Yet, the board of the ever-expanding and legally constituted foundation that runs one of the world’s top websites, needs to be highly professionally, highly competent, collectively coherent and responsible. It must have business savvy, and be willing to make hard-nosed and even unpopular decisions. In your opinion:

  1. Is the current board, vision and structure fit for that purpose?
  2. Are you? (Would you be a competent candidate for a board in any non-profit venture?)

(same asked of all candidates)--Doc glasgow 14:40, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

As I mentioned already, the Foundation is a corporate entity and should not be run as a wiki. There is a distinction between writing an encyclopedia (the role of the wiki), keeping the lights on (the role of the office/executive), and fiduciary responsibility and oversight (the role of the Board). I believe that I have proven my ability in the first two, and would like this opportunity to prove my ability in the last one as well. My greatest concern with the current board and with many of the candidate statements is that they seem to be conflating the responsibilities of the office/executive and the Board. I would like to draw a greater distinction between them. As for me personally, I do not believe that i am the best person for this, nor do I believe that any of the current candidates is. That is why I have called repeatedly for the replacement of the current Board with a Board consisting of captains of industry and academia. Should I be able to achieve that, I will gladly relinquish my position. Danny 13:22, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Chapters[edit]

Taking into account the growing importance of Wikimedia chapters in furthering our common goals on the one hand and the impact the decisions made by the Wikimedia Foundation have on the work (if not existence) of the Wikimedia Chapters on the other hand: What do you think about the idea of giving the chapters a formal say in WMF's decision making process? What do you think especially about a) letting the chapters appoint one or more board members (beside the ones elected by the community) and/or b) changing the WMF back to a membership organization (with the chapters as members)? Do you have any other ideas to achieve more checks and balances between Foundation and chapters? On top of that, would you care to elaborate on your vision about the current and future role of the Wikimedia chapters? Thanks in advance, Arne (akl) 15:39, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

To begin with, I believe that the Foundation rushed into the creation of chapters without clearly defining their role or relationship with the WMF first. The result is a lack of clarity on these issues today, and my sense that their is an emerging disconnect between the two. My loyalty in this instance is to the WMF, and I believe that the role of the chapters is to support the WMF, not to act as autonomous entities with potential conflicts of interest. I believe in greater unity among the Foundation's branches, rather than the distribution of power among various entities.
That said, I am opposed to giving the chapters a formal say in the WMF's decision-making process, except in an advisory capacity. While their concerns should certainly be heeded, giving the chapter this more formal say would be prejudicial against those communities which do not have chapter. It would mean, in the current situation, that a specific chapter, which is possible because of geographic circumstances, would have greater say in the running of the Foundation than other communities, which, for reasons of their own, do not have chapters (eg. the United States, but also Japan, China, Sweden, etc.). Alternately, even if chapters were created in various active countries, this would favor those languages which are spoken in multiple countries (English and Spanish, for instance, as opposed to Italian). I do not believe that chapters should be members, because agaiin, that would exclude those countries which do not have chapters.
As I said, earlier, I see chapters as support groups, promoting projects locally, collecting and developing free content and resources, and sharing the vision of the WMF. As such, I do not believe that checks and balances would be necessary. They are not rival bodies, but local representations of the same global organization. Danny 13:36, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
I've been wondering something, and juste checked it. Your're saying Delphine is well paid, per hour as she's par-time, only because she's a Florence friend... but it seems you forgot to say that Florence didn't vote on the resolution for hiring Delphine as a ChapCom. Really weird you forgot this point. Schiste 11:23, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

I believe that the Foundation rushed into the creation of chapters

This statement is problematic. The Foundation did not create chapters. Chapters are independant organizations and they do not need the authorization of the Foundation to exist. They need the authorization to use our brands. That makes a big difference. An organization can not rush doing something which is not its business. I think as well that the german "chapter" was even created before the Foundation. Anthere

Thank you for your clarification. Of course, if this is actually the case (and I remember being the one to push through the agreement with the Verein), and the chapters are completely independent organizations, there is no reason why the highest paid employee per hour of the Foundation when I left was the Chapter Coordinator ... unless it's because she is your friend. Danny 18:32, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Could you summarize somewhere the problems you have with the current board and the way they've been running things? This is the third time you bring up serious allegations of board corruption as an aside in answering a question on something else. I think this is not the best way to raise concerns. You're certainly entitled to criticize the board, in fact I think many of us have been waiting for you to make a withering attack on it since the day you resigned, but serving your critique up in little dribbles like this is frustratingly hard to follow. Haukur 19:56, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
How low can you go? -- Arne (akl) 21:16, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Danny, I advise you to think twice before making the next unsourced accusation. You do recognise that you're actually libelling people, if you just accuse them by the way of bad behaviour? And, are you aware that you'll have to work with these people afterwards? If you are elected, you will deal with the board and the office, mostly as it is now. Do you think your accusations now will facilitate your collaboration then? Anyway, why do you run for the board of an organisation of which you consider the majority to be in some way corrupt? Really, you leave me quite puzzled... --Mbimmler 21:23, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
He's got the point. So far you have directly or undirectly attacked 3 board members/candidates and one employee. How will manage you this if you're elected? Do you think this will result to a good work atmosphere?Schiste 23:02, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

