Wikimedia Foundation elections/Board elections/2011/Post mortem

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Post-mortems: 2009 | 2011 | 2013 (report)

This is the post mortem to the 2011 board election. Input is very much appreciated, and can be posted on the talk page or directly to this page. Sign with four tildes as usual.

Committee[edit]

From committee members
  • This is not something that is easily "fixed", since the committee consists of volunteers, but in my opinion the committee should be more diverse, especially timezone-wise (this year four out of five members were in Africa/Middle-East, from UTC+2 to UTC+3:30). Jon Harald Søby 14:12, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
  • The committee should have one member of the tech-team that can oversee the technical aspects of it all. This was something we missed this year, and I think we learned that we would have benefitted greatly from that. Jon Harald Søby 14:12, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
  • The committee should have a clearer division of responsibilities to equalise the workload for the members. E.g. having one person responsible for technical, one for translations, one for communications (including CentralNotice) and so on. This would make things more streamlined than this year, I think. Jon Harald Søby 14:12, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
  • I like Jon's suggestion elsewhere of a team that sticks around for more than one election, but realistically speaking, that's hard. That's asking for a commitment over a period of several years. If we could find a way to maintain stability (that isn't staff dependent), that would be good. Philippe (WMF) 16:40, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
From others
  • I certainly agree that a more diverse committee would be good, both in time-zones and also perhaps by more active canvassing for participation within the qualified candidate group and the community. fr33kman 15:51, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
  • I would like to see this become a standing election committee, that recruits new volunteers each year for one-year terms. It means a bit more work, but would be much less crunch-work at the last minute, and could help more than just the biannual community elections for Trustees (any other event that uses SecurePoll could involve at least communication with the committee, as could the annual Steward elections; and any other election involving the Central Notice, such as nominations of people to consider for chapters-selected Trustee selection). SJ talk | translate   03:35, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
  • I've written lots elsewhere; I think we learn most from the the fact EnWP's number of coordinators was an order of magnitude larger than our elections, despite our work being infinitely more challenging. ; Per Jon and SJ, I also like the idea of a 'standing election committee' that lays the groundwork for a year's election--- (although the permanent body's title of 'election committee' might wind being a slight misnomer, as they might not be the same people who run the election itself; People who working on elections may not automatically be the same exact individuals who have the requisite Appearance of Impartiality we need in the group of people who actually run the election itself.) --Alecmconroy 07:13, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
    Fair point - the standing committee might well be separate from, and responsible for, the overseers for a particular election. So for instance Jan-Bart, as Trustee liaison to the electcomm, would have been on the standing committee this year. SJ talk | translate   07:28, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
    I might propose we adopt enwp's naming scheme: "Election coordinators" for self-selected editors organizing the on-wiki aspects of the election and Election administrators for the smaller group of 'widely-trusted neutral referees'. --Alecmconroy 02:33, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

Community Engagement[edit]

