Chapter-selected Board seats/2012/Candidates
The candidates for the 2012 Chapter board seat selections are as follows. If you wish to ask them questions please either post them here (if the question is for all candidates) or on the individual questions pages linked to in each candidate's section. Questions will then be forwarded to the candidates and the answers posted on an individual page for each candidate. Please discuss individual candidates on the talk pages of their subpage and have more general discussions on the talk page of this page.
Craig Franklin (Lankiveil)
|Craig Franklin (Lankiveil)|
My name is Craig Franklin, and I would like to be considered for one of the available chapter-selected seats on the Wikimedia Foundation’s Board of Trustees. I edit on Wikimedia projects as “Lankiveil”.
Craig Franklin is currently the Treasurer of Wikimedia Australia.
Nomination by: Wikimedia Indonesia
Based on Wikimedia Indonesia Board of Trustees Resolution: http://wikimedia.or.id/wiki/Resolusi:Pengajuan_Calon_Dewan_Pengawas_Asosiasi_Wikimedia_2012 Wikimedia Indonesia approved the nomination of Craig Franklin as a candidate for WMF Chapter-selected Board of Trustees.
I began my Wiki editing career at the Irish (Gaelic) language Wikipedia in August 2004. I soon migrated across to the English language Wikipedia where I became an administrator and arbitration committee clerk. I have also been active at Commons, where I have uploaded many photographs, primarily of Australian sportspeople, flora and geographical features.
I was a founding member of the Australian Wikimedia chapter. Since late 2010 I have served as the chapter’s Treasurer, and I am currently midway through my second term in the position. My twin interests as chapter Treasurer have been to develop a sustainable framework for professional management of the chapter, and expanding grant programmes to assist community members in developing new, free content. I have also whenever I’ve had the opportunity, engaged in programme work such as GLAM collaborations and outreach events.
My philosophy on how Wikimedia projects should be run is simple: the projects were initially built and managed by volunteers, and under that arrangement they were taken from an obscure sideproject for Nupedia, to one of the top 10 web properties in the world. I have a great deal of faith in the wisdom and talent that our community possesses. I despair at the current trend of the Foundation running programmes and initiatives where community input and control is minimal.
Real World Resume
I graduated with a Bachelor of Information Technology degree, with a major in Data Communication, from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in 2004. After short periods in system support and payroll processing, I gained a position as a Project Officer and Business Analyst, focusing on the implementation of financial management and reporting systems for public sector entities. I was promoted to Senior Business Analyst in 2009. My main current areas of focus are spearheading projects with small teams in business intelligence (providing tools to assist organisations in making informed business decisions based on financial data) and business process improvement.
At the same time, I am also enrolled as a postgraduate student at QUT, pursuing a degree in Information Management, where my main research interests are in user-driven information management and categorisation systems (like Wikis!).
Over the years I have also had a number of other jobs on the side, including as a freelance music journalist, and as a breeder of tropical fish for the ethical aquarium trade. My partner and I are greatly interested in the self-sufficiency movement, and have given over much of our land to the production of fruits and vegetables to reduce our dependence on conventional methods for food distribution.
I have been dismayed at the recent trend towards decision making being made in an office in San Francisco, often with little or no consultation with community members. It is the community of volunteers that shows up day after day to write articles, perform administrative tasks, and keep the projects clear of spam that allow the Foundation to exist. A healthy and engaged community will result in a healthy Foundation. Engaging the community needs to be something that is an integral part of everything that the Foundation does, not just an afterthought after a decision has been made in the boardroom.
Some examples of recent events that I feel are unacceptable are:
As I’m in gainful employment, I do not see this position as a stepping stone to a job or sinecure with the Foundation. As such, I would be quite unafraid to speak my mind where I disagree with a proposal. On the other side though, I have quite a cordial relationship with the WMF staff and trustees, despite my public opposition to a lot of their policies, and I do think I’d be able to work effectively with them in bringing about change.
Some particular things that I would like to focus on include:
Responses to the questions by nominator
Salmaan Haroon (Theo10011)
|Salmaan Haroon (Theo10011)|
Statement of support by WMAU
Wikimedia Australia has come to know Salmaan Haroon as an enthusiastic and passionate contributor to the Wikimedia projects, and more importantly to the governance and organisational support of these projects.
Salmaan Haroon has worked closely with many chapters and the Wikimedia Foundation, and has encouraged all movement organisations to develop their strengths, collaborate more, and strive for excellence in financial stability and transparency, to each other and to the community. By listening and participating in discussions, he has come to understand many of the issues that chapters face. Salmaan Haroon was a key supporter of the Movement Roles project, which has recently been ratified by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. It is the belief of Wikimedia Australia that his enthusiasm and determination will bring about positive changes at all levels of this movement.
Statement of support by WMID
Wikimedia Indonesia nominated and supported Salmaan Haroon as a candidate for Wikimedia Foundation Chapter-selected Board of Trustees based on the Resolution which can be found here: http://wikimedia.or.id/wiki/Resolusi:Pengajuan_Calon_Kedua_Dewan_Pengawas_Asosiasi_Wikimedia_2012
I am known to most people within the community as Theo - a name of my own choosing. Why? I wish to explain now. The selection process for which lasted a whole 10 seconds, 10011 was added because 'Theo' was unavailable at the time. I am not sure why I chose 'Theo' at the time, I wasn't listening to Thelonious Monk or reading any articles about Theocracy, it was just the first innocuous thing that came to my mind. I felt what I had to say at that point mattered more than that name, or what it revealed about me. I wanted to use something generic and random.
