Talk:Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees/Archive 1

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This page was used to discuss a Wikimedia Board of Trustees before it was announced that only there would be only two positions on the board for user representatives. As most of this discussion occured before the structure of the board was known, much of it is outdated.

The Board of Trustees has been announced. This page is to discuss the issues related to the Board of Trustees. For the board procedures, go to board manual. For the ideal board, go to The ideal Wikipedia board.

Purpose and discretion of a board[edit]

The purpose of a board is generally to provide vision, and take long term, strategic decisions. The purpose of a sysop is to take short term, tactical decisions. While I can see the benefits of having sysop representation on the Wikipedia board, I think it would be silly to have the board as simply being all sysops.
Not according to the sysops, who simply don't see the problem in utterly trusting their editorial opinions, definition of vandalism, IP block power. Amazing actually that access to this hard ban power is accepted as a qualification for membership on a nonprofit board. It should disqualify.
There are a few sysops who are more active and more respected as senior members of the community. The sysop page lists 104, which is way too many; a few of the more "important" sysops ought to be on the board. --Geoffrey 01:25 1 Aug 2003 (UTC)
For "important" read "those who have never used their IP block power other than on a simple vandal". Using it should get you thrown off the board. Likewise for stating an opinion on "who is" behind any anonymous ID. When a board member is "outing", it becomes a problem for the whole organization as any person accused of anything by a board member can actually sue the nonprofit entity, even if that person was not "acting as a board member". If that person was actually the "sysop representative" on the board, the defense for this is pretty thin.
Although this might get me on the board (^_^) and I am against banning a simple, probably onetime vandal, I don't see any reason why we should do that. Banning a simple vandal by IP is a perfectly legitimate act, and there is no reason to outlaw it for board members. LittleDan 18:12, 19 Aug 2003 (UTC)


What qualities do we want in members of our wikipedia board?

  • Sense of ethics?
  • Working knowledge of politics and/or law?
  • Creativity?
  • Friends - social capital?
  • Ideas?
  • Some special understanding/experience/advice?
  • Representing a particular viewpoint or group of users?

What do we not want in members of our wikipedia board?

  • micromanagement? - we probably don't want a board to get involved in every petty edit conflict.
Petty? no. But it would be cool for them to be able to veto the bigger conflicts that drown out everything else on WikiEN-l...such as the capitalization one a while back? If they could arbitrarily pick an interim concensus until the decision is eventually reached , that might be useful. --Geoffrey 01:25 1 Aug 2003 (UTC)
  • record of indiscretion in legal matters, e.g. easy accusations in writing

Board roles[edit]

Individual board members may take more than one of these roles - this doesn't imply a size, just list what jobs the board needs to do

  • Chair
  • Treasurer - someone to keep track of donations or other funding, and keep track of how money is spent
  • Secretary - take minutes, organise meeting times, miscellaneous board administration
  • User representative - someone that users can talk to to bring up particular issues that they feel the board should discuss. Selected by some kind of vote by Wikipedia users.
  • Sysop representative - similar role for sysops (who may have different concerns)
  • Troll liaison - try to figure out what current disputes and systemic bias are - anti-groupthink, procedural nitpicking, systemic bias of current users and sysops, POVs not otherwise considered - would take a special personality to do this right - without this, project surely stagnates into a simple cabal
    • Also a troll seat on the board not attached to any one "person" - but this could be used by ordinary inoffensive users too, if they want to bring up any issue anonymously to the board
    • In other words - a "black hat"
  • Public relations - organise press releases, give interviews, etc. Trying to find funding probably comes in here.
  • Legal advice - inevitably, issues of law are going to arise - an actual lawyer would seem beneficial
  • Community advice - someone with experience running other community sites
  • Editorial advice - someone with experience creating an encyclopedia-like resource
  • Design advice - someone that can advise on usability and keep a standard and consistant look and feel across all projects.
  • Software architecture - name and guide w:Wikipedia:Software Phase IV

Dual roles[edit]

Some of these could be dual roles, where one person wears both hats. This keeps the initial board size small. For example

  • user rep and sysop rep (and "black hat"?)
  • chair and PR
  • treasurer and secretary
  • design advice and software architecture

