Talk:Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees/Call for feedback: Community Board seats/Election of confirmed candidates

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(S)elections should be entirely run by the community[edit]

In my opinion (s)elections for community- and affiliate seats of the Board of Trustees should be entirely organized, designed and run by the community, without involvement of the Board or staff of the WMF. The Wikimedia contributors are very well capable themselves to evaluate the candidates in an election, after the candidates have nominated themselves. The Board appoints the candidates selected by the community. Half of the board seats are appointed by the Board, and that is more than enough. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 10:51, 3 February 2021 (UTC)

I'm confused.[edit]

This discussion option says "The Board has no intention to implement a new process for selecting community- and affiliate-selected trustees that does not involve community voting". However, there are several other options on the table that seem to do exactly that. Can someone clarify? Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 21:22, 3 February 2021 (UTC)

@The Land That sentence means that the Board is not considering any combination of ideas that results in a process where there is no community voting at all. Possible scenarios contemplate a community vote of candidates, a community vote of the Selection Committee members, or both. Qgil-WMF (talk) 23:14, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
Qgil-WMF I wonder if you see the parallel with Iranian elections, which also does not completely eliminate voting. Specifically, a council of Clerics creates a list of candidates approved to run for president then the people are permitted to vote for one of the approved candidates. My view is that (1) they should just approve a single candidate skipping the sham election, and (2) the people need to overthrow such a regime. Alsee (talk) 22:14, 14 February 2021 (UTC)
@Alsee A council of Wikimedia clerics, you mean? :) Comparisons with political elections are tempting, but probably misleading regardless of the regime. All countries filter candidates in ways hard to translate to our Board elections. Also, Board elections are not about choosing representatives in a chamber of factions. The board is a team and it is everyone's interest that performs well as a team. Board elections are about choosing team members. What about establishing comparisons with other organizations featuring an elected board? Qgil-WMF (talk) 16:38, 15 February 2021 (UTC)
Qgil-WMF you may be amused, but your statement about countries filtering candidates is not remotely true. I reviewed candidate criteria for the US and various other (respectable) countries. Candidate requirements substantially amount to:
  1. Age.
  2. Eligible voter, or some residency/citizenship requirement we can consider comparable to "eligible voter".
  3. There may be requirements to get on the official ballot, however those criteria are generally trivial. This may involve a filing fee, collecting a certain number of signatures to establish credible candidacy, filling out routine paperwork. However in the US and some other countries such criteria are literally null, as candidates can run and win as write-in candidates without fulfilling these criteria.
Various jurisdictions may have other assorted rare and generally trivial specifications, but none are common and none significantly preclude the general-voter population from candidacy.
The elected term of the current board is ALREADY EXPIRED. They suspended elections on account of "COVID", with no credible reason why COVID would preclude online elections. They will lose any pretense of legitimacy if they attempt to institute Iranian-style sham elections. Alsee (talk) 00:44, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
@Alsee These "(respectable) countries" e.g. "liberal democracies" have several mechanisms to filter candidates that are more sophisticated than the applicable law alone. This is why there aren't many candidates being elected without being a member of a political party or a rich person or a media celebrity. This is also why I was saying that comparisons with other foundations might be better for discussion than comparison with political elections. But all this is beyond the point of this Talk page.
If I am interpreting your words correctly, you don't want a situation where the Board or anyone directly appointed by them can arbitrarily decide who is eligible and who is not eligible to run for election. You want to stress the importance of elections as direct as possible, where candidates go through a simple screening of legal requirements and that's it. Correct? Qgil-WMF (talk) 11:16, 25 February 2021 (UTC)
Not just other foundations, that's a wrong description. Other huge grassroots movements would be appropriate. The Foundation is just a tool for the grassroots movement to organise better, the real thing is the grassroots movement, that's the one, that inherently has all the powers, the Foundation and the Board are just derivatives with absolutely no justification of existence on their own. So anything must be thought about better representation of the main thing here, the grassroots movements in the projects, the online communities, that's all there is. Everything else has to kowtow to this center of the Wikiverse. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 12:06, 25 February 2021 (UTC)
@Sänger Yes, I agree that comparisons with other hughe grassroots movements are just as relevant. Qgil-WMF (talk) 14:25, 25 February 2021 (UTC)
I think it's quite clear: we'll likely still be able to have some kind of vote, but our vote will only count when it just happens to coincide with voting for the people the board wants to be trustees. It's similar to how the feedback process works. CoffeeCrumbs (talk) 15:12, 10 February 2021 (UTC)

What happens if not confirmed elected?[edit]

Moved to Talk:Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_of_Trustees/Call_for_feedback:_Community_Board_seats/Vetting_of_candidates#What_happens_if_not_confirmed_elected?

Also Confused.[edit]

Would supporting this be supporting some sort of system where the Board picks the candidates they want to be elected, and... something that might mimic the look of voting, but doesn't have the ability to accomplish the community's goals.

Generally, the more complicated a process like this, the more the opportunity for grift and unfairness arises. If the system isn't veryt obviously fair, than it's reasonable to assume that it's not.

