Chapter-selected Board seats/2012/Candidates/Questions

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All candidates[edit]

Please ask here your question to be answered by all candidates, the moderators will pass the questions to the candidates and place the answers in the relevant section of the candidate page.

Questions by Laura Hale, from WMAU[edit]

1. In the past year, what work have you done to promote the interests of chapters in general and specific chapters, for example Wikimedia Australia, Wikimedia Poland, Wikimedia India, Wikimedia South Africa, Wikimedia Chile as organisations and the activities supported by dues paying members of these chapters on Wikimedia Foundation projects, to other chapters inside the Wikimedia Foundation, and in relation to the current board of Wikimedia Foundation?
2. Amical is an organisation that has been the topic of recent discussion in a few locations. It is a chapter like organisation that has been denied recognition by the Chapters Committee. A look at the grant funding information available on meta shows Amical has received more funding than Wikimedia Espana, a WMF recognised chapter. What is your position specifically in regards to Amical? Do you believe Amical should be welcomed into the Chapters movement? For organisations like and including Amical that explicitly compete with Chapters, do you believe they should have an equal funding priority as board recognised chapters and should be treated as equal partners by being invited to events like the Chapters meeting in Berlin?
3. Funding has been a major topic amongst chapters recently. Do you believe in a centralised or decentralised funding model? Why do you believe what you believe? How do you think your beliefs would impact the future of chapters in the future?
4. Please describe your relationship with existing WMF board members. Please describe your relationship with Jimmy Wales, Erik Moeller and Sue Gardner.
5. Please describe your relationship with existing chapter boards. Please provide details about your relationships with chapters and other Movement related groups (Education, GLAM, GAC, etc.) in Europe, North America, South America, Oceania, Asia and Africa.
6. Did you approach any chapters about endorsing you who are not listed? If yes, which chapters and how did they respond? Did any chapters approached you about them endorsing you? If yes, which chapters and how did you respond?
7. How active have you been in movement wide discussions regarding chapters, funding and the WMF in the past year? Where have you been active? (Meta, mailing lists, Outreach wiki, conferences, etc.) Which particular areas have you been active in recently in regards to the future of the Movement?
8. Why do you want to be on the board of the Wikimedia Foundation and what do you hope to accomplish in this position should other Chapters vote for you?

Questions by an anonymous source (by request)[edit]

1. Do you believe that 'badsites' (such as Wikipedia Review or Encyclopedia Dramatica) which have a history of being used to attack or harass Wikimedians and staff are protected as a legitimate form of criticism, parody and free speech?
2. Have you ever contributed to such websites and to what purpose?
3. Over the last year Wikimedians have been subject to off-wiki canvassing, hounding, sexual allegations and homophobic attacks, direct threats and a related group of disaffected users and banned users have formed an effective cross-project travelling circus of 'badsite' regulars manipulating consensus processes. Beyond suggesting that victims of direct threats and false allegations grow a thick skin, take legal action against the WMF or call the police, what are you going to do to ensure the Wikimedia Foundation's response to off-wiki and on-wiki attacks and gaming the system does more to ensure Wikimedia projects can be legitimately promoted as a safe space for contributors of all ages and minority groups?

Question by Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation[edit]

1. Can you describe a time --either in your Wikimedia work or elsewhere-- in which you were able to help people with strongly-different views reach a successful outcome on an important issue, via a consensus-seeking process? (I would define successful in this context as i) a reasonably-okay-or-better decision has been reached, and ii) the people involved end up either having achieved consensus, or still disagreeing but willing to commit to the decision made by the group.) Please also talk a little about your general approach to working towards consensus, particularly in a face-to-face context -- what works well, and what doesn't. Thank you.

Questions by Deryck Chan (member of WMHK and WMUK)[edit]

1. Please describe your current position, and any relevant present and past responsibilities, within your local chapter, or your nominating chapter if there's no local chapter in your jurisdiction.
2. Should you be elected to the board, on which side will you stand, or what will you do, if the board or the WMF makes a decision that is against the interests of your own chapter?

Questions by User Jan eissfeldt[edit]

1. Please define concisely what you consider reasonable basic accountability and transparency standards that must be met by a wikimedia movement entity.
2. how do you understand the role of a wmf trustee in developing, implementing and preserving such standards as defined in response to 1. within the evolving framework of the movement?

Questions from a second anonymous source[edit]

1. Editor retention and recruitment are perhaps the most pressing issues facing the movement. Please specify three means by which editor retention and/or recruitment could be strengthened.
2. If the effectiveness of any or all of your three methods of strengthening editor retention and/or recruitment can be measured quantitatively, please indicate how.
3. How would you characterize the effectiveness of Foundation efforts to identify the causes of decreasing editor retention?

Questions from Ilario Valdelli (WM CH)[edit]

1. may you describe your position about the "centralization" and "decentralization" of the movement? What is your vision about this problem? Do you think that a unique central decision maker point may be helpful for the whole movement?
2. what is your position about the internationalization of the movement? Do you think that the participation of the communities is hampered by the use of a single language as "lingua franca" (may we call it "linguistic divide"?) and that the current structure doesn't support that any valid person can have an active participation in the discussions but also, and this is really serious, to be updated? What could be your proposal?

Question from Mike Peel (WM UK)[edit]

1. Do you have any conflicts of interest with this election process, or with the position of being a WMF trustee? If so, please could you explain them and any potential consequences that they might have?

Questions by AshLin[edit]

1. In India, we have a case where two potentially competing bodies have been established in a single national jurisdiction - namely, the Wikimedia India chapter and WMF India Program. These are two entities which operate simultaneously with a significant potential for conflict/conflict of interest. In adition, community members are simultaneously holding positions under the country chapter (Wikimedia India) as well as paid positions under the WMF - India Program. What are your views about this system?
2. What is your position on the recent significance accorded to "Global South" countries? Should the Foundation's focus over there be to run consultant-led programs or to empower volunteers and volunteer-run organizations? If you consider the Foundation's actions as a fait accompli, how then should this initiative develop so as to be the best in the community interest?

Questions by user Ofol, WMFr member[edit]

1. Do you think the wikimedia Foundation board has the legitimacy to speak in the name of the Wikimedia Movement, and to pass decisions like "approving a new chapter" etc..? Why?
2. if not elected to WMF's Board now, would you run for the Fund Dissemination Committee (FDC) or the Wikimedia Chapters Council (WCC), why?
3. there are times when the WMF Board just reappoints its own members for two years mandates, like [1], [2] [3], [4]. What do you think is the legitimacy of that process? In your view, how many of the 10 trustees should be elected, how many appointed?

Question by Fæ (Wikimedia UK)[edit]

1. After a recent homophobic attack against an editor on Wikipedia I asked Jimbo for a "public statement supporting and valuing LGBT contributors to Wikipedia and your personal active involvement and leadership in this case." If you were asked this question as a WMF board member what would your answer be and would you avoid getting involved in such a case? (Jimbo did not answer the question.)

Craig Franklin (Lankiveil)[edit]

Please ask here your question to be answered by Craig, the moderators will pass the questions to the candidate and place the answers in this page.


Questions by an anonymous source (by request)
  1. Answer to Question 1 (see above the questions)
    My personal view is that a lot of the material that comes out of these sites is not in fact legitimate criticism or in any way helpful to anyone. Legally speaking, they are protected in that they are (I understand) based in the United States and can therefore enjoy the free speech protections of that jurisdiction.
    There may be instances of libel on such sites which theoretically could be prosecuted in a court of law, however given the anonymity of many contributors and the way the sites are structured, I suspect it would not be practical for the average man on the street to go about doing this.
  2. Answer to Question 2 (see above the questions)
    At one point, I registered an account on Wikipedia Review without being aware of what a rat’s nest it was. I only ever made two posts, the latest in May 2009, at which point I realised that my participation there was unlikely to result in any positive outcomes.
  3. Answer to Question 3 (see above the questions)
    I am aware of a number of cases where simple on-Wiki harassment has morphed into more sinister issues of real-life harassment. I certainly sympathise with those who have been the victim of such attacks, and it is my view that the attacks in question emanating from the “badsites” are completely unacceptable, malicious, and have been made solely with the intent of smearing individual editors, Wikimedia chapters and by extension the whole movement, rather than for any higher or altruistic purpose. My view is that if we tolerate harassment (whether based on sexual orientation, gender, race, or anything else), even just a little bit; we are just as bad as the harasser themselves.
    With that said, there are only limited options available to the Foundation for dealing with attacks that take place off of official projects. On-wiki however, the Terms of Service provide for actions to be taken against those engaged in harassment or antisocial behaviour. I would like to see these provisions used liberally against those engaging in harassment against other users, including on-wiki sanctions for off-wiki harassment where appropriate.


Question by Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation
  1. Answer to the question (see above the questions)
    In a project as large and complex as Wikimedia, disagreement happens every day. I don’t think disagreement is something to be shied away from by sticking one’s fingers in one’s ears, adopting a “positive attitude,” and pretending it is not there. The trick is effectively managing this disagreement so that it doesn’t blossom into conflict. My general rule of thumb for doing this is to:
    1. Always consider the viewpoint of the other side and ask myself what I’d do in their position.
    2. Avoid personalising the disagreement.
    3. Look for any areas of common ground and agree on those before tackling any difficult issues.
    4. Realise that “finding consensus” is not the same thing as talking the other party around to your point of view
    5. Realise that “finding consensus” is also not the same thing as pretending the opposing view doesn’t exist or is completely without merit.
    6. Realise that if you do come to a consensus, you won’t get everything that you want, and that that is okay. ‘Compromise’ is a word that I often associate with a sustainable consensus on an issue.
    Is this approach successful? Not always, but I’d like to think that I’m regarded as a reasonable person by those that I’m disagreeing with, because you never know, I might be agreeing with them about something else tomorrow.
    To use a more concrete example, I have been in sharp disagreement with the Foundation on many aspects of the chapter funding question, a disagreement that has been raging now for many months. In particular, I’ve often pointed out what I perceive to be problems in the positions advanced by some Foundation staff with regard to their justifications and their plans. However, I’ve already arranged to buy a drink for some of those same staff at the Wikimedia Conference in Berlin later this month*, because there is no point resorting to abuse or bad feelings.
    • If we’ve disagreed on anything in the past year, and I’ve missed you out, and you’ll be in Berlin, email me and let’s have a drink and a friendly chat together.


Questions by Deryck Chan (member of WMHK and WMUK)
  1. Answer to the question 1 (see above the questions)
    I have been the Treasurer of Wikimedia Australia since 2010. Before that I have been a financial member of the chapter since it was originally founded. As Treasurer, my responsibilities range from setting the high level financial policies to meet our organisation’s strategic goals and dealing with statutory financial reporting, tax, and audit, all the way down to booking hotel rooms and issuing reimbursements for volunteers who are performing work on behalf of the chapter and the movement.
    I have been nominated for this role by Wikimedia Indonesia. As the only other active chapter in our immediate neighbourhood, we talk often with the Indonesian chapter about various issues. I am not a member and have no official role in the Indonesian chapter, however I am on friendly social terms with their board.
  2. Answer to the question 2 (see above the questions)
    If elected, I would have to resign from the Wikimedia Australia board, so it would no longer be “my own chapter”. With that said, I would not be a party to any board decision which I perceived as against the interests of any chapter, because I believe that a healthy chapters movement ultimately benefits the Foundation and the movement. I do not accept the notion that there needs to be any “side” for me to stand on with regard to chapter/Foundation relationships.
Questions by a second anonymous source
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    The issue with the very pressing issue of editor retention is that there is no single policy change that can be made that will turn things around. A holistic, whole-of-movement approach is needed to resolve these problems, rather than making a set number of changes and declaring the problem solved. With that in mind,
    1. Improving accessibility, particularly through technology, with things such as the WYSIWYG interface and continuing to improve the Vector skin to ensure maximum accessibility to those on slow internet connections, those on mobile devices, and those using non-traditional devices such as screen readers to access the projects.
    2. Investing in existing volunteers, to complement outreach activities. We're doing okay at getting people through the door, it's convincing them to stay that's the problem, and the programmes just aren't there to support editors between the "newbie" and "veteran" phases.
    3. Devolving decision making to the community wherever possible, so that volunteers are not just seen as abstract content-generating units, but as stakeholders with an active voice in the directions that the movement takes.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    There are many quantitative measurements that the Foundation already undertakes to measure editor activity and retention. If editor retention initiatives start to work, it should be easy to use these existing measurements to confirm that.
  3. Answer to question 3 (see above the questions)
    On the whole, from "average" to "poor". A lot of work has gone into measuring the scale of the problem, and that work is excellent, but there doesn't seem to be any real idea on the part of the Board or the Foundation on how to go about reversing the trends that they are measuring. There is a lot of good work going on in getting people to make their first few edits, but there is no follow-up to keep them involved beyond that point. Programmes like the Public Policy Initiative need to be followed up with other activities so that the new editors feel that they have a reason to stick around and continue to contribute, even when they no longer have to do it in order to gain course credit.
Question by Mike Peel (WM UK)
  1. Answer to the question (see above the questions)
    Not any more so than any other candidate. If selected, I would seek the guidance of the Board's Chair on whether to abstain from motions directly concerning either Wikimedia Australia or Wikimedia Indonesia, and how long I should do so for
Questions by user Ofol, WMFr member
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    In short, no I don’t believe that the Wikimedia Foundation Board has the legitimacy or expertise to speak on behalf of the entire movement. A lot of this is because the demographics of the board do not match the demographics of our movement. With respect to our current trustees, a full 60% of the current board are white, highly educated (and “elite” universities like Harvard and Yale are over-represented compared to the general population), work high-paid white collar jobs, and hail from North America. Only one lives outside North America or Western Europe. This is in stark contrast to our community, which is an increasingly diverse group. I do not believe that, despite the best of intentions, a board so heavily stacked with privileged Americans can truly speak on behalf of or understand the thinking of a potential volunteer from somewhere like South America or the Pacific. The majority of trustees also have no actual mandate from the community either, which means that their views may sharply diverge from what the community consensus on any given topic is.
    The other reason I don’t think that the board is qualified to speak on behalf of the movement is because their thinking and reasoning is so often at odds with the thinking and reasoning of the broader community. You only need to look at the fiasco with the image filter, where not only did the Trustees propose something that a large portion of the community found deeply offensive to their values, but did not (as one has recently stated) even think that it would be controversial! Given how out of touch with the community the Trustees have proven to be from time to time, I would not have any confidence that any statement they made truly reflected the view of the movement as a whole.
    Finally, my view of the ideal role for the Foundation is not to speak for the entire movement anyway. I have quite a minimalist view of what the Foundation should be doing, and that’s concentrating on core activities like technology and legal, rather than trying to shepherd the metaphorical herd of cats that is our community.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    At this point, with the final form of both bodies still undecided, I can’t give a definite answer to this question. I would not be interested on serving on any body which serves as a debating club with no real power, that serves only to paint a veneer of community consultation over decisions made lock-stock-and-barrel by staff or unaccountable board members.
  3. Answer to question 3 (see above the questions)
    My view is that a majority of trustees should have a direct mandate from the community, and if selected to fill a seat I will attempt to reform the Board in that direction. This still leaves room for outside expertise, while at the same time ensuring that the community retains overall control over the direction of the projects. I would also seek to revive the essentially moribund Advisory Board, and use that as a mechanism to gain advice from figures outside of the movement on matters concerning the community, without giving up any overall control.

Salmaan Haroon (Theo10011)[edit]

Please ask here your question to be answered by Theo, the moderators will pass the questions to the candidate and place the answers in this page.


