Forum:Statement candidacy for the RationalWiki Foundation Board of Trustees

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This is one of many discussions that has descended into petty snipping and trolling idiocy on RationalWiki.
Here are the others, in case you are curious, bored, or enjoy pain:
- Community Standards/Revamp, January 2009 -- Community Standards/Revamp draft -- Requests for comment/HeartOfGold -- Community Standards/disruption -- HeartOfGold Sysop vote -- Site politics -- User:Copyvio's campaign to stop copyvio -- Serious Business -- Epic debate -- Cat fight -- Constitutional Convention, April 2008 -- Barroom brawls -- Voting Procedure -- Inactivity -- Property rights in WIGOs -- Nuclear Option -- Privacy clusterfuck -- The Rationalwiki Reform Society -- Community Standards/TK -- Drama dump -- The case of MarcusCicero -- Voting standards -- User rights and moderation revisited -- Make TK a sysop? -- Analysis of the relative income streams of the National Football League and international rugby union -- The mobocracy -- Is RationalWiki under the control of Feminist activists? -- Chicken coop/Archive37 -- Chicken coop -
This discussion was moved here from RationalWiki:Saloon bar. 18:38, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Statement on my candidacy for the RationalWiki Foundation Board of Trustees[edit]

For all intents and purposes, 2013 is going to be a banner year for the Foundation. It’s unavoidable. We will see not only internal changes—administrative shakeups, bylaw revisions, new faces and positions and responsibilities—but an expansion of the Foundation’s activities, partnerships and prominence in the broader skeptical community. What remains to be seen, however, is the direction these changes will take: will the shakeups be antagonistic, and introduce new inefficiencies? Will the Foundation acquire a good reputation or a negative one? Ultimately, will we have an active, visionary Board, or an unproductive, inept one?

I cannot claim to be a visionary, of course. But if the new Board has the right synergy, I can contribute my ideas and time to make 2013 a great year for us. I’d like to explain what I’ll propose and what I’d like to accomplish as a Trustee, and then talk a little about my experience.

One of my big goals would be maximizing exposure in the broader skeptical community, especially on the internet, that we can get for free or nearly so. For example, I'm interested in growing our blogospheric influence. The Board could license willing RWians to write for an official "RationalBlogs" (yes, I do remember the RationalBlogs project of 2008). Perhaps established, popular skeptical blog conglomerates like Freethought Blogs might add a licensed RationalWiki blog to their repertoire.

The back-end component of promoting RW is quality control. Mainspace is only about a quarter of the way to being something I can feel comfortable recommending as a general resource, rather than just linking to individual articles. A ton of mainspace articles are Uncyclopedia worthy, a ton are Ed stubs, a ton are Proximaic ramblings. A fair amount of our "most beloved" articles are badly written, outdated and/or overly dogmatic. This is not just a community problem. If the Board wants to promote the site, our articles ought to be up to snuff. It's hard to sell a shit sandwich.

Within the Board itself, I think some administrative changes should be made. The Fundraising Officer, or Treasurer, position should be (re)created. The Legal Officer or Adviser or whatever you want to call it should also be created and filled by whoever else is willing and qualified, and given full responsibility to file the Foundation's legal paperwork should the Operations Manager abrogate that duty.

The way the Board interacts with the site itself needs to be clarified. What are Trustees' powers and prerogatives on-wiki by virtue of their position? Some believe they are legally unlimited as individuals; but despite the law, are they morally limited by respect for the community and its traditions? (It should be noted that the bylaws do give the Board as a body effectively total control over RW.) On another note, communication between the Board and the wiki needs to improve. The Board should inform, and then solicit feedback from, the community on any projects that it's considering.

As for finding new sources of revenue for the Foundation, there are a few things we should try. We should keep the current freewheeling donation system, but I think we should introduce a voluntary membership with a recurring cost of maybe $5 per month or $50 per year or something similar. The benefits of membership probably shouldn't extend to voting in Trustee elections, but could include some on-wiki swag as it were, like a signature badge, special RC identifiers, userpage additions, etc, as well as perhaps membership in a special listhost that would be closely connected to the Board's own communications. The great scholar Mancur Olson famously noted that material benefits (the swag) go a long way toward encouraging active membership in a voluntary association - it's a lesson we should take to heart.

I am in favor of expanding our public image, but not at expense of money we don’t have or through projects that are not overseen by the whole Board. If we have new domains that are clearly related to RW, the Board needs to know and needs to okay them, regardless of their creator; we need to protect our brand.

I have worked at a small 501c(3) nonprofit, during which time I helped solicit donations, do publicity, organize and plan events, and did plenty of Web support and programming. I know how nonprofits work, at the very least. I know how Boards of Directors are supposed to work, and I know how different our Board of Trustees is from a traditional Board.

