Wikimedia Foundation elections/Board elections/2008/Candidates/en

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The election ended 21 June 2008. No more votes will be accepted.
The results were announced on 26 June 2008.
2008 Board elections
Organization


This page contains the presentations from eligible candidates. Please read the rules for voters before voting. You can also ask and view questions to the candidates.


Candidate presentations[edit]

Ad Huikeshoven (Dedalus)[edit]

Summary details
Ad Huikeshoven, 2006.
  • Personal:
    • Name: Ad Huikeshoven
    • Age: 44
    • Location: The Hague, The Netherlands
    • Languages: Dutch, English
Statement Since January 2007 I do serve as a non-board member on the (board) Audit Committee to represent and assist the board in its general oversight of the organisation's accounting and financial reporting processes, audits of the financial statements, and internal control, and audit functions. The organization of WMF is still growing and needs to attract funds, grants and many, many contributions by small donors to cover the ever increasing cost of hosting the websites. The WMF therefore needs to build trust and credibility in, for example, presenting timely financial statements with an unqualified audit opinion to show donors' money is well spent. I graduated in Economics and Business Administration at the University Maastricht (Masters degree) and I am a professional auditor with a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) designation. I have over ten years professional experience in oversight functions. I care for the long term continuity of the Foundation and its projects, and would be happy to bring my professional experience and experience as Audit Committee member from a community perspective to the full board.

Alex Bakharev[edit]

Summary details
Me, Chiang Mai, 2008
  • Personal:
    • Name: Alexander S. Bakharev
    • Age: 44
    • Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    • Languages: English (reasonable), Russian (native)
  • Editorial:
    • Wikimedian since: June 2005
    • Active wikis: en.wikipedia, commons, ru.wikipedia
Statement I was born and lived half of my life in Saint Petersburg, Russia. I worked for three years as a postdoc at the University of Illinois and now for almost twelve years in Melbourne, Australia, as a research scientist in an industrial company. I am a wikipedian since Jun 2005, an admin on en-wiki since February 2006 and the author of the AlexNewArtBot bot.

What worries me is that the development of Wikipedia appears to be slowing down, perhaps even stagnating. To counter this we have to solve a few problems on the WMF level:

  • We do not retain our best editors, they feel frustrated with conflicts and under-appreciated.
  • Low regard with which wikipedians tend to be held in society at large. We need to communicate how important the project we are working on and how wonderful are our volunteers to the wider community.
  • Many Wikipedians are harassed and stalked for our work here. We need to have a special litigation fund for protection of Wikipedians as well as other possible forms of self-defence.
  • WMF needs more money. I think we should be more proactive in seeking government grants and corporate sponsorship.

Craig Spurrier (Cspurrier)[edit]

Summary details
Me, presenting at Wikimania 2007
  • Personal:
    • Name: Craig Spurrier
    • Age: 19
    • Location: Columbia, South Carolina, USA
    • Languages: En-n, De-2, Fr-1
  • Editorial:
    • Wikimedian since: September 2004
    • Active wikis: en.wikinews, en.wikipedia, en.wikibooks (semi)
Statement Overall, I believe the existing board has done a fairly good job. There are however several areas in which the board could improve.

The needs of the sister projects are often forgotten or ignored. I would like to see a greater attention paid to these projects. I believe the board could provide greatly increased support to them without harming Wikipedia.

Many users feel underrepresented and are concerned that Wikipedia is the only project the board cares about. As a board member, I would strive to make the community feel its voice is being heard, as well as ensure it is in fact being heard.

Other areas for improvement:

  • We need to improve inter-project communication. There is a great deal of redundancy in work between the projects. Closer collaboration would allow us to best use our resources.
  • WMF still has a problem with public image and media relations. More frequent press communications would help combat the extreme media reaction for common occurrences. Closer communications with the sister projects would also help prevent PR issues, like the recent negative media attention regarding Wikinews.

I am:

  • a Steward
  • a Bureaucrat, Checkuser, ArbCom member on English Wikinews
  • an Admin on English Wikibooks
  • a Wikinews Accredited Reporter
  • an OTRS representative on Stewards, info-en, and Permissions queues

About me:

I have BA in Sociology. I work as a computer consultant, specializing in web application development.

