Forum:Open Letter to the RationalWiki Foundation

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This discussion was moved here from Saloon bar.

Notice

Please confine your comments to substantive concerns, suggestions, constructive criticism, helpful observations, compliments, etc. As of Jan. 14 at 11:30 am CST I have not looked at RW since the board began discussing Jacob's post early this morning so I'm not prepared to make the substantive response that many claims on this page require. As this discussion bears on official RWF business, not editorial or content-related issues on the wiki, I will in my capacity as a Trustee be deleting unhelpful comments. I'm inclined to permanently block users who libel RWF directors/officers with claims of malfeasance or criminal misconduct. The RWF has no obligation to any of you as individual editors to provide a forum for you to engage in tortious misconduct. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 17:53, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Doing good. Thanks for keeping the tone mostly pretty constructive.

:wq

Open Letter to the RationalWiki Foundation (sticky)[edit]

(I ask that this be left in the Saloon bar, and not archived or isolated on a forum prematurely. This is important, and I feel that as many RationalWikians as possible should read it — including people who don't stop by every day or keep track of the forumspace.)

Over the past year I have learned many things about the Board of Trustees, responsible for running the RationalWiki Foundation. And what I learned has been shocking. Unfortunately, due to the Board's disinterest in communicating with the very site it was created to support, not many are aware of its egregious flaws.

I post these concerns, and my suggestions for solving them, in good faith. I have nothing but respect for the various Trustees. Tmtoulouse co-founded and has spent years maintaining this site with little thanks. Nutty Roux is an experienced lawyer and supremely qualified to be a Trustee. Quirks aside, ListenerX is even-handed and far too educated for someone only a few years older than me. Human has over a decade of experience running a small business. WaitingforGodot is smart, patient, and highly educated. Reckless Noise Symphony is amazingly level-headed and extraordinarily cooperative.

But even good people can make poor decisions. And as anyone who has worked in a group knows, simply putting the best and brightest people together and expecting the best and brightest results doesn't always work. But I still expected better than this. RationalWiki itself deserves better.

Failed quixotic projects[edit]

Here is what I've learned: Some time after the RationalWiki Foundation was formed, the Board of Trustees became concerned that they would have difficulty expanding the Foundation, and partnering with other skeptical nonprofits, if it couldn't shake this site's reputation as a home base for vandals. The Board decided that the Foundation needed something other than the RationalWiki website to show to prospective partners and interested outsiders, so they partnered with Media for Social Change in order to create a multimedia skeptics resource.

The result was RationalWiki Docs. Its goal was to create a series of videos that would do in video form what the RationalWiki website does with its articles.

Almost a year has passed, and no progress has been made. More to the point, no actions were taken to ensure the project would succeed in the first place. There was no plan. No schedule for progress was worked out or next steps plotted. The Board didn't have the resources or manpower available to produce any follow-up videos, and no effort was made to commission anyone who did. No scripts or outlines for prospective videos were written, nor did they ask anyone to write some.

RW Docs was stillborn, doomed by the utter incompetence and disinterest of the Board.

The Foundation does have something to show for all this. It's bank account balance is smaller, from paying for the extra domain name, and maybe paying Media for Social Change to make the webpage and a video, too. And should the Board ever pursue a grant, partnership, or major donor, those people may ask the Foundation's only previous partnership, Media for Social Change, what we're like — and MfSC will say we didn't follow through.

I find this deeply embarrassing. In the process of trying to improve RationalWiki's reputation, the Board potentially further damaged it. Rather than try to improve the site's reputation by engaging with the community, they chose to ignore it and hope future partners would too. Rather than make or follow any sort of plan, they stumbled forward blindly. Rather than work to make the project a success, they sat around waiting for things to fall into place.

In short, RW Docs has been a clusterfuck on every possible level, and the Board has made no effort to learn from the experience.

Complete disengagement from the RationalWiki community[edit]

The Board is planning even more "big projects" this year. What projects? Why hasn't the Board told us about them? How much will they cost, how will the Foundation pay for them, who will be involved, and how long will they take to finish? What is the Board doing differently to ensure the projects succeed this time? And again, if they're so big and important, why hasn't the Board told the community anything about them?

I don't know how much time and money the Foundation has lost in pursuit of its first quixotic project. I don't know the terms of the Foundation's association with Media for Social Change, if we legally still owe them anything or not. What I do know is that the Board should have, from the moment the partnership was formalized, told us all these things. I do know that Board should have told us about any and all of its "big plans" for this year.

They did not and they have not.

Until now, only three RWians outside Board so much as knew RW Docs existed (Tyrannis learned about it from a Board member, I learned about it from him, and a single other RWian stumbled upon it by accident). The Board created RW Docs out of embarrassment for the very community that elected them, but their utter silence about it towards the community suggests, not just embarrassment, but contempt.

And yet, the Board expects us to care about the Foundation — why should we, when the Foundation's Board doesn't care about us? They expect us to vote in Board elections — why should we, when the people elected hold us in silence and view us with embarrassment? They expect us donate money to the Foundation — why should we, when so far the Foundation has made no effort to show it deserves our money?

The Board wants people to donate to the Foundation? Make people feel involved in the Foundation. Want people to feel involved in the Foundation? Tell them what the Foundation is doing. (And no, posting the Board's meetings minutes doesn't count.) Every meeting, post on the Saloon bar a brief summary of what the Board discussed and why the Board discussed it. Every time a project is considered or a plan made, post a summary of what the project or plan is, why it's worth doing, and why the Board thinks it's doable. Every time the Board progresses on a project or reaches the next step of a plan, trumpet that across the damn wiki. "Hey everyone this is what your money is paying for! You made this possible!" And above all else, listen to what people have to say about those things. Answer any questions and respond to any comments — even if the Board's decision is already made, communication is vital.

As it stands, the Board pretends the community doesn't exist, then every few months asks for its money. There is absolutely no excuse for this state of affairs.