I understand the points made above by others re possible or actual libel. but I am also aware that "truth is an absolute defence" to such charges. I, like nearly all editors, have no idea what any staff / contractors are actually paid nor whether they 'earn' that salary. I wonder whether all concerned could either rollback a bit on this or make the appropriate information certified and public so that conclusions may be drawn accurately by 'us folk out here'. --Alison Wheeler 11:25, 22 June 2007 (UTC) (in a personal capacity, not as Chair of WMUK)

For the record, Delphine Ménard (Chapter Coordinator) was hired based on this resolution in January. As you can see, there were 2 abstentions. This included Florence, who said upfront that she had a conflict of interest due to her close personal friendship with Delphine. She abstained from both the decision to hire Delphine and the discussion about her salary.--Eloquence 17:39, 22 June 2007 (UTC) (as Executive Secretary)

Erik and Schiste, thank you for the clarification. I am almost satisfied that I was wrong. However, there are a few ticklish little things that need to be asked. For instance, the vote simply states that their were five yeses and two abstentions. Since Schiste was not on the Board at that time, how would he know who the abstentions were? If Florence did not take part in the discussions, how could she second the motion to bring this to a vote? The resolution says that the role of the Chapter Coordinator is to "develop chapters and chapter related activities," yet Florence says "The Foundation did not create chapters. Chapters are independent organizations and they do not need the authorization of the Foundation to exist." Which is correct? If they are independent organizations, why does the Foundation need to develop them and their activities? Finally, why did you see fit to give her that salary, considering that it was, per hour, higher than that of anyone else in the office? Danny 21:16, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

There is a little difference between "create" and "develop" or "stimulate" or, simply, "been a reference point"... About chapter coordinator rule... I don't see any conflict of interests: it's the mirror of wiki's community, many users are (luckily) friends (and someone is married too :P), what's the problem?--Nick1915 - all you want 22:21, 22 June 2007 (UTC)


Danny, You have been privately contacted by the Election Committee members respectfully and asked to not make personal accusations. Sadly we notice that you have chosen, instead, to make another personal accusation. This behavior will not be tolerated for the purposes of this election. Elections are about discussing ideas, hopes, and our dreams for the Foundation's future: they are not for personal attacks or thinly veiled innuendo. The Election Committee hereby requests that Danny Wool stop this behavior immediately. --Aphaia 06:21, 23 June 2007 (UTC) | Philippe 06:34, 23 June 2007 (UTC) | Jon Harald Søby 06:54, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

What if[edit]

What would you do/recommend when elected and faced with 40% budget deficit? Absolwent 18:50, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

I would immediately investigate unobtrusive forms of advertising, such as advertisements on the search page, to raise money. Danny 13:37, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Position on BLP[edit]

Danny, could you please relate what your position is on the Biography of Living Persons policy? If possible, could you also address a concern I have about the migration I have seen (and corrected) of (potentially) libellous material from the biography pages to other pages (e.g., from Bill Gates to Microsoft articles). Should BLP principles be applied to all other articles, regardless of title, where defamatory content can also appear? I would appreciate your thoughts on this topic. 67.149.103.119 00:19, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

I was one of the people who suggested to Jimmy that articles be tagged as BLPs precisely because of the concerns we are now facing. In general, I believe that writing an encyclopedia does not mean just dumping information that comes our way, but carefully editing content for reliability and pertinence. For instance, just because some politician got a parking ticket when he was in college does not mean that we need a paragraph about that. Or if someone featured on the front page of the Family section of the New York Times for winning a baking competition in New York, we do not need an article about them either. We should be especially cautious about potentially damaging information, realizing that what we post could potentially follow that person for the rest of their lives. The questions to ask are: 1) is the information reliable? 2) is the information pertinent to understanding this person's contribution to humanity? And I believe that this same metric should be applied to all articles, not just biographies, with an especial emphasis at present on businesses and schools. Danny 13:45, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Cash & users[edit]

We need money and people. We have lost users (for a while) after this event. Nobody expected it, but... the same was in 2006. Do you want to talk about money (with these wealthy guys) and what's your opinion about that event ;)? Przykuta 11:58, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Florence has responded that she was misquoted, and I will choose to believe her. It was certainly not what she intended to say. As for the loss of users, I am not convinced that there is cause and effect in play here. On the other hand, yes, we need money, and the role of the Board is to ensure longterm financial sustainability. That is one area in which I would like to focus as a board member. Danny 13:48, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Wikinews and Accredited reporters attending events[edit]

