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

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2007 board elections
Organization



Change[edit]

Hi Steve,

What is the top 3 things you want to have changed in the current strategy of the foundation? Thanks, Effeietsanders 21:21, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

  1. Have bylaws that satisfy donors' concerns about continuity of the board.
  2. Delegate decisionmaking to the executive staff.
  3. Be more transparent and open in dealing with the community.
UninvitedCompany 22:02, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Could you be more specific about what sort of changes to bylaws would satisfy donor concerns? or examples? —Centrxtalk • 22:09, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

  1. Define the mission of the organization more clearly in the bylaws.
  2. Set objective minimum qualifications for certain trustees. For example, reserve one seat for someone who is a CPA, reserve one seat for someone who is an attorney, reserve one seat for a representative of a major nonprofit foundation. Alternatively, make the foundation's treasurer, ED, and legal counsel ex officio members of the board (in which case a separate committee not including these individuals would handle recruiting and compensation)
  3. Introduce longer, rotating terms so that donors do not need to contemplate the possibility of a complete board turnover every two years.
  4. Fix the size of the board (ideally to a size somewhat larger than it is today) and the method of election of trustees.
  5. Set term limits for trustees.
  6. Utilize a nominating committee to increase the likelihood that well-qualified candidates will be elected.
  7. Ask donors, counsel, and other nonprofits what provisions they suggest.
  8. Make the bylaws more difficult to modify.
UninvitedCompany 00:04, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Added Value[edit]

Hi Steve,

What kind of value do you add to the current set of boardmembers in the area of Legal, Financial, Accounting etc expertise? Thanks, Effeietsanders 21:21, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

I have an extensive business background including serving as an officer of a startup, and I have served on the board of a smaller nonprofit. UninvitedCompany 22:02, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Non-membership organization[edit]

Last December, the Wikimedia Foundation revised its bylaws to change itself from a membership organization to a non-membership organization. In a membership organization, the trustees are directly responsible to the membership; in a non-membership organization, the trustees are ultimately responsible only to one another (and indirectly to donors, who presumably will not donate if they feel the trustees are not being responsible). Do you feel that the Foundation, constituted as it is as a non-membership organization, provides sufficient structural checks and balances to ensure that the trustees observe their fiduciary responsibilities appropriately? Would a return to a membership structure, with the ability of members to bring policy proposals themselves at the annual meeting or by other methods, to remove board members by appropriate vote, and to sue the Foundation under certain conditions limit the ability of the Trustees to do what they need to do? If you do support a return to a membership structure, how would you determine who the voting members are? Kelly Martin 21:37, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

I believe that your structural concerns are not, at present, the most compelling problem we face. True, the board has to be accountable to the community and to donors. I'm not convinced that converting to a membership structure would be wise given the considerable value of the Foundation's assets and the difficulty in setting membership criteria that are not open to being gamed by individuals and organizations who do not have the Foundation's best interests at heart. Long term, I would like to see the Foundation spin out some of its projects, because I believe that doing so is the best way to ensure that smaller projects have a voice. UninvitedCompany 22:01, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
What do you mean by "spin[ning] out"? Cormaggio @ 00:05, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
In the long term, I would like to see some projects have, essentially, their own foundation to provide for a separate legal, financial, administrative, and fundraising framework. I think that one of the root causes of dissatisfaction with WMF is that resources and decisionmaking are being spread across hundreds of projects. There's this unspoken presumption that we have to all stay joined at the hip. But the legal, financial, and fundraising challenges of, say, DEWP are far different than those of ENWB. I also believe that it's a hindrance when dealing with large donors. While the details need to be worked out, I would expect that the most practical means would be to start by spinning out the five or six largest wikis each to its own foundation with, initially, overlapping board memberships and shared technical and administrative resources. In time this would change. There are some things to watch, if this is done -- we need to be sure that continuity of funding is maintained for some of the smaller and less well-known projects, and it should be done while heeding legal counsel. And not this year, or next year. Perhaps after that. UninvitedCompany 00:41, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Headquarters location[edit]

From time to time there has been discussion about whether the Foundation's current headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida, in the United States, is the best location for the office. Do you think that the Foundation should continue to be headquartered in and operate out of Florida, or would you support a move to another location? If you think a move is appropriate, where would you move the Foundation to, and why? Kelly Martin 21:37, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

It's certainly not a location I would choose were it not for the fact that the office is already there. Since it is important for the Foundation to operate under U.S. law, I believe that having our principal operations at a U.S. site would be prudent to bolster our efforts to operate only under U.S. jurisdiction. There would be benefits to being in a location more convenient for international travel, and benefits to improved proximity to major donors. On the other hand, such locations are more costly both for rent and salary expectations for staff. The disruption of a move may not make such a change worthwhile. UninvitedCompany 22:01, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Projects and languages[edit]

Hello. Months go by and things are not changing :-) Welcome back. I would like to know what is your position regarding what should happen to non english projects ?