Dan Rosenthal (Swatjester)[edit]

Summary details
Picture of me from last year.
  • Personal:
    • Name: Dan Rosenthal
    • Age: 25
    • Location: Washington, DC, US
    • Languages: English, can read Spanish and Italian but not speak.
  • Editorial:
    • Wikimedian since: December 2005
    • Active wikis: meta.wikimedia, en.wikipedia, en.wikiversity, la.wikipedia, commons, wikimediafoundation wiki, OTRS wiki
Statement In my time with Wikimedia, I have served as a legal intern for the Wikimedia Foundation, an OTRS representative for the legal, press, and info-en queues, a member of the Communications Committee, a press contact for the United States, and most recently, the creator of the working group for the (still in development) DC chapter. In my capacity working as a representative for the Wikimedia Foundation, I've been interviewed by the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, Congressional Quarterly, and other international media sources. I have served on the board of directors for the Iraq War Veterans Organization. I am a second year law student at American University Law School, on the student Senate, overseeing a budget of around half a million dollars annually.

My priorities:

  • Working to bolster the Foundation's public image and media relations
  • Working with members of the community to ensure that the community has a true voice on the board.
  • Working at the board level to assist the fundraising capacity of the foundation.
  • Ensuring that all members of the Wikimedia community, critics and supporters alike, are treated with respect and dignity.

Gregory Kohs (Thekohser)[edit]

Summary details
File:TheKohser.jpg
Headshot of Gregory Kohs, 2007.
  • Personal:
    • Name: Gregory Kohs
    • Age: 39
    • Location: Pennsylvania, US
    • Languages: English (fluent), German (functional)
Statement My candidacy is a referendum for three principles.


  • Wikipedia is doing harm with its biographies of living people who have never had a biography about them published on paper. As a Board member, I would advocate new article deletion criteria mirroring Doc glasgow’s The BLP problem essay.


  • Commercially-funded editing and other compensated support activity, when monitored for abuse, naturally and beneficially work in concert with open-source free content. The WMF Board should include all stakeholders, not just the non-paid volunteer community. Linux did not collapse with the commercial attention of Red Hat and IBM.


  • The WMF Board and Staff leadership are crippling projects by failing to take due care and responsibility for them. The past 18 months have seen a series of scandals and public relations blunders. The WMF must halt the strategy of denying wrongdoing and framing critics as "disgruntled" "trolls", and instead return to a mission of achieving accuracy, excellence, and ethics in media.


These three issues now damage the Foundation and its projects on a daily basis.


  • Biography:
I am married, have one child, work as the Director of Market Research for a Fortune 100 company, and serve on the Board of my local church. Degrees: BA (magna cum laude) from Emory University, MA and C.Phil. from Temple Univ. I enjoy travel, piano, guitar, Detroit pro sports, and tournament poker.

Harel Cain (Harel)[edit]

Summary details
Me, attending the annual Wikipedia conference, Herzliyya, Israel.
  • Personal:
    • Name: Harel Cain
    • Age: 29
    • Location: Jerusalem, Israel
    • Languages: Hebrew, English, German, a little French
  • Editorial:
    • Wikimedian since: September 2004
    • Active wikis: he.wikipedia, il.wikimedia, and formerly a bit on yi.wikipedia
Statement I'm a computer security engineer working towards a master's in math, and also a translator of books.

I joined the Hebrew Wikipedia more than 3.5 years ago, when it was in its infancy. Over time I got admin, checkuser and then bureaucrat status there. I watched the complex yet fascinating process of a small community evolving into something bigger and less manageable, with all related growing pains.

In August 2007 I gave a talk at Wikimania. There I also understood the global aspects of Wikimedia. I was one of the founders of the Israel chapter, and I'm on its control board.

I'm very excited about the ways Wikimedian activity can transcend the online world into the real world and how casual readers become active participants in growing communities.

If elected to the board, I intend to support:

  • Activities by the board to foster the growth of local communities of editors the world over, even by allocating modest resources to this end.
  • Efforts to reach out to demographic sectors chronically under-represented in WM project, by using novel means such as WM exhibitions.
  • Stricter control by the board over key decisions made by WM employees, esp. hiring of new staff, which seems to be a soft spot.
  • A much better liaison with the press, to try to abate some of the recurring uninformed media hype about the foundation.
  • Strict opposition to paid ads on WM projects unless this is absolutely the last resort before WM goes bankrupt.

