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Comment Integrity and transparency (not search) at stake (Score 1) 51

Several commenters here have suggested that building an alternative to Google, based on values like Wikimedia's, may be a good thing. This is a worthwhile point, and a worthwhile discussion; but it misses the point of what's problematic here.

The problem here, the thing that has many Wikimedians worried, is that Wikimedia trustee Jimmy Wales has apparently been telling outright lies about whether the organization has considered pursuing a search engine to rival Google et al. He has made a number of unequivocal statements in recent weeks -- he himself has accused ousted trustee James Heilman of lying on the subject (but Heilman's narrative is now verified by the published grant application).

The thing that has shaken Wikimedia up is not the idea of search, but the question of whether we can expect honest communication from those entrusted with the Wikimedia brand and organization. Beyond that, it's whether that organization in fact wishes for the input of Wikimedia's stakeholders in determining its strategic direction -- something it actively pursued five years ago, but is pursuing only minimally and reluctantly now, with the Knowledge Engine grant as merely the strongest indicator of how its activities fail to align with any strategic document with strong buy-in.

Submission + - Meltdown at Wikipedia (

Andreas Kolbe writes: As Wikipedia is about to turn 15 years old, relations between the volunteer community and the Wikimedia Foundation board have reached a new nadir. First, Dr James Heilman, an immensely popular volunteer noted for his energetic efforts to make Wikipedia's medical articles more trustworthy, was expelled from the board, causing wide-spread protests. Then it transpired that Wikimedia is working on a secretive "Knowledge Engine" project funded by a restricted grant from the Knight Foundation, leading to calls for more transparency about the project. Lastly, a few days ago the board announced the appointment of Arnnon Geshuri, former Senior Director of HR and Staffing at Google, to the Wikimedia board, provoking a further loss of confidence. The volunteers are pointing to Geshuri's past involvement in anticompetitive hiring agreements at Google, which led to a class-action lawsuit resulting in a $415 million settlement. They want Geshuri gone.

Comment Re:GLAM (Score 1) 154

[citation needed]

Actually, forget the citation -- this is simply untrue. GLAM outreach was envisioned by a longtime Wikipedian, implemented by another longtime Wikipedian, and supported by a number of longtime Wikipedians (among others). The Wikimedia Foundation has supported the work of the GLAM outreach community, but never driven it.

If people want links to support this background, I'll find some in the morning. They're all over the Outreach wiki, Meta, etc.

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