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Latest comment: 10 years ago by Nemo bis in topic wmf:Minutes/2014-01-31#Community council

2008 interested team


2008 Discussion


I'm interested in restarting the discussion. Be nice if folks contributing to the topic on the Foundation email list add their same comments here. FloNight 21:51, 1 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

It would be useful if some proposed an updated seat distribution chart for the council. I still think the greatest stumbling block for this (in my opinion useful) suggested council is how to divvy up the seats for the various communities.
In particular I am worried about over-representation by the english language wikipedia, for the simple reason that it is the greatest battle-ground wiki, and hence figures on how many active users it indeed has is very sketchy.
And infact, to give an example of the implications where such over-representation might lead to... I might well consider that to be elected to the council (not that I am thinking about that in any shape or form atm.) my chances would be better to gain access to the council as an english wikipedia candidate instead of standing for election at the finnish wikipedia.
On the other hand, if we were to adopt a model that more closely follows the distribution type of the US Senate, which does not follow quite so closely the distribution of active editors on the differing communities, that too has its problems. Namely that of legitimacy. It might morph into a body to only discuss small and middle range wikimedia communities affairs. Not too good that either, I would say. A good intermediate balance would be worth a lot, if somebody could suggest one. -- Cimon Avaro 23:02, 1 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
One thing to consider is: How big do we want the council to be? We could have a big council and give all the tiny projects 1 representative and the bigger projects a lot more (8-10), or we could make it smaller and have smaller projects share a group of representatives and the big projects have fewer (3-5). Mr.Z-man 06:56, 2 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Maybe one per language (shared between different projects in the same language), one per project (shared between projects in all languages) + Jimmy's proposal without IV. Also, maybe the requirement for language representatives to be valid should be at least 10 very active users (or whatever number is) on all projects in that language. Languages which have between 1 and 9 active users may have one shared representative. --Millosh 07:52, 2 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
This would make a body of 300-500, which is large enough to be fully representative. Also, in this concept it may become a real Wikimedian assembly. As well as it may give enough big body which would be able to make sub-bodies for particular purposes. --Millosh 07:52, 2 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
The only thing which I don't like here is that it would be a Foundation body. It should be projects' body because otherwise it doesn't have a lot of sense. Talking about OLPC may be interesting, but if similar things (including even defining checkuser and oversight policies) are purpose of such body, we don't need it so big, as well as Board may appoint such body or bodies. --Millosh 07:52, 2 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
I see this body as a place where people from different projects may talk and may make consensus-based decisions about important things which are important for all projects. Simply, some policies shouldn't be project-specific: there should be one set of rules for death threats, legal threats, dealing with spammers, vandals, for hate speech etc. Every project should define its own development, but some rules are non-negotiable. --Millosh 07:52, 2 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Also, there are some local policies which should be made only in consultations with other projects. The example for such policy was banning non-ASCII user names from English Wikipedia. While it is a matter of en.wp (and generally, not a matter of other projects), such rules may make problems between different projects. --Millosh 07:52, 2 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
And the first task of such body should be looking into the policies of all projects. I am sure that we may find a number of unacceptable policies all over the Wikimedia projects. --Millosh 07:52, 2 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Such body should be informed about particular project's policy changes, too. And such body should be able to say that some policy is unacceptable. This is a matter of global community, not a matter of WMF Board. --Millosh 07:52, 2 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
We also have to take into consideration what the individual projects will accept. Newer, less developed projects may want help in determining a set of core policies. Older ones with a large community though may resent an "outside group" such as this meddling with their rules. Mr.Z-man 23:00, 2 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

I think that a fixed number of per language/per project representatives is the best way to go about it. What those numbers are or how we decide the threshold for inclusion, I do not yet know. ^demon

Key concepts


I'm starting a list of key concepts that jump out at me in the discussion so far. Please add to the list anything else that seems important to the discussion. FloNight 16:14, 2 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

  • Global community
  • The power of information exchange between Projects
  • Meta decision making
  • Framework and structure of the Wikicouncil
  • Role of the Wikicouncil
I guess Role of the Wikicouncil should be added to this list? Reading Foundation-l, that role seems far from clear. Fruggo 16:20, 2 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Done :-) FloNight 17:00, 2 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Very true. Before anything about membership or structure is defined, we need to know what we're going to do with the council once we have it. ^demon 18:49, 2 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Ideally that would be nice, though experience suggests that for that to be possible in a realistic fashion, the remit of the council would have to be tightly defined in the very bylaws of the foundation. It might be that a very closely defined wording of a Board resolution might work, but in the bylaws would be better, even if slower. If there are no hard and fast definitions, which would be enforceable (say by keeping the option at the pleasure of the board, to dissolve the council), human experience suggests the council left to its own devices would tend to define its own remit, without regard to any previous planning. A good (and in that case fortunately not fatal) example was the creation of the Arbitration Committee and Mediation Committees on the English Wikipedia. Neither of those held to what the original idea was going to be, because it wasn't all formally and steadfastly defined in advance. The arbcom turned out fine, the mediation committee less so; initially, though it has survived. -- Cimon Avaro 06:38, 3 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
We probably need some type of statement about the role of the Council. I think it is possible to make it fluid enough to allow the Council to evolve or grow with the needs of the Community, yet specific enough to keep the Council focused on the current needs of the Community. FloNight 11:49, 3 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
With the greatest of respect, I have to say I don't wholly agree. When I am voting for somebody, basically I want to know what kind of a role that person will have and what their authority will be as a representative. And I don't need to know it just in some general terms that are "flexible", I bloody well want to know to the very last jot and crossed t.
Let me give a few stark examples:
1. We are electing a body that was tasked as to consult with the Board of Trustees, and by the foundations bylaws had an over-riding authority to veto board resolutions, when a certain supermajority of votes is reached in council.
  • In that case my primary guide in choosing whom to vote would be to vote for people who would be articulate, wise and persuasive enough to consult with the board so that it would be nearly unthinkable they would ever have to go loggerheads, but independent in thought enough, that if the board were to seriously miss the mark, they could be relied on to rein the board in.
2. We are electing a body that would be tasked mainly with harmonising the various projects, and only in very rare circumstances contacting the board at all, other than to report to them progress made, or to pass on concerns from the communities.
  • In that case I would vote for someone who knows the inner workings of the projects like the back of their hand, and had immense diplomatic skills and ability to speak to people of different languages and cultures and frames of mind. I would not be voting for people who stir the pot, or who make headstrong stands.
3. We are electing a board that won't be tasked with doing either with clarity, or will be presumed to do either one or both, when the situation warrants.
  • In that case I would be both trying desperately to find someone superhuman to vote for, and simultaneously hoping that when the council realized that it would basically have to choose to define its role more definitely, those people who thought they were voting for the totally other type of council will not be too disillusioned and angry, and cause irreparable harm to our whole mission.

-- Cimon Avaro 14:07, 4 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

As the Wikicouncil is designed, I anticipate that some of its roles would be well defined first and intended to be permanent. One I anticipate being set early, and made permanent, is the Wikicouncil's relationship with the Board. The Wikicouncil's relationship to Community projects can be more fluid and will likely grow and evolve. I see setting up a framework with some areas well fleshed out and started with a review planned after a set period of time. Other areas of the Wikicouncil would be designated but with minimal resources or planning in anticipation of a filling an existing or potential need later. FloNight 00:36, 5 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Copy of antheres E-mail


Just copying here an email I posted to foundation, to answer Lodewijk email

You outlined very well three different potential roles in the wikicouncil

  • an advisory board with community members
  • a sort of tribunal, which would handle disputes project wide (meta arbcom)
  • a sort of parliament, developing policies wikimedia wide

There might be a fourth role,

  • development role (proposing projects, and looking for organizations who could help fund/implement them). Though I think this one could be "parliament type)

You outline very well that the three roles rather requires different skills and personnalities. I agree with this.

And I feel like suggesting that we should actually take the opportunity to create at the same time

  • a wikicouncil parliament type and
  • a meta arbcom

I think most of us can rather well imagine what the meta arbcom role will be; the difficulty will be to define working relationships with the various local arbcoms.

As for the wikicouncil, I stick to the idea that it should not be advisory only, but definitly have a a decision making authority.

I think advice will occur more or less naturally from this group, or from the current advisory group. It might be worth it to add some community members to the current advisory group.

I'll add that I absolutely do not see the wikicouncil as an extension or a body of WMF. I see it as a meta organization of the community, a more formalized decision-making body, meant to at the same time work on information exchanged, harmonization of some of the current policies on the projects, body defining projects wide policies etc...