From committee members
From others
  • Most of the community sat this out. Lots appeared to do so because they have no emotional investment in the foundation itself beyond their own projects. Many didn't know what the foundation does or what the board does. Many said they didn't have enough information to vote intelligently. It would be good to quantify no-vote causes (and confirm my intuition that each cause was significant) through discussion or survey. --Alecmconroy 22:59, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Speaking for myself (and at the risk of suffering from expressing my own shortcomings to the community here), I'd like to admit to a few things. I know the basics of what the Foundation's board does, and the relationship between the Foundation and my main project of interest (the English Wikipedia), which actually informs my own current position that my opinion on the membership of the board doesn't really matter that much. I mean... the Wikimedia Foundation intentionally does not get involved in content issues, which is my main concern as a project community member. Barring the hypothetical candidacy of someone who desires to change that approach, I don't see why I should particularly care about the board. I want the board to ensure that Wikimedia projects are able to continue (through fund raising and operations management oversite), but beyond that... It was interesting being able to vote and all, but I didn't see what we were really voting for (or against). I made sure to read through the candidate statements before voting, at least. Ohms law 22:46, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
    This great feedback. Thank you! The next step is-- what do you think we could have done differently to make you see what we were voting for or against? Suggestions have included a candidate debate, referendum items on the ballot, wider-spread sharing of rationales for top candidates. --Alecmconroy 02:22, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
    Thanks. :)
    I don't know that a debate would be that useful, but certainly more "discussion" would help... candidate "advertisements", if you will (linked to with rotating central notices, maybe?) Not that we should be trying to turn these elections into faux US Presidential campaigns, but the candidates should certainly speak more if we're going to continue having elections. Referendums would certainly be good, if the board ever feels that an issue could best be addressed that way.
    I hate to rain on the parade, but I really question community involvement in selecting board members, when it comes down to it. I mean, being a board member is a business administration position, and what the heck do I know as an editor that can inform the sort of decision required in choosing people to hold such a position? I guess that these are seats which are specifically set aside for the community though. You know, in the business world these things are often decided with money... Has anyone discussed the possibility of a 1 vote per $1 donation type of system? Ohms law 08:18, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
  • For the 1st time in the 5 board elections I've voted in, I didn't vote for any candidate (no numerical ranking for anyone). How about a "None of the above" option in future elections (but staying with Schulze and the contradiction of ranking others along as well as NOTA)? A vote like mine is currently even less than a spoilt vote, because, while spoilt votes are also not used in the calculations, if they're big enough they're an important indicator. -- Jeandré, 2011-06-26t14:45z
    • (This comment and the one above actually belong to "Voting method") The option "RON" (re-open nominations) is prevalent among student elections in the United Kingdom, and is easy to implement under any election where voters rank all candidates. Basically RON behaves like a human candidate (he even has a boy's name!), and if RON wins a seat, only candidates that beat RON will be elected; the seat won by RON, and all subsequent seats, will be re-opened in a subsequent election. Deryck Chan 06:58, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Communication[edit]

General communication[edit]

From committee members
  • CentralNotice use went all right, though it might be an advantage to have the board election CN as the only one (it was shared with Commons POTY some of the time, which might be confusing). It would be very nice to be able to show the CentralNotice only to eligible voters (as opposed to all logged-in users), but that would require some changes to its code. Jon Harald Søby 14:12, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
    • Maybe the notice should have some graphics to be more visible? Jon Harald Søby 14:12, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
      • This is a meta point, but... this is my fear about centralnotice. We keep having to make things newer and shinier to get attention on it. If we all moderated to a certain standard, I think it would be more effective. Philippe (WMF) 04:09, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Communication to mailing lists could be better, especially surrounding the results that were late. This was our fault. Jon Harald Søby 14:12, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
From others
  • The layout and presentation of elections pages needs a lot of work. It was difficult for me to find the questions pages for candidates, both in answering them and when voting, even though I had to visit them dozens of times to answer questions myself. The banner messages which announce that nominations have started, questions can be posted, and elections have started all could use clearer language and links. The election overview pages should have better lead paragraphs and summary infoboxes describing the election. (see also Voting interface below.) SJ talk | translate   03:35, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
  • More detailed communication about specific needs and requirements for elections would be helpful. For instance: statistics about how many people are eligible to vote, how many people actually view each of the elections pages, how one can nominate someone else or propose a question. SJ talk | translate  
  • Communication was one of our two "big new challenges" we struggled with this year. (The other was engagement). As of this moment, I don't know which voters had access to what text. As others have suggested, we should do an extensive postmortem survey to find out who voted, why they voted at all, what guided their choices, what information they had access to when they voted, what info they actually used. if they didn't vote, why not? --Alecmconroy 07:32, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

E-mail notifications[edit]