I have also been an editor on RationalWiki since March 2008, which is almost five years ago. I have a long history with this site, and it has had a profound influence on my intellectual and moral development. It is very dear to me. I have grown up with it just as it has grown up itself. Editors come and go; leave forever and come back when you least expect; argue passionately with each other on one page and share a laugh on a different page. RationalWiki is truly unique, and I am eager to dedicate myself even more to its continued growth.

Yours truly,

Blue (pester) 08:17, 17 January 2013 (UTC)


One other quick thing - we should be very very careful in this idea that we can have a "legal advisor or lawyer" crap. Either we hire a lawyer, or we don't. We can't have a position of something, even if tehy are a trained, licensed lawyer as some "go to position". It exposes us to all kinds of risks, and exposes the lawyer (if it's a lawyer we have in mind) to even more. While a lawyer may take a case on pro-bono, you can't just "give advice" without an express client/attorney relationship. And the way you word it, it's as if you want anyone who has watched a few shows of L&O to be open to such a postion. If you mean someone who is the administrative go-to; who files whatever needs filing on whatever day it needs filing - that's one thing. but what you seem to be suggesting is somethign far more legal. and by the way, your hyperbole of "some think they are legally unlimited, but are morally limited" is just that. If you have specific challenges, raise them. but we are not great spectors on this Board, moving about in the dark cackeling wickedly, and we are not doing anything that usese Foundation money for anything beyond Foundation issues. I'm not sure i'm convinced that the board "needs to inform, and await replies" on *any project*, because Wiki is just one project of a larger entity. Communication is critical, but don't overstate either side's role in the Foundation. Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 15:27, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
We have a lawyer. Nutty Roux is not our lawyer, but he appears to have helped a great deal with paperwork. The Legal Adviser (or whatever you want to call it, as I clearly stated) would essentially codify what Nutty Roux appears to have done; nothing more, nothing less. An original draft of this mentioned Nutty Roux by name, but as I didn't want to talk about specific people, I deleted the reference.
Similarly, the section about Trustees being "legally unlimited as individuals" is a direct reference to Nutty Roux's posts saying that "in [his] capacity as a Trustee I will be deleting unhelpful comments" and is "inclined to perma-ban anyone who accuses a Board official of malfeasance". The by-laws pretty clearly give the Board as a unit total control over RW; I am not suggesting that this control be used in any real way, just emphasizing the difference between the clear powers of the Board and the unclear powers of individual Trustees.
My oblique critique of RWDocs did not necessarily have to do with money, but rather with the other concern - that this was a project done "under the aegis of the Foundation" without the knowledge of all of the Trustees.
It is fine that you believe the Board shouldn't necessarily inform that wiki about any Foundation project (and it's true that at certain points in development, the Board may find it advantageous not to inform the general public). That is simply a different perspective than mine.
Thank you for your criticism. Blue (pester) 17:36, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
You are so wrong in many ways. "We have a lawyer" No we don't. Retaining a lawyer could easily cost $5000 up front in retaining fees. Nutty is not our lawyer, he just does good research, among many other things. Vote for him. — Unsigned, by: Human / talk / contribs
I was told we had a lawyer and our lawyer was User:Godspeed. My source is apparently wrong. And, you'll note if you actually read past the first sentence, that the second sentence of my post is "Nutty Roux is not our lawyer." Blue (pester) 03:40, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Interesting, and I love your enthusiasm. I strongly oppose any homegrown blogging initiative, though, for a couple of reasons.
In the case of the former, rather than trying to raise up something like that, the better thing to do would be to sponsor a dedicated three or four posters who already have a track record of frequent and quality contributions. It should be a people-based initiative: when the right people turn up, then look for a role for them. Don't try to create the role and then fill it.--ADtalkModerator 09:17, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I see your point. I thought of all the RationalWikians who do run blogs, a lot of them quite decent, and thought that licensing a couple willing bloggers to write under the bracketed brain might be a way to branch out into new forms of media, in a little bit of an easier way than RWDocs. Blue (is useful) 09:23, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree. I just am not sure those people are around at the moment. An intermediate step might be some sort of RationalBlogs ring... a dedicated column on the front page with the latest post from whichever blogs wish to associate themselves with RW (via a prominent image-link on their blog). White Coat Underground, PalMD's blog, might be approached about that.--ADtalkModerator 09:35, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
IIRC Linus set up a RationalBlog space years ago. Obviously it didn't take off and got discarded the various server changes. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 11:45, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I made reference to that project; it happened in 2008. But we've clearly changed quite a lot since those days, for one; also, there are many different ways we could go about a blog space, making it more integrated with RW proper for example. Blue (pester) 11:56, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

