Talk:Affiliate-selected Board seats/2019

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Set up page[edit]

It is time to start planning for the 2019 Affiliate selected board seats election!

Just like all other things wiki, the 2016 election happened with the participation and coordination of dozens of organizers and the engagement of thousands of people. For anyone who wants to be involved there are tasks to do. Please speak up on the talk page if you have ideas, and feel free to edit the election documentation.

Unless someone speaks up with alternative suggestions, probably the 2019 election will follow a similar process as compared to the 2016 election. Blue Rasberry (talk) 01:42, 17 December 2018 (UTC)

It's worth noting that the WMF Board have not defined which affiliates should vote. They're saying user groups should be included, but not necessarily all user groups. So someone will need to decide whether all user groups should vote, and if so, how. They've also not defined how the election should work. AffCom essentially proposed having one "user groups" seat and one "chapters and thorg" seat, with each group choosing from a common set of candidates. (I'm not sure what would happen in those circumstances if both sets of affiliates had the same top choice but different second choices... how would we decide whether the chapters or the User Groups had their second-choice candidate elected into the second place?) . Someone (tm) needs to answer that question as well. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 13:19, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
I confirm - all the uncertainty that you articulate is here. I will ping AffCom and post on that WMF user group board amendment page to call for comments here. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:41, 17 December 2018 (UTC)

Questions to AffCom[edit]

Adapted from the Land's questions:

  1. Do user groups vote?
    1. If so, which ones?
    2. If so, do user groups get one seat and chapters another?
      1. If so, what happens in case of user groups and chapters selecting the same candidate?
        • The group that gets their second choice in that case gets more power / privilege
  2. What statements are there from AffCom about this?
    1. Where are already published statements?
    2. By what date does AffCom expect to have published its last statement necessary to formally start the election?

Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:50, 17 December 2018 (UTC)

Hi Lane - so I believe the Board asked Affcom to make a recommendation about this, which can be found here. Also the Board did not adopt Affcom's recommendation, though no-one has said whether that's because they disagreed with it, or for some other reason. So it's not really Affcom's question to answer. They just made a recommendation which is currently sitting in a sort of procedural limbo, neither adopted nor rejected. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 17:55, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
I agree with Chris that these aren't questions that we should rely on AffCom to answer these questions or even solve the underlying problems. We still have enough time to come up with a solution ourselves, that I suppose the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation will have to approve later? Best, Philip Kopetzky (talk) 11:12, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Notice - unresolved issue This issue is unresolved, and I think most of us believed that the matter would be publicly settled by now. If user groups are voting in this election then that changes the election planning a lot. Blue Rasberry (talk) 00:33, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Resolved.

To do - confirm community election coordinators[edit]

We three who did the 2016 election confirmed among ourselves that we were willing to serve as coordinators for this 2019 election.

In January 2019 the coordinators need to be confirmed. Duties include being a point of contact, responding to questions, setting the election schedule, accepting votes, determining the election outcome, and reporting the results.

The nomination and selection process for this is informal. If anyone feels strongly about being an election coordinator then please volunteer now. Blue Rasberry (talk) 01:42, 17 December 2018 (UTC)

If the process ends up being recognisably similar to 2016, I'm happy to facilitate it. If we end up with a different process, I may not be able to. So I'd prefer to be down as (tbc). And I would be very happy if others step forward to take this on! Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 19:52, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
Having thought about this further, I'm afraid I will be unable to act as an election facilitator. In principle I would be happy to take this on, even if the process ends up being very different because of the inclusion of User Groups. However, I expect the strategy working group process to take up much of my time in Jan-March, so can't commit to facilitating the ASBS process as well. Thanks, Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 13:41, 4 January 2019 (UTC)

To-do - confirm the calendar[edit]

I expect that adapting the 2016 schedule to 2019 would be fine.

Check out the 2016 calendar, which is awesome! Let's have another like that!

Somehow a 2019 calendar should be proposed, discussed, and confirmed. Blue Rasberry (talk) 01:42, 17 December 2018 (UTC)

I would suggest to close the nomination process one month prior to the Wikimedia Summit, invite the nominees to the conference if possible (at least for the day that we we will be discussing this) and start the voting process right after the Wikimedia Summit, if not even at the conference itself? Philip Kopetzky (talk) 11:15, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
@Philip Kopetzky: The schedule for the Wikimedia Summit 2019 is set and Germans in general like to stick to published schedules. If you have an idea then please raise it to the organizers immediately.
I agree - the Wikimedia Summit is the only Wikimedia event where the kind of people who organize Wiki elections convene. If the nominees themselves do not attend, then it certainly would be helpful for someone to announce the election and direct all attendees to inform their respective communities. In the 2016 election this did not happen. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:31, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure there will still be room for other meetings after 6 PM for example and I wouldn't expect such a meeting to last more than one hour, at least the official part. Does that sound realistic to you? I'm still a bit on the fence on actually jumping in and starting to organise things, because a) it's still unclear who actually is going to take part in this election and b) if it's actually going to take place amid calls of postponing this election for another year.
So my suggestion would be to clarify these two issues first and then start planning out the actual election. AFAIK the next BoT call will be in mid-January, so we'll know by then what will actually happen. Best, Philip Kopetzky (talk) 19:51, 22 December 2018 (UTC)
@Philip Kopetzky: Wikimedia decisions are a bit haphazard and run a bit late. I say tell anyone now if you want this to happen.
Yes, a 1-hour meeting would be a good place to start. I am guessing that 50%+ of the people who attend have never participated in an in-person conversation about the WMF board of Trustees, and probably not more than 10% of the attendees have ever participated in a multinational discussion of this. It would be worthwhile to make discussion of the board a routine part of the summit, which is the most relevant Wikimedia event at which to have this. The elections happen every 2 of 3 years and it is continually a challenge to get people to vote and vote thoughtfully.
You have the right idea, and it is a good idea. Some insight: many of the thoughtful people who organize conferences hesitate to organize election discussions because they do not want to bias and control the election. If there is community request, starting with someone speaking up, then these kinds of conversations can get on the agenda. I am not going to go so far as to say that all candidates must be flown in, and maybe it is not even right to review the candidates, but definitely it is good to tell people to vote. Probably more than any other single activity, this election connects Wikimedia affiliate organizations to a decision about the budget of the Wikimedia Foundation and the funding direction of the Wikimedia Movement. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:12, 3 January 2019 (UTC)
@Philip Kopetzky: Here is your call to the Summit. Talk:Wikimedia_Summit_2019#Request_for_volunteer_facilitator_to_assist_with_Affiliate-selected_Board_seats_election Check out the Wikimedia Summit program, 3B, "Your involvement in Movement Governance (to be confirmed) Main idea: Wikimedia Affiliates discuss eventual candidates for the Board of Trustees and, eventually, decide on them.". Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:02, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
Here is what is happening at the summit - Talk:Wikimedia_Summit_2019#Request_for_volunteer_facilitator_to_assist_with_Affiliate-selected_Board_seats_election. There is a 2-hour block to promote participate in this election. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:43, 26 February 2019 (UTC)

