Talk:Conflict of interest policy

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Summary of private discussion

When this draft was circulated on the private members mailing list (1 October) the discussion focused on

  1. whether the COI should be publicly disclosed or treated confidentially by the committee, and
  2. when the declaration should happen (beginning of meeting or as the agenda items arise), and
  3. what the committee member with a COI should do during the relevant agenda item.

I wont repeat everyones thoughts publicly; just noting that these issues need to be considered, discussed and possible the draft altered. John Vandenberg 20:05, 7 October 2012 (EST)

multiple hat wearing

While not necessary immediately, one issue that I would like our COI policy to explicitly address is multiple hat wearing. Many of our board and members have multiple roles within the movement (e.g. every committee member is also an contributor to English Wikipedia), and sometimes board members also have other positions of responsibility within the movement. Too often a person will compartmentalise their various activities as being undertake while wearing one of many hats, and believe that actions done while wearing a different hat are free of any relationship to their board position. However someone else may believe that they were wearing a different hat for those actions, resulting in confusion or worse. Sometimes this problem is addressed by people always explicitly saying which hat they are wearing for each action. However someone in a board position should be expected to always put the organisations interests ahead of their own, and actions they take while wearing another hat do reflect on the organisation, for good or ill. I think we should mandate that a WMAU board member must agree to at a responsible representative of WMAU in all of their public actions. i.e. if they are in public they must wear their WMAU hat. John Vandenberg 19:57, 7 October 2012 (EST)

Public declarations

This draft currently puts the maintenance of the COI register in the hands of the secretary, and doesnt explicitly indicate that the register would be public or even be a document that the rest of the committee would also have access to, thereby leaving the secretary no option but to privately maintain the register offline.

I would prefer that no rule, policy or process adds a dependency on a single committee member unless it is absolutely critical that they are solely responsibility for it. Our committee are volunteers, so we need to allow other people to step in when the need arises. I believe that this document should be either public or be on the wiki but restricted to be viewable by financial members only. It should require an explicit act of the committee to accept that any part of the meeting will not be minuted accurately, and a COI declaration should also be minuted publicly unless the committee agrees that it should be confidential. See e.g. the UK register.

I believe we also need to start maintaining a public register of board expenses, especially where they relate to . This is loosely related to COI as our community considers unpaid expenses-covered trips as perks (fringe benefits), and there is concern that committee members might have an implicit COI to support an initiative in order to receive these perks. For example, here is the page on the UK chapters website.

John Vandenberg 20:36, 7 October 2012 (EST)


  • "if it is considered appropriate"—bit vague.
  • People have close relationships with their enemies? That whole clause needs looking at.
  • Should the "Definitions" come first?
  • No requirement for the committee to publish declarations of interest, such as they do in WMUK?
  • Suggest something in the lead about the brand-name, reputation, and public image.
  • The purpose and aims of this policy are to: (1) protect the interests of the chapter; – consider adding, "the foundation, and more broadly the whole WM movement ...".

Tony1 21:09, 7 October 2012 (EST)

I'm not clear on the meaning of, "The remainder of the committee might choose to restrict the conflicted member’s participation in one or more of the following ways: ...Preventing the conflicted member from being aware the discussion of the item within the committee." Is that referring to keeping the details of the discussion from the conflicted member or the existence of the discussion from the conflicted member? There seems to be at least a preposition missing. --Anthonyhcole 16:17, 22 May 2013 (EST)

Good pickup, thankyou. The former was the intended meaning, and it would in most cases not be practical to do the latter anyway. I've adjusted the wording accordingly. Lankiveil 22:18, 4 June 2013 (EST).