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Board meetings Minutes from 2007-06-13 Questions?

Hello everyone,

The board of Wikimedia Foundation held a face to face meeting on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of june 2007.

Just as in january 2007, this meeting took place in the Netherlands, home country of two of our board members, Jan-Bart and Oscar. Board members present for the three days were Kat Walsh, Florence Devouard, Erik Möller, Jan-Bart De Vreede and Jimmy Wales. Oscar Van Dillen joined us saturday morning. Other guests were also present, including Carolyn Doran, our COO. Most of us actually gathered in Amsterdam during thursday, so that long-distance travellers could have the time to recover from their trip.
Contrariwise to the previous time, the meeting did not take place in Rotterdam, but downtown Amsterdam. We were hosted in two different hotels, a rather cool idea to force us to walk a little bit at least twice a day :-) (and get the opportunity to collect stroopwafels, gouda and tulips). The hotel hosting the meeting itself actually overbooked its meeting rooms so we were moved to another very nice hotel and confortable meeting room. You should have the opportunity to see this place one day or another, since on top of the board meeting guests, we welcomed the presence of the wikidocumentary crew . A good part of the board meeting on saturday afternoon was recorded for posterity...
On saturday evening, a wikimeet took place as well. Do not ask me to report on this, I was sick and could not assist to it, much much to my regret :-( Maybe one guest will have taken pictures and could add them here ?

We spent a large part of our time discussing what we perceive are the two most critical issues to solve very urgently, hiring a new ED and a new legal person. In january, we hired an company to help us find a new executive director. Unfortunately, this deal was not very successful, because the audit provided by the ED search company revealed that we would probably failed to attract good candidates for various reasons (involvement of board members in executive issues; location in Florida etc...). We nevertheless received a number of candidacies, and one immediately attracted my attention. After exchanges by emails and on the phone, as well as a meeting in USA with some board member, we invited the candidate to Amsterdam for further discussion. You also probably know that we have been looking for a legal coordinator for some time now. We received many resumes and several of them of serious interest. We invited one of these candidates to Amsterdam, to get to know one another, and to discuss legal tasks to take care of. These two people participated to most of the meeting, further refining their understanding of our organization. A large part was left to discuss future relationships between executive director and board.

A large place of the meeting was given to a list of legal tasks, the future fundraiser and the audit (the fiscal year just ended last week). These three are largely the hot topic of the moment. The other large topic is business development, along with its legal trail (trademarks), technical trail (software improvement) and financial trail (accounting limitations).

Defining the list of legal tasks would be quite boring to do here. Shortly, we identified the various legal issues faced by the Foundation 1. Trademarks and logos 2. Contracts (bandwidth, etc.) - legal committments 3. Staff: contracts and job descriptions etc. 4. Conflict of interest policy - confidentiality policy - NDA 5. Employees outside the U.S. - how to contract fairly and appropriately 6. Terms of use, terms of agreement with the editors 7. Lawsuits: triage, handling of legal threats 8. Intellectual property issues 9. Copyright issues - handling of violations etc. 10. Fair use issues - what's allowed to be used in what countries 11. Coordination and management of volunteer (pro bono) lawyers. One output I can nevertheless clearly mention is related to our trademarks, since we agreed to expand the coverage of Wikipedia trademark in several countries, as well as to register to Wikibooks, apparently left aside in the last registration round. The person in charge of implementing the strategy is Hugot (french lawyer, who has helped us for several months now).

Regarding the future fundraiser, we agreed that the next one would be around september, with more storytelling involved. Jimbo is to follow up with major donors (for matching donations possibly) and examine their expectations. Erik is to work with Carolyn on drafting improvement to the fundraising website.

We also spent a long time on audit considerations. On the way, we updated the resolution about the "Access to nonpublic data policy", we also agreed on a whistleblower Policy as well as on an audit charter.

Amongst other items discussed, board elections (in particular voting system). We agreed to make a public statement about the expectations related to the job of a board member. We agreed election 07 would still use approval voting, but that a workgroup would be set before the end of 2007, to research election methods to be set up for next elections. Please see Elections to the board (June 2007) for more on this issue.

Next, we discussed what do to with the wikipedia.com portal, and agreed to the concept of setting up a specific portal, where we could explain more about the projects, about the Foundation, welcome services etc... all things to be discussed in length as wikipedians know perfectly to do.

We also discussed a bit Wikimania, in particular financial considerations, scholarships etc... just regular business stuff and overseeing.

Möller has agreed to make a proposal regarding ongoing quality initiative / stable version work.

Last, we agreed that a meeting with chapters outside of Wikimania would be necessary. This actually came from a discussion about the fear expressed by some editors that we would set up a 3 years plan at Wikimania, exclusively with the advisory board members and not involving the core community, the chapters and anyone else interested. I must clarify something to avoid any fear :-) There are two main reasons to meet the advisory board members in Taipei, one is very simply to get to know better all these people, because it is difficult to really talk seriously with someone you hardly know. We need to create some bonds and share things. The second is to work on a strategy with them all. But the strategy will not be set up, approved and all packaged by the advisory board, not negotiable after the board retreat ! I hope we mostly come with a plan, which will be further discussed and refined with our beloved community members. Whilst the concept of a later meeting with the chapters is agreed upon, there were no decision of date and location.

The other points not mentionned in this report are confidential. Sorry.

Overall, it was a fruitful week end. Next face to face meeting is planned just prior to Wikimania (1st and 2nd), two days during which the board, plus previous board members (if not reelected), plus advisory board members will work together to define a 3-year plans for WMF.
Then, the next board meeting will probably occur around end of september or early october, in Florida.

Anthere 17:32, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

update 4th of july. Sue Gardner and Mike Godwin, our two visitors at the june meeting, were hired in the past few days. Anthere 21:23, 4 July 2007 (UTC)


See also