Proposed calendar[edit]

We need to propose something and I think we should look ahead a bit even before confirming the facilitators. Here is my proposal, which could be revised after facilitators are confirmed.

  • Call for facilitators
    • Open 18 February
    • Close 3 March
  • Set the schedule
    • Open 4 March
    • Close 17 March
  • Nominations
    • Open 18 March
    • Close 15 April?
  • Voting
    • Open 22 April?
    • End 22 May?
  • Results reporting
    • 7 June?
  • Selected candidates plan travel to Wikimania
    • 2 months before, or 15 June
  • Wikimania
    • start 14 August

This schedule is rushed. Our hard deadline is 14 August for Wikimania and that defines the rest of the schedule. Blue Rasberry (talk) 00:20, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

I think there will to need to be a phase of agreeing to the eligibility criteria, although I'm still unsure how that's supposed to happen and who is making the final decision. A lot of tasks depend on that decision though :-(
It is also totally unclear what those candidates are going to run on without negatively affecting the work of the working groups and in the absence of an idea or change to get behind, the usual blocks will get their candidates through, depending on the eligibility criteria.
The idea of getting this done by the time of the Wikimedia Summit is illusory now, voting until the end of May is probably more realistic.
Travel plans can be arranged at a later date too, so that's probably the most flexible part of the schedule. Philip Kopetzky (talk) 11:06, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
@Philip Kopetzky: Can you propose any deadline for travel? Please throw out a number. I suggested two months. If we had a deadline we could plan backward from that. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:33, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
That could be up to one week before the conference, but would probably depend on who that person is, since visa arrangements could be an issue. So maybe a month before? My main point is that the deadline for travel is the least thing we should worry about right now. There's not much time for to get the rest right, so moving that deadline back to make sure the other parts are done properly should always be an option. Philip Kopetzky (talk) 10:05, 12 February 2019 (UTC)

Election facilitators and mailing list[edit]

I wonder if we have to add some facilitation appointment process. Board says that facilitators of the Selection process are appointed by the affiliates. This means at this point we already must have a way for affiliates to make decisions. In 2016 we had a discussion on a chapters mailing list (which is administrated by WMCH to ensure non-chapters have no access to it). Do we have any list where all eligible affiliates are subscribed, and no non-affiliate is subscribed? If not, we should set up one, as we will clearly need it for the election, at least for announcements — NickK (talk) 22:54, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
@NickK: We have the chapters mailing list.
Yes election facilitators need confirmation and to be appointed. Can you please put that in the schedule?
I do not think it will be possible to have a user group mailing list because during the user group registration process, the individuals who register the user group are private (no disclosure of either wiki account name or other identity). So far as I know our only consistent option for contacting user groups is posting to their on-wiki meta talk page, which I think all user groups are required to have. While someone could establish an official email channel for user groups I think that it is beyond the scope of the election facilitators to design, create, and implement such a thing. I am in favor of designing the election process around resources which exist. If somehow it were possible to add user group email contacts to a list then I support that, but I do not think it is just a matter of adding emails that we already have to a mailing list. Blue Rasberry (talk) 23:03, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
@Bluerasberry: In this case we have a problem... In ASBS process we made decisions in two ways:
  1. Over a mailing list, where we discussed, came up with a consensual wording, and considered the decision approved if there is no opposition within the given time period. This worked because we made sure that only voters AND all voters were subscribed to the list, thus all voters received the message and had an opportunity to react to it informing all other voters of their concerns.
  2. On-wiki voting (be it a public or a private wiki), with list of eligible affiliates and each affiliate casting their vote. This worked because we made sure that only voters AND all voters had access to the private wiki, and that each voter explained the process how they casted their vote.
I really think the mailing list option is better for decisions like facilitators, and we can possibly ask WMF to set up such list for the election or provide contacts of user groups to some trusted list administrator (possibly WMCH if they are still willing to do it). If we go with the on-wiki voting for facilitators, we would save time on voting procedure (we will have contacts and procedures collected beforehand) but we would need an extra week or two before we have facilitators — NickK (talk) 10:24, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
@NickK: You have my support in either setting up the mailing list or persuading the WMF or anyone else to set up the mailing list. If there is a proposal to create infrastructure, then I think someone should propose how much time it will take to create that infrastructure and also get a public commitment from someone to make the infrastructure. I hesitate to pause the election for an indefinite amount of time waiting for resources which no one has committed. Are you able to ask someone to create this mailing list? It seems reasonable enough to attempt. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:55, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
@Bluerasberry: I think we can try @Raystorm:. The problem: Board says that affiliates need to appoint facilitators. However, there is no venue where affiliates can do it. Possible solution: can we create a mailing list with representatives of all voting affiliates (presumably boards for chapters/thorgs, contacts for user groups), and only them (i.e. no one else), and make decision on this mailing list? We would need contacts of user groups from WMF for this, as most of them are not public — NickK (talk) 13:32, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
Great request, yes, I agree that the solution of a mailing list would address the problem of convening a discussion with the representatives of voting affiliates. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:16, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
On it, expect something on this mid to late next week. Kind regards, Raystorm (talk) 12:58, 27 February 2019 (UTC)
Lo and behold, as promised, the list now exists. Early next week I'm gonna populate it with the email addresses for primary and secondary points of contact for all the affiliates (tracking the last ones as I'm writing this note...), Maria's one and Lane's one for the time being. HTH! --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 18:21, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
The list should now be fully functional. Yay! --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 06:51, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