General incompetence[edit]

It's difficult for me to put this into essay form, so here's a list of the things I've learned so far:

  • Tmtoulouse said he would file the paperwork necessary to make RW a nonprofit, then procrastinated so long he almost missed the filing deadline. The only reason RW is currently a nonprofit is because Nutty Roux did it himself. Despite his questionable work ethic, the Board approved Foundation by laws that gave a staggering amount of responsibility to Tmtoulouse.
  • Tmtoulouse was (until only a few months ago) the only one with access to the Foundation's finances, but he didn't actually do the financial paperwork. Instead, Nutty Roux had to pester Tmtoulouse for the information he needed to complete the forms. The bank Tmtoulouse used wasn't very good, and the data Nutty Roux received was presented in a hard-to-work-with format. If Tmtoulouse had gotten sick, injured, dead, or simply procrastinated a little too long, the Foundation would've been screwed and potentially faced penalties for missing crucial deadlines. Despite the Foundation's finances being managed via a clearly broken process, the Board took over a year to force Tmtoulouse to give Nutty Roux direct access to the Foundation's bank account.
  • While Tmtoulouse's duties as Operations Manager mean he's officially responsible for advising, conducting research, and filing paperwork, all on behalf of the Foundation, he does little to none of these things. Almost all of this work is done by Nutty Roux, while Tmtoulouse is effectively a glorified server admin. Despite this, no effort has been made to formally give Tmtoulouse's non-tech duties to people who will actually do them.
  • Several months ago, an RWian expressed interest in leaving some money to RationalWiki in their will, but was concerned about the less-than-admirable status of the community. While I specifically contacted Nutty Roux (and he in turn Tmtoulouse) about this, no action was taken. The Board elected to do nothing rather than make any attempt at courting donors. (And if Nutty and Tmtoulouse did take action, why doesn't the rest of the Board know? How can the Board be expected to run things if only half of it knows what's going on?)
  • In my previous contact with Nutty Roux, I'd referenced my brother (whom has seven years of experience as a professional fundraiser for small nonprofits). Nutty expressed interest, and I accordingly interviewed my brother for further advice and collected it in a document, which I emailed to him. I was thanked, and then... nothing. The next fundraiser came and went, and the Board made no attempt at incorporating even the most trivially easy-to-implement parts of the advice.
  • When viewed in conjunction with its idea to use merchandise to encourage donations (i.e. "free coffee mug if you donate X amount"), it would seem that the Board views bumper stickers as the height of building donor relations, rather than communicating with the people it wants money from.

What the Board should do[edit]

I give here what I feel are the most straightforward solutions the Board should take towards addresses the concerns I've raised:

  • Communicate with the community. Post bi-weekly updates, summarizing in a few sentences what the Board is talking about, what proposals and ideas are being considered, how projects are progressing. If there is no progress, then report no progress and explain why that is so. Answer any questions people have and acknowledge any discussion that occurs. And no stuffing it onto an obscure page so a tiny handful can put it on their watchlist — post it on the Saloon bar, at the very least. This is about, not just communication, but making the community feel involved and informed. You want as many people as possible reading and understanding what the Board and Foundation are actually doing. You want as many people as possible asking questions about and discussing them.
  • Recreate the Treasurer position in the Foundation. Make them responsible for managing the finances of the Foundation and completing any tax forms and other finance-related papers. Since Tmtoulouse refuses to carry out these duties in a timely and competent manner, the Board should appoint the person who does (Nutty Roux). (I say "recreate" because there originally was a Treasurer role, but it was merged with Tmtoulouse's Operating Manager duties in 2010.)
  • Create a Fundraising Officer position in the Foundation. Make them responsible for communicating with donors and researching other sources of income for the Foundation (grants, ads, etc). Half-formed plans to sell merchandise aside, the Board has made no concrete efforts towards building the Foundation's donation base. It needs someone who will make those efforts on behalf of it.
  • Create an Adviser position in the Foundation, and appoint Nutty Roux to it, provided he is willing. Nutty Roux is extraordinarily helpful, competent, and hard-working on behalf of the Foundation. He is the Board's go-to resource for questions on legal and financial issues. He is an invaluable asset to the Foundation, and it would be a shame to lose that if he were to lose the upcoming, or any future, Board election.
  • Cancel RationalWiki Docs. It's been a year. The project has failed in its goals, and more to the point, the Board has not put in the effort needed to make it a success. The Board should apologize to Media for Social Change (it doesn't matter if the Foundation paid them or not — the Board let down a fellow social activist, and it should apologize) and officially cancel the project.
  • Put plans to appear at TAM or partner with other skeptic organizations on hold. The Foundation needs to put its training wheels back on and learn how to pedal without its feet slipping off. It can learn how to pop wheelies later.
  • Deal with EvoWiki. EvoWiki is (a) owned by the RW Foundation, (b) completely dead, and (c) still gets half-decent traffic to it — traffic that RationalWiki would appreciate a lot more than a ghost town wiki. This is exactly the sort of small-scale (small as in we don't need to hire or partner with anyone outside of RationalWiki for it), immediately relevant project the Board should be focusing on, rather than flailing about pursuing grand goals that are way above its competency level.
  • Spin Conservapediaspace into its own site, separate from RationalWiki. If the Board wants other skeptic organizations to treat RationalWiki as more than a vandal base, then it needs to let go of the part of the site dedicated to obsessing over and trolling another site. I agree that this would be painful — people have a right to learn and enjoy our site's history. I agree it would be difficult to split the Conservapediaspace into its own database. But if the Board really wants RationalWiki to be overcome its reputation as a shady hangout for vandals, then it needs to excise that very hangout from the greater site.

Comments and further discussion[edit]

I hope what I have written proved informative. I hope everyone here asks more questions about what the Board of Trustees has been doing, and that the Board will answer them. I hope it strives to do better than it has.

Thank you for reading.