A RW-related blog on FTB has been a dream item of mine. I would suggest the very best argument would be a functional example that's actually good and stuff. RW has a Twitter and a G+ and a quite active and enjoyable Facebook group, I think we could really do with a blog. Who wants to write stuff for it? - David Gerard (talk) 11:23, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Blogging is hard work. You need dedicated people who are willing to consistently come up with material. (That is why RationalWiki fell apart IMHO.) Do we really have people who are willing to come up with entries every day, or even every few days? What content will you/they talk about? How do you draw an audience? (I do have some interest in a Google Hangout twice a month.)
I also think there is this false dichotomy that people have created for the Board vs. everyone else with coming up with iteas. They have always been receptive of good ideas.
I also strongly oppose the Board coming involved on-wiki, and that was the way it was designed. There's no clear role for them, so why create one? sterilesporadic heavy hitter 12:19, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Well Blue, now I kinda want to vote for you. If only you posted this before the polls opened so I could have seen your perspective before I voted.--Just relax, and stay funny (talk) 16:35, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
We pretty well cancel out, Hamilton: If I'd seen this before I voted I would NOT have included Blue. Scream!! (talk) 16:42, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Because you disagree with Blue, or because you think that publicly acknowledging that a person is running is automatically evil?--Just relax, and stay funny (talk) 17:09, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps if we'd had any inkling of when the polls were going to open, I'd have had an easier time getting this out beforehand. Appreciate the sentiment though! Blue (is useful) 17:27, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

As long as we're making campaign statements:

I view the Board as subordinate to the community. The Foundation was formed so the community could sustain itself if anything happened to Tmtoulouse, and the only reason the RationalWiki "brand," so to speak, has any value at all is because of the community's own efforts. The Board is elected by the community, and the Foundation is funded by the community. The Board should accordingly respect the commmunity. That means communicating with it as much as possible, encouraging people to speak up and listening to what they have to say. If the Foundation doesn't have the trust and support of the community, it will fail.

I treat project proposals in any organization, including the RWF, with severe skepticism. We don't have an infinite supply of goodwill from either the community or the greater public, and projects and outreach efforts should only be undertaken with careful consideration.

I'll also add that I have no grand ambitions for the Foundation. I see no problem with growingly slowly and steadily. The Board's efforts should be low-cost and of interest to the community, rather than spent in pursuit of rapid expansion. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 18:17, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Now that's a campaign stump I could get behind but alas, I have already voted. Acei9 18:20, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm confused. Stabby, i really liked your letter, cause it called us all to task about how we communicate, and how open we are and should have been. But you also had quite a bit of misinformation in there, or you appear to. What money do you think was spent on these "other projects" and why are you so threatened by them? As far as I've seen, and to the point that the financials represent, no Foundation money was spent on the RW Docs project. Trent was trying to find some grants, but again, that would not have been Foundation money, specifically. ONE PROJECT is hardly "rapid expansion". it's a youtube site, a video, and lots and lots of personal time. His time. (well, and Nutty's). Where is this great harm? Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 19:03, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I apologize. "Rapid growth" was poor choice of words. My fundamental objection towards doing projects like RW Docs or buying a TAM table now, is that while they're high-impact projects, they're also high-cost and high-effort. As a tiny nonprofit with barely enough money to cover server costs, low-cost projects have to take priority. Spending vague, unspecified amounts of money on projects that will require vague, unspecified efforts to accomplish, and take a vague, unspecified length time to complete is a terrible, terrible idea, for any business, much less one so young and so poor. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 00:18, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Stubby, your view is wrong. The Foundation *owns* the wiki, not vice versa. This is Trent's project and is on a long term time line plan. Trent did not ask "us" when he started this project, but he has "included" us as he tries to build his vision. Which I suspect is far beyond the vision of many on the wiki, sadly. That might be his fault in terms of communication, or the users' fault in terms of lack of understanding. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:00, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Statement against Blue's candidacy What Ace reckons[edit]

Anyone who wants it this bad probably shouldn't be elected. Just saying... Love, kisses, bluebirds and all things nice - Acei9 08:26, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