To-do - seek a Wikimedia Foundation board liaison[edit]

Someone from the board of the Wikimedia Foundation must serve as liaison to oversee the election.

In 2016 this was not a great burden but still it is an important role and the election benefits from having a board contact. Probably the board liaison should volunteer themselves from the beginning and confirm the election coordinators, the schedule, and the election plan. Blue Rasberry (talk) 01:42, 17 December 2018 (UTC)

Hey @Bluerasberry:, I will be the Board liaison per decision of the Board at our recent meeting. Who am I liaisoning with? Kind regards, Raystorm (talk) 18:13, 1 February 2019 (UTC)
@Raystorm: Let's start with a conversation here. I and Laurentius are available to facilitate and I think The Land is around to comment. I propose that we open the call for election facilitators in a week, Monday 18 February. Most of the facilitation is discussion on this board; it does help to settle on a small group of about 3 to scrutinize the votes and address any private issues, should any arise.
I have a big question to start - will user groups vote in this election? If there is a yes/no answer to that then that can help with planning. I posted a proposed schedule below. This election seems likely to differ from the last one due to having nominations during the Wikimedia Summit. Blue Rasberry (talk) 00:26, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
Well, I think "who is Raystorm liaisoning with" is probably the first question to answer. There can be a call for facilitators ASAP with a deadline of a week or two, even if it's not exactly clear what the election is going to be like. Someone could also start to draft a call for candidates! Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 19:02, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
@The Land: Can you state an opinion on the extent to which the call for facilitators should be different if user group voting will be an option? Should there be any goal to have user group representation among facilitators? There are about 40 chapters which have participated in 4 elections. There are 100 user groups which have never participated in an election. It would be easy to reach out to the chapters, because definitely they will vote. If we send a call to the user groups then that will alert a lot of people for whom this opportunity will be new and unknown. If we do not communicate to the user groups, and they can vote, then this is second-class treatment and they will be disappointed. If we communicate with the user groups, then tell them in 1-2 weeks that they cannot vote, then we will have asked for attention from 1000s of people then confused them with an opportunity which they cannot take.
Whatever we chose, when we send a message out, then I think we will realistically reach several hundred people who will collectively give 100+ hours of time into examining this election. I would prefer to start the messaging with a positive experience that informs them, and not to tell them that there are many variables which certain leaders are deciding in private sometime soon. Just knowing when there will be a decision about user groups would be a big help.
We can start drafting the calls or reuse the ones from the last election but again, a lot of this text depends on who can vote and who we have to plan to include and exclude. Blue Rasberry (talk) 19:26, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
It's not ideal, but I think it's possible to start without knowing what the WMF have actually decided. Regardless of whether the UGs can actually vote (or how) the process should be shaped so they can be involved in it (in the "no change" scenario then UG should also be encouraged to get involved in discussing goals for the selection and what they think about the candidates). Also, if anyone apart from you and Andrea is keen to volunteer as a facilitator they should be encouraged, even if they are not involved in a chapter/THORG... Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 20:37, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
@The Land: Let's see what Raystorm says, since the decision sabout user group voting seems totally in the hands of the board.
Look at the schedule I proposed which says to call facilitators in a week. I think doing this in a week one way or the other is fine, but at the same time, many aspects of this would be much easier if we had clarity on who could vote, or if we at least knew when the board would make a decision. I cannot imagine opening nominations without knowing if user groups can vote, and for that reason, I am imaging that the board will have to make a decision within a month. If they can make the decision now that would be a big help. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:52, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
@The Land: Talk:Wikimedia_Summit_2019#Request_for_volunteer_facilitator_to_assist_with_Affiliate-selected_Board_seats_election Here is a start. I feel like this is already off the rails as compared to last year's expectations but it does seem that the Summit organizers put this election on the program to discuss. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:00, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
Maybe Chris and I can get some info from the BoT this weekend in Berlin... Philip Kopetzky (talk) 10:07, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Resolved.

The part about whether user groups will vote is resolved - they will by an announcement today. Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:08, 19 February 2019 (UTC)

To-do - plan communication[edit]

Communication is a major challenge!

There are about 140 community groups, perhaps each representing a median of 30 people, which all need invitations to discuss the election and cast their votes in a few months. This communication is beyond the ability of the primary election coordinators to manage.

If anyone would volunteer to describe the election to any community groups then that would be very helpful. If anyone has any good ideas about wiki-documentation and administration for reporting community strategies and community engagement, then be creative. It would be very helpful to have any confirmation that invitations of the election cross language barriers and reach new community groups which are unfamiliar with wiki-bureaucracy. Established chapters need invitations and communication also! Blue Rasberry (talk) 01:42, 17 December 2018 (UTC)

  • English Wikipedia's The Signpost is probably the highest impact reporting venue for the election as it is reported to get 3000 consistent readers. Their next publication date is end of February so if we had an election announcement ready by 21 February then a lot of people would get the word in March. If we miss that deadline then next issue goes out in late March. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:36, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

Announcement in English Wikipedia's The Signpost[edit]

The Signpost is the on-wiki community newsletter at English Wikipedia. For some years it has had an established readership of about 5000 unique people, many of whom are highly active contributors to Wikimedia projects.