The edit that I felt was more important, was a proposal on strategy wiki. It was my first page, a proposal to create a Wiki-Fund, an endowment fund for WMF, so it could limit its reliance on the annual fundraiser and be sustainable. I subsequently discussed and explained my idea to others, even got a chance to bring it up to a couple of board members. One thing led to another, and I ended getting more involved in the process, and became an admin there. My area of interest was, and is, financial sustainability. It is one thing, I feel I have something to contribute in. I somehow, remained active in the process till it ended, became active on English Wikipedia, and eventually migrated to Meta for my daily activities.
I still chose to go by that name, not because I didn't have a chance to change it or use my real name. I liked remaining relatively anonymous, I liked being known for what I say than who I am. I have built my standing from what I say, rather than where I am from, the language I speak or what I do in my day-job. I like fading into an ocean of anonymity, I would have been known as an IP address if I could, but 'Theo' is good enough, I suppose.
I value people by their contributions, not their names or identities. That culture of meritocracy, is the idea behind our movement. I value people for what they say and know, what they can prove and not who they are or what qualification they have. That is why Wikipedia is written by just about anyone, you, me, teenagers, housewives, teachers, students, not only grey-haired, primarily anglo-saxon scholars, that came to represent the establishment when it came to knowledge. They came to represent the keepers of the gate to knowledge for centuries; our movement, to that extent, is breaking the door down, and removing those barriers.
Later that year, I appeared in a series of videos created by WMF at Wikimania in Gdansk, then got hired to work for WMF during the fundraiser, and I thought there went my anonymity. I became more active on IRC and the mailing lists. My interaction also changed inside the community, I eventually found my voice as I became more active in governance related discussion, too active, by some accounts.
I believe WMF and the movement is at a critical juncture now than it has ever been. Decisions, taken now will shape what our movement will look like in years to come. I strongly believe each chapter should strive to be independent, financially and organizationally, to pursue 100 different goals at any given point, for a 1000 different volunteers all across the world. Coordination should not be confused with control.
I have strong opinions on subjects related to governance. I have never been shy of expressing them. I continue to engage in tense discussions, I believe I'm least likely to retire and pull away from controversial topics and heated debate. The board needs strong direction now with decisive actions. I would do everything within my power to be the best representative of the chapters and the wider community as possible.
Within every ideology, philosophy, there are voices that occupy a spectrum. There are moderates, who can continue month after month of writing reasoned letters without losing their focus, there are extreme voices, usually passionate, inarticulate fools that scream at the top of their lungs, and there are silent protesters; the underlying ideas are always the same. I have occupied the entire spectrum from my involvement in Wikimedia governance issues. As a staff member once put it, the idea of chapter independence has always been a bit of fiction, it is statements and perceptions like those that I wish to alter permanently.
And with that, I wish to announce my acceptance of nomination from Wikimedia Australia. I am generally a pessimist, so whatever the outcome of the elections, I hope to not let any of my friends down.
Real life Resume
Salmaan Haroon (User:Theo10011) is an Indian businessman, a self-described finance geek and an amateur economist. He attended Delhi University as a Bachelor of commerce student. His foray into the business world involved managing his family business since he was 17. He subsequently worked as a trader in commodities, currencies and stock futures for several years. He was temporarily involved in the trading of polymer resins from the MENA region. During the course of his work, he has lived and worked from several places within the MENA region, South-east Asia and most recently Brazil. He has traveled extensively, dealing with client/supplier negotiations in a multicultural environment.
Salmaan is a bilingual, his mother tongues are Hindi and English, along with some variation of dialect and written systems. He can understand Spanish and to a certain degree, Portuguese. He is also learning Latin.
Salmaan's involvement in Wikipedia started when he became a contributor to the English Wikipedia, under username Theo10011. He was extensively involved in the WMF strategic plan formulation, primarily focusing on financial sustainability. He proposed a Wiki-fund, an endowment fund for WMF as one of his first contributions. He remained active within the strategy-space, going through majority of the research material and information about Wikimedia and other similar organizations, on strategy wiki and Meta. Salmaan briefly worked for WMF on the fundraiser, which gave him a different perspective, working in proximity of other staff members. He was later involved in the Movement Roles group, where he proposed a Chapters council and a abstract classification system for all entities in the movement. Recently, he has been heavily involved in the fundraising discussion suggesting a tiered approach, and being a strong proponent of decentralized fundraising. He has vocally spoken out against attempts to centralize fund collections and dissemination, and undermining the existence of chapters.
He has helped organized several meetups and events in his city and the local community. Most of Salmaan's activity on Meta these days, is li mited to Wikimedia and governance-related areas.
Salmaan believes that WMF and the movement is at a critical juncture. He strongly believes that decisions, taken now will shape what our movement will look like in years to come. Wikimedia foundation is in a much stronger position now than it was 2 years ago, the number of staff members is more than twice of what it was, the budget too, has expanded several times, in the same period. The focus, he believes, should now be on better international representation, multicultural interaction, better financial control, and know-how about target geographies. He is in strong favor of using chapters to expand in target geographies and increasing outreach efforts. He believes in better communication from the board, with clear, decisive actions, along with proper communication of the thought-process behind a decision. He strongly respects the project and community's sovereignty, and is against any change or modification against the community's wishes, like the controversial-content filter. He is against proliferation of random, continuous and ongoing research projects, which don't have any measurable ROI (Return on Investment) for the community. He believes a large portion of annual revenues are wasted in research projects that don't yield any conclusive results, instead of going directly towards supporting the community and its activities. He would like to see more development within Mediawiki, to better customize it for non-flagship projects. He is also not in favor of rapidly expanding the staff with more consultants, designers and analysts, without addressing the core issues of the day. He believes each chapter should be a strong, independent organization within its own country, capable of standing on its own, financially, and organizationally, to defend the common interest of our movement.