I am unhappy to see this reaction, though I am equally unsurprised. The fact that I want to help - and I do not think I sound too desperate - should not be an argument against my candidacy. Blue (is useful) 08:32, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I am unhappy I said it too. But such is life. Acei9 08:34, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
We should keep the current freewheeling donation system, but I think we should introduce a voluntary membership with a recurring cost of maybe $5 per month or $50 per year or something similar. The benefits of membership probably shouldn't extend to voting in Trustee elections, but could include some on-wiki swag as it were, like a signature badge, special RC identifiers, userpage additions, etc, as well as perhaps membership in a special listhost that would be closely connected to the Board's own communications. The great scholar Mancur Olson famously noted that material benefits (the swag) go a long way toward encouraging active membership in a voluntary association - it's a lesson we should take to heart.
A terrible idea that divides users. Acei9 08:33, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Divides users? This type of plan has been implemented across numerous online communities, and no division has ever been apparent. You might as well say that having sysops divides users. Blue (is useful) 08:35, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
You might as well say that having sysops divides users And how many sysops do we have to non-sysops? You can't have a special class of paid user. This isn't a membership organisation. Acei9 08:36, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I'd like to say that I am glad this discussion is happening, as we ought to see more discussion of Foundation activities on-wiki. As to your point, Ace, you may be right and represent the majority viewpoint; my goal in introducing the idea was to generate discussion on novel ways of generating much-needed revenue for the Foundation. Blue (is useful) 08:38, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Yah, but special forums/emails that others don't get but certain members do is very much against the spirit of this site which has always been open, free and vocal to every user. (p.s. I do apologise for my original comment - it was brusque and rude of me. It isn't often I apologise for something, because I am a right bastard, but in this case I feel I should). Acei9 08:42, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
When you brainstorm, you're bound to get some bad eggs. I think I'll strike the special listhost, as I do agree with you as far as that goes. Might we change the title of this section? Blue (is useful) 08:46, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
sorta. Acei9 08:47, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
But even your idea of a special signifier for paid up users goes against the site narrative wherein we have always maintained there is no special class of user. Bad idea all around. Acei9 08:51, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Well, it's not as if members or subscribers or whatever you want to call them would have any special privileges or prerogatives on-wiki, just some identifiers a la the moderator brains or something. Blue (is useful) 08:56, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
So then for what reason is it outside of identifying yourself as distinct from others? Still seems to go against RW ethos.Acei9 09:00, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Nothing - it's like "free RW t-shirt when you sign up". Swag. Blue (pester) 09:03, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Well then, if you donate $10 get a free t-shirt - but having people editing with special "donator only" badge and signifier seems to divide us into "donators and others" when we have gone to lengths to ensure that no one is a 'special' kind of user which is even enshrined in our sysop guidpe and moderator guides. Acei9 09:05, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
A userpage thingey doesn't seem like it would be divisive much at all. $5 a month and you get a userbox that says "contributor," maybe. Hell, I already do it.--ADtalkModerator 09:20, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I certainly think any and all revenue raising proposals should be considered. I would be very nervous about having different classes of user, such as exist on other forums and places, so I wouldn't support that, but it is healthy to have the discussion about what rewards we can offer to those who contribute. — Unsigned, by: Damo / talk / contribs 09:26, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
On the contrary. I can think of fewer more fitting punishments than to grant such a wish.
I suspect quite a lot of the stuff could be done without a board seat, since the missing factor at the moment is getting out there and doing stuff, at length, ignoring the howler monkeys - David Gerard (talk) 11:22, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Given RW's general malaise when it comes to getting off our collective asses and doing something, plus the thankless nature of the job, and the fact that you will have some people bitching at you no matter what you do, then if Blue has the passion and the ideas for it, then I say all strength to her. If she gets in our faces to make us actually do something, then good. Far better than having somebody on the board who doesn't want things to change. --PsyGremlinPrata! 11:30, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
"Anyone who wants it this bad probably shouldn't be elected. Just saying... Love, kisses, bluebirds and all things nice."
Really? I would have thought that being passionate about your cause was one of the staples of a good leader. Guess I was mistaken. I agree with David about ignoring the howler monkeys, since they are becoming a serious barrier to progress for the wiki. Especially the king of the howler monkeys here. -- (talk) 11:38, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Well I did apologise for my brusqueness (both on and off wiki) then offered some serious opinion of why I though Blue's ideas were bad. What's the problem? Oh yeah, there isn't one. Please do carry on. Acei9 18:10, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
/me flings poop at BoN - David Gerard (talk) 12:01, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm not really sure why this is in the Saloon Bar, and not the candidacy page - but it is, so it is. Membership has its advantages and disadvantages. The concept has been tossed around by the current board, and other boards for years. I'm personally in favor of it, not only because it incidentally rasies some extra money, but because it gives us a more clear idea of who and what the "Foundation" is, and who and what the Board represents as the Board of the Foundation. It is important to keep in mind, the Board is *not* just the wiki, and does represent a larger project - and much of what is discussed, when I say "who and what we represent", includes the Foundation's outreach beyond the wiki.
That said, I don't personally think supporting a blog (which may or may not be a good thing) should be under the control of the Foundation, as much as it should be under the control of the wiki - here. I say that because inevetably someone will post something someone else doesn't like, under the name "RW", and everone will drama-out what we think should be done. That should stay a creature of the Wiki, where the mob can better assess how it relates to the wiki and if so-and-so's blog is worth of "us" as teh mob. Besides, if the board really is as "incompetant" as one or two of you seem to think -- and having served, I don't think that is the case at all, i think it's more a failure of communication that can and will be remidied by the 2013 Board -- then having one more project in the hands of such serious incompetance seems rather silly. Again, i don't think we're really all that bad.Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 14:53, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
It's in the bar because there is no campaign page. There is no campaign page because nobody else did any campaigning, which seems a little silly, but that's just me.
At some point in the development a blog project, the Board needs to become involved, at the very least to okay the affiliation with RationalWiki and allow the use of the RW logo. This can't stay totally in the mob's hands anymore. But the scenario you describe is probably likely, which is why a disclaimer discouraging such a dramafest would be needed, which we can certainly discuss if the support for this idea grows.
I didn't really have much to say about the current and previous Boards here; you may be reading my words to be accusatory where they are not. I don't think you're all "that bad." Blue (is useful) 17:42, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I echo Godot's querying of why you posted this here Blue, rather tab on a specific election campaigning page. I don't think that the the fact that there isn't already one has stopped you from taking the initiative in the past. As regards the membership idea then I have some sympathy. I have previously suggested that voting criteria be amended to cover recent activity rather than some arbitrary threshold. That way people who are active and involved with the site have a greater say in the running of the site because they are actually the ones most affected by any decisions. I don't think that The casual drive-by editor who may have only contributed occasional talk posts over a period of 5 years should not be able to hold the site back when policy issues are discussed and voted upon. Now some people might object to this but to move forward we need to be driven by people who are committed to the site. It also reduces the risk of sleeping sock accounts being resurrected at voting time. It would only be in relation to voting that this would apply, in all other respects editorial/sysop rights would be unaffected. Now you could also argue that voting rights apply only to paid-up members - I say this as a possibility for discussion, not something I am particularly recommending. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 18:26, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
And we are still confusing "running of this site" with the Foundation. the Foundation does not, and should not be runnign this site. They do and should be providing legal/redpaper administrative support, they do and should be looking at the finances, the should be and are working on being as strong a voice against psuedo science that there is. But that is voice doesn't have to only be this wiki. Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 18:51, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Well the issue is confusing as currently it's only the members of this site who elect the board just as it's only the members of this site who elect moderators or vote on site policy. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 10:34, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Here's blogs ideas[edit]

