Almost 200 Wikipedia editors have called for a member of the Wikimedia Foundation board of directors, Arnnon Geshuri, to be removed.
Ars Technica reported that Geshuri was appointed earlier in January, but his appointment wasn’t well received by the Wikipedia community.
Geshuri was implicated in a “no poach” agreement between a number of large tech companies, including Google and Apple, which the US Department of Justice said in 2010 violated antitrust law.
It is Geshuri’s involvement in this HR scandal which Wikipedia community members say they are concerned about.
The uprising comes after the board recently voted to remove community-elected trustee James Heilman.
Geshuri has responded to the backlash, saying there are some misconceptions about his history, and that he would work hard to earn the community’s trust.
… Witnessing firsthand the commitment and energy of the community is truly inspirational. Although I would have preferred the tone surrounding my appointment to be more positive and supportive, I deeply understand and respect the criticality of free expression, rallying around convictions, and open disagreement.
Regarding the concerns that have been raised, I have listened closely. That said, in my opinion, there are some misconceptions and there are mitigating considerations. As a general matter, I will say that, throughout my career, I have been charged with enforcing company policies as part of my role as a people manager. I have tried to do so thoughtfully and consistently. I have done so realizing company policies and practices evolve over time as circumstances change.
I have spent the last few weeks speaking with current and former Board members and reaching out to folks in the community. I have more conversations in the coming days and appreciate those who have been generous with their time. Given the story line that has been shaped over the last couple weeks and based on the feedback from my conversations, I know I have a longer journey than most new Board members to prove to the community and WMF alumni that they can put their trust in me. I joined to make a positive difference and be a part of the important effort to grow the WMF for the next generation of editors, contributors, and users.
Update: Geshuri has stepped down, saying that he doesn’t want to be a distraction for the important discussions that the community and the Foundation need to face in the times to come.