Talk:Chapter-selected Board seats/2014 resolution

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Oppose[edit]

Oppose Oppose I cant trust chapters enough to delegate them such a right. Chapters are good things (and Thematical organizations and User groups too, btw) but they are neither Wikimedia community nor they represet it. IMO Its groups of enthusiasts quite often not very active onwiki who do outreach stuff in particular countries. Often they cant know what Wikimedia projects or communities of the projects need thus delegated by them members who would go through less strict filter perhaps would be more caring about things far away from essential, core things. It should be community itself who select board of trustees members. --Base (talk) 13:37, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Base, this isn't a discussion over whether to delegate them such authority. The authority exists in the Bylaws. This is a discussion over how to best implement this. harej (talk) 13:42, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
See Bylaws #Section 3. Selection.: section (C) Community-selected Trustees; and (D) Chapter-selected Trustees. The community already elects three trustees and chapters already elect two. We're looking here at how chapters conduct that election. --RexxS (talk) 16:02, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
Why only chapters and not e.g. thematic organizations? Bylaws isn't unchangeable thing I believe. --Base (talk) 19:02, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
The bylaws are being changed. It is likely that in 2014 elections thematic organization will vote, too. (which means Amical, as it's the only one in this moment). - Laurentius (talk) 19:38, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
See Wikimedia Foundation bylaws/January 2014 - Amendment for Trustees selected by Chapters and Thematic Organizations for more information about the proposed change. Alice Wiegand (talk) 09:37, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Equal preferences[edit]

There was a small 'glitch' in a previous election where some chapters gave equal priority 1 to two candidates. Although it is still perfectly feasible to conduct an STV with such rankings (each candidate would receive 0.5 of a first preference), it caused some concern because not everyone agreed that it was within the conventions we had previously used.

I suggest it would be worth deciding in advance whether we accept equal preferences in voting or disallow it. In either case, the wording of point 6 should be expanded to make clear the consensus of chapters on this issue. --RexxS (talk) 16:02, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

I agree that anything regarding voting (especially the counting of votes, which is not currently addressed in the resolution as it is written) should be decided in writing ahead of time. Whatever voting system we decide to use (again, this should be in writing), so long as an equal preference is a valid vote I think it should be fine to allow. On the other hand, if stating an equal preference causes complications in vote counting, we can do without as well. I would like to entertain more discussion on the topic. harej (talk) 16:10, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Voting system[edit]

As I wrote above in parenthesis, the resolution addresses how votes will be cast but not how they are counted. All details regarding the voting process should be in writing so that we don't argue over the rules while the election is happening. I am not sure what exact voting system was used in past CSBS processes, nor am I inclined to make up something new, so anyone who has more knowledge of that is welcome to edit the proposal. harej (talk) 16:37, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Last time the Single Transferable Vote was used. I would support using it again, however we ought to be clear from the beginning about which specific rules are used as there were some organisations unclear on some details last time (if my memory is correct). As an initial suggestion, I would say we should consider using the Electoral Reform Society rules which can be found (for analog elections at least) here - these are in wide use in British non-profits, for instance, though I couldn't speak to whether this particular STV variant is known worldwide. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 18:33, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
STV should be fine. Past (non-chapters-)community elections for the WMF board used the Schulze method, if I remember correctly, and that would be fine too. Linking to already existing rules is a good idea, too (it might also be the wikipedia page of the voting system, if it's described in enough detail). - Laurentius (talk) 18:46, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
I wrote in the resolution text that the votes should be counted STV style, with equal preference votes being valid. This is just so we have something in the resolution—we still have time to change it if we decide to. harej (talk) 01:29, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

Election Facilitators shall be selected by consensus[edit]

Consensus of whom? --MF-W 23:48, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Consensus of the organizations involved. I phrased it as informally as possible so that we wouldn't be bogged down in having an election to elect the facilitators of the election. I do agree a little more detail would be helpful here. Perhaps facilitators could volunteer on a Meta page (instead of a closed mailing list) and whoever shows up gets to do it unless there's some substantive disagreement. harej (talk) 00:52, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Voting period[edit]