You might find the note I wrote above in response to a question from Cormaggio to be insightful. UninvitedCompany 00:41, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Office Evolution[edit]

In what way do you forsee the office (and staff) evolving under your tenure as a board member, should you be elected? i.e. would you be in favor of expansion, contraction, status quo, more interns, new positions, less, what? Swatjester 01:08, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

I believe that there is, at present, insufficient staff. I believe that the office primarily needs experienced professional people, together with people who can fill the gaps in areas where there are chronic shortages of volunteers. We need permanent, full-time counsel. We need permanent, experienced, professional finance people who can make good on our commitment to donors to be sure we use their money wisely, and account for its use. We need considerably more public-facing people to deal with routine complaints that arrive by phone, fax, and email. This is limited by our finances and by the need to train. I don't believe interns are an especially good fit for the Foundation at this time because we need permanent staff to provide continuity.

Checkuser policy[edit]

What is your opinion of the privacy policy, particularly relating to checkusering of adminship candidates? Majorly (talk) 09:24, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

The privacy policy is cross-project. The biggest problem with it is that it is vague about the release of information derived from checkuser data. ENWP suffers, I believe, an over-reliance on checkuser data. I would like to see us deal with chronic, serious abuse through automated means that identify open proxies and obviously compromised machines. That would eliminate a good deal of the need for checkuser. I believe that checkuser should not be used routinely for adminship candidates because it provides a false sense of security. UninvitedCompany 23:48, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Sister projects[edit]

What do You think of the sister-projects? Do You think they have been given enough support by the foundation in the past? Which ones would You support more than in the past, if any? Thank You, --birdy geimfyglið (:> )=| 11:18, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

With the possible exception of commons, I generally believe that they should be spun out to their own foundation so that they don't have to compete with ENWP, DEWP, FRWP, JAWP, and the other very large projects for attention. They deserve their own governance from a foundation that is responsible to them, and I fail to see significant synergies beyond things like branding and the MediaWiki software, which could be shared just as easily even if the foundations were separate. Some the sister projects have already become compelling projects in their own right, notably commons, Wiktionary, and Wikinews. I believe that Project Gutenberg has a better approach to essentially the same problem addressed by Wikisource. I believe that Wikiquote poses an unacceptable copyright litigation risk given its marginal contribution to the Foundation's mission. As for 'books, 'versity, and 'species, I think they suffer the most of all the sister projects from a lack of serious attention from software writers and community leaders. UninvitedCompany 23:48, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

ArbCom[edit]

In the event that you are elected to the board, will you continue to serve on the English Wikipedia's arbitration commitee? Sjakkalle 12:18, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

I would ask the committee for a leave of absence for the duration of my membership on the Board of Trustees. UninvitedCompany 23:48, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Growing[edit]

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

I have been working professionally as a manager for about fifteen years, at corporations large and small. I presently manage software developers, although I've also worked in marketing, technical publications, and product support. These are for-profit companies so the focus is different, but the basic managerial and organizational skills are similar. I think that one of my strongest skills is the recruiting and retention of talent, and I think that fits in well with the board's responsibilities in recruiting and retaining an executive director on an ongoing basis I don't see it as the role of the board to operate the foundation on a hands-on basis, and so I would try not to interfere with the decisions made by an executive director, once named.

Also, our advisory board (http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Advisory_Board) is filled with experienced and competent professionals. The foundation can benefit greatly from their expertise and knowledge in various fields. Currently, their involvement in the foundation seems limited, how can you change the system to utilize their expertise? Do you think the advisory board should have more influence on decision-making? Vpatel 13:26, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

I think there is a basic failure to empower people within the WMF to make decisions. We don't have a policy on third-party use of the logo, to take one example. Someone working for the ED ought to be deciding this themselves after availing themselves of the expertise of the advisory board. The way we're doing it right now, it's halfway down a never-finished board agenda. UninvitedCompany 23:48, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Professional?[edit]

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

  1. Is the current board, vision and structure fit for that purpose?
  1. Overall, I would have to say that I am dissatisfied with the work of the current board. I believe that part of the problem is structural. I also think that despite the very best of intentions, at least some of the board members are in over their heads. UninvitedCompany 23:48, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
  1. Are you? (Would you be a competent candidate for a board in any non-profit venture?)
  1. I'm one person, and even if I'm elected I can't change the board all by myself. And I'm not an angel of a candidate -- that would be what I would call someone who has already been through exactly the challenges that WMF faces now, at some different but very similar non-profit. But yes, I've been on the board of another non-profit, and I believe I have the managerial expertise to be able to raise the level of professionalism. UninvitedCompany 23:48, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