From committee members
  • The preparations for sending the e-mails should be done much sooner, it was quite last-minute this time (as evidenced by the "2009" subject). Jon Harald Søby 14:12, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
  • The e-mail should be more informative, and should include a direct link to the voting page; this time the only link included was to Meta, which confused people as to where they should go to be able to vote. Jon Harald Søby 14:12, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
  • The e-mails should be sent only to people who haven't voted; though if they were sent at the beginning of the election this would be no problem. Jon Harald Søby 14:12, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
  • There is an opt-out list, but it is on a wiki page on Meta. Someone requested an anonymous list for privacy concerns. Jon Harald Søby 14:12, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
    • The ideal situation would be to have e-mail notification as a separate option in the user preferences, but I am afraid this might be turned off by many users due to fear of spam. Jon Harald Søby 14:12, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
From others
  • It should be taken care, that notifications per mail are sent in the language which is users native language or multilingual (en-de-fr-es) in case that there is no translation. Just guessing that someone will understand the notification in similar languages is a bit irritating. --WizardOfOz talk 15:45, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
    • Agreed - this should definitely be translated into as many languages as possible, since all experienced users will get it. SJ talk | translate   03:35, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
      • Indeed - the e-mails are probably the most point of communication we have, and improving the text and translating the mail (plus send it in many languages if there is no translation) should be a top priority. Jon Harald Søby 07:02, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Notifications by e-mail don't have to be canvassing. Canvassing is a bad practice not allowed in most of Wikimedia projects. So, it must not be allowed also in Meta-Wikimedia and elections, even when they are send by wikipedia e-mail from the projects. --Millars 10:16, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Standards for communication[edit]

From committee members
From others
  • Clarity needed: What sorts of communication about an election are acceptable? Is canvassing and campaigning allowed? How can local communities organize events or discussions about the election? For instance, if someone organizes a debate must they invite all candidates? When is it appropriate to use a local sitenotice to discuss such things on individual projects? What sorts of communication should be translated or proposed for translation? As an example, The concerns about spam at the end of this election have not been addressed. SJ talk | translate  
+1. No guidance is a very very stressful way to communicate about an election. In crafting these 'rules', be mindful that the 'rules' are truly only 'binding' on candidates, WMF trustees/employees, and "lawful-good" voters. Our rules will not apply to trolls, vandals, hate-mongers, factional-partisans, candidate-surrogates, and "chaotic-good" ideologues-- all of whom will always be able to mass-communicate in an infinite number of venues without the committee's ability to detect or even 'penalize' it in any way at all. This insight is critical-- the old model of election, where we personally knew all the candidates, that time is over. We're far too big for that now. Some segments of the community will always spam, mass-communicate, and vote-as-a-block. The 'rules' are desperately needed to invite 'lawful-good' community to take part in the conversation, along with lots of advice on how to do so constructively and positively. --Alecmconroy 23:11, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Requirements to be a candidate[edit]

From committee members
From others
  • Requirements to run should be significantly higher than requirements to vote. The former should require more demonstration of commitment to the projects, for one thing. "Must not be blocked on more than one wiki" is a low bar. Contribution requirements could be higher than this year, especially regarding recent contributions. A demonstration of general interest would also be valuable. If candidate nominations are done a few months in advance, there could be a requirement to demonstrate public support at the very start of the process. Alternately there could be an initial round of voting [see related suggestion under 'voting process' below] SJ talk | translate   07:17, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Agree, there were far too many candidates this time round, as an interested voter - but not familiar with many of the candidates - it was a huge hassle to try and evaluate this many candidates, some who had little chance of being elected and very unqualified. I suspect part of the reason that all of the current members were re-elected was in part a form of "better the devil you know" from voters who were not able to effectively evaluate the number of candidates. The idea that preliminary candidates must demonstrate a level of public support in advance strikes me as excellent. Ajbpearce 14:02, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

There was a considerable amount of drama surrounding two candidates who were blocked during the election period. The dispute revolved mainly around their eligibility, of which I think the election committee correctly decided that because the candidates were valid candidates at the start of the election, they should remain valid candidates even though subsequent changes make them "fall through" the eligibility threshold. I think this needs to be formalised into a written rule for the next election. From the voter response, I would argue that our community generally thinks Capsot was a good candidate, whereas Mvart4u was not. On balance I think the eligibility threshold was appropriate and I can't see a feasible way of raising the threshold that will weed out the bad candidates but not some of the good ones. Deryck Chan 06:44, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Suffrage[edit]