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen (Cimon Avaro)[edit]

Summary details
Portrait of the candidate, by Jukka Halme.
  • Personal:
    • Name: Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
    • Age: 42
    • Location: Helsinki, Finland
    • Languages: Finnish, English
  • Editorial:
    • Wikimedian since: April, 2003
    • Active wikis: en.wikipedia, fi.wikipedia
Statement I've seen the development of Wikimedia including the rise of the Finnish wikipedia barren wasteland to a lively community. I know intimately how hand-me-down policies and features designed for English wikipedia impact a smaller project.

I study Library and Information Sciences in a Business School.

During the term under election now:

Let's shift focus from sustainability to being able to maintain content we can be proud of, and further improving it.

Our community & organizational parts are mature. It is time to support bolder technical innovation and allocating resources to it:

  • Improved software that helps us maintain our quality.
  • Make editing intuitive again.
  • Support extensions that enable non-wikipedia projects flourish.
  • Develop the interface localisation extension into a generalized translation tool.

We need the right mix of people on the Board, but the process of getting them on it must not distance them from our communities.

The problems we face are all of the "good sort", they come from us being so good, so useful, so well known, so active.

Kurt M. Weber (Kmweber)[edit]

Summary details
Atop the fire lookout tower at Martin State Forest in Martin County, Indiana
  • Personal:
    • Name: Kurt M. Weber
    • Age: 23
    • Location: Princeton, Indiana, US
    • Languages: English, Latin
  • Editorial:
    • Wikimedian since: May 2004
    • Active wikis: en.wikipedia
Statement Though almost all of my activity has been on the English Wikipedia (with a spurt of activity on English Wikinews in November '05), I have been watching with increasing concern the influence the WMF Board has been exerting over all projects. In the last several months I have become more outspoken about it, to the dismay of many, and giving Mr. Wales a permanent seat on the board was the last straw. The WMF needs the community more than the community needs the Foundation, and I fear the Board has lost sight of that fact over the last couple of years, making itself increasingly independent of, and lording its position over, the various Wikimedia wiki communities.

I aim to reverse this trend. As a Board member, I would work towards limiting the role of the Foundation in the Communities to that absolutely necessary to protect the projects from legal liability and to maintain financial security and technical stability. I would also propose to make the Board of Trustees an entirely community-elected entity, eliminating all appointed and permanent seats.

The Board should be facilitating the communities, not controlling them. It's time to make that a reality.

Matthew Bisanz (MBisanz)[edit]

Summary details
At FORUM 63 where I presented a paper on aviation patent law
  • Personal:
    • Name: Matthew Bisanz
    • Age: 22
    • Location: New York, USA
    • Languages: English, Spanish (basic reading), Latin (basic reading)
  • Editorial:
    • Wikimedian since: July 2005
    • Active wikis: en.wikipedia, meta-wiki (semi), commons (semi)
Statement A life long New Yorker, I am an active admin on en-wiki, a member of the Bot Approvals Group, and have assisted the MedCom, at their request, in formal mediation matters.

A recent MBA acct grad, I have worked part time in non-profit orgs, up to the board level, for nearly 3 years, and am preparing to sit for the CPA exam. I also hold a BBA in legal studies, acct & mgt.

I see several areas in which I feel I could contribute to the WMF. While Sec 230 may prevent the WMF from becoming more involved in the various communities at the control level I do believe there needs to be greater community involvement at the Foundation level.

Concepts such as Q & A with board members in various forums such as Skype, IRC, mailing lists & other relevant forums, should be pursued with vigor. Initiatives such as polling the communities for new projects & ideas on how to spread free culture are doable and should also be pursued.

Meta, as the central hub where all 700+ WMF wikis intersect, should have 10x the # of pages it currently has, as active users on all projects should be encouraged to express their views on the direction that WMF should take in its mission encourage the growth and creation of free content.

The way I intend to pursue this change is to encourage greater inter-project cooperation, through ideas such as cross-project searches or a reference search similar to the NYT. This would increase the image and activity of all projects positively.