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

Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Chapters[edit]

Taking into account the growing importance of Wikimedia chapters in furthering our common goals on the one hand and the impact the decisions made by the Wikimedia Foundation have on the work (if not existence) of the Wikimedia Chapters on the other hand: What do you think about the idea of giving the chapters a formal say in WMF's decision making process? What do you think especially about a) letting the chapters appoint one or more board members (beside the ones elected by the community) and/or b) changing the WMF back to a membership organization (with the chapters as members)? Do you have any other ideas to achieve more checks and balances between Foundation and chapters? On top of that, would you care to elaborate on your vision about the current and future role of the Wikimedia chapters? Thanks in advance, Arne (akl) 15:43, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

I think that the basic idea of having independent governance systems with well-defined relationships among them is sound. I would prefer to see something set up by project rather than geographically, which is my main reservation with the scheme you outline. UninvitedCompany 23:48, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Project policy involvement[edit]

What are your views on board involvement in writing and implementing policy for the various projects, especially in controversial areas where it appears that community consensus will be difficult to establish, such as on the "attack sites" [1] and biography of living people (BLP) [2] issues? Cla68 15:56, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

I don't think that direct board involvement in these issues is warranted. I do believe that ENWP has a leadership vacuum that has led to these issues languishing, but I see that as an internal ENWP matter rather than something for WMF to fix. UninvitedCompany 23:48, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

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

  1. You wrote that the "Foundation needs to attract large donors to maintain solvency without resorting to advertising", but if/when/how would you vote on the board for ads on Wikimedia sites?
    1. yes
      1. pop-ups/flash/banners/graphics
      2. flash/banners/graphics in skin whitespace or at bottom
      3. company logos in site notices
      4. prominent text ads
      5. company names in site notices
      6. text ads in skin whitespace or at bottom
      7. opt out
      8. opt in
      9. other
    2. maybe
      1. only for a huge amount of money
      2. only during budget emergencies
      3. only if editors support it
    3. never
    4. other
  2. What are your thoughts on Wikimedia branding?
  3. What are your thoughts on the foundation's hiring of a business developer?
  4. How would you vote on the board about the foundation reducing or offsetting anthropogenic greenhouse gases, e.g. power used by hardware, flights, etc.?

Thanks. -- Jeandré, 2007-06-19t18:14z

I think that the community has been clear and relatively unequivocal about its rejection of advertisements as a source of revenue, and I share that. I think the fact that we've resorted to sponsored banners in the site notice is indicative that we aren't doing a good job of fundraising. The Minneapolis Public Library has an annual operating budget of $26 million dollars. It serves 373,000 people, and I'm willing to bet that most of them use Wikipedia more often than the library. We are offering a resource of comparable value to the whole world with a budget less than 10% of that. There have got to be donors out there willing to support our mission without asking for a sponsored banner message in return, and we have to find them, overcome their objections, and get them to make a long-term funding commitment.
Regarding branding, even though I'm not an expert in brand management, I can see that our trademarks are confusingly similar and that we are missing opportunities to create independent brand equity for separate projects. The public confusion between Wikimedia, MediaWiki, Wikipedia, Wikia, and wiki is costly to us. I think that "Wikimedia" is confusing and that it would be useful to change it. I don't want to decide what it should be, and I don't even want to be on the committee, but someone who understands branding and graphics and has a global perspective ought to go fix this.
Regarding our business developer, I do not think the Foundation is well served by part-time help. Continuity and teamwork are critical in an organization that has such great reliance on part-time volunteers in other areas. Otherwise, I have no quarrel with the nature of the opening. Wikipedia has partnership arrangements with other sites. These should be properly managed. It takes staff to do it.
I believe that a resolution on being a "carbon-neutral website" would be a distraction from our core mission.
UninvitedCompany 23:48, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

What if[edit]

What would you do/recommend when elected and faced with 40% budget deficit? Absolwent 18:38, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Raise more money. I'm not privy to the conversations with large donors, but I believe that large donors are being scared away because they do not trust WMF's governance systems to make sure that the money they spend has long-term benefits. We need effective governance, a demonstrably trustworty ED, and bylaws changes to ensure a qualified board focused on the mission over the course of years. Once we start demonstrating to donors that we are willing to be accountable and to run the place with the discipline warranted by the size of our budget, I think we will be able to get transition funding that will allow us to buy time to build out the organization. If we make a plan and stick to it, major donors should become more comfortable and more willing to underwrite our activities. Given the enormous value of the resource we provide to the public, we should not have a funding problem. UninvitedCompany 23:48, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Cash & users[edit]