Responses to the questions by nominator
Liam Wyatt (Wittylama)
|Liam Wyatt (Wittylama)|
I would like to submit my candidacy for the 2012 Chapter-Selected WMF Board of Trustees process. I am willing and eligible to take up a position on the WMF board for the next two years. Please find below a Resume and a Candidacy statement. The information here is also published on my blog at: http://www.wittylama.com/2012/02/times-they-are-a-changin/ My legal name is William Wyatt, although everyone knows me as Liam, and my username Wittylama. I have already formally submitted my I.D. to the WMF in the past.
I can honestly say that every stage of my professional life has been influenced by my involvement in Wikimedia and the free-culture movement more generally. I have variously worked for the online history project the Dictionary of Sydney; for the founding member of the “free access to law” movement AustLII [Australasian Legal Information Institute]; and most recently, for the Wikimedia Foundation and now Creative Commons Australia.
Academically, I have a Bachelors of Globalisation Studies and my honours thesis subject was “The academic lineage of Wikipedia: Connections and disconnections in the theory and practice of history”. For this I earned the UNSW 2008 University medal in history. I am now undertaking a Masters degree in Intellectual Property law.
Within Wikimedia, I have had various formal and informal roles, including as:
As a result of this experience, I have had the opportunity to meet many many Wikimedians, free-culture advocates and GLAMs around the world. I have also given dozens of formal presentations about Wikimedia, including a few conference keynote addresses and most recently a live TV interview about the SOPA strike (full list with links). Finally, I am one of the very few people who has been both a Chapter executive and an employee of the Foundation.
With regards to Wikipolitics, it always feels like right now is the biggest or most disruptive argument we’ve ever had – until you step back for a day or so and remember the other big arguments we had in the past! But at this critical time in the Wikimedia Movement’s history I believe that it is especially important that we get things right. The Wikimedia Foundation, and by extension the Movement, has been going from strength to strength in public areas impact, quality, financial and technical stability) but many of the internal problems remain unresolved. I would categorise these as broadly ”community development and communication” issues that have led to a perceived gap between several groups within the Movement – a “democratic deficit” if you will.
From my perspective it looks like each of the Wikimedia Foundation, the Chapters and the general editing community all feels that it is the group with the least power and is the most misunderstood. It is my perception that many in the WMF feel as if they are a “whipping boy“, blamed no matter what they do; that many in the Chapters feel as if they are being sidelined and regarded as unhelpful despite their best efforts; and that many in the editing community feel as if their needs are widely ignored – especially if they are not from the English Wikipedia. Like all generalisations, this simple analysis lacks nuance or counterexamples – and there are many – but I think it is broadly true.
The ways that I would like to help bridge this gap (whether it be one that is real or perceived) is by focusing on four distinct areas: 1. Board role; 2. Chapter development; 3. Community support; and 4. WMF Human Resources.
1. Board role
Whilst the WMF Board of Trustees is the highest decision-making body in the Wikimedia movement, it remains rather hidden from the general community. This is not by intention but it is the reality. I would propose a variety of transparency measures, including:
2. Chapter development
This particular point has been debated back and forth for years. And, whilst we are getting better, there is still not a consensus about what the relationship between the WMF and the Chapters should be – this has focused most especially on the issue of fundraising. In my opinion, I subscribe to the principle of subsidiarity – that matters should be handled by the least central competent authority. I also believe that our mission is a very broad one and to achieve it we need to see ourselves in the future at a scale and level of impact like the Red Cross. What they are to disaster relief, we are to knowledge: global, neutral, free. Because of these two points I believe it is the Wikimedia Foundation’s responsibility to actively assist in the capacity development of the network of Chapters. Without such a network I believe we cannot achieve our mission. I am not saying that the WMF has been actively ignoring the Chapters. I generally support an expanded framework for affiliation of Wikimedia groups. However, I do think we need to ensure Chapters are effective – rather than trying to route around them. We should:
3. Community support
I completely agree with and support the WMF’s focus on new user retention as their primary metric for success over the next few years. On all other aspects of the strategic plan’s goals we are moving forwards (e.g. higher quality, more content) but in this we are actually moving backwards. Clearly this needs addressing and I’ve blogged about editor retention before. However, by focusing on new users to the exclusion of the existing community, the WMF risks seeing the existing community as the problem rather than part of the solution. To quote a veteran Australian politician, I worry that we are fast moving towards a position where it becomes “…so reliant on focus groups that it listens more to those who don’t belong to it than to those who do.” Focusing on helping the existing community do their work more efficiently and effectively will mean that newbies are less likely to be turned away when the do join up. Building new “curation” tools such as the New Page Triage system is an excellent move in this direction.
One of the most common complaints from the existing community is that the WMF has an overwhelming focus on Wikipedia and virtually none for the sister projects. Therefore I would propose to undertake a formal “brand review” of the current projects. We should:
4. WMF human resources
As a former staffer of the WMF I know how hard everyone there works to do their jobs well (and transparently), how high the staff morale generally is, and how supportive the organisation’s policies are to its employees. However, there remain issues that cause resentment and reduce effectiveness. This is not the direct purview of the Board of Trustees, but it is something that the Board can direct the WMF executive to focus more on. We should:
Increase everyday visibility of WMF staff to community, such as videoing office lunchtime presentations and providing greater detail on staff wiki pages.
Raúl Gutiérrez (Gumr51)
I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and currently reside in Mexico City.
I am willing and consider myself eligible to serve on the WMF board, as a US 501(c)(3) charity.
If elected, I would be committed to the worthy Wikimedia Mission, in all activities required, with the best of my abilities.
I have extensive international experience, having worked in over 25 different countries, and having visited over 45 around the world. My international activities, as Project Manager with Black & Veatch, in addition to large multi-million project execution, included in country assessment of companies, their project execution resources and abilities, in India (Guna Project), Taiwan (Kaohsiung Project), Turkey (Yalova Project) and Mexico (Tuxpan V Project).
