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Wikimedia trustee resigns over conflict of interest concerns

Roger Bamkin, copyright Mike Peel
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Wikimedia trustee resigns over conflict of interest concerns

Governance | Kirsty Weakley | 24 Sep 2012

Roger Bamkin has stepped down as a trustee of Wikimedia UK “to avoid confusion” between his role as a trustee and as a Wikipedia consultant for the government of Gibraltar.

Gibraltarpedia was launched in July 2012 to improve the coverage of Gibraltar-related topics on Wikipedia. Bamkin and another wikipedian John Cummings have been hired as consultants by the government to train residents on how to add appropriate photos and use QR codes to link places with Wikipedia articles.

Chris Keating, chair of Wikimedia UK said: “Roger has always conducted himself with openness and honesty with regards to his business interests, which the board greatly appreciates. However we have reached the decision together that it is best if Roger steps back from the board, and thus the board has accepted his resignation.”

The Gibraltar project was inspired by a similar project which took place in Monmouth in the first half of 2012, which Bamkin was also involved with as a consultant and Wikimedia UK co-funded.

Bamkin did not vote on any decisions relating to Monmouthpedia or Gibraltarpedia since becoming a consultant, but in a blog on the organisation’s website Keating explained: “After discussions with the board, everyone agreed that the best way to avoid any confusion between Roger’s role running projects like Gibraltarpedia and Wikimedia UK projects, was for Roger to step down.”

Wikimedia UK has not provided any funding to the Gibraltan project but could do so in the future, Keating explained: “We have long intended to give more formal support to the project; before we can do so we would need a clear memorandum of understanding with the government of Gibraltar setting out shared aims and objectives, and we are working on such a document.”

Earlier this year Ashley Van Haefton resigned as chairman from Wikimedia UK, after he was banned from editing the English-language version of Wikipedia for adding inappropriate material.

 

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