We need money and people. We have lost users (for a while) after this event. Nobody expected it, but... the same was in 2006. Do you want to talk about money (with these wealthy guys) and what's your opinion about that event ;)? Przykuta 11:56, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

There are a number of things going on here:
  1. We have a chronic shortage of money, the causes and solutions of which I have addressed above in other questions.
  2. We don't talk enough to the press because we are distracted by internal disagreements. The foundation should be articulating a vision to the press and talking about the future of the site and our plans. We should have a press strategy and issue regularly spaced press releases. Since we don't do that, the press seize anything we do say and blow it out of proportion.
  3. Trustees should know how to deal with press and should have the discipline to avoid making offhand comments like the one in your example.
  4. I don't think the apparent decline in users is related to any of this. I think that the dynamics of the editing community has shifted. The standards are higher and it takes more work to make a useful contribution than it used to. And I think the site is less attractive to casual editors (who spend 5-10 hours a week on the site) than used to be the case.
I'm not afraid of talking to wealthy donors. I've been a part of fundraising for startups before and have spoken with some unusually wealthy people and organizations. There are foundations and individuals out there who support what we do and who are looking for ways to make a difference with their contributions. We serve a niche in this regard. People who want to disburse their money in a way that will improve education and raise the overall level of human knowledge have, in my opinon, no better choice than to contribute to the Wikimedia Foundation. That is a story we need to tell. UninvitedCompany 18:44, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Biographies of living persons[edit]

Although I realise that your role at ArbCom on English Wikipedia isn't directly related to the Board election, the totally unjustified sanctions against Badlydrawnjeff and others that you have supported cause me to question your judgment. What particularly scares me about the current "Proposed decision", in one of the sections which you explicitly supported, is the wording "Because of his rejection of the fundamental ethical principles that underlie the BLP policy [emphasis added], badlydrawnjeff is banned from all policy-related discussions covered by it". This is scary because it implies that those in authority have the right to determine what the "ethical viewpoint" is, and that all editors must accept this. So my question is this: if you are elected as a board member, are you going to continue supporting policy decisions of this nature? (I do realise that the Board does not directly intervene in the running of Wikimedia projects, but like I said, this statement of principle makes it hard for me to trust your judgment.) Waltontalk 18:46, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

I think that the BLP policy is absolutely vital to the survival of the project. I've personally worked the OTRS queues where we get dozens of complaints every day from people who are the subject of articles that are badly written, one sided, and in some cases downright libelous. Poorly written biographies generate more ill will towards Wikipedia than anything else. They have the potential to create real-world harm. I believe that there is, among serious contributors who are informed about the matter, a consensus on the BLP policy. The ENWP arbitration committee is trying to make it clear that flaunting BLP policy is unacceptable. Being a member of the arbitration committee involves taking a public stance on issues where any stance one might choose is sure to offend portions of the community. This is one of those issues. While I would agree that the proposed decision could have been better framed, I support its overall objectives. UninvitedCompany 20:08, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
I completely agree when it comes to poorly-written biographies and libellous, unsourced material. But when an article is completely sourced, accurate and verifiable, with references to reliable published sources, it isn't libellous. And it isn't justifiable to delete such articles on the basis that they might hurt someone. My interpretation has always been that BLP is for the good of Wikipedia (i.e. to keep us from being sued for defamation), not for the good of the articles' subjects. Waltontalk 15:57, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Wikinews and Accredited reporters attending events[edit]

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

Traditionally, it has been a cornerstone of WMF legal strategy that no one (well, almost no one) represents the foundation. The board members have email footers that tell you they don't represent the foundation. OTRS replies have a disclaimer that says they don't represent the foundation. Jimbo generally goes to great lengths to explain that he's only acting in a personal capacity, in most cases. The point of the strategy is that then the foundation can't be held responsible for these people's mistakes. There is an ancillary point that anything which makes it appear that our users are under our control and supervision could weaken an OCILLA defense. So no one officially represents WMF. Which is great, as a legal strategy.
The problem, of course, is that we've grown beyond that, and the old strategy's side effects are bad enough for us as an organization to overshadow their legal benefits. We can't afford to have a faceless foundation who no one represents. We can't afford to have board members who studiously avoid actually engaging in meaningful editing in the projects they came from. We can't afford to try to have it both ways with Freenode and pretend that we aren't in charge of our own IRC channels. And we can't have a successful Wikinews project if we won't vouch for our own reporters. I'm not advocating that we take reckless legal risks, just that we be prepared to accept some legal risk, with the advice of counsel, when the benefits to us are clear.
Organizationally, the board shouldn't be involved in reporter accreditation itself. Someone reporting to the ED should do that, and be sure that the legal and practical concerns are balanced. We have to know who our reporters are, confirm that they are actively reporting, and deal with abuse complaints. If Wikinews is going to be more than a summary of news reported by others, we have to have our own reporters -- at the G8 conference, on the campaign trail of major political figures, and so on.
UninvitedCompany 02:32, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Impending failure[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation at a corporate level is soaked in its own drama and if conditions don't improve soon, it will crash and burn. I want the newly elected trustees to act as catalystic mediators to simply and peacefully transform drama into productivity and then success for the foundation. How do you plan on doing this? Signed, your friendly neighborhood MessedRocker. 06:09, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

