Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wikimedia Board candidates: Kim Bruning

Well, after two relatively weak candidates it would be nice to have a stronger candidate to talk about. Sadly, Kim Bruning isn't it. Don't get me wrong. I like Kim (aside from his sexism, that is). Kim's a nice guy, very energetic, very enthusiastic. And unlike so many other candidates, he doesn't use the "Wikimedia is unlike every other nonprofit to have ever existed before; therefore there is nothing we can learn from them", and that's also a positive.

Kim's problems are twofold. First, Kim is too energetic. To use classical terms, his personality has too much air and fire and not enough earth. Anybody who has spent any significant amount of time around Kim knows what I mean: the guy is a SuperHappyFunBall that can't sit still for a moment. Kim's impulsiveness has gotten him in trouble a number of times already. I don't believe he's capable of restraining his impulsiveness enough to work effectively within the deliberative format of the Wikimedia board.

Second, I question whether he can manage the conflict of interest that would exist given his subordinate relationship to Erik with respect to OmegaWiki. I believe that Kim would be at risk to becoming a lackey for Erik -- and I've already had cause to question Erik's fiducial commitments to Wikimedia as it is.

Finally, I don't understand why Kim is running. In my experience, Kim is really quite unfond of formal governance systems, parliamentary structures, and the like. Why would he, of all people, run to be elected to Wikimedia's most rulebound, parliamentary-like entity? It seems very much out of character, and so I'm suspicious that he's been talked into running by someone else, perhaps someone with less than pure motives.

Kim is likely to popular with the social networkers in Europe: he's a lot of fun to be around, and I bet he's just terribly great at a party, so he'll fit in just great with the European party planners. He may do well because of his popularity; I'd give him a decent chance of being elected, despite the fact that he hasn't answered all that many of the questions that have been asked him. After all, this election is, fundamentally, a popularity contest.