At en:User:Bluerasberry/Signpost Story1 I have a draft of an announcement of this election. I would appreciate anyone's feedback on this before it gets published, PERHAPS TOMORROW, and after its publication anyone can post corrections or potentially event edit the article to correct anything. I see an announcement in The Signpost as an essential communication channel for reaching stakeholders in developing English Wikipedia and securing their participation. Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:34, 27 February 2019 (UTC)

@Laurentius, The Land, Philip Kopetzky, NickK, Raystorm, Nemo bis, Anthere, Abhinav619, and Nihlus: All of you have expressed some interest in the organization of the 2019 election. If you wish, please edit or comment on this announcement as journalism. Thanks. Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:38, 27 February 2019 (UTC)
Published and open for comment - en:Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Archives/2019-02-28. Blue Rasberry (talk) 12:32, 28 February 2019 (UTC)
@Bluerasberry: Your announcement is based on many things that are still theoretical. Not sure all 100 user groups will vote, Board speaks of user groups in good standing, but it is not yet clear what it means. Not sure we will have STV, nor that the candidates will have to be endorsed by affiliates: this is the old system that was approved by chapters and Amical, facilitators should come up with a new system that has to be approved by the majority of affiliates now. Bylaws speaks of a procedure approved by a majority of Affiliates collectively and approved by the Board, and not sure we have one meeting these criteria at the moment. Really, we have a lot of uncertainty, and we should be either somewhat laxist to finish on time, or we do everything required by bylaws and have a significant delay — NickK (talk) 13:33, 28 February 2019 (UTC)
@NickK: Everything you say is correct.
My main premises are (1) the election will resolve before Wikimania 2019, (2) by default all user groups and chapters are eligible to vote, until and unless someone finds consensus for an exclusionary principle, (3) by default this election will as closely as possible follow the precedent set by the last election, until and unless someone finds consensus for change. I want the election to proceed as best it can, assuming that it proceeds right now at all, and I hope that you agree that my premises above seem reasonable enough in the circumstances.
I do not want to force anything odd here, and only want to facilitate the execution of consensus. I would love for others to step in and share their proposals for how to run the election. Are you willing to share your initial thoughts on my three assumptions here? To what extent are these reasonable ideas from which to start?
I know that I was bold in publishing but I can be just as bold to support you and anyone else in sweeping fundamental changes if only you speak up and seek out some consensus. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:03, 28 February 2019 (UTC)
@Bluerasberry: At this point I simply do not understand on what we can reuse and what we cannot. In 2014 by 1 March we already had a procedure and facilitators approved by chapters. Can we reuse the old procedure or should we approve a new one? I know there is an AffCom procedure somewhere, it was submitted to the Board but not to affiliates, and it uses a system different from what you described in The Signpost. I also heard that good standing requirement was specifically added to exclude inactive or problematic groups, but I don't know if it is true. I do not fully agree with 2016 process as we have high probability of double voting and just a single person voting instead (not in the name) of a group now and we need to take measures against it, but otherwise I am fine with STV and facilitators system as in 2016 — NickK (talk) 15:31, 28 February 2019 (UTC)
@NickK: Okay, so I see you express anxiety about (1) a rushed timeline (2) lack of process to get procedures reconciled and updated (3) the double voting issue. I can affirm that these are all serious problems which challenge the legitimacy of this election. While I think many people would agree that these things are problems, what is less certain is whether anyone feels that would should change the election or redirect time and resources to addressing problems.
Can you offer any suggestion about how we balance the urgency of having the election and confirming trustees with the need to maintain a standard of quality in the election process? Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:52, 28 February 2019 (UTC)
@Bluerasberry: I suggested a possible solution below: having a venue for such discussion between all eligible affiliates. At the moment people commenting here represent at most ten affiliates, Signpost is probably read by ten or twenty other affiliates, while we need to reach roughly 140 affiliates. Another solution is a binding discussion in Berlin with mandatory attendance and vote: this requires that representatives of all present affiliates either receive delegation from their board or members or commit to vote in a reasonable time after coming back. This has a drawback of excluding affiliates non eligible for Berlin — NickK (talk) 16:30, 28 February 2019 (UTC)
Great idea. At Talk:Wikimedia_Summit_2019#Request_for_volunteer_facilitator_to_assist_with_Affiliate-selected_Board_seats_election two of the summit organizers are seeking ideas about what to do during the scheduled time. I think they want the idea you are expressing here. Can you speak up there? Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:36, 28 February 2019 (UTC)
Done — NickK (talk) 00:27, 1 March 2019 (UTC)

Voting method[edit]

STV with a single vote per affiliate largely rests on the assumption that people talk together and mostly reach a consensus. It can't work any more, now that the number of persons casting a ballot may pass the Dunbar's number and that the voters are increasingly heterogeneous. Nemo 11:28, 23 December 2018 (UTC)

@Nemo bis: I would be in favor of a grant to some smaller chapter or user group for them to hire permanent staff to do election promotion. Running an election and teaching wiki civil rights is a massive undertaking which was already stretched to the limit of Dunbar's number and now has increased 10x. While the stakes - which is Wikimedia funding - has increased from ~10 million annually to ~100 million in the past 10 years, we still use much of the same community network processes which operated on little budget. A little funding would go a long way to on-boarding new groups to organize their movement-wide discussions and encourage new social connections. I do not think we can trust social connections to grow at the necessary rate with no planning and no intervention. Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:20, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
I don't really follow the logic of this objection. Voting systems, including STV, are designed to scale to millions of votes - and STV has characteristics that make it conducive to finding common ground (e.g. if your first choice doesn't have much support then your vote can be decisive in your 5th preference beating your 9th preference). Other processes lack these characteristics! 17:10, 20 February 2019 (UTC)

Option for public voting[edit]

Last election there were several request for to permit any organization which chose to do so the option of casting their vote in public.