Why just a Board?[edit]

Why just a board? Why not a board and an Advisory Council? Is Wikimedia a membership organization? Will volunteers have a voice on the board (some NPOs do not have volunteer representation specifically stated). An Advisory Council can be made of individuals who can contribute to Wikimedia without the fiduciary duties of board members. Many of the suggestions above can still be directed by the volunteers, it does not have to be a hierarchical organization controlled by the top down, the board can be their just to allow all the Wikipedia type projects to flourish through the unique, evolutionary style of decisionmaking that makes Wikimedia so special and open. Some of this stuff that is suggested sounds like Wikimedia is going to be just another corporate undertaking (like a hospital or large university press). Is that necessary? It might be better to have a small group of people who can actually meet (3-5) on an ocassional basis as the board and have a larger group of Advisors who can have open membership type meetings to discuss whatever comes up, only real basic disagreements would ever reach the board, everything else can be resolved the way it is resolved now, seems to be working pretty well, no? Alex756

I think we should explore some of these options. Several months ago I suggested a Board of Trustees. This would be a small group whose primary responsibility would be to ensure that Wikimedia remains consistent with its founding principles. Jimbo would be ideally suited as one of these trustees. It would not benefit us if his non-arm's length participation were to compromise Wikimedia's charitable status.
Regrettably, I find that most of what has been said so far betrays the fact that most of the participants haven't got a clue about what they are discussing. Although a Board will undoubtedly have the power to establish banning policy, this is not the time or place to attempt to pre-micromanage those outcomes. it is also premature to accept nominations for directors before the by-laws have at least provisionally been adopted.
IMHO we need an ad hoc committee of people interested in such things as by-laws to prepare a rough first draft of such a document. Obviously, such a committee could not decide anything. It could only report, but giving some kind of structure to this discussion would be very helpful. Eclecticology 22:45, 1 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Board size[edit]

Wikipedia really doesn't need much admin - how does five people sound? --Martin

I agree. Some of these seem unnecessary. Why should we have a troll representative? Design advice seems unnecessary, individual projects will (and do) choose their own look and feel.

Recipe for chaos and conflict - simply codify existing power relationships with no outreach or attempt to fix longstanding issues, let all projects self-design so there is no cognitive complexity gain for sticking within the "family"

As for secretary, it is very easy on most IRC clients to save an archive of the chat, and we don't need a whole person to organize meeting times, just have the chair do it.

That's an option: we can have one person doing multiple roles. I listed some options above.

I really don't see why we need "community advice", as wikipedia is unique and unlike other community sites.

It is *either* an encyclopedia *or* a "community", but it can't be both
That's just hubris - Wikipedia has a community of folks, and the resulting problems are basically that of any similar online community. The community is, and should always be, a means not an end - but it's still there. We're not as unique as some suppose.

In this case, I think the chair should be PR, because the press wants to contact the person in charge. That leaves Chair, Treasurer, User rep, Sysop rep, Legal advice, and PR, which I think would make good board jobs. An additional open advisiory council would also help. It is obvious that Jimbo should be chair and that Alex should be legal, but who should the rest be? I'll put nominations below, but I'll sign my name here w:User:LittleDan:

  • Chair
    1. LDan nominates Jimbo
  • Treasurer
    1. Maveric149 (if nobody else wants to do it; I was Student Body Treasurer and Student Store General Manager of my high school)
  • Legal advice
    1. LDan nominates Alex756
    2. also, consider en:user:NetEsq - but we want volunteers, maybe?

Note: Jimbo wrote on the mailing list that he would be choosing everything about the board unilaterally and there's nothing we can do about it. LittleDan 18:12, 19 Aug 2003 (UTC)

details... ;-)
Brion certainly should be listed here, but not as a sysop representative. Rather as a developper representative. Brion does not use his sysop powers really.
I also think there should be representatives here of the different projects or subprojects. If only users/sysop of the english speaking wikipedia are on the board, the particularities of all the different projects, international wikipedias, wiktionary, etc... are likely not to be taken into account by the board, just because of a lack of information or feedback. Is this the advisory board ? I dunno. But, there is need for a source of information somehow. Anthere
All those extra things can be separate committees which are managed by the board. { MB | マイカル } 20:04, 17 Sep 2003 (UTC)


While admittedly I am fairly new to this project, I offer these observations having dealt with such governance issues before in various other lives.

