Chapter-selected Board seats/2008

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This discussion has shifted to http://chapters.wikimedia.ch as of late 2008. --Mbimmler 17:03, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

  • "The two chapter trustees will be selected by the chapters, using a process which they will determine, and which will be approved by the board."
  • "The chapter-selected seats have a duration of two years... chapter-selected seats will be up for renewal on July 1st 2010, 2012, 2014, etc."
  • "The chapters will need to define a process for selecting those seats. That process will need to be approved by a majority of the chapters, and by the board."

It's important to that the two chapters-selected trustees are not intended to represent chapters' self-interest. The chapters are being asked to select two trustees who they feel will best represent the interests of the Wikimedia Foundation, and help it fulfill its mission as well as it possibly can. -- from Board of Trustees/Restructure Announcement Q&A

There are two main components: how to gather the potential people, and how to choose among them. (There is no point deliberating on choosing someone who would not be willing to take the position)

How to gather candidates[edit]

  • Take the list of failed candidates from the last community election.
  • Have community-wide nominations on meta.
    • with a chance of chapters vetoing the candidates (if a single chapter vetoes the candidate, he/she is not eligible).
  • Have individual chapters put forward X candidates.
  • Private call for (self) nominations from the community
    • I meant this to mean, the nominations are made privately rather than in public, and the chapters would not reveal the list of received nominations. (of course this may or may not make sense depending on the next part)

How to select among candidates[edit]

  • Community-wide voting (as in community-elected trustees).
  • Any chapter member can vote.
  • Any chapter committee member can vote.
  • Chapters decide internally and put forward one vote (each chapters' vote is considered equal).
    • chapters could determine their own method of choosing - e.g. let all members vote, or committee decide, or whatever - or, the method could be decided to be the same for all chapters
  • Chapters decide internally and put forward one vote (each chapters' vote is proportional to its membership).

Polimerek's proposal[edit]

  1. Any chapter may nominate one candidate (may - it not necessarily have to)
  2. All chapters have two votes
  3. Chapter cannot vote on its own candidate
  4. It is up to chapter's board how to select their nominees and to decide for whom to vote


  • Why not to make general voting on meta?

Just because it won't be very different from old elections - as we know a candidate who is not known on English Wikipedia has no chance to be chosen if he/she is popular on other projects, so the voting by chapters give possibility to choose a person not active on English Wikipedia - for example a person from Argentina or Taiwan.

  • Why to give equal power of voting all chapters?

First of all - creation of criteria of measuring the voting power of chapters for sure opens a never ending "political" discussion. Big chapters might insist on giving them "proportional" power of votes, which in fact might make smallest chapters completely powerless. If you'd give the power of voting proportional to number of members it would be as follows (data from the end of 2007 - please change if numbers are wrong):

  • Swedich 118 (April 29 2008) - 11,25%
  • French: 105 (april 2008) - 10,01%
  • Italian: 179 (May 2008) -17,06%
  • Serbian: 40 (2006) - 3,81%
  • Polish: 101 (end of 2007) - 9,63%
  • Swiss: 64 (May 1 2008) - 6,10%
  • Dutch: 26 (end of 2006) - 2,48%
  • British: no information given - 0%
  • German: 416 (end of 2007) - 39,66%
  • Czechs ?
  • Argentinean ?
  • Taiwanese ?
  • Hong-Kong ?
  • Total : 1049 - 100 %

But - does the numbers of members is good criteria? For example: in Polish Chapter (my own) - we have 101 members but only 15-20 are really active... Moreover it would be difficuilt to prove that all chapters shows fair number of their members - the tendency to "cheat" by artificial increasing the number of members might happen... What other criteria can be suggested? Annual income? - it would be not fair for chapters from developing countries, number of activities ? (how to measure it?)...