  • Set up a blog planet. RWians who have an on-mission blog and want to be on it get on it. We link it around.
  • Would also be a good time to set up a blog about RW happenings (e.g. top articles of month, new cover articles, RWF news) and put it in there.

Do we have material for the first? Who wants to run the second? Other blogs ideas? - David Gerard (talk) 12:00, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

I think a blog/blogplanet could work quite well if there are enough interested contributors to sustain it. Reproducing some of our best essays and articles in the blog would also be a good way to give them & the site more exposure. WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 13:17, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Blogs should be vetted for quality. Established bloggers with ties to RW should be asked to join or occasionally contribute. brx should be worshiped as a god--"Shut up, Brx." 13:21, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
A blog network is a good idea. Acei9 18:02, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
What if we had another Thunderf00t? Redchuck.gif ГенгисmaraudingModerator 18:28, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
You would need at least the theoretical ability to remove bloggers from the network, but I think we should make any new users spend some time on the wiki so we can get to know them before they joined to avoid that kind of problem. Peter Subsisting on honey 18:59, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Wiki content quality control[edit]

Blue, I agree with most of your comments re the quality of mainspace, but it's not clear what role you see the Board playing in this. The roles of the Foundation explicitly state that the Foundation doesn't exercise editorial control or dictate community policy at RW. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 13:59, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