  • Long-enduring organizations have a board that serves two purposes.
  1. . Fundraising.
  2. . Governance.
  • The governance function of a long-enduring organization is:
  1. . Decide who will be in charge, the limits of their authority, and how they will be compensated.
  2. . Periodically review the activities of those who are in charge.
  3. . Remove those who are in charge when necessary.

That's it.

The board of a foundation or nonprofit should have a most exceedingly longterm outlook, and might be made up of perhaps five or seven or nine members serving terms as long a six years.

Given the egalitarian nature of the project, one might expect such a board to nominate an executive committee that would actually make the day-to-day descisions on, for example, press releases, and banning users, and adjudication of the various and sundry petty disputes that arise within the community.

The benefit of distinguishing between the board and the executive committee is that the board can then be made up of widely respected members of the broader Internet community who would be unwilling to invest the time to attend to day to day matters. Then, eager but less well known people could be chosen for daily operations.

Kat 20:19 8 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Hm. I think that is a good idea. Although Jimbo will definitely be on the board, me thinks. --mav
It is a good idea, with the executive committee plucked from busy folks without much time but a lot of experience setting or challenging standards - the ideal Wikipedia board lists exactly these people, but they are not, and should not, be considered part of some Internet non-community focused on technology, but representatives of those likely to be affected by an encyclopedia project. The "ideal" list is actually far too shy of people who would really distribute a version 1.0 to places and people (like destitute schools and libraries in developing nations where people are hungry to learn English, community radio stations, etc.) that would really be most affected by, and welcoming of, the CD version.

Board vs. Steering Comittee(s)?[edit]

The first paragraph currently says:

The purpose of a board is generally to provide vision, and take long term, strategic decisions.

Surely this is the purpose of a Steering Comittee, and the Board should be about the actual running of the Wikipedia (e.g. organisation of tech support, funding, primary press relations, &c.), with the SC reporting to the Board...?

Or perhaps there should be an SC for each individual Wikimedia project (Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wiktionary, Nupedia, Wikiquote, Wikiperhaps for the WikiMedia sofware, and so on)? Then the Board could constitute new projects by forming a new SC...

Jdforrester 19:59, 17 Sep 2003 (UTC)


When Aphaia reverted my edits ([1]) (the template "Foundation wiki" stated that the page it appeared on was an unofficial copy of a page on the Foundation wiki), I was told that this was a draft. If so, it doesn't look like we're making much progress towards a final. Brianjd | Why restrict HTML? | 09:09, 2005 May 8 (UTC)

The page on the Foundation wiki has a different format to this page. Is this page really a "draft"? Brian Jason Drake 06:57, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

Appeal the Arbitration Committee decision[edit]

Please help: where can I appeal against Arbitration Committee (in ru-wiki) decision? --Jaroslavleff 15:45, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Look of the page[edit]

I removed the process browsing scheme implemented here (I left it on other pages). While the idea may be nice, the thing is highly distracting.

If anything, this page suffers from overlinking and too much irrelevant material. I would suggest integrating the useful links in the sidebar to the right (which could also use a trim up), rather than on top where it is not at all pleasing. Comments? en:Oleg Alexandrov (talk) 17:07, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

Note that I put the link Information and statistics to the bottom from the top. en:Oleg Alexandrov (talk) 17:22, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

Issue with voting process[edit]

Sorry if this is OT, but I really really tried to find a better (unprotected) place to post this. I went to vote in the board elections and was disappointed that I did not have enough edits :( . What I did notice is that the error message it is giving me is incorrect. The first part about not enough edits is correct, but saying that also I didn't register early enough is wrong. March is before May last time I checked. Once again, sorry for putting this on the wrong site, in the wrong location, etc. but I couldn't find a better spot. Good luck to all of the candidates. [GuyFromChicago] GuyFromChicago 21:39, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, you are not qualified to vote in this election here on the English Wikipedia. You need to have made 400 edits here before 00:00, 1 August 2006; you have made 22. Also, your first edit on this wiki was at 02:15, 26 March 2006; it needs to be before 00:00, 3 May 2006.
You may be eligible to vote on another Wikimedia project where you are active. If so, please visit that project and try again. Thank you!

