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Wikimedia Foundation elections/Board elections/2007/Candidate presentation guidelines/en

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2007 board elections

Candidate presentation guidelines for Wikimedia Board election.

Goal of this document[edit]

This is a guideline to candidates for the coming election of the Board of Trustees, aiming to help and encourage them to create a good and effective presentation.

For the format requirements for the 2007 Board Election, please consult the Board elections/2007/Candidates/en page.

Be plain[edit]

A good presentation is brief, clear, and concise. Use simple words and sentences. Please use language that is as plain as possible. Forget your mastery of rhetoric and your eloquence, do not try to show off your enormous vocabulary. There is a simple reason for this: most of the readers (who are non-English speakers) will scratch their heads and not understand you, so all you generate is boredom. For example, puns and other word-plays are here anathema. Among all rhetorical techniques, puns are one of the hardest to translate.

The more difficult a presentation is, the smaller chance there is that it gets presented globally. Please note that most of voters may not be English native speakers: roughly 2/3 of all the voters in 2006 at the last election were not.

Speaking plainly isn't the same as using colloquialisms. While colloquial expressions are easily understood by native speakers, they are hard for non-native speakers to understand, and difficult to translate. You should assume that the majority of voters will rely on translations.

The possibility of a translation being provided doesn't change the situation. You'll rely on volunteering translators who give you a help in a limited amount of time by courtesy. And most of volunteers are not translators in their profession. They might therefore have difficulty in understanding and also finding the right words for translating a difficult and complicated text. If your statements is too hard to translate, it would be misunderstood, or just left untranslated.

In past elections, some translators have complained about presentations written with difficult words. Some thought that using such expressions by the candidates showed arrogance, as they ignored that potential translators were fellow editors who had limited time to translate presentation text. In fact, without bad faith, some presentations were left untranslated due to these difficulties.

Again, we would discourage you from using difficult or complex words. Speak in a simple and plain way. If you think that it is absolutely necessary to express your ideas more precisely, then we recommend that you give two versions for the voters: a simple English version and perhaps a more complicated one.