If I am elected, my work for the Board of Trustees will probably never go on my resume. I have a career, I have kids, and I have plenty of other things that define who I am. That gives me a certain distance and sense of perspective that some candidates may lack. Further, this is not new to me. I have already engaged in enough international travel, convention-going, speechmaking, spindoctoring, armtwisting, and stragetic-partnership-seeking to last a lifetime (in part because I don't have much of a taste for any of this). Nothing that I would do as a trustee would be especially novel to me. I am financially secure and have no reason to push the limits of what expenses are reimbursable. I can't stop the drama by myself, but I don't believe I'll end up contributing to it. UninvitedCompany 18:38, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm glad to hear that, but I asked how you could try to keep the peace, not how you could not contribute to drama. Signed, your friendly neighborhood MessedRocker. 02:24, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
I frankly don't believe that any one board member can keep the peace among an organization of peers. UninvitedCompany 22:35, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Smaller Wikis[edit]

Within the Wikimedia Foundation, there are multiple smaller wikis such as the Simple English Wikiquote, the Romanian Wikisource, and the Cherokee Wiktionary. All of these wikis lack local communities, and many go for long periods of time without any improvements made. Most also lack any active admins and 'crats and are prone to vandalism. First, do you think it is worth keeping these wikis, or do you think we should close them down until there is more active? Second, if they were to be kept, what would you do to improve the local communities? Wikihermit 20:40, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

While these smaller wikis have value, I believe they are outside our core mission and presently serve as a distraction. While I don't see the matter as especially urgent, I believe that the very small wikis (fewer than 10 users editing on a typical day) that lack any significant growth potential should be closed or transfered to some other organization that has governance and operating procedures geared to these smaller projects. A model similar to that used at Wikia, where there is some centralized administration that works across a large number of wikis, would serve these smaller communities better than the full autonomy of larger projects. UninvitedCompany 21:16, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

Article validation[edit]

What do you think of the idea of stable versions, article validation, and WP: 1.0? For example, see w:Wikipedia:Flagged revisions. Do you think the board has any role in this or do you feel it is a strictly local issue? Thanks. Voice-of-All 05:51, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

I believe that the flagged revisions feature would avoid much of the embarrassment and bad press we occasionally experience. Local communities by and large seem to support it, and it is not clear to me why more progress hasn't been made. UninvitedCompany 22:28, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

IRC Debate[edit]

This is a mass question being posted to all candidates. A couple days ago there was a proposal to hold an all candidates debate on IRC at a time TBD. The planning page is at ElectionDebate07 - please indicate if you are interested and if so, a time that would work for you. -- Tawker 23:01, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

Experience and Qualifications[edit]

Your platform makes no mention of any relevant experience to running a major organisation; please detail what experience you have in the running of corporate organisations, specifically regarding their finance, management, marketing, and human resources. --Alison Wheeler 11:57, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

  1. I was a member of the board of trustees for the Wesleyan Broadcast Association, a non-profit, during academic year 1985-1986. We operated a 1000 watt FM radio station and had a budget of about $80,000 per year.
  2. I held the position of Director, Product Marketing, at Racotek, Inc., in the mid 1990s. Racotek was then a development-stage company with about 100 employees. My responsibilities included the development of product strategies, creating and maintaining partnerships with vendors who sold complimentary products, speaking at trade shows and conferences, and developing brochures and other collateral.
  3. I was one of four people involved in the 1998 reorganization of Controls AnyWare, Inc., a software start-up, where I stayed until 2003. My title there was Vice President, Technology. I held about 15% of the stock, and while I was technically not a board member, each of us was involved in the organization's finances and operations. I made presentations to potential customers and investors, hired software developers and support people, and spoke at the annual meeting of shareholders.
  4. I serve as a software development manager for my present employer.

UninvitedCompany 22:16, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Usability[edit]

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

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

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

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

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

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

...

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

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

How would you solve this problem?