To jump again on what FloNight suggested, I am not sure I understand what her paragraphs mean. Let me give it a kick myself

  • The power of information exchange between Projects (examples of info exchanged, what is currently missing, inconsistencies between policies of different languages, which ones would benefit from being harmonized...)
  • Meta decision making (introduction of what meta is, how it has been working since now, limitations, suggestion of creative a formalized meta body)
  • Global community (what is community in the wikicouncil perspective)
  • Role of the Wikicouncil (legislative etc...)
  • Framework and structure of the Wikicouncil (elections, operations, difference with the board of WMF and chapters etc...)

I think we should use plenty of examples to make sure we are on the same page. Anthere

I think we are on the same page. Your examples are exactly the sort that I would give. In my comment above and below, I speak to the need to have some aspects of the Wikicouncil well defined early and recognized as permanent. The Foundation's relationship to the Wikicouncil is seen by many as a key issue and needs to be well stated prior to the first election. As the Foundation projects have grown and matured so has the Foundation. Forming the the WikiCouncil is a needed step in order to support the local Projects (community). Need to make an good attempt to spell out the type of support the council will give provide to the Community. But the type of support the Wikicouncil offers the Community is very much dependent on how the Projects evolve. It is hard to predict with certainty which aspects of the Wikicouncil will thrive first. FloNight 00:55, 5 January 2008 (UTC)Reply



Some discussion on foundation-l has centered around the structure of who will staff this committee (and meta-ArbCom). Some of the ideas I'll outline below, just for organizational purposes and record-keeping.

  • Populated by stewards
  • Populated by local ArbComs
  • A mixture of the two
  • None of the above, independent

Personally, I prefer the 4th method. I think that involving the local ArbComs will give an unfair share in the decision making to the larger projects who happen to have an ArbCom. If everyone will remember, not all projects even have an ArbCom or equivalent. Although some steward involvement (perhaps a representative for the stewards?) could be warranted, I'm not sure how it'd play out for sure. ^demon 23:43, 4 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Of course it has to be independent. Stewards are not judges, but executors as well as not all projects have ArbCom, including that some projects doesn't want to have ArbCom. --Millosh 10:34, 5 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
The issues is that this group needs to have some connection to the Communities. They can not make their decisions in isolation and expect that their remedies are going to be enforced by the local communities. Also the meta-arbcom needs to understand Wikimedia culture in a broad sense. That was the reason that I felt that the meta-arbcom needs to be drawn from an existing group such as the pool of existing stewards and the pool of existing ArbCom members. I have concerns about having a small isolated group of individuals doing this work. That is the reason I think a pool approach would work better. I see no problem with also including another group of members that better represent the needs of smaller projects or projects without ArbComs. Perhaps that pool could be selected from some subgroup of elected members of the Wikicouncil. FloNight
I want to write a longer contribution to this issue, but I still didn't find a time for that. In brief, what do we need immediately is a (wide) group of people who would start to take care about the whole community. This concept is the closest to the concept of assembly (while I fully support Jimmie's position that the best option for such body is to be composed of delegates, not of representatives; i.e. delegates should be a channel for communication between communities and decision making process between communities, not between themselves; I'll explain this idea more in depth soon). --Millosh 14:21, 5 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
But, of course, we need a Meta ArbCom. Such body should be consisted of persons who are able to make a good judgments. Such body should be independent of the assembly, while community (and maybe assembly, too; but I prefer only community) should be able to recall judges. For example, Meta ArbCom members would be elected persons with at least of 80% of votes, but they may be recalled by majority (50% + 1) will of the community or two thirds majority of the assembly; as well as recall process may be started at any time. --Millosh 14:21, 5 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Also, I am sure that the first members of Meta ArbCom should be past (and not compromised) and/or present members of the existing ArbComs (and some other people), because they have a lot of experience in judging. But, I am a little bit unsure about giving two functions to one body. Actually, I think that being a member of assembly and being a member of Meta ArbCom should be mutually exclusive. --Millosh 14:21, 5 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
We are building our constitution now. We have tens of thousands of "inhabitants" (maybe hundreds of thousands; while "passive inhabitants" may reach 100 millions). And we shouldn't make typical mistakes of the societies in the past and present. One of the such mistakes is mixing judicial and legislative functions. --Millosh 14:21, 5 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
I see the Wikicouncil having subparts and as well as possibly independent groups that get their authority from the Wikicouncil (which gets its authority from the Community.) Meta-arbCom might be designed either way.
Depends on the type of cases that the meta ArbCom handles and where they fall in relation to the Council. Some possible areas of work include:
Review of requests and removal for special privileges such as checkuser or oversight. Review of cases involving abuse of these privileges and the privacy policy. (I'm allowing that cases might start with a local Community ArbCom as well as direct requests to the met-arbcom).
And, I think local ArbComs might ask for the assistance of the meta-ArbCom with some cases. Perhaps a review of the Finding if they feel their original finding could benefit from the review of another body. This would likely work best if there was a connect between the two bodies. Meaning...you provide some members to help review some of our cases occasionally and we'll do the same.
Except for cases involving abuse of checkuser or oversight, I do not anticipate the need for independent review initiated by complaint (and most likely most of those requests would be turned down.)
My thinking is not set on these ideas but rather speaking up as a way to keep the discussion moving forward. Other ideas?

Good ideas, and I like where this discussion is going. On review of privacy policy issues, isn't that what the Omsbudsman committee does? Not that there can't be overlap, but just a thought. I'm not sure what role local ArbComs should play on meta-arbcom, but I would rather not see someone serving on both actively. ^demon 15:04, 5 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

The Omsbudman represents the Foundation and I think it should stay that way. The meta-arbcom would approach privacy policy violations from the Community perspective. I think the need exists for both groups to handle it to represent both interests. If the meta-arbcom is going to be a set small group of elected individuals I can see why that not serving on both makes sense. I do not think having a set small group is the best idea. I think drawing from several larger pools of user groups is better. I need to explain my thinking in more detail than I have time to do right now. I'll get back to this with more specific reasons. FloNight 15:20, 5 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Just an example of how a similar non profit has structured itself. Of course it's communications network/tools are just as embryonic.----Simonfj 19:08, 16 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Makes an interesting read. I looked through some of the content including the report on restructuring. They point out that there is no perfect structure. I think that we need to keep that in mind as we weigh the pros and cons of the structure of the Wikicouncil. FloNight 19:46, 16 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

tier 4


"Tier IV
tiny sub-projects : 3 representatives shared amongst all of them"

I see no point of this unless you really want to limit the number of participants. One cannot expect a member speaking a language from Africa to represent a project using a language from central Asia.

If the council is to hear as many *voices* as it is capable of, why don't we simply have one seat from every project (or at least one from every language)? If the community cannot field a representative, the seat would simply be vacant. Hillgentleman 05:11, 5 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

I agree here with you. As I mentioned before, instead of the fourth rule (only fourth rule, not other rules!), there are may be two separate rules: --Millosh 17:11, 5 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  1. Every language has one seat (whatever the size of the project or a number of speakers are). In this case, for example, Serbian Wikinews would be represented via Serbian language community. --Millosh 17:11, 5 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  2. Every project (Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikinews...) has one seat (whatever the size of the project is). In this case Serbian Wikinews would be represented via Wikinews community. --Millosh 17:11, 5 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
In this case, sr.wn (as well as any other project) would have double representation: both, language based and project based. Language-specific needs would be covered through language-based delegates, while project-specific needs would be covered through project-based delegates. --Millosh 17:11, 5 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
And, of course, your last idea (vacant seat) is a good one, too. --Millosh 17:11, 5 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
(And about the reasons of the formulation: This proposal was made in 2005, when Wikimedian community wasn't so big as it is today.) --Millosh 17:11, 5 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

I would like to add that not only regular Wikimedia projects exist, but also "special" projects, like commons:, species: and incubator:, and maybe even Meta itself. They can have their representatives. SPQRobin 22:40, 5 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

We need to consider how we will handle the special projects. Commons and meta are two that might need careful thinking about the number of representatives (delegates) alloted since many active Wikamedians fairly regularly edit Commons and Meta in a helpful way but by comparison to their other editing we could not consider it their home wikis. FloNight 14:03, 6 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Copy of email to foundation-l - Proposal for another structure


I would like to propose something else. I am not sure if it is a known system in companies abroad, but in the Netherlands the larger companies (>50 employees) are obliged to have a "ondernemingsraad". This is a council of employees that has four rights:

  • The right to discuss with the employer about decisions. The employer is obliged to cooperate with this with a certain group of defined decisions.
  • The right to be asked for advice. The employer is obliged to ask the advice of this council for certain decisions. He is not obliged to follow this advice. However, he will have to consider it seriously, and has to motivate if he does not follow it.
  • The right to be asked for approval. In decisions which have a direct impact on the employees, the employer is obliged to ask approval of the council. He can only ignore this through legal procedures.
  • The right of initiative. The Council can make proposals for the employer, which will have to consider these seriously.