Sincerely,

Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 05:46, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Ditto. Nobodydon't bother 06:25, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Interesting reading. I'd certainly like to see more transparency in how the Board uses RW user's donations. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 07:48, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm still not even sure why there is a "Board", because, as this article points it, it doesn't really do anything. Nihilist 07:52, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
"Not effectively justifying their existence" could probably be added to the list then, under communication. But having the foundation is important, and you then need somebody to run it. Peter Subsisting on honey 08:02, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Why? As far as i'm concerned, this is just a small wiki. Sure, it'd be cool if it expanded, but until that happens, "The Board" is like electing a government for your semiweekly DnD sessions you play in your friend's garage. Nihilist 08:07, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
You know - boring things like non-profit status, and escaping from Trent's tyranny. Peter Subsisting on honey 08:16, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
"Trents tyranny"? Please. The issue is his lack of control and grip on the wiki, not his over0bearing presence. Don't be a idiot, Peter. Acei9 09:34, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I think it was meant as a joke, Mr M. rpeh •TCE 10:10, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
PeterL is incapable of humor. Nihilist 15:09, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I'd also like to see more transparency. I give somewhere between 60 and 100 bucks to RW a year, which seems fair enough, but I must admit the number of fundraisers last year seemed excessive to me. One of them I just didn't bother with. I give because I want the wiki to keep running, but then what' are these "major projects" that are "nearing greenlight"? Am I paying for them, if so, how much? It'd be nice to think I was more than just a cash cow for someone else's ambitions. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 08:38, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
As a donor, I also find this unsettling. I am very unhappy not only with this sort of behavior, but also that it took us this long to find out about it.--ADtalkModerator 09:20, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I was somewhat aware of these issues. Not to this extant but knew of a few of these problems. I also think that some people owe Nutty Roux an apology. Acei9 09:31, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
In all honesty, I can't say I'm surprised. I always thought the board idea was a case of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. It's clear that a couple of people have put in a lot of work, but equally clear that others had no idea what they were getting themselves into. The upshot is that there seem to have been several grandiose schemes mooted but nobody to actually get them done.
Jeeves claims elsewhere that it's time RW left behind its childish things but I think this whole saga proves the reverse. There just aren't enough people prepared to work hard to make RW into some kind of Internet sensation. There are, apparently, fewer than 80 users of the site, and most of those spend their time faffing about on talk pages instead of improving the site (to be clear, I'm placing myself very firmly in the former category).
There's nothing wrong with being a fun site where people who want to laugh at Andy, Ken, Chuckarse and the rest can gather together. I've never understood the desire of some people to get away from that and try to turn RW into something it was never intended to be. rpeh •TCE 10:34, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Well, put it this way. I don't think tying RW's fortunes to CP's is a good bet. It's a dead horse, and I think this new year is a good time to stop beating it. I think those of us who participate in CP space ought to take the initiative rather than wait for it to be forced on us. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 10:53, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Trying to force disengagement from CP has always been terribly unpopular, though. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 12:09, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
The Conservapedia question is best dealt with separately. It's really a community issue rather than a Board one (IMO) & if we get too much into it here it's likely to derail from the more pertinent issues raised by Stabby, such as Foundation transparency & communications, use of funds, non-RW projects & partnerships, etc. WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 13:12, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Meh. Everyone on the board is a volunteer who have otherwise busy lives and careers. If anything, it needs to delegate more if other media is to be successful. Oh, and the wiki will not survive long without CP. It brings people in if you count the edits. Yes, I'd love it to be separate but users just don't make enough skeptical/evolution/evolution/global warming/denialism/etc. edits to sustain the site. Users are too obssessed with site functioning instead of site contributing (including meself) as well. It's been evolving over time and it just can't be sustained. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 13:02, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for this Stabby. Not surprising that we're as messed-up off-wiki as we are on-wiki. Theory of Practice "Now we stand outcast and starving 'mid the wonders we have made." 14:27, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Response from RNS[edit]

I think something that's generally amiss is the general apathy that always seems to show whenever RWF business is brought up at RationalWiki. I know that some of this falls on the trustees needing to better communicate what we are trying to do, but, for example, when I asked about ideas from the community for things that they'd be interested in getting as little "Thank you"s for dontating to RWF, and for basic design ideas for such things, 95% of the post was tarnished by RWians trying to be funny and not serious. This is also reflected in the general misunderstanding of the roles of the trustees vs. any other role involving the Wiki: techs, Sys. admins, moderators. I, myself, have noticed this gap for some time and have been trying my best to get through to the Wiki purposes for the Board vs. other things. Unfortunately, it always seems to fall on deaf ears. People still think we are the SUPERMODERATORS or some such. In fact, I was disappointed when the general consensus (grant you, it was non-binding) of the current trustees was for us all to respectfully not campaign, out of fear that it would become a mud-slinging contest similar to the Mods. In reality, I think if we were to actually hold some sort of campaign, we could better communicate what the Trustees actually do. On another note, it's been my intention, should I get re-elected to the Board, to put items on the agenda to shift much of the work load that seems to be on Trent's hands. His position on the Board, as it stands, was a great idea back when the RWF was founded, but I think everyone realizes now that, as we continue to grow, duties like fundraising, like networking with the greater skeptical community, like doing the bookwork, need to be more spread out amongst the trustees. Indeed, positions like being in charge of the financials or being in charge of fundraising (the two most important things the RWF does) should be streamlined and delegated to people whose sole responsibility on the Board is to do those things. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 13:51, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

I'll grant Stabby that not everything the RWF has done has been perfect (somethings have been far from it), but as an organization, we are still in our infancy and have only just begun to move beyond the old problems of things like having enough server bandwidth and having enough infrastructure so that power outages or an influx in views doesn't stop the site cold for days or weeks. Now's the era where the Foundation is trying to move forward onto our other lofty idea. Grant you, so far those ideas have been mostly talk and no action. But the "big projects" we have planned for the coming year, so far as I, the chair, are concerned are putting all these ideas into action. There seems to be two glaring issues here that Stabby has put bluntly and for which there is absolutely no excuse on the part of the Board. And those issues are:
  1. Lack of communication, both within the Board and to those outside the Board. As Chair, this should've been my undertaking, and there is absolutely no excuse for this. Going forward, assuming I am re-elected, I fully plan to get right to work on this problem.
  2. Lack of accountability for getting things done. Again, as the chair, I should be getting on these guys (and gals) more about what needs to get done. It's Management 101. This includes the need to split up responsibilities such as finances from technical. And in the last month, I've been coming up with an action plan to propose to the Board to get this done with.
While I certainly understand and completely, 100% empathize with the concerns Stabby and the community have expressed in this post, and they are very good concerns, it doesn't mean that nobody is in the process of trying to fix them. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 13:58, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Apologies if this should be posted elsewhere, but I would like to point out that I have made a suggestion for the site, and none of the responses were from members of the board. I'm not going to say that it is, but it may very well be the case the site members don't make suggestions because they don't think it will change.--Just relax, and stay funny (talk) 21:10, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
The board doesn't run the site, it just raises money and pays for it, among other non-site activities. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:47, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
See, I think part of the issue people are having is that no one knows who does what.--Just relax, and stay funny (talk) 04:40, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
It is most of the issue. If the OP really is 70% wrong, an unfounded conspiracy theory, and libel—even despite the effort the went into it to ensure that it would be otherwise—then there is a massive communication problem at the heart of a fundimental misunderstanding about how the site is run, common no doubt to everyone who isn't intimately involved. Peter Subsisting on honey 04:54, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
The OP did very little, if any, fact-checking. As I understand it, Stabby ran an early version by a board member a week ago, without mentioning that he would publish it on the wiki as "sticky" and demand that it stay on the Saloon Bar. I got an email from Stabby requesting "comment" a few hours after it went live here.
And yes, the OP is easily 70% wrong. Attacking people based on rumor and conjecture, while pretending to honor their credentials, and without contacting any of the involved parties? Fairly disgusting, in my book.
In my slightly stretched opinion, the OP is running for an office he has no idea how boring it is to hold, and hoping to shape the "illiction results" accordingly. Best of luck to him with that. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:22, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
For the record, Reckless Noise Symphony was personally witness to and provided regular feedback during the writing of the open letter, from its very first draft to the very final revision, and he was aware of my intent to post it on the Saloon bar. He has not been misled in any way. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 06:07, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, for the record, that's pure bullshit. You never told him you were going to post it here. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:36, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Godot's response[edit]