It's also an extremely bad idea to, per section 230 immunity, which we know works for wikis because Mike Godwin and Wikimedia won that precise battle - David Gerard (talk) 15:05, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
The Foundation is both bigger and smaller than the Wiki. We at teh wiki need to take control of our wiki. the Foundation is there to help in matters of funding, not editorial decisions. Also, you have to be careful as a 501(c)3, what "opinions" you put out there. Keeping a semi Chinese-wall between the Foundation, and the wiki itself prevents us from being challenged (not that it would happen, but I'm just saying...) as presenting political positions on candidates or positions. I don't really think the wiki does that - but it's a nice separation. There isn't a reason one couldn't have some kind of Editor committee working on this, or have some tier of editors who review things. But if done - it's wiki business, not foundation business. and it's very much something we as a wiki could/should maybe NEED to be discussing.Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 15:19, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
More to the point, any board of directors for any organization wouldn't involved in that level of decision. It's just not what a board does. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 17:41, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
What you are saying is true. If the RWF were a traditional organization, and if the Board of Trustees were a traditional board of directors, the Board would indeed have little else to do other than ensure finances are okay and support Trent as the "chief executive." That might be the appropriate role of the Board, but I think that the fact that our Trustees are elected by the community makes them at least nominally different from traditional board members, and also gives them the ability to have a more active concern in the activities of the Foundation, in my opinion. Blue (pester) 18:12, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Where are you getting this legal gibberish? This is Not Even Wrong. Members of the boards of directors of every single corporation in the United States are elected. By shareholders. Shareholders of corporations have, under certain circumstances, the right to get shareholder resolutions considered and voted on by a board of directors. I'm not aware of any similar provision for not-for-profits, which have no shareholders. What you've expressed here isn't an opinion. It's a completely unsupportable factual claim. I wish you'd stop pontificating about legal matters without doing your research. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 21:24, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I was unclear here. When there are shareholders, shareholders have a limited right to put shareholder resolutions to the board. We have no shareholders. Therefore, nobody has any such right. This is all in the context of what I take to be claims that the board is beholden to editors of a wiki it owns, which is not true, though the board is obviously beholden to the wiki's success and each of us cares deeply about RW. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 21:54, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I didn't use really any legal language, for one. And the "research" I've done is actually working at a nonprofit with a traditional nonprofit's board of directors. Let me know when the RWF becomes a public for-profit corporation, and then your point about shareholders might be relevant. Blue (is useful) 21:38, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Then you've learned nothing. When you talk about what the law of corporations is, you're using "legal language." You've completely missed my point about shareholders. We have none. If by "the ability to have a more active concern in the activities of the Foundation' you mean control of the corporation is other than what the by-laws and state law says it is, you're dead wrong. Here's your chance to back pedal on that claim, if indeed I'm correct. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 21:49, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
That was not my intended point. I intended to point out that the fact that we hold elections for the Board of Trustees is rather unusual for nonprofits. That does not translate to "they thus have more power than the by-laws and state law say they do." I am not talking about the law, as I am sure you have much more experience in that area (as an aside, it's also my own career of choice). I was talking about concern, i.e., it would be nice if they participated in a robust dialogue with themselves and with the site, and perhaps do it a little more than a traditional nonprofit board would. Blue (is useful) 22:00, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I still disagree with you here. I'm all in favour of the community discussing how we can improve standards of content at the site, but that has to be a discussion made by the community & settled by the community. Obviously the community includes the Trustees & I hope that they would be involved in & take an interest in that discussion -- but as community members, not in their capacity as Board members specifically. For people to be speaking on or acting on behalf of the Board in that discussion (except in issues that fall within Board remit e.g. legal or technical implications) would put altogether the wrong flavour on the proceedings. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:10, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Blue, non profits are corporations, and their boards are often (even usually) elected by members of that corporation. in this case, our "members" are users on wiki who have been here X number of days and made X number of edits, yadda... How that plays out in anything youv'e commented on, about the role of the Board is beyond me. The Board is elected. They do what the bylaws state and nothing else. Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 22:16, 17 January 2013 (UTC) PS, this is exactly what "traditional non profit boards" do. Nothing more, nothing else. I'm not trying to be intentionally "gotcha", but in this specific context, details matter. Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 22:18, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Gosh, I am failing at being clear here. I wrote a long response but I realized it probably wouldn't stand muster against Nutty Roux's Legal Gibberish Test. I'll just leave this discussion as it is and will continue it if I am elected to the Board. You're all very smart people and I appreciate your criticism. Blue (is useful) 22:25, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Again, over and over, the Foundation is not the Wiki. it was, once, but the Board, even when you represented on it, has worked to expand what we do as a Foundation. Blue, your point is to limit the Foundation to the activities of this wiki, cause that's what you see and care about. the Wiki is and should be a self sufficient entity that the Foundation supports. Limiting the foundation to just the wiki, is limiting our reach as a organization that want's to combat pusedo science. Again, not everyone likes wikis. The Foundation asks itself "what else can we do to reach like minded people, and build more tools". If we want to work on the wiki, AS EDITORS (and here, i'm speaking as an edtior, not anything to do with the foundation) WE WE WE need to do that, we need to state what we see the wiki as, and becoming, we need to put rules and regulations in place we like, we need to figure out what works for us. the foundation does and should not have much to do with those ideas. but "we" seems to be a concept that this wiki has a hard time with. heh. is it about a vote? is it about being bullies? I don't have a single answer. but WE can figure that out! Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 18:31, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