Tlogmer 00:11, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

While I share your concerns, I don't believe that they are appropriate for the board to address directly. I would agree that at this point the communities don't have much input into the evolution of the software, and I see that as a problem. I believe that there should be people within each project selected to be WMF contacts. They should be chosen within each project via an election or similar means, and they should represent the project's interests to the WMF. That would serve (among other things) as a mechanism for communities to speak clearly regarding the direction for the MediaWiki software. WMF would then be well positioned to work with the MediaWiki volunteer developer community as well as paid staff to work towards changes. UninvitedCompany 17:24, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Recruiting expertise[edit]

Danny Wool has proposed replacing the current board with "a professional board consisting of captains of industry and academia" -- presumbaly, web leaders and information academics, etc. Do you agree? What do you think Wikipedia can learn from, for example, professional writers of paper encyclopedias like Britannica? How should the foundation best recruit their advice and put it into practice? Tlogmer 00:11, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

While I respect Danny's vision, I do not share it entirely. I believe we would be best served by a board with named seats for individuals with particular qualifications and elected by separate means. As an example, this could include a number of seats chosen by donors, a number of ex-officio seats (for people like the ED, treasurer, general counsel, and CTO), a number of seats elected by editors as we do today, and so on. I think we have to strike a balance between a professional board, one accountable to donors, and one accountable to the editors who create the content. UninvitedCompany 17:31, 25 June 2007 (UTC)


Appropriate conduct for Board members[edit]

Recently, in a non-Mediawiki forum, Erik Moeller made the following comments: "Cyde's and Kelly's arguments are on the same level: they are driven by blind hostility, not thoughtful analysis." [4] Do you believe that responding to criticism of one's credentials and conduct as a member of the Board with personal attacks such as these is appropriate for a member of the Board of Trustees? Kelly Martin 00:52, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps not, but I believe that the community should instead draw its attention to rather more substantive concerns regarding the accomplishments of existing board members. UninvitedCompany 01:52, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Wikiquote & copyright[edit]

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

I see Wikiquote as outside our core mission. I believe that the legal exposure created by it is excessive. It is my view that we should find another organization that wishes to host the content. Failing that, the project should be shut down. UninvitedCompany 18:05, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Thank you very much for the time to answer. drini [es:] [commons:] 01:12, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Donors and scope[edit]

Asked of all candidiates: Okay, I'm not naive so yeah, it follows that large donors will probably get some pull when policies, direction and the scope of the foundation get decided, but what's your take on it all? How far do we bend to satisfy our donors, and to what extent are ideals of the foundation non-negotiable? In five years say, would you expect the foundation to still exist in the same legal fashion as now and assert ownership over the assets it currently has? Steve block 20:38, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

I agree that it is an area to be watched. I would hope that our ED would develop a policy on donors and sponsorship to serve as a guide in what we will and will not do. Donors will insist on good governance and expect board members to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities. And donors may make restricted contributions that are to be used for a particular purpose. Beyond that, I don't think that donors should expect to have a great deal of influence on policy and operations.
I believe the foundation's survival is in jeopardy unless more effective fundraising means are adopted. We will not be able to raise funds effectively without resolving structural problems and fully empowering an ED. I believe that the stakes in this election are high. UninvitedCompany 20:49, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for a thoughtful answer. If I could follow up, where do you stand on separating or hiving off any of the various projects, as has been proposed by one candidate? Steve block 15:57, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
I support it at least in principle. It is something that should be done with great care and with due regard for the legal, financial, and social consequences. I believe that the smaller projects deserve to have the attention of a foundation that is answerable to them. I have commented on this at greater length above in response to some of the other questions. UninvitedCompany 20:50, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. Steve block 15:36, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

IRC Debate[edit]

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

I'll respond elsewhere. UninvitedCompany 20:49, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

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

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

What do you do ?

The ED is responsible to the board. If the ED were unable to meet a major expectation such as the timely preparation of financial statements, and the expectation continued to be unmet after a reasonable period of discussion and forbearance, it would ultimately become necessary to release the ED from employment. The ED should be responsible for the actions of the staff and should have the authority to replace any underperforming staff. Needless to say, there are many intermediate steps, but I understand your question to be about the situation when these intermediate steps have already been exhausted. UninvitedCompany 18:20, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

fund raiser and chapters[edit]

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

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

--ThurnerRupert 12:14, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

I believe that donors should have a choice whether to support the Wikimedia Foundation itself or a local chapter. At present, the donations pages make it more difficult to find the page for chapter donations. Both pages should be equally accessible. UninvitedCompany 18:22, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Committees[edit]

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

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

Sorry about posting my question(s) so late! -- phoebe 00:37, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

