Swartz for Wikimedia

by Henry Farrell on August 31, 2006

I see that “Aaron Swartz”:http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/wikiroads is running for the Wikimedia Foundation’s Board. I’ve known his blog for a little while; he’s an occasional commenter here; he set up Rick Perlstein’s “website”:http://rickperlstein.org/ and he created the “New York Times Link Generator”:http://nytimes.blogspace.com/genlink?q=http://www.nytimes.com/, beloved of bloggers who don’t want their NYT stories to succumb to linkrot. All of which is to say that any of you who qualify as a member of the electorate (400+ edits on Wikipedia; I don’t know about other Wikimedia forums rules), should seriously consider voting for him (note that this is a personal endorsement on my part; CT doesn’t do endorsements as a collective).



bi 09.01.06 at 1:33 am

I would vote, but I’ve been taken over by wiki-political apathy. I wonder, will this whole exercise have any impact on the quality of the content of Wikipedia, or the quality of the user experience?


Seth Finkelstein 09.01.06 at 2:33 am

[I tired to leave this comment on his blog, but it crashed]

Aaron, somewhere I lost thread of your argument, though I think I’ve got the gist.

Let’s examine the basics:

“The Board consists of five directors. Since June 2004, two of these seats have been elected.”

This means that the board will do what the three permanent members want it to do. That’s just a fact.

Thus, the two elected members are some sort of advisory helpers. They have no power when in conflict with the others.

Now, as far as I can grasp what you are saying (and I may be wrong), I think you believe that since “the vision at the top sets the path that will be followed”, you can provide a vision which is true to the spirit. But that would have to be done by strength of vision alone, as voting power is not an option per above.

If, hypothetically, just for the sake of an interesting discussion, the $4 million of venture capital invested in Wikia generates imperatives that conflict with the vision (remember, VC’s want a big *payoff*), there wouldn’t be much you could do against that. I mean, you could argue for your vision, but in such a conflict I’d bet on the money every time.

But the upside of being pure of heart is that I doubt you could be bought-off with some IPO shares :-).


Doug 09.01.06 at 2:38 am

I first read the headline as “Smartz for Wikimedia”, which, given the content of the post, would have been pretty accurate too.


Aaron Swartz 09.01.06 at 9:02 am

Wow, Harry, I’m deeply honored! Many thanks; I hope someday I’m able to return the favor.


Rick Perlstein 09.01.06 at 11:25 pm

Brother Swartz would have my vote. If I had one.


Pablo Stafforini 09.04.06 at 10:50 pm

For lazy timberites, here’s the direct link to the voting page.

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