Questions by Laura Hale, from WMAU
  1. Answer to Question 1 (see above the questions)
    I worked to promote chapter interest generally, I worked within Movement Roles to develop a system for classification of entities. I subsequently proposed a Chapters council, then worked with the chapters to flesh out and create an organizational model for such a body. I vehemently defended chapter interests during the fundraising discussions. I have been a strong proponent of chapter independence and strongly defended my position. Individually, I did minor things to support multiple chapters, I helped out on commons during Wiki Loves Monuments, helped organize the Wiki conference India with the Indian community and the chapter. I also organized the Wikipedia 10 event in my city in conjunction with the chapter representatives, and generally provided help when asked. I organized the first 3 meet-ups in my city, 2 of which were in coordination with the Indian chapter.
    I was actively involved in the formation of WMBD, I commented on the MoA, guided the representatives through the registrations process and generally provided support when needed. I stepped in after a minor disagreement on the WMBD mailing list, between certain community members stating my position and opinion on what was happening[5]. The issue was quickly resolved.
  2. Answer to Question 2 (see above the questions)
    I strongly respect Wikimedia Espana's position in the matter. They have had the longest relation with Amical, and any decision taken organizationally will have the most impact on them. Amical did not work with ChapCom to seek approval, the process involves some coordination and flexibility, changing the criteria for chapters to accommodate Amical would have set the wrong precedent. There are a lot of issues related to Amical that have happened in the last year, I am not privy to most of them, so I respect Wikimedia Espana and Iberocoop's position. If the differences can be sorted out, then yes, they should be welcomed in the chapters movement. I believe the funding should be equatable and project based, if either one of them does good work that has measurable impact, then it should be decided on their own merit. There shouldn't be a culture of competition among any chapters or similar entities.
  3. Answer to Question 3 (see above the questions)
    I strongly believe in the decentralized funding model. I believe each chapter is an organization that needs to become independent. Ideally, I want to see them co-exist in the same eco-system as WMF, I want them to do a 100 different projects simultaneously, and support 1000 different volunteers. As Sue once put is, have a thousand different flowers bloom.
  4. Answer to Question 4 (see above the questions)
    I have had a cordial public relation with most of the WMF executives and board members. I occasionally talk with a handful of WMF board members off-list. I see Samuel Klien on Meta and IRC, I occasionally talk to Kat walsh on IRC, I respect Stu and Matt, I have always had fun with Jan-bart in any real life encounters. I haven't had a lot of interactions with Jimmy, but I respect him. I've debated several governance issues with Erik, and I really think he's very smart. I have nothing but good things to say about Sue either, most of our interactions have been on the mailing list. I do give Sue credit for being very professional, and generally being a warm and friendly personality despite of our disagreements.
  5. Answer to Question 5 (see above the questions)
    I am on friendly terms with several members of chapter boards. I have a lot of them as friends, who I talk with socially, like members of WMNYC and WMDC. I exchange emails with several other chapter board members. I have been active on Meta, and I usually comment on things related to GLAM and Grants. I have always been a fan of GLAM related work that chapters do, but didn't have an opportunity to work on projects that interested me related to GLAM so far due to time constraints, I hope to remedy that once I have more time from work. I was briefly involved in the WMF education program, before the India operations were proposed, to seek campus ambassadors in colleges in my vicinity in 2010, sadly the effort did not come to fruition because the volunteer involved had other commitments. I worked on outreach wiki and helped out when I was asked during the India Education program.
  6. Answer to Question 6 (see above the questions)
    I did not actively seek endorsement from any chapter. I only informed my own country's chapter, and a few community members that I know about my candidacy. My involvement has been in the larger governance issues, and I have done my best to help the Indian chapter, but I did not actively solicit their endorsement or support.
  7. Answer to Question 7 (see above the questions)
    I have been very active in discussions regarding funding and the place chapters should occupy. My involvement has been on the mailing lists (Internal-l and Foundation-l) , Meta, along with a meeting of the MR group in Berlin. I have been one of the most active participant in discussions related to fundraising, and most recently, recognition of other entities besides chapters.
  8. Answer to Question 8 (see above the questions)
    I wish to change some things, things, that I believe are leading us down the wrong path. I hope to represent the community better on the board, and keep the channels of communication constantly open. I have several ideas and projects that I would like to accomplish as a board member - better representation and coordination of chapters, a community initiative, a micro-grants program, to name a few. I also wish to strongly establish a standard for respecting the community's will and sovereignty and not trying to re-engineer the things that work so great already.


Questions by an anonymous source (by request)
  1. Answer to Question 1 (see above the questions)
    I don't have an absolute position on sites like those. Places like, Wikipedia Review and Encyclopedia Dramatica have their own communities; whatever their impression and relation with us, I believe everyone is entitled to their own space on the internet. Everyone has the right to their speech and opinions, even to our parodies, along with the idea of forming a community with like-minded individuals. This however, should not in any way mean that I am not against attacks and harassment originating from those communities, if a line is crossed and someone is attacked personally, those are clear grounds for taking action and dealing with those individuals, just not demonizing an entire community for the actions of a few, until the community stands behind and engages in those actions en masse.
    I guess what I am trying to say is, sweeping generalizations are not helpful when talking about communities, if the problem is with individuals, it should be treated as such, and not against those who do not cross a line. This is the same for us as them, actions of a few of our editors are not representative of our community. There is also a clear distinction between criticism, parody and free speech. Everyone is entitled to all three by law in most countries, but that is up to a certain extent. A line is crossed when it becomes personal, the laws of the country where a person resides should have the highest authority in dealing with those issues whether it qualifies as libel, threat or defamatory depends on the country an individual resides in. In cases, where a legal recourse in not a viable option, I would be in favor of honoring an editor's wishes and supporting their decision within the community, whether its a project-wide ban or any local action that would make them feel more comfortable. There are no absolutes, so I would rather decide on a case-by-case basis.
  2. Answer to Question 2 (see above the questions)
    No, I have not.
  3. Answer to Question 3 (see above the questions)
    I have lived and grown up as a minority group, all my life. I know very well, how problematic those situations can be. It is a big reason I like Wikipedia, I can leave behind my race, nationality, gender, identity, to form one based on my words and what I choose to disclose. I believe it is what a lot of others like as well, I strongly want to protect that, nothing about an editor's personal life needs to be made public that that editor does not want. I will do everything in my power to make sure that privacy and expectation of confidentiality is respected at all times.
    In situations of threats and predatory actions, I would first look into the laws of the country an individual is resident in, if the antagonizing actions taken are culpable to standing for legal action. If yes, I would suggest pursuing them to the extent of the law. We have a community with an established history of dealing with individuals who make threats, while cross-project level of abuse is a relatively new issue, I have participated in discussions on Meta about a cross-project ArbCom or a similar body located on Meta, which would be capable of instantly dealing with those cases with help from stewards. A body like that can issue a standing order to stewards to instantly block and oversight any information related to those cases, I strongly support that idea. I support the full use of Checkuser, Oversight tools in cases like those, it is the reason we have them.
    I would also propose forming an official community Ombudsman position on WMF staff, who can be discreetly contacted in situations like those, who can act as a liaison, so the editor doesn't have to deal with the abuse or the abuser directly.


Question by Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation
  1. Answer to the question (see above the questions)
    In situations of disagreement I don't form an opinion after seeing the two sides, usually before. I usually read both sides after, I develop a position based on what I think is right with proper logic and reasoning, and it doesn't matter which side I end up on. Given the nature of our community, I am rarely ever alone. My definition of consensus is an evolution, it is achieved after debate and reasoning. You go into a situation with what you believe, disagree and discuss your position with others, and if either side is able to change one's position, it means there are legitimate concerns; the final outcome should rightfully reflect those concerns. My main approach has always been being true with myself, and defending what I believe.
    I also believe that I might have been exhibiting signs of breaching good conduct when it comes to debating. In issues related to fundraising it is mainly due to fatigue and frustration, after close to half an year of the same discussion, my positions haven't changed in the slightest in that time, neither has my level of commitment and involvement. As someone I really respect recently pointed out the virtue of patience, we are raised in a culture of instant gratification, instant results online. Patience is something we don't value as much, and it is wrong.
    I also believe physical interaction is very important, they build relations, they put a face and voice to a name. The longer I spend without it, the more I lose track of the wonderful people behind it. I found I am still the same person I was originally in face-to-face interactions, I can't say the same for my interactions on the mailing lists. I hope to be a better person and change that about me.
    There are multiple examples I would cite, within the chapter space and Mailing lists about consensus and working through disagreements-
    • There was an issue with the formation of the Bangladesh Chapter last year. I had been involved in supporting, reading the Bangladesh chapter's MoA, and generally providing support and direction to the individuals forming the chapter. I signed up on the list, after hearing some disagreements. There was a mistrust between certain community members who were concerned about being left out of the formation process. The situation was getting a bit heated, so I got involved, and commented on what I thought was happening and where the problem might be (http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-bd/2011-May/000937.html). A couple of other community members who are familiar with chapters also commented, and the process found a quick conclusion. I later heard my email helped a lot, and both sides were able to work together.
    After the Indian chapter was registered, they sent a communication about their first meeting and office bearers to the Indian community. A couple of community members openly criticized and questioned the office bearer [6], things got heated and devolved further, with multiple threads about the office bearer. There were open accusations about mailing list moderation [7], and questions about ethics. I repeatedly defended and supported the Indian chapter through it. The office bearers took on a huge task, the registration process wasn't easy and they worked hard through it, criticism and accusation less than a month after formation seemed really unfair to me. I did my best to defend the chapters and be the voice of reason in that issue. Ironically, the individual who started out attacking on the chapter, who I defended against, is currently serving on the same chapter's board.
    • I had an opportunity of debating a very smart editor who pointed out gender-bias within generic antecedents and their usage on Wikipedia. I was oblivious to it before she pointed it out. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Gender-neutral_language#She_before_he.3F) I was able to debate her and defend the editor who disagreed and reverted her. She eventually agreed that randomly altering usage of generic antecedents is probably not a good start to pursuing her goal, and agreed to bring it up in a more appropriate venue. I was really proud of her and that encounter. I was thoroughly impressed and only hoped that she continue editing and fighting for what she believed in. That was my definition of what proper consensus on-wiki should look like - civil, articulate discourse, with a quick conclusion and agreement.
    • There are several minor interactions I have had on Wikipedia and Meta, too numerous to recall, where my opinion was responsible for forming an opinion or changing it. The example above stood out because it was fairly recent.
    • I worked on the WMF strategic plan, I was very actively involved in the entire process. I believe the final document is the result of collaboration and consensus within that community. I worked on a task-force related to Financial sustainability, while not completely conclusive, we did have interesting discussions about how to approach the subject.


Questions by Deryck Chan (member of WMHK and WMUK)
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    I don't have such a position. The Indian chapter is located on the other side, of a rather large country; I haven't been able to meet majority of them. I have however, been supportive of chapter initiatives from the early days before it was registered. I organized meet-ups, events, worked as an organizer for Wiki conference India, without attending. I have had friendly relations with the chapters nominating me, I met only a few of them face-to-face and formed a great bond. I occasionally talk with their board members and interact with them on IRC.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    My side. I can guarantee I will be true to myself and what I think is right. I don't have a chapter per se, but I have rarely ever sided against the community and the chapters. In all my interactions, I have agreed with the larger community on most issues. I innately understand their position and argument without them even articulating it, it might be hard to explain, but I believe I have the same mindset.
    As I see it, chapters and individuals who vote place their trust in a candidate. They trust them to act and respond in the best interest of the community. I value that trust highly.
    I am also pretty strongly convicted to my belief, I rarely go quiet to preserve group cohesion or perception. If I agree with the chapters or the community on a decision that is against the majority of the opinion held by the board, I will explain my reasoning to the best of my abilities and intellect. I would want to be a trustee that the community can constantly rely on to defend its position and perspective, no matter the issue.


Questions by User Jan eissfeldt
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    The reasonable basic accountability and transparency standards, would be the legal ones that a chapter would have to comply with in order to function within a geography. That is the most basic, I would expect chapters and all entities to abide by and to remain functional, they have to abide by them. As accountability and transparency to the entire movement, I would have higher standards over those. A movement wide body or policy, that can subject every entity including WMF to the same standards, would qualify in my book. I would want universal standards to apply to all entities, with proper reports and information.
    My concern has been that this is a huge undertaking, no one really actively worked in addressing this. Establishing and enforcing such standards, has never been tried. This is as much an issue of time and resource as the larger attitude about chapter relation and accountability. I wish to address both.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    I believe trustees have the most responsibility in what happens with this framework. Trustees, by definition carry the trust of the community that elects them. It is their job to be responsible for the community, engaging and developing such standards is a big part of the equation. They are ultimately responsible for steering WMF organizationally, and indirectly influencing entities not just carrying our name but beyond.
    This is quiet a responsibility. Trustee should work actively on pursuing an acceptable level of accountability standards, they should take a more independent approach than they have so far. Lately, the executives have been extremely involved in the deliberation process, that should have happened within the board and perhaps the community first, and then brought to the executives. I would like to see more demarcation between the role executives occupy and what the board does. It should not constantly give the appearance that it usually does, when the two start fading into one, or one picks up where the other leaves off.


Questions by a second anonymous source
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    I have a little conflicting opinion within that line-of-thinking. I believe the focus recently has been on, just numbers, statistics, fall in percentage QoQ, YoY. It is simplifying a lot of different topics. We have a distinct culture, the idea of treating each of our editors as a random statistics that can be manufactured, cloned, increased/decreased at will, doesn't sit well with me. I think our editors are unique, they are not the same statistics on Facebook or twitter, where discussions about falling trend would be more alarming. My suggestion to address these would be-
    1) Focus on different metrics - Quality, is very important. Any discussion related to falling trend can not be isolated from that, diversity is also equally important, a falling demographic would point to areas that might need special attention. Instead of taking the broad trend, those statistics should give a whole picture, we have more quality articles than before, more collaborations.
    2) Focus on editor retention over recruitment. I have had this idea that there are 2 sets of editors, the experienced ones are "curators of content" while new editors who make less than 10 edits are in a different category. It is vitally important to retain curators, but at the same time, curators can not be recruited. They represent a very small fraction within the larger editing community, but they are the ones who are vitally important to our success and existence.
    3) Better FAQ and help sections. I would suggest an overhaul of what pages we have. Currently, it is a mess to weed through policy and guideline pages. I would be in the interest of getting some tech development to design an easy visual editor feature to look up those policy pages for new editors and explain things in a nutshell.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    Yes, my first point is about better quantitative measurement. The second about curators and the third, about help and policy pages, all can be measured quantitatively. My only wish is that we get a complete picture from those measurements, not broad trends.
  3. Answer to question 3 (see above the questions)
    Not good. I have seen mostly research and minor fragmented actions from WMF to address the issue. They have not been very effective in my opinion.


Questions by Ilario Valdelli (WM CH)
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    Decentralization, decentralization, decentralization. That is my vision, that is my dream. I am strongly a proponent for being decentralized, with activities, with fundraising, with organizations. A single point of failure is a big issue for a movement like ours, we need as much redundancy as possible. 40 different organizations working in 40 areas in 40 countries, that is my dream.
    I am in favor of better coordination, whatever that might entail. A unique central point might be needed for better coordination, it should however not be about control. I see need for grass-root coordination as separate from top-down control. A distinction between the two is imperative, with a conscious decision what we want.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    We have grown a lot in the past, Internationalization is indeed an area we have been left behind in. The multilingual aspect of our community needs to be acknowledged. No language should be given a higher status over other. I also do believe, that form defines functions when it comes to communication; if the largest lingua franca among all the participants, creates a divide, it needs to be addressed by the community. Our interactions should always be mindful of the struggle between languages being barriers in our communication. I would be supportive of any ideas that can address such a divide, more translations, better and more open discussions. Languages should not be barriers in our communications, it should transcend it.
Questions by AshLin
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    The situation within India is indeed complicated. The registration and current status, of what I assume is the trust has presented an odd situation not just for the chapter but the community. It is going to be close to an year since that exercise started. The first national level effort was the IEP, It did not end well to say the least. It generated massive amounts of copyvio, and problems for the English Wikipedia community. Community members have constantly advised how important it is to have experienced members on-board the program. Even some of the recent HR decisions have been questioned by English Wikipedia community and admins -(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:India_Education_Program/Analysis/Independent_Report_from_Tory_Read#Wikipedia_Education_Program_Extension). The India education program is already undergoing a revival for a second term with the same individuals and same strategies, much to the disappointment of the informed community members. Some of my friends from English Wikipedia, have asked for a top-down change to how this has been handled so far.
    As for the issue of conflict with community and paid position. I have agreed with my fellow community members that clear demarcation is vital here. There is several dozen times more money going in to the trust than the chapter. It is imperative that the expectations be more not less. As a very fellow community member recently put it, "more prudence and probity are the need of the hour. More transparency, not more laissez faire".
    On the general subject of the India programs, I would be in favor of starting over and re-factoring the entire equation. It has created a lot of tensions, and the ROI in relation to the investment made so far, has been very disappointing.
    By my educated guess, I would say that the chapter received less than a 30th (1/30) of the funding that the trust got, maybe even less in the last year. The chapter was unable to collect even that single grant, due to legal hurdling. The fundraising infrastructure is still sorely lacking, the visibility of the projects has not gone up much.
    I am also concerned about some of the legal implications related to the trust. Whether it's existence and independence, poses a liability or a concern for the movement. Chapters exist in their own ecosystem, there is not a lot known about the status and legality of the trust at this point, I have concerns that this might lead to problems down the road, if it is not clarified now. In conclusion, I would say it definitely needs an overhaul and more balance between how all entities exist in that ecosystem.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    No. First of all, I am against proliferation of terms like "Global South" though I do admit, that we don't use a lot of alternatives either. I like emerging markets, or developing countries better. I don't think the focus should be consultant-led, that has primarily been the big problem why past attempts have not achieved any favorable results. I am strongly in favor of supporting grass-root efforts, and empowering volunteers and small organizations. They are the heart of our community.
    I do not consider foundation's actions as fait accompli, I was an active participant in the strategy process that lead to that plan, I did not envision this root being taken to reach those goals. I am trying my best now, to not have the ideas agreed on by the community in the strategy process, enacted in this way.
    I would suggest relying more on the community. Attempts in the MENA region and Brazil, need to learn from the mistakes committed so far. A large one, is not involving the community in the process, and keeping them engaged. Instead of recruiting more consultants, we should first build a strong community, then try and recruit from within and then keep them engaged throughout. The attempts in Brazil, have been in line of those expectations, but I believe MENA region would require a different strategy all together.