From committee members
  • I remain convinced that lower barriers to participation are better. We run the risk of a self-fulfilling prophecy if the only people who are invited to vote have to pass a high bar for entry. Although the cost may be that a few more fraudulent votes got through, and vote checking was harder, I believe the cost to benefit equation is positive. Philippe (WMF) 16:45, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
Philippe these are still community elected seats, on the basis of past activities the community is aware of. Lowering the bar, would entitle anyone unaware of the candidates or their work, to vote. I think it tends to weed out people who are not aware of the candidates themselves. I know the two things might not be exclusive but I, for one, would want the voters to be active wikipedians. Theo10011 17:11, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
To clarify, I'm not agitating for lower - I think this year's was fine. Just that it shouldn't be higher. But to answer your point, I think there's still some room to be closed between "active wikipedians" and "totally uneducated and unrelated people". I'm not saying drop them entirely - just that we should find the sweet spot. Philippe (WMF) 04:07, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
From others
  • I feel the suffrage bar could be dropped further - say, to 150 edits + 40 in the past year - if we find better ways to avoid duplicate votes. SJ talk | translate  
  • Other types of contribution that should count towards suffrage: I think significant donors should be invited to vote - at least the people who show up on our Benefactors list. If we can find a way to identify individual content donors, people making significant content donations should be similarly welcome. SJ talk | translate  
    • We discussed that this year, and the consensus seemed to be that that would be unbeneficial because it would seem like buying votes or buying influence. Jon Harald Søby 07:46, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
      • I don't think people should get "one vote per donation" - this should not be like buying votes at all. But those who donated significantly (enough to be recognized elsewhere for their financial or content donations), who have not otherwise qualified to vote, could be invited to without significantly changing the balance of voters. SJ talk | translate   10:23, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Now that there are multiple ways to be eligible - via code commits and edits if nothing else - we should have a better way to identify socks and overlap between different types of suffrage. Voter registration requiring identifying information be provided privately to the WMF might be one solution. SJ talk | translate  
  • Interesting idea. I'm not convinced that WMF is anywhere near equipped to handle the logistics of that, but it's a great conversation starter. Philippe (WMF) 04:08, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
    • I didn't find suffrage to be problematic this year. Expanded suffrage is a good discussion to have-- suffrage is a direct 'invite' from the community to help us with the process. Provided an expansion is a small percentage of electorate, extending suffrage in general is a "good thing". Including a limited number of special invites to individuals who've been exceptionally helpful, even if just financially, should be fine as long as their number limited. --Alecmconroy 04:56, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
  • The WMF is an entity made of those who call themselves "members" (unpaid membership in the global entity). As such we have to define what membership means and what privileges it contains? Often membership would include the right to vote, even for the newest member and the right to run for office. Because no dues are charged to the membership we "charge" the membership in number of edits and time since joining. We can't determine who shall vote based on age or any other physical factor as this is a global virtual cultural project. This is an odd way to determine suffrage in my opinion. fr33kman 23:13, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
  • I think it'd be cool if a list of eligible voters were made before election day (along with info on what the voter turn out was afterwards). This could maybe reduce the time to tabulate results (I don't know exactly what the committie does when tabulating, so I don't know how much it'd help, but maybe). Bawolff 00:46, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

Election process[edit]

Questions[edit]

  • Questions and answers should be translated into at least core languages. Announcing the desire for questions at the start of the nominations period, having an end date for questions which will be translated [perhaps still allowing 'additional' questions], and leaving an extra two weeks to translate those questions and their answers, would make a big difference to the many voters who do not understand English. SJ talk | translate  
  • There should be a clerk to help work with question-askers to streamline the questions process: helping word them effectively, avoiding duplicates, ensuring they are translated promptly. SJ talk | translate  
  • At least one community group should seed the questions process with clean questions planned long in advance, based on important discussions and topics in the community. This group could also organize a candidate debate. SJ talk | translate  
  • Might it be useful to strongly suggest that question-askers first post their questions to a sandbox where other interested community members can comment on the question first before making it an official question for the candidates? This might remove some duplicated or otherwise trivially answered factual material and lower the reading / responding volume for anyone. Also is their no facility provided for public questions to specific candidates? Some of the candidate statements include very specific platform statements which raise questions which would be inapplicable to other candidates. --Gmaxwell 03:30, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
    +1 to this, seems like a good idea. It would be nice to see what questions have traction as being something people care about, and also merge questions. -- phoebe | talk 17:56, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
    +1 Collaborative polishing of a question before presenting it is a great idea. I also would really like community and candidates to be able to 'focus' on questions that are 'most important'/getting traction. Perhaps some sort of reddit-like interface where people can "like"/"vote up" questions they most care about? ---Alecmconroy 07:41, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
    Excellent idea, but only for questions before the cut off date for verification, ordered by category so all the questions about a topic can be sub numbered. Questions asked after voting has started should immediately go on the questions page. -- Jeandré, 2011-06-26t14:54z
  • Questioners should be able to specify who their questions are "aimed at"-- sometimes questions are mean to draw distinctions between a specific set of candidates who have been similar in their other responses. Other candidates should always be 'welcome' to answer such questions too, they just shouldn't feel obligated to. Similarly, questions should be able to be flag questions as "optional", to be answered only by those candidates who feel it would be useful to answer it. --Alecmconroy 00:39, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Develop a ElectionQuestions-UserInterface Extension. MediaWiki templating alone may not be sufficient for the technical challenges of a massively-multilingual rapidly-translated global discussion. The Answers View should be sortable/filterable by candidate(s), by question(s), and by both simultaneously. We should incorporate ultra-simple options for translation, so that _anyone_, even someone without prior knowledge of templating, can simply and easily provide the translation. --Alecmconroy 00:36, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Number of candidates[edit]