My last international position, as Sales Director for Latin America, with Black & Veatch, of Overland Park, KS, afforded the opportunity of further interacting with business communities throughout Latin America.
Under contract with Enernova, participated in the technical due diligence assessment of several power plants, across the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Peru and Bolivia.
While residing in Kansas, I was elected Chairman of the Kansas City – Guadalajara Committee, Sister Cities Association, which provided the opportunity of promoting social and cultural causes between these two cities, including painting exhibitions, cultural exchanges, fund raising projects/events and social projects identification. This position was held, until I relocated, away from Kansas.
Another experience with non-profit organizations was as Board Member of the Association of Mexican Citizens living in San Salvador (ACISMEX), El Salvador, in 1990, which sought to identify and promote charity projects in El Salvador.
Throughout my experience, in international project execution, I became very proficient in devising task execution plans, delegating and supervising tasks, analyzing and developing risk assessment strategies, monitoring progress and planning critical project activities, promote team work among project participants, guiding them towards specific goals, and achieving results.
Needless to say, my experience comprises performing amongst multi-ethnic and multi-cultural groups in multiple environments.
I am proficient in english, of course native spanish speaker and have communication skills at beginners level in French, Italian, Arabic, Hindi, Bahasa Indonesia, Cantonese, Japanese, Papiamento, and speak some Portuguese.
I would consider myself honored and glad to work as part of a team of the WMF board.
I have been working with English and Spanish Wikipedia and Wikisource, with perhaps already hundreds of contributions.
I can travel anywhere required and would make time available, as required to this mission.
I am legal resident in the USA, although living in Mexico for the last 6 years, an active tennis player, Tango dancer and a fan of ancient Mexican history.
In closing, as required I am attaching a short resume, and if any additional information is required I would be glad to provide it, kindly let me know.
Over 30 years of international experience, including sales and business development, International market assessment and multiple project management experience, meeting or exceeding results, while complying with requirements for schedule, safety, quality and turn over.
Track record of successful project execution & management, which includes the development of 64 Power Projects, comprising 242 prime mover units, representing over 8,000 MW of power addition, in more than 25 countries.
Operations Director Mexico D. F.
Consulting services, business promotion for a leading USA company in high level security services.
Vice-President Mexico & Latin America Mexico D. F.
Aquatech Canada, Development of a business plan for the region and a Profit Center in Mexico Responsible for the regional development, contract negotiation, project supervision, etc. in the Water sector. Proposal and Teaming Agreement preparation for several international tenders.
Technical Due Diligence for an Acquisition Tender – 450 million. Guatemala
Technical due diligence effort and asset evaluation for 32 power generation plants comprising 136 generation units (Hydro, Combined Cycle, Simple Cycle and Diesel) with a total combined output of 2,513.55 MW of effective power. The Assets, Owned by CDC Globeleq are distributed throughout the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Panama, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Peru and Bolivia..
Vice-President Business Development and Corporate Promotion Mexico D. F.
Responsible for enhancing corporate procedures and Business Development structure. Developed a Business Plan for the company, seeking to maximize business opportunities, identifying new services and industrial sectors. Initiated sales promotion efforts in the USA and Latin America.
VP Construction & Project Field Manager, Washington Township, NJ.
Project Site Manager, Woodcliff Lake, NJ.
Project field supervision and management of direct–hire construction efforts in several international locations for power plants. These projects comprised 55 Gas Turbine Generators in over 20 countries, for manufacturers, such as GE, Hitachi, Thomassen, AEG-Kanis, John Brown Eng., Alstom, Nuovo Pignone, Rolls Royce, Stewart & Stevenson, Brown Boveri, Westinghouse, Turbo-Power & Marine.
Languages: Native Spanish, English 100%, French 50%, ability to communicate at beginners level in several middle and far east languages.
2003 POWER-GEN Latin America. Invited as Conference Committee member of the POWER-GEN Latin America. Sao Paulo, Brazil from 11th to 13th November, 2003.
2002 Chair of the Guadalajara Committee, SCA. Kansas City Mo. BLACK & VEATCH PROFESSIONAL NAMED CHAIR OF KANSAS CITY’S SISTER CITY COMMITTEE FOR GUADALAJARA, MEXICO
Kansas City, Mo. (December 3, 2002) – Black & Veatch announced today that Raúl Gutiérrez, sales director for Latin America within the company’s Energy Engineering & Construction Division, has been elected Chair of the Guadalajara Sister City Committee of Kansas City.
2002 SHPE Region III Conference. Invited as speaker to the conference by the University of Kansas and Kansas State University student chapters of SHPE.
1985 Westinghouse Canada. Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Gas Turbine R&D Consultant Only external Westinghouse consultant invited to the Westinghouse Canada R&D team on the research effort to improve the 251 gas turbine design & constructability.
Phoebe Ayers (Phoebe)
|Phoebe Ayers (Phoebe)|
I write this on the way home from the 2012 Finance Meeting, which was an unexpectedly joyful event. At the end of the meeting, we were all asked to write down a word summarizing the weekend. Mine was "community." To me, the idea of community -- people brought together over shared experience and shared work -- is the essence of Wikimedia: it is what defines us as more than just a website or reference work. On every level, whether it be financial decisions, organizational communication, software development, or writing articles, remembering that we are all part of the same community is what makes our work and mission possible.
After much thought, I am running for another term on the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. To say that being on the Board is difficult is an understatement; it is one of the hardest things I've ever done. But it is also important, exciting work. I have been honored to have been a part of it the last two years, and I would be glad to continue on behalf of our community.