If the vote is public versus private then that changes some of the politics of the election. Personally, my preference is as follows:

  1. The fact of an organization having voted is always public
  2. By default, all votes are cast in public
  3. Any organization can choose to cast its vote in private in the last election's system
    1. If an organization requests a private vote, then they simply post "private vote" in the space for casting the public vote

Advantages of public voting:

  1. it will encourage the wiki community to signal eligible organizations to vote, thus generating a better turnout
  2. it aligns with Wikimedia community values of transparency
  3. it will increase awareness of the election

Disadvantages of public voting

  1. it favors the candidates which invest more resources in promotion and outreach
  2. it would be more chaotic and unexpected than the older way
  3. we do not have a system for this right now, although it seems like it could be the old system but in public

Thoughts? Blue Rasberry (talk) 00:32, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

Still trying to get around my thoughts on the matter...

Being in a situation where I am member of several UG (and one chapter) but not a contact point of any, I have been wondering how the (thematic) UGs I belong to could

  1. nominate someone
  2. vote for someone

in particular given that

  1. our membership is poorly defined in most cases (that's mostly people dropping their name on a wiki page at some point...)
  2. our contacts are in many case self appointed (or at least, not democratically elected), and not always active ;)
  3. most members are likely to belong to at least one geographical UG or to other thematic UG

So I moved forward in the direction of saying let's not vote, but let's participate in the nomination process. And then thought... but how does nominating work ? According to Affiliate-selected Board seats election FAQ, nomination and vote occur on the chapterwiki. In short to a close wiki I have no access to. I have no idea whether a discussion is currently happening there... I have no idea if some names are already proposed... and so on. So Rasp... all your questions above are valid. But there are two steps... nomination and voting...

As I said... I belong to several UGs. So far... the only UG where the topic is vaguely discussed is... the one where I started the discussion myself. On purpose, I have not raised the issue in any other UG... to see if someone would. I was somehow hoping that contact points would raise the issue with members in some way (either by talk page messaging or email lists). None of that happened. Bottom line... the topic is basically not discussed within thematic UG. Chance is that most members of a UG have no idea of the new opportunity to vote for a board member ;) From a social marketing point of view... there is zero engagement on the topic :) -- And I think that might be the strongest argument in favor of public nomination and public voting. There are disadvantages to public nomination and voting obviously... but it would help with engagement and it would help with empowerment. Anthere (talk)

Hi there Anthere. I would hope that once the dedicated mailing list is up and running, things will quickly change (although all the affiliates were already contacted also on their group's talk page). I am also hoping that not so many contact points will be inactive (as in, they may be busy and not paying much attention to/participating much in the group, but they're still around); one way to mitigate this though could be other members asking them to delegate participation on this topic (or really flag, "hey! these people are gone!"); at the same time, people who are super interested in the topic, regardless of what their groups/"representatives" are doing, could really step up and lend a hand for facilitation :) --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 09:54, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
Thanks user:Elitre (WMF). I will point out that no one contacted the offline UG on their talk page (Talk:Wikimedians for offline wikis). Nor on Talk:WikiWomen's User Group. So probably affiliates were not all yet contacted on their group talk page ? Or ? Anthere (talk)
Anthere, the alternative was a bug in the mass delivery process, which unfortunately wouldn't be unheard of, but this is not the case. The "New Affiliations Committee appointments" is the thread I'm talking about. It mentions both the 2019 ASBS process and the announcement from the Board with the next steps. (Something weird may have happened with the title, which doesn't seem to be relevant, but the info is there.) --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 13:55, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
Indeed ! You are right. Too many acronyms seem to confuse my brain. Ok. Let's see what happens through the ML process. Anthere (talk)

Offer of Wikimedia Foundation support[edit]

In an email to the mailing list today "Wikimedia Foundation Bylaws changed plus next steps" the Wikimedia Foundation board of trustees made this offer - "Given the potential complexity of organizing a process that now will include over a hundred user groups, the Wikimedia Foundation is offering its support to set up infrastructure and help with communications if requested by the affiliates."

Here is support that I imagine will be useful -

  • Wikimedia Foundation reports public contact information for user groups. I think there was a bureaucratic misstep in the past here, because whereas there is an official point of contact for Wikimedia chapters, there is no official point of contact established in public for usergroups.
  • Wikimedia Foundation is ready to provide commercial translation services to ensure that users of underserved languages get timely translation of election information
  • Wikimedia Foundation commits to disclose the money and a the amount of staff labor which it commits to this election. This is an election for community affiliates. This election was conceived as a volunteer grassroots effort, but it has become complicated quickly beyond the ability of the community to organize all aspects of the election fairly by itself on the necessary schedule. As a measure to preserve community independence, if the community accepts Wikimedia Foundation support in this election then it also requests that the Wikimedia Foundation disclose the value of the support that it has provided so that the community can be aware of the extent of its reliance on an organization with potential to influence the election outcome.