(derived from: nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/ondernemingsraad , GFDL, see the url for the authors and license information)

Of course this would in our case not be with staff members to choose this council of "emplyees", but the council would be elected and made up by the "employees" of the Wikimedia Projects, the volunteers. And of course the four rights would have to be tweaked a bit as well, but the general outline might be clear. I would call this council something like a Volunteer Council. It would not have a direct authority perhaps, but through the board, which could agree to generally follow advices on certain matters pro forma, so that de facto, the Volunteer Council would have authority. This volunteer coulcil would, in my vision, have more or less the following rights (to be specified):

  • The right to be informed on decisions that immediately have an impact on the community. If needed confidentially and to discuss Board decisions (and Executive Staff decisions?) if they have a relation to the projects (not relating to personnel matters etc, would have to be worked out more precisely)
  • The right of initialive proposals related to a set of topics. (needs to be worked out further)
  • The right to be asked for advice in matters that have a direct impact on the community and projects, such as advertisements and licenses.
  • The right to be asked for approval to a more specific set of topics. I would like to limit this right, as imho, the advice should already be taken seriously. It would for instance include Organizational Reorganization (as in: bodies seize to exist, the tools of bodies are changed radically, the number of community rep's changes in the board of trustees etc), very big expenses such as the buying of an office building or in the most extreme case the fusion of the Foundation with another organization. However, I would also like to add the possibility here, as we want to avoid court at *all* cost here, that the Board of Trustees can overrule a non-approval with a 75% majority or so. Note that this explicitely is not to be merged with the right of initiative. The Volunteer Council could not make a binding proposal in this category. (although it should be taken seriously etc)

I think that this would make the Wikimedia Foundation into a very balanced organization. I could imagine similar rights for the Advosiry Board by the way. (although maybe on other subjects) That way there is a good balance between volunteers and outsiders/professionals.

Please bear in mind that in no way this proposal is complete yet. It depends on a lot of factors, and quite important "details" have to be discussed yet. Such as the area's on which the Volunteer Council (I prefer this name over the very vague Wikicouncil) has authority, and more importantly, on which not. (Just like it has been determined in the staff/board/ed relationship) Effeietsanders 4 jan. 2008 23:07 (CET)



Just to mention that under developers bot frameworks developers should be mentioned: Pywikipedia, Perlwikipedia and .NET bot frameworks exist in developed forms, as well as first two have developed communities. --Millosh 12:07, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Resources from the list


Please, add here threads related to the Wikicouncil/Meta ArbCom talks on Wikimedia lists: --Millosh 12:15, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply



Meta ArbCom


Relations between Board and Community


Proposal for splitting bodies


May we split functions of Wikicouncil and Meta ArbCom? I think that those two things are separate. Also, we have some experiences in ArbCom related matters, while we don't have any relevant experience in assembly matters. --Millosh 12:21, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

I think that we should define assembly, firstly; then to move on to Meta ArbCom (maybe even to define that Meta ArbCom is a body which is appointed/elected by members of Wikicouncil/assembly). --Millosh 12:21, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

I agree. The bodies need to be separate with meta-arbcom directly getting its authority from the Wikicouncil. Let's start with the Wikicouncil keeping in mind that a meta-arbcom is possible/probable. I think we need to consider the meta-arbcom somewhat simultaneously so we do not have the roles overlap. FloNight 12:55, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
"meta-arbcom directly getting its authority from the Wikicouncil" It puts undue burden on the council, whose members are elected to represent and advise but not to authorise. A body with formal status whose decisions are binding should be created by a general election or by the trustees. (This reminds me of the current doublethought that "sysops are just functionaries and is no big deal".) Hillgentleman 15:58, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Ditto. I think that it should be separated. Anthere
Where the meta-arb gets its authority does not matter too much to me as long as it is clearly spelled out. If the Wikicouncil is going to be purely advisory (something that I can support but did not know had been decided) then a completely separate body is best. FloNight 17:33, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
In either case, I personally wouldn't want the two being the same position. I would choose an Arbitrator to be decisive and firm, with a strong grasp of community policy. A delegate to the council is someone I'd rather be more diplomatic, able to work out issues with policy and form consensus when none previously existed. ^demon 18:19, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
When you are working with a volunteer community that is quickly growing and evolving, it is important for Arbitrators to be creative and diplomatic as well. Since Arbitration is the last step in dispute resolution, the problems are usually complex and need creative thinking and consensus discussion between Arbitrators and the users that will enforce the Rulings. I think the skill set for both will be very similar. For practical reasons as much as any thing else, I doubt an meta-arbitrator and a delegate should be the same people if the group of ArbCom members is going to be a relatively small set group. If the meta-arbcom is a larger group, such as a pool drawn from other groups, then I think having someone serve on both is less of a problem. My biggest concern is that we get groups of people as delegates and arbitrators that have the time for the work and do not burn out. FloNight 18:59, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

I added in the proposal 1) qualities of members and 2) wikicouncil has no authority over meta arbcom. As propositions. Anthere

In the interests of clarity, I spelled it out that it is a two way street, both are independent bodies, and though wikicouncil does not have authority over meta arbcom, it may have authority in areas where meta arbcom has none. -- Cimon Avaro 01:25, 18 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Number of delegates


This is one important issue (while not more important then permissions which Wikicouncil would have). I am trying to find some fair level of representation. So, here is the draft... --Millosh 21:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

  1. Data are based on October 30th 2006 for English Wikipedia and on October 2006 for all others. --Millosh 21:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  2. Number of delegates should be floor(log10(number_of_very_active_users))^2 or even floor(log10(number_of_very_active_users))^3. --Millosh 21:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  3. All languages with full projects should be represented with one delegate. It is 252 delegates more. --Millosh 21:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
    • However, to be delegated by a language community, delegate has to be elected. It shouldn't be possible to have a delegate from the language with the only one contributor. There should be at least, let's say, 5 valid contributors at all (let's say, with 100 or more edits). --Millosh 21:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
    • If language doesn't have enough of contributors, it may form electoral body with other projects which don't have enough of contributors. --Millosh 21:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  4. All projects should have one (or more?) delegates. If one, then it is 10 more (including Meta as a separate project). --Millosh 21:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
    • I think that we should give to different projects different number of delegates. Let's say: Commons 5, MediaWiki 5, Meta 1, Pywikipedia 1 (possible other software projects 1 per project with developed community; Toolserver? also WMF staff including Board members?), Species 1, and language-based projects according to formula "floor(number_of_projects/10) and not less then 1", which would give to Wikipedia 25 delegates, to Wiktionary 12-13, to Wikinews 1 (more then 10, less then 20), and to Wikiversity 1 (less then 10). --Millosh 21:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
    • This number would be changed according to opening of new projects. As opening of new projects is independent process (depends on Lang SubCom), I don't think that it would be possible to game the rules. --Millosh 21:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  5. Delegate has to be admin (bureaucrat, checkuser, oversight, steward...) on at least one project with at least 10 edits during the past 3 months (or commits if we are talking about software projects; staff member is active by default); with at least X edits/commits (let's say 1000 edits, developers may give a number for commits) at all. This rule may lead to a number of empty seats and I think that this is OK because we need active people as delegates. --Millosh 21:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  6. All delegates have to be elected. Board-like election system is quite good for this kind of per-language-project, per-language and per-project elections (people with the most of votes are passing). --Millosh 21:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

This would make body of approximate 200+250+100=550 delegates at the most at the beginning. However, I think that we would have something more then 400 delegates at the beginning. --Millosh 21:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Such body would be able to be enough representative to make global policies or to build policies and delegating votes from their communities. --Millosh 21:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Also, such body would be enough wide to be able to make different kinds of work groups. As well as those tribunes would be much more motivated to work on improving global Wikimedian community then people are now. --Millosh 21:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Getting a sense of the initial number of work groups and the potential number likely to be formed in the next few years might help determine if the number of delegates is adequate to do the work. FloNight 22:10, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Policy checking (at least, translating them into English and making them public) and synchronization between mutually exclusive policies may be a task for one year for all Wikicouncil members. Also, during that process there should be formed one work group which would check all new policies (translate them, saying are they went into non-negotiable area and similar). --Millosh 23:23, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
I don't have the exact picture, but it seems to me that it is obvious that Wikicouncil will have a lot of work groups. The only possible problem with such groups would be their possible inactivity. However, I am sure that Wikicouncil work groups would be much more active then present informal groups. But, here is the list of some of the work groups which are coming into my mind now...: --Millosh 23:23, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
While a number of such groups may be made now, no one of those groups would be able to have the global community authority. Also, a lot of existing groups (consisted by people who are inside and outside of Wikicouncil; like ComProject is) would get much more authority as a Wikicouncil body instead of being "an organized group of Wikimedians". --Millosh 23:23, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