The Wiki needs to expand and grow. All things need to. It is short sighed to think that trying new projects or needing to stay just as you are, has much value. While there were costs to bear for trying new things, which did not get off the ground, they were not large and did not drastically effect the monies available for this site and this project. The board by and large, hasn't been highly involved on this project, it was the brain child AND EFFORT CHILD of Trent and Jason. But it was an attempt to expand our horizon - I fail to see why that is something unwanted or mismanaged. And I have no idea why anyone would expect that such a new project should Fail or Fly in one year - else proving the project was/is/willbe a miserable failure. I'm not sure it was well organized. but I'm equally not sure that's worth the kind of drama being played out right now. For the record, Nutty has request input into both his new project, and our current project here at the wiki, and virtually no one offers up any ideas, input, thoughts, concerns, questions about financing, ect. Virtually no one on the wiki (myself before I worked on the board, and little after) says "here's things I think", or "gee I want to get involved" or "hey, it might be interesting if we..." This issue of lack of input is discussed AT LENGTH at board meetings.

People here like drama. All of us, it's part of what keeps us involved as more that just strict editors. But we are, as a group, highly disinterested in the wiki or the Foundation as a whole. I assure you, 5 new Board member, 10 old board members, or a change in the structure isn't going to change much, because as soon as this particular drama goes away, we will be back to "where are we". If you do not want to move ahead, and try to grow that's fine, and when elections come up, make sure that is your position. But to simply say "the board is incompetent", when no one really has any idea how they think things should be different, nor any input when specifically asked about it is a site wide problem. It is, deep down, no different then every other issue we have here. How to handle trolls, how to handle CP focus, what a mod should be, how to deal with uber drama. We like to talk, fight, whine, argue, and play lots of mind games on each other. We have very little follow through, actual action, actual goals (and I can't tell you how often i hear off line that "no one at RW remembers the reason we started" cause some think it's to combat creationists, others think it's to make fun of CP, others think it's to attack religion, others think it's just about science and disproving non-science. and all sides use the same line "no one at RW remembers why we started".

Specific point - rational wiki docs has been discussed in the Salon, and brought up independently on various talk pages - this wasn't something hidden in the dark, for all it is a new / young project that may or may not have failed.

The current board has 3 strong voices, voices which do disagree often about where to go and how to proceed. And while any given voice may change, or all 5 voices may change, it is unlikely to change the nature of the Board, what is tasked of the Board, and teh fact that the board acts as if it were isolated, because repeated requests (not just while I was sitting on the board, I remember such requests for the last two years as well) for input, ideas, reviews, etc. go unanswered. Maybe I'm biased, cause I've seen us try to actually work with the wiki at large, and watch all 5 members get frustrated that no one is giving any feedback. If you think that answers are that the next board , who ever they be, write up and publish minutes (which are available if anyone had ever asked, by the way - no one did, no one cared) that can easily be done. Issues to be discussed by this or any board should be published a week before teh board meeting, so the wiki and the board can have input. IF you think the board is just moving in the wrong direction, how come for 3 years, (i can't go further back than that, but i suspect this issue goes much further back) how come no one is saying, but Stabby, "this is what I think the Board should be focused on". or even simply WHAT IS the board focused on?

Cause even the letter from Stabby says "you're ineffective", but doesn't really offer solutions for that. Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 14:15, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
PS I would like to state that Stabby, you deserve huge pats for actually bringing this kind of thing up, daring to jump in the water, and saying "let's look at ourselves". And I respect what you said. And love your ideas about the changes in position. I just, respectfully, think that the frustrations felt by you personally, are echoed by the current board, and prior boards. Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 14:19, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Future[edit]

I think we have one, as a skeptics' site. Traffic only goes up (and now we have a system that can cope with it - didn't even hiccup at our last Redditdotting). WIGO:CP remains quite popular, as do the other main WIGOs, but yeah. I link to RW articles when apposite commenting on skeptical blogs and forums, and you should too. I don't feel a burning urge to throw away the CP stuff or hide it in an attic. I guess the main thing we need is more "don't be a dick", but then again we are largely a bunch of dicks. I'd rather gargle my own piss than actually be on the board, and I'm sure many on the board feel the same - being on the board of a tiny nonprofit is basically just made of suck, necessary as it is - David Gerard (talk) 15:20, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

When I am commenting on forums, boards, blogs and facebook I frequently link to RW. Acei9 19:44, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
When I am commenting on articles about male porn stars, I frequently link to your user page. rpeh •TCE 19:50, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
That explains what happened to me Tijuana then. Acei9 19:53, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Depending on context, linking to RW can be a dicey proposition. "Here's a link to a great article on vaccine hysteria. But don't click too many links on the website, or you might end up staring down an image of a bat with a giant penis, and then the argument that I'm supporting with that link will be shot to hell." Theory of Practice "Now we stand outcast and starving 'mid the wonders we have made." 19:59, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I tend not to worry about that. I assume people are smart enough to understand it's a wiki (unless they're on LessWrong) - David Gerard (talk) 20:47, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Possibly... although it still doesn't explain the incident with those howler monkeys, the bathtub full of jelly and the waiter from Asadero Kino. rpeh •TCE 20:02, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I link to this place all the time when I am pissing people off on facebook. But I check the article first to make sure it hasn't been ruined. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:34, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

ListenerX's response[edit]

I generally agree with the points raised in Stabby's missive, but there are a few areas that need clarification.

