Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What is Wikipedia doing with our money?

Events again take over again. In the Examiner today, Greg Kohs reports that the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) which runs Wikipedia awarded a contract to a consulting firm which had close connections to a WMF employee. The contract was not put out to competitive bid and when interviewed by Kohs the executive director (Sue Gardner) said she did not know what it cost. This is an obvious concern. WMF is entirely financed by donations. They have a fiduciary responsibility to be responsible with that money, and to use it in ways that they told the donors they would use it. Not even to know how they are using it is irresponsible.

This is almost certainly the reason why Kohs was banned from the WMF mailing list. Why I was blocked is still unclear, although the concerns I expressed there are similar to Kohs. I like the mission of the WMF to "empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally". But I have a concern that the WMF is not pursuing this mission, that it is (for example) deliberately ignoring the problem of plagiarism, use of outdated or biased sources, as well as sources that are blatantly incorrect.

How can we trust an organisation that claims it is committed to free dissemination of information, and yet rigorously prohibits any dissemination of information about itself?

1 comment:

Gregory Kohs said...

To be a bit more specific, I did not interview Gardner. I was shown the door by one of her lackeys, and then when other "acceptable" loyalists posed the same question, then she deigned to answer them.

And, in today's news, the Wikimedia Foundation urgently sends its top attorney to the unemployment line.