In section 4, you propose a voting period of 45 days. While I agree that nomination will take up some time, in my experience voting mostly takes place at the beginning and end of the voting period. Mind you, we are not talking about reaching a consensus (which takes up a lot of communication time in between). So I'd suggest to reduce the voting time to 15 days or a month, at max. --Mglaser (talk) 23:17, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

Well, the point is: when we will talk about who we want to select? any other period has no need to be longer than two weeks, IMHO (and maybe could be shorter).
By the way, what is supposed to happen in the "nomination finalization period"? And when the endorsement should be written, during the nomination or the finalization?
My suggestion is:
  • 15 days for nominations. Endorsements should be given during this period, but a couple of days of delay are allowed in case of late nominations (just to avoid that some candidate posts his nomination at 23:59 and no one of the chapter is online to post the endorsement. This shouldn't happen anyway, but we shouldn't exclude someone for this)
  • (at least?) 30 days of discussion, scheduled in such a way that the Wikimedia Conference is in this period.
  • 15 days for voting.
- Laurentius (talk) 18:05, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm fine with shortening the voting period to 15 days if all the chapters that want to vote can do so in that time. Part of why I opted for a longer voting period while drafting this was because I wanted to give each chapter the opportunity to discuss the candidates and make a decision, including an opportunity for discussion during the Wikimedia Conference in April. Whether it's a 30 day discussion page followed by a 15 day voting period, or a 45 day voting period where discussion is allowed, it makes no difference to me. The idea of the "finalization" period is that there is some gap time between submitting nominations and letting the voting begin. You mention that there should be a couple of days of delay in case nominations are submitted late in the period; that's what the finalization period allows. I think endorsements of existing nominations done during the finalization period should be fine. harej (talk) 20:36, 17 January 2014 (UTC)

Who casts the vote?[edit]

In section 6, it says "Each organization shall rank candidates". But it is not specified who has the authority to do this? A member of the board, the board's chair, the ED or a staff member? In my reading, this should be done by a board member, since those are usually the elected representatives of an organisation. Would you agree? --Mglaser (talk) 23:21, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

I expect that the vote will be cast by a board member, as you say. But probably it's up to the chapter to decide how they decide the vote internally and who will cast the vote. For me what matters is that it is clearly recognizable as a decision of the chapter. - Laurentius (talk) 17:45, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
The chapter as a corporate entity casts its votes, according to the chapter's own rules on how it makes these kinds of decisions. It is up to the chapter to pick the specific person responsible for casting the actual vote. harej (talk) 20:59, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
Well, better not expect but write it down in the proposal: "Every chapter will decide there own rules for how to reach the decision internally and who eill represent them in the voting process." Or something like that. It seems it is not evident. --Oop (talk) 13:47, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
That is fair. Note my revisions to Paragraph 6. harej (talk) 17:43, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

Public voting[edit]

Do we want to have a public vote or not? The current draft prescribes a public vote on Meta. Last time, it was a private vote on the chapters wiki (visible only to chapters). Elections for the other components of the board (board-appointed and non-affiliate-community-elected members) are not public. In general, on one hand public voting is simpler and transparent, on the other hand it may distort the result. - Laurentius (talk) 18:19, 17 January 2014 (UTC)

Holding the vote on the chapters wiki is a better idea. Accordingly, I'll add something to make sure each chapter has access to the chapters wiki. harej (talk) 21:07, 17 January 2014 (UTC)

Text modification[edit]

Hi! In #5, it says Candidates who seek to represent the affiliate organizations on the Board of Trustees shall post their names and nomination statements on a designated Meta-Wiki page. It should be changed to something like Candidates who seek to be selected by the affiliates to serve on the Board, or something like that. The selected candidates will not represent the affiliates when they join the Board. While this does not affect the process, it is an important distinction per the WMF bylaws. Thanks! --Raystorm (talk) 19:00, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