  1. Had the Board been given any chance to vote on the "RW Docs" project, I for one would have voted against it (i.a., "quixotic" is an excellent adjective to describe it); but we never voted on it — it was presented to us as a fait accompli.
  2. I have never seen the document with the fundraising advice from Stabby's brother, nor any discussion of the person who wanted to leave money to the Foundation in their will.
  3. The Board is not in communication "bi-weekly;" sometimes months can go by without any e-mail crossing the mailing list.
  4. As several people have stated, Trent has a large number of duties as Operations Manager; and while we hear a good deal about his tardiness when it comes to filing paperwork, we hear very little about all the work he puts in day-to-day to keep the Wiki running.
  5. Because he does so much for the Wiki, Trent has an effective veto over any decisions of the Board. For example, in one discussion recently, there was a measure proposed that most of the Trustees seemed amenable to, but Trent went much against it, hinting that he would refuse to implement it if the Board adopted it. For those who see this as a problem, one solution would be to distribute Trent's current duties more widely, but we are a small enough project that that approach might be setting us up for disaster, especially given the mob's much-derided apathy on Foundation matters.

Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 16:44, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Wait, I never said I would fail to implement it. I said I would not be responsible for overseeing it, and the part I said I would not be responsible for over seeing had nothing to do with the wiki or the tech support of the site. It involved coordinating the mailings of 100+ "codes" to people all over the bloody planet. I am not going to spend hours licking envelopes for a dumb idea. I said you would have to find another volunteer for that. Your right that would probably kill it because no one else would volunteer for it. Tmtoulouse (talk) 17:01, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Per the by-laws, as Operations Manager, if the Board tells you to do something, you do it. In reality, if you refuse, we are up a certain creek without a certain instrument. This response rather demonstrates that point. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 17:23, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
The proposal being discussed was to force people use snail mail for Board elections as a way of curbing sock voters (which there is no evidence of ever being in a board election). I said I would not be responsible for trying to snail mail stuff all over the planet. It was a waste of my time for a dumb idea. I am not an indentured servant to the foundation. I can not be forced to lick envelopes. I said someone else would have to do it. If no one else volunteered its not my fault. Also the board tabled the idea so I never refused to do anything directed by the board. Tmtoulouse (talk) 18:05, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Actually, and i'd supported you in this till right now, that's NOT what you said, since **I** was going to be mailing out the stuff, as I have both the time and equipment to manage it. Trent, go take a break or something, back off like Nutty is doing, cause you are walking a thin line, and i want to support you and the Board's actions, but you're not helping yourself here. Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 18:08, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Can I suggest all the board take a step back here? Temperatures are obviously on the rise and a big fight about who said what in meetings the rest of us know nothing about isn't going to help. Email each other, Skype each other, come to a consensus - or a set of opposing views if that's what there is - post everything at once then we can continue. Washing your dirty linen in public isn't helping. rpeh •TCE 18:17, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree that no more needs to be said about that specific debate, which it was not my intent to re-ignite. I only brought it up to point out the constraints under which the Board is operating. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 18:23, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Rpeh - While your advice is or should be very well headed, a little dirty laundry in the open, sometimes let you see that what you thought was pure and white, is grey. ;-) but you're right, and i personally appologize. To the wiki at large for being personal, and to trent and listener X for getting in to their conversation. Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 18:24, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Just enough information to not know anything[edit]

This is a fairly epic Gish Gallop, many points and details that are actually very wrong that will take hours to address fully. I will try and hit some highlights:

  • The rwdocs project was my idea and it had nothing to do with being embarrassed by the wiki community or the content on the wiki. The project was started because of a cool idea, that is it. I have seen this project through every step of the way working far more on it than anyone has any idea. There are about 2 1/2 people heavily involved in the development and potential financing of the project, and none of the detractors in this thread nor their "deep throat" informants are one of them. Yet they are all ready calling for it to be dumped because they haven't seen, what exactly? What obstacles, progress, plans do they know we have failed to overcome, make, or plan for?
  • The board is disengaged from the community as political entity but not as individuals. The board has no business as an entity micromanaging the community, its rules or the content production here. As individuals every single one of us is highly involved with RW and its community.
  • Financial mismanagement has been accused in several different ways, but the idea that we are flushing money down the drain on other projects is flat out wrong. Not single penny of donations has gone towards the RWDOCS project, and a few bucks a year pays for the evowiki domain. Again, and this is a theme, you state as fact that we don't have a plan for financing additional projects, but what you state so boldly as fact is completely wrong. Multiple additional sources of revenue for funding RWF outside the Wiki have been proposed and vetted, and several are being actively pursued.
  • Donations from the Wiki go towards paying for the wiki we are now at over $4000 a year in just hosting costs and that is only going to go up. My goal has always been to maintain a years worth of hosting costs at all times. This Decembers fundraiser was the first one where we met our goal set out, and once again that was with some serious help of consistent big time donors (including myself). Some previous fundaisers half or more of our funds came from a single person. If we loose support from these people we will not be able to pay for the site. That combined with a board directive is why we hold the quarterly fundraisers.
  • Next we have a series of bullet points that are half truths and out right misstatements. Jacob you are not privy to the amount of time I have spent on RWF, and RWF projects. You are not privy to what "research" and "paper work" and everything else I have done. Yet, with out any information you feel you can publicly come out and say that I do nothing? I am just flabbergasted. I have always had respect for you, and liked you, but this...your handful of specific examples fall either into the category of something you don't have the facts behind, or things that I have never even heard of.
  • Your suggestions are pretty Milquetoast, assigning positions and duties requires people to volunteer, something that is not happening. I have made several attempts to ask for volunteers to handle certain aspects of RWF and I might as well post a tumbleweed gif. Your suggestions on projects flatly lacks vision. You want to dump one project you know nothing about (that actually has far more potential and is costing the RWF less) for EvoWiki? Pray tell what wonders does EvoWiki offer RW? Yes there are reasons we acquired the project and maintain the project, and there are reasons why substantial investment in it is a waste.