I expect that affiliates will be grateful to receive resource and labor support from the Wikimedia Foundation. Thoughts from others? Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:21, 19 February 2019 (UTC)

  • @Elitre (WMF): Thanks for your offer of WMF support to facilitate the election. Would you be willing and able to measure the time and resources that you put into your support and report its value as a money amount at the end? Previous elections have had no such support. I would like to establish a log of the financial contribution which is possible to report in this election. Thanks for whatever you can do. It is great that you are here to help. Blue Rasberry (talk) 19:46, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
Hi there, thanks for welcoming me. I think I can "tell" you how much the Foundation and the Board are investing in this election: a lot ;) I'm just the tip of the iceberg; there's several people from other teams and departments who are or will be contributing as necessary to make sure that this election happens as smoothly as possible, and that it keeps the commitment to diversity and inclusion in every little step of the process. An aspect worth underlining is that this commitment will likely result in providing financial aid around some translations, for instance. FWIW aids like this should be rather easy to track and share, yes. It is very early for me to comment on this at this stage, though! All the best, --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 16:20, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

Affiliates wiki and voting criteria[edit]

Who actually runs the affiliates wiki?
In my conversations last weekend it became clear that the affiliates eligible for this election need to be vetted. I'm not sure which criteria the BoT thinks are useful for that, but my impression was that being a legal entity (not a requirement in countries where this would be too complicated (Japan, for example) or too dangerous to do), having a decent number of members' (i.e. 20+?) and documenting their voting process online was the outcome of those conversations. But that might have changed in the meantime. Philip Kopetzky (talk) 07:36, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
@Itzike: Do you think that these criteria also be something that would make double-voting more difficult? Philip Kopetzky (talk) 07:45, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
@Philip Kopetzky: I moved this comment of yours into its own section.
Affiliates wiki is only for casting private votes in this election. It has no community and no one really runs it, because it has not been used since 2016. We have to sort who grants access to it.
The Affiliations Committee semi-privately proposed recommendations to the board of trustees for regulating this election - File:Affiliations Committee recommendation for a revised ASBS process.pdf. So far as I know, the board never publicly responded, and so far as I know, these recommendations never went to the Wikimedia community for discussion. In my opinion, these recommendations are too strict to be possible to implement given the time and resource constraints of the election. They had no community discussion of which I am aware, so by default, I propose we start running the election without many regulations and anyone who wants to add regulations can first provide the labor necessary to implement them.
I am not aware of any published proposal which says that organizations need to be legally registered or meet a membership requirement to vote. I expect that ~95% of user groups have no legal registration and most of those have 5 active members, but so far as I know, we have no data about user groups. They all get a vote here.
If by "documenting their voting process online" you mean voting in public, then I will say several people requested that in last election and I raised that possibility again in its own section on this talk page. It is possible - please comment more in the section about that. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:45, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
Yes, we have no data on user groups, which makes an election without regulations highly dubious. IMO it would not be too much to ask of the user groups to sign up for this election if they think they meet the criteria for this election (whatever they may be). I'm not very keen to participate in an election that also includes many user groups only created for superficious reasons. Philip Kopetzky (talk) 12:36, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
@Philip Kopetzky: The board has been clear in saying that about 100 user groups should be eligible to vote. Since only about 100 exist, I interpret this to mean that all user groups are eligible, and that the criteria for getting a vote is getting recognition from the Affiliations Committee as a user group. If you want to propose or discuss eligibility restrictions then I suggest you make them soon so that they get consideration before the election starts. I am not sure what will happen in response - this is rather rushed and less deliberative as compared to most other Wikimedia events.
It is challenging for me to address your multiple points here, but if you post any point in its own section, then I would try to respond and maybe others could too. You obviously care about this election or you would not be here, and I hope you find a way to participate that is meaningful to you. Whatever you do and say now also affects the next election in 2022. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:56, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
I would really appreciate if the BoT could outline their thoughts on how to conduct this election in a way that isn't scewed from the start. We currently have more than 20 US affiliates, which is an absurd number in an election with 146 eligible affiliates. The reputation of the elected candidates is based on the legitimacy of the voting process and right now I don't see how this is going to be the case with the full set of affiliates. Philip Kopetzky (talk) 13:06, 25 February 2019 (UTC)

Thoughts on criteria[edit]

So I would propose some very lightweight expectations, with the aim of helping reach the widest range of audiences and sustain community support of the ASBS. Some of these are inspired by what Affcom proposed in the autumn.

  1. Affiliates are expected to decide their votes using a transparent, documented method. For incorporated entities this might be a Board resolution or AGM resolution. For unincorporated affiliates it might mean a discussion on a Meta page or public mailing list.
  2. Affiliates are asked to hold conversations with their membership and community to guide their decision making.
  3. Individuals who hold positions in multiple affiliates are asked to refrain from "double voting." If you cast a vote or comment at length in one affiliate's ASBS discussion then please avoid doing so in another affiliate.
  4. In no sense are affiliates required to vote. If any affiliate feels that they should not vote, or do not wish to vote, or do not have the capacity to follow the previous 3 criteria, that's fine.

What do people think? My thinking is that people will very largely engage with this process in good faith, but some norms of behaviour about how to exercise this responsibility might be useful. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 17:06, 20 February 2019 (UTC)

I think this is a good start. I belong myself to several groups and the first challenge is that I am not actually exactly sure which groups I belong to at this point... I wonder if it might not make sense to request individuals that hold several positions in affiliates to not only refrain from "double voting", but to actually be required to list which groups they belong to and in which groups they will have their own vote casted. I do understand that we could simply assume good faith, but believe that when it comes to electing a WMF board member, good faith should be seconded by way of checking if someone is not abusing the system. This is in particular important when the voter is the contact point of a UG and is the one actually supposed to "collect" the will of the UG membership. For the sake of simplicity, we could make it mandatory that a person casting a vote or discussing in a UG would requested to actually disclose his or her other memberships in other UG.