Questions by user Ofol, WMFr member
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    I believe it should be a collaborative effort, solely speaking on behalf of an entire movement is rarely possible. WMF should demarcate it's opinion and try to accommodate dissenting voices. if the final position can be mindful of all the respective opinions, then perhaps but it has rarely been the case.
    I have stated several times that the board is WMF's board, it is not the Movement's board or the community's. They are below the movement, if there was to be a hierarchy. The objective should be to hear, and represent the wider movement's interest to WMF, not the other way round.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    I don't have any plans so far. I proposed the Chapter Council, but I have not been as involved with the recent developments; the FDC on the other hand, largely remains an abstract, proposed body, lacking in structure. I have no idea what shape it will take or when it will come into existence.
  3. Answer to question 3 (see above the questions)
    I like several other community members, am quiet aware of the issue. The reappointment aren't ideal, given the high visibility and availability of other candidates. It unintentionally, might send off the wrong message when the same appointees are brought back again and again. Some of the trustees have been on the board of WMF for over 5 years, in that time, WMF has grown exponentially. The set of expertise needed, the perspective, the representation has not kept up with those realities in my opinion. On the other hand, board members develop certain expertise over time, familiarity with issues; it is also not uncommon to retain them. The primary concern should be a right balance between the two, but I am strongly in favor of broader representation at this stage.
    In an ideal scenario, I would hope that the majority of the board is elected, but at least, having more elected members than appointed ones would be a good start. I would also like to see more new names on the board; they current trustees all wonderful, smart people who devote their free time to the task, but some of the trustees have been around for close to 5 years while we have grown so much in that time. The set of expertise that the board needs should also take this into account and offer wider representation.

Liam Wyatt (Wittylama)[edit]

Please ask here your question to be answered by Liam, the moderators will pass the questions to the candidate and place the answers in this page.
Questions by Laura Hale, from WMAU
  1. Answer to Question 1 (see above the questions)
    For the last year (December 2010 - December 2011) I have been on a Wikimedia Foundation Fellowship, specifically to coordinate and support the global Wikimedia Communities efforts in GLAM outreach. As such I have been working fulltime to promote the interests of the Wikimedia movement globally - both in terms of direct outreach (see my list of presentations http://www.wittylama.com/presentations/ ) as well as community development/capacity building when visiting with Chapters. I have worked directly (and often in-person) with members and executive of most Chapters as well as many non-Chapter groups (e.g. Japan). Now that my specifically global role has wrapped up, and now that I'm working for Creative Commons Australia (and studying for a Masters of IP Law), I expect that I'll be able to make real and considerable inroads in promoting the interests of Wikimedia Australia and free-culture locally.
  2. Answer to Question 2 (see above the questions)
    "Amical", as originally conceived, wanted to be a "Wikimedia Catalan" Chapter. That is: NOT Catalonia (the adminstrative region of Spain) but Catalan (the culture & language group which is spread across Spain, France. Andorra and some of Italy). Chapters are not, and should not be, to promote specific interest groups, however valid and important that group is. Chapters are administrative organisations that are built on geographically exclusive lines, matching the jurisdictions of Countries (or administrative states/regions within a country).
    If Amical wanted to be a "branch Chapter" or "sub-Chapter" of Wikimedia Spain that would be fantastic. [This is how Wikimedia New York or Wikimedia DC will probably work with some kind of Wikimedia USA, eventually.] Wikimedia Spain have been trying very hard for a long time to maintain friendly relations with Amical and many Catalonian Wikimedians are members of WM-ES (and some are members of both). Amical could even negotiate some proportion of the national budget or a quota of seats on the national Chapter Board, or whatever. But they should not be a Chapter, with the rights and responsibilities that that implies, if their setup is to promote a culture/laugnage. They CAN fit within one of the other proposed "affiliation models" https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_affiliation_models
    I should point out that I am very supportive of the projects that Amical have run. They are very good at running programs (for example working with a local radio station to have Catalan Wikipedia article improvement promotions, and with WikiLovesMonuments) and I even was invited to keynote their GLAM-Wiki conference in March last year. So, I support their being able to call themselves some sort of "Wikimedia affiliate organisation" and to apply for (potentially large) grants because they have proven their ability to be effective and trustworthy with the money. I just wish they would work WITH the Spanish Chapter rather than against it.
  3. Answer to Question 3 (see above the questions)
    I would refer first to my candidacy statement - where I make it very clear that I wish to see an increasing number of Chapters managing the annual fundraiser directly. In an ideal world I would like to see 100% of the money raised by the annual fundraiser go through the Chapters (including an as-yet-nonexistent Wikimedia USA). See the section "2. Chapter development": http://www.wittylama.com/2012/02/times-they-are-a-changin/
    The corollaries to this are:
    - that the Chapters need to be treated according to their capacity, so that there are several "tiers" or "models" which accord increasing levels of rights and responsibilities on Chapters as they grow in capacity. This does not mean that smaller/newer Chapters are less "good" or trustworthy, and does not mean that Chapters are "obliged" to become fundraisers, but represents the reality of different levels of capacity within our community.
    - Some countries will always raise more than they can justifiably spend, and some will always raise less than they need. This is perfectly normal and, as best as possible, we need to allocate budgets in a way that is agnostic to where the money was raised (hence we need some kind of global budget and global financial allocation review committee).
    - As the minimum standard for who should have the right to be directly involved in the fundraiser increases each year (as it should), it is likely that several Chapters that have done fundraising before might not be allowed - in the short term. What is more important is that there is a "roadmap for growth" that the Chapters can follow to eventually gain that right (and corresponding responsibilities) - if they want to do that.
    With regards to "why I believe" this, it's a long story! Anyone who's been following the recent fundraising discussions on Meta would have seen the arguments used by me and others: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fundraising_and_Funds_Dissemination I will add that I've been involved in this debate for at least four years so I'm well aware of the historical context of the discussions (see, for example, my blogpost about fundraising from 2009 which makes broadly similar arguments to what I'm saying now: http://www.wittylama.com/2009/09/fundraising-structure/ )
  4. Answer to Question 4 (see above the questions)
    I have known all of the community chosen members of the WMF board for several years and would classify them as my friends, often before they were on the board. I've been out for drinks with SJ, Ting, Arne, Phoebe Jimmy and Kat (not all at once!) on several occasions, for example. With regards to the external appointees, I've been a guest of Bishahka in Mumbai and met up with Jan-Bart in Amaterdam. Stu and Matt, I know less well, but we would recognise each other in the street (for example) and have met at several Wikimanias. I would also call myself a friend of several former Board members including Michael Snow and Florence Devouard.
    I have known Erik and Sue for several years too - as a volunteer Wikimedian, as a former "WMF Fellow" and former Chapter executive member. Therefore, over the years I have worked with them in the three capacities of volunteer, employee and elected representative and maintained a good working relationship throughout, while still performing the duties of each different role. So, with both the WMF Board members as well as the WMF executive staff, I believe that I can bring both experiene and also a pre-existing reputation for being forthright in my opinion.
  5. Answer to Question 5 (see above the questions)
    I am well known to the Board members of many Chapters not only from being involved on-wiki/email and through my former role as the Vice President of the Australian Chapter, but also through my work (both volunteer and WMF Fellow) promoting GLAM. In the last few years I have been to community meetups or formal meetings in several Chapter countries: Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, France, UK, India, Israel, Netherlands, Sweden, USA-NY and USA-DC. I been the convener of several outreach conferences and internal meetings that have had Chapter executive attendees. For example, the recent "GLAMcamp Amsterdam" had attendees from 21 countries of which many were Chapter members and several were Chapter executives. Finally, I've also met with the local community in many "potential chapter" groups e.g. Korea, Japan, Singapore, as well as attended several broader chapter-related events (e.g. Chapter's Coference).
    I believe that my extensive, long term, and personal relationships with many Chapters mean that I am a "known quantity" with an established reputation and trust with many people across the movement. I believe that this is crucial to helping our movement solve some of the complex and "hot" debates we are currently facing.
  6. Answer to Question 6 (see above the questions)
    Naturally I have spoken with, and answered questions from, many people from different Chapters about my candidacy for the WMF board. Apart from Wikimedia Australia, I am also a member of Wikimedia UK (I joined during the time when I was Wikipedian in Residence at the British Museum). However, I only asked the Australian Chapter to endorse/nominate me as it is my "home" Chapter.
  7. Answer to Question 7 (see above the questions)
    Very :-)
    With regards to Chapter-WMF relations, I'm active on the Internal and Foundation-l lists. Obviously I'm also active on the cultural list (which occasionally moves into WMF-Chapter discussions as it pertains to GLAM). I have attended the last five Wikimanias as well as the 2009 and 2011 Berlin Chapter conferences (first time as the Australian Chapter representative with Brianna Laugher, second time in my Capacity as WMF GLAM fellow). I am, of course, also involved in the relevant discussions on Meta.
    Apart from these things, I've also visited with many Chapters (and local wikimeetups) around the world and also convened several international Wikimedia conferences (most recently GLAMcamp Amsterdam). These have been, to a greater or lesser degree of formality, about the future of the Wikimedia movement.
  8. Answer to Question 8 (see above the questions)
    In my candidacy statement I propose four broad areas where I believe that changes should be made, and describe in detail some of the changes I suggest. These areas are: Board role, Chapter development, Community support, WMF human resources: http://www.wittylama.com/2012/02/times-they-are-a-changin/
    I'm not naive enough to expect that all of those ideas will magically get consensus if I happen to be nominated to the Board but, when seen as a package. they do at least give a good indication of the direction I would like the WMF to go in the next few years.


Questions by an anonymous source (by request)
  1. Answer to Question 1 (see above the questions)
    Such sites, and the people who frequent them, are protected by the laws that allow freedom of speech (as is everyone else) BUT ALSO they are subject to the laws that protect against defamation and specifically against "hate speech" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech . If these sites [or, more specifically, the owners/admins] are inciting (implicitly or explicitly) prejudice against a protected individual then that is clearly illegal. "Protected individual" in this sense includes race and gender. Free Speech is certainly protected by law, but Hate Speech is NOT part of that protection.
  2. Answer to Question 2 (see above the questions)
    No.
  3. Answer to Question 3 (see above the questions)
    I have no problem with criticising Wikipedia, Wikimedia organisations, our policies or practices. However there is a significant difference when an individual is specifically targeted, especially anonymously online. This is far less likely to be genuine and productive criticism and far more likely to be a damaging personal attack bordering on libel (defamation).
    It should be reiterated that it is not the obligation of the Wikimedia Foundation (or the Chapters) to legally defend members of the community and the community must remember that they are personally responsible for their actions (specifically with regards to Copyright violations). This is an important distinction for the WMF to retain their position as a "safe harbour" under the DMCA. HOWEVER, if a Wikimedian is the subject of Hate Speech (as it is defined in law) this is independent of their participation as a Wikimedian. As such, I believe the WMF has a moral obligation to support (legally, if necessary) community members against Hate Speech attacks, and that this support will not affect the WMF's position under the DMCA. It is the WMF's (and Chapters') obligation to support the volunteer community - and if that includes actively supporting them against Hate Speech then that's what it should do.


Question by Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation
  1. Answer to the question (see above the questions)
    I would refer to my work with the UK National Portrait Gallery in relation to the NPG-Wikimedia copyright dispute: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Portrait_Gallery_and_Wikimedia_Foundation_copyright_dispute I was part of the negotiating team that met with the NPG staff during the dispute and have stayed in regular contact with them, both in-person and online, in order to maintain the relationship. I believe this has been a successful outcome because we have moved from a position of overt legal threats to a position where the status quo is acceptable to both parties. No one, on either side, would call it an ideal situation but it is one that all parties can live with. Personally speaking, I think it has been particularly successful as I have been able to gain and maintain the trust of both communities through having a cordial relationship with the NPG while at the same time steadfastly, but politely, defending Wikimedia's policies and principles. This trust enabled me to bring both groups together, publicly, at the "GLAM-WIKI:London" conference in December 2010 - see the Signpost report here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2010-12-06/GLAM-WIKI_London


Questions by Deryck Chan (member of WMHK and WMUK)
  1. Answer to the question 1 (see above the questions)
    I am currently a member of Wikimedia Australia and also Wikimedia UK. When the Australian Chapter was first officially approved I was elected the inaugural Vice President, serving for two full terms. See "history of the committee" at http://wikimedia.org.au/wiki/Committee
  2. Answer to the question 2 (see above the questions)
    Members of the WMF Board of Trustees have a personal and legal fiduciary responsibility for the WMF. Furthermore, it should be reiterated that the Chapter appointed people on the WMF Board are not "representatives of" of the Chapters but "appointed by" them. Of course, as a matter of personal opinion, I believe that one of the best ways to strengthen the WMF is to strengthen the Chapters so I do not see WMF-Chapters as a zero-sum game. In such cases where there is a real conflict between the interests of the WMF and the interests of "my own" Chapter AND I have a direct personal investment (e.g. GLAM activities in Australia) then it would be appropriate for me to abstain from voting.


Questions by User Jan eissfeldt
  1. Answer to the question 1 (see above the questions)
    I think the definition of "reasonable" is greatly dependent on the capacity of the organisation in question. For example, the reasonable level of accountability expected from the WMF should naturally be higher than the level expected from a newly-formed Chapter. As such, the specific documents/procedures/policies/etc. will be different. However, generally speaking, the level of accountability/transparency should generally be so that everyone can reasonably be expected to be able to find out who is doing what, why, for whom, when and how much it will cost. (I say "generally" because there are always exceptions to complete public transparency for things like staff contracts.)
  2. Answer to the question 2 (see above the questions)
    Being the largest, oldest and richest group within the Wikimedia movement, it is the WMF's role to be the role-model for behaviour that other groups should aspire to. It should also be actively assisting other groups to steadily reach higher levels of accountability. The Board of Trustees, as the ultimately accountable group of the WMF, must therefore be seen to be representing the highest standards of what accountability and transparency can be within our movement. This does not mean that they must be the "whipping boy" for anyone who wants to complain. But it does mean that they should be challenging themselves and the WMF to constantly review and expand their transparency and accountability practices.


Questions by a second anonymous source
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    Number 1, far and away, needs to be that we focus on the "visual editor" a.k.a. the WYSIWYG project (and associated backend changes): https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Visual_editor After "keeping the servers running" this is the most important project that the WMF has right now in my opinion because, as I think 99% of us agree, it should not be required to learn MediaWiki markup to be able to contribute a footnote to Wikipedia.
    Secondly, it is my opinion that we do not need to actively go and "recruit" new editors - Wikimedians are a certain breed of people and they will automatically gravitate towards joining the projects anyway - but we DO need to actively "retain" those editors when they arrive. Therefore, and as with number 1 it is also in the technical area, I think focusing on improving the "curation tools" for existing Wikimedians will be of huge benefit to new user retention. With specific regard to Wikipedia, I'm referring to things like New Page Triage, Recent Change Patrol, Article Creation Wizard and improving the article deletion processes.... This should not mean dumbing-down the system or lowering our quality standards, but it does means that we need to help the existing community community to do their "backlog" jobs more efficiently and effectively. This is so we have more time and mental energy to assist new users rather than getting ourselves into a "siege mentality". New users and existing users should be able to spend their time focusing on the complex and challenging intellectual debates of writing out projects, not have to spend their time in technical processes which just frustrate everyone.
    Thirdly I would look towards the Wikiprojects - Wikipedia groups like "military history", "law" or "photography" (or their equivalents on sister projects like Commons or WikiSource). I think that groups of people who share a common interest in a subject are the best way of helping a new user to feel welcome and useful. We should identify technical tools, infrastructure and human support that the WMF and Chapters provide to these groups so that, in turn, they can become really effective teams to help acclimatise new users?
    I know you asked for three, but I'll give you a fourth for free... I think that Chapters could also run local support programs that are specific for new users. This would require some technical and programmatic coordination with the WMF to be able to contact (in a privacy-policy-compliant way) the newly joined Wikimedians in a particular geographic area to invite them to real-world events. These could be subject-specific if desired but the general purpose would be to build a sense of collegiality and community cohesiveness. As a community we've become reasonably adept at doing real-world activities to help recruit new users, but we've never really had any activities to specifically support the people who have already self-selected to start editing. THEY are the people we should really focus on.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    The measuring techniques that the WMF has already developed for tracking the "life cycle" of new editors are quite sophisticated. See, for example, the stats in the results of the October 2010 the "editor trends study": https://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Editor_Trends_Study/Results The WMF is also investing in creating a proper analytics team and tracking tools that are both useful and compliant with our privacy policy. So, with these projects already in place, I think the measurement systems for quantitatively tracking new-user retention is actually quite good.
    That said, the WMF strategic plan doesn't only talk about increasing the number of editors (quantitative) but also has a goal to increase the quality of content. Other than the rating systems that the community manages already no new qualitative methods of measuring the projects have been proposed. I think that any focus on quantitative results should have an equal measure of qualitative analysis - no point in getting lots of new users and new content if the content is going to be deleted...
  3. Answer to question 3 (see above the questions)
    There have been numerous surveys, trials and research investigations into this matter, most notably with the "2011 Summer of Research" program: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Wikimedia_Summer_of_Research_2011 This has generated lots of clear data, and that's very important. I'm pleased the WMF is working on an evidence-based approach. However, no amount of quantitative analysis will give you a qualitative answer. We can draw inferences between graphs (e.g. the increased rate of talk-page templates vs. the the decline in new-user lifespan) but this will only give us a "proximate cause" rather than an "ultimate cause". See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proximate_and_ultimate_causation With that in mind I would say that the WMF efforts have been very effective in identifying specific (proximate) causes - such as the language used in "huggle" talkpage templates. However, I don't think they are any closer to solving the broader (ultimate) causes because those causes have been known since day 1 - difficult technology and difficult policies. As an addendum, one stat that has been hugely informative for me is the fact that the decline is consistent across all languages which successfully helps rule out the "but the English Wikipedia is full" argument.