Right. As it is only a clarification, I believe that there is no problem in modifying the text even if the voting has begun. I'm going to edit it right now. - Laurentius (talk) 19:39, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
The term "represent" is used broadly in the sense that the affiliate organizations are the constituency that elects the two board members, not in the sense that we are selecting such board members to be our formal advocates. WMF Bylaws will prevail—the selected board members will have a duty to represent the entire interest of the Wikimedia Foundation and not that of the affiliate organizations. I had to revert the change to the text because I must insist that we cannot cast a reliable vote on a proposal if it is subject to change; this is unfair to those who have already voted. harej (talk) 20:13, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
This is not a process change, it is a clarification change. The current text is inaccurate, and could be confusing to potential candidates as well as to their future duties as trustees. Please, this does not have to be a big issue, but it has to be corrected. Remember, this draft has to be approved by the Board as well, and this confusing point has already been noticed (and brought to my attention, and now I'm bringing it to yours). Thanks, Raystorm (talk) 21:38, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
James, what you say is true, but, as Raystorm says, this has no impact whatsoever on the process, it's only to clarify a phrase that could be misinterpreted. I agree that "represent" does not necessarily mean an advocacy role - and of course that's not what it means here, which is the reason why no one had spotted it before - but one could think that. (but anyway it would have been better if it was noticed before the voting period!) - Laurentius (talk) 09:11, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
What if we added a footnote that clarifies what is intended by the text? It keeps the text the same while providing an official opinion of the election facilitators-to-be? (I do regret this ambiguous wording was not caught sooner.) harej (talk) 06:04, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
Go for it and I will check with the others if that works. Thanks, Raystorm (talk) 16:12, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

I have added a footnote. Let me know what you think. harej (talk) 18:42, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

I was about to comment on the term "represent" and saw this discussion. I agree that the added footnote is most helpful to clarify the intention of the word "represent". —seav (talk) 04:33, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Hello James and all, I don't think the footnote is clear, and in some ways perpetuates the confusion. Is it possible to correct the text? People didn't vote on either a clarified sentence or on a footnote, so either way some modification is needed. For simplicity, you could shorten that sentence to "Candidates shall post their names..."
There is regularly uncertainty about this concept of representation. To minimize that, it is better to avoid using the term "represent" or "representation" in such contexts. I don't think there is a context in which that is the appropriate word to use.
For instance: your footnote mentions "the role of the affiliate organizations as a constituency". I would not say that affiliates are acting as a constituency here: in my experience, that most often refers to electing a representative focused on responding to that constituency. I would say instead that affiliate selection and open election are two mechanisms for choosing Trustees, which are thought to be able to identifying different pools of effective Trustees.
Regards, SJ talk  08:40, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Thinking about it further, SJ's suggestion of trimming the sentence so it says "Candidates shall post their names..." makes sense to me. We are waiting for the Foundation board's feedback on this process - I think if you feel this amendment is important, then probably the best thing to do is for that feedback to say "We approve the process set out, but with the following drafting amendment...". Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 18:22, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
I was reluctant to update the text of the resolution itself while chapters were voting on it. Now that voting is done, one potential option is to ask the chapters list for unanimous consent for an amendment. If there's no objection after a week, we could slip in the new language. harej (talk) 19:13, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
If you could do that it would be great. This is the only issue that has been flagged. If the affiliates don't object to this clarification after say 5 days, let us know here, and then the Board can formally approve it. (I have this small fear that having the Board say something like "Process is fine but we want this sentence changed" would lead to a new vote amongst the affiliates!) Does this work for everyone? Thanks, Raystorm (talk) 22:20, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
I have given the chapters list until 0:00 UTC on 17 March to object. This is the amendment I have proposed: Paragraph 5 is amended by striking "Candidates who seek to represent the affiliate organizations on the Board of Trustees shall post their names and nomination statements on a designated Meta-Wiki page." and replacing it with "Candidates shall post their names and nomination statements on a designated Meta-Wiki page." harej (talk) 00:06, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Fantastic, thank you very much. Raystorm (talk) 06:30, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

The change has been made. harej (talk) 05:06, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

Update[edit]

Thanks! I have forwarded the news to the Board so we can approve the process as well. I hope to get back to you on this asap. Thanks again to the facilitators, Raystorm (talk) 10:52, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Approved[edit]

The Board approves the amended process. Thank you to the affiliates and the facilitators for their work on this. On behalf of the Board, Raystorm (talk) 22:56, 18 March 2014 (UTC)