From committee members
From others
  • There were a few too many candidates in the final process. Many voters said this year, as two years ago, that they did not have time to read all of the presentations or answers. We should consider a two-stage election process, where the first stage narrows the field to those candidates with significant support. The bulk of Q&A and debates could happen after this stage. SJ talk | translate   03:35, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
+1. The first stage needs to be ultra-inviting so we get those "outsider engagement" candidates, but the 'major round' needs to have fewer. The least-controversial way to do this is through some semi-democratic process (runoffs, show of public support) rather than objective criteria that could always be gamed anyway. --Alecmconroy 07:37, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Some ideas for this:
1) Require to collect XX nominating signatures - common element in real life elections too. Disadvantage is that you have no guarantee that the number will indeed be limited.
2) Have a two stage election, with twice as many places as the number of available seats. Also quite common. Only works if we don't want/need many many voters for the first round.
3) Have a committee pick candidates - big disadvantage that this would introduce systemic bias. Wouldn't recommend.
4) increase candidacy requirements - not really workable since there will be little added value compared to current situation
Effeietsanders 12:08, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
I prefer the first option, but we should study it well, because AFAIK the system of endorsements didn't work very well. Perhaps we should restrict it a lot, to prevent it from being a duplicate of the general election: I don't know, only users with at least 200 edits on Meta, perhaps considering also mailing lists, plus other exceptions; or maybe a !vote where a committee establish consensus on which candidates pass to the next stage (quite difficult to organize but not impossible). Nemo 13:32, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Nemo: from the sentiments expressed by many candidates in this election, I really don't think meta edit-count is a good criterion for nominator eligibility. Deryck Chan 04:46, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
We've got two years to figure out a workable method :) Perhaps it would be nice if we can at least agree we would like to see *something* in place to that end. Effeietsanders 08:39, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Timeline[edit]

  • The election operated on a fixed schedule with fixed schedules that were followed independent of translation work and outreach work. I'd suggest the next election try to incorporate extra 'leeway' for unexpected delays, and that the translation team and outreach team both be able to, within reason, be asked for an informal "Go-or-No-Go" before proceeding to the next step of the election process. If a large chunk of the electorate can't yet participate (or know about) the next phase (or aren't done with the current phase), let's generally plan, with reason, to stay in the current phase until everyone's caught up. --Alecmconroy 00:21, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Someone else, the source escapes me, has wisely proposed annual elections. If doable and done right, I think this could be a very powerful process for getting the community to 'personally invest' in the foundation, if they haven't already. --Alecmconroy 00:25, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Voting process[edit]

Voting method[edit]