Wikinews may be one of the lesser-known projects, but we recently managed to get a contributor entry to the G8 conference. Efforts were made to get the Board involved in the drafting of a letter for the reporter's entry to the G8, but these received no response. As an involved party there is more about this issue on Eloquence's questions page [3]. What is your opinion on this, it is - I believe - an issue the board should take seriously. Those of us who contribute on Wikinews are ambitious enough to think that we can overtake the Wikipedia article count (although I may be retired before we manage it there are new news stories every day). As we really want to be able to do truly original reporting we need people who can "almost" say they represent us. Do you support this, and do you believe the board should have been involved for something as important as sending a reporter to the G8 conference? --Brian McNeil / talk 21:12, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

I have not hear of this issue before, so I really have not given it much thought. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. Please understand that any answer I give here is off the cuff, and I really have to consider this more.
That said, my gut feeling is this. While I agree with Erik that this is not an issue subject to Board governance per se, it is the Board that sets the tone of the projects and can draw attention to them. As I stated above, I am in complete support of strengthening the sister projects, and this would certainly include Wikinews. The opportunity to send a representative to the G8 Summit is remarkable and should not be dismissed lightly. I would therefore support some form of accreditation, preferably by the office, provided that the candidates meet some predetermined criteria. I would suggest that we encourage the office to develop a credential system, perhaps in consultation with Andrew Lih, a professot of Journalism and Wikipedian. That way, we do not lose any other opportunities like this. Danny 22:22, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Impending failure[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation at a corporate level is soaked in its own drama and if conditions don't improve soon, it will crash and burn. I want the newly elected trustees to act as catalystic mediators to simply and peacefully transform drama into productivity and then success for the foundation. How do you plan on doing this? Signed, your friendly neighborhood MessedRocker. 06:04, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

First of all, I agree with your assessment: this is the very reason I decided to run. The problem is that there is so much at stake, and everyone wants to get a little toe-hold, if not more. In fact, it is all the drama of wikipolitics that is drawing so many people away from the core mission of this project. Remember, we are not here to create a social club but to create the largest compendium of free knowledge and resources available on this planet. That is why I claim that by handing board and executive responsibilies to professionals, the core community can get back to the core mission--building free encyclopedias, dictionaries, libraries, news sources, books, catalogues, etc. Let the professionals keep the lights on, and let the volunteers do the real work. Danny 15:20, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Please could you detail the following quotation it is all the drama of wikipolitics  ?Schiste 23:06, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Are you asking for him to explain that sentence, or asking what the sentence means? That sentence means that the drama in the Foundation is distracting people from our main goals. —METS501 (talk) 00:43, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm asking him to explain what is wikipolitics, what is the drama around what he calls the Wikipolitics. Schiste 01:28, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
I think that yesterday speaks for itself. Danny 13:22, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Smaller Wikis[edit]

Within the Wikimedia Foundation, there are multiple smaller wikis such as the Simple English Wikiquote, the Romanian Wikisource, and the Cherokee Wiktionary. All of these wikis lack local communities, and many go for long periods of time without any improvements made. Most also lack any active admins and 'crats and are prone to vandalism. First, do you think it is worth keeping these wikis, or do you think we should close them down until there is more active? Second, if they were to be kept, what would you do to improve the local communities? Wikihermit 20:37, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

The first thing to do would be to protect those projects. That does not necessarily mean locking them. As a steward, I promoted a handful of people to admin on smaller projects, in the hope that they would watch over them, clean up spam, and, essentially, "babysit" until a community emerges. I also thinkthat patience is a virtue here. It may take a while for these communities to emerge, but from what we have seen with other projects, it just takes one or two dedicated users to get a project off the ground. There is no rush. We can wait for these users to show up. Until then, let's make sure they have a place that they can show up to. Danny 13:25, 26 June 2007 (UTC)