I think that the existing system should be scrapped in favor of a system that involves committees that report to the ED rather than the board. In general, there should be more community involvement, and one of the ideas I've suggested is having elected community representatives to the foundation from each community. UninvitedCompany 18:24, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for your reply. I'm curious: do you imagine such community representatives being part of the board, an advisory group, a committee, or some other kind of structure? What sort of things would they do? Sorry if you addressed this already above. -- phoebe 08:05, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
I don't think it's necessary or desirable to formally attach the representatives to a particular part of the Foundation. I envision a group of people who anyone -- board, ED, staff -- can contact at each project to have questions answered or get things done. Especially in smaller projects, the contact point might be used for something as routine as resolving OTRS reports. It would also serve as a better sounding board for proposed site changes. Right now we have foundation-l but it isn't representative and isn't widely perceived to be of much use. The intent would be that the community representatives would ask questions and post information in the local language, in locally appropriate forums, for those issues likely to be of local interest. UninvitedCompany 17:36, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Free resources[edit]

Wikipedia, being one of the ten most visited sites in internet, has some negotiation power. I believe we should be able to use this power in order to increase both the freedom and quality of the encyclopedia. In example, the board could contact copyright holders of promotional images (places, objects, models, singers, bands, etc), and convince them to release their items under a free license. I have been doing this myself, but I believe the Board could have better chances than a single person, a WikiProject or even a Wikipedia project. What do you think, do you think this could be a priority? And good luck! -- ReyBrujo 18:39, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

We have done that, and we are doing it. I don't believe that the board has a role. Rather, individual contributors can and should make the case that rights holders are best served by providing free materials. UninvitedCompany 17:36, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
The main problem is that many times companies are wary of releasing media for free. I notice that, while the promotional section of a company likes the idea, the legal does not. A real push by the Foundation (I imagine press releases to request images, press releases whenever we obtain them, legal agreements between the Foundation and such companies, etc) could make them comfortable. In example, if a representative asks me to enumerate the different companies that have agreed to release images for free after being contacted by Wikipedia, I could name four or five, but then I am at a loss. In example, I was recently told that the Dutch government agreed to release images of their board for free. The news was written in the Signpost, almost hidden for any casual reader or third company. Had it been a press release in the Wikimedia Foundation page, it may not only make the news more noticeable, but also more "impacting", as in making other governments to release images for free. We contributors do a lot for Wikipedia, but many times we need a hand from the Foundation, and so far, it is not that easy to get. -- ReyBrujo 05:27, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Several questions[edit]

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

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

Seahen 05:37, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

I believe that the Foundation should build an endowment. The funds should be managed conservatively and appropriately. At some point that might mean stocks, bonds, or related investment vehicles. I do not believe that the board should be selecting the strategy but rather specifying the investment goals and then reviewing the plan that emerges to be sure it meets those goals.

I believe that some travel is necessary. Since there has been no public accounting of the travel funds spent over the last year, I cannot comment on the appropriateness of the travel expenses we have incurred. It is my understanding that the conferences have been paid for almost entirely by sponsors, although again there has not been a public accounting for the costs and donations from the Boston Wikimania so I cannot say for sure. Clearly the issue is that the board must take its responsibility to provide timely disclosures more seriously.

I do not believe that referendums provide a good model for governance.

I do not agree that the potential for misuse of the "oversight" tool is Orwellian. There are logs visible by other users who have access to the tool, and there is cross-checking.

I believe that your question about "control over Wikipedia content policy" presents a false dichotomy.

My position is that the User: namespace is there to facilitate the creation of content. It is not a no-holds-barred zone, nor is it an experiment in anarchy.

I do not believe that the Wikimedia Foundation should be engaging in lobbying campaigns at this time. Such campaigns would be a distraction from the core mission.

I believe that Foundation should focus first on solving internal governance problems, second on dealing with the needs of projects that are already successful, third address the problems of projects that are growing, and lastly look at expansion of mission. Sometimes it seems to me that we're getting it backwards.

UninvitedCompany 17:36, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Wikinews and building on an unexpected publicity opportunity[edit]

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

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

One of our core principles is that our content is the work of volunteers. While we have given out prizes in the past, in general these have been of little material value, instead being primarily a means of recognition for those whose contributions are exceptional. I believe that significant cash prizes have the potential to pose problems in the future as they undermine the volunteer spirit of the projects. UninvitedCompany 19:27, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

International Symbol of Access[edit]

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

There is actually general consensus to make this change on the English Wikipedia. The only thing standing in the way is the Foundation's policy. —Remember the dot 04:01, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