Questions by Ilario Valdelli (WM CH)
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    In brief, my "position" on this issue is to reiterate my support for the principle of subsidiarity. That is, I would like to see the movement (and specifically the WMF) actively assisting local/national/regional groups to increase their capacity so they can successfully manage an increasing range of activities in a decentralised way. For some things (most notably MediaWiki development) there is limited advantage to decentralised management. However, for other things (such as fundraising, press-relations and culture/education sector outreach) there is great potential advantages to decentralised and local coordination. At the present time it is true that the WMF has greater capacity for these activities than many Chapters, so it makes sense that it should be playing a large role in their management in those countries. However, I believe that this work should be done in a way that is deliberately trying to build the capacity of the local community so that they can eventually take over control when they are capable.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    Obviously for a global community it is going to be difficult for many people to participate if only one language is used as a lingua franca, but on the other hand, if multiple languages are required for most activities that will greatly slow down the speed of operations (the European Commission is a good example...). I think it is a positive step that the WMF is now publishing its monthly and annual reports in several languages, so that's a good step that can be built upon.
    For active discussions, as opposed to reports, until we have successfully invented the BabelFish there will never be a completely satisfactory solution. However, three things we can do to assist in the mean time are:
    1. The WMF could begin to invest resources in monitoring a few targeted languages (e.g. French, Chinese, Arabic, German, Portuguese, Spanish) to ensure that as many as possible people have access to important discussions in their "mother or second language". This can also ensure that important issues from those language communities are made visible to the WMF in their daily work.
    2. Chapters who can claim reasonable representation of a language (e.g. Italy, Philippines) could include in their budgets (for annual grant or fundraising) dedicated support for ensuring key messages/documents between the WMF, Chapter and language community are translated and disseminated to the correct places in "their" language community.
  3. 3. For major discussions/decisions, specific time should be allocated into the process to include consultation from non-English language groups - and that this must be obtained for consensus to be legitimate. (the recent "terms of service" update was a good example of this being attempted).


Question by Mike Peel (WM UK)
  1. Answer to the question (see above the questions)
    I do not believe I have any conflicts of interest either in the election process or with the position of being a WMF trustee.


Questions by AshLin
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    This is indeed a very interesting situation, and one that is likely to be repeated in other countries. I said it to Hisham Mundol when he was announced as the India Program lead and I'll say it again: I am very much in favour of the WMF being pro-active in developing the capacity of the local community in different parts of the world rather than sitting back and waiting for Chapters to grow by themselves. What I am NOT in favour of is if the WMF starts to directly manage "local things" with the intention of perpetual centralised control. So, with India as the example, I am happy to see the WMF putting a real investment (in money and time but most importantly in organisational capacity) into the country because I hope that this investment will have the ultimate outcome of developing the professional capacity Indian Chapter. Then, the WMF team can steadily start handing over control of activities to it. I would be very unhappy if, because of the WMF team's existence, the Chapter was treated as merely a fan-club that could only apply for one-off grants.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    I am broadly in favour of the focus on the "global south" (specifically the target areas of India, Brazil and Middle East/North Africa [MENA]). It is a transparent choice that is drawn from the conclusions from the WMF Strategic Plan and it is the kind of decision that only an organisation with a worldwide-view can make. Therefore, I think it is a sensible and evidence-based strategy. However, I am nervous about the methods that are being used to execute that strategy. As mentioned above, I worry that the India project might have the result of centralising control rather than developing the local capacity. With MENA I am concerned that the contracted external organisations do not understand crowdsourcing culture and will simply do paid-translation projects. To be clear: I am not against the WMF investing real resources (people, time, money) in these, or other, countries. What I am hoping to see is that the majority of the effort goes into developing the organisational capacity of the movement locally - so that it is self-sustaining and empowered. This will be slower, yes. It will be messier, yes. It will be less efficient, yes. But in the long run it will be more effective!


Questions by user Ofol, WMFr member
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    The Wikimedia "movement", like any movement, is too broad and amorphous for any sub-group to be able to speak on its behalf in all circumstances. The Board of Trustees, and the WMF in general, should not make the mistake of pretending that they are the embodiment of the movement - the minute that they believe they "are" the movement is the moment that the movement ceases to exist. That said, the WMF Board of Trustees is as close as we will ever get to being a group that has the legitimate authority to make tough decisions that affect the whole movement. With regards to decisions like "approving a Chapter", yes, I believe they should have that right as they are the only elected authority and they can draw on the advice of the Chapters' Committee. I also believe that they, on the advice of the relevant staff or committees, should be the ones to be approving major Chapter fundraising or annual grants. This increases accountability and review.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    With regards to the FDC: Unlikely. There are people more qualified than me to on committees that are primarily financial/accounting in nature.
    With regards to the WCC: It is possible. Obviously the structure and role of this proposed Council is still unclear so it is not possible to give a definitive answer. Nevertheless, helping the coordination and capacity-development of the Chapters is something that I care a great deal about so it is something that I would be potentially interested in.
  3. Answer to question 3 (see above the questions)
    The structure of the WMF Board of Trustees has been arranged so that there is a majority of seats that come from "community" sources, so I agree with that principle. I do also agree that there is great value in having a minority "appointed" seats for external experts. If we did not have those seats it would be very easy for us to get into a position of "groupthink" where we are not challenged in our assumptions. However, I DO think that there needs to be some regular changes in the people who are in the appointee seats. Being appointed once should not automatically mean being almost automatically re-appointed every two years until that person chooses to leave. Perhaps we should have a "maximum term" for all board members.

Raúl Gutiérrez (Gumr51)[edit]

Please ask here your question to be answered by Raul, the moderators will pass the questions to the candidate and place the answers in this page.


Questions by Laura Hale, from WMAU

I am not very comfortable in providing answers or positions, lacking full case information, but for the sake of the process, here are my views and comments.

  1. Answer to Question 1 (see above the questions)
    In the past year I have actively worked adding books to Wikisource, both Spanish and English and translating some of them. I have not been active with the Local Chapter in Mexico.
  2. Answer to Question 2 (see above the questions)
    Based on information provided under this item, if they already have funding, why are they not a chapter, or strong part or arm of the competing chapter? In principle the answer is yes, they should be granted Chapter status, with the sole intention of promoting cultural development and exposure, provided of course, they meet all the Foundation prerequisites. Unfortunately more case details and background would be required to firm up a position. With regards to accepting other competing organizations as chapters, each case should be evaluated on its own merits, I believe the prevailing questions are if in the process, the Foundation goals are being met, and the process in not in detriment of other chapters. I believe the core issue may have to do with organizational or structure issues among competing chapters.
  3. Answer to Question 3 (see above the questions)
    I believe either funding model could be effective. The question of which is better is not black and white, in my opinion, it rather has to with the type of structure, means, individuals, procedures and above all success rate, if a system is ailing, before changing, try to fix it. If history shows it cannot be fixed, then initiate a gradual change process, first by identifying goals, then establishing what and how it can be done, timetable, etc. My beliefs would more than likely help the chapters, because I believe in analyzing a problem and evaluating all alternate possibilities and consequences, before making decisions.
  4. Answer to Question 4 (see above the questions)
    I do not have any of the noted relations.
  5. Answer to Question 5 (see above the questions)
    I do not have any of the noted relations.
  6. Answer to Question 6 (see above the questions)
    I did not seek any endorsement from any chapters.
  7. Answer to Question 7 (see above the questions)
    Not active.
  8. Answer to Question 8 (see above the questions)
    I believe in the Foundation and its cause. As with all other organizations there are complex issues, which require in-depth evaluation and best possible solutions. I would devote myself to fully understanding issues, before voicing any opinions. I believe I could add an important fresh and fully independent view to ongoing and future issues.


Questions by an anonymous source (by request)
  1. Answer to Question 1 (see above the questions)
    If I believe these sites are protected?, I do not know. If the question is if they should be protected, I believe others rights end, were mine begin. While I strongly believe that everyone’s rights should be protected, however, these rights should not affect others, because what then happens with the rights of those affected. I do not believe that anyone should be allowed to attack or affect the rights of others. One thing is freedom of speech and another is attacking someone.
  2. Answer to Question 2 (see above the questions)
    No, I have not.
  3. Answer to Question 3 (see above the questions)
    First, I would require knowing more details and information on specific cases. Then I would try to get to the root cause of the problem, probably within Wikimedia, to understand the effect of internal matters in the external universe. Seek interim solutions to those basic problems. As far as external actions, to protect against these groups, a number of actions may be available, depending on country and legislation, including seeking public support and recognition of the detrimental effect of the probably illegal actions. Unfortunately internet legislation, and internet information dissemination regulations are still being developed around the world in many cases. Perhaps the Foundation can leverage its global influence in improving the legislation quality.


Question by Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation
  1. Answer to the question (see above the questions)
    The situation you propose happens to be an almost everyday event in international project development, where costs fight schedule, procedures and quality stand in the way of budgets, etc., and group decisions need to be made (stressing than in many cases the team members are usually part of multiethnic groups). Because execution of whatever decision was made would always fall upon a subordinate. As sales director, I was required to submit prospects for multi-million regional projects, to the Proposal Review Board of the company, comprising a series of complex project related issues, namely risk, proposed partners, execution strategy, intended budget and follow up actions. i) In all cases, consensus was required by the members of the PRB, who had the authority to approve, reject or amend the proposal. ii) In all above noted events, accepting and supporting the decision was a must, projects success depended on it.
    To achieve consensus, there are many ingredients and knowledge of the issue at hand is required, equally important is to remain fully aware of what the mission or ultimate goal is.
    On a face-to-face context, works well to listen and understand what the other side has to say and to analyze the issue from their position, sometimes a simple “why would you want to do that” would shed light into potential failing on somebody’s approach. What does not work well is to argue and try imposing one beliefs upon somebody else. Also it is not good to maintain discussions at a personal level. I consider of the utmost importance to always consider first the organization, and its higher mission.


Questions by Deryck Chan (member of WMHK and WMUK)
  1. Answer to the question 1 (see above the questions)
    There is a local chapter in my region; however I have not had any positions within it.
  2. Answer to the question 2 (see above the questions)
    It would greatly depend upon the issue under discussion. Having to do something, after a decision against is made is too late and an indication that prior actions failed. Or perhaps the decision was correct. My position would be to support what is best for the organization and chapters.


Questions by User Jan eissfeldt
  1. Answer to the question 1 (see above the questions)
    Accountability. Being held responsible for actions, intended performance and results. Good accountability depends on good projection instruments; a plan set out establishing what is to be achieved; a budget determining what can be spent; a schedule and cash flow establishing when events take place. But accountability can only be ascertained or determined and enforced under close supervision. Accountability cannot be evaluated unless there is a good and solid plan behind, to compare against. Must be remembered that sometimes performance is hindered by bureaucratic controls. A good performer can only be judged, provided all prerequisites are provided and ample space to perform.
    Transparency is a good ingredient to accountability. Transparency would require that the intended plans, reports during their performance, and above all, final results are available, regardless of the performance outcome.
  2. Answer to the question 2 (see above the questions)
    I do not see the wmf trustee in an executive position, moreover, the trustee actions would necessarily need to revolve about an existing agenda. However, earnestly, if required I would need first to examine existing means and procedures and, with consensus of the wmf, would endeavor to devise means to evaluate performance. If deemed required, would propose strategies to improve operations, adjust controls and thus improve accountability and transparency.


Questions by a second anonymous source
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    First it needs to be recognized that all editors, are making unrewarded contributions, sharing their valuable personal time, thus it is required to facilitate their work and encourage them.
    a) As not every editor is proficient in formats and procedures, user friendly “how to” help documents are required for every editing need. While it is true many such documents are available, these are scattered all over the place, and sometimes the specific document is not readily available, in addition, the quality of many such documents need to be enhanced. Should remember that editors are concentrated in doing what they love, which is not precisely “looking for documents”. There should be a central location where all help information is readily available. This would help in facilitating the work of editors.
    b) The environment is far too impersonal, or abstract. Most administrators, from the editor perspective, perform clandestinely, behind an alias, they do not seem to be accountable for their actions. This certainly leads to many unwarranted actions in detriment of the editor’s drive. The appointment of Administrators needs to be reviewed, their responsibilities, required actions, dispute resolution, etc. It should be the duty of administrators to resolve disputes, rather than generating them. If a dispute arises, before long, the administrator should transfer the dispute to a third party, who should make every effort to resolve it. Many disputes are not over procedures, but over the “personal opinion” on a given topic by an administrator, who may disagree with the topic, yet as administrators have “power” over the editor, they usually prevails. Many administrators believe they own the space, and editors need to work the way they want. This lead to editors abandoning the work, rather than fighting a war they cannot win, against an abstract giant who can block them at will or delete their work.
    c) A tutorial program should be established, where advanced users, or administrators, would take new users and guide through the ropes, showing by examples how things are done, and being there to help throughout.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    I cannot offer a “how” to measure retention at this point, I would need to assess the existing measuring means.
  3. Answer to question 3 (see above the questions)
    I am unqualified at this juncture to characterize previous efforts, as I am not familiar with them. However, if, as you state is “perhaps the most pressing issue facing the movement”, obviously these efforts have not been very effective.


Questions by Ilario Valdelli (WM CH)
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    Centralization, is something of the utmost importance, for certain things. Decentralization is perhaps something that occurs gradually over time, but it is not necessarily a question of time, rather of maturity, or being able to successfully furthering the movement without detrimentally affecting its founding goals.
    Central decisions can and must affect the universe, positively or negatively, depending on how these are taken and whether or not they are properly made. Central decisions are essential, as will help maintain a coherent movement, with common goals. Must remember that the movement is important because of its global reaches and hence its strength, the movement is international.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    Internationalization of the movement is important, and part of its very nature. Yes it is possible that participation of communities can be hampered by languages, but while it may be a linguistic divide it is not necessarily a social or regional divide. What you outline, in my mind, is part of the required “growing pains” of such a movement, and I believe that serious consideration should be given. However, I also believe that regional communities do have a voice through regional representation, although it may be limited.


Question by Mike Peel (WM UK)
  1. Answer to the question (see above the questions)
    I do not have any conflicts of interest, I am completely independent.


Questions by AshLin
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    It would be interesting to know details of the perceived “potential for conflict and conflict of interest”.
    In their absence, my opinion is that being aware of this potential, is the first step towards eliminating or preventing such conflicts.
    My view of community members holding positions in both entities, largely would depend on their performance, and perhaps knowing whether this is sanctioned by the WMF, as if they see no conflict and if the community members are doing what is expected, then it would be OK, if not, then somebody should ask questions.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    I believe a use of both would be important, however each region or country might require different formulas, basically depending on past history, if there is one and also on what are the potential resources availability of both; consultants and volunteers. Essentially the key is on how the program is first structured and second, how it is implemented.
    This initiative, as well as any other, needs to be followed and regardless of the original approach, if goals are not met as scheduled and required, then changes may be applied, geared at improving results.


Questions by user Ofol, WMFr member
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    This question begs for clarification, as the legitimacy of the WFB should be prescribed by the foundation charter, where all its attributions must be defined. As to “why”, well, somebody must approve; a complex global movement such as Wikimedia needs to have good controls, primarily geared at maintaining the founding principles. That if the foundation needs to open up and adjust to the times, perhaps it is warranted, but in good order and with reasonable measures, that ensure improvement, growth and the future.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    Not sure.
  3. Answer to question 3 (see above the questions)
    This question should be answered by board members, and more than likely it is an approved or “legitimate” process. It is perhaps easier and faster to reappoint than to have to design a complex election and voting system, which usually opens the space to politics. As far as its legitimacy, in the absence of evidence on the contrary, must assume it is, or was legal. That if it should change to include a minimum number of elected trustees, I cannot answer without closely studying the issue, but in principle I believe that things needs to change only for “good reasons”, when functional results do not render desirable or expected goals.

Phoebe Ayers (Phoebe)[edit]

Please ask here your question to be answered by Phoebe, the moderators will pass the questions to the candidate and place the answers in this page.