I understand that such move forward would be a very radical one. So, if others think that we are not ready for this, we may make a strategy how to achieve full representation of the projects step by step. --Millosh 21:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

This is about numbers. I'll try to give a much wider opinion about responsibilities and rights of such body in the next couple of days. --Millosh 21:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply


However, to be delegated by a language community, delegate has to be elected. It shouldn't be possible to have a delegate from the language with the only one contributor. There should be at least, let's say, 5 valid contributors at all (let's say, with 100 or more edits). --Millosh 21:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

A basic attribute of wiki is that everybody is encourage to contribute *right away* if she wants to. I don't see anything wrong - if a language project has already been created - to let the sole active contributor be the representative of the language; a more important point is whether she commands the language sufficiently to represent the view points. Hillgentleman 23:25, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
OK. We may say that a very active user (>100 edits) is a valid one. As I said down, I'll make some research about numbers. --Millosh 14:01, 8 January 2008 (UTC)Reply



Ehm, Personally I think that everything in the order of magnitude of 200 (20-2000) is way too high. This won't work, communication and discussion on a fair level is impossible, and it will make it impossible for people with not very good English skills (who can write very good and condensed pieces) to be heard... Please, let's see if we can find a system where we have maximal 20 members, so that everything remains within the borders of reasonability. Effeietsanders 13:15, 8 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Hm. As I said, I am for making the plan for starting with smaller number and going up to the full representation. --Millosh 13:50, 8 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
However, 20 is a very small number and in this case it would mean that we are making Board instead of Board (for the community matters). While it would be useful, of course, it would be far of any kind of relevant communities involvement. I am sure that members of such Wikicouncil would be the same persons who are stewards (or people who didn't pass steward elections) +- a couple of other people. --Millosh 13:50, 8 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Also, two of your statements are not seem to me as good enough: (1) There are a lot of people in interaction on English Wikipedia and they are communicating very well (at least, English Wikipedia exists and growing). Not all people would be interested in all matters, as well as not all people would work on all matters at the same time. And so on. (2) If you are sending a representative "to the world" -- you are sending a person who knows lingua franca, in this case English. I really don't care if someone doesn't know lingua franca good enough and wants to participate in the global matters. It is completely other situation in comparison to the local matters when people from the global community have to learn local language. --Millosh 13:50, 8 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
So, let's try to go forward: I propose that two of us start analyze the situation in depth (who really needs delegates, what would be the ideal representation, from what number we should start, etc.). And those conclusions we should put here. I'll contact you over IRC now :) --Millosh 13:50, 8 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Effeietsanders, It depends what you mean by "work". The councils's raison d'etre is to represent, and give an institution for communities' voices to be heard, in particilar in (but not limited to) decisions that need community input. There is plenty of *working bodies* (board of trustees, office, special project, the proposed meta-arb-comm, and the commcomm, ), and the new council need not duplicate their works, and it can simply be a loosely connected body. In Millosh's proposal, it is likely that most of the seats allocated for the smaller languages will be vacant. But if they are not, they can serve as a channel to represent the participants and communities that are not heard in pan-wikimedia, because of language barriers or other reasons. Hillgentleman 14:38, 8 January 2008 (UTC)Hillgentleman 14:44, 8 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
I suggest that we identify the work groups needed to do the work. FloNight 14:41, 8 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Examples of Bodies that do legislative type work with Committees: The United Nations has 192 member states. FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) has 208 member associations. The U.S Senate has 100 members and 16 fulltime Committee's, The U.S. House of Representatives has 435 members and 20 fulltime committee's, Australia Senate has 76 members with 15 fulltime committees, Australia House of Representatives has 150 members with 18 fulltime committees. FloNight 14:41, 8 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
OK, fair enough, and how many people are they representing per member on average? Effeietsanders 16:46, 8 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
This is not so valid comparison: (1) A lot of people don't vote at all (which is not the situation on WM projects; much more people are voting about a lot of things). (2) A lot of people who are participating in political life of their countries only once per four (or so) years (the same as 1). (3) Every county (in US) has some kind of assembly, which raises number of representatives a lot. (4) Wikimedian projects are not only a matter of Wikimedians, but a matter of all people who are using Wikipedia. (5) We have much more cultural differences between us then one country with 10 (or even 100) millions of inhabitants has; which means that all cultures have to represented somehow. And so on... --Millosh 17:38, 8 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
(1): OK, how many voters? (2): what difference does that make? We did not even set the term yet. (3): There is no *need* to have the representation done like this. There are more ways possible, reducing the number to 15-20. We just should let the idea go of every single project (or most of them) having their "own" representative. Further more, I think that it would be better for the Movement if we would less argue that there are such a lot differences. Of course it will depend on the exact purpose of the Council, but why would the average dewikipedian have a different opinion as the average frwikipedian? Why would they need different representatives? Doesn't it make much more sense to let all *opinions* be represented, instead of all majorities of all projects? (4) They don't vote, right? So de facto, they're not represented. This is btw why I would like to call this a Volunteer Council, to get rid of these misunderstandings :) I am also bothered by the United States' bad economical policy. I don't think they will represent me in the Senate. (5): Maybe there are some cultural differences, but does that make a lot of difference in the decisions the Wikimedia Foundation will make? Please think about what the purpose and working area of this council will be. Maybe we have another vision on this, but I do not see many area's where the culture, language etc will play a big role. It is about a lot of stuff of course, but not about everything. I think that the differences of opinion within a single community will be larger then between the averages of two communities. (And so on ;-) ) Effeietsanders 19:13, 8 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Excuse me, mate. I read "there is no need", "we should" and "I think" without supporting arguments all over your comment(s). Hillgentleman 23:27, 8 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

I'll be in the middle position. I think 500 is way too high :-) But 20 is way too low :-) I think we should rather aim to a sort of 80-150.

I rather like Millosh counting system, but if we go this way, I think we need to apply ponderation method. According to his counting method, enwikipedia would get 27 people; seems really high to me. It would seem more logical to use a tier system. Biggest projects with over 4000 very active would get eg, 15 representants; big projects with over 1000 very active would get, eg, 10; smaller 5 etc...

There are mostly two ways we can identify the "weight" of a project. Number of articles and number of participants. If using the number of participants, I like Millosh system to rely on "very active" participants. If using "number of articles", we would simply have to identify what counts as "articles" (or equivalent measures of result) for each project. We usually consider "importance" of projects based on "results". In this case, considering "importance" based on "number of participants" seems an excellent idea. I would simply 1) apply a ponderation system; 2) do measures on "very active" to reflect the liveliness and degree of involvement of the community. And yeah, do not forget to exclude bots... Anthere 07:22, 11 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

I don't think 20 people is near enough to properly represent all the Projects as the group divides itself to look at topics/issues. I think an assemble of 100-150 people could do the work but I have no problem with a larger group being formed now (or later as the Projects grow.) I think that a large well organized group will be more effective than a small well organized group. The key will be designing good procedures and communication channels for the WikiCouncil.
I agree with using creative thinking to determine the number of representative (delegates). We do not want to miss the unique issues present on certain Projects so need to make sure we adequately draw from each type of project to get a sense of the priority issues that need to be addressed. Using something to reflect liveliness of a Project will accomplish this, I think. FloNight 13:23, 11 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

I don't have anything against different counting systems :) But, are you sure that such big body is necessary for not so big job (usually, checking what the Board is doing)? Fully representative body (which 100-150 seats imply) should have more responsibilities; and the most important one is to have the right to make a body which would impose basic Wikimedian principles, like NPOV and encyclopedic methods are. --Millosh 14:17, 11 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Also, we don't need only to check what the Board is working, but we need a body which would do the job which the Board can't do: implementing decisions. Without implementing NPOV and encyclopedic methods -- rules presents our wishes, not our reality. --Millosh 14:17, 11 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