Paul Williams (Skenmy)[edit]

Summary details
Me at Play.com Live! for Wikinews, 2008.
  • Personal:
    • Name: Paul Williams
    • Age: 18
    • Location: Essex, England
    • Languages: English
  • Editorial:
    • Wikimedian since: August 2005
    • Active wikis: en.wikinews, en.wikipedia, meta.wikimedia
Statement I have a few aims that I wish to accomplish if elected to the Board:
  • Encourage the learning of techniques and methods used to promote and popularise Wikipedia, and use these (wherever appropriate) to promote and popularise sister projects.
  • Promote the inter-working of Wikipedia and its sister projects (transclusion of content, decentralisation from Wikipedia)
  • Reinforce the use of Wikipedia and sister projects as verifiable and trustworthy sources (i.e. in academia)

I think that these issues are things that affect the Foundation now that it has reached maturity, and I would be honoured to be a part of the board that progresses the Foundation, and all of its’ projects, no matter how large or small, above and beyond what they are today.

I have long been an advocate of decentralisation from Wikipedia, removing content that is not encyclopædic, and focusing this content onto the smaller projects– many of which struggle under the weight of Wikipedia. This has long been a retaining factor on the growth of Wikimedia itself, as well as the growth of smaller projects, and I believe it is time for this to change.

Ray Saintonge (Eclecticology)[edit]

Summary details
  • Personal:
    • Name: Ray Saintonge
    • Age: 65
    • Location: Richmond, British Columbia, Canada (suburb of Vancouver)
    • Languages: English, French (but still short of my own standards)
  • Editorial:
    • Wikimedian since: February 2002
    • Active wikis: en.wikisource (currently), but have also been very active in the past in en.Wikipedia & en.wiktionary
Statement I am a semi-retired tax consultant with experience in cross-border tax problems. I have recently been on the executive of the district Parents' Association in a high-performing school district with about 23,000 students. I must leave this because my son is graduating. My book collecting habits are manic, and I am a confessed clutterholic.

I was involved in the establishment of both Wiktionary and Wikisource, have attended all three Wikimanias, and am vocal on governance issues on the mailing lists, notably the foundation list.

I believe that the autonomy of each individual project should be respected in all but the most serious circumstances. If a project makes bad decisions, it needs to accept responsibility for its own problems, and not expect the Board's hand of God as a solution.

I support the principle of a grass-roots Wikicouncil that can set broad editorial policies, without binding individual projects.

I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to edit the projects that interest him without becoming discouraged by arcane technical requirements, keeping in mind the factors responsible for our growth.

I believe that community processes should be based on mutual respect, not discipline and punishment.

I believe that the chapters should lead the way to a more decentralized structure, where there is more encouragement for local fund-raising and spending.

Ryan Postlethwaite[edit]

Summary details
Ryan Postlethwaite (on the left), 2007
  • Personal:
    • Name: Ryan Postlethwaite
    • Age: 22
    • Location: Manchester, UK
    • Languages: English, French, German
  • Editorial:
    • Wikimedian since: October 2006
    • Active wikis: meta.wikimedia, en.wikipedia
Statement For all those that don’t know me, I’m Ryan. I’m currently studying an MSc in biomedical and forensic science and I also have a BSc in pharmacology. I’ve been here since October 2006 and an administrator on the English Wikipedia since March 2007. What I’ve found amazing since I’ve been here is the spirit that the community has shown and the willingness to spend huge amounts of time and effort, free of charge, to provide free content to millions of people around the world. What I think the board needs to recognise is that the community makes this project work. I don’t think this always comes across in their resolutions. We need to think long term – funding is okay for the time being, but the board needs to make sure they keep it coming in to make the projects sustainable for the years to come. So, what exactly do I hope to bring to the board?
  • Bring in more community influence to the board. Firstly, by creating more community seats on the board, and secondly by asking the community for more input into foundation issues.
  • Bring in long term, sustainable funding to the foundation so the projects status would be secured for many years, without the need for allowing advertising on our pages.
  • Make more communication with the community. When there’s problems within the boardroom, they should be open with the community about them and open to suggestions.