Questions by Laura Hale, from WMAU
  1. Answer to Question 1 (see above the questions)
    Since I am a current trustee: I would be a very poor trustee indeed if I promoted any particular chapter's or any other group's interest in particular; our role is to support all of Wikimedia, including all projects and groups that support our mission, and specifically to be responsible for the legal and financial health of the Wikimedia Foundation.
  2. Answer to Question 2 (see above the questions)
    As regards the status of Amical, I largely agree with Patricio's astute analysis. I think it's a mistake to think of Amical or any other group as being in competition with chapters, and also a mistake to think that any particular group has a "funding priority" (none does, or should, aside from perhaps the core spending to keep the projects up and running). Good work and excellent projects that support our mission should be promoted and supported whereever they originate, and those applying for funds should be judged within a set framework of standards that varies only based on the type of request, not based on who is asking.
  3. Answer to Question 3 (see above the questions)
    One of the reasons this debate over how best to disseminate funds and do fundraising has been tricky is that there are both philosophical and pragmatic components -- beliefs on how we should broadly speaking set up a system, and practical considerations on the ways in which we can implement that system. I believe that we should strive to support Wikimedia community members and projects that support our mission regardless of where they occur; that we should support and encourage the development and growth of community-developed organizations in support of Wikimedia projects throughout the world; and that we should support those organizations and projects financially to the extent needed and possible, within limits of accountability, effectiveness and transparency.
    We should also have a recognition that increasingly large amounts of money need to be handled in an increasingly responsible manner; that the banner-based online fundraiser is a major professional operation that is distinct from other types of fundraising; that choices between good projects and priorities must be made; and and that financial and donor responsibility is built through transparent practices and pre-set standards that we all hold each other to. We should also have a movement-wide awareness that donors (by and large) donate to support the online projects, something that I worry is largely lost in our debates.
    So I am in favor of decentralized spending and funds dissemination whenever possible, but I am also in favor of efficient, pragmatically-focused fundraising. That means chapters should take advantage of local opportunities, work with the WMF and larger chapters for fundraising best practices, and largely rely on the WMF to do annual online project fundraising. We do not all need to be experts in online fundraising, any more than we all need to be experts at keeping the servers up; for some chapters, it will make sense to locally receive the money as well as locally spending it, but for most it does not.
  4. Answer to Question 4 (see above the questions)
    Everyone -- candidates and voters -- should be aware that the role of the Board is, to a large extent, to support the Executive Director and executive leadership of the WMF, regardless of who occupies those roles. That's simply part of the job description, and one that all trustees need to accept.
    That said, I've known Sue since she joined the WMF, and the last couple of years have formed a much closer and really enjoyable working relationship with her; similarly, I've known Erik for years, and we get along well.
    I feel my relationship with all of the other trustees is also good; I've argued over and agreed on various different points with everyone, and I think we all have not just a good working relationship but generally a good synergy as a board, with a high degree of trust, openness, and collegiality.
  5. Answer to Question 5 (see above the questions)
    I'll note that this kind of personal relationship is mostly useful in doing personal outreach about the Board's decisions, and bringing in a variety of perspectives to discussions; again, advocating for any particular organization is inappropriate.
    I know people on every chapter board, I think, and I count many folks as friends. I have found great joy in meeting Wikimedians in many parts of the world, thanks to attending all of the Wikimanias (5 continents!) and fairly extensive travel and meetup attendance beyond that. I've also participated directly or indirectly in many Wikimedia outreach initiatives, including events and work with the education project, GLAM projects, research, and conference planning.
  6. Answer to Question 6 (see above the questions)
    no.
  7. Answer to Question 7 (see above the questions)
    All of the above, alas!
  8. Answer to Question 8 (see above the questions)
    Because I believe the Wikimedia projects are one of the most important initiatives of our generation, and among the most important information and knowledge projects of any age. Because I am excited by our mission, I want to support it, and help ensure our projects are around for the long haul; and I think my skills, energy and broad knowledge of Wikimedia is suited to and useful on the Board.


Questions by an anonymous source (by request)
  1. Answer to Question 1 (see above the questions)
    Coming from a U.S. perspective: yes, they are as projects First Amendment protected speech, as they certainly should be; strong protection for individual speech, no matter how distasteful, immature or ridiculous, is far better than the alternative.
    There may be individual instances of libel on these collaboratively-created sites (as there are occasionally on Wikimedia projects), but that is subject to a strict legal interpretation, particularly in the U.S. That does not imply that they are also accurate or socially acceptable, however.
  2. Answer to Question 2 (see above the questions)
    no.
  3. Answer to Question 3 (see above the questions)
    It's not just the past year; incidental or systematic harassment of Wikimedia contributors has been an issue for just about as long as we've had a big community. There is little we can do off-project. On-project, however, we have not only the ability but the responsibility to make our projects and services friendly and welcoming places. This must be balanced with our strong orientation towards user privacy and the WMF's limited role under the DMCA. That said, there are a few developments that I support or have worked on:
    • the new Terms of use, which are being approved as we speak, explicitly encourage civility and make harassment against the terms of all Wikimedia projects. That gives us the project-wide framework to consider behavior that violates our global standards.
    • There has been some work done in the past year on a "global arbcom" body that would consider cross-project bad actors, which is today a source of some of the most persistent problems. There is much work that needs to be done, but I support these efforts.
    • Communication: though basic, better site-wide communication mechanisms are needed, particularly for the largest projects, so that it is more difficult for a small group to dominate any given consensus process.


Question by Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation
  1. Answer to the question (see above the questions)
    My approach in consensus building: actively soliciting participation, listening, asking questions to draw out people's views and producing an atmosphere in which people feel welcome to participate, and summarizing and reflecting back what is said. Good consensus building should not be a compromise-building process, but a process to draw out the best of each sides' proposal and highlight those good points in a way that is rooted in the middle ground. Face to face, there are also a few skills to running a physical meeting in making sure people can stay alert and comfortable over long periods of time in difficult discussions; and also making sure that an atmosphere of trust is preserved and that people who become heated or anxious are calmed down by peers. We are fortunate right now to have a number of people on the Board who have these skills; I like to think that I am occasionally one of them.
    Specific examples: I've worked in a complicated and sometimes-contentious situation in my library system, as over the past few years budgets have been cut and employees left without being replaced, and several controversial proposals for reorganization were made. My approach there has been to try to find and support things that work -- rather than throwing up my hands or (only) complaining, adapting our systems to make them work and figuring out what doesn't need to be changed. Making clear proposals and finding the good points in other people's proposals helps, as does listening to the motivations behind complaints and unhappiness: do people fear for their jobs? Do they feel underappreciated? Is the root of the problem what is being proposed, or the way in which it was proposed? Within Wikimedia, I've been involved not just in big all-hands debates but also smaller ones, both in the Board and out, and have tried to apply these same principles.


Questions by Deryck Chan (member of WMHK and WMUK)
  1. Answer to the question 1 (see above the questions)
    not applicable.
  2. Answer to the question 2 (see above the questions)
    Board members of the WMF have a responsiblity to the WMF; current chapter officers are required to resign those positions before they join the WMF Board.
    That said, I am having a hard time imagining a circumstance in which the Board would decide "against" a chapter. Perhaps if there was a motion to decertify a chapter that went forward to the Board? I do not count the fundraising discussions here, because I think those are very subtle and that there are many different interests to consider (including those of small chapters versus large, developing countries versus rich countries, etc.). Individual grant and funding decisions are not made by the Board.


Questions by User Jan eissfeldt
  1. Answer to the question 1 (see above the questions)
    If I knew this off the top of my head we could have saved a lot of debate! :) The Board is currently working on this question, and it is also an open question to the community. I defer to this collaborative process, and will be glad to accept its outcomes.
  2. Answer to the question 2 (see above the questions)
    This is an interesting question. I think the WMF Board certainly should have a role in developing such standards, and implementing on the broadest scale -- for instance, asking the WMF ED to implement for the WMF, and making such standards part of standard agreements with the WMF for trademarks, funding and organizational recognition. It is not our job to review specific instances of implementation; that should be devolved to peer review whenever possible. I'm not sure what you mean by preserving, but periodic movement-wide review should be part of all of our policies and standards.


Questions by a second anonymous source
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    Again, if I knew a fool-proof way to do this, we could have saved a lot of work! You are right that editor retention & recruitment is our most pressing challenge; and it is also true that we have not solved this -- we haven't come up with a way that unambiguously turns those trends around.
    By and large I think that the multi-pronged approach that the WMF is taking is right: improving the software to make it easier to use (upload wizard, visual editor), providing support and tools to communities and long-term editors (grants, curation tools), doing research on what makes editors stick around or leave (template research, etc), and doing outreach (education support, grants for GLAM work, etc.). Coming from a university setting, I am particularly supportive of the global education project; while we have much to learn, I think there's a lot of untapped promise there that could be supported through the WMF and chapters. I also think that we need to focus our energies on Mediawiki improvements, which will help not only Wikimedia projects but the whole universe of free knowledge projects that use our software. These improvements center on visual editor work but also include notifications, talk page threading, new page curation tools -- the whole suite of tools that editors use to interact with one another. While it is not the Board's role to specify which specific things should be done -- we do provide input on what areas to emphasize, and I think technical improvements and tools for communication are critical.
    And we must remain an open, welcoming culture. It does not have to be a contradiction to build a project with editing rules that keep out poor-quality content and still be kind and open to newcomers. As experienced Wikimedians, we all have a responsibility to help build this culture.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    This is a large part of the testing and research going on at the WMF now. We know of course how many editors there are and whether they are new or not; plotting this against various improvements (if we switch the visual editor on, what happens? If we change Huggle templates, do people keep editing?) and doing A/B testing is the primary approach. It is complicated, but possible. And of course we can look at all of the languages; it is interesting that some small languages are still rapidly growing in editors, while most large and well-established languages are not.
  3. Answer to question 3 (see above the questions)
    The WMF has made progress in identifying trends. What is more difficult, however, is figuring out how to fix them. As a trustee, I don't want the WMF to stop efforts in any particular area, but I think we can focus on areas that seem particularly crucial, such as technical improvements. All of this work is experimental in nature; some will succeed and some will fail, and we clearly have a lot to do and try. I think we need to allow ourselves the room to experiment, while having rigorous enough analysis work that we can tell which approaches are promising; from what I have seen in the last couple of years since the release of the strategic plan, the WMF has moved strongly in this direction and is improving every day. I would like, too, to see the kind of rigorous trials, research and improvments that we are trying at the WMF to also be done as chapter programs in various languages; this is certainly not an area where we can go it alone.


Questions by Ilario Valdelli (WM CH)
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    Some work is better centralized and some work is better decentralized. That is true for running the projects -- it makes sense to centralize maintaining the servers, but to decentralize editorial decision making -- and is also true for our governance and administrative infrastructure, which includes the WMF, chapters and volunteer work. So to your question about a centralized decision maker, I would say "decisions about what?"
    The Board and the WMF are both well-placed to think about the movement holistically and globally, and I do think it is important to have a central body that is in that position -- if for no other reason to coordinate thinking about our strategy and future directions as a global project, and to ensure that the projects and the bodies that support them are stable and supported for the long term. But the Board must (and does) acknowledge that the vast majority of decisions are not ours to make and are better made in local, decentralized contexts.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    Yes, of course it is a huge problem. Discussions like the fundraising conversations are difficult for native English speakers, let alone non-native speakers!
    I have not thought of any ways to help address this problem that don't involve some fairly serious effort and infrastructure-building. But it is certainly worth it. Two ideas I have had are:
    • Rapid RFCs: if the WMF or movement needs input on a topic, it could be framed as a series of requests for input on specific questions (rather than big documents or position statements and then free-form discussion). That way short answers could be provided in any language and then translated. I am imagining a more templated kind of discussion so you don't have to read through 50 pages to participate, but rather can just fill out a field in response to a question. To support getting the sense of discussions and consensus building we can focus more on summarization and reflection, a set of skills that our best community facilitators have.
    • in-house deliberate translation support -- we need a system in which core documents, reports and discussion questions are routinely translated into specific core languages, rather like the UN. Our current translators are amazing, but this is important enough that we need to make sure that it is done every time, and rapidly. This might involve translation infrastructure or paying translators. It would be nice if every chapter could support a translator; if no one is available we should pay for translations. And, in turn, I would like to see chapters provide materials in their own language and get translation support from central bodies (grants, chapters council, etc) if they need it.
    If there are other good ideas that haven't happened just because it would take money or time: we are open to them. There is widespread acknowledgement within the WMF that we must support being a multilingual organization.


Question by Mike Peel (WM UK)
  1. Answer to the question (see above the questions)
    Not to my knowledge :) Each trustee must fill out a conflict of interest form every year which is submitted to other trustees and the general counsel to review. I have done so and no concerns have been raised. My only financial dealings with the WMF, other than for travel reimbursements since I've been a trustee, have been around WikiSym 2010, which was a conference that I chaired and the WMF sponsored; that contract was made well before I ran for the Board. I haven't been a party to WikiSym sponsorship discussions since then.


Questions by AshLin
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    I know that there have been conflicts. But I am not an expert on the specific situation in India, which makes me hesitant to comment. What I would like to see, in general, is not a sense of conflict, competition or feeling territorial but cooperation and coordination. As originally conceived, the office and the chapter have different strengths: the chapter can have members in all parts of the country, with activities and outreach and peer training in many places. The WMF program staff can support specific expertise in particular areas, as well as providing resources.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    I think both bringing in programs and community empowerment is important; there has never been any question that we must empower the local community regardless of anything else. One of the things that we will learn from India, and now Brazil, is what consultant programs work, and which work the best, and indeed how best to work with local volunteers. If it turns out at the end of two or three years that hiring on-the-ground staff and consultants doesn't seem to make a difference (or hurts the local community), I would be open to scrapping the program. If it turns out that it does seem to work in particular areas, then let's iterate and continue.
    Using the term "global south" as a short-hand for a whole range of countries (and even continents) with different communities, situations and Wikipedias is a bit imperialist in tone; I try not to encourage such sweeping generalizations. But I do think focusing on smaller languages -- and languages where the Wikipedia size doesn't match the number of people who speak that language, such as Arabic -- is crucial to achieve our goals of free knowledge for all. This is not just a national but also a linguistic issue, since our projects are language based and our editors may live anywhere. In general, I am incredibly excited not just by our international mission, which we have always had, but by our renewed focus on it the last couple of years. I don't know if on-the-ground individual work is the most efficient way to go, but I do support the focus on thinking about the needs of many disparate countries when designing programs.


Questions by user Ofol, WMFr member

Note on these questions -- Sorry I am answering these quite late -- it has nothing to do with the questions. They were posted when I was busy traveling & preparing for the chapters meeting, and I just forgot to come back to them! -- phoebe | talk 19:28, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    Legitimacy: it is impossible for a body of ten people, no matter how selected and how diverse, to fully represent all of Wikimedia: our strength comes from being a diverse and diffuse movement with many parts that is united under shared values (free knowledge, openness, etc). But the Board is often asked to represent Wikimedia, whether formally or informally, and trustees see it as their mission to think about, account for, and represent all of the needs of the movement. Whether the Board can legitimately make decisions for all of Wikimedia, not just the Foundation, stems in large part from how effective trustees are at synthesizing viewpoints and bringing a broad perspective to bear in making appropriate decisions. As far as the specific example of chapters goes, in fact the Board usually simply approves the chapcom recommendation, so in this case the question is whether the chapters committee is legitimate :) I think it is an effective model for the board to try and move decision-making about various topics to community groups whenever possible, and chapcom is a good example. In my opinion, the Board should lead by representing perspective and a long-term view, and worrying about the things that are hard to have a single answer for: what kind of organization should WMF be? What role does Wikimedia play in the free knowledge ecosystem? How do we make our projects and community healthy for the long haul?
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    I would not run for the FDC, and I expect I wouldn't be eligible for the chapters council. I wouldn't run for the FDC because I do not think grantmaking is where my core skills or interests lie. If I am not re-elected to the Board I would rather spend my Wikimedia time and energy working on topics I have a stronger background in (such as outreach, communications, and education); the FDC will be quite time-consuming and is not something to take on lightly.
  3. Answer to question 3 (see above the questions)
    The process is OK but we still need to improve it. During the last two years we have had good conversations about Board reappointments (and related topics such as skills needed on the Board, term limits, etc) which have largely been led by the Board Governance Committee. This has led to us adopting a Board evaluation process which is helpful. However, we could still strengthen this process, and I think we should revive the nominations committee to have more public input, and work on a Board pipeline -- looking for good external and internal candidates and helping them develop the skills required. Note that none of this is a commentary on our existing Board members -- after working with them for a couple years I am highly impressed by everyone on our Board. As far as the balance, I supported the board split (as a community member) years ago when we set it up, and after experiencing it in action I think it is a very nice balance. We all bring different perspectives, even as "community members" or "outsiders"; I think the specific person and their background is more important than where they broadly come from. If I was going to change the balance it would be towards expanding the Board to include one or two more seats. Note that whether someone is elected or not doesn't need to correlate with whether they come from the community; it's simply easier for known community members to get elected. I would favor having a couple more community members on the board, no matter how they got there; we have many talented candidates in this election and in past elections, and there would be benefit in having more energy, viewpoints, and hands to do the work.

Specific Questions to this candidate[edit]

Questions by user Ofol, WMFr member
  1. During your mandate, what where your hardest times and why?
    I'd say Haifa Wikimania. Not because of the conference -- which was amazing -- but our meeting and the decision to write the fundraising letter, as well as subsequent conversations, was very difficult. I was torn between knowing that we shouldn't make a decision like that with no notice, and also knowing that we needed to talk about it in person with everyone. In the end I urged us to go ahead and publish the letter right then so we could talk about it. But communication was a mess, and we needed a more structured process and more information to make the decision. It was extremely stressful. Despite all that I think the letter itself was pretty good!
  2. During your mandate, what where your best times and why?
    Even though I am very behind: writing reports on the Board's activities is a joy. Our trustees are amazing people doing amazing things. And, communicating that work and the work of the Board is quite satisfying :)
  3. During your mandate, did you specifically work on a major topic where chapters were concerned? What line of action did you suggest?
    One perhaps non-obvious answer is that our core work of approving the WMF annual and strategic plans directly affects the chapters, along with the rest of Wikimedia. What our areas of focus are for the coming year and how we will fund them affects all of Wikimedia and should be a movement-wide decision (awareness of this led directly to the idea of the FDC). During my tenure we started increasing grant funding for chapters and everyone in each annual budget, and I think this is increasingly important -- it has enabled money to go to smaller chapters, and to more events and projects, with varying emphasis, around the world. I continue to be on the conservative side when it comes to the WMF's growth trajectory, though pleased with our programs. I support the FDC idea however, as I think it can only do us good to decentralize and bring more community input and review into decisions about programmatic work.