From committee members
From others
  • Don't use the Schulze method, instead use a more transparent method that makes clear the difference between ranking someone with a low rank, and not voting. Or use a better interface; see 'voting interface' below.
    (from the original talk page) I am surprised that there was not any discussion about whether or not this was the appropriate voting method, after concerns had been expressed in previous elections. There is no way to indicate in the Schulze method that one absolutely does not want a certain candidate to succeed. It is also a non-transparent system in that, short of someone doing considerable research about the system itself, it is not obvious that all ranked candidates are more highly rated than entirely unranked candidates. It is natural for people who have no other way to object to a candidate to "rank" them in the last possible position (i.e., if there are 19 candidates, to rank the candidate one doesn't want to be appointed as #19). This has created an artificially high result in the past, and is likely to do so again. -- Risker
  • Consider using a proportional voting method, like the Proportional Schulze method.
    (from the original talk page) The Schulze method is a very defensible voting method to use when electing one person, but it's too bad that a winner-take-all is used to elect three seats. Although unlikely, it means that 49% of voters might strongly disagree with the views of the winners. Many NGO's use voting methods where about a third voters could have the power to elect one of three seats. - RRichie
    Actually, there is also a proportional variant of the Schulze method.:Actually, there is also a proportional variant of the Schulze method. I have applied this variant to the ballot data of the 2008 Board of Trustees elections... [which starts to differ from the non-proportional results by the 5th-ranked result] - Markus Schulze
    In general, I like use using w:Condorcet method of some kind; the confusion can be fixed, I think, by a better UI and 'animations' of the process envisioned as runoff elections. --Alecmconroy 07:58, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
    How about hiring a notable firm to determine the best methods, a firm could also run the election. fr33kman 23:18, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
    I already had a hard time explaining to people how the voting works and in what way they would represent their preferred outcome. I am afraid that if we use yet another method, we might confuse the voters even further. People should never have to wonder what will happen to their vote and how it influences the result. Effeietsanders 08:44, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
    I'm content and pleased with Schulze-- which is one of several notable Condorcet methods. --Alecmconroy 16:05, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
    No is the answer to any proportional method. A proportional method implies the presence of parties or slates of some sort, which are explicitly prohibited by the rules of WMF board elections (may not run in a slate). Deryck Chan 04:41, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
    I could foresee us having some proportional body at some point in our evolution, but the WMF board isn't a good fit for that proportional body. The elected board members are all our members. --Alecmconroy 07:18, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Voting interface[edit]

From committee members
From others
  • Use an interface that lets you slide candidaets around, visualizing how they rank. [find a solution for visualizing candidates placed at an identical rank]. In particular, make it obvious that not voting at all for a candidate places them below every candidate you do vote for. SJ talk | translate  
    Kalan has a nice form that he used for the Russian Wikipedia's 2010 Arbitration Committee election: http://v.kalan.cc/schulze.htm. I think that works awesomely and is exactly what you're looking for. We can probably customize it even further, such as by adding another box that says "no way in hell", giving us "no preference", "hell no", and "ranked candidates". Cbrown1023 talk 19:17, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
    "That's it. The solutions are there. ... That is the system." --Alecmconroy 23:35, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
    Great idea, Casey. I've seen that interface before and like it; Selectricity has a similar one. I also like having a single "unqualified" box, as you and Alec suggest, perhaps everyone below it would get the same rank of -1. SJ talk | translate  
  • The user-interface should have an "unqualified" line-- candidates ranked below the line should be recorded as 'unqualified/untrusted'. This would not affect voting outcomes, but it could help us gauge general trust of individuals within the global community. --Alecmconroy
  • Voting interface should have ample space for wikitext rationales, both per-candidate and per-ballot. --Alecmconroy 07:51, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
    Introducing something like that would not be positive if the votes are still secret (I am not discussing whether we should maintain that secrecy). --SMP (talk page) 23:39, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
  • After voting, perhaps the interface should allow semi-automatic publication of the all or part of ballot, either signed or pseudonymously. Particularly, encouraging real-time publication of a ballot's "top candidates" and the rationales for support seems likely to generate positive, productive conversation. --Alecmconroy 07:55, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
    I do not think this is a good idea. It would favor a lot the candidates that start in a good position, and that circumstance can depend on things like timezone of first voters or availability of translations at the start of voting. --SMP (talk page) 23:39, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Drag & drop would definitely be helpful. Effeietsanders 08:48, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Something I saw with university elections and that I loved was a small popup above the candidate with a little photo and a statement of ~100-150 characters. That way, the voter can more easily remember which person belongs to which name. Especially important when having a large number of candidates. Effeietsanders 08:48, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
    Definitely. SJ talk | translate  
  • [Or] the securepoll page that shows individual candidate names should have links to more information directly on it. SJ talk | translate   03:35, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
    I'm not sure about links on the securepoll page (i.e.:the ballot). To me it'd be like campaigning inside the polling station. fr33kman 22:58, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
    I don't think adding links to candidate descriptions is a big deal - in many countries the ballot paper includes a few lines (if not paragraphs) about each candidate, next to the box which you tick! Deryck Chan 18:44, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Message from Gregory Kohs[edit]