I believe I bring the following qualities and experiences to the Board:
Becoming a trustee involves a steep learning curve. It can be particularly difficult to negotiate the transition from being an outspoken community member with many friendships and connections to a position of impartial and hands-off organizational leadership. In addition to this (sometimes painful) transition and learning to work collegially with the other trustees and Sue, in the last two years I’ve also learned a good deal about non-profit governance issues and best practices though books, conferences and my fellow trustees. Continuing education and professional development is a priority for trustees, and if reappointed I would continue my governance education. I have also spent many years closely following WMF developments, and bring knowledge of both our history and the organization’s current projects to the Board.
Over the last two years my background as an academic librarian has strongly influenced my viewpoint in certain discussions, including those around how we should do planning; I believe that it is imperative for us to think of our role as stewards of the projects, and as such to plan for long-term site operation funding and preservation mechanisms. I also bring a belief in access to knowledge for all as a fundamental right, the academic values of shared governance and open scientific debate, and as a researcher, a specific familiarity with our own vibrant wiki research community. I think it is important for the Board to include at least one trustee with this type of background. I am proud to have been the first librarian on our board, and I have tried to make the most of the opportunity by promoting Wikimedia within the library community (though talks and outreach) during my service.
I ran for Executive Secretary of the Board because I think organizational communication is critical to Wikimedia. As secretary, I've followed up on the great work that my predecessor SJ did to improve internal communication processes (such as developing better resolution voting mechanisms), with trying to improve Board communication with the wider community. In addition, I have also focused on internal communication, including summarizing Board discussions and bringing community discussions forward to the Board. I think I have done a fairly good job as secretary, but there is still a great deal more that I would like to do in terms of reporting Board activities, clarifying meta pages, posting information in a timely manner, and making it easier for the community to give input to the Board. Communication is one area where I feel my specific skills, background and interests can really help the Board as a whole succeed.
I have a sympathetic and consensus-based approach to managing relationships and problem solving. I sometimes feel that my role within Wikimedia (in and out of the Board) is to engage in a certain self-reflection and to bring empathy for the situations of others. I have wide experience within our community, including meeting many Wikimedians around the world; I try to always bring those viewpoints and my own experience as a community member to the table. An example is in the fundraising and funds dissemination discussions, where I have attempted to understand and bring in the perspective of what it means to be an independent organization affected by our proposed changes.
I bring an open mind to Board and community discussions; I listen carefully, take the time to reflect, and am not afraid to change my mind based on what I hear. An example is the controversial content discussions, when I entered soon after I joined the Board. I was initially skeptical of the need for action on the issue; but I listened carefully to trustee and community concerns (as expressed in the Harris report and in discussions) and was convinced that there was a real thread of concern that should be addressed. I worked with fellow trustees to carefully craft a proposal around the Harris recommendations that we felt wouldn’t go against Wikimedia principles. After much outcry and reflection, today I think our specific proposal for an image hiding feature is not the right way to address those concerns (which are still quite real), and I support rescinding that part of our resolution. In all of this long difficult process, I have tried hard to keep an open mind and to listen to concerns fairly in order to come to the right decision.
This is an intense period to be on the Wikimedia Board. It is difficult to commit the amount of time and energy that is needed, and I had to think carefully before deciding that I was up for the challenge again. However, I am in a good situation personally: I have the support needed from my job to spend time on Wikimedia, I have the energy to do it, and I have the skills needed of being able to read, parse and summarize a vast amount of material, and of being able to write well and quickly. And I am responsive and responsible to my obligations -- something that is important, as the Board very often relies on each member being available for a particular question or vote on short notice. On the Board, you can’t quit or go on an extended wikibreak; each trustee must be consistently reliable.
All that said, there are certain things I lack that the Board does need:
I do not have Wikimedia chapter experience, although I do have experience running a local chapter of another organization (a professional library association), and I have spent a good deal of time working and socializing with Wikimedia "chapters people" in a variety of settings globally. I have also worked hard to learn about the chapters. However, my own personal experience as a community member has been one of individual volunteer work and empowerment.
I am a monolingual American. Though this makes parts of trustee work easier for me -- speaking English natively enables me to keep up much more easily, and living in California means trips to the WMF office are faster and cheaper -- nonetheless, I feel the lack of having a truly global perspective. Our Board has discussed our pressing need for more diversity, particularly for geographical diversity and especially perspectives from the "global South."
I do not have special financial, management or strategic planning skills related to large, international organizations, nor do I bring a deeply technical perspective. Though we currently have a skilled treasurer, other trustees with financial expertise, and a highly competent staff, the Board is always in need of trustees who have a deep financial and nonprofit background. In addition, we do not currently have anyone who comes from the technical development community on the Board. While a number of us have done our share of minor hacking, and several trustees have managed large technical organizations, it would be helpful to have a voice directly from the tech community on the Board.
The next two years, the Board will face multiple planning challenges, including setting up a new funds dissemination structure (probably including a “funds dissemination committee”); changing how WMF annual planning is approved as a result; figuring out how to do movement-wide and continued WMF strategic planning, and setting up long-term support for the projects. We also face the growing and unsolved editor retention and recruitment crisis; must guide the WMF as it rolls out changes to update and improve the projects (including a visual editor and continued global infrastructure); and continue to set the tone for what kind of an organization we are.
I know there are many good candidates running for the Board this year, including people who have run in past community elections; many of the other candidates would be great on the Board, and I would be glad to see them seated. I am excited about the work facing us and the chance to continue; regardless of the outcome of this election, however, I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this during the past two years. Thank you for it.
Lodewijk Gelauff (Effeietsanders)
|Lodewijk Gelauff (Effeietsanders)|
The Board of the Wikimedia Polska Association would like to nominate Lodewijk Gelauff for chapters seat of Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.
