Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Anti-English-Wikipedia attitudes in the Board electorate

Several of my recent posts have suggested the existence of an anti-American attitude in a significant part of the electorate. This is probably a second-order representation of the real attitude, which is a very marked anti-English-Wikipedia attitude held by quite a few people, including, apparently, Board member Oscar van Dillen. Oscar recently displayed this attitude in his complaints to the Foundation's public mailing list about Greg Maxwell's mass mailing of a call to vote (an example of which may be seen here, or also here on Geoff Burling's blog; note the lack of any encouragement to do anything other than vote). Oscar, either through his own remarkable carelessness, through the deliberate concealment of information from him by his informants, or simply because he was acting as a provocateur, completely ignored that this email (and others like it) were merely calls to vote and are in no way canvassing for any particular candidate. Instead of accepting that this is perfectly reasonable, he complains about how this seems to have come from the Board itself (the implication being that the Board would never have wanted English language readers to receive such missives?) and refers to the messages as "spam", clearly a derogative term.

Greg has privately related to me that he has received dozens of positive thank you notes, and that several people have wondered why this was not done sooner or not done by an official entity of the Foundation. He also relates that several people were confused by the election process and asked him for assistance in determining if they were eligible to vote or how to vote. He has, to date, received a total of four negative responses. Brion Vibber himself publicly thanked Greg for reminding him of his right to vote.

There is quite a bit more negative discussion of Greg's activism on the foundation public mailing list. About half of it is people complaining about spam in general, more or less cluelessly. The other half seem to be people incensed at the use of spam to benefit the English Wikipedia to the advantage of other projects. It is this latter group (and I shan't name names; if you want to find them, go read the thread yourself; it is threaded nicely from the first link above) that are the anti-English-speaking, anti-English-Wikipedia, anti-American elements within the Foundation.

The question that I can't get past is, why would it be so bad for someone to do what Greg did? Why is so much vitriol being spilled over someone's effort to ensure that everyone with a right to vote is made aware of that? This is the sort of thing one expects for elections in some banana republic where fairness is something to be avoided. I would hope that the Foundation would be better than that.

After this, I would be so totally unsurprised to see the Board vote to repudiate election results that resulted in the election of candidates that the current Board doesn't want to see elected. They do, after all, have that power.