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Another WMF departure

Siko Bouterse, director of community resources

Siko Bouterse has announced that she will leave the Foundation on 25 February, the most recent in what has become a trend of departures from the organisation over the past few months. Bouterse joined the WMF nearly five years ago, first as head of community fellowships, then as head of grantmaking, with particular focus on the individual engagement grant scheme. She rose to be the director of community resources, responsible for some 13 staff. Bouterse is much respected among her staff and many members of the international community, and is regarded as a strong mentor. Among projects she has created or co-created are the IdeaLab on meta, the Inspire campaign to kickstart projects relevant to women, the WikiWomen's Collaborative, and the Teahouse, to help new editors on the English Wikipedia.

Siko Bouterse speaks on diversity and other matters in Berlin, 2013

In her announcement to the WM mailing list, entitled Another goodbye, Bouterse wrote:

Among others, former Board member Sam Klein wrote in the thread: "Hear, hear. You will always be tops in my book." SarahSV described Bouterse as "a strong supporter of women on Wikipedia and of improved community harmony." Sandra Rientjes, executive director of Wikimedia Netherlands, wrote: "It has been a real pleasure knowing you and working with you." Former English Wikipedia arbitrator Sydney Poore wrote: "Thank you for your enthusiasm and for being brave and bold in the way you support the community and staff. You will be missed."

The Signpost asked Bouterse by email to respond to the possible implication in her announcement that she no longer feels that the WMF’s direction or management are consistent with her personal or professional commitments to transparency, integrity, community, and free knowledge. We did not receive a reply by deadline.

Bouterse's portfolio continues to report to interim senior director of community engagement Maggie Dennis (User:Moonriddengirl), in whose abilities Bouterse wrote she has "full confidence". T

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Several inaccuracies in this piece. For instance:

  • Siko was not a c-level exec. She was a Director. She reported to Luis, the Senior Director of Community Engagement. Which leads me to....
  • Maggie did not replace Siko. Maggie replaced Luis, on an interim basis. To my knowledge Siko's replacement has not been named. Whomever that is will presumably report to the Senior Director of Community Engagement, currently Maggie (interim).
  • For reference, the org as described on WMF wiki is not bad for this section.
  • Maggie has a work username as well... User:Mdennis (WMF), which is arguably a better one to link to here, since the other is for her personal editing.

With that said, from my perspective, Siko's departure is deeply troubling. I regard her as a close friend and a rock-star colleague, and her departure does not posit good things. Luckily, I'm confident that the Department is in good hands with Maggie at the helm. Note: Opinions are mine and mine alone, and may not reflect the opinion of my employer, Wikia Inc., or Jimmy, our Board Chair and Founder. -Philippe (talk) 05:57, 15 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]


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