We believe that his long and fruitful involvement in Wikimedia movement as an editor of the Wikimedia projects, organizer of Wikimedia Nederland, active Chapters Committee member, co-organizer of several international meetings and the Wiki Loves Monuments initiative, makes him a good candidate for this position. We think that the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees needs a person who has such a widespread experience, by playing almost all possible roles in the Wikimedia movement. We believe, that this long commitment to the movement and cooperation with external bodies (e.g. during WLM) gives him a deep understanding of the underlying mechanisms and possible directions for the future.
I have been active with Wikimedia for a long time now, and I feel deeply involved with the movement decisions that have to be made. I feel that I have a lot of experience with how the Wikimedia movement works and doesn't work - specifically when it comes to chapters and (primarily) volunteer run real life projects. The movement stands for many important choices, and many of those require a position by the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation. Therefore, I am happy and honored to accept the nomination of Wikimedia Polska.
I am not someone with an extensive background in governing major organizations, and my financial, legal and technical background are not exceeding those of the average Wikipedian. I am also not a typical barricade protesting person - but I try to build bridges between people and organizations. Create an understanding on both sides of a conflict (such as now with the funds discussions) and trying to find the best solution for all involved.
I have been quite involved both practically and emotionally with the Wikimedia Movement for a while now. In 2005 I joined the projects, and in 2006 I helped found the Dutch chapter and saw it grow as a board member in the five years after from nothing to a recognized charity hiring its first employee and office space. I have been involved in several international collaborations within Wikimedia over the years such as the Green Paper initiative (EU lobby), the Chapters Meeting, the Chapters Committee and Wiki Loves Monuments. I like to believe I have developed a broad view of how the Wikimedia Movement organizations function and don't function.
If you are looking for the person with all the great Solutions That Will Solve Everything, then I would probably not be the right person either - however, I am someone who will always try to keep an open mind, listen to arguments and actually change my opinion when needed and persuaded. If I would get selected in the board of the Wikimedia Foundation, I intend to remain active both in the content projects and in chapter run activities (first of all Wiki Loves Monuments 2012!), although possibly at a lower level. That way I hope to 'keep my hands dirty'.
Some things that I find very important (and I won't bother you with long explanations why and all buts, ifs and howevers):
How you may know me (a.k.a. resume)
As Lodewijk or under my nickname 'effeietsanders':
Patricio Lorente (Patricio.lorente)
|Patricio Lorente (Patricio.lorente)|
It's my pleasure to announce Patricio Lorente's candidacy for a chapter-selected seat in the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation. Patricio is currently President of Wikimedia Argentina and he counts with complete support from the chapter's board in this endeavour. We're sure he'd be able to bring increased diversity, openness and a strategic vision for the BoT, especially regarding internationalization and developing countries. We're confident that his professional and wiki experience is one of great value for a WMF trustee and we therefore officially present his candidacy.
The text that follows includes Patricio's personal bio and his vision of what he wants to do as a BoT if selected. We're providing it in both English and Spanish.
1. Help building a strong international organization at the heart of a global and diverse movement. The vision of a global organization for the Wikimedia movement centered on the Wikimedia Foundation, with a powerful network of Chapters and a rich diversity of partners, needs some careful planning and setting up some basic rules to build a cooperative framework based on trust instead of a competitive one. While the Movements Roles Initiative has provided an important input, the work is far from being finished. The recent conversations about fundraising and funds dissemination, which have put in play a potential new model of governance for existing Wikimedia organisations, are a good example of what still needs to be done. Such conversations need to address pressing issues, such as accountability and sustainability, but also need to always keep in perspective the wide reach of our movement, as well as the strengths that lie in its diversity. Diversity is at the core of what makes Wikimedia and its communities special, and we should make sure that we are supporting it in every possible way.
2. Bring diversity to the Board of Trustees. Except for only one Trustee, all other nine in the current composition come from what we may call the “Global North”, and six of them even from the same country: it’s quite clear that the current composition of the Board of Trustees is missing different views, from people with different backgrounds, environment and culture. At the same time, I think we should promote real internationalization. Nowadays our global movement has a sharp divide between those Wikimedians who speak English and those who don’t. Many individuals and groups in so many countries are invisible to the global movement and isolated. We should seriously address this fact and develop a specific policy to help integrating to our international network those who don’t speak English.
3. Bring a different approach to the so-called “Global South”. I’m particularly interested in helping to consolidate Wikimedia organizations in developing countries, and I’m convinced that the best way to do this is empowering local communities, while taking their opinion and advice into account. In this sense, I believe the Wikimedia Foundation must ensure that proper coordination and collaboration mechanisms between the Foundation and the local communities (be it the corresponding local chapter, partner organizations or informal groups of Wikimedians) are put in place whenever there is a plan to develop activities in a certain geography.
My name is Patricio Lorente (user Patricio.lorente), and I am currently President of Wikimedia Argentina. After many years as a collaborator in Wikimedia projects and as a chapter's leader, having an extended experience of organization and work within Wikimedia projects in developing countries, and a first hand vision of our international community after organizing a Wikimania (and attending all of them since 2007) and being part of the Iberocoop network, I've decided to become a candidate for the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Let me tell you two words about me: I was born in 1969, I’m married and I have two children. I live in La Plata, Argentina. I have studies in Philosophy and Law. Aside from my commitment within the Wikimedia movement I have extensive experience in the field of Development Cooperation and in university management, two activities in which I’ve served professionally for many years. Perhaps due to my work experience, I'm good at listening and negotiating, and I’m used to solve conflicts with patience, in the understanding that serenity is not in conflict with a strong determination. I consider essential, in that sense, taking into account and hearing from all involved parties before taking a decision. I don’t speak English as fluent as I’d like to, but I'm confident that my current level won't represent a limitation.