Four weeks ago, on June 12th, I posted a Request for Permissions on Wikimedia to do just exactly what you say you are promoting.  My request for temprary sysop permission to resurrect, reactivate, and reconstruct to small wikis, Tok Pisin Wikipedia and Tok Pisin Wiktionary (the sole sysop has been inactive for more than a year and a half) has yet to be acted upon.  The two wikis would serve an estimated one million people of Papua New Guinea and the surrounding islands (out of approximately 5 million population) who regularly use tok pisin in daily commercial, government, and other interpersonal communications.  To date there's only been Steward Shanel's request for more information — which I answered on her User page, but have yet to receive the courtesy of an acknowledgement, let alone a reply.
At about the same time, User:Wantok, who has lived and worked in Melanesia and speaks, reads and writes tok pisin fluently (and is also, like me, a software developer and webpage designer), and who would be an excellant Administrator, one who could provide significant technical and editorial help on both the two small TPI wikis, was denied general Adminship simply because — according to the reasoning of the handful of the "Wikipedia community" ( 8 or so out of a total of nearly 5 million Wikipedia users) who opposed his nomination — he hadn't written enough "lines" in Jim Wales' meta language to qualify him as an Administrator.  "Write more lines, then reapply for Adminship." was "the community's" suggestion to User:Wantok.
I had another experience with Wikipedia's Adminship recently when I nominated the article Duquesne spy ring for deletion.  I had found that the author had copied his article almost verbatim (text and photos) from a current FBI website.  I used the article's talk page to state my concerns, and made some edits to the attribution tag (which the author deleted).  The author refused to acknowledge his plagiarism, and refused to clearly state that his article was taken almost in its entirely from the FBI's "Famous Cases" page on its website.  In my AfD nomination I cited both the Wikipedia article on plagiarism and the Five Pillars, as well as the fact that the author tried (in my opinion at least) to hide the source of his article, citing a different FBI document than the one he had plagiarized. The Administrator who passed judgement on my petition left my petition up for discussion for a grand total of 4 hours and 28 minutes before it denied my nomination and executed a "speedy keep".  Repeat: Only four hours and twenty-eight minutes allowed for discussion before executing a decision.  The Administrator's reasoning for executing a "speedy keep"? That "U.S. government sources can't be plagiarized because they are in the public domain."
Quite obviously the Administrator hadn't read my cited article on plagiarism, or the Five Pillars rule on including original sources in Wikipedia articles.  The Administrators relied on its assumptions about plagiarism instead of reading my Wikipedia cite and learning what the term means in writing and professional/academic circles.
The point I'm making about the rejection of my AfD for the EN Wikipedia "Duquesne spy ring" article (aside from the unbelievably brief period of time the Administrator allowed for discussion by the "community") is that the Administrator's decision to allow a totally plagiarized article to appear in Wikipedia established a precedent with regard to allowing plagiarism in Wikipedia.  And a precedient that I believe is totally at variance with the Wikipedia Foundation's policy on the integrity of Wikipedia articles.  I didn't protest the Adminstrator's decision because I have six or seven U.S. government-sourced articles on cryptology that I could easily — based on Administrator SR13's decision — copy verbatim and insert as articles in Wikipedia, and receive Wikipedia credit for my 'contributions'.  In fact, I was encouraged to do so by a member of the WikiProject Cryptography because "... they need good articles on cryptography." Would I do so? No, of course not. But the precedent to allow it to be done is now right there in Administrator SR13's decision for a "speedy keep" of the "Duquesne spy ring" article.
So, my question is, do Board members, who I presume are 'protectors' of the Wikipedia Foundation's policies, regularly review Administrator's and Stewards decisions for adherence and conformance to Foundation policies?  If the AfD log, or the Request for Permissions listing in Wikimedia, is any indicator, the number of decisons made daily or weekly can't possibly be so great that they would limit Board member's time to perform other Foundation work.  Given the relatively small number of Administrators with respect to the total number of Wikipedia users, perhaps decisions on request for Adminship or sysop/administrator privileges should be decisions made by the Board, not by rank and file Administrators.
I submit that the Board would have better and more qualified Stewards and Administrators if it would consider the totality of applicants' experience — such as User:Wantok's personal and professional experience — as the basis for granting him (and all other applicants) general or temporary Adminship, and reject the idea that "writing lines" in Wikipedia, or requiring the consent of a non-existent "community" (as in my case for the TPI Wikipedia/Wiktionary revitalization effort).  What would prevent you, Danny, as a Board member (or the Board in general) from doing so?
K. Kellogg-Smith 02:15, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
As a steward, I have given permission at various junctures to capable people to serve as temporary sysops of various projects, for example, the Divehi Wikipedia. If I was a steward now, I would certainly consider your request with greater urgency, particularly as I am quite fond of the Tok Pisin Wikipedia, and spent some time watching it. I do not believe that the Board can review all of the actions of Admins and Stewards--there are simply too many. On the other hand, I would, as a Board member, hope to serve as a conduit for such requests, and forward them to the appropriate people, then follow up to see what was happening there. Danny 12:28, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks Danny.  My hopes for you that you're one of the successful candidates for the board.  Aside from that, maybe you can put in a good word for me somewhere/someone to help get the ball rolling on the TPI Wikis.  And also do something for User:Wantok as well, who suggests we'll need more sysop/administrators (my suggestion is no less than four because of the technical work that needs to be done, e.g., advanced templates on Wikipedia and reorganization of the Wiktionary).  I've been asking around on the talk pages of users who have published articles on Papua/Papua Niugini and surrounding areas to consider getting involved either as worker-bees or consultants on our project.  As an aside, given your interest in the Tok Pisin Wikis, you might take a look the daily updates I've been making on the Main page (Pes fran) — well, that is, as best as I can without temp sysop/administrator permission.     K. Kellogg-Smith 15:06, 7 July 2007 (UTC) Abingdon, Maryland

Article validation[edit]

What do you think of the idea of stable versions, article validation, and WP: 1.0? For example, see w:Wikipedia:Flagged revisions. Do you think the board has any role in this or do you feel it is a strictly local issue? Thanks. Voice-of-All 05:49, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

I support all of these ideas, though I believe it is up to the local communities to decide whether or not to implement them and how. Danny 13:26, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

IRC Debate[edit]

This is a mass question being posted to all candidates. A couple days ago there was a proposal to hold an all candidates debate on IRC at a time TBD. The planning page is at ElectionDebate07 - please indicate if you are interested and if so, a time that would work for you. -- Tawker 22:56, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

Any time. Danny 13:26, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Usability[edit]

Most Wikipedia users are technically inclined, but usability studies have turned up serious problems for non-geeks, and many of these problemsd remain uncorrected.