Take home message: About 70 percent of the information in here is flat out wrong, just flat wrong, 25 percent is misleading, and without context that would take hours to breakdown, difficult to address fully. About 5 percent is probably legitimate criticism, but mired in an attempt to publicly tar and feather two of the handful of people working to keep this website and its goals growing (hell just working) its hard to take much heart in it. Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:59, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Stabby was just expressing his uncertainty, and meant you no ill. He didn't mince praise for you in his letter, though he did imply that you are either too busy or too lazy to be the volunteer the foundation needs. I think that the best way to summarize his letter, or at least the feelings behind it, would be to say that he doesn't know what's going on, and he's worried.--"Shut up, Brx." 17:15, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
For the record, my open letter was read and shaped throughout its development by Reckless Noise Symphony, who is Chairman of the Board. Furthermore, both he, and now ListenerX, claim that you did not discuss it with the board, but simply said you were going to carry it out. RNS — who I will repeat, is Chairman of the Board, and if he isn't aware of what you are doing, who is? —, nor, it would seem anyone else, has been updated on the project's progress. In other words, you started a project in the Foundation's name without the Board of Trustee's approval, did not disclose to them (or us) how it was being financed, and have not disclosed how it was progressing.
The best case scenario (that everything has been secretly just peachy) requires that you aren't even interested in engaging with the rest of the Board, much less the community. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 17:37, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
This here is your fundamental problem. You do not know what a board of directors does or is responsible for. The board does not micromanage the business of the Foundation. For all intents and purposes the main purpose of the board is to hire and fire the COO. The board appoints the COO and empowers them to run the Foundation. Every so often the COO reports to the board what they are doing and what they want to do. If the board is not happy it can vote to remove the COO and bring in a new one.
Frankly, at this point, I stand by my record and my history. Ultimately everything comes down to what it always has since RW was a box in a corner in my apartment. No one has put the amount of "blood, sweat and tears" (and I mean this literally that damn box sliced my hand more than once) into RW and I have always done what is best for the site and the community. I would say I have done as good or better than what most other people could have done in similar situations. Disagree? Fork the project and try it on your own, would love to see how you do. Tmtoulouse (talk) 17:54, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I just think that there are so many other varieties of bodily fluids that you could be sacrificing for RW. How about lymph? Cerebrospinal fluid? Maybe sebum could help. --"Shut up, Brx." 18:57, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I think I sneezed in the box a few times too, if that counts. Tmtoulouse (talk) 19:09, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
A question about your last point: above and especially below you emphasise the issue of volunteering. People have volunteered for Evowiki business numerous times in the last couple of years, for the various ill-fated porting projects but also for ‘curating’ on that wiki. At the bottom of the project talk page is a request from a former editor there, dating only from November, that hasn’t been so much as responded to. Above, you imply that you don’t like “investment” in that project, so should we take it that any volunteering carries your personal veto? Peter Subsisting on honey 04:39, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
I think the goal is that anyone who cares enough ports over material from EvoWiki to our mainspace, adding a reference to maintain the wiki spirit of who wrote what, and then perhaps collapses the EvoWiki article down to a redirect of some sort to RW. Yes, it is work. Hard work. Hard work with no glory, except for the joy of doing it. Much like actually writing articles here is. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:33, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Move this[edit]

This is obviously going to be a very wide-ranging and long-lasting discussion. May I move it to a Forum space to keep the Saloon free for drinkin' and chasin' skirts? Theory of Practice "Now we stand outcast and starving 'mid the wonders we have made." 17:29, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

I think this is something as many people as possible need to see. I would rather it not be placed in a forum, where only a few will read and follow it. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 17:36, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I thought you might say so, and that's why I didn't move it my own self. My watchlist hates you a bit now, but I think we can live with that. Theory of Practice "Now we stand outcast and starving 'mid the wonders we have made." 17:39, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
It's now taking up nearly half the bar & likely to grow. I would favour moving it to project space or a forum & keeping a link to it stickied in the bar rather than keeping the whole thing here. ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:23, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Park this egomaniacal rant elsewhere. Like on Stabby's blog. It's a violation of our mission, since it is an unfounded conspiracy theory based on a complete lack of facts. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:46, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
I hate to be pedantic here, but mission challenges only apply to articles, not talk-page posts. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:03, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Interesting point. (This is not a talk page, though...) ħumanUser talk:Human 05:13, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
The Weasel's right, this needs to be moved to a Forum. Not to hide it, nor because it is off-mission, but because it is too big to remain sticky here. I understand that the OP may have got things wrong but at least it has prompted some vigorous discussion about the direction and running of the site which is worthy of its own space. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 09:16, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Done. ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 09:45, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

And Stabby, you can always "bump" the forum by posting one of those top of the page message things linking to it. Just saying. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:29, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

A real discussion[edit]

Stabby's attempt at a public flogging aside doesn't mean we can't have a discussion about some of these broader issues if the community actually wants to. I have attempted this more than once and its felt like pulling teeth. Being an RW users means being an RW user. The day-to-day of the board and its politics doesn't interest a lot of people. That is perfectly fine and I why I gave up except in broad strokes really pushing it.

Let's pull back a bit though. To understand the situation you have to first recognize that this is a totally volunteer system. It is staffed by people with busy lives, and many of us wear multiple hats even inside RW. You can't really make “demands” of volunteers to go above and beyond the basic job. There in lies the Ed Poor “writing assignments” approach that we mock for a reason. It is up to each individual to decide what they can and will put towards the project.

The relative strength, involvement and power of the board is up to each individual member. Nutty is responsible for a lot and does a lot not because he was given permission or was assigned from on high, but because he volunteered to do so and took an active role in helping and pushing things forward. Nothing prevents anyone else, board member or not, from doing exactly the same thing. Have a good idea? Don't just talk, start working on it. Want to get involved? Get involved!

The RWF docs project is the example floating around here at the moment. I would be happy to discuss this further with anyone, on wiki or off. But this is a perfect example. Myself along with a couple other people have a cool idea. We think it fits well with the RWF mission and are implementing it inside of that mission. Those of us that had the idea, and want to work on the project are working on it. During our own time and with our own money.

One of the big lessons I learned from watching web projects rise and fall is that you gain nothing, can hurt your chances, if you try and bring in the community of users before you have a product for them to work with. There is no point in dragging a mostly disinterested “RW community” into the project till we really have something to show. And those elements of the community that might want to work on it in the early stages have all been alerted, and you know what? None of them have stepped forward to volunteer.