Lodewijk Gelauff (Effeietsanders)[edit]

Please ask here your question to be answered by Lodewijk, the moderators will pass the questions to the candidate and place the answers in this page.

Thank you for the questions. Because these are quite a lot of questions (quite a few already, and probably more to come), and the people reading the answers will have to read them for eight candidates, I will try to provide short answers. Where absolutely necessary I will provide a longer version too. This might result in the situation that I do not touch on every single aspect of a question. Please contact me again if you feel I missed a major point.


Questions by Laura Hale, from WMAU
  1. Answer to Question 1 (see above the questions)
    I outlined in my statement some of my activities, which have been to promote the mission of the chapters and foundation alike. However, more specifically I have undertaken some activities which were also to help chapters specifically. Such as:
    • Organizing Wiki Loves Monuments on an international scale and trandferring knowledge online and through workshops (2011 & 2012)
    • Presenting the 'coolest projects' by chapters at Wikimania (2011)
    • Organizing the chapters meeting (2008 & 2010)
    • Participating in the Movement Roles and other discussions, while keeping my experiences as (Wikimedia Nederland) board member in mind.
    • Being a board member for Wikimedia Nederland (2006 - 2011)
    • Being an active member on the Chapters Committee (2009 - present)
  2. Answer to Question 2 (see above the questions)
    I have been member of the Chapters Committee during part of this (failed) approval process. I support the approval criteria as chapcom interprets these, which Amical failed to meet. At the same time I recognize that in their own way they can be of value to the movement and can be enabling volunteers in their cultural context. They could and should be recognized for that (as an affiliate/association), if they meet the appropriate criteria such as a fitting mission statement and scope.
  3. Answer to Question 3 (see above the questions)
    I have a strong preference for decentralized fundraising and programs; whenever legally, financially and strategically realistic.
  4. Answer to Question 4 (see above the questions)
    While my private conversations with the board members are exactly that, private, I can assure you that there is no relationship whatsoever with any board member of the Wikimedia Foundation that it would lead to a perceived conflict of interest. I am also not in such bad standing with any board or staff member (that I know of) that I could not work together with them.
  5. Answer to Question 5 (see above the questions)
    I have been board member of Wikimedia Nederland for five years. I have been and still am involved with the organization of Wiki Loves Monuments. I will remain involved with that organization at least in 2012. I am a regular member of the Dutch, German and UK chapters. I have been appointed 'advisor to the board' in Wikimedia Nederland, which is not any formal position. I maintain friendly relationships with many chapter board members through the world, as well with members of the GLAM community and members of the GAC.
  6. Answer to Question 6 (see above the questions)
    I have spoken with several chapter board members on the topic of the Board of Trustees. I dont make a habit of disclosing confidential conversations and am surprised you would ask this of me. If those chapter board members wish to come forward they can do so - but I will not do that myself.
  7. Answer to Question 7 (see above the questions)
    I have followed most discussions on these topics (even when I didn't respond) and participated in several. This is not something of the past months when things heated up further, but something I have taken an interest in ever since founding Wikimedia Nederland (2005). A query in your mailbox or on meta will probably tell you more than I can specify. I guess you could safely say I have been quite active, but not as active as some.
  8. Answer to Question 8 (see above the questions)
    I think this is best covered in my candidate statement.


Questions by an anonymous source (by request)
  1. Answer to Question 1 (see above the questions)
    I am not very well informed of the sites you mention. I looked into it a little bit, and if you're looking for a legal estimate I am afraid I cannot give you one - I am not a lawyer. As a Wikipedian I do dare to say it is unlikely to be very effective in reaching a result or change of culture. I am unsure how effective it would be to try and attack those sites in case they were on the border of being legitimate, because a new site would be quickly set up.
  2. Answer to Question 2 (see above the questions)
    To the best of my memory I have never contributed to such websites. I did edit 'uncyclopedia' a few times under the nickname 'altijdhetzelfde' but that seems to fall outside your definition.
  3. Answer to Question 3 (see above the questions)
    I do not have a solution for this problem, and I can't promise specific actions to take. However, I am (selected or not) willing to listen to the problems and potential solutions. I think that the collective wisdom of the community is much larger than that of a group of ten people in a board room. The odds for the joint communities to come up with an actually effective solution is higher. The task of the board could be to ask the staff to implement (s)one of these solutions - as a board member I would obviously be willing to listen to the problems, potential solutions and what the foundation can do to implement those.


Question by Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation
  1. Answer to the question (see above the questions)
    I have been on the board of Wikimedia Nederland for five years and have encountered multiple such situations. Also in the chapters committee, Wikimania program committee, national conference organizing committees and even in the Wiki Loves Monuments organizing committee I encountered differences of opinions, which were resolved with varying success. Even as a steward I have encountered such situations, like with the Yiddish Wikipedia crisis, where two groups of users opposed each other strongly, both with admins. I played a role in resolving that crisis. The community voted in the end to de-admin all sysops, and temporarily appoint three outsiders to make a fresh start together that way.
    I don't follow a theory or a by-the-book approach when it comes to conflicts. I think it is extremely important to always listen to arguments, be willing to change my opinion and remain constructive. As a Dutch person I am comfortable with the polder model approach where participation of all parties is asked. I usually treat that as a given, which even within Wikimedia it not always is. But basically I just go with the flow and do what makes most sense.
    I should however say that I find it hard to take credit for what I have done (and if done successful, conflicts are of course avoided and non-public); I suggest you ask people who I have collaborated with about this.


Questions by Deryck Chan (member of WMHK and WMUK)
  1. Answer to the question 1 (see above the questions)
    I have no position whatsoever in my nominating chapter (Wikimedia Polska). In Wikimedia Nederland I am an active volunteer and advisor to the board (I have currently access to the board wiki but not to the mailing list). I run several projects, such as a project with Nyenrode New Business School and Wiki Loves Monuments on an international level. I am an active participant in the General Assemblies. I am also a (not so active) member of Wikimedia Deutschland and Wikimedia UK. In 2010 I was hired by Wikimedia Deutschland to assist in the organization of the third Chapters Meeting in Berlin.
    In the past I have been board member (2006 - 2011) of Wikimedia Nederland, of which a few months as treasurer and 2 years as vice chair (of which roughly 1 year assuming chair responsibilities). I have run several projects for Wikimedia Nederland, such as the Wikimedia Conferentie Nederland, Wiki Loves Monuments (2010 and 2011 for NL, 2011 and 2012 international), organized the first Chapters Meeting (2008) in Nijmegen. I have been involved in several more projects too.
  2. Answer to the question 2 (see above the questions)
    Short answer: I will stand on the side of the mission that we all share.
    Longer answer: Fist of all: I have no "own chapter". I hold the values of chapters, decentralized programs and volunteer development close to my heart. I strongly believe that the chapters are and will be key to scaling the Wikimedia Movement in many different ways. At the same time there are some legal responsibilities that the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees has - and I definitely would accept those. The Board is in the unfortunate position that it both has a leadership role for the movement and for the Foundation which may complicate things.
    But ultimately it is all about the mission. If it would be in the best interest of accomplishing our mission to abolish the Wikimedia Foundation, I would vote for that. I expect the same of every single chapter board member with respect to their chapter. I strongly doubt that this will be the case any time soon, but that is how I feel about it.
    I refuse to end up in a position where we have to make a choice - we should work towards solutions which help both the Foundation and the chapters alike to accomplish this joint mission as effectively as possible. But were the board to make a decision that I truely believe to be not in the best interest of our joint mission, I think it is more helpful to put my energy into avoiding that situation, than to stand against the rest of the board after that decision has been made.


Questions by User Jan eissfeldt
  1. Answer to the question 1 (see above the questions)
    Short answer: The movement wide standards should be set in joint discussion and not only by the board. My personal directions include: Membership should be in charge, local rules and practices are most important and all accountability and transparency has to be aimed at improvement. Positive reward rather than negative.
    Longer answer: I think these standards should not be set by individuals, but by the movement together in joint discussion. Not just by the Board of Trustees. However, I am willing to give a more general personal viewpoint here, but please keep that in mind, I'm open for arguments and discussion and prefer the specifics to come out of a joint discussion.
    Most Wikimedia organizations are membership organizations. The very first responsibility regarding accountability is towards those members. The members should have full control over the organization (directly or indirectly) and need the tools to accomplish that. They are also tied to a jurisdiction and obviously they have to fulfill whatever requirements are set inside that jurisdiction - but also what is common practice and what donors and volunteers can reasonably expect from a charity in their jurisdiction.
    Further I think that both accountability and transparency needs to be practical and at least accommodate local standards for similar organizations (this will be different in each country). Practical as in achievable and not too much work, but also practical as in effective for those who would like to make use of this information.
    Finally, I think that both should be aimed at improvement rather than punishment for bad behavior. There is no use in taking away rights just as a response to a mistake - it is much more constructive to evaluate together what is realistic to expect from both sides, and how the rest of the movement can help that entity to improve itself. Thanks to the right kind of accountability it is both possible to improve the organization itself, and inspire other organizations to implement processes or projects that they account for.
  2. Answer to the question 2 (see above the questions)
    Short answer: The board participated in the discussion, motivates chapters and helps build support for good guidelines.
    Longer answer: Trustees play an interesting role in our movement. On one side they are (legally) the ultimate authority inside the Wikimedia Foundation, and have therefore a legal obligation to keep that foundation accountable and also account for its grants. At the same time, the trustees have taken up over time a more movement wide role - the extent of which has been debated often. In this role I see them (at this point in time with the current structures) as example setters and compass for the movement. The board could stimulate chapters to develop these standards - but I don't think the board is in a place to impose those standards immediately upon the other movement entities. To make accountability and transparency really work (and not a slush of unstructured data) there has to be strong intrinsic support from the other movement entities. Right now, that seems to be lacking in for example the enthusiasm with which Chapter reports are being written - although everybody agreed it had to happen, it doesn't for many chapters (and cheers to those that do!) It takes a culture change, time and diplomacy.


Questions by a second anonymous source
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    First of all: I do not claim to be the expert here, and this is a continuous discussion. The real solutions are likely found inside communities and not inside the foundation.
    • Culture change - this is immediately probably the most impossible one, but also the most important. We have somehow to improve how welcomed people feel when they join project - so that they also actually stick around. Make everything more fun. This is not something the foundation can easily fix, but it is something the community has to think about. Some work here could include in helping the community see where the problems lie.
    • We can think of lots of patches and decorations to make it seem better - but the really added value for the foundation lies in supporting local communities (especially through chapters and other movement entities) and facilitate them to resolve issues.
    • Obviously there is a whole set of software solutions that will help. Making discussions easier and more comfortable (and less disturbing) through a proper talkpage management (improved liquid threads), what you see is what you get etc.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    • Culture change is impossible to measure - and if it can be measured, the methods will always be contested. The best we can do is survey-guesstimate.
    • Supporting local communities can of course be measured in many ways - but that is not so interesting in this context because the goal here is to improve editor retention. Also very hard to measure, but to just keep a close eye on it.
    • Software solutions are easier to measure through surveys, test persons and A/B tests.
    There are of course several large scale variables that can be measured, but they are influenced by too many factors to do that properly.
  3. Answer to question 3 (see above the questions)
    This is a long term process. One can't yet draw conclusions from the efforts so far. There is much still in the pipeline, and its impact is still unclear if it has been rolled out. There are most likely things I would have liked to do different, but who would have been right is hard to say right now.


Questions by Ilario Valdelli (WM CH)
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    A decentralized movement is probably most likely to make things scale. Locally they know best what projects are most likely to find volunteers for, to have an impact and be successful. It seems that we're moving towards a certain level of centralization when it comes to fundraising and fund dissemination and seems unavoidable. I do however think that healthy movement entities are membership organizations for a reason, and their members should have a strong say in what the organization does.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    I am not a native speaker of English myself. I can feel with the hard times some people must be having following (let alone understanding) large amounts of complicated text written by native speakers. A certain divide will be unavoidable - but we should work to make it smaller. Initiatives like Iberocoop aiming to make that gap smaller are useful but rare. I see three directions for improvement:
    1) self-constraint when writing emails, discussions and answers. Be shorter, to the point and avoid complicated sentences.
    2) Improvement of translation network and translate the core reports (which have to be built first) summarizing relevant movement activity in both activities and discussions.
    3) Making more use of ambassadors in both directions
    If other people have more ideas I'm always open for trying them of course.


Question by Mike Peel (WM UK)
  1. Answer to the question (see above the questions)
    I don't have any conflicts of interest with this process to my best knowledge. I consider it statistically likely that over a period of two years a conflict of interest will arise. I will of course follow established procedures for that (there is a detailed board policy for that). I currently don't foresee any major Conflicts of Interest.


Questions by AshLin
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    I think it is commendable if staff members also spend part of their free time on Wikimedia activities. If they choose to do so in the chapter activities, I guess that speaks for the chapter, that it is able to create a welcoming environment. I understand from your question and the discussion on the wikimediaindia mailing list that not everybody shares this opinion, but in my experience having multiple functions is perfectly possible. Although a WMF board membership is not a paid position, I will likely, if selected, also hold volunteer positions in chapter activities besides that (although not officer positions obviously, as the WMF bylaws dictate) such as in the Wiki Loves Monuments organization.
    It is up to the individual, the chapter and the employer to handle potential Conflicts of Interests when they arise. They will certainly arise at some point - but you should seriously consider if avoiding those COI's should happen at all cost, or that you trust those people involved to handle it decently. From a WMF perspective I personally see at this point with the information to me available no problems - but this would primarily be an issue to be handled by the direct superiors of the employees in question.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    Short answer: I'm all for a volunteer run scalable movement. Staff members can sometimes support those volunteers and make them more effective. A balance has to be found and maintained to let volunteers do what they can and want to do, and making their time investments most efficient.
    Longer answer: I am as always sorry to hear that the discussions surrounding the India Program of the WMF and the Wikimedia India activities are causing so much turbulence. I hope you will understand that I can't answer your question in detail because I do not possess the necessary information to do so - but I can share some general lines of thought. In my view programmatic staff members should primarily support volunteer driven efforts - make sure that the volunteers can be more productive, more effective and spend their time most efficiently. Volunteers are the very core of our organization, and I would be very disappointed if staff members were hired to do work that volunteers would like to do. That would not only be a waste of money, but also damaging the motivation of the involved and other volunteers.
    But paid staff members can definitely have an added value to a volunteer driven initiative too. In the Netherlands for example we hired a part time consultant (or whatever you call it) to help with the communication side of the local Wiki Loves Monuments contest. She was extremely helpful and driven - and made lots of things happen which otherwise would have been unthinkable. Thanks to her contributions press releases were more effective, magazines placed articles and the impact was improved. I think it was a wise decision of the board to hire her. And then there are also staff members to coordinate things that are crucial and sensitive (and often boring), such as fundraising, administration, legal and certain areas of technology.
    We have to keep a healthy balance between the advantages and disadvantages.


Questions by user Ofol, WMFr member
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    Short answer: Sometimes, and to some extent. It is important that if the board makes a decision, other stakeholders are involved in the decision process.
    Longer answer: Sometimes, it depends a lot on the situation. The board has a dual role and responsibility here. Externally (press etc), I guess it is OK to have the board speak for the movement. That is simply the most practical - if we ever develop different structures we can evaluate that. For the approval of new chapters, the decision is mainly delegated to the Chapters Committee, which' advise is almost always followed. The board validates that decision, although having the final responsibility. I think that is a good approach in general for the Board (or WMF staff) if it wants to make movement decisions - always make sure to ask the input of all stakeholders involved. In the past this has not always happened well. I think the chapters have (or should have) the right to be involved in the decision making process when the board will make a decision which involves or influences them.
    For all major decisions in the foundation or the movement I think also that it would be good to work to a situation that the community can be involved in the decision making process. This would probably require changes in our structures, because currently that would not scale.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    I unfortunately do not have the ability to look into the future: I don't know yet 100% sure if those bodies will come into existance and how they will look like. I also do not consider this relevant to this selection procedure. What I can tell is that I will *not* likely run for the Chapters Council if I am elected to the board.
  3. Answer to question 3 (see above the questions)
    I strongly doubt they "just reappoint" people, but I understand the intent of your question. In the past the WMF had a nominating committee, but that was considered ineffective by those involved. People seemed to agree (I enquired about this in June 2011) this was not because it was a faulty principle, but because of practicalities. I would personally like to see more input from the community in this process. Maybe not from the community as a whole (it has to remain practical) but at least several selected individuals should be able to give input and make it a less internally directed process. But before I formulate a solid opinion on this I would like more feedback from current board members on this, and learn their lessons (which may not all be public).
    I think it would be more effective to re-evaluate our consulting and decision processes as a movement (how is the community involved in decision making processes in general in an effective and efficient way; should it have a veto, soft or hard?) rather than turning the board structure upside down.

