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Welcome to the Board of Trustees' noticeboard. This is a message board for discussing issues related to Wikimedia Foundation governance and policies, and related Board work. Please post new messages at the bottom of the page and sign them.
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Proposed resolution on user rights process[edit]

As announced earlier, I prepared a very simple text the board can certainly agree with: User:Nemo bis/User rights process. Please schedule for the earlier opportunity (a quick online meeting is probably sufficient). I recommend to vote on it before the WMF board elections end, to ensure higher participation. --Nemo 20:48, 8 May 2015 (UTC)

Hi Nemo, I will bring this to the attention of the board. But this is in no way the "easy" topic you are suggesting it is. I will get back to you Jan-Bart (talk) 10:30, 15 May 2015 (UTC)

Move for closure of a proposal[edit]

Proposals_for_closing_projects/Move_Beta_Wikiversity_to_Incubator#Move for closure I believe that this conversation has gone on for plenty of time to assess the feasibility, community consensus, relative strengths of discussions, etc. regarding closing beta.wv and incorporating its content into Meta and Incubator as appropriate. I hope that someone here can put to rest the conversation there and either a.) have us move on and let beta.wv be or b.) let us get started with winding down beta.wv. —Justin (koavf)TCM 04:15, 8 June 2015 (UTC)

@Justin, let me check how to close this issue best. Will come back to you soon. Alice Wiegand (talk) 20:36, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
We should have a community process for closing proposals for new projects & for closing projects. And a dev contact who can carry out the details required to flip the relevant switches. It's not a board task. But if that doesn't exist, perhaps we can help create one. SJ talk  23:22, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
There is a process, it seems that there is no member of WMF staff responsible for monitoring those discussions and implementing them, and there is no way that the volunteer community can find out who is responsible for doing what. Perhaps the Board might want to look into that. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 16:20, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
@Justin, the Community Engagement team, in this case Philippe is figuring out details, in general my understanding is that it's in the scope of Language committee to deal with closure proposals. As I see on the proposal's talk page, it might bot be as clear as I thought. I propose to follow the discussion there. Alice Wiegand (talk) 15:06, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

Accountability to the community[edit]

Following an exchange with the Foundation Treasurer, he has made it clear [1] that he does not regard himself as required to respond to questions from the community regarding the financial and business operations of the WMF, but rather sees his accountability as being restricted to the Board. This raises questions for governance which I think it is for the Board to address. There seem to be three main lines that the Board might wish to take.

Does the Board believe that members of the community have the right to raise a question of this nature directly with WMF staff? Does the Board believe that common courtesy imposes a requirement that such questions be properly acknowledged and managed by a nominated staff member, even if it not possible or desirable to answer them in detail? Will the Board mandate a clear coherent effective process with known lines of responsibility and accountability for such questions to be raised and answered?

If the Board does not believe that individual community members should raise such questions directly with WMF staff, will the Board institute a process for taking such questions themselves for subsequent discussion with staff? Will the Board commit to acknowledging such questions and, in the interests of transparency, publishing as much of the answer they receive as possible?

If the Board believe that community members should not involve themselves in these issues either directly or indirectly, will the Board make a clear public statement of their position on this issue?

Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 20:03, 20 June 2015 (UTC)

A correction to the statement from Rogol, I have never stated that I do not need to respond to questions to the community. Over my nearly four years with the Foundation, I have a record of responding to inquires from the community. What I was responding to was the request for a detailed listing of purchases of furniture and equipment. I have provided information on the percentage allocation of spending to furniture and computer equipment (servers) and I believe this is sufficient given my review of the records.GByrd (WMF) (talk) 16:56, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
This "correction" is not quite correct. The link I gave makes it plain that my question was specifically about the procedural issues and not about furniture, as members of the Board can readily verify for themselves. GByrd avoided answering it by diverting back to the furniture issue, just as he has done again here -- that evasion leads me to believe that he does not accept the requirement to answer questions from the volunteer community (although in the interests of fairness I suppose it is possible he simply assumed he knew what the question was without actually reading it). It is noteworthy that in this comment he does not actually go so far as accepting that the WMF has this respnsibility to the community, he merely denies having denied it. Let me ask again for the sake of clarity -- does he positively accept this responsibility? If so, perhaps he might like to inform the Board, and the community at large, what arrangements the WMF has made to discharge this responsibility -- what is the venue for posing such questions, what process is employed for answering them, and who is responsbile for delivering those answers. In the absence of a satisfactory process, then no real acceptance of that responsibility can be said to exist, and my questions for the Board stand unaltered. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 20:04, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Financial questions can be and have been sent to my talk page, my WMF email address or when we have a comment period on a financial report, on the Talk page of that document. I will respond to questions via those forums.GByrd (WMF) (talk) 22:15, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for that commitment, which I think resolves the issue as far as Board intervention is concerned. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 06:14, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Rogol, I generally have received prompt responses to occasional questions that I've emailed to Garfield. I did have a little difficulty getting precise answers in response to some of my questions about last year's annual plan, though I believe that was because of concern about the sensitivity of some information that I think should be public and transparent but which WMF so far generally has been reluctant to make public. In general I don't think this line of questioning about the office furniture is a high-value interest for any of us when we have next year's Annual Plan to think about; that plan is supposed to be implemented starting on July 1st and I am quite perplexed about the delays associated with that plan. In general I don't feel that Garfield's integrity or communicativeness are in question. My present concerns about WMF financial matters are much more focused on the Annual Plan for the next fiscal year. --Pine 23:27, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
As I stated above, the principle is now clear. I think that direct email with senior WMF officials is sub-optimal for most issues, as it may consume time responding to repetitions if answers are not made public. It is also a weaker form of transparency than the community is accustomed to. However, having established the principle, the implementation issues will no doubt resolve themselves over time. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 06:14, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Echoing Pine's viewpoint, based on several meetings about various serious community issues, Garfield is a very genuine and skilled chap. I have never known him to spin facts or avoid a difficult question. I hope the WMF can retain his services for a long time ahead, as he is a great asset to our projects and community. Keep on asking high level governance questions, but there is no evidence that the community needs to be concerned about Garfield's personal commitment to our shared goals of transparency and accountability. Thanks -- (talk) 07:37, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Unfortunately personal commitment is only a part of the story -- it needs to be accompanied by effective communications and processes. Effective engagement between the WMF and the community is still poor and this is one example of it. Lila made various commitments to improve matters last August, but it is clear that they have not yet worked through into practice, and it may be that the Board will need to examine whether more could and should be done. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 06:40, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

Access to nonpublic information policy[edit]

It is now fourteen months since the Board mandated this policy and yet it has not yet been brought into force. No doubt the Board are well aware of this and are receiving regular updates on the factors that make it impossible for WMF to comply with the Board's mandate: equally we presume that the Board are satisfied with the explanation for non-compliance that they are receiving. Would the Board please ensure that the community share those updates and explanations, preferably by way of frequent if brief updates at Talk:Access to nonpublic information policy. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 10:59, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

Risk Assessment Document update[edit]

The Audit committee at their March meeting wmf:Audit Committee/2015-03-16 referred to this update being ready for the Board by the end of June and then refers to "review of the document by the Community". Does the Board have that update, or does it expect to have it in the next few days? What arrangements will the Board make to publish it for review by the community? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:34, 27 June 2015 (UTC)