Have you read these usability studies? Do you consider them to be important? Would you commission more such studies? How would you implement their results?

Here's an example from just a couple months ago: a journalist working for a major newspaper thought that "there's no way to tell who wrote the entry or how many people contributed to it" until one of his readers corrected him -- he works for the media! How many regular people know how to check an article's contributors? If i might be permitted to opine for a second: the fact that you can view the revisions of an article should be obvious from the design of the webpage, but it's not: "history" is a terrible, non-obvious name for the function.

Put yourself in your parents' shoes: you're reading a page about Thailand that you found through Google, and you see a square that says "history". You click the square expecting to read about the history of Thailand and suddenly you're faced with a long, mysterious list of nonsensical words and numbers. You click the back button. Aaron Swartz gave one of the best summaries of the issue that I've seen:

"The page design the site uses encourages specific actions by making some links clear and prominent. Software functions like categories make certain kinds of features possible. The formatting codes used for things like infoboxes and links determine how easy it is for newcomers to edit those pieces of the site.

All of these things are political choices, not technical ones. It's not like there's a right answer that's obvious to any intelligent programmer. And these choices can have huge effects on the community.

...

One presentation was by a usability expert who told us about a study done on how hard people found it to add a photo to a Wikipedia page. The discussion after the presentation turned into a debate over whether Wikipedia should be easy to to use. Some...questioned whether confused users should be allowed to edit the site at all -- were their contributions even valuable?

As a programmer, I have a great deal of respect for the members of my trade. But with all due respect, are these really decisions that the programmers should be making?"

How would you solve this problem?

Tlogmer 00:07, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

This is a great question that really deserves some thought. I have exprienced it myself with a very intelligent contributor (dean of a college, participant in the original dot com boom) who had a hard time figuring how to do certain things on Wikipedia. I sometimes wonder how many others give up in frustration. Note that I am not at all technically oriented, but what attracted me originally to Wikipedia was the simplicity. Over time, we have gotten far more complex, making it more difficult for those who are not technically inclined to contribute. I would therefore suggest the creation of a technical roadmap, overseen by our best technical staff, to find ways to go back to the core of the Wiki philosophy: Keep It Simple. Remember, we want to be the encyclopedia that "anyone" can edit, whether technically proficient or not. Danny 13:31, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Appropriate conduct for Board members[edit]

Recently, in a non-Mediawiki forum, Erik Moeller made the following comments: "Cyde's and Kelly's arguments are on the same level: they are driven by blind hostility, not thoughtful analysis." [4] Do you believe that responding to criticism of one's credentials and conduct as a member of the Board with personal attacks such as these is appropriate for a member of the Board of Trustees? Kelly Martin 00:53, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

The Board is a collection of public figures, and any public figure should be willing to withstand scrutiny and respond to criticism in constructive, thoughtful ways. They should be willing to answer the charges, not the people who make them. Danny 13:35, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Wikiquote & copyright[edit]

What's your stance regardgin Wikiquote and copyrights? AS it is, most wikiquotes depend and use extensively fair use, which is contrary to the philosophy of most other projects. What are your views on this? Should wikiquotes move to only free content? Should reolution on fair use have a special exemption for wikiquote? drini [es:] [commons:] 16:06, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

I realize that this could be a problem for much of the content that we currently have on wikiquote, but I would not like to see us get into the French situation, where we have to essentially nuke the project and start from scratch. There are plenty of great quotes out there that are in the public domain, and that should be the first focus. Danny 22:11, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

IRC Debate[edit]

Hi, as this seems to get closer to the time that the elections are to start, I thought it would be best to go ahead and attempt to get the unofficial IRC debate a time and a place. By the time analysis on the talk page, the best time for the debate appears to be 1800 UTC, to 1900 UTC. As it would be best for this debate to occur before the elections, June 27 was chosen as the day. I know that this is short notice, but the whole unofficial debate thing was on a very short notice to start with. I hope that you are able to attend. Again the time is 18:00 UTC, June 27, 2007, it will be held at ##wikimedia-debate. Please do note that this debate is unofficial, and you are not required to attend. —— Eagle101 Need help? 20:37, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Donors and scope[edit]

Asked of all candidiates: Okay, I'm not naive so yeah, it follows that large donors will probably get some pull when policies, direction and the scope of the foundation get decided, but what's your take on it all? How far do we bend to satisfy our donors, and to what extent are ideals of the foundation non-negotiable? In five years say, would you expect the foundation to still exist in the same legal fashion as now and assert ownership over the assets it currently has? Steve block 20:44, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