Samuel Klein (Sj)[edit]

Summary details
In Taipei, August 2007. Credit: Joi
  • Personal:
    • Name: Samuel Klein
    • Age: 30
    • Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
    • Languages: En-5, De-2, Es-1, Fr-1
  • Editorial:
    • Wikimedian since: January 2004
    • Active wikis: meta(s), en:wp(a); also nah:wp(a), sw:wp(a), en:wikinews, en:wikibooks, foundationwiki, wikimania2005/6
Statement Wikimedia's projects have become a model of collaboration throughout the world. As the Foundation grows and faces new obstacles to bringing free knowledge to the world, it should itself be a model for open, scalable organizations. Even the greatest challenges in outreach, communication, and technology, can be overcome by helping match community members with needed solutions.



I have contributed to the projects for 4 years – as editor, translator, admin, steward, and conference organizer. I have talked about Wikimedia to classes, conferences, and the press. I started the Meta translators network and the Wikimedia Quarto, a multilingual newsletter I edited with Anthere in 2004-5. I helped run the first two Wikimanias, hosting Wikimania 2006 in Boston.

For the past two years, I have served as Director of Community Content for the One Laptop per Child non-profit, sharing knowledge and creative tools with children, teachers and educational initiatives in developing nations.

As Board member, I would

  • Represent the community's perspectives to the Board, not my own. This means communicating frequently, holding open meetings, and helping people from every project and language to be involved.
  • Encourage delegation of outreach and community development to chapters.
  • Focus on the needs of our smaller projects, and on improving access to them.
  • Pursue an endowment for long-term stability of the Foundation.

Steve Smith (Sarcasticidealist)[edit]

Summary details
Me, evidently finding myself quite amusing.
  • Personal:
    • Name: Steve Smith
    • Age: 26
    • Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (until August 2008, after which Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada)
    • Languages: English, French (formerly fluent, now merely conversational due to atrophy)
  • Editorial:
    • Wikimedian since: February 2007
    • Active wikis: en.wikipedia, meta.wikimedia, commons.wikimedia
Statement I am
  1. an administrator at English Wikipedia and a member of the OTRS team,
  2. the business manager of a non-profit with revenues in excess of half a million dollars,
  3. a former director of three different non-profits, one statutory corporation, and one for-profit corporation,
  4. occasionally called upon by these organizations to give presentations on corporate governance, and
  5. starting law school in September 2008.

I can verify all of the above upon request. If elected, I would

  1. advocate for the Foundation-imposed creation of committees in our largest projects, such committees to be
    • empowered to make project-specific policy,
    • elected to finite terms by the community and recallable by same,
    • overrulable by community consensus,
    • authorized to alter their own makeup, and
    • no threat to the Foundation’s Section 230 immunity as a nonpublisher;
  2. ensure that the current more rapid growth of expenses than of revenues is merely a symptom of a rapidly growing organization;
  3. critically examine the proposed license migration;
  4. support the new board structure, except the chapter Trustees ( I would need to learn more to offer an opinion about them);
  5. oppose the use of paid advertising on any Wikimedia project.

Ting Chen (Wing)[edit]

Summary details
Wing on Wikimania 2007, Taipei
  • Personal:
    • Name: Ting Chen
    • Age: 40
    • Location: Mainz, Germany
    • Languages: Chinese, German, English, a little French
  • Editorial:
    • Wikimedian since: January 2003
    • Active wikis: zh.wikipedia, de.wikipedia, en.wikipedia
Statement I was born in Shanghai, grew up in Harbin of northeast China, and moved to Germany at age of 20. Now I live in Mainz and work at IBM as a programmer.

I began participating in Wikipedia five years ago and have edited and translated lots of articles between DE, EN, and ZH, so I know well how the three Wikipedia projects grew over the years, their history and current status, and their character, strengths, and weaknesses. As an active administrator and bureaucrat at ZH.WP, I am also devoted to daily cleanup work and community interactions. I also helped organizing Wikimania 2007 Taipei.

I strongly believe and hold that Wikimedia and its projects should remain open, neutral, simple, and diverse.

If elected to the Board, I will:

  • Support development of the MediaWiki software for enhanced usability.
  • Support measures to attract and retain new editors.
  • Facilitate communications among Wikimedia communities of different projects and locations.
  • Advocate for lingual, cultural and other diversities in the Wikimedia community.
  • Promote collaborations between Wikimedia and universities or other nonprofit/public institutions of education and research (e.g., libraries).