From 1992 to 2002 I worked in development cooperation in different positions, being especially noteworthy my work as Project Manager of the Asociación para el Desarrollo Social (Association for Social Development), an Argentine NGO, where I was in charge of the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of local development projects funded by the Italian Republic and the European Union. The core of these experiences was strengthening local capacity as a condition for development, transcending the traditional approach of North-South cooperation, promoting South-South and also decentralized cooperation by building horizontal networks of exchange between different cities and regions of Argentina.
After my experience in the field of development cooperation, I serve since 2004 on the management of the National University of La Plata, having been successively Secretary of Administration and General ProSecretary in charge of the General Secretary. Being this my current position, I have to deal both with the strategic planning and the everyday issues and conflicts of a large and restless community, including both academics and student organizations. The National University of La Plata is a public Argentine university and the second largest in the country, both in size (with 100,000 students and 15,000 teachers) and in scientific production. As all other public universities in Argentina, there is no tuition and enrollment is free.
In the Wikimedia movement
I have been an editor in the Spanish Wikipedia since 2005 and admin (sysop+bureaucrat) since 2006. I do contribute as well to Wikimedia Commons.
I am also a founding member of Wikimedia Argentina and have been its President from 2007 to today. As such I was responsible for the organization of Wikimanía 2009 in Buenos Aires and I have participated as an organizer or speaker in numerous conferences, seminars and workshops on Wikipedia/Wikimedia in Argentina and other Latin American countries (Colombia, Ecuador, México, Perú). I was one of the leading forces behind the organization of the 1st Ibero-American Wikimedia Summit, held in Buenos Aires last year, which helped bringing together representatives from both established Wikimedia chapters and informal working groups throughout Latin America, Spain and Portugal.
I have devoted important efforts to outreach activities in education, my particular interest within off-wiki activities. I am the author of a booklet published by Wikimedia Argentina called "Wikipedia in the classroom" and, representing Wikimedia Argentina, I am a member of the Advisory Board of Conectar Igualdad, a government program that is delivering more than three million netbooks to all public high school students in Argentina. As a member of this Advisory Board, I have been able to work on educational content for teachers and, as a result of this, many wiki-related activities were launched and the National Ministry of Education opened a special site with tutorials, documents and guides about Wikipedia and education. There is also a special pilot program in more than 200 schools across the country, “Escuelas de Innovación” (Innovative Schools), that is directly training teachers on possible uses of Wikimedia projects for their classes, not only in terms of creating contents but also regarding notions of relevance, content verification and discussions on neutrality issues.
Alice Wiegand (Lyzzy)
|Alice Wiegand (Lyzzy)|
Wikimedia Deutschland nominates Alice Wiegand for a chapters-selected seat on the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation. Her highly active role in the international activities of the Wikimedia movement make Alice an excellent choice for the board. Many of the currently open questions about fundraising, global funds dissemination, community involvement in decision-making processes, professionalization of Wikimedia entities, and the general direction of the movement will remain to pose significant challenges to the board within the next two years. To overcome these challenges successfully, Alice’s expertise and modest, but realistic approach to problem-solving will be a great asset to the Foundation. The experience she has gained both in establishing Wikimedia Deutschland’s strategic planning process, but also in setting up and improving the control, reporting, and evaluation processes of the chapter’s executive will undoubtedly prove a great advantage to the board. We wholeheartedly support and endorse her candidacy.
I’m Alice Wiegand, (de:user:lyzzy), a 46 years old IT specialist for system administration in the public sector. I currently run the IT department of a German municipality with 450 PC workstations. In April I will start my extra-occupational Master’s studies in Public Policy and Governance.
I’ve made some detours before I’ve reached my current occupation. I originally studied economics for a few semesters before I decided to become a tailor and prepare for a degree in apparel engineering. Due to a lack of university slots, I grabbed the chance to get a training in software development followed by training and study for the German senior civil service.
My relationship with Wikimedia started at the end of 2004, when I joined the German Wikipedia. I had been leading a successful life from a professional perspective and was looking for a place where I could give something in return, where I could do something useful for other people. Wikipedia, from my first edits on, was something where I felt I was doing something truly important. Bringing information to people whenever they needed or wanted them, independent of time or place. Helping people make better decisions by offering knowledge with some article or admin work. That is what kept me contributing to Wikipedia and to the other projects during all these years.
I am an administrator on the German Wikipedia and served as bureaucrat for a single term of two years. I am also an OTRS administrator with a particular emphasis on how to support those volunteers--who are the face and voice of Wikipedia for anyone contacting us by email--in their work. Workshops, skills trainings, international exchange, organizational adjustments--there still is a lot to do. And that is the same for other special interest groups with an impact on Wikipedia. Last year, when I did a lecture followed by an intense discussion about the difficulties of being a Wikipedia administrator, I started to raise the idea of an administrator’s workshop. I’m currently working to make this happen together with two other Wikipedia women and the support of Wikimedia Deutschland.
I have been a member of Wikimedia Deutschland since 2005 and a member of Wikimedia Nederland since 2010. I joined Wikimedia Deutschland’s board in 2008 as secretary and served as vice president from 2009 to 2011. The main focus of my work on the board was the development of the strategic plan “Kompass 2020”, the preparation and backing of the chapter’s structural advancement, and controlling and assessing the chapter’s executive. I’ve seen my role in these processes as a connector and facilitator with the goal to let people understand each other’s opinions and mutual positions, and bring about necessary decisions.
My involvement in international and Wikiverse-wide issues started in 2008. I have been a member of the Wikimania scholarship committee for three years now. I have been part of the Foundation’s strategy planning as well as the movement roles process. I am currently wrapping up the latter to initiate the next stage of work on this important issue.
I am willing and eligible to take up a position on the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees for the next two years.
I try to avoid the use of “we” in the following statement. A lot of discussions have shown that it’s quite difficult to know how a “we” will be perceived or how it is meant. If I however make use of it, please read it as “we who care about the sustainability of the volunteers’ work, regardless of where this work is done - in the Wikimedia projects directly or in any Wikimedia group to support the projects’ communities”.