I will take many people to do a comprehensive review of policy and procedures so the Foundation and the Community can decide on the best way to use their human and monetary resources. We need to be broadly represented in order to gain a clear picture of the current status of the Projects. FloNight 16:36, 11 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  • I basically agree that 200 is way too high. It of course depends on the role of the council, but if is is supposed to be a body which really does smth (convenes, discusses, makes decisions) and not a forum where some of the members hold a speech once per year, it must be at most several dozens. Also, I am not at all sure that every project must be represented. For instance, there are tiny projects, say below 10 users. They obviously have some specific problems that the community and the council must be aware of, but does every such project really have to be represented? Is it not enough to give one seat to somebody representing ALL these project, so that this person would be a 'speaker" for all tiny projects? This representative may design some way of getting the feedback from the project he/she is representing on the regular basis, and I think this should be enough. In the same way, en.wp, for instance, does not need to get three seats. It is enough that it gets one representative that can adequately address the problems of the project, and there must be of course some feedback from the project. In this way, we do not need 200 plus people. --Yaroslav Blanter 12:47, 13 March 2008 (UTC)Reply
  • Also why do not we provide for some direct elections (no quota) of a part of the council? What I have in mind is smth like two-house parlament, with one halef (it does not have to be 50%) elected via quota from different projects, and another half voted in directly? I might jave overlooked smth, but I have not seen such or similar proposal being discussed on this page. --Yaroslav Blanter 12:51, 13 March 2008 (UTC)Reply

Possible / needed work groups


Sydney said that we need to recognize possible work groups to realize how much members of Wikicouncil we need. Please, add here work groups for which you think that they should exist. --Millosh 17:45, 8 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

  1. WikiProject synchronization work group, which should work on making an interlingual cooperation between particular Wikiprojects on Wikipedias and other Wikimedian projects. --Millosh 23:23, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  2. Work group for activating people to make articles from the groups like 1000 articles which every Wikipedia should have and similar. --Millosh 23:23, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  3. Work group for checking NPOV on the most important articles. --Millosh 23:23, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  4. Work group for making the lists of fundamental books (and other material) which should exist in every language. --Millosh 23:23, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  5. Internal regulation work group should take care about meta-policies of this body. While we would make some scratch of the Wikicouncil, Wikicouncil should take care about itself. --Millosh 23:23, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  6. Policy checking work group (at least, translating them into English and making them public) and synchronization between mutually exclusive policies may be a task for one year for all Wikicouncil members. Also, during that process there should be formed one work group which would check all new policies (translate them, saying are they went into non-negotiable area and similar). --Millosh 23:23, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
  7. ...
Ehm, sorry guys, but don't we have committees for this kind of stuff (well, at least for synchronsation etc)? The Volunteer Council should not be about *everything* imho, please see my proposal above. I think we should define a few areas where the Council would have a say, but I do not think that the structure of a parliament might be the best to choose. And I do not think that a Volunteer Council is the best way to get hands on work done. (making lists, checking NPOV? Can't this be done by "just volunteers"?) Effeietsanders 19:16, 8 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Committees doesn't have a possibility to make any decision which would affect some project. Groups 1, 3 and 5 need power to make decisions. (6 is related only to the Wikicouncil itself.) --Millosh 02:12, 9 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

The sense of Wikicouncil


OK. During the discussion we came to the position to ask ourselves what is the sense of Wikicouncil. I think that we should answer to this question before we continue to develop other ideas related to Wikicouncil. Here is my POV: --Millosh 08:56, 9 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

  1. Lodewijk's option is to have a body of ~20 persons. --Millosh 08:56, 9 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
    • My question is: What would be the purpose of such body? Such body wouldn't be representative; almost for sure, it would be consisted of the same people who are present in the meta-Wikimedian community; it would be more sensible to give to the Board right to chose some kind of Community Advisory Board, or even to appoint some more number of Wikimedians to the Advisory Board. --Millosh 08:56, 9 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
    • If the sense is making a "Community Board", then I think that it would overlap with Board's responsibilities. In this case, I think that the Board has good enough concept (a number of community representatives). --Millosh 08:56, 9 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  2. 2005's proposal (my proposal is just a development of this proposal) is to make a fully representative body. In the original proposal, body would have 100-150 seats, while in my proposal it would have initial 400 (but I am still unsure would even those seats be covered). --Millosh 08:56, 9 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

My proposal also assumes that a number of community bodies (like ComProj is) would get a formal background (assembly's bodies don't need to be covered by people from the assembly). --Millosh 08:56, 9 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Lodewijk, if I missed something about your proposal, please explain :) Also, let's try to make some conclusion here before we go further. Maybe our conclusion here would be just an advice to the Board to make "Community Advisory Board"... --Millosh 08:56, 9 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Almost a day and a half without any input here. I'll continue to work on assembly-like body. This discussion doesn't need to produce only one suggestion. --Millosh 17:14, 10 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
For the assembly-like body we need to define the next: --Millosh 17:14, 10 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  1. Scope of rights which such Wikicouncil should have. --Millosh 17:14, 10 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  2. Scope of the job which such Wikicouncil need to do (including its bodies). --Millosh 17:14, 10 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  3. Exact range of a number of initial and potential delegates. --Millosh 17:14, 10 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Today or tomorrow I'll make some initial framework for those questions (however, if someone does it before me, I would appreciate this :) ) --Millosh 17:14, 10 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Sorry for not responding earlier, but as I think I said before to you privately, I had an exam today :) (have to make priorities, a few mroe days won't matter here anyways, it's not like I expect this to come to a conclusion the first three months anyways.) I'll look further in arguments etc later this evening or tomorrow. Effeietsanders 18:18, 10 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Sorry for not mentioning it (I could tell it at the first sentence). But, you are not the only person involved in this discussion :) (which means that I didn't tell that you are the only person who should make some response). And I wanted to move it further. Of course, I didn't disqualify your proposal; I left other option as a possibility :) --Millosh 20:57, 10 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Also, I think that my question leaded discussion into the dead end, so I tried to move discussion out of it. --Millosh 20:59, 10 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

OK, I've seen a lot of comments, from a few people. I think that there are some big differences in what we intend with the Volunteer Council (VC). (Sorry, I will keep it calling like that for now, as I think it represents more clearly what I mean, as "Wikicouncil" is a too loaded word in the past two years with all types of proposals (and thus different goals etc)).

representation based on opinions, not languages and size of the council


I think we all agree that the VC should be some type of representative body. A body that could make some kind of validated statement on the community's opinion on several matters, which include in my view mainly Foundation-issues (bylaws revisions, yes or no advertizements on the projects, license changes etc), and not cases of individual projects (enforcing NPOV and other policies on specific projects - ruwikibooks might come to mind - or arbitration) and neither do I think that the purpose of such a body should be the transfer of experience. I would like to prevent issues like that the Board has to make a decision, even after discussion maybe, and that the Board would be able to say "bleh, a few loud voices on a mailinglist, that doesn't say a thing". No, the Board would have to ask advice to the coucil. The council would have the opportunity to have a discussion with he community at large, would have an opportunity to express that opinion. It would in some cases even be able to make it deciding what the community thinks. That is what would see as the most important job of the Council, to be able to evaluate decisions by the Board of Trustees, to be able to give her imput, to have an influence on the important decisions.

Transfer of experience would require mainly IRL meetups in my experience, and for sofar it doesn't, there must be much more effective ways to start exchanges amongst communities. Enforcing policies, such as NPOV, should imho not be done directly by elected bodies. For that kind of boring work you need experts mainly, especially if we're talking about Wikimedia projects in all kinds of languages. I think that the odds are high that nobody of the council, how large you want to make it, is not involved, but does speak the langauge etc. I think that for these cases, it is much better to have some type of ad hoc committee, maybe an RfC, but not an enforcing by a council. I could imagine though that either staff or the council gives a stamp to such an ad hoc committee, to give them some kind of authority.

We should first take in mind the issues we want to let the council have a say in. Issues I heard up to now, and agree with, are mainly in the area of Foundation (like) affairs. I think that should indeed be the case, as this would be an official Wikimedia Foundation Body (like the advisory Board and the Board of Trustees). If we think of those issues, where do people differ in opinion? Is that regulated by language barriers? By culture barriers? I think most of the issues are about stuff that people disagree about in *all* projects. The disagreement within frwikipedia is most likely similar as in dewikipedia about the advertizements, bylaws and fundraising. Of course, there will be some differences, but I expect that the differences of opinion within a single project are larger then the differences amongst the average of the single projects. If I disagree with Millosh on these matters for instance, that is not because he's from Serbia and I am from the Netherlands. It is not because I speak Dutch and he speaks Serbian. It is because we just would disagree. But I disagree as well with a lot of people in the Dutch language Wikipedia on the very same issues :).

That said, I have to recognize that there are indeed some differences in the average opinion on Wikipedia and, say, Wikiversity. That is because the nature of these projects is different, and they have a different aim and focus. I think that it would be justified to come up with some arrangement to represent at least all *projects* (not all language projects, but Wikipedia, Wikinews, MediaWiki maybe even) in the VC. With what ratio I am not sure yet about, but as they require different needs from the Foundation, it is fair to let htem have a seperate say.