The primary responsibility of a board is fiduciary. The ideals of the Foundation as stated in the paperwork filed with the State of Florida are non-negotiable, and it is the responsibility of our board to ensure that those ideals are respected and maintained. If we were financially independent, which is what I have been advocating, then no donor will have the ability to move us from these ideals. I hope in five years time, we have an even greater grasp on our assets than we do now. Danny 22:15, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the response. Steve block 15:18, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

fund raiser and chapters[edit]

do you support to facilitate fundraising by offering a direct link to country specific donation possibilities? an example woulde be medecins sans frontier's donation page. in wikimedia's case the donation page for the year end fundraiser would contain flags, and the links behind the flags would go to the donation page of local chapters, for two reasons:

  1. local law (which donators know and can make use of) strengtens donators feeling, that their donations are used at their will
  2. local tax exemption allows to donate up to 50% more without paying more

--ThurnerRupert 12:08, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

I would like to see the Foundation function together with the chapters as a united front, and am hesistant about letting local groups use the foundation's name to raise money for what are being called "independent entities." That said, I would have no problem if smaller chapters that are getting off the ground do that on occasion with the prior agreement of the Foundation. Danny 17:27, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Committees[edit]

The committee system has been around for roughly a year and a half now, not counting previous initiatives. Several of the committees are now dormant and some never got off the ground. Some, conversely, have done fairly well.

I know this is a long-standing and groan-inducing topic of debate, but what is your view on the committee system? Do you have ideas for reviving the current committee system or making it more functional? Do you think there is a place in the Foundation, in theory at least, for community-based committees to do some of the day-to-day work or oversee certain areas? Who should the committees report to, ideally? Are there new committees that should be formed, or old ones to be reworked?

Sorry about posting my question(s) so late! -- phoebe 00:23, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Sorry about answering so late :-) I still have faith in the committee system, but believe that the scope of their activities should be more clearly defined and even limited. For instance, Special Projects covers to vast an area for a single committee. If, on the other hand, its mandate was more limited, i.e., game branding, with set goals and objectives, I think that the committee would be far more successful. That is true for all of the committees. Having said that, I also want to add that because of liability reasons, certain committees should not be left to volunteers, such as the Audit Committee, where there is a great degree of responsibility and liability. Committee work should focus on community activities and special projects. Danny 17:31, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply. Interesting point about the Audit committee. -- phoebe 17:14, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Free resources[edit]

Wikipedia, being one of the ten most visited sites in internet, has some negotiation power. I believe we should be able to use this power in order to increase both the freedom and quality of the encyclopedia. In example, the board could contact copyright holders of promotional images (places, objects, models, singers, bands, etc), and convince them to release their items under a free license. I have been doing this myself, but I believe the Board could have better chances than a single person, a WikiProject or even a Wikipedia project. What do you think, do you think this could be a priority? And good luck! -- ReyBrujo 18:35, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

I definitely think this should be a priority, and would not that some board members have already made great strides in this direction. For instance, when I was staff, Erik and I were able to obtain a collection of images, which should be posted in Commons soon. I believe that this is something we should continue to do, to bring more free content to the world. Danny 17:33, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply. Do you think you could, as a board member, suggest a board action like sending a press release requesting free images to companies in the name of Wikimedia Foundation, setup a section of the Foundation site to announce the obtained items, maybe offer legal counsel to companies that want someone to explain them the "fine" letter (now that we have Mike on board!), and prepare press releases whenever a deal is obtained? I believe we need to make these deals public through the Foundation site. That also help us individuals when contacting other companies or agencies, because we would be able to point them to a determined site where they could peruse previous Foundation deals and achievements. Right now, we don't have a "centralized" place for discussion and data collection (our very humble attempt, en:Wikipedia:WikiProject Free images is very young still). -- ReyBrujo 03:21, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
I think these are all great ideas, and will work to implement them. Oh, and please keep the ideas coming. :-) Danny 12:49, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks again for your support! -- ReyBrujo 13:08, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Postcards[edit]

How much Foundation money did you spend for the postcards to donors, including p&p? -- 77.0.110.214 23:57, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

During the last fundraiser, approximately 20 thousand US dollars. Considering we raised 1 million, 2 percent is not bad. Normal costs per dollar raised by charities comes to 25-35 percent. Danny 17:34, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Several questions[edit]

I am asking these exact same questions of you and all your opponents so I can make an apples-to-apples comparison.