My initial reaction, which is why I was concerned by Blue's enthusiasm (though I didn't make it clear) was that she appeared to want to use the foundation to drive onwiki activity and editing. That isn't what the foundation should be doing and sounds like Citizendium's "editorial council". Acei9 18:40, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
(EC, pagemove, etc.) Blue, you're still not being at all clear about what rights you think the Board & its members have or should have over wiki content. Please elaborate.
Let's be clear about this: candidates in the Board election have volunteered for the legal/fiduciary/administrative role as defined in the existing by-laws & related guidelines. We are not electing a ruling council to govern the wiki. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:43, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
(EC)In no way did I ever imply anything of the sort, and I suppose I would blame the history of accusations of fascism for people jumping to that conclusion in a way that I submit most other editors certainly would not have experienced. Nutty Roux recently said that he would use his power as a Trustee to go far beyond moderators' power to unilaterally permaban editors and delete "unhelpful" comments during the discussion over Stabby's letter. I would like to discuss whether this is an appropriate role for a Trustee to play. As for my comment about quality control, all I said was that the Board should be concerned about the state of mainspace, I did not call for them to take editorial control, as that would be patently ridiculous. Blue (pester) 18:52, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
It's not clear whether this comment was directed at me, but I'm not aware of having made an accusations of fascism, now or any previous occasion. My comments were in response to things you said on this page, viz. asking "what are Trustees' powers and prerogatives on-wiki by virtue of their position?" and stating that "the bylaws do give the Board as a body effectively total control over RW". It's a little naive (or disingenuous?) to say that these comments "in no way" imply you think Trustees should have oversight of wiki content. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:19, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm not saying you personally accused me of fascism in the past. The section you quoted was intended to do just the opposite of how you're interpreting it - I thought that the role of Trustees on-wiki was unclear, with at least one instance of a Trustee taking too much power into his hands. The "total control" comment was not made in reference to the content question. I am sorry if I took your comment too personally. Blue (is useful) 19:27, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Nutty was frustrated - just like we ALL GET AROUND HERE, blue. but he didn't do anything. He knows his role as a Board member, vs. his role as an editor and/or Mod if he is one. I'm deeply concerned at the amount of crap slung in all directions. I took Stabby's letter to be "this is what I've seen and heard". I took it personally as a place to say "shit, if i'm elected again, there are changes I want to try to push with this board to be more communicative" and/or "shit, we dropped the ball." But it quikcly turned into the idea that this board is incompetent, largely because many editors think the Foundation and the wiki are the same thing. Think that the goals of the Foundation, are linked to the way the wiki is run. They aren't. Our wiki, is ours. At some point, there will be voting memebers of RWF that have little to do with the wiki, cause they will come to us via other projects. At one point, Evo wiki was discussed (a few years back?), Trent works on his RW Docs project, and some other person here may say "I've a great idea" (like your blog idea) that gets picked up and supported by the Foundation. None of these projects are necessarily related - though they may be closely related. but we have to keep the sepration of "foundation" from "wiki" in our thinking and action. I didn't even know they were different, till i was elected, and started working with the Board. So it's a learning curve for all of us. But don't be quick to point fingers. Let's see where an election gets us, and what we want to do moving forward. Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 18:59, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I would hope that we are able to discuss the activities, on- and off-wiki, of various Trustees. They are, after all, chosen by competitive election. Blue (pester) 19:02, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
What "activities". seriously? He was ticked off, and made a comment. did he follow up? Finger pointing is childish and does not help. Being specific about what you think the Board should be called to task for, is helpful. any board, no matter who gets elected. Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 19:06, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
While there is a great deal of evidence from the tone and follow-up edits that he was not ticked off, and was in full control of his reason, the last thing I want to do is turn this into a he-said-she-said/mudslinging contest about Nutty Roux of all people. Blue (is useful) 19:29, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Threats are not action, Blue. Nutty DID nothing. yet you keep accusing him of bad behavior on and off line. I really think, truly, it's critical to not just sling mud (from them to you, too) just for the sake of it. Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 20:06, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
"[T]he last thing I want to do is turn this into a he-said-she-said/mudslinging contest about Nutty Roux of all people." That is what I just said. I do not want to engage about Nutty Roux. He is not on trial here. Blue (is useful) 20:30, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