Actually, I think that it is even better for the integration of language projects if they are not treated as "dfferent". We should treat Wikipedia as one big huge magnificent encyclopedia, that is being created by lots of people, in lots of languages. And it is one single project. Wikipedia-editions share the same mission, and are all trying to write that good free encyclopedia. Why should we be telling someone editing the Tamil Wikipedia that he is not allowed to vote for someone who "represents" the English Wikipedia?

This besides all practical problems it would give, such as a person who lives in Belgium, but is speaking English. Would he be allowed to run for English? For French? For Dutch area? What would be determining, the native language, the secondary language, the place you live? And if you are active on multiple projects? Or if you are mainly active as a steward, and no longer have a specific home project other then meta? What if you are German, and live in the San Francisco Bay area? etc etc. But, that's all besides the real discussion, if we would really want, we could find a way out of all that.

If we take the representation as a whole, and not as representation of every single language etc, then we would not *need* so many representatives to have a covering representation for all language projects, but the smaller representation of opinions of the matters at stake would be more relevant. We would be able to base our decision on what works best in the council, how it will operate most effective and with the most authority.

My view is that a smaller group would work most effectively in discussions, especially if there is a little haste required. I am not sure how often this would occur of course, but if I think of the Wikimedia Foundation in the past year, yeah, it might happen now and then that things have to be finalized quickly. But haste does not mean a day here, just that it does not take months to let every one have it's say. I am glad the number went down to 100 already, but still I think that is far too much. If we would have to elect 100 people, that would be relatively a big percentage of the community that would be able to stand candidate. And not having sufficient candidates or having only a few more, especially on this scale, would mean that the quality of the members as in experience, devotion, but also in representtaion (not much to choose from, after all :) ) would be too low to have a good representative body.

Also, I think we all agree it should at least be very possible to have people joining the VC from all over the world. Also if they do not speak this "lingua franca" very well. Now imagine, if there is a group of 100 people, and there are a bunch of these great people with great opinions and experience, but no very outstanding language skills. How would the be able to discuss their opinion when there are a few people with outstanding language skills? I think they will remain largely unheard. They might very well be overwhelmed by the amount of discussion (which doesn't necessarily add quality), but maybe someone who is worse in English or has more experience with people not being good in English can elaborate on that better.

Less people also requires less bureaucracy with elections, a more clearness how the representation is, and people will be better able to know each other. A smaller group also makes internal regulations easier I expect, as dealing with 100 members might turn out to be much harder then with 20.

100 people does give a slightly better representation maybe (in an ideal situation, with enough candidates and a much larger community), but I see quite some troubles. The procedures would become complicated, unpersonal and I thikn you would not really know who you are voting for (you must surely forget to read all statements!). These problems would maybe plea for an even smaller number. 5 or so. However, I do agree that there *are representation issues, and that a somewhat larger number will increase the chance that the differences in opinion in the VC will reflect the difference in opinion in the community. Hence my choise to ask for about 15-20 members, to find the middle of it. Best regards, Effeietsanders 18:42, 11 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

"I think most of the issues are about stuff that people disagree about in *all* projects. The disagreement within frwikipedia is most likely similar as in dewikipedia about the advertizements, bylaws and fundraising. Of course, there will be some differences, but I expect that the differences of opinion within a single project are larger then the differences amongst the average of the single projects." - These are all your opinions. But with what basis are you speaking? Are you ignoring that every language and every project have their own unique sets of problems?
What you are thinking is a supplement to the board of trustees, which is responsible for the "boring community part" of wikimedia (decision and policy) work. The wikicouncil need not be so. AT least for me, there is no need for the entire body to meet. Ever. Becaues the council exists not for making decisions. The representativies are simply there to allow everybody a more precise view of every community, i.e. they are to represent. The representatives form work groups and can be called up when their knowledge is needed. The whole council can simply be a loosely connected group. Or, if you like, it can just be a geometric mean between the entire wikimedia community and the board of trustees. Hillgentleman 02:06, 15 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Most of the time when I say "I think" in a way like this, I mean that I expect that, based on my logical view or experience with people and communities in the past. Sometimes it can be strengthened with arguments, sometimes maybe not so easily. However, if you disagree with an "I think" like this, and you think it's the other way around, please just say that, then we can discuss that specific issue. If we agree on it, there is no need for aguing on it :)
In this specific case you seem to have your doubts on my view that most of the issues I feel should be the responsibility of the Volunteer Council, which I tried to lay down a bit with the "rights" part, are deviding more within a single community then amongst different communities. Every language will of course have it's own set of problems, but most of these are not relevant for the Volunteer Council as I have it in mind. If they are related to a rogue sysop, a dispute about whether a language does or does not exist, about whether a specific set of articles is NPOV or not, how to handle the bots locally and who should be bureaucrat are none issues that should be with he Volunteer Council. These are either issues that are to be resolved by the local community, either by the language committee, either by some kind of meta-arbcom (there must be a proposal about that elsewhere, don't have the link right now). The set of problems that the Volunteer Council will be working on, such as licenses, Wikimedia Foundation bylaws, advertizements or not, the starting of new projects (such as Wikiversity) and the partnerships with other organizations will most likely (based on my experience yes, I don't have solid statistics on that, but if you have them, please bring them in) be just as controversial in community A as in community B of a certain project (Wikipedia, Wikinews etc). I expect that there won't be for these subjects a clear "view of this and that community", I do not expect on topics like this "frwikipedia versus nlwikipedia" discussions.
The things the Advisory Council will be overlooking will maybe be boring, but none the less important to be done by a fully community elected body imho. I would not dare to call it a supplement to the Board, as both the VC and the Board are totally different in nature. Not only does the Board have "externals" on board, they also meet more regular, have a much broader responsibility and have more to worry about then only the opinion of the community. Furthermore, the Board has the authority and legal ability to change the very fundaments of the Wikimedia Foundation: the Articles of Incorporation and the Bylaws. The Board appoints the head of staff, and is overlooking the staff and finances much more directly. The Board is (unfortunately?) a much more closed body. The Volunteer Council on the contrary would be much more on a distance from the kitchen, and will be closer to the people eating the food. The VC would be somewhat larger, and that way consist of a broader field of Volunteers, expressing their view on the relevant topics. I think it would be the power of such a Council to operate as a whole, and to debate the topics all together. splitting up in working groups would in my view undo some of the advantages of the Volunteer Council. However, I do also beleive it is at the end up to the Volunteer Council how it organizes itself on that behalf. And I think you are right that they would not need to meet "in real life" to make decisions, I actually think it would be highly inpractical. Not because they would not be making decisions (they would make highly influential advices, if the Board recognizes their authority and their rights are well laid down in the Bylaws) but because I experienced with Wikimania and all Wikimedia Foundation mailinglists that it is perfectly possible to have discussions online on a mailinglist or wiki, and as well for votings.
Best regards, Effeietsanders 19:55, 15 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Quick answer 1: "Every project has its own set of problems" - what I have in mind are the developmental problems, for example, what the wikimedia foundation can do to support and facilitate the development of the particular projects. Hillgentleman 20:14, 15 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Quick answer 2: The problem is in your free use of "I think", even to oppose other's comments. When it is clear that what you are thinking is not what everybody else is thinking, such use prevents further discussion. For I cannot divine your thoughts and there is no way I can discuss with what is in your head - unless you spell them out. Hillgentleman 21:58, 15 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

The wikicouncil would have more or less the following rights (to be specified):


The rights to be informed on decisions that have an impact on the community + duties


It will remain informed of Board decisions that have been made and that are to be made so that it can influence those according to the views of the communities represented. The Council will work to ensure that all the needs of all projects are communicated to the Board, and that the affairs of the Wikimedia Foundation are communicated to those communities.

  • it will be informed of new partnerships that will impact the projects
(eg, Wikimedia America Conference)

The right to be asked for advice in matters that have a direct impact on the community and projects

  • putting advertisements on the projects

The right to be asked for approval to a more specific set of topics

  • Change of the articles of Incorporation (!)
  • change of the bylaws of Wikimedia Foundation
  • change of license under which the projects run
  • creation of a new project
  • closure of projects (unless it is legally advised to do so)

The right to define what "community" means in the sense of Wikimedia Foundation board of trustees elections


WMF board of trustees agreed to have at least the majority of its board be community members, either elected or appointed. There are two problems. 1) there is no clear definition of what "community" mean, at least for the purpose of the elections and appointments and 2) WMF currently defines the rules of elections to the board.