Just wondering - every member of board of trustees got paid? I mean they get salary? If yes - is it open data? 20:38, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

Bias beyond hope[edit]

What does the board intend to do about the rampant, Gestapo like left wing liberal communist agenda that runs rampant at this site?

Every minor change to article after I've made, under many different IPs, has been reverted and /or deleted by admins with an staunch hyper leftwing agenda.

This site is absolutely pathetic, and your pride and your desire never to admit your bias is the death of this site. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 2006-10-30t22:09:29z.

If the edits were on the English Wikipedia see en:WP:V, en:WP:NPOV, and en:WP:DR; else find that project's Contact page. -- Jeandré, 2006-12-09t07:52z

Closure of Moldovan Wikipedia[edit]

Don't forget to close "Moldovan Wikipedia". It was voted on "Moldovan Wikipedia" and also here. Nicolae 20:52, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

is the date correct[edit]

It seems like Sep 2007 should be changed to Sep 2006. Bawolff 06:00, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

it should be upgraded to the current board 21:25, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

contacting the Board?[edit]

I could not find any information about how one is supposed to contact the Wikimedia Board of Trustees. Do they have a common e-mail address? Or should they be contacted individually? Regards, Nsk92 14:50, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Mirror update?[edit]

This seems to be getting stale. Can we get a mirror update on it (it is currently protected). In particular, I would imagine that Veronique Kessler (CFOO which means CFO + COO) is now functioning as the treasurer.-- 01:14, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

(She's not functioning as treasure right now, the board is looking for one.) Cbrown1023 talk 02:33, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
and the fact being that Veronique Kessler is a staff, not a Board Member so the current list of staff can be found on >> Current staff (people who are paid by the foundation) whereas the Board of Trustees work Free-of-charge ..--Cometstyles 05:56, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

New Language proposal policy[edit]

many members of community strong disagree with current language proposal policy. it is the reason why we have been making a draft for a new policy.

The draft can check for you, members of Board of trustees here.


Wikipedia Bahasa Aceh approval[edit]

Please take a look at Wikipedia Bahasa Aceh and need your approval on this --Andri.h 22:47, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Board #3: Sep 2005 – Nov 2006?[edit]

Surely this should be Board #3: Sep 2006 – Nov 2006 11:52, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

A comment on term dates[edit]

We have always been lax about when Trustee terms of appointment start and end. This is interesting, considering the precision with which this is debated and observed in other governance bodies.

Observations as best as I can make them: There are some ambiguities in the transitions on the board timeline, but none of significance. In practice, a Board member elected for a year should attend the 4 main annual meetings; and is sometimes present at the following meeting for continuity, to finalize any votes that extended until that meeting. As of late 2009, appointed expertise seats begin at the start of the calendar year and run until the end of the year; elected and selected trustees are elected for roughly two years but serve until the Board meeting that formally approves a replacement.

-- sj · translate · + 22:38, 25 September 2009 (UTC)


Matt Halprin was appointed to the board, his term will expire in December. 03:33, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Cumulative voting[edit]

I recommend electing the board by cumulative voting, as this will make it easier for minority factions to obtain representation. This is standard procedure in the corporate world and is not hard to implement. Tisane 05:35, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Latgalian Wikipedia[edit]

Please look at Wikipedia Latgalian (request), we need the approval. Thanks! =) --Dark Eagle 18:13, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

Need Action...[edit]

Probably the wrong place for this, but: Can the Wikimedia Board please oversee the huge change being proposed for Wikipedia's Criticisms? (MINORLY important.) Here: Thanks! (I'm "Dario D." over there. No account here.)-- 10:37, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

Requests for new languages/Wikivoyage Thai[edit]

Please final decision wikivoyage Thai Please --Parintar (talk) 21:00, 14 December 2015 (UTC)