Amongst the groups I belong to, at least one group is incorporated (Wikimedia France). The others are generally not incorporated and are thematic in nature. There are a few UG with clear governance (such as Education UG). But in most cases, I have never seen any discussion to decide who were the contact points. Usually they were self appointed at the creation of the group and since then, no discussion has ever been held to discuss how the contact points were appointed. Generally, those are happy going groups. Some groups have a clear leadership and members are simply interested and supporting people (typically Whose Knowledge). Some groups have no clear governance, but are managed by recognized people and we are happy to let them do it (eg, WikiWomen). Some groups have no leadership and self-appointed people (typically Offline UG). I am very curious to see how some new groups will handle their first reporting actually... I think it would have been more reasonable to open voting to those groups which already had one full year of activity and at least one report cycle, and possibly make mandatory that the group actually describes the way decisions are made within the group in its first report.

I strongly support point 4. With a clarification that is that it should not be the contact point which decide the affiliate will not vote.... but the membership. Anthere (talk)

2019 call for election facilitators![edit]

You can be an election facilitator! The tasks are limitless but the election must proceed! If you want to be an election facilitator, please sign below!

By default, this election will run in the same way that the 2016 election did. If anyone wants changes, you can propose them.

This election will result in 2 people confirmed by vote and present in Stockholm, Sweden on 14 August to attend Wikimania 2019!

team everyone
  • comment on policy
  • propose election rules
  • encourage Wikimedia affiliate organizations to engage in the election
  • share information about candidates
  • publish about the election in Wikimedia communication channels
team core facilitators
  • small group - in the past 3 people
  • stays focused - this election is for the benefit of Wikimedia affiliate organizations
  • guides the election to stay on schedule
  • closes discussions to stay on schedule
  • confirms election policy
  • if necessary, engages with private information related to the election
  • is lead point of contact between WMF board election liaison and any chapter representatives for whatever they do not post here

All comments and criticism go on this talk page in their own section! If you want in this election sign up below! Thanks. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:54, 19 February 2019 (UTC)

(I just posted a new call for facilitators-see what it looks like. HTH! --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 15:29, 12 March 2019 (UTC))
Hi Abhinav619, Nihlus , Ad Huikeshoven, Shani Evenstein: TY so much for volunteering so far! Blue Rasberry : note you're still technically missing from the list below :) The first task for affiliates is figuring out who among you is gonna be the main liaison with Raystorm, and who's gonna be your deputy. (I sure hope the group grows larger, but this first step should really happen ASAP, looking at the timeline below...). If any of you would like to candidate themselves for one of these two roles, please let us know - I can rely the information to the mailing list, and obviously adding all the facilitators there once they've been appointed.) For your convenience, this is what the previous agreement spells out about being a facilitator: "Election Facilitators shall not be candidates in the election and shall not endorse any candidate nor shall they participate in any public discussions of candidates' merits. Where they are Board members of organizations voting in the election they are expected to recuse themselves from any decision about how the organization's vote is cast." --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 09:44, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
  1. --Abhinav619 (talk) 02:10, 23 February 2019 (UTC)
  2. Nihlus 17:40, 27 February 2019 (UTC)
  3. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 15:45, 9 March 2019 (UTC) I'm willing to help facilitate, if that is still needed.
  4. I can assist when necessary. Shani Evenstein. 22:53, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
  5. I am happy to assist in this process as needed. --- FULBERT (talk) 20:57, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
  6. I would like to be a facilitator. I have extensive experience in real-world elections, as an election security consultant, election auditor, election judge, software developer, Colorado user group leader and delegate, etc. Thank you for the opportunity! --- ★NealMcB★ (talk) 21:07, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
  7. I was asked on March, 30 to join and accepted on March, 31st st the summit in Berlin.--Alexmar983 (talk) 09:37, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
Per email: I am glad to announce that Ad Huikeshoven has flagged his availability to become liaison or deputy. Elitre (WMF) (talk) 20:22, 16 March 2019 (UTC)

Abhinav619, Nihlus , Ad Huikeshoven, Shani Evenstein, Blue Rasberry , FULBERT: Shani has suggested "that we set up a time for an online meeting, which all interested facilitators will join? This will help us discuss who the liaison and deputy are, what needs to happen when, and some tips from Lane and other previous facilitators for this year's process". Is someone willing to set this up? Thanks. --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 08:55, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

I am willing to advance the conversation. Yes, we should try to schedule a video or voice chat. I am imagining a minimum of 1, 1-hour chat so that we all meet and confirm our goals, then mostly we can talk here or by email. Possibly we could need 1 more meeting, then potentially a third if there is some difficulty with the election.
To set up the election we need to confirm a time which works for everyone and to set up a video meeting. Confirming the time is the more difficult part; I suppose a Doodle poll is the best way? I am not sure what time zones we need to accommodate here. I am unable to organize the meeting setup for a few days. If anyone else can then I would participate. I can join a meeting if one is set up soon, and for example, I could meet this Thursday 21 March anytime between 1:30-9pm EST if at least any 2 others could join. I will take and share notes at any meeting I attend. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:49, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
@Nihlus, Ad Huikeshoven, Esh77, Bluerasberry, FULBERT, and Elitre (WMF):, I can do that. Can I have all Mail-IDs please. Elitre (WMF) can you send them to me please? Thanks.--Abhinav619 (talk) 13:48, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
Abhinav619, I think I don't have all of them?, so maybe the quickest way is indeed to create a Doodle and then use the "Email this user" function here on Meta so that all of them have the related link :) Thanks, both of you! Elitre (WMF) (talk) 13:54, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
Hello, I just sent an email with all of them to all of us. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:56, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
Did you include my address? As an ASBS supporter who needs to coordinate with facilitators, I'd do my best to be there and contribute what I know. Thanks! --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 14:00, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
@Elitre (WMF): You should have gotten two emails in the past 10 minutes. I just checked the address and it seems in order. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:04, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
Doodle Poll Mails Yes Sent. --Abhinav619 (talk) 14:16, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
TY everyone! I will look at the poll later (hopefully most or all of us will have replied already), as eventually I'll try to join the slot that looks more palatable to most. --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 15:28, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