Proposal is to let the wikicouncil be in charge of defining what a "community member" is for adequate representation on the board. It may be by defining something such as a community represent is someone who 1) either is an active editor on a wikimedia projects (xx days, xx edits), or 2) is an active developer of mediawiki (has at least xx accepted submissions to the code) or 3) belong to the list xx (other cases).

Second, propose that the rules for elections be jointly decided by a board election committee and the wikicouncil. It is up to the board to request people over 18, under true identity, with no criminal background. It is up to the election committee to decide the exact voting means and procedures. But it might be up to the committee to decide 1) who can vote (xx edits etc...), 2) procedures to replace a resigning elected person etc...

Comment. "WMF currently defines the rules of elections to the board." is right in a broad sense. In details the election committee make a proposal and the Board approve it. It happened committee provided multiple options and have the Board make a final decision though, none of proposal from the committee hasn't been rejected as long as I was involved. And the each member of committee came from the editorial community, in a sense people who were chosen to represent the community at large, balanced in language, sex, age, geographical places or other elements, way of their participant (active on enwp, other single project or multiple or meta ...) reflecting the diversity of the community. --Aphaia 17:01, 11 January 2008 (UTC)Reply



Lodewijk and I were talking yesterday a lot over IRC. Florence, your idea is in harmony with Lodewijk's proposal and there is no need for a body with more then 20-30 members for such tasks. While I think that this is improvement of the present situation, I think that we should start to work on assembly-like body. I said that we should "start", not necessarily to finish it quickly. Wikicouncil is much more achievable goal then Wikimedian assembly and it should be made ASAP. However, I am very unsure how long WM community would be able to function without direct representation. During the next days I'll try to formulate my ideas about that. (For example, I don't think that transforming WMF to membership is necessary for making an assembly.) --Millosh 10:09, 11 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

I am confused now. My proposal concluded that a good number would be around 80-150 people roughly... and you indicate that my idea is in harmony with those of Lodewijk, who propose 20-30 at MOST. Uh ? Where did we get the confusion ? Anthere 15:23, 12 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Maybe because Millosh thinks our idea of what a council should *do* is similar? :) (and I agree that we might have at least the basics in agreement) Effeietsanders 15:51, 12 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Language-headed wikicouncils?


Perhaps each wikicouncil should be headed by 1-3 translators who pledge neutrality. I do not see massive multilingual communication, of dozens or even hundreds of people, being successful (given foundation-l's English-centrism).

  |     Board           |
   |     |      |   ...
   *     *      *   ...      <-- language contacts
   /\    /\     /\ 
  /en\  /de\   /fr\  ...     <-- language specific councils
  ----  ----   ----

Language contacts summarise discussions from that language's council for other councils, and summarise other council's discussions for their own council. They should be fairly "apolitical". pfctdayelise 14:06, 12 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Number of representatives


We need to be lead by the type of work that the Wikicouncil will perform. If Wikicouncil is going to be a passive group that is primarily formed to be a conduit for information sharing between the Foundation, staff, and the various Projects, then I do not think a large group is absolutely needed, although it could still be large if desired. If the Wikicouncil is going to have a more active role in reviewing the needs of the Project and assisting the Foundation and the Projects to form a plan to meet the needs, then I think a larger body is needed. I need a clearer picture of how others see the Wikicouncil doing its work to understand the number of representatives needed. FloNight 23:24, 14 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

my own view is definitly the second case, which is why I think we need a rather large body. Anthere 14:24, 21 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Getting it going


It would not be to our advantage to predetermine how the Wikicouncil will operate, what the scope of its agenda should include, how big it is or even whether election is the best way to choose the membership of the Council. Ultimately some kind of logarithmic formula as suggested by Millosh could work, but that needs discussion as much as anything else. I do think that talking about the "rights" that such a council would have puts an unfortunate spin on the proposition. It is not about rights, it is about making the entire Wikimedia operation work better in all respects. It means putting into place processes that will rebuild the frayed sense of trust that I often see on the mailing list. It means exploring governance models at the cutting edge of governance where there are no precedents.

I would thus propose:

  1. That somewhere between 30 and 40 persons be appointed the first members of the Council. These would be chosen from the most active and experienced Wikimedians representing a broad range of projects, languages and chapters. A special committee could be established by the Board to make these appointments.
  2. That the first members of the Wikicouncil be prepared to meet in Alexandria in connection with Wikimania 2008, and that partial subsidies be available to enable as many as possible to come to Wikimania. (If enough funds are available the number appointed could be more than 40.)
  3. No decision made by the Council in Alexandria would be binding unless ratified by the Board or affected projects, as the case may be.
  4. That a staff member (possibly Cory?) be tasked with establishing a Wikicouncil secretariat to manage the information flow. (The bigger the Wikicouncil, the more important such a secretariat will be.)

I have supported the idea of bicameral governance ever since the idea of establishing the Wikimedia Foundation was first being discussed. As it turns out, anxieties at the time notwithstanding, we were not harmed by not having the first three Board members elected. I think that a similar situation would prevail with the initial Wikicouncil. Failing to take action, or imposing serious restrictions on the selection of the original Wikicouncil could very well prevent such a body from ever becoming a reality. Assuming good faith, and promoting an atmosphere of trust will be essential to the initial success of Wikicouncil. Eclecticology 10:18, 22 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

You mention a good possibility. There is no absolute need indeed to go through full consensus processes first to get to a council. However, I do think that before anything, we should at least try to agree on the very fundamentals of the council, so that at least their objective will be clear. Otherwise it would be the creation of a council, just because of the creation. The Council should serve a purpose, and to come to that, we should in my view at least define the "jurisdiction", the "purpose" and the rough outline of such a council.
The rights of the council do not have to be determined in detail, but I think it will proof to be usefull in the discussions if we all know more or less what type of council we are talking about. Will it be a decision making or advising body? Will it consist of volunteers or not? Will they be the ones giving orders to the Board, or will the Board ask their advice? How active will they have to be? In which area's? These fundamental questions should at least have a rough answer to only be able to find the right people to serve in such a council. We do not have to agree on every detail yet, but we do need a map, an outline of where we want to go. Let's not throw them into the deep water, but give them something to hold on. If we find that we *can* come to a compromise, and work it all out already, I think it would be preferrable to immediately finish the whole thing, and formulate a full proposal. However, I think with you this is not very likely to happen soon. So the big question for this is: are we in a rush, is there a time frame? :)
PS: whether such a council would have to meet in Alex, would also depend on the purpose etc of the council. Effeietsanders 19:10, 22 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
It is difficult to answer some of these questions without seeming to take hard positions. I do see the Council as becoming a decision making body; to what extent it makes decisions depends as much on negotiations with the Board. I do see it as developing broad strokes of editorial policy that apply across all projects or groups of projects subject to a ratification process so that the projects do not feel that some top-down set of rules is not being shoved down their throats. It needs to make decisions in areas that the Board needs to avoid for fear of endangering its ISP status.
I see it as made up exclusively of volunteers. Imagine the noise from average Wikipedians if it were anything else. The secretariat would be staff, but it does not make the decisions.
The Board and Council would mostly have roles in different areas, so I don't see it as one telling the other what to do. I would like to see some kind of joint responsibility for the by-laws, but we're not going to get that unless the Board agrees, and they certainly won't agree if the Council develops into a gang of dysfunctional squabblers.
Conflicting views are a precondition to compromise. As things stand there are no established positions, so we can still build from the ground up. Formulating a whole position from the beginning can't work, because it means anticipating the will of the Council. In the time between naming the original group, and the suggested meeting in Alexandria we can have many exchanges of messages involving that whole group. That may help to answer some of your concerns. Once in Alexandria it may be helpful to work with a facilitator who will help the group to focus on its task.
An Alexandria meeting sets up a time frame. Without a specific event on which to focus this kind of initiative tends to fade away into nothingness because it is not a priority in anybody's mind. Eclecticology 23:03, 22 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Would a meeting in Alexandria really be necessary at the initial stage? Greeves (talk contribs) 22:40, 22 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
I see it as more desirable than necessary. It will send out the message that Wikicouncil is important . . . at least as important as having had the Advisory Board in Taipei. Eclecticology 23:06, 22 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Rush time: I may be completely selfish here, so here is my own bias. Ideally, I would like to see the community entirely in charge of deciding who will be "a community member" for election purposes, and who could be elected as a community representative, and how they would be replaced in case of a vaccum. I would selfishly want that before the next elections (june) because I think that is important, and because until june, I am sure I can have an impact, at least as voter on the board. I am not convinced it will be the same if we wait longer. But that's super selfish :-) If I look longer term... it may not be urgent. This said, I like Ec proposition to name a group to work further on that stuff, for a serious meeting in Alexandria. Anthere 23:09, 22 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