  1. Do you think the Wikimedia Foundation should invest in stocks and bonds so that it has a source of income if donations dry up? If so, should its investment strategy be active or passive, diversified or focus, value or growth?
No, I believe that gifts of stock should be cashed in immediately, and no risks should be taken with foundation funding.
  1. Do you think the Foundation's spending on travel and conferences before it has a long-term source of income is responsible?
No, I do not.
  1. Should some of the Foundation's major financial decisions, such as expansion of the paid staff, be subject to referenda of the editors and donors?
No, it should be the decision of the ED with the approval of the Board.
  1. The oversight function -- where edits are hidden even from admins -- has legitimate uses, but the potential for misuse is Orwellian. How can abuse be avoided?
By strengthening the position of an independent overseer/ombudsman for Ovwersight.
  1. Do you believe control over Wikipedia content policy should ultimately rest with the man who created the skeleton of the site, or the editors who create its flesh and blood and/or their elected representatives?
The Board sets the direction of the Foundation and ensures that the community adheres to its goals. Content disputes should be resolved within the community provided that they remain loyal to the goals of the Foundation.
  1. What is your position on freedom of expression in the User namespace?
The User namespace was created to help build content. We are not a free webpage hosting service. While there is some room for flexibility, before posting content to the page, users should ask themselves how this information helps to improve content. Save the rest for Myspace.
  1. Where U.S. copyright law unfairly impedes Wikimedia Foundation projects, should the Foundation lobby for the law to be changed? If so, how should it do so without spending money it can't afford?
No, the Foundation is not a political lobby. We can lead by example, not by lobbying. Building up the world's largest free database of free knowledge is, in my opinion, the best way for us to achieve this goal.
  1. To what extent is Wikipedia yet reaching the developing world, and what could you do during your term to speed that up?
The problems with reaching the developing world are much more complicated than handing people computers with Wikipedia in their local languages. If people can't afford electricity or bandwidth, these computers are little more than paperweights, yet that is the problem in much of the developing world today. We have tro prepare ourselves for when opportunities open up, however, the best we can do at this time, besides creating platforms (I oppose Westerners imposing their view of important content on others), we would be better off partnering with global educational organizations. We should have the humility to realize that Wikipedia will not save the developing world. We are just one small piece in a very perplexing puzzle. Danny 17:44, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Seahen 05:37, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

Wikinews and building on an unexpected publicity opportunity[edit]

As I would hope you have seen, Wikinews has made a splash in the news as the original non-blog source for the story of a prank edit to w:Chris Benoit's Wikipedia page. Our Alexa rating has skyrocketed, Google news has hundreds of articles that mention - or cite - us. I had planned to sponsor a Writing Contest on Wikinews following these elections - but this seems like too good an opportunity to miss. I've asked a few people to contribute to the prize pot, but most of our local contributors don't have the spare cash.

  • First question, should we do things like this - we've had other competitions in the past and the daily article count has gone up significantly.
Yes.
  • Second, are you prepared to put your money where our projects are and donate to the prize fund?
I have done so in the past already and donated my own money for a number of contests. See en:WP:DC. As such, I imagine I would be prepared to do so again. Please ask me for a pledge after the election. Danny 18:55, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Third, if you are prepared to donate to the prize pot would you also be prepared to help out as a judge? I feel the impartial position the board should strive to take day to day would be welcome in defining rules and judging a competition.
Yes I would. Danny 17:46, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Brianmc (talk)

International Symbol of Access[edit]

If elected, would you act to remove the Foundation's ban on the use of the International Symbol of Access and International Symbol for Deafness outside the scope of fair use? If you are unfamiliar with this issue, it boils down to the fact that these symbols may be freely used for their intended purpose but are extremely unlikely to be released under a free license. Because they are internationally recognized symbols, no free equivalent could be created to replace them. There would be no legal risk to either the Wikimedia Foundation or to downstream users if we were to use these symbols in infoboxes to designate handicapped accessible metro stations, Disney rides, etc. I'm not asking for permission to use them in userboxes or the like. I just think that the current Foundation-level policy of lumping them into the "fair use" category is quite detrimental our goals. —Remember the dot 03:54, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

I would not remove the ban. In effect, by refusing to use it, we are protesting the fact that the symbol has not been placed into the public domain. By using it we are conceding to those forces which wish to keep it proprietary. Danny 17:47, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm confused as to your definition of "proprietary". Anyone may use the symbol. It is an international standard. It's copyrighted so that the ICTA can prevent it from being used deceptively. Remember the dot 18:24, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
I think that reasoning is faulty. There are countless other symbols out there which are internationally recognized, yet there is no suspicion of people using them deceptively. On the other hand, making it free would allow far more people to actually use this symbol. Danny 18:54, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Who, specifically, is currently prohibited from using the these symbols? Remember the dot 21:01, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

"Attack site" link bans[edit]

On English Wikipedia, there has been some controversy about whether it is, or ought to be, the policy that linking to so-called "attack sites" against Wikipedia and Wikipedians is to be banned. Some administrators have (overzealously, in some others' opinions) removed links to criticism sites from such places as talk pages, evidence pages for ArbCom cases, and even in a few cases from actual articles where they were being used as a source. I wrote an essay on this issue. What is your opinion? Dtobias 03:58, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

I do not believe we should censor these sites, nor do I believe that we should make them out to be more important than they really are. As such, I think that people should be able to cite them in certain very specific circumstances relating to the content that appears on them, such as an ArbCom ruling. Other than that, I see no reason why they should be included. Danny 17:50, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

How will you deal with this...[edit]

Whenever I can not find the specific answer to a question in an article I turn to Wikipedia help. In many instances, however, the reply is devoid of thought or knowledge and merely a student's guess to fill blank space on the page as if to say: "Here is my guess. I've done my job. You have received my authoritative response."