Patricio Lorente (Patricio.lorente)[edit]

Please ask here your question to be answered by Patricio, the moderators will pass the questions to the candidate and place the answers in this page.
Questions by Laura Hale, from WMAU
  1. Answer to Question 1 (see above the questions)
    When Wikimedia Argentina was founded it was the only chapter in Latin America and the only one in a Spanish speaking country (consider that the Spanish Wikipedia is a major Wikipedia and that Spanish is an official language in 26 countries, being the second most natively spoken language in the world). It was quite natural, in that situation, that we assumed a role of promotion of similar groups of wikimedians who were trying to organize themselves (in Chile, Mexico, Spain). As these groups were developing into potential chapters, the idea of Iberocoop started to grow, which is in fact an effort to empower local groups, coordinate activities and exchange experiences in a permanent and not merely circumstantial basis.
    Iberocoop was proposed during Wikimania 2010 as a cooperation network between chapters and working groups, and officially launched in 2011, in Buenos Aires, in the "Encuentro Wikimedia Iberoamericano 2011" ("Wikimedia Iberoamerican Meeting 2011") also called "Iberoconf". After this meeting, the working groups of Mexico and Venezuela concluded their organization process and were recognized by WMF as new chapters and several activities were planned between all chapters and working groups of the network.
  2. Answer to Question 2 (see above the questions)
    To be accurate, I should say that Amical is not a chapter-like organization. Chapters operate on a geographical, territorial basis and this territory should correspond to a recognized political unity, be it a state or a subnational entitity in the case there is not corresponding national chapter. Amical once claimed some territorial boundaries, but this territory was based on some linguistic and cultural criteria and covered part of Spain, part of France, part of Italy and Andorra. That proposal was rejected by the ChapCom and the group was unable to work with it to adapt their proposal or seek a viable, agreed solution.
    They don’t fulfill the definition of a Wikimedia chapter not only in the geographical sense but also regarding their scope: they recognize that their active interest is to promote Catalan language and culture, whereas chapters promote free knowledge and Wikimedia projects in general. However, Amical promotes Wikimedia projects as part of their core activities and I think that this kind of organizations should be recognized by the Foundation under what the Movement Roles Initiative called “new models”, as a partner organization with all the necessary resources to actively support their interest and our common mission.
    But before that, some kind of interaction rules between Wikimedia organizations should be set up: otherwise, wherever there are overlapping organizations we risk to build a competitive and conflictive environment instead of a cooperative and synergical network. This part of the work is in progress but is yet to be done, and I consider really important that a schedule is not forced before this can be worked out in a way that fits all the involved parties.
    Because of their geographical range, it’s natural for chapters to deal with national institutions, both public and private. We need to be clear before these institutions on which is the “Wikimedia organization of reference” for different situations or projects. It’s my opinion that Wikimedia chapters, per their development and characteristics, can be expected to coordinate Wikimedia activities between different partners, associations and affiliates within a given geography --of course, they can fail as any other organization can do, and there are both internal and external mechanisms to prevent and act in those cases. We need to find the way that, even if cultural or language-centered partner organizations develop activities in the same territory a chapter or series chapters do, those are coordinated in the constructive and collaborative spirit that has long been our movement’s banner. Neither chapters nor partners (Amical is one of them, the only concrete one we have) can be “against” each other, they must in my opinion ensure that they support each other and don’t divide efforts nor resources of all kind when it’s counterproductive to do so. We need that framework.
  3. Answer to Question 3 (see above the questions)
    I believe that empowering local communities should be at the core of our international organization. With that in mind, we should not only allow, but encourage chapters to do local fundraising, even in areas where the possible amount of revenues from local fundraising could be negligible: local fundraising builds commitment with others and pushes the organizations to be accountable to third parties, donors being one of the most important of them. On another note, chapters are able to adapt donation campaigns to local customs, regulations and procedures, and to provide alternative mechanisms other than the ones supported in the international fundraising campaign.
    Of course, local fundraising must be directly related to transparency, accountability, and also funds dissemination within other organizations of our movement. This is particularly important when talking about doing payment process of the online fundraising campaign, where the requirements of accountability and administrative capability should be raised.
    I believe the Foundation should support all chapters willing and able to do local fundraising, but please don’t get me wrong: local fundraising and payment process of the online fundraising campaign are different instances with different requirements and procedures.
    On another note, I consider the grants model (especially after the Paris discussions) to be a positive development as long as it is flexible enough and based on fair rules convened by all the involved stakeholders. Especially for the smallest or newest chapters, grants are an excellent way to ensure that their financial needs are not a problem and they can instead focus on developing successful educational, community outreach, GLAM or PR programs.
  4. Answer to Question 4 (see above the questions)
    I have a friendship relation with Jimmy, who has been always very solicitous to our requirements, being those formal or not. He came to Argentina more than a couple of times during the last years (Wikimedia Academy 2008, Wikimania 2009, etc.) and I’ve seen him at every international Wikimedia event where we did both attend since Wikimania 2007. With Sue and Erik, we had to work and to spend some time together when organizing Wikimania 2009, and we had always a very constructive rapport.
    Besides, I consider myself a friend of Phoebe, Arne and SJ, and I know and appreciate Kat Walsh. I don’t have any relation with other members of the Board, except for some incidental conversation at Wikimania or things like that, though other close friends of mine do.
  5. Answer to Question 5 (see above the questions)
    I don’t know what level of detail you are asking for. Anyway, I think I know members from all --or almost all-- the existing Chapters and have many long-time friends (measured in wikitime, of course) from different chapters. Of course, I have a particular intense and productive communication with the participants of Iberocoop (Latin American chapters and working groups, plus our fellows in Europe), and where we’ve developed already some coordinated activities in the educational field.
  6. Answer to Question 6 (see above the questions)
    I had personal conversations with members of Iberocoop chapters and had the opportunity to have informal conversations in the Finance Meeting about my candidacy (and about other candidates and the selection process itself) with people of different chapters. In all cases were more interchanges of opinion and information rather than requests for endorsement. However, I can say that I only decided to present my candidacy after I got sure that my possible presence on the WMF BoT was considered desirable and valuable by a diverse group of Wikimedia enthusiasts I appreciate and value for their commitment.
  7. Answer to Question 7 (see above the questions)
    I’ve been quite active in my own chapter about the whole fundraising and funds dissemination thing but tried to avoid adding confusion to the lists discussion. In that sense my decision was to express myself through the Iberocoop statement (which I think is pretty clear in its principles) and personally in the Finance Meeting in Paris.
  8. Answer to Question 8 (see above the questions)
    I think that the complete answer for this question is my statement. If you want me to expand in particular anything that’s said there, please don’t hesitate to ask.


Questions by an anonymous source (by request)
  1. Answer to Question 1 (see above the questions)
    I am not very familiar with those websites, as they mostly refer to the English Wikipedia, and therefore it is difficult for me to give a very informed opinion. As a general rule, I condemn any form of personal attacks or harassment that prevent our active editors from doing good work on the projects and I believe we should, where possible and sensible, provide protection to our community from such attacks (by ensuring the necessary privacy tools are in place, for example). However, I do know some parodies of the Spanish-language Wikipedia, but I wouldn’t say their purpose is to attack or harass Wikimedians and as such they do fall into the category of simple parody.
  2. Answer to Question 2 (see above the questions)
    No.
  3. Answer to Question 3 (see above the questions)
    On-wiki issues, like consensus manipulation, should be solved primarily by the editing community. The Wikimedia Foundation should provide as much technical support to give the legitimate editing community tools to fight these problems, but should not interfere in editing processes.
    Under certain circumstances, on off-wiki harassments (specially if a minority is targeted), the community, the Foundation and the chapters could help an individual contributor that’s being attacked, when internal mechanisms seem not to work. This might go from legal counsel how to respond to a threat, to workshops on conflict resolutions, for example. As said above, I think Wikimedia Foundation’s main role should be to ensure privacy to editors, so as to keep these problems as low as possible.


Question by Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation
  1. Answer to the question (see above the questions)
    You are asking about my everyday job. My University is run by a council of 70 representatives of teachers, students and graduates, and has a General Assembly of 285 members. A substantial part of my work is to get decisions done by those large and many times difficult deliberative bodies, where different views and interests are represented.
    What I’ve learned in my position is that to reach consensus in an heterogeneous community you need patience, determination and respect for others’ views. You have to keep in mind the goals you want to achieve, but at the same time, you need capability to listen to everybody and flexibility to adapt your original plan on the move. Many times, you can include others by making little adjustments or changes on your initial plan, but that is not possible if you are obsessed only with making your point instead of willing to listen others’ concerns and proposals.
    Consensus making when the starting point shows diversity is not a speed race, but a marathon. We are running a very young organization, and perhaps because of that many times we seem to be in a hurry, and there’s the feeling that things have to be decided just now. But, for most decisions, that is never true: there is always chance to get consensus if we have the nerve, the patience and, above all, the general determination to keep the cohesion of our movement.


Questions by Deryck Chan (member of WMHK and WMUK)
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    I’m president of Wikimedia Argentina, serving my third term. On that capacity, I was chair of the local organizing team for Wikimanía 2009. Also, as part of Wikimedia Argentina, I’ve worked with members of other groups in Latin America and Europe, on the creation of the Ibero-American Cooperation Initiative (Iberocoop) and organized its first summit in Buenos Aires, in July 2011.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    If the decision is not a general resolution, but about a particular issue regarding specifically my chapter, I should decline to participate in the process of decision making, other than providing information. This applies to any resolutions that either harms or benefits my chapter.
    On the other hand, if we are talking about general resolutions affecting chapters in one sense or another (and mine between them) it would be my duty to take responsible part of the decision making process and to take into account the best interests of our broad movement, with all its people, communities and organizations inside. I would, of course, take into account my previous experience but I don’t feel there’s any binding relation between a Foundation trustee and any chapter or group in particular, nor between him and the opinions or input provided by the Foundation’s staff, which are valuable but not definitive if we don’t take into account the word of every involved stakeholder.


Questions by User Jan eissfeldt
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    I think it is important to keep in mind that, in our movement, there are several entities with different degrees of development. Most of them are being run by volunteers, while other entities are larger with professional staff, so it is difficult to find one-size fits all requirements for levels of accountability.
    But, there should be guiding principles that any kind of organization should share.
    Some guidelines should be:
    • programmatic work should always be in line with the mission (accountability to donors)
    • of course compliance with local laws when applicable (for chapters and Foundation, for example)
    • transparency about what we do with the money (what we plan with the donations, what we’ve done with them)
    • transparency about our goals and how well we have achieved them (progress reports)
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    • Support staff and community in developing reasonable and fair standards for all (this will be different for each trustee, as we all have different experiences within and outside of Wikimedia)
    • Make sure safeguards are in place so that rules and standards are not subject to wild interpretation (clear communication, clear role definition)
    • Review and assessment of implementation of the standards so that they can be adjusted should the need arise (periodic consultation and review of how the process for applying these standardsd works, on a movement wide basis)


Questions by a second anonymous source
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    • Working closer with the actual editors communities: trying to persuade the community about the need of new editors, offer more support for the editing communities, as well as even more dialogue with the established community: we need to provide more off-wiki possibilities for editors to train themselves in conflict resolution or have established editors meet newbies in real life so they can measure the problems that a newbie might face, for example. This would probably help established community members to simplify rules and welcome newbies in a different way.
    • Outreach with educational institutions: activities with universities and colleges are perhaps one of the most successful outreach initiatives we know and they are receiving the input of either the Foundation or the Chapters with great interest.
    • GLAM: the most interesting initiatives over the past years within the Wikimedia movement have been some of the GLAM activities, not only the massive ones as WLM but also localized projects with specific institutions. We should encourage all of these projects not only to recruit new editors but also to settle new alliances with third parties committed to knowledge dissemination.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    • Have a certain number of editors participate in outreach events, or offline workshops is a way to measure effectiveness, for example
    • Having more and more people and groups joining a new model affiliation program would also be a measure of success (having more partner organisations, and more informal group recognized by the movement, for example)
  3. Answer to question 3 (see above the questions)
    I think WMF put in numbers what wikimedians already knew and thus helped to have a more accurate approach to the problem, but it is a difficult task to exactly know why editors are leaving. For one, because we’d have to find a way to reach out to the people that have left, which makes it difficult. I think we should try as much as possible to observe the trends in all projects, and try and find the differences between projects where people are leaving and people are staying, and try different approaches to see what works, this might help us to understand why people are leaving.


Questions by Ilario Valdelli (WM CH)
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    If the expression exists, I would support some kind of “coordinated decentralization”. Our projects are so successful because they promote distributed content creation, with very few rules and encouraging everybody to participate. Although organization is not the same as content creation, I’m convinced we should keep decentralization for everything we can decentralise. Anyway, central rules should apply and a central coordination body should coordinate these decentralized efforts. Decentralization is not against central and participatory coordination.
    However, I think we should identify real decentralization from the atomization of unaffiliated enthusiasts and even organized groups. The latter can only happen while at the other end there is some body constantly gaining weight, concentrating resources and decision making on a few hands. I know this is one of the key concerns many Wikimedia volunteers face. I don’t believe the Wikimedia Foundation and its management should concentrate increasingly more resources and take increasingly more decisions --especially when those decisions are taken supposedly on behalf of “the community”.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    I think that our international movement is so Anglo-American centered that hasn’t been able to see how isolated and invisible are some communities in other languages or geographies, while those communities are creating content and building some of the most important Wikimedia projects so far. Also, we are biasing some of these communities: only the members who speak English can participate in broader discussions, leaving behind a lot of valuable members of our global movement.
    Of course, is not realistic to think we can communicate in every language and some kind of lingua franca is quite useful and, at this moment, that is English. But we could also improve the participation and dissemination of our movement introducing other working languages, just like different international organizations - for example, the United Nations has Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, French, English and Russian as working languages. Unlike content creation where voluntary translations are not only suitables but also desirables, the Wikimedia Foundation should be working more actively to reach the members of the movement. Board resolutions or communications from the Staff shouldn’t be communicated only in English and wait for a voluntary to translate them: at least they should be delivered in more languages as any international organization currently does.


Question by Mike Peel (WM UK)
  1. Answer to the question (see above the questions)
    No, I don’t.


Questions by AshLin
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    My position is answered with the creation of Iberocoop: local communities should be empowered instead of being replaced or displaced. Local communities understand the challenges and opportunities in their environment, so their work has more chances to be effective and sustainable.
    The Foundation’s presence should be exceptional and transitional, and any project developed by paid staff should be approached in permanent communication and coordination with the local organized community. WMF has the resources, but local volunteers know the local language and customs, and they have a different legitimacy vis-à-vis the local editing community and Wikimedia enthusiasts in general. The Wikimedia Foundation, in my view, should empower local volunteers rather than replacing them.
    I think the Foundation has a huge work to do in developing countries (the so-called “Global South”) but this work should be linked to local communities. Initiatives like the ones being developed in Brazil and India should work next to the communities, helping them to develop so they can work on their own in the future. We can’t and shouldn’t expect the Foundation to be eternally leading the efforts of our movement in developing countries.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    I think I’ve answered this with the previous question: coming from a country of the so-called Global South, I’m against the approach taken by the Wikimedia Foundation recently. I think we should work to empower local communities and organize them instead of trying to replace them: the work done by different chapters and groups driven by volunteers, even lacking resources, demonstrates this.
    Fait accompli attitudes are real and unacceptable, and I think one of the BoT obvious tasks and competences is to oversee the way its staff (i.e. our movement’s staff) is working. The staff is here to help and not to replace the community or to act on its behalf without its consent (or, to be clear, not only there is no consent but there is some outcry on the matter).


Questions by user Ofol, WMFr member
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    The Wikimedia Foundation Board can only speak in the name of the Wikimedia Foundation. The Movement is so wide and diverse that no one single entity can pretend to represent it. At the same time, the Foundation is, to this day, the safekeeper of the trademarks (the name Wikipedia, or that of Wikimedia) and hosts the websites (and thus has legal responsibility about what may or may not be published on them) and as such has a high responsibility to ensure that organizations within Wikimedia fulfill certain standards, or that Wikimedia Projects don’t make decisions that go against our values of collaborative work, for example. There are cases where I can see that the Foundation should have to speak and act for the whole movement (again, trademarks etc.). However, I support the creation and existence of ad-hoc committees which give advice to the Board of Trustees, and ensure ways for broad participation in the process of decision making.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    I’m not thinking on what I am going to do if that happens. We'll cross that bridge when we get there :) One thing is sure, I will continue in my Wikimedia involvement. :D
  3. Answer to question 3 (see above the questions)
    I think it is a good idea to reserve a number of appointed seats, as long as there’s a majority of seats filled with a more “democratic process”. However, in order to receive the opinion and input of experts of different fields, I’d prefer to strengthen the Advisory Board rather than reappointing members several times in a row if we can’t find Trustees with the skills we need.