I wouldn't call it selfish. Ominous perhaps, but not selfish. Selfish would be for the rest of us to insist that you stay on the Board. The representation problem is a tough one that may not be solvable before June. Even "electing" representatives should not be viewed as a sure thing; some good people who may be well suited for Wikicouncil may not have the stomach for the game-playing of election campaigns. A key characteristic of good Wikicouncil members should be an ability to take a global view of Wikimedia without being locked into home-project chauvinism. Eclecticology 02:07, 23 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
My sense of urgency comes from seeing cross wiki Community needs that can best be handled through a Wikicouncil. I feel that many Projects are quickly growing and maturing, and we need to put in place new methods to support them. I see a Wikicouncil as a big step in that direction. FloNight 23:42, 22 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

I am here again (after exams). I generally agree with Eclecticology's proposal (30-40 members initially, appointed by the Board); but, of course, I don't think that we need to wait until Alexandria. This body should start to work on its own meta issues. Until June Council should finish final proposal for the new body and the Board should approve it (so, let's say, until the end of April final draft should be done and the Board should decide about it during the May). In Alexandria may be the first and the last meeting of this body in real life and in September-October we should have general elections. --Millosh 16:45, 24 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Do we need some further discussion or we may make an agenda? For example: --Millosh 16:45, 24 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

  1. February 10th: this proposal should be formulated. --Millosh 16:45, 24 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  2. The end of February: the Board approves it and appoints members of the Council. --Millosh 16:45, 24 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  3. The end of April: the Council makes the final draft of the future look of the Council. --Millosh 16:45, 24 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  4. The end of May: the Board approves the final document. --Millosh 16:45, 24 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  5. Alexandria (end of July -- beginning of August): meeting in Alexandria (maybe even making some decisions which are according to the temporary nature of such Council). --Millosh
  6. September or October: general elections. --Millosh 16:45, 24 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Although I do have some reservations about some aspects of this proposal, I would not want them to stand in the way of positive action. The Wikicouncil initiative is extremely important on a variety of fronts, and I would hate to see it killed through the traditional practice of talking it into oblivion.
I absolutely agree with points 1, 2 and 5 above. Point 6 presumes that general elections will remain the best way to name future members to the Council. If so, and everything else works, the proposed time for those elections is as good as any, but we should not preclude any other methods or combination of methods for developing Council membership.
My biggest concern is with the use of the word "final" in points 3 and 4. The best we can hope for by the end of April is a first draft. During March and April working on a private wiki would certainly reduce the signal to noise ratio, but that needs to be balanced with the knowledge that a secret process won't fly very far. Those private conversations can produce a workable framework; what the Board would then approve would be that we have a workable framework with very limited rights to pass rules affecting Wikimedia in general.
From the end of April until Wikimania the provisional Council members should not just be patiently waiting for their flights to Alexandria. They should continue working on fleshing out the draft, and actively listening to all interested opinion on all projects. Once in Alexandria, I would suggest an intensive full-day meeting on the day before Wikimania officially starts, at least one session during Wikimania to present results to the general attending body and a short meeting after Wikimania to synthesize the results into a more formal presentation for the Board to adopt. Beyond that we can only guess how things would proceed because they would depend so much on the results of provisional Council deliberation. Eclecticology 19:59, 24 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

I agree with your points. The last one was generally about need to treat the body as a temporary one and to give the community the final word in electing members. However, this is my POV and it should be discussed inside of the council and the community. --Millosh 10:14, 25 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

I wanted to give some timeline and it is not necessarily the best, of course. And, yes, I agree about the need that Council should work between June and Wikimania. I also agree that there should be intensive meetings during Wikimania. --Millosh 10:14, 25 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

So, here is my revised proposal: --Millosh 10:14, 25 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

  1. February 10th: this proposal should be formulated. --Millosh 10:14, 25 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  2. The end of February: the Board approves it and appoints members of the Council. --Millosh 10:14, 25 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  3. The end of April: the Council makes the first draft of the future look of the Council. --Millosh 10:14, 25 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  4. The end of May: The final draft after discussion with community. --Millosh 10:14, 25 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  5. During June: the Board approves the final document. --Millosh 10:14, 25 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  6. Between June and Alexandria: Council is working according to its temporary nature.. --Millosh 10:14, 25 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  7. Alexandria (end of July -- beginning of August): intensive meetings in Alexandria (maybe even making some decisions which are according to the temporary nature of such Council). --Millosh 10:14, 25 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
  8. September or October: if decided so -- general elections. --Millosh 10:14, 25 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Let's at least get the first two happening, and perhaps task a staff member with managing information flow, and take it from there. Eclecticology 19:52, 25 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

  • I agree for the most part but feel that there needs to be more Community input before the any steps. I don't want the initiative to fail due to an outcry that the proposal was rush to completion. I think we might need a slight delay to give the initiative more time to be widely distributed. I think this is especially important since the main purpose of the Wikicouncil is to bring Community input to the Wikimedia policies and processes. FloNight 18:23, 26 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
    • I agree with your sentiment, but I think that failure through inactivity is more likely than failure through outcry. Perhaps I've become encrusted with cynicism, but my experience has been that most of the community prefers not to comment until they have something they can oppose. Over the years Anthere has often proposed thoughtful governance measures of various kinds, but the silence in response has been deafening. We have links above to a 2005 proposal. Why did that fail? It's very easy to come up with reasons to oppose, but difficult to come up with counter-proposals that will help build a consensus. It's perhaps with the same sentiments as you that I express my concerns about "final" drafts or the "rights" of the Council. Still, unless the first real steps are taken nothing will happen. The members of the appointed provisional Wikicouncil need to be people who will not hang things up because they are stuck on particular details; they need to understand this about consensus building. Eclecticology 20:54, 26 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
      • This initiative is a large change and I feel that we need to make sure the Community is kept well informed of the progress of this initiative. I think we need to establish a pattern of good communication from the Wikicouncil to the Community. I think it is important for us to make sure that the current proposal is translated into as many languages as possible, posted at places where central discussion occur on projects, announced on project mailing lists. I think we should consider having a question and answer discussion on IRC and/or Skype, this meta talk page. I think taking these steps will help the Community understand that the Wikicouncil is their body and hopefully inspire more people to get involved. FloNight 14:56, 27 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
        • This is all very noble, but are you volunteering to do all those translations, send out all those notices, and manage all those discussions? I don't oppose them, but unless somebody has the time and energy to devote to these tasks that ain't gonna happen. There can be no communication from Wikicouncil unless there is a Wikicouncil in the first place. People are not going to get enthusiastic about this if they regard it as administrative vapourware. Eclecticology 00:51, 28 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
Ec is right. Organising translations is hard work, especially hard to convince translators if they can't see the benefit themselves.
Would we be better off establishing a wikicouncil purely as a project<->Foundation communication conduit, with no binding rights as yet? That may be easier to get started. From there we have a group that can figure out what should happen with any "meta arbcom" and so on. pfctdayelise 02:15, 28 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
I absolutely think it would be better that way. There are far too many unknowns with the wikicouncil for it to be given any binding rights.Swatjester 23:20, 15 March 2008 (UTC)Reply
"figure out"= "make recommendations, and possibly facilitate setting up." pfctdayelise 02:17, 28 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
This is closer to what I had in mind. I can't see Wikicouncil having any "rights" at all until at least the beginning of September, except the right to meet, talk and propose. Meta-arbcom is an idea worth considering eventually, but is not my priority since it has too much possibility for divisiveness. We would do better beginning with proposals for codifying those things that already have a lot of support so as to build the confidence of the Wikimedia community. Eclecticology 09:01, 28 January 2008 (UTC)Reply
I agree with the idea of a transitional body. But an Important First Task is to notify the entire Community of this initiative prior to its formation. Developing good communication channels to the Community is a key part of what the Wikicouncil is about. We need to work through the existing Foundation resources that handle communication and develop new methods as well. It is going to take work to make the Wikicouncil succeed. We need to recruit a body of volunteers to make it happen. FloNight 12:54, 28 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Representing the Wikimedia as a whole


I would suggest that the members of the Council should not be regarded (or elected) as representants of projects or languages. It would be difficult to represent in that way, especially if one is active in more than one projects. Rather, a Council member should have in concern all of the Wikimedia Projects, in all languages.--Ziko-W 17:59, 13 March 2008 (UTC)Reply

wmf:Minutes/2014-01-31#Community council


FYI --Nemo 17:05, 27 April 2014 (UTC)Reply