I was asked to convey this message from Gregory Kohs, who cannot post it himself because he is blocked from Meta. The message follows. Jon Harald Søby 23:03, 5 July 2011 (UTC)



According to various statistical analyses found on Wikimedia projects, it appears that there are about 100,000 accounts that have edited any Wikimedia project 5 or more times in the past 30 days. It seems fair to say that these are, at minimum, current "participants" in the Wikimedia experience. Additionally, there are perhaps 300,000 or 400,000 biographies of living people on the various language Wikipedias. Regardless of what one might think about these people being on the "inside" or "outside" of the Wikimedia experience, they are (almost by definition) "stakeholders" in the Wikimedia adventure. The site is publishing their legacy, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

Unfortunately, the Wikimedia Foundation early on rejected Alex Roshuk's legal charter that would make the WMF a membership organization. The board (which was 60% composed of Wikia, Inc. employees) was fearful that a voting membership would potentially deprive the hand-picked board of control. So, we're stuck with ambiguous definitions of "community", because the organization views "membership" as a dangerous word. A fair interpretation of what constitutes "membership" in a non-profit institution that very deliberately chose *not* to be chartered as a membership organization, would be "anyone who has a stake in the content and of the organization's output and the culture that produces it". That is, I believe that board voting privileges should be extended to the approximately 500,000 people who have a stake in the output of the Wikimedia projects (100,000 recent editors of 5+ edits, plus 400,000 subjects of Wikimedia biographies). At the very least, this wider enfranchisement could be extended to preliminary election "primaries" that narrow to field to (perhaps) 3x more candidates than seats available.

The way the voting privileges are set up now would be akin to an airline pilot's union requiring that voters must have hand-built at least 10% of an airplane, or a county historical society requiring that voters must currently live in the county. These are arbitrary and foolish conditions, the same way it is arbitrary and foolish to dictate that only those who have built up 300 edits on Wikimedia projects would know anything about selecting the best candidates to guide the mission and vision of a Top 5 global website dedicated to freely-licensed educational content.

If Dennis Van Roekel wished to vote in the 2011 WMF board election, I suppose he would not have qualified. If John L. Seigenthaler wished to vote, he would not have qualified. If Noam Cohen wished to vote, he would not have qualified. Hell, if former head of Wikimedia Foundation Community Giving, Rand Montoya, wished to vote, he would not have qualified -- by a long shot.

The same foolish voter conditions are applied to candidates for the board itself, so (again), tens of thousands of luminaries in the fields of education, publishing, information technology, media, etc., are wiped out of contention, because they haven't toiled away at a 300-edit process that effectively excludes over 99.5% of the 14.5 million registered user accounts, at least on the English Wikipedia. The 300-edit barrier is the modern day equivalent of the 1890's property tests and poll taxes in the American South. Is that the reputation that the Wikimedia Foundation seeks? Is the Wikimedia Foundation pleased that only 15 people stepped forward to be considered to help guide a web domain that serves hundreds of millions of people? Is everyone convinced of the wisdom that three available seats held by three incumbents were all re-won by the same three incumbents?

These are questions that the wider community should consider and address, especially if the answers are "no".


Kindly,

Gregory Kohs Active editor: En-Wikiversity, Commons, En-Wikisource, En-Wikibooks

A note to future committees[edit]

Stack Overflow uses badges for "I voted". I like this. We should consider it. See their blog for more info. Philippe (WMF) (talk) 16:44, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

This idea could make a difference, but it would need to be implemented soon if it was to make a difference to the next election. It takes time for people to see these badges and also decide that they will respond to the next call for voters. John Vandenberg (talk) 06:59, 11 October 2012 (UTC)