No one is on trial. Acei9 20:40, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Of course you're mudslinging me of all people. To claim otherwise is dishonest. What's to discuss? How in the world is this subject relevant in this particular discussion at this particular time unless you're trying to affect the outcome of the election? There have been several incidents of editors here accusing a board member of financial malfeasance. If memory serves, one such allegation, if true, imputed criminal misconduct. You're not seriously saying there is something wrong with a board member making a preemptive statement to head off this kind of tortious conduct, are you? Do you want to have a legal discussion of whether a board member can take good faith action on behalf of the corporation that may even require later ratification. Do you have Westlaw? I find it astonishing that you'd imply there's something wrong with preemptively indicating that I will remove unhelpful comments in a discussion of RWF business. You know perfectly well that when drama ensues, as Jacob's bad judgment was bound to cause, the standard cast of trolls comes by to dole out unhelpful, hateful, one liners against people who aren't the popular kids anymore, if they ever were. These comments have no place in a discussion you purport to want to have. My god. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 21:16, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Uh, I don't have Westlaw access, but I do have LexisNexis and JSTOR. Understand that I am not accusing you of breaking any laws or "breaching your fiduciary responsibility" or anything like that; I am not accusing you or the rest of the Board of anything in particular. I wanted to clarify whether the action you stated you would take during that discussion is something that ought to be encouraged or discouraged, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Are these "one-liners" really so deleterious to the Foundation that they cannot be allowed to stand? Blue (pester) 21:29, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Then start citing some cases or stop telling us what the law is. Of course you're accusing me of breaching duties to the board. "at least one instance of a Trustee taking too much power into his hands. ..." Again, it is dishonest for you to suggest that you want to have a discussion of anything in the context of a campaign statement and a very clear claim and sideways intimations that I've engaged in misconduct. There's nothing inherently wrong with that except that you're still being dishonest about why you're doing it. If you don't want me to be elected, just say so and we can get down to brass tacks. I'll be happy to tell these people exactly what I think. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 21:45, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Which brings me back to my statement that anyone who wants it that bad shouldn't be on the foundation. You see what I meant now? It came out wrong and I couldn't elaborate further but Blue's statement seems to suggest that the foundation will have an active 'on-wiki' presence which it isn't meant to do. Acei9 18:46, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Blue and Stabby are providing great examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect in action. I've refrained from commenting very much so far, but so much of this is Not Even Wrong that I'll prepare a substantive response to both of them when I finish work. . Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 19:01, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Adding link. He is accusing you of being incompetent, which you are, and thinking you are far more competent than you are. If I am re-elected to the Board and you are also elected, I relish the concept of watching you flounder. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:28, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Human, back the fuck off. He did what he did, cause he felt it was a good thing to do. Not everyone has the same goals about the Foundation, the Wiki, anything. He's hardly "incompetent" but even more, you show a contemptible position when you say shit like you "hope someone will fail". Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 02:48, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
What the heck are you saying? "He's hardly "incompetent""??? Who? And you know what? If Blue gets on the Board she will flounder. I didn't say I "hope she will fail". I simply expressed the opinion that she will flounder. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:51, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Doesn't our Board get along marvelously? WaitingforGodot thought Human was talking about Nutty Roux or Stabby, when he was really talking about me. Blue (is useful) 03:43, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Bitter much, Blue? You have no idea what you are talking about. Not the slightest. You have no idea who I am friends or colleagues with off line, you have no idea how I feel about Stabby (who isn't even on the board, you know, right?), Nutty, Human, LX, or RNS. You really don't even know how I feel about you, since I've not told you. So instead of silly insinuations, why not just ask. I thought human was attack stabby. Everything on human aside, and how i feel about him aside, we all know he's harsh - too harsh - often.Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 16:26, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Wow. Just wow. I don't want to add any more to this but to say two points:

  1. Boards of directors would never micromanage as implied like this unless there is a crisis. Actually, it would be somewhat amusing to see them try. (Perhaps a writing plan, Ken?) The continued bleeding of our user-base may just get worse. If you want to improve the content of the wiki, why not just everyone work on content rather than the protracted conversations on governance which have changed very little and alientated many people for about a year and a half now?
  2. The implication that the role of the board will be redefined after the election is problematic. You can't. The board does what the board says it will do in its description. The ongoing charge of users to redefine their role to increase their small kingdoms on this wiki has got to stop.

sterilesporadic heavy hitter 12:42, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Do we not have a campaign/election page for this stuff?[edit]

Let's keep the bar for drinkin'. Theory of Practice "Now we stand outcast and starving 'mid the wonders we have made." 17:43, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

As I said, there is no campaign page, because there has been no other campaigning. There was apparently a concern that the Board elections would turn into a mud-slinging/popularity contest like the mod elections. Blue (is useful) 18:04, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
And yet, you posted one... ħumanUser talk:Human 02:30, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Well, now that that seems to be happening, can we please make it happen somewhere else? Thanks. Theory of Practice "Now we stand outcast and starving 'mid the wonders we have made." 18:11, 17 January 2013 (UTC)