Alice Wiegand (Lyzzy)[edit]

Please ask here your question to be answered by Alice, the moderators will pass the questions to the candidate and place the answers in this page.
Questions by Laura Hale, from WMAU
  1. Answer to Question 1 (see above the questions)
    During my time as vice president I was representing Wikimedia Deutschland. I've attended three Wikimanias and several international meetings where I always felt more like a promoter of "Wikimedia" than a single chapter. Supporting chapters is more than only advocate them in meta discussion. For me it is also to know about their programs and initiatives and to talk with them and about their ideas. I follow what is happening in chapters and I support them directly for instance in participating meetings and international events and talking about those in my blog at random intervals. Furthermore I enjoy attending Wikipedia meetups, which take place every few weeks somewhere near my residence. I'm regularly asked to answer questions about the chapters, the Foundation and their relationship and I have the impression that there is an awakening interest in the editing community in Wiki_m_edia and international affairs which need more attention and serving than we provide today.
  2. Answer to Question 2 (see above the questions)
    Although I understand that Amical is one of the most interesting questions when we talk about new models today, I find it difficult, if not wrong, to look at Amical as an example or pattern for every other existing or upcoming organization besides chapters. And I find It even more complicated to do it with this named coherence of Amical being funded with a grant when the chapter in comparision maybe never have applied for a grant. Indeed, there is a history and many people were involved in discussions about Amical's chapter status, politics and self-image. But before judging we need to have a check with reality. Amical is working as a part of the movement with its events, contacts and communication. They are heavily involved in GLAM and other movement-wide issues. So there need to be a place for Amical within the movement. That place is not a chapter and it can't be something which is the same as a chapter with just another name. The idea of new models is currently in discussion and I believe that it is necessary to have descriptions and definitions for chapters and other models to help them and any other non-chapter-group find their place, to know about rights, obligations and differences between those models. The attendance at meetings that are today limited for chapter representatives and some more questions about "who is allowed to do x" and "do we as an international pool want x to do y" will no longer be questions when this definition process will be finished.
  3. Answer to Question 3 (see above the questions)
    The discussions about fundraising and fund dissemination have proofed that there is no single way to serve all needs. I don't believe that there is a simple A or B as the one and only solution, neither for fundraising nor for dissemination. There will be different and varying ways to handle different situations. If there are stable organizations, reliable structures and no extra effort, decentralized funding is the choice. It's easier to review a budget for a local foto-workshop when you know local prices, habits and expectations. And it is much easier for volunteers to ask and negotiate for a grant in their own language. Whenever there is a need to spend money in parts of the world where no chapter or other organization with an accepted level of accountability exists, centralization is a proper option to realize efficient funding. I can imagine a centralized funding committee combined with decentralized models provided by chapters and other groups.
    Looking at the funding of the chapters themselves we should try to concentrate on what are chapters founded for. To get the best result for the movement we must ensure that chapters get all financial support they need to realize their ideas in the next year. No entity may be bothered about where this money comes from or how to deal with legal matters. But if they can, and if they meet common standards of accountability, and if it isn't an extra burden, they should be able to.
  4. Answer to Question 4 (see above the questions)
    I've met and changed some words with most of them at Wikimanias or other events, with some I've been out for a drink. The relationship was friendly and respectful at any time.
  5. Answer to Question 5 (see above the questions)
    As said in my statement I am a former board member of Wikimedia Deutschland and a member of Wikimedia Nederland. The relationship to both boards has always been friendly and respectful. I am an OTRS administrator since 2009, a member of Wikimania Scholarship Committee for the third time, and I was involved in the initial steps of Wiki Loves Monuments in Germany last year. I find myself more in organizational and strategical issues than in taking part in GLAM or educational projects, which are best-cast by people who like to work more on real touchable projects than on abstract visions.
  6. Answer to Question 6 (see above the questions)
    No.
  7. Answer to Question 7 (see above the questions)
    I follow discussions on foundation-l and internal-l as well as those on Meta and I contribute to them when I believe to add something new with my statement. Sometimes it's hard to stay tuned and place your thoughts suitable to the frequency of mails while you're doing your regular job. I don't believe that just reiterating things that have already been said really helps to bring discussions or processes forward.
  8. Answer to Question 8 (see above the questions)
    I hope my statement covers what you are asking for.


Questions by an anonymous source (by request)
  1. Answer to Question 1 (see above the questions)
    I don't know these sites particularly but there are similar in German as well. In general I think that criticism, especially from outside, is necessary for the development of all Wikimedia projects, and if it is only to be aware about our image overall. We tend to only recognize and admit criticism from inside the projects because of the idea to know what you're talking about. If the question "who is the recipient of all the effort to create a free encyclopedia" is answered with "for those who are creating it" it probably would be enough, but I don't believe that this is the answer most of us would choose. If we want our work to have impact to the world "outside" we need to listen to the world's thoughts and suggestions about what we are doing and how we are doing it.
    I know, your question covers the grey zone where inside and outside merge and that's more difficult. Freedom of expression is one of the greatest goods and worth protecting it with words and action. That doesn't mean that everything which is done under the cover of free speech is protected by design. It's not true in real life and it's not in the Internet. There are legal and moral borders which differ from state to state and which must be taken into consideration.
  2. Answer to Question 2 (see above the questions)
    No.
  3. Answer to Question 3 (see above the questions)
    Since I only have a vague idea what you are talking about (I'm not a member of the English editing community and as said I don't know those sites in particular) it is difficult for me to get the exact point. Projects must firstly find their own procedures and rules to protect anonymity and contibutors. Their communities are responsible for protecting their members and that happens with oversighting, blocking users and other measures every day. As a member of the OTRS team I know that this works quite effectively. The best place where the Foundation could and should step in, is in supporting, motivating and encouraging communities to work on processes and policies to cultivate the protection their own members.
    Foundation and especially chapters can help individually in cases where these internal project processes don't work anymore, or if a contributor is being sued for doing his work for the projects, or if the result of a lawsuit is important for the projects and the mission in general. Although this support seems to be so obviously it is necessary to keep in mind that every contributor is responsible for his own edits and so it is necessary to think about regulations and prerequisites for such individual support and assistance before any Wikimedia organization grows into a special kind of legal costs insurance company for Wikimedia editors.


Question by Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation
  1. Answer to the question (see above the questions)
    I would like to talk about two situations, one in the Wikimedia context, the other from my professional activity.
    During the time I was member of Wikimedia Deutschland's board I was working on restructuring the association's organization model. The idea was to transfer legal liability for the chapter's activities from board (all volunteers) to the paid executive director and I've run two working groups with participation of association members, board members and external advisors to prepare the necessary changes in the bylaws. It took more than two years of deliberation with the board, the chapter's members and the interested community to realize this. There were lots of concerns about hidden motives and personal advantages which were discussed highly emotionalized on mailing lists and on Wikipedia. The proposed changes, including strengthening the role of the general assembly by giving them the right to reject or approve the annual budget, were accepted by a solid majority of the general assembly in the first attempt, but didn't get the necessary 2/3 majority. After adjusting those parts which causes most opposition (a two year term for the members of the supervisory board) the proposal was submitted again and it was accepted by a large majority. So in the end the chapter has made substantial steps forward to solve problems of liability and keeping the voluntary work in the supervisory board attractive.
    I've chosen in this story because I think that it often needs a long breath, a strong will, and sometimes a second attempt to work on necessary changes to get accepted results. And you need to reflect if a partial aspect of your idea is so important that it is worth to let the whole project sink. If it's not, don't adhere on it.
    In my daily work I join a lot of spontaneous and regular meetings. In Germany there exist some administration unions of several municipalities to concentrate skills and efforts, gain synergy effects, and benefit from knowledge transfer. I work in a municipality which is partner in one of these unions. It provides services like application services, programming, hosting and procurement of hard- and software for its members which pay for these services. (I'm not sure if this description of a very German government structure is clear enough to get an idea of it.) One of the long-term working groups in the union was created to find new pricing models. The goal was a) to find a model that is able to refinance the administration union, its staff and equipment and b) to allow the municipalities to have more influence on their annual budgets by deciding to take a service or not. Involved were representatives of eight municipalities, from 5000 inhabitants to 600000 and of course some representatives of the administration union. Different from everything I've discussed in the Wikimedia context, these discussions were dominated by the fact that there is no money at all. Municipalities are in debt and need to economize heavily. But they also need professional IT-services to fullfil their obligations and tasks for their citizens. I took the job to draft a statement of basic principles and finetune it with the other seven partners. It took a year but now we prepare to implement the new pricing model for the annual plannings for 2013.
    I've chosen in this story because I think that it is a special challenge to accomodate such a wide range of needs, resources and wishes between large cities and small towns. It is not only that the language is not the same, also time, financial and human resources are not comparable at all. To avoid discussions to get stuck it needs to come back to the essential and common goal again and again.
    In general I've made the experience that some approaches are not very helpful to reach consensus:
    • to insist on the one and only view of the world
    • not to take different positions as serious as the own
    • to let discussions escalate and go out of hand
    • to omit the voices that are not participating, sometimes they need advocates because there might be good reasons for them not to join
    • to struggle for details before the common direction is clear
    And here are some that worked well for me:
    • to keep the whole picture in mind
    • to explain what you want to achieve and what is important for your position and why
    • to be ready to find healthy compromises and show that in taking the first step towards the others from time to time
    • to propose concrete ideas, adjust them regarding the feedback, propose the changes, reiterate
    • to bring all participants together to what connect them and what they agree on, after that start to resolve disagreements


Questions by Deryck Chan (member of WMHK and WMUK)
  1. Answer to the question 1 (see above the questions)
    I was secretary and vice president in the board of the nominating chapter Wikimedia Deutschland from 2008 to 2011. I am still a chapter's member but don't hold any function.
  2. Answer to the question 2 (see above the questions)
    Being a member of the Board of Trustees means being responsible for the Foundation, its business and its development. Besides that the chapters selected board members are not representatives, neither of a single chapter nor of the community of chapters. What they however should do, and that is what I want to stand for, is bringing sense and awareness for chapters and other movement groups into the board decisions. Insight and consolidated knowledge of their work, their needs and motivation. Chapters are essential parts of the movement, despite all the difficulties in the long and stormy relationship between them and the foundation. They are the entities which have valuable knowledge about and the direct line to the different communities and the local partners. Having that in mind all decisions should follow our common mission and reflect as many views as possible. If I had doubts about it which weren't reduced during the discussion period, I would not vote with yes.


Questions by User Jan eissfeldt
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    Basically in the sense of "minimal requirements for each entity regardless of its size or age" I see
    • Prerequisites: follow local laws and legal obligations, accept movement-wide standards and agreements
    • Reports: report regularly about activities, finances and annual plans
    • Advancement: have the intention to make progress and be prepared for peer review and mutual support
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    Trustees are the ones to have the whole image in mind. They have to take the responsibility for the Foundation's view and at the same time they must have the movement-wide overview. When it is necessary to bring one or both of these positions into the process, they could and should participate and take an active role in developing such standards. Since they are responsible for supervision and control of the Foundation they should strictly draw a clear distinction between their own tasks and those of the staff or the movement. Tasks of the trustees in this concept include the approval and periodical review.


Questions by a second anonymous source
  1. Answer to questions 1, 2 and 3 (see above the questions)
    Yes, it definitely is a pressing issue. If Wikipedia and its creators, contributors and communities rest on what has been achieved until today it is not sufficient to change the understanding and the dealing with free knowledge sustainably. The editing community seems to underestimate it, it looks as if they feel quite comfortable with what they have built and how they do their work. Retention is not a problem for those who stay. And changes within the projects, their processes and their self organization are no longer as easy as they were when they were younger, smaller und more experimental. Only new contributors can bring in new impulses. The challenge is to preserve what has been achieved and increase the attractiveness of contributing without annoying the long time editors.
    To be honest, I don't see that specifying thee concrete means, elaborating initiatives or implementing them into Wikimedia projects is part of a trustee's job. That is something to be done by the staff in regular exchange with the communities. They have access to data analyses, they can estimate feasibility and they have the tech team to develop cool tools and software enhancements. What I believe is still open and must be done by the foundation in cooperation with the editing communities is
    • to to analyze what are the binding mechanisms and elements for current contributors and strengthen/expand them
    • to find ways to talk to those who left the project and get firsthand information about their motives
    • to address people who have never thought about joining the community and learn about why they haven't.
    To assess the current efforts I would need more data than I have today. But I see some very promising beginnings like the visual editor or the editor's feedback tool and I am really impressed about the seriousness and determination which is seen in this work. An urgent matter is still to promote the understanding for one another, foundation and communities. Communities must not believe that the foundation works against them. We need more examples like the revision of our Terms of Use, where mutual respect and cooperation led to a commonly supported result.


Questions by Ilario Valdelli (WM CH)
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    Decentralization is one of the essential themes and a drive for all what we do with and in Wikimedia. Take all the projects in an unbelievable number of languages, where the power to establish regulations about content and cooperation is in the hand of the contributors to exactly that single project. There are few common policies (the five pillars, and even those shrinked to four in de-wiki for example) and the rest depends on size and needs of each project and is done by those who know it best - the contributors. Giving them the power to organize their work on their own authority allows them to indentify with _their_ projekt and that not only creates close ties but also work as a catalyst for further improvements.
    This is transmittable to chapters work or thematic work like GLAM. In a decentralized structure you get the decisions you need in time and customized to the special needs and at the same time you strengthen the volunteers, provide recognition and empower them to take care for what they love according to basic principles. Yes, I believe that decentralization is the best way to the end, accompanied by centralized structures which give general support and fill the gaps where no decentralized structure exist.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    I'm an example by myself that language indeed can be problem for active participation. My school English has slept for about 25 years and it is not that easy to wake it up and bring it up to an acceptable level. Discussions in the Wikiverse are quite often wordy and as complicated as the problem they deal with. Sometimes eloquence is celebrated just for the celebration and it seems as if nobody really cares that sophisticated wording makes the understanding more difficult for every non native speaker. It sets up hurdles to jump into such a discussion when your vocabulary is poor and it's hard to express your thoughts anyway.
    I think we need to try different approaches from different positions to support the participation of non english speakers. Certainly it would be helpful to simply accept that Wikimedia is an international movement with lots of non native English speakers and to agree on some standards like a reader orientated, comprehensible and accessible style. The new translation tool can help a lot to translate board resolutions and core papers on meta into as many languages as possible. While this side - bring information to people - can be done with existing tools, the challenge is to find ways to increase active participation - to get more information. We could work with more intermediaries and community liasons in more languages. Or make offers for discussions in other languages on meta. Or just start with asking those who don't participate what they would need to do it. I don't have a brilliant idea but I think that it is necessary for the movement to make more efforts to increase exchange and active participation across languages.


Question by Mike Peel (WM UK)
  1. Answer to the question (see above the questions)
    No, I don't have any conflicts of interest in this context.


Questions by AshLin
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    If there were comprehensible definitions of both organizations, their purposes, their goals and obligations there shouldn't be any potential for conflict. I'm not sure if that's the case with the Indian organizations but I realized that there were concerns about the trust and its public perception in comparison to the chapter. I can't and won't exclude that there are misunderstandings and communication problems but I definitely know too less about it to give me a full picture.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    Whenever Wikimedia starts to discover new horizons it should remember the impressing power, initiative and commitment volunteers can generate. When necessary supported by paid consultants, when possible supported by similar Wikimedia entities like chapters. I don't believe that it is possible to inspire the idea of free knowledge in developing countries with patronizing methods. It always needs some self responsibility and self obligation to establish commitment and identification with the mission and the movement and that can be fostered with volunteers. To promote them and provide financial, organizational and professional support whenever needed is one of the the foundation's essential tasks.


Questions by user Ofol, WMFr member
  1. Answer to question 1 (see above the questions)
    The Board of trustees is the Wikimedia Foundation's overseeing body. That's its role and commitment. The Wikimedia movement is much more than only the Foundation and so the board is just not able to speak "in the name of". And following this call the board of course is responsible for the acknowledgement of those entities who want to start relationships with the Foundation which include financial and organizational agreements. This is what chapters do - with all odds and risks and with all rights and obligations. For both sides, chapters and Foundation. In which way the board will take this task in the future, when there are more chapters and other organizations to be approved, must be part of the ongoing discussions about new affiliation models.
  2. Answer to question 2 (see above the questions)
    Today I run for one of the chapters selected board seats and that is what I concentrate on and what I want to achieve. I'm not holding a backdoor open just in case. So without having spent any particular thought on it: Both concepts are very important for the future of the movement and both need highly dedicated and responsible people. In my mind the FDC, although still too vague to imagine, requires more capacities and experiences in planning and realizing concrete initiatives, whereas the council needs more expertises in organization and governance. I believe I could do better work in the council than in the FDC, but that's not a question for me now.
  3. Answer to question 3 (see above the questions)
    It is already realized that the majority of the seats is not appointed, which for me is necessary to give those groups impact to the composition of the board, who are concerned. Community, chapters, maybe others in the future. To have some of the seats being appointed is a protection against inactivity or inability to work because of the body's constitution and it guarantees some neutrality and outsider's views, which should not be underestimated. If the relation of appointed and (s)elected seats needed rearrangement should be considered when the ideas about new affiliation models have been worked out a bit more.