Why I dare run for this position
Wikimedia and all of its players are currently facing a number of highly important issues. They are about money, about trust, about care, accompanied by strong emotions and a very high level of commitment. What I take from reading the discussions of the last months is:
Much too often these discussions are backwards-looking. Much too often they are laced with prejudice and accusation, searching for someone to bear the blame. What I want to rather do is look forward, bold and strengthened by the experiences made in the past. One of those experiences is that problems can be solved if all parties concerned are serious and deliberate about solving them. I am willing to take responsibility and search for solutions, together with all who care.
There is, however, more to do than just solving our current problems. What has already been achieved with the Wikimedia projects must be preserved and expanded for the future. This is the main purpose and it should never be forgotten. I am an enthusiast. I believe in the power of volunteers creating the largest source of knowledge in languages I have never heard of. Now. In this second. Worldwide.
Wikimedia organizations including the Wikimedia Foundation are no ends to themselves. To bring out the best they can in supporting the communities, they need stable, consistent, and reliable organizational structures. Nobody can muster high level efforts and energy for structural discussions each year again and again. I am an advocate of changes where and when they are needed. But I do believe that there always must be a healthy foundation to ensure continuity and evolution.
It is my experience in my professional career, in Wikipedia, and in the chapter work I’ve done, that cooperation, exchange, and mutual understanding lead to better, more effective decisions. Listening to individuals and organizations is key--as well as making decisions by taking into account as many positions, experiences and views as possible and necessary. I am more of a listener than a chatter but I know when it’s time to make a decision. Pragmatic if needed.
Sometimes it’s better to make a decision which must be changed later than to not decide at all. And I am a friend of letting things grow with their own pace. Providing fertilizer helps on occasion, though.
These are my convictions and I strongly believe that they can bring insight and perspective to steer the work of the Wikimedia Foundation in a direction that will help our movement grow and achieve its ambitious goal.
What I want to achieve
It’s highly probable that there are no simple solutions to resolve all the complex problems we face, but who really knows? We shouldn’t reject that possibility outright.
Strengthen Wikimedia by strengthening decentralized structures
The Wikimedia Foundation reaffirmed some time ago its will to pursue its mission with the support of chapters. Chapters which, today, are a decentralized network of organisations that perform mainly locally. This is still part of the mission statement. It symbolizes the importance of diversity as a core principle of the Wikimedia movement. If we indeed want to serve the whole world, Wikimedia needs to be found and be active in all parts of the world--as a chapter, as a partner organization, as an association, or as individual volunteers committed to the cause. That general commitment leaves three open issues we must address within the coming two years:
All three issues amount to great challenges, as they require ways that take individual particularities into account without losing sight of our common principles. Acknowledging that Wikimedia is a global, yet decentralized movement is a prerequisite for focusing more on what we have in common and can do together rather than what sets us apart. It allows us to find more opportunities to cooperate and support each other, without any impression of intrusion whether warranted or not. The Chapters Council idea is an excellent example for how this can be realized. We need more self-reliant impulses like it.
By the end of my term in 2014, there will be
Bring together the best of all parts: their voices
Discussions about principles of our work, structural changes, and how to shape the organization’s future are dominated by dozens of participants, well known, highly engaged but mostly the same in every discussion. To get more feedback from more people, from chapter members, and members of the editing community, we need to create new and better options for participation. This also includes finding ways for people to participate who, so far, have been unable to because of language, social, economic, or other barriers. It is not enough to only collect input from more voices but also to find ways to analyze and interpret their expressions. Maybe it needs more than a wiki or wiki-based technology in order to get a better platform for decision preparation. And it might be more than just a technological challenge. There is also the social question about respect and awareness of other cultures and the people we need to fulfill our mission.
We must make it easy and attractive for every entity to share more information than just reports. Each publication should enrich the whole movement and should be understandable, independently of the reader‘s origin or culture. I’ve borrowed this from Tom Morris who has raised this issue on foundation-l the other day. I strongly support it. Clear language and easy access to discussion possibilities are essential for an international volunteer organization.
Today, discussions are split between open/closed/special mailing lists, wikis, personal and official blogs. This at least quadruples the effort needed to identify both the audience and the origin of messages. The question for every decision making body and for every single individual interested in Wikimedia affairs is: „How can everybody get all the information they need while already suffering from all kinds of information overflow?“
By the end of my term in 2014, there will be
Identification with Wikimedia
There are already many instances of disconnect and dissonance within the Wikimedia movement, especially when also considering the editing communities. Some are unhappy with what chapters do or don’t do and question their justification. Some chapter members are unhappy with their board‘s decisions and ask for more influence. Some chapters are unhappy with changes nudged by the Foundation and ask for fairness and independence. Some editing communities are unhappy with Foundation resolutions that impact the projects and ask for self-determination and autonomy. Some at the Foundation are unhappy with a lack of standards for accountability and the inability to intervene. To make things worse, this sort of unhappiness is reinforcing, causing more unhappiness in other places and, this is quite clear, a general deterioration in motivation, enthusiasm, and care among all involved.
Reason enough to break the cycle. All of us must do a better job at demonstrating what the different parts of the movement stand for, what they try to achieve and how. We must do a better job involving and incorporating editors, photographers, admins, developers, OTRS agents, all those volunteers in our activities. We must do a better job at providing actual and easy-to-get support to the editing communities. And we must do a better job accepting that listening to others and being open and inviting in our decision-making processes constitutes a way to get better acceptance for those decisions, not an imaginary fear of losing control.
By 2014, everyone working in Wikimedia projects will know
That’s it. It’s exceptional long. I still think that I’ve raised more questions with this statement than I’ve answered and I’m looking forward to answering them in the next few weeks.