Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wikimedia Board candidates: Kate

Good morning, and welcome to the sixth installment in this ongoing series of comments on the candidates for the Wikimedia Board of Trustees. We start today with a look at Kate, the online nickname of River Tarnell. River is a MediaWiki developer and Wikimedia sysadmin of some reputation. River is explicitly running on a "support Wikipedia only" platform, a platform which is decidedly unlike that of many other candidates. River explicitly states support for closing (or at least pushing off the Wikimedia platform) all projects other than Wikipedia.

River has a reputation in the community for being difficult to get along with. River has walked off in a huff at least once that I can recall. River's also known for using particularily inappropriate nicknames on IRC, such as "_syphilis_" and "twincest", which leads to the suggestion that River is something of a shock jockey. The impetuousness of youth, I suppose. River seems to be running on the strength of technical experience. As a technical person myself, I fully understand the folly of letting the techs run the shop; they tend to focus too much on small details and are often very unwilling to delegate. As this is exactly the problem that the current board has, electing River to it is likely only to make matters worse. River also does not appear to have any real experience outside of being a Wikimedia sysadmin, and that position is (as far as I know) uncompensated.

River seems to have taken a "pick and choose" approach to answers questions. I find this quite disappointing; Board members have to deal with every issue before them, whether or not they want to and whether or not they have a simple or easy answer. I'm not convinced on why River is running, but I don't see this candidacy as serious, or at least of having any real chance of success.