As the first meeting is happening at 3.30pm Pacific today, I verified and, should anyone else add themselves to the group, everyone already listed above has the ability to invite them to the meeting as well. Looking forward to seeing you all later! --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 11:01, 20 March 2019 (UTC)

Paging Nihlus! Are you still in? All the best, --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 08:32, 25 March 2019 (UTC)

Hello - I just wanted to add another point to the specification for facilitators, which is that facilitators cannot also be candidates in the election. I heard some concerns there was lack of clarity on this point at the Wikimedia Summit so just wanted to highlight that someone facilitating the election process cannot also be a candidate in it! Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 17:54, 31 March 2019 (UTC)

Thanks for the reminder, Chris. This should be adequately covered by point 2 at Affiliate-selected Board seats/Resolution 2019, right? ★NealMcB★, and User:Alexmar983, you're both familiar with this point already, correct? Thanks, --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 20:44, 31 March 2019 (UTC)
I think that's helpful but not really adequate, because the shaping of the election process has already started before April 6th. It holds open the possibility that someone could be a facilitator one week having conversations with people as a facilitator of the process, and then the next week saying "great talking to you last week! It was wonderful to hear what you felt about what kind of person you wanted as a candidate for the Foundation Board. Actually, I am exactly the person you said you were looking for! Vote for me!" I always assumed it was obvious that this was something that should not happen. If it does happen, then I am concerned that it might undermine the credibility of the selection process. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 07:35, 1 April 2019 (UTC)
+1 to Chris. I find it odd that we want to allow facilitators to step down and then submit a candidacy. That's exactly the conflict of interest we should be avoiding. --Gnom (talk) 08:28, 1 April 2019 (UTC)
Adding to Gnom and Chris's comments that I support, can we rely on the Trust and Safety team to handle complaints (as described in point 2 of the resolution) in a timely fashion? Philip Kopetzky (talk) 09:37, 1 April 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, Elitre (WMF). I have already notified my user group that I am a facilitator and noted the constraints on my involvement in the election overall.
Gnom et al.: Yes indeed. I noticed the same thing. I hope no facilitators step down after having been involved. ★NealMcB★ (talk) 00:40, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
I have made a proposal to change the draft resolution to address this. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 19:07, 3 April 2019 (UTC)

Hi all, I was asked to be a facilitator and I am available, but I am levaing for the airport right now so I will read this page with calm tomorrow. I just saw the ping now. In any case I think I know the overall policy. About this specific discussion, I believe facilitators should be neutral and I think this is what people expect at least talking here at the WikiSummit.--Alexmar983 (talk) 10:44, 1 April 2019 (UTC)

User group voting - bylaws - link[edit]

This is mentioned elsewhere on this talk page but here are the links -

Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:01, 20 February 2019 (UTC)

Hi there,
This is a follow-up to the announcement from February 19 about changes to the Bylaws and next steps for the Affiliate-selected Board seats (ASBS) 2019 process.
In order to speed up the process and to assure that our renewed "commitment to diversity and inclusion of all voices, throughout our communities — new, older and emerging” is in place throughout the process, we have asked the Wikimedia Foundation to provide active support and recommendations to get the discussion going and coordinate among stakeholders. The Community Relations team will coordinate this support, and Erica Litrenta is the point person. Thanks, Raystorm (talk) 17:42, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
Oh, thanks for the plug, Raystorm. That would be me :) --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 17:46, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

Tentative timeline[edit]

First of all, credits to Lane for the previous calendar proposal of which this is an iteration. What this is: the following is a tentative timeline for the entire process. It is not comprehensive yet, of course, but it's what I could do with the available information, while also cross-checking it for several details that aren't so obvious (just as an example, a week when I'm unavailable while I'm traveling for work).

  • 2019-02-19: Board announcement published.
  • 2019-03-04: Further update posted by Maria Sefidari.
  • 2019-03-08: Proposal for a timeline shared; mailing list is created.
  • 2019-03-12: Mailing list is populated and functional! Call for complementary Facilitators and the affiliate’s liaison is posted.
  • 2019-03-25: Affiliates agreement about the new process officially published.
  • Week of 2019-03-25: Foundation Board posts its approval of the agreement.
  • 2019-03-29: A session about ASBS takes place at the Wikimedia Summit in Berlin.
  • 2019-04-01: Official voting schedule published; nominations period open.
  • 2019-04-15: Nominations period closed. Any details about voting must be final, and all the translations of key content need to be in place.
  • Week of 2019-04-22: Voting period open.
  • Week of 2019-05-22: Voting period closed.
  • By 2019-06-17: Results of the vote published.
  • 2019-08-14: Wikimania Board meeting in Stockholm starts.

Although it's almost the weekend, I wanted to put this out anyway (like I did with the mailing list link above) to start gathering people's thoughts. TTYS! --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 18:25, 8 March 2019 (UTC)

Much appreciated, Elitre (WMF). Thanks, Shani Evenstein. 22:56, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
Looks like a good proposal and seems to match most of the previously posted Talk:Affiliate-selected_Board_seats/2019#Proposed_calendar. I think this is a great next step in planning. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:06, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments, Shani and Lane. As you can see it is quite likely that it needs to be adjusted already - although I am not necessarily losing all hope that a resolute group of facilitators Emoji u1f4aa.svg could still lead to that Affiliates agreement drafted by next week :D --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 11:10, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
I want to point out that the timeline should be updated at some point. Some milestones are defined at Affiliate-selected Board seats/Resolution 2019. --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 11:37, 26 March 2019 (UTC)


Hi User:Ad Huikeshoven and all, I'd appreciate if the group decided over a timezone to be attached to all the relevant dates for this process. Thanks! --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 17:09, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

OK, the Facilitators settled this with UTC. --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 17:58, 12 April 2019 (UTC)