This proposal should be withdrawn from consideration until it can be replaced by one that is clearly worded. I suspect that proposal would also be rejected, but at least it would be rejected on its own merits. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 23:23, 15 February 2021 (UTC)

TomDotGov the proposals here are is as bad as you suspect. They want to prohibit/nullify/ignore our votes, either before or after a sham election. I'm not sure whether the various options here are intended to confuse/distract/trick us, or whether they somehow genuinely believe it is a more open and fair and inclusive process to tell us they want to shoot us and give us a choice between being shot in the arm or the leg. Alsee (talk) 21:28, 17 February 2021 (UTC)
Hi TomDotGov and Alsee, Ow. This sounds like you are having a lot of frustration. I am sorry to hear this. What makes you think these ideas are intended to confuse/distract/trick you? Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 18:46, 24 February 2021 (UTC)
@JKoerner (WMF): There isn't an actual proposal here. The first paragraph is a preamble. The second paragraph invites us to compare two things, one of which is linked and defined, and the other is not. The second paragraph is asking the community for feedback on a proposal, but the proposal itself is not present.
An important thing about elections is that everyone that looks at the procedure should be able to see the procedure, and say "that's obviously fair". Given that there is no actual proposal here, it fails that test. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 19:09, 24 February 2021 (UTC)
Hi TomDotGov, I think I know where the frustration is. This "idea" is just a place to discuss the status quo as in this is a page to discuss why the status quo of Board elections ("direct elections") is good. Or what is good in it and should be preserved and what is not so good and could be changed. It is not a new idea itself.
For some context, other Calls for Feedback have been criticized because there was no clear spot to discuss the current process. Let me see if there is a way I can make that more clear within my capabilities as a facilitator. :) Does this help clear some of the confusion and frustration? Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 19:47, 24 February 2021 (UTC)
@JKoerner (WMF):I don't think that's correct. This is comparing "voting on confirmed candidates" (a new thing, that has not been defined) vs "direct appointment of confirmed candidates" (another new thing, with its own page). I don't see the status quo here, but something that seems like it might be misrepresenting the status quo.
Can you clarify where this "idea" originated, please? Was it with the Board Committee or the Staff? TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 20:03, 24 February 2021 (UTC)
Hi TomDotGov, This isn't a new idea. It's like I said, this "idea" is just a place to discuss the status quo as in this is a page to discuss why the status quo of Board elections ("direct elections") is good. Or what is good in it and should be preserved and what is not so good and could be changed. It is not a new idea itself. Maybe the wording is confusing on the main page. Let me see if I can get some clarification on the wording on this. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 20:58, 24 February 2021 (UTC)
The status quo isn't "voting on confirmed candidates", though. It is direct elections, which we should probably keep, but those aren't the same thing.
As I said above, I think this should be withdrawn and replaced with a clearer version. I don't think it makes sense to try to edit the main page, as now you'd be mixing feedback on two versions, which is a recipe for a confusing final report.
The impetus for this page came from somewhere. Since it's listed under "Board ideas" in the navigation, is it fair to say that this is the work of the Board Governance Committee? TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 21:19, 24 February 2021 (UTC)
In the case that this is just some sort of miscommunication about what "confirmed candidates" are, is there a place where the three current board members that had been community elected before becoming appointed members were confirmed as candidates? It may be that "confirmed" is some sort of shorthand for the work of the election committee, in which case it needs to be clarified. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 21:29, 24 February 2021 (UTC)
TomDotGov reviewing all of the items as a whole, I think it is clear that "Election of confirmed candidates" implies unconfirmed candidates are banned from the ballot. In other words Iranian style elections. They come up with a list of who they chose to fill the position(s), and to preserve the fiction of an election they try to keep that list longer than the number of positions to fill. If they don't like who you want to vote for, you either play along as a puppet and hand them a vote for one of their candidates, or they ban from voting at all. Alsee (talk) 08:03, 25 February 2021 (UTC)
Alsee (talk · contribs) You might be right. JKoerner might be right. I think the big problem here is that again, this page doesn't actually say any of this - and since there's a disagreement on what it means, it needs to be withdrawn and replaced with a new page or pages that can provide actual feedback to the report.
I think there does need to be a "no major changes" option, but if we can't agree on if this is "no major changes" or "ayatollah", this page isn't clearly written enough to be useful. And to just circle back to JKoerner's questions, when elections are unclear, opportunities for unfairness arrive, and legitimacy tanks.
I can't wait to see this discussion on the weekly reports. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 14:24, 25 February 2021 (UTC)

Confirmation criteria[edit]

Candidates should only be confirmed for Fiduciary duties of care & good faith, loyalty, and obedience to the mission, other legal vetting, and eligible to vote. Cooking up a committee to prohibit the community from voting for otherwise eligible candidates is not acceptable. Alsee (talk) 22:14, 18 February 2021 (UTC)

Only community elected trustees are fully legitimate trustees[edit]

I don't understand, what's being asked here. Of course only trustees, that were elected by the highest entity in the Wikiverse (and to a certain extend as well affiliates), the online community, are completely and undisputed legitimate trustees. Trustees without proper community vetting are less legitimate, thus the question about elections or not cannot be asked at all, it's a completely illegitimate question.

So with that clear and undisputable pