Wikimedia Foundation elections/Board elections/2007/Candidates/Yann/questions

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2007 board elections
Organization



Questions[edit]

Add your questions for Yann at the bottom, in English or French.

Posez vos questions pour Yann en bas de la page, en anglais ou en français.

Self Questions[edit]

  • Difficulties I might have as a board member
    • English is not my native language, although I worked for 4 years in English speaking countries (India and Sri Lanka), and I still work a big part of my time in English.
    • Board member is a occupation which needs time. I decided to work part-time if elected to be able to cope with the amount of work needed for the Foundation.

Users' Questions[edit]

Lesser-known projects[edit]

What is your opinion on some of the projects that are not as well-known as Wikipedia? Would you favour a situation where attempts are made to nurture these projects rather than almost-solely concentrate on the one that has the highest profile? --Brian McNeil / talk 14:46, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

I think that these projects should receive more help from the Foundation. Some budget should be earmarked for their development, and promotion. Yann 22:24, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Work with NGOs[edit]

Which NGOs did you work with, and in what capacity?--Ragesoss 18:59, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

I was director of a technical school founded by the Anglican Church in India. As an employee, I also worked for "Fédération des œuvres laïques" (Non religious cultural organization), teaching computer basic to children, and "Partenaires" (Partners) a French NGO working on development and humanitarian assistance in India. I worked 6 months as a full time volunteer for Peace Brigades International in civil war torn Sri Lanka, and 2 years part time with "Friends of All", an Indian NGO dedicated to improving education in rural India. Yann 09:45, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Ads, branding, business dev., GHGs.[edit]

  1. On the board, will you vote for ads on Wikimedia sites?
    1. yes
      1. pop-ups/flash/banners/graphics
      2. flash/banners/graphics in skin whitespace or at bottom
      3. company logos in site notices
      4. prominent text ads
      5. company names in site notices
      6. text ads in skin whitespace or at bottom
      7. opt out
      8. opt in
      9. other
    2. maybe
      1. only for a huge amount of money
      2. only during budget emergencies
      3. only if editors support it
    3. never
    4. other
  2. What are your thoughts on Wikimedia branding?
  3. What are your thoughts on the foundation's hiring of a business developer?
  4. How would you vote on the board about the foundation reducing or offsetting anthropogenic greenhouse gases, e.g. power used by hardware, flights, etc.?

Thanks. -- Jeandré, 2007-06-15t21:30z

1. I think that advertising cannot be neutral. Putting ads on Wikimedia web sites would change the perception of the projects. They would not be seen as free. There are many other financial possible resources, so resorting to ads would be a failure of the financial management to bring these resources to the Foundation.

2. Branding of a non profit organization is fundamentally different of branding of a business company. In addition, we should find a balance between the independent development of the projects and the branding of the Foundation as a whole.

3. A business developer is useful to organize the management of Foundation services (datafeeds, trademarks for the Foundation and third parties products, etc.).

4. The most efficient way to reduce greenhouse gases is to reduce energy consumption. Investment in energy saving is wise, both on a long term financial plan and greenhouse gas reduction. Buying carbon offset could be done, but is only a short term remedy. Yann 09:46, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Office evolution[edit]

In what way do you forsee the office (and staff) evolving under your tenure as a board member, should you be elected? i.e. would you be in favor of expansion, contraction, status quo, more interns, new positions, less, what? Swatjester 01:05, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

It's difficult to give details, but the Foundation is really understaffed. All people are overbooked. The priority is hiring an Executive Director and a Legal Council. The projects, particularly Commons and Wikisource, need legal advice from professionals. Yann 23:26, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
That doesn't really answer my question. We already have a search committe for an ED and a General counsel. That's where we stand currently. Under your tenure, would would be the next step. Would you expand the staff? What roles would you create? Rely on unpaid interns? What would they do and how would you find them? Cut down on waste staff? Who would they be, and why would they be that? Change nothing? Why? etc.Swatjester 06:36, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Details about staff management is the duty of the Executive Director, not the board. But generally I think that we need more staff, of course provided that we have the resources for that. Yann 09:01, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
We don't have an Executive Director yet, and in reality the Board has a great deal of power over staff management. In what way would you manage it on the board? Swatjester 16:30, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Change[edit]

Hi Yann,

What is the top 3 things you want to have changed in the current strategy of the foundation? Thanks, Effeietsanders 21:53, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

I don't know about the current strategy, but the priorities are:
  • Creating an endowment fund to insure long term financial viability. Developing other sources of funding (grants, business partnerships, etc.).
  • Creating a technical roadmap for Mediawiki development. Implementing SUL.
  • Developing detailed legal guidelines to contributors, particularly about copyright. Some projects follow US copyright law, others local copyright law, some follow both, and others something else. Yann 00:17, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Added Value[edit]

Hi Yann,

What kind of value do you add to the current set of boardmembers in the area of Legal, Financial, Accounting, etc. expertise? Thanks, Effeietsanders 21:53, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

I have basic knowledge of accounting, but the work should be done by a professional anyway. The mission of the board is to give clear directives to the organization. If the Foundation is genuine to spread to free knowledge to everybody, it needs people who have an idea how to get in touch with the people who do not yet get this. Comparing development of the projects by population, the projects in Indian languages are the less developed. I think my experience in South-Asia will be very useful if the Foundation wants to develop its projects for them. Yann 23:45, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
I think that a boards needs persons with certain skills to be able to make sure that the board can overview reality and can set out a realistic strategy, but also to be able to check that the policy and strategy is really put into reality. That requires people with different skills, among which the ones I gave as example, on the Board of Trustees. I understand that you have basic accounting skills. Could you please explain somewhat further how basic or professional those skills and/or experiences are? Effeietsanders 10:56, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I have experiences submitting (and getting ;oP ) grant applications to various foundations, administrations and the European Commission. As a school director, I managed the budget of the school, the teachers appointment and the pupils selection. I was the media contact for a major international event in 2003 in my area. I was project coordinator for the development of a web portal (http://cooperation.net). Also I participate in the process of the World Summit on the Information Society in UN headquarters in Geneva, and I got Wikipedia listed in a document submitted to the UN General Assembly. Yann 16:08, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Image Policy[edit]

What is your stance on the new policy for images, do you believe it is appropriate or too draconian in its exclusion of fair use? The reasoning behind my question is that I find it inappropriate for Wikinews where a fair use image could - due to this policy - potentially be replaced with a free image years after a news article is published. --Brian McNeil / talk 11:34, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

I think that there are images (mainly historical documents) which are worth including in Wikipedia, Wikibooks, etc. and we can't get a free copy. So fair use is useful, but it should be kept to a minimum. It should not be an excuse for hosting copyrighted content. Yann 09:05, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

It should not be an excuse for hosting copyrighted content.

Such content is copyrighted, by definition. But it is legal to use it anyway, under fair use.
Instead of fair use, would you be opposed to using non-free images with the permission of the copyright holder (assuming no free equivalent exists and the copyright holder refuses to freely license)? In my opinion, this would be preferable to restricting to only fair use, which is shaky legally and morally. — Omegatron 03:31, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Wiki account(s)[edit]

What is your opinion on family members/close friends using another person's Wiki account? Would you vouch not to allow other people use your account as <unnamed> board member did? MatthewFenton 16:59, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

I cannot say for others, but I only use my account. Nobody else will use it. If a friend or a family member use my computer, he/she will use another account. Yann 22:00, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Membership[edit]

Last December, the Wikimedia Foundation revised its bylaws to change itself from a membership organization to a non-membership organization. In a membership organization, the trustees are directly responsible to the membership; in a non-membership organization, the trustees are ultimately responsible only to one another (and indirectly to donors, who presumably will not donate if they feel the trustees are not being responsible). Do you feel that the Foundation, constituted as it is as a non-membership organization, provides sufficient structural checks and balances to ensure that the trustees observe their fiduciary responsibilities appropriately? Would a return to a membership structure, with the ability of members to bring policy proposals themselves at the annual meeting or by other methods, to remove board members by appropriate vote, and to sue the Foundation under certain conditions limit the ability of the Trustees to do what they need to do? If you do support a return to a membership structure, how would you determine who the voting members are? Kelly Martin 18:44, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

For most non profit organizations, membership is the most appropriate system. However, for the Foundation, the issue was that there were very few members. Furthermore the power of the Foundation does not come from members (who give money) but from wiki projects contributors who elect the Board. So in the case of the Foundation, a membership system would reduce the abilities of people to give their input to the Foundation. Only people who pay a membership would have a say in Foundation management. Yann 22:13, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
This answer is very disappointing; it is founded in quite a lot of ignorance. The Foundation actually had thousands of members before it converted to non-member status. Formerly, anyone who contributed to any project, or was registered as an editor on any project, was a member of the Foundation. The Foundation did fail in its legal obligation to maintain a role of who the members were (and in several other of its legal obligations with respect to members, such as holding an annual meeting), but there is no doubt that there were thousands of members. Also, there is no requirement that memberships must be granted in exchange for the payment of dues or other compensation; therefore, your conclusion that being a membership organization would limit influence to those who can afford to pay is misguided, false, and very disappointing. Kelly Martin 00:01, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
With the current schema, the Foundation has not thousands, but millions of people who can contribute to its development. This is much wider than membership. Yann 09:08, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Not many of those are in a position to be considered "members" by IRS standards, (notwithstanding the bylaws stating we have no membership). Limiting Kelly's response to those, how then do you feel? Swatjester 16:32, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Independence[edit]

My main input would be working on financial independence.

I really don't understand that line..can you please explain more?...--The Joke النكتة‎ 08:21, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

I think that the Foundation should create an endowment fund to insure long term financial viability, and develop other sources of funding (grants, business partnerships, etc.). Funding should be balanced between several resources. Yann 09:10, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Checkuser policy[edit]

What is your opinion of the privacy policy, particularly relating to checkusering of adminship candidates? Majorly (talk) 13:25, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

There is no such thing in the policy as checkusering adminship candidates. System administrators can see your IP address, but that not different from any other web service you may use (Google, Gmail, etc.). Could you precise your question? Yann 16:19, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I refer to admin candidates being checked routinely in case they use tor or open proxies. Do you think this should be allowed to happen, and if it violates the privacy policy? Majorly (talk) 16:49, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
See also this thread from the wiki-en mailing list. Majorly (talk) 16:53, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
This is something else. No open proxies is not a Foundation policy. I am all in favor on using TOR, so this is hardly a valid criteria for not being admin. To me, revealing this information when no vandalism is taking place is clearly a violation of privacy. In addition, this is an issue only on the English Wikipedia. Yann 18:44, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
However, the Privacy policy is foundation, and the checkuser rules come from it. Anyway, thank you for your response, and good luck. Majorly (talk) 18:57, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Communication with communities[edit]

Smaller communities in my experience can have problem drawing attention of the Board to important community issues where Board input is really necessary. Do you recognise such needs are currently left unanswered, and what could change to let the Board process such requests?--Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 15:09, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

As I am a supporter of small communities from various languages and projects, I could help on that point getting these people a better communication with the board. The Communication Committee needs to be reorganized. Its second responsibility (Supporting communication between the Wikimedia Foundation and project communities) can be improved a lot. Yann 19:16, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Foundation Growth[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation is growing at much faster rate now than ever before. We are trying to establish ourselves as a stable, mature, international non-profit organization. What type of organizational and management skills can you offer that will benefit the foundation?

I have a lot of experience of non-profit organization management, both as a paid staff and as a volunteer. See my answer to Added Value above. Yann 19:02, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Also, our advisory board (http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Advisory_Board) is filled with experienced and competent professionals. The foundation can benefit greatly from their expertise and knowledge in various fields. Currently, their involvement in the foundation seems limited, how can you change the system to utilize their expertise? Do you think the advisory board should have more influence on decision-making? Vpatel 15:18, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

I don't know how often the board requests input from the advisory board, so it is difficult to say much. Our advisory board comprise many great people from various background. There are in position to help the Foundation a lot. Advise from outside professionals is always good, and the board should use that. Yann 19:02, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Religious Picture Ban – Muhammed (Islam) versus Bahá'u'lláh (Baha'i)[edit]

Islam is a religion which don't want to see/show pictures or images of the founder Muhammed. Baha'i is a religion which don't want to see/show pictures of the founder Bahá'u'lláh. Wikipedia in most languages show respect for Islam and don't show Muhammed. But Wikipedia in most languages show a picture of Bahá'u'lláh. Wikipedia show more respect for the picture ban in islam than it show for the picture ban in Baha'i. What do you think is the cause for this and do you think that Wikipedia shall treat religions equal? Caspiax

Of course, I am for the respect of all religions, but this is hardly an issue for the board. If you think there is problem how a subject is covered, you should bring it to the community: on the article talk page, village pump, mailing list, etc. You may notice that articles about islam also create controversies. Yann 09:42, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Headquarters location[edit]

From time to time there has been discussion about whether the Foundation's current headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida, in the United States, is the best location for the office. Do you think that the Foundation should continue to be headquartered in and operate out of Florida, or would you support a move to another location? If you think a move is appropriate, where would you move the Foundation to, and why? Kelly Martin 21:38, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Legally and technically, the USA is the best place to run an organization like Wikimedia Foundation. Hosting is cheaper in USA than anywhere else, and probably Canada only would practically be a better place on the issue of copyright. Now I can't give much advice were is the best place within the USA, but the cost of moving would be quite significant, so I don't see the Foundation moving any time soon, if at all. But I think that opening a formal office in Europe would useful. It would allow the Foundation to request grants from the European commission, and deal more easily with other organizations based in Europe (UNESCO, etc.). Yann 16:21, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Professional?[edit]

By nature and design, wiki communities are an amateur, unstable amalgam of widely differing perspectives and agendas. There is no individual or collective responsibility and no competence test for participation. Yet, the board of the ever-expanding and legally constituted foundation that runs one of the world’s top websites, needs to be highly professionally, highly competent, collectively coherent and responsible. It must have business savvy, and be willing to make hard-nosed and even unpopular decisions. In your opinion:

  1. Is the current board, vision and structure fit for that purpose?
  2. Are you? (Would you be a competent candidate for a board in any non-profit venture?)

(same asked of all candidates)--Doc glasgow 14:45, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

I won't comment on the current board competences. You can as well as I judge for yourself. I think that I would add a very useful competences: I am well experienced with several kinds of grassroot organizations, and among which Wikimedia is a high profile member. Also I have done a lot of presentations about Wikipedia. Yann 20:16, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Chapters[edit]

Taking into account the growing importance of Wikimedia chapters in furthering our common goals on the one hand and the impact the decisions made by the Wikimedia Foundation have on the work (if not existence) of the Wikimedia Chapters on the other hand: What do you think about the idea of giving the chapters a formal say in WMF's decision making process? What do you think especially about a) letting the chapters appoint one or more board members (beside the ones elected by the community) and/or b) changing the WMF back to a membership organization (with the chapters as members)? Do you have any other ideas to achieve more checks and balances between Foundation and chapters? On top of that, would you care to elaborate on your vision about the current and future role of the Wikimedia chapters? Thanks in advance, Arne (akl) 15:44, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

a) would be an interesting experiment. One issue would be to decide on a voting system: one vote for each chapter? by number of members? by budget size? by other criteria? Chapter may have very different opinions about each and every subject. How a chapters representative will be able to bring all these to the board?
b) this is more problematic: some people would not be represented for a foreseeable future.
There could be a formal procedure for chapters to send input to the board. Each chapter has already one or more representative to internal wiki and mailing list. Yann 20:33, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
a) What do you mean with "interesting experiment"? How will a community representative (afaik you want to become one) be able to bring all the "different opinions about each and every subject" of the communities to the board? -- Arne (akl) 11:36, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
b) Why is it problematic to give legal entities (who are supporting the WMF and who are to some extend - at least if it comes to the use of names and trademarks - dependent on the WMF) a say? I don't understand what you mean by "some people would not be represented for a foreseeable future". My question was not about community representation, but about chapters becoming members of the WMF. BTW, right now the WMF has no members at all. Is that better? Which brings me to my not yet answered question "Do you have any other ideas to achieve more checks and balances between Foundation and chapters?" -- Arne (akl) 11:36, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
a) "Interesting" is a bit ironic here, as I am not sure that a Board member elected by the Chapters would bring more problems than it would solve. There would be power plays between the Chapters to choose the Board member they elect. There may also be legal issues: who is responsible, the Foundation or the Chapters?
b) Some countries won't have a Chapter any time soon. Contributors from these countries, who are usually already less represented on the Foundation would be denied any representation. Yann 08:37, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

Project policy involvement[edit]

What are your views on board involvement in writing and implementing policy for the various projects, especially in controversial areas where it appears that community consensus will be difficult to establish, such as on the "attack sites" [1] and biography of living people (BLP) [2] issues? Cla68 15:57, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Each project should ba independent within the general Wikimedia and legal rules: no copyright, NPOV, etc. However the Foundation should provide advice and mediation when the projects need it. For example, there could be a group of facilitators providing legal input to draft a copyright policy and mediating to resolve a conflict. Yann 20:04, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

What if[edit]

What would you do/recommend when elected and faced with 40% budget deficit? Absolwent 18:36, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

I would launch a big communication campaign to find more funds. With the current budget, there are a lot of untapped resources. There should be a balance between donations, grants and business revenue. Yann 20:42, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Cash & users[edit]

We need money and people. We have lost users (for a while) after this event. Nobody expected it, but... the same was in 2006. Do you want to talk about money (with these wealthy guys) and what's your opinion about that event ;)? Przykuta 11:55, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Anthere was misquoted by a journalist looking for sensationalism rather than information. I am not convinced that we lost users because of that. Yann 08:22, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

Question[edit]

En quoi la Wikimedia Foundation est-elle toujours utile aux projets qu'elle héberge ? (et si tu peux traduire cette phrase ce qui me permet de la poser aux autres candidats, combien de langues pratiques-tu ?) Merci de répondre en anglais. Petrusbarbygere 19:21, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Trad: "In which ways Wikimedia Foundation is still useful for the projects its hosts?"

The Foundation pays the bill. It also helps (sometimes poorly) the coordination of various languages and projects. Yann 08:27, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

Wikinews and Accredited reporters attending events[edit]

Wikinews may be one of the lesser-known projects, but we recently managed to get a contributor entry to the G8 conference. Efforts were made to get the Board involved in the drafting of a letter for the reporter's entry to the G8, but these received no response. As an involved party there is more about this issue on Eloquence's questions page [3]. What is your opinion on this, it is - I believe - an issue the board should take seriously. Those of us who contribute on Wikinews are ambitious enough to think that we can overtake the Wikipedia article count (although I may be retired before we manage it there are new news stories every day). As we really want to be able to do truly original reporting we need people who can "almost" say they represent us. Do you support this, and do you believe the board should have been involved for something as important as sending a reporter to the G8 conference? --Brian McNeil / talk 21:07, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Being able to get someone from Wikinews accredited to the G8 conference is great. I hope there will be more for other importants events. As I already said, answer from the Foundation to specific requests from the projects is often inadequate, sometimes inexistent. This is partly because of overbooked staff and Board members, and partly because the Foundation is afraid to be involved. Hopefully the first issue will be solved with more resources, more staff and more Board members. On the second, I think that the Foundation should not be afraid to get involved. It has a tremendous potential influence it should use to create and spread free content and culture. For example, I think that the Foundation should get a formal accreditation to the United Nations, like other important NGOs have. It should be able to accredit reporters, and request content to be released under a free license (see ESA images for example). Yann 08:49, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for your answer, the ESA images is an interesting case.
Here is an example of where we can do truly original work and investigative journalism. You will not find this story on any mainstream news site. --Brian McNeil / talk 10:39, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

Impending failure[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation at a corporate level is soaked in its own drama and if conditions don't improve soon, it will crash and burn. I want the newly elected trustees to act as catalystic mediators to simply and peacefully transform drama into productivity and then success for the foundation. How do you plan on doing this? Signed, your friendly neighborhood MessedRocker. 06:10, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Medias regularly predict the crashdown of the Wikipedia model. Going with this hype doesn't help to improve the Foundation. Yann 08:17, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
I was speaking of internal conflict within the Foundation and not the petty drama of Wikipedia. Signed, your friendly neighborhood MessedRocker. 02:25, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Well, since you are asking, I think that this "internal conflict" really involves one person who likes to play wikipolitics rather than to think about solutions. On my side, I don't want to play this game. Yann 10:32, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

IRC Debate[edit]

This is a mass question being posted to all candidates. A couple days ago there was a proposal to hold an all candidates debate on IRC at a time TBD. The planning page is at ElectionDebate07 - please indicate if you are interested and if so, a time that would work for you. -- Tawker 23:02, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

1. I don't think than a IRC debate with 18 candidates will bring more useful information to users than written questions to each candidate.
2. Obviously this would favour native English speaking candidates, and fast answered questions rather carefully thought solutions. Yann 10:18, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Je trouve rageant que tout soit en anglais :-) --Bertrand GRONDIN – Talk 10:24, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Translation: "I find it frustrating that everything is in English :)"

Experience and Qualifications[edit]

Your platform makes no mention of any relevant experience to running a major organisation; please detail what experience you have in the running of corporate organisations, specifically regarding their finance, management, marketing, and human resources. --Alison Wheeler 11:58, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Usability[edit]

Most Wikipedia users are technically inclined, but usability studies have turned up serious problems for non-geeks, and many of these problemsd remain uncorrected.

Have you read these usability studies? Do you consider them to be important? Would you commission more such studies? How would you implement their results?

Here's an example from just a couple months ago: a journalist working for a major newspaper thought that "there's no way to tell who wrote the entry or how many people contributed to it" until one of his readers corrected him -- he works for the media! How many regular people know how to check an article's contributors?
 If i might be permitted to opine for a second: the fact that you can view the revisions of an article should be obvious from the design of the webpage, but it's not: "history" is a terrible, non-obvious name for the function.

Put yourself in your parents' shoes: you're reading a page about Thailand that you found through Google, and you see a square that says "history". You click the square expecting to read about the history of Thailand and suddenly you're faced with a long, mysterious list of nonsensical words and numbers. You click the back button.
 Aaron Swartz gave one of the best summaries of the issue that I've seen:

"The page design the site uses encourages specific actions by making some links clear and prominent. Software functions like categories make certain kinds of features possible. The formatting codes used for things like infoboxes and links determine how easy it is for newcomers to edit those pieces of the site.

All of these things are political choices, not technical ones. It's not like there's a right answer that's obvious to any intelligent programmer. And these choices can have huge effects on the community.

...

One presentation was by a usability expert who told us about a study done on how hard people found it to add a photo to a Wikipedia page. The discussion after the presentation turned into a debate over whether Wikipedia should be easy to to use. Some...questioned whether confused users should be allowed to edit the site at all -- were their contributions even valuable?

As a programmer, I have a great deal of respect for the members of my trade. But with all due respect, are these really decisions that the programmers should be making?"

How would you solve this problem?

Tlogmer 00:12, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Recruiting expertise[edit]

Danny Wool has proposed replacing the current board with "a professional board consisting of captains of industry and academia" -- presumbaly, web leaders and information academics, etc. Do you agree? What do you think Wikipedia can learn from, for example, professional writers of paper encyclopedias like Britannica? How should the foundation best recruit their advice and put it into practice? Tlogmer 00:12, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

I think that this is a very bad idea. The Foundation is not business company, and it should not be run like a business company. However professional from various fields are much welcome in an advisory committee. Yann 21:32, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Appropriate conduct for Board members[edit]

Recently, in a non-Mediawiki forum, Erik Moeller made the following comments: "Cyde's and Kelly's arguments are on the same level: they are driven by blind hostility, not thoughtful analysis." [4] Do you believe that responding to criticism of one's credentials and conduct as a member of the Board with personal attacks such as these is appropriate for a member of the Board of Trustees? Kelly Martin 00:53, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

I won't comment about this blog. It's only bashing, insults, disgusting allegations, etc. I just can't wait to read what nonsense you will find about me... ;o) Yann 22:07, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Wikiquote & copyright[edit]

What's your stance regarding Wikiquote and copyrights? As it is, most wikiquotes depend and extensively use fair use content, which is contrary to the philosophy of most other projects. What are your views on this? Should wikiquotes move to only free content? Should resolution on fair use have a special exemption for wikiquote? Should fair use quotes be removed from Wikiquote after deadline for the resolution? drini [es:] [commons:] 16:06, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

IRC Debate[edit]

Hi, as this seems to get closer to the time that the elections are to start, I thought it would be best to go ahead and attempt to get the unofficial IRC debate a time and a place. By the time analysis on the talk page, the best time for the debate appears to be 1800 UTC, to 1900 UTC. As it would be best for this debate to occur before the elections, June 27 was chosen as the day. I know that this is short notice, but the whole unofficial debate thing was on a very short notice to start with. I hope that you are able to attend. Again the time is 18:00 UTC, June 27, 2007, it will be held at ##wikimedia-debate. Please do note that this debate is unofficial, and you are not required to attend. —— Eagle101 Need help? 20:40, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Donors and scope[edit]

Asked of all candidiates: Okay, I'm not naive so yeah, it follows that large donors will probably get some pull when policies, direction and the scope of the foundation get decided, but what's your take on it all? How far do we bend to satisfy our donors, and to what extent are ideals of the foundation non-negotiable? In five years say, would you expect the foundation to still exist in the same legal fashion as now and assert ownership over the assets it currently has? Steve block 20:43, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes, NPOV and free as a speech are not negociable. The best way to avoid unwanted influence from big donors, is to have various sources of income: donations from individuals and corporations, business resources, grants from private and public organizations. And yes, I expect the Foundation to be still here not only in 5 years, but in 50 years. The resources to run all Wikimedia projects exist, we need to gather them. Yann 22:20, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Thank you very much for your reply. Steve block 15:37, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

What do you do when faced with a difficult decision to take ?[edit]

I saw in the recent irc debate the following question. Would you support releasing the state of the foundation's finances quarterly? Why or why not.. Of course, making such a decision is a matter of board-level policy. Now, the job of the board is also oversight. So, let's imagine the hypothesis that the board made a policy for quarterly release, the staff was asked to provide the statements according to the policy... and in spite of this, the report does not come. As board, you are embarassed. First because the policy is not respected. Second because the community is complaining. And third because, with no financial statements, there is no oversight possible. Please imagine you are facing this situation, reminded the staff once, then twice, then three times, and still no report.

What do you do ?


fund raiser and chapters[edit]

do you support to facilitate fundraising by offering a direct link to country specific donation possibilities? an example woulde be medecins sans frontier's donation page. in wikimedia's case the donation page for the year end fundraiser would contain flags, and the links behind the flags would go to the donation page of local chapters, for two reasons:

  1. local law (which donators know and can make use of) strengtens donators feeling, that their donations are used at their will
  2. local tax exemption allows to donate up to 50% more without paying more

--ThurnerRupert 12:03, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Committees[edit]

The committee system has been around for roughly a year and a half now, not counting previous initiatives. Several of the committees are now dormant and some never got off the ground. Some, conversely, have done fairly well.

I know this is a long-standing and groan-inducing topic of debate, but what is your view on the committee system? Do you have ideas for reviving the current committee system or making it more functional? Do you think there is a place in the Foundation, in theory at least, for community-based committees to do some of the day-to-day work or oversee certain areas? Who should the committees report to, ideally? Are there new committees that should be formed, or old ones to be reworked?

Sorry about posting my question(s) so late! -- phoebe 00:39, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Free resources[edit]

Wikipedia, being one of the ten most visited sites in internet, has some negotiation power. I believe we should be able to use this power in order to increase both the freedom and quality of the encyclopedia. In example, the board could contact copyright holders of promotional images (places, objects, models, singers, bands, etc), and convince them to release their items under a free license. I have been doing this myself, but I believe the Board could have better chances than a single person, a WikiProject or even a Wikipedia project. What do you think, do you think this could be a priority? And good luck! -- ReyBrujo 18:40, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes, this is definitely something that should be done. Probably not directly by the board members themselves, because they won't have time to do that, but maybe a group of dedicated contributors could do this in behalf of the Foundation. Yann 19:00, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
I was thinking about specific board actions, in example, a press release requesting free images to companies and agencies, offering legal counsel to companies who want to give things for free but do not understand the concept, a section in the foundation page announcing the latest donations of free material by companies, signing treaties to obtain free images, etc, etc. We, individually, contact many of these companies, but a "heaviest" board action could make things faster and smoother. Don't you agree? -- ReyBrujo 03:16, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Several questions[edit]

I am asking these exact same questions of you and all your opponents so I can make an apples-to-apples comparison.

  1. Do you think the Wikimedia Foundation should invest in stocks and bonds so that it has a source of income if donations dry up? If so, should its investment strategy be active or passive, diversified or focus, value or growth?
  2. Do you think the Foundation's spending on travel and conferences before it has a long-term source of income is responsible?
  3. Should some of the Foundation's major financial decisions, such as expansion of the paid staff, be subject to referenda of the editors and donors?
  4. The oversight function -- where edits are hidden even from admins -- has legitimate uses, but the potential for misuse is Orwellian. How can abuse be avoided?
  5. Do you believe control over Wikipedia content policy should ultimately rest with the man who created the skeleton of the site, or the editors who create its flesh and blood and/or their elected representatives?
  6. What is your position on freedom of expression in the User namespace?
  7. Where U.S. copyright law unfairly impedes Wikimedia Foundation projects, should the Foundation lobby for the law to be changed? If so, how should it do so without spending money it can't afford?
  8. To what extent is Wikipedia yet reaching the developing world, and what could you do during your term to speed that up?

Seahen 05:37, 30 June 2007 (UTC)


Wikinews and building on an unexpected publicity opportunity[edit]

As I would hope you have seen, Wikinews has made a splash in the news as the original non-blog source for the story of a prank edit to w:Chris Benoit's Wikipedia page. Our Alexa rating has skyrocketed, Google news has hundreds of articles that mention - or cite - us. I had planned to sponsor a Writing Contest on Wikinews following these elections - but this seems like too good an opportunity to miss. I've asked a few people to contribute to the prize pot, but most of our local contributors don't have the spare cash.

  • First question, should we do things like this - we've had other competitions in the past and the daily article count has gone up significantly.
  • Second, are you prepared to put your money where our projects are and donate to the prize fund?
  • Third, if you are prepared to donate to the prize pot would you also be prepared to help out as a judge? I feel the impartial position the board should strive to take day to day would be welcome in defining rules and judging a competition. --Brian McNeil / talk 11:18, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

International Symbol of Access[edit]

If elected, would you act to remove the Foundation's ban on the use of the International Symbol of Access and International Symbol for Deafness outside the scope of fair use? If you are unfamiliar with this issue, it boils down to the fact that these symbols may be freely used for their intended purpose but are extremely unlikely to be released under a free license. Because they are internationally recognized symbols, no free equivalent could be created to replace them. There would be no legal risk to either the Wikimedia Foundation or to downstream users if we were to use these symbols in infoboxes to designate handicapped accessible metro stations, Disney rides, etc. I'm not asking for permission to use them in userboxes or the like. I just think that the current Foundation-level policy of lumping them into the "fair use" category is quite detrimental our goals.

There is actually general consensus to make this change on the English Wikipedia. The only thing standing in the way is the Foundation's policy. —Remember the dot 04:02, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

"Attack site" link bans[edit]

On English Wikipedia, there has been some controversy about whether it is, or ought to be, the policy that linking to so-called "attack sites" against Wikipedia and Wikipedians is to be banned. Some administrators have (overzealously, in some others' opinions) removed links to criticism sites from such places as talk pages, evidence pages for ArbCom cases, and even in a few cases from actual articles where they were being used as a source. I wrote an essay on this issue. What is your opinion? Dtobias 04:04, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

How will you deal with this...[edit]

Whenever I can not find the specific answer to a question in an article I turn to Wikipedia help. In many instances, however, the reply is devoid of thought or knowledge and merely a student's guess to fill blank space on the page as if to say: "Here is my guess. I've done my job. You have received my authoritative response."

Wikimedia goals[edit]

What is the major result of activity of Wikimedia Foundation so far (in your opinion)? What are three major tasks of Wikimedia Foundation today (in your opinion)? At which directions will you concentrate your work? Thank you. Ellol 09:35, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

How to deal with consensus of uninformed editors[edit]

Sometimes a popular opinion is contradicted by scientific evidence. Majority of editors stick to the popular opinion (which is also theirs) and vote to delete all pages that contradict their opinion (intrinsic weakness of democracy). As a result Wikipedia propagates old prejudices. How would you solve this problem?

Supporting evidence for the problem: Once I wrote several pages on Einsteinian physics (I'm just doing my PhD on it) and all of them were deleted by consensus of editors (9:1) who preferred their old high school physics :-). Unfortunately their high school physics was invalidated about 100 years ago by Einstein. Yet till today one can read as the first statement of Wikipedia's Gravitation: "Gravitation is a natural phenomenon by which all objects attract each other". According to contemporary science objects don't attract each other they just look like they do. Similarly as the Sun looks like running around the Earth while it doesn't and there exists a simple explanation in both cases. So I just explained the simple Einsteinian mechanism of this apparent attraction, since I thought it may be interesting to Wikipedia's readers. All those pages were deleted by consensus of editors cooling my enthusiasm for Wikipedia. So the issue of propagating old prejudices, because of democratic process involved in editing, seems to be very real in Wikipedia. JimJast 14:14, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

how will you deal with transparency and corruption[edit]

how come that some admins in wikimedia can take over and block other users at their own will? More than one year ago the wikimedia world seemed nice to me. By edit count I was quite high in en:WP. But then the first out-of-policy block came in (3RR violation, but I only did 2RR). Then the next. And so it went on and on. Blocked for blanking a user page (this blanking was based on prior agreement with that user), blocked for moving "Eisenkappl" to "Bad Eisenkappl", admins directly lieing to me "I have a checkuser at hand that confirms you used socks" - it turned out there never was a checkuser. And I never used socks. ... On and on. I collected evidences, they got deleted, just because some admin in the middle of a discussion decided to do so. This deletion even did not show in the deletion log.

I asked at ComCom about transparency and corruption handling - this was directly deleted, with claim that it does not belong there (ComCom task page says otherwise). I called the Foundation where Danny shouted at me, hang up the phone in middle of talking, talked in hebrew etc.

What can a normal editor do to stop admins abusing their rights? - Tobias Conradi

Wikipedia and the media at large[edit]

  • 1. Could you name the top five services (or advantages) that Wikipedia is offering to the Community that no other media provides now? Could you also briefly explain WHY?
  • 2. Do you think there are subjects that the major media do not cover or cover in a biased manner?

If so, could you list 5 examples in different fields that come to your mind, without censuring yourself? ;-) Could you explain WHAT Wikipedia can do that is not yet done to remedy this problem?

  • 3. What challenges do you see ahead in terms of opportunities and potential threats (financial, organizational, technological, behavioural) to Wikipedia's independence and growth in the next 3 years?
  • 4. Do you think it is appropriate for Wikipedia to have an article about media control and concentration of financial power (2 sensitive & essential subjects for Wikipedia itself)?
  • 5. Do you agree it might be difficult to find an analysis in the major media about this subject because it goes against their own interests? If so, does Wikipedia have a moral obligation to treat the subject nevertheless, if verifiable evidence can be provided (without references to the major media)?
  • 6. Truth shall make you free: Are you aware there might be a real conspiracy to discourage some editors by harassing them or defaming their work unjustly in order to drive them away, create divisions, or marginalize them for the reason they have been tagged as a danger to the LIES spread in the media about new world order, central banking [5], many historical facts, valuable academic and scientific knowledge in various fields; who are therefore feared by a tiny minority of editors on Wikipedia for the essential knowledge they can bring to the Community (which is suppressed now)?

Thank you. 69.116.234.208 00:27, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Majority biasing the facts[edit]

12:34, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Dear Candidate,

it is an increasing frustration to me that a supermajority of wikipedians has apparently decided to defend their common view of the world as the only truth. All minority views are blocked. This goes so far as to not allow facts, which are acknowledged to be true, on article pages when they are seemingly at odds with this view. This tends to make the articles POV and destroys the knowledge and hard work brought together by many, many editors in this unique enterprise. It makes wikipedia a very unreliable and biased source of information. Subjects are e.g. terrorist attacks. Will you make an effort to change this trend? It is imortant to us that the guidelines are upheld fairly and equally, and not just to defend a single viewpoint.

regards,

Xiutwel
NL

How to attract authors who know facts[edit]

How to attract authors who know facts (e.g. from the scientific literature) and could pupularize them dispelling cultural prejudice about those facts but don't have time to waste on fighting misinformed editors. Those editors unconcsiously push their popular, and therefore already generally accepted, POVs (since brain, being a perfect antibody, automatically rejects any new idea) deleting the new pages by those authors. Those editors always prevail since they have much more time than those authors. How would you address this issue? JimJast 17:43, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Who Writes Wikipedia?[edit]

Late question: do you have any thoughts on this essay (and if so, what)? It suggests that Jimbo formed a radically false picture of anonymous users and their contributions to Wikipedia. This may have far-reaching implications. Dan(pedia) 20:58, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Censorship on Wikipedia[edit]

Does this extraordinary true story, completely censored by the major media, with verifiable evidence to back it up, deserve its page on Wikipedia? If so, WHY? Thanks for your truthful answer. Merci.

69.116.234.208 21:55, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

A Fairer Voting System[edit]

Would you support the use of choice voting in the next Board Elections?


Choice voting protects majority rule while providing for the fair representation of minority views. Voters rank the candidates 1, 2, 3, and so on, in order of preference. If your top choice either is not elected or already has enough votes to win a seat, your vote goes to your next choice. No vote is wasted, and all viewpoints are represented. Choice voting would drastically reduce the number of wasted votes.

Choice voting can be used for single or multiple position elections. It is used for national elections in a number of countries including the Republic of Ireland. It is also used by a wide variety of organsations such as students' unions, charities, trade unions, universities, hospital trusts and housing associations. Choice voting is already used to elect the board of Nominet UK.

Choice voting is also called preference voting or wikipedia:single transferable vote (STV)

John Cross 16:59, 7 July 2007 (UTC)