Polimerek 09:03, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

I would agree that determining proportionality would be difficult. On the other hand, there *are* differences between chapters and the stake/interest they have regarding these seats. Perhaps a sensible option would be to have one trustee elected by an equal number of votes per chapter. The other trustee would be elected by proportionality. sebmol ? 10:11, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
Years ago Ian Steward wrote an article on Scientific American (I think it is the one with the title "Election Fever in Blockvotia"[1], but I am not sure about this) - A suggestion was that individual blocks be assigned weights so that the frequency of a block having the critical vote (ie the tie-breaker) is proportional to its population. Hillgentleman 10:35, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Random thought[edit]

Is it (still) a brainstorming, right? So I give my random thought ... each point may be contradict with each other, we can later sort them out. Let us go:

Scenario I.

  • Chapter-seats just turn into community direct-vote seats, just elected in another year ...
    1. and that is all.
    2. but the chapter has either veto absolu or suspentif (e.g. 2/3 of chapters)
      1. To people who are elected to these chapter-seats.
      2. Or just to people who self-nominated
    3. however at least one recommendation / endorsement from the chapter should be necessary to run for those seats.
    4. Elections may have two rounds; only chapters (or chapter members) may vote for one round either first or last.

Scenario II.

  • Chapters-seats are voted only by either chapters or chapter members.
    1. One chapter may have one vote.
    2. One chapter may votes per the size of its membership...
      1. by ratio.
      2. just up to the number of its members.
      3. or just all chapter members are invited to vote.
  • ... and re: nomination
    1. Only the chapter (precisely the board of a chapter) nominate the candidate(s)
      1. And they should be a member of a certain WM chapter.
      2. ... or they are not necessarily a member of a chapter but should be an active Wikimedia community member filling requirements (later decided).
      3. .. or they are anyone who the chapter wants to nominate (= no needs to come from WM community in any sense).

Well, a question arises on me: if chapter seats can be taken by "the externals", why not invite simply the chapters to vote for appointed members? Or why not grant them veto either absolu or suspentif?

Just thought. --Aphaia 01:09, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

A view[edit]

The Foundation Board set up 'Chapter-selected/appointed' seats as a separate structure to the world-editor-elected seats and, as such, it is clearly incumbent upon us to do something different rather than duplicate that set of elections (otherwise really, where is the point).

Where projects and languages form a way of noting the activities of editors, it is only and solely Chapters which have a 1-to-1 relationship, even if that relationship doesn't presently exist in many cases. ie, whilst an editor may be active across a number of projects and in a number of languages they can only ever be a member of a single Chapter as Chapters are by definition (at present, possibility of future exceptions noted though not planned currently) regionally / geographically based. This differs from the project / language segmenting.

Taking on board that Chapters are geographic then, the next issue is what is the purpose of these seats. If it is jsut another way of selecting someone to sit on the Foundation Board then it doesn't really offer anything beneficial to the Chapters (as a group) nor to the Foundation. What, I would suggest, is needed is that the Chapters look to find people to fill 'their' seats who have relevant experience in country-based membership activities, who can present the POV of the current and planned world-wide Chapters at the Board level, and offer input 'from both ends' as it were.

I do not believe that just appointing someone to the Board as some sort of sinecure via this route because they are liked is what is needed, similarly someone without that relevant experience (whether in a WM Chapter or a similar geo-based voluntarily organisation) is not going to benefit the growth of WM Chapters.

--Alison Wheeler 21:17, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

It seems to me that they have been fairly explicit about this being supposed to be for the benefit of WMF, not the chapters.
If it is jsut another way of selecting someone to sit on the Foundation Board then it doesn't really offer anything beneficial to the Chapters (as a group) nor to the Foundation. Perhaps on the surface no (except the Foundation hopefully gets two good Trustees out of it), but it is an indirect way of encouraging and reinforcing communication and collaboration between chapters, and in the community in general. pfctdayelise 13:22, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
If you read the mailing list posts on the matter, it definitely wasn't intended that the two seats would be there to guard the interests of chapters as such. At least not implicitly. The justifications infact (and I am not going to mention by whom, so I don't get accused of arguing by authority) given, were that the chapters can offer added value to the selection process, by already constituting a group of people who are known and selected for their ability to make responsible choices, and it was expressed as a hope that specifically the chapters wouldn't choose only people from within chapters. At least that was how I understood it; mayhap I misread it. If somebody has a different interpretation of the mailing list discussion, perhaps we can compare notes... -- Cimon Avaro 04:34, 25 May 2008 (UTC)