I think we'll agree that this is an important issue. We may end up on different sides.
In my view, the problem is the ICTA, not the Wikimedia Foundation. The ICTA asserts copyright on the two symbols and has the ability to license them under a free-content license such as the GFDL or CC-BY-SA licenses. They choose not to do so because they wish to maintain control over the use of the symbols, and preserve the possibility of a copyright infringement lawsuit against individuals and organizations who they believe are using the mark frivolously or inappropriately. ICTA is an active organization with periodic meetings, so this is not a case of orphaned copyright. The only reason they have not licensed the ISA under CC-BY-SA or GFDL is because they choose not to do so. They prefer to have the ISA available free (as in free beer) but not free (as in free speech).
Fundamentally, this is in opposition to our values. If we were to compromise our values and accept the non-free licensing terms of the ISA, it would undermine our ability to apply principled pressure to other copyright holders in the future. And I believe that the burden of conscience is primarily ours. In using various alternatives to the ISA, we compromise the visual appeal of our site and create a non-standard appearance. It is unlikely that a significant usability burden would be placed upon visitors seeking out more accessible content. I see our refusal to use the ISA as a very public form of testimony against the use of copyright restrictions to control or influence publishers, and indirectly, the public at large.
UninvitedCompany 19:43, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

"Attack site" link bans[edit]

On English Wikipedia, there has been some controversy about whether it is, or ought to be, the policy that linking to so-called "attack sites" against Wikipedia and Wikipedians is to be banned. Some administrators have (overzealously, in some others' opinions) removed links to criticism sites from such places as talk pages, evidence pages for ArbCom cases, and even in a few cases from actual articles where they were being used as a source. I wrote an essay on this issue. What is your opinion? Dtobias 04:03, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

I don't think this is a matter that should properly come before the Board of Trustees. UninvitedCompany 19:45, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

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

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

I do not believe that this is an issue for the Board of Trustees. UninvitedCompany 19:44, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

How to deal with consensus of uninformed editors[edit]

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

Supporting evidence for the problem: Once I wrote several pages on Einsteinian physics (I'm just doing my PhD on it) and all of them were deleted by consensus of editors (9:1) who preferred their old high school physics :-). Unfortunately their high school physics was invalidated about 100 years ago by Einstein. Yet till today one can read as the first statement of Wikipedia's Gravitation: "Gravitation is a natural phenomenon by which all objects attract each other". According to contemporary science objects don't attract each other they just look like they do. Similarly as the Sun looks like running around the Earth while it doesn't and there exists a simple explanation in both cases. So I just explained the simple Einsteinian mechanism of this apparent attraction, since I thought it may be interesting to Wikipedia's readers. All those pages were deleted by consensus of editors cooling my enthusiasm for Wikipedia. So the issue of propagating old prejudices, because of democratic process involved in editing, seems to be very real in Wikipedia. JimJast 14:10, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

I don't believe that this matter is under the purview of the Board of Trustees. UninvitedCompany 16:06, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia and the media at large[edit]

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

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

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

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

Majority biasing the facts[edit]

12:33, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Dear Candidate,

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

regards,

Xiutwel

See w:WP:NPOV and w:WP:RS. UninvitedCompany 16:10, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Who Writes Wikipedia?[edit]

Late question: do you have any thoughts on this essay (and if so, what)? It suggests that Jimbo formed a radically false picture of anonymous users and their contributions to Wikipedia. This may have far-reaching implications. Dan(pedia) 21:45, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

I've seen the essay. It's based on anecdotal evidence. While I do tend to agree with its conclusion that a good deal of useful material is contributed by anons, I don't agree that what Aaron calls "insiders" contribute little useful article content. It is my experience that pop culture articles like the w:Alan Alda article upon which Aaron's analysis is based tend to draw more casual edits than, for example, science or history articles, and the considerable effort expended and value achieved with image contributions (both photographs and diagrams) comes almost entirely from "insiders." UninvitedCompany 12:47, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Censorship on Wikipedia[edit]

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

69.116.234.208 21:53, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

I don't know for sure, but I somehow suspect that it would difficult to find reliable sources for such an article. UninvitedCompany 12:52, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Banning an editor without supporting diffs[edit]

You described in the arbcom case Sathya Sai Baba 2 on the English Wikipedia my edits on the topic en:Sathya Sai Baba as "generally responsible". Nobody provided any diffs that I made activist or disruptive edits in spite of my repeated requests to you and others to provide them. Nevertheless you decided to support a topic ban of me on Sathya Sai Baba. I was one of the main authors of the article. How do you think such a topic ban helps the encyclopedia? Andries 09:10, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

I don't believe this is a matter that would properly come before the Wikimedia Foundation board of trustees, and so I have no comment. UninvitedCompany 12:51, 7 July 2007 (UTC)


A Fairer Voting System[edit]

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


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

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

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

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

While I do have some concerns about our voting system, I am unconvinced that STV is the answer. UninvitedCompany 20:40, 7 July 2007 (UTC)