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Philippe Beaudette is a young man who took control of the Wikimedia Foundation's Strategic Planning initiative around July 23, 2009. Since that time, he has played petty games of censoring critiques in order to hide serious questions about the future of the Foundation. Thus, the Foundation is going to be directed into a sad, unambitious five-year plan that the mainstream media has already derided.
As one critic has said of Beaudette's strategic planning results:
- The Wikimedia Foundation will continue to geek out on hard drives, bandwidth, and marveling at how many page views they garner. But, they will do nothing to work responsibly and ethically toward building a higher-quality, reliable compendium of human knowledge. Thus driving home the truth that Wikipedia is a massive online role-playing game, not an educational charity project. In a word, fraudulent.
Wiring a project to past employer
In October 2010, Beaudette was caught in a "wired deal", where a research project was awarded to his former employer, without a competitive request for proposal (RFP) being issued. This may have been a violation of the Wikimedia Foundation's own policy on purchasing and disbursements. The news media wrote about this scandal.
They were told by the Deputy Director of the Wikimedia Foundation to stop bothering the Wikimedia mailing list, and to direct the question to the next Internet Relay Chat session of "Office Hours".
Here is a partial transcript of that next IRC "Office Hours" session, where the guest speaker was WMF Executive Director, Sue Gardner:
- sgardner [~sgardner@wikimedia/Sue-Gardner] has joined #wikimedia-office
<Thekohser> QUESTION: The recently completed 2010 Donor Survey, by Q2 Consulting... was a competitive bid put out for that work, and if not, why not? If so, by what criteria were Q2 Consulting selected? How much did the project cost the Foundation?
<Nihiltres> thekohser: I'm guessing on that last one that if no, it's because fair competitive bids are themselves a good deal of work
<sgardner> Okay! Good morning, folks. (Or at least, it is morning for me.)
- mode/#wikimedia-office [+b *!*@gateway/web/cgi-irc/wikizine.org/ip.220.127.116.11] by Jamesofur
- Thekohser was kicked from #wikimedia-office by Jamesofur [Thekohser]
...(all of the above was censored from the discussion when the Foundation posted the archive)...
[13:08] * Jamesofur sets mode: +v sgardner
[13:08] <+sgardner> It's true! Someone is always awake :-)
[13:08] <killiondude> Why was he banned? I didn't think he was being obtuse.
[13:09] <killiondude> He actually came in to #wikimedia asking if that was okay to ask, and a few people thought it was okay.
[13:10] <@StevenW> Killiondude: There is a list of exactly two people that the WMF feels obliged never to engage with.
[13:10] <+sgardner> Steven's going to answer killiondude's question about Greg Kohs.
[13:10] <+sgardner> ooh, he is answering.
[13:10] <Nihiltres> killiondude: his question isn't intrinsically bad, but it's not helpful
[13:10] <@StevenW> Kohs and an IRL stalker that the office has had.
[13:10] <killiondude> Are these office hours ever helpful, Nihiltres?
[13:11] <Nihiltres> killiondude: I like to think so
[13:11] <+sgardner> While Steven is typing, maybe I will say some other stuff also.
[13:11] <@StevenW> We didn't answer him on the mailing list for that reason, and IRC is no different.
[13:11] <killiondude> He was told to use IRC.
[13:11] <Dragonfly6-7> oh, but was kicked off?
[13:12] <@Jamesofur> the IRC discussion was meant for the mailing list as a whole
[13:12] <@StevenW> Killiondude: We were responding to John Vandenberg IIRC. Who is obviously a good faith Wikimedian who deserves to be answered.
[13:12] <killiondude> w/e, i don't care too much. I just find it disappointing. :-)
[13:12] <+sgardner> So. The board met over the weekend, and SJ has published four resolutions from the meeting: one on Movement Roles II, one on trustee term length, one on fundraising principles and one on the five-year-targets. So I am happy to talk about that, or about any other topic associated with the board meeting.
[13:13] <+sgardner> And, I am happy to talk about any other topic as well, and I'm happy to answer the Greg Kohs question if you folks want me to.
[14:02] <sgardner> So I think the question is, did we run an RFP for the process of picking a firm to help us with the fundraising. And the answer is no, we did not. The Wikimedia Foundation doesn't have a policy for when we run RFPs versus when we have less-formal processes for selecting vendors. I think that's completely fine: there are a variety of factors that go into the decision each time, and I don't think it would be easy to write a really good, robust policy designed to dictate the circumstances that require an RFP. In this instance, we didn't run an RFP. We chose a firm that we thought would do a great job for Wikimedia – in part because we felt they could work well with our community, in an open setting. I don't regret that, and I don't think it was the wrong way to handle it.
<sgardner> That's the gist, on Q2.
<sgardner> (Q2 is the name of the firm.)
<sgardner> Any follow-up questions on that -- I'd be happy to answer them, if there are any.,
<Nemo_bis> Do you usually run an RFP above some spending limit?
<sgardner> No, not necessarily.
<Werespielchqrs> Do you have a policy on what size of contract can be awarded without a bidding process?
<sgardner> The thing is that dollar-amount isn't necessarily the best indicator of whether an RFP is required/helpful.
<sgardner> Same question, Werespielchqrs, and it's the same answer.
<Nemo_bis> You can have exceptions. :-)
<sgardner> I think it's possible that in the fullness of time, we will develop policy for when to run an RFP.
<Nemo_bis> Obviously we should consider that time to run an RFP is a cost.
<sgardner> For example, at the CBC we certainly did have policy on this.
<Jamesofur> FYI: The log will be posted (unedited)
<sgardner> But Nemo_bis is correct: it comes at a cost. Running an RFP is complicated and time-consuming, particularly if individual staffers need to run their own RFPs every time, rather than having support from for example a Purchasing Department.
<sgardner> In many ways, large organizations are better suited to running RFPs relative to small organizations.
<killiondude> How much did the research study cost, by chance?
<sgardner> I don't know how much it cost.<sgardner> (Which means it was not a very, very large amount of money.)
All of the above, just to protect young Philippe Beaudette's trying to award a contract to his former employer, without an iota of competitive bidding, without anybody noticing. Sorry, we noticed!
Beaudette's past mistakes
Wikimedia Foundation executive director Sue Gardner said:
- We've interviewed 65 people, including Board and Advisory Board members, staff, editors, onlookers, critics, supporters, and external subject-matter-experts...
One noteworthy critic of the Wikimedia Foundation wanted to know which of the 65 people interviewed were identified as "critics" of the Wikimedia Foundation. So, when asked this question on the Discussion page, if someone could enlighten us as to which "critics" were interviewed...
Philippe Beaudette's two-step cowardly response:
- 17:40, 20 January 2010 Philippe (WMF) (Talk | contribs) blocked Thekohser2 (Talk | contribs) with an expiry time of infinite (account creation disabled, e-mail blocked)
- 18:03, 20 January 2010 Critics? Which one(s)? Philippe (WMF) (Talk | contribs) Deleted (content was: 'The letter says that "critics" were engaged or interviewed by the Foundation strategy project. I'd like to know which one(s) in particular. Considering ho...' (and the only contributor was 'Thekohser2'))
Has it really come to the point that simply asking which critic(s) were engaged or interviewed by the Foundation's Strategic Planning group is an offense that draws censorship and blocking as the only form of response?
Unable to suppress his weaselly, sycophantic, and undying support of the Foundation that sustains his livelihood, Beaudette has blocked nearly 100 entities from participating in the Foundation's strategic planning process, rather than letting them engage in dialog as mature adults. The result? Counter-point pages such as this one that you are reading now.