Which is fine, again its a volunteer project. The few of us interested in it continue to push forward with it when we can with what we can. If it comes to fruition hopefully it will be cool, if it doesn't what exactly was rationalwiki.org lost? Again my money, my time not your money or your time has been put towards it.

Here is a measuring stick for the project. My “get hit by a bus” scenario. Every year that this project existed I assessed the situation by saying, if I were to get hit by a bus today what happens to RW. This is the very first year since inception that the answer is anything but “dead in a month or less.” Technical and fiscal solvency. When the RWF was formed those were the first two major goals above and beyond anything else. Can we create a structure for the website that is bigger than one person? I set that as a 3 year goal and we are hitting it in stride. We now have the financing and technical infrastructure to keep the site going for a year+ with little to no intervention at all. Plenty of time for RWF to transfer control over these elements to someone else (I feel sorry for them all ready) to oversee and continue on uninterrupted.

This alone should be praised as a major accomplishment of the Foundation. Two years ago RW's fate was tied closely to whether or not a hot pocket was in the toaster downstairs in my apartment. Now we can eat a reddit influx like its nothing. All the other asides are just that asides. We have made substantial progress since the inception of the corporation. The simple fact that most of the complaints outlined above involve complaining about how we are not expanding or growing or investing in other projects the right way is proof of success.

Go read the Citizendium forums and see what a real disaster looks like. We are arguing about how best to grow and branch our project, not how in the world are we going to survive another 6 months?

That said the fact that the RWF does not have a clean line of communication with interested members if a problem and one I have plans to try and rectify. Our biggest issue is that the RWF membership is tied to RW membership. The truth is that people interested in RW might not be interested in the RWF and vise versa. We need a way to move the RWF into is own space, and to recruit members for the RWF regardless of where they come from. It is within this space that we can work towards more active and more efficient communication with the population of people intersted in the RWF proper. That is exactly what I am working on right now, and what the board has been discussing for a while now. Creating a members with the RWF and getting interest and investment in the RWF itself outside of a single project. If we can get that we can do a lot more. RW and then just be RW and worry about RW. There will always be overlap but this gives us some new directions.

I am open to any other ideas from any one at anytime. Open door people, I have never hidden any way to communicate with me at any time. Hell I think my cell phone number is in the whois information for the site. But keep in mind this is a volunteer project, if you have an idea that you want to see implemented you will likely have to be the one to see it through. That is the nature of the beast. And those of us attempting to do just that should be getting the benefit of the doubt. Tmtoulouse (talk) 18:59, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for these detailed responses to the issues raised TMT. I'm sure everyone appreciates all the time & energy you put into the site & other projects. I have to say I don't quite agree with what you say about starting projects first & telling the community later. While the RW name, trademarks, etc. are licensed to the Foundation, they are still something the wider community feels very attached to, so I feel the community should be kept aware of any offsite projects which will bear the RW name, or potential partnerships being developed, as much as reasonably possible. Even if the community seems disinterested when a new project or partnership is discussed, they should still be kept in the loop since anything using the RW name/logo is ultimately going to be associated with the site. I think this sense of the Board (or its members) launching projects behind the community's back (even if that was nobody's intention) explains some of the frustrations raised by Stabby & others. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:55, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
While I don't totally agree with the way this issue has been framed or the criticisms leveled I accept the criticism about wanting more direct communication. That is fine. The trick is going to be linking together those people interested in the broader RWF actions (beyond paying for RW) and the RWF. That is exactly what I am working on at the moment. Here is some specifics:
  • Creating a "real" website outside RW to host the RWF information and provide a forum for RWF communications as well as presented a more professional face to the RWF proper (all ready moving ahead on this right now)
  • Creating a "membership" in the RWF that is not linked to RW. This allows people from any entrance point to the project whether wiki, facebook, twitter, or random blog post to become a part of the RWF without having to deal with the wiki. This also frees the wiki to be the wiki and not get wrapped into the RWF discussions.
  • Pursing alternative funding sources for the RWF and RWF projects not attached to the wiki. This allows us to move forward with new ideas without "stealing" money from people that just want to keep the wiki alive.
Each of these goals is currently in production and part of the major issues that the next board will be addressing. Tmtoulouse (talk) 20:19, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm confused. Why does there seem to be real resistance to actually telling us peons what these "projects" are? Are they secret? You've referred to RW docs as a volunteer project, but nobody at RW seems to have been given any opportunity to volunteer. There's been reference to some other thing that involved mailing codes above, but nobody seems willing to actually say what that was either. The latest elections have reference to yet more projects, but no details. Why all the secrecy? If RWians are expected to participate in these things, shouldn't we at least be told about them? (Also, does anyone else think it's bizarre that the RationalWiki foundation should be considering having a site that isn't RationalWiki?) --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 20:37, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
It comes down to a simple calculus, spamming the wiki with every idea and every issue discussed or thought about is a bad idea. Start the spamming when there is something interesting to discuss. That seems like a good rule of thumb to me. Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:33, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Reportedly, these things have been presented on the Saloon Bar and input asked on them. This is possible, although I did not see them. That does bring up the issue of whether or not the Bar is a good announcement system. It is by far the most-visible page here on the wiki and much better than Forumspace, but I suspect it would probably be better to have a dedicated set of subpages (like with the minutes). It would be best not to do monthly reports, which would seem routine and not necessary to read, and thus wouldn't be read even when something important did happen, but to only announce major things and significant requests for input every other month or so, and put up a corresponding announcement. This could be mirrored on a RW blog (I am already subscribed to the tech blog, so how about a RWF blog?) These steps would avoid the twin stigma of "routine business, I can ignore."--ADtalkModerator 20:45, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm glad you came out and said that first. I don't read everything that appears here but I find the idea that I could have missed everything about, for instance, RW Docs, unlikely. Several minutes spent using the search didn't turn anything up either. Assuming there was an announcement somewhere, I can only suggest that none of the board members go into advertising. rpeh •TCE 20:56, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I trawled the archives for that thread while Stabby was writing this, but couldn't find it. I seem to remember it happening, though. Peter Subsisting on honey 21:12, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Without sounding like i'm attacking trent - i'm not - the thing is these are basically someone's pet projects, and they may or may not be ready for exposure. they may or may not be ready to get ideas. There was no, or very little money spent on them. It's like if any of you said "I think i'm going to work on a new evo project and show it when it's done". Nothing hidden, no agendas (other than, perhaps some - myself included - people's agenda to try to get RW to reach more people. If i were to write a feminst blog, and ask after it's done, if we can join it to RW, then I'd bring it out to the RW world. that's the level of this rs docs project of trent's.
As for monthly reports, that's not going to happen. we can't even get our shit (the board's) together enough, or have enough to talk about for 4 meetings a year. Again, the agenda should be made public, and in my personal mind, comming from Public Service, the meetings should be open to anyone who wants to skype into them. Then none of this he said/she said stuff gets too out of hand. (edit con) Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 21:00, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I can't say I spend a lot of time here, I tend to check recent changes and go from there. I did not see anything related to RW Docs but it sounds like a fine idea. I would ask though if its just duplicating for example Youtube. I agree that it might be hard to get other sites to support RW with the frat house conduct that seems to be prevelant. Not that that is too apparent if you just read the articles and it does lend a sort of charm to the place. A "report of the board" with specific action items would be welcomealthough it should be clear that the board is advising its actions and not seeking permission. Hamster (talk) 21:17, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
(EC) If i were to write a feminst blog, and ask after it's done, if we can join it to RW, then I'd bring it out to the RW world. that's the level of this rs docs project of trent's. No. RWDocs is accessible to the public, has the RationalWiki logo all over it, and is published under the aegis of the Foundation. If anyone but Trent had done something similar of their own accord, Nutty Roux would probably have gone after them for trademark infringement.
Jeeves, at least one of the trustees is almost as much in the dark about some of these projects as the mob in general. The mailing of codes was one proposal for dealing with possible voter fraud in Board elections; the solution we eventually agreed on was the public voter registry. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 21:19, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
(EC)I am not sure what exactly you guys are envisioning is going on. Godot pretty much said and I have been trying to say it, this is a pet project of mine and a couple other people that is still at the earliest stags of development. The things it needs to move forward are some back end developments (coding), and additional funding. That lead us to begin exploring alternative means of funding other than spamming RW and appropriating money given to keep the servers up to a pet project. That in turn has lead to several potential avenues that require some more work to facilitate. Right now there is no "rw docs" outside of an interesting idea that needs a couple things to land right before anything can be done with it. If it ever moves beyond that point then we can start talking about. There is not much to talk about, and that is why it hasn't been presented other than in vague terms for "copy" during fundraisers. Anyone else want to write better copy they are welcome to it. In fact, that is another position I asked for a volunteer for a few months ago to resounding sound of crickets. Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:22, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for your responses so far, Trent. I know I underappreciate the work you do for RationalWiki. I simply feel you shouldn't have to do it alone.
One thing I didn't bring up in the open letter (for fear it would tinge the rest of it with the air of a campaign statement) is that I would like to volunteer to handle fundraising duties. I'm willing to communicate with donors, write copy for fundraisers, investigate new sources of funding, and other work pertaining to raising money. I admit I'm personally inexperienced in these things, but I have a close mentor in my brother (whom I've mentioned earlier) and am prepared to put in the work necessary to do them. If the Foundation would have me, I am ready. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 22:35, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Volunteers are always welcome. Do you need a title to help with providing ideas and effort? If so, I dub thee RationalWiki Foundation Assistant Undersecretary of Fundraising, pending a vote of the Board. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:26, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

