Comments:Wikimedia Foundation announces departure of general counsel Mike Godwin

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Comments from feedback form - "The fact that the first news o..."

The fact that the first news outlet to report on this ( is not even mentioned suggests that the original Wikinews reporter (Cirt) may have been guilty of not giving credit where it's due. (talk)14:28, 1 November 2010

It is possible that Cirt read your article, but did not find any new facts that needed sourcing. That is what the sourcing section is for, not for giving credit to all the places you may also have read the news.

I gave you the benefit of the doubt and bent the comments page rules to link your article from here, hoping that it was a service to readers.

InfantGorilla (talk)14:45, 1 November 2010

For the avoidance of doubt, this IP is also The Kohser's. Whilst it's cool to get a scoop, expecting people to actively seek out the first reporter is obviously unreasonable; it is up to to boast of their scoop. Generally, they will only be mentioned where they are part of the story themselves.

@Gorilla: When did we disallow external links within the comments namespace?

Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs)19:39, 1 November 2010

Another take, from

This article links back to the Wikinews article. ;) Any thoughts on it?

-- Cirt (talk)08:11, 23 October 2010

"We really hope that Wikimedia hires a new top lawyer who's half as funny as Godwin was." Amen!

Facts are a little screwy: 3 days public notice, not 1, and who knows how many days or months private notice.

InfantGorilla (talk)20:25, 24 October 2010

Ah, good points. Thanks for commenting! ;)

-- Cirt (talk)23:35, 24 October 2010

I think that's editor did a better job than Wikinews in noting, "As first noted by", in the 15th paragraph of Paine's story.

Thekohser (talk)14:23, 1 November 2010

Why was Kohs' article not a source?

It seems a bit "curious" that Cirt started this article on October 20, while Kohs' article in ran on October 19, yet there is not a single mention or link to the source that first broke the story to the mainstream public. --Thekohser (talk) 14:20, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Thekohser (talk)14:20, 1 November 2010

Oh, please. It's all a conspiracy, no doubt.

Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs)19:31, 1 November 2010

Is it just me ...?

... or did anyone else notice that the announcement omits the word "resign"? Is there any meaning behind that, or was it an inadvertent omission?

InfantGorilla (talk)09:37, 20 October 2010

I doubt anything was inadvertent, the wording seems ... carefully constructed.

-- Cirt (talk)10:52, 20 October 2010

On reflection: only two things seem unusual about the announcement. One is the missing word "resign" and the second is the characteristic verbosity that Greg Kohs mentioned.

We really should take this statement at face value: "We’re not aware of any significant differences of opinion between Mike and the Wikimedia Foundation, in terms of values, principles, ethics, future plans, or anything like that."

There really could be any number of legitimately confidential reasons to part company without "egregious" misconduct. The range goes all the way from a family illness to a personality clash or sheer boredom. At the extremes of fantasy, it could even be a salary dispute (as Kohs suggested) or intimidation by a security agency in the manner of A Very British Coup (TV version). No one is likely to ever tell us if my wild guesses are remotely true.

One thing it couldn't have been: surfing explicit material at work, as that is a necessary part of the job ( viz meta:2010 Wikimedia Study of Controversial Content ).

InfantGorilla (talk)12:58, 20 October 2010

I'd expect Godwin could be tough to work with if we want to go down the speculation/conspiracy route. Myself, in conversation with Godwin:

"I am concerned that someone who makes a living by argueing [Sic] could not establish these facts from this conversation..."

"Perhaps you should read my comments and figure out what this whole discussion is all about. I can only hope it is sheer laziness that prevents you from reading/understanding the discussion, because otherwise you are incompetent to the point of being unable to do your job - which does not match what I have heard of your ability, which I am told is quite high - or a liar."

I stand by those comments. It was not a difficult conversation to understand to someone of the intelligence required of the former EFF and then WMF counsel.

Ironically, that same conversation makes me doubt massive argument. If he's walking because of that, surely he'd blow some public steam? After all, to make him quit he'd have to be fairly damn convinced a) he was right b) the differences of opinion were major. I'd expect that to result in some kind of public identification of a problem.

All in all, I'm not so sure there's anything sinister. As always, I stand to be convinced but I am not expecting evidence to the contrary. Also, let's please remember that while he may have breached meta:DICK, he may very well have quit for personal reasons as mentioned above. Thus, and I say this preemptively rather than in response to any comments here so far, we should not whip up any kind of frenzy without good reason.

Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs)17:13, 20 October 2010

Google News

This is one of just two articles on the topic that show up in Google News:

InfantGorilla (talk)08:01, 21 October 2010

Yes, odd that no other news sources have reported on it yet.

-- Cirt (talk)08:59, 21 October 2010

"The Wikimedia Foundation believes Mike has always acted in what he believes to be the Wikimedia Foundation’s best interests."

Thoughts about the wording in this sentence from the Wikimedia Foundation made by Sue Gardner?

-- Cirt (talk)10:53, 20 October 2010

Corporate nonspeak. Also, inaccurate. However, I will defend wholeheartedly his shooting down of ridiculous attemted actions from the likes of the FBI and Stopp & Stopp. In the latter incident - where it was actually suggested that German law was applicable in the US - I have heard an experienced European lawyer comment that Godwin should perhaps have pointed out that, despite an attempt in 1941-5, Germany has been unable to achieve this result. I rather suspect that a number of lawyers would be justifiably pissed enough to have said such, so Godwin actually trod pretty gently.

One questions why anyone even bothered to send the letter. That one was worthy of Carter Fuck.

Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs)17:41, 20 October 2010

The lawyer thought that Godwin should have fulfilled Godwin's law?

I will have to retire my favorite Wikinews userbox in a few days, so let's make the most of it now:

As a Wikinews discussion grows longer, the probability of a mention of Mike Godwin approaches one.
InfantGorilla (talk)18:07, 20 October 2010

Yep. Actually, he couldn't have cared either way about Godwin's law; he just wanted to taunt the Germans. Fun fact: the majority of Germans actually make war jokes themselves.

Since Godwin is meant to stay and supply advice for a few months yet, the userbox can stay... for now.

Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs)18:17, 20 October 2010