The nature of Wikipedia is that it is not authoritative. People answering help desk questions should be very clear in stating that in their answers. Danny 17:51, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

How to deal with consensus of uninformed editors[edit]

Sometimes a popular opinion is contradicted by scientific evidence. Majority of editors stick to the popular opinion (which is also theirs) and vote to delete all pages that contradict their opinion (intrinsic weakness of democracy). As a result Wikipedia propagates old prejudices. How would you solve this problem?

Supporting evidence for the problem: Once I wrote several pages on Einsteinian physics (I'm just doing my PhD on it) and all of them were deleted by consensus of editors (9:1) who preferred their old high school physics :-). Unfortunately their high school physics was invalidated about 100 years ago by Einstein. Yet till today one can read as the first statement of Wikipedia's Gravitation: "Gravitation is a natural phenomenon by which all objects attract each other". According to contemporary science objects don't attract each other they just look like they do. Similarly as the Sun looks like running around the Earth while it doesn't and there exists a simple explanation in both cases. So I just explained the simple Einsteinian mechanism of this apparent attraction, since I thought it may be interesting to Wikipedia's readers. All those pages were deleted by consensus of editors cooling my enthusiasm for Wikipedia. So the issue of propagating old prejudices, because of democratic process involved in editing, seems to be very real in Wikipedia. JimJast 13:47, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree with what you say. In fact, I would hope that people like you, who have experience, background, and knowledge in the field, will help to bolster the reliability of the projects. Frankly, I see a problem in that somehow we are moving away from "no credentials necessary" toward "credentials are a drawback." I am not sure of the solution and would certainly welcome ideas, but I believe that this must be addressed. Danny 17:54, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

why did you lie on the foundation phone[edit]

http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Board_elections/2007/Candidates/Danny/questions&diff=620207&oldid=620188

...and said you cannot speak english?

Majority biasing the facts[edit]

12:32, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Dear Candidate,

it is an increasing frustration to me that a supermajority of wikipedians has apparently decided to defend their common view of the world as the only truth. All minority views are blocked. This goes so far as to not allow facts, which are acknowledged to be true, on article pages when they are seemingly at odds with this view. This tends to make the articles POV and destroys the knowledge and hard work brought together by many, many editors in this unique enterprise. It makes wikipedia a very unreliable and biased source of information. Subjects are e.g. terrorist attacks. Will you make an effort to change this trend? It is imortant to us that the guidelines are upheld fairly and equally, and not just to defend a single viewpoint.

regards,

Xiutwel
NL

Who Writes Wikipedia?[edit]

Late question, perhaps related to JimJast's issue and attracting expert users: do you have any thoughts on this essay (and if so, what)? It suggests that Jimbo formed a radically false picture of anonymous users and their contributions to Wikipedia. This may have far-reaching implications. Dan(pedia) 21:08, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for pointing me to that essay. I have just read it, and think that it deserves careful attention and study. I am pleased that someone is coming up with hard facts and statistics, rather than reiterating the popular buzzwords and sloganeering that has become too common of late. Off the top of my head (and it is 5:15 am here as I write this), the most important implication seems to be that we should be more welcoming of these anonymous editors so as to benefit from their knowledge. Of course, that is a slogan too, so in practical terms I suggest a task force of developers and contributors (veteran and brand new) both from within and outside the Foundation to suggest ways to ease the editing process for newcomers. This might include simplifying the software (it is a lot more complicated than when I joined) and certainly simplifying the labyrinthine tangle of rules and policies. I'd very much like to hear what your suggestions might be. Danny 09:17, 7 July 2007 (UTC) 09:16, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
Off the top of my head, it seems like the main problem lies in deciding what we want. If we have clear program specifications, we can start an open source project to improve the software and maybe hire a programmer or two to get it started. In principle the board could post first draft specifications for comment and encourage software contributors to join the discussion once they start work on the software. Dan(pedia) 21:35, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

A Fairer Voting System[edit]

Would you support the use of choice voting in the next Board Elections?


Choice voting protects majority rule while providing for the fair representation of minority views. Voters rank the candidates 1, 2, 3, and so on, in order of preference. If your top choice either is not elected or already has enough votes to win a seat, your vote goes to your next choice. No vote is wasted, and all viewpoints are represented. Choice voting would drastically reduce the number of wasted votes.

Choice voting can be used for single or multiple position elections. It is used for national elections in a number of countries including the Republic of Ireland. It is also used by a wide variety of organsations such as students' unions, charities, trade unions, universities, hospital trusts and housing associations. Choice voting is already used to elect the board of Nominet UK.

Choice voting is also called preference voting or wikipedia:single transferable vote (STV)

John Cross 16:59, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

I would definitely like to see the voting system changed, though I am not sure of the precise system to adopt. Danny 17:26, 7 July 2007 (UTC)