"Put plans to appear at TAM or partner with other skeptic organizations on hold"[edit]

Actually, I would argue that hooking up with TAM or another organization would be a good thing. It would give a deadline if it's for a conference, which, may help move a project forward. It may push the wiki to spiffy up parts of the site. Potentially, it would bring in a new audience (and ones far less focused on CP, for the post-Conservapedians out there). The only thing I don't know is what it actually means: Present at a conference? Present what? Write an article for one of the mags by collaboration? Produce a unique product? I just think it may help with wiki rather than waiting. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 00:00, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

The main discussion has been about setting up an exhibitor table at the next TAM. Tmtoulouse (talk) 00:12, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Will there be enough money to pay for that? TAM exhibitor tables cost $1,000. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 00:17, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Potentially, there are a lot of unknowns, not the least of which is the when and how much for 2013. Tmtoulouse (talk) 00:21, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Human's response[edit]

1. What Trent said.

2. It's been over 25 years. I realize that is "over 10", but it does show the quality of the research that went into the OP. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:53, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Don't vote for me. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:58, 15 January 2013 (UTC) — Unsigned, by: Weaseloid / talk / contribs 09:45, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Or vote for me. The job is low impact and easy, but if re-elected I plan to put myself forward for Chair, and that will involve a lot more work. I don't mind doing it. Herding cats, and all. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:21, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Meow?Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 01:23, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Working with you, and the other 3 Board members, has been a pleasure. I despair of the current results due to the wiki politics, but if I am, well, what I said. Personally, I think you have finally hit your stride and truly deserve a second term. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:33, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Request for clarification[edit]

It's been mentioned that RW Docs hasn't cost the Foundation any money. I take this to mean either it hasn't cost anything at all (aside from the small cost of purchasing the domain name), or that Tmtoulouse/Nutty Roux have been paying any costs themselves. Which one is it? Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 00:28, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Media for Social Change is involved too. Why are you assuming (as suggested in your open letter above) that the partnership involves RWF paying them money, when the RWDocs page suggests the exact opposite? The text & video are a pitch from Trent appealing for potential partners who would like to be involved in a project and are willing to contribute to funding, not an appeal for partners to take on projects that will absorb RWF funds. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:44, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Either way, it's pretty irrelevant, isn't it? The only thing the foundation controls is where OUR money (yours and mine) are going. If someone (in this case, Trent) has a pitch, it doesn't matter if it didn't cost anything, if there was a cost but he bore it, or if he got outside funding. This is a dead horse, Stabby - and unworthy of you. Again, I respect what you wrote in yoru letter, about how the board does, should, and hopefully will run in the future - no matter who is elected. it was good, valuable stuff. but worrying about a proposed project to further the reach of RW, that cost the Foundation nothing as a whole, why is this an issue? Even if they were off spending 10000000000 of dollars, if it's not our money, why are you bringing it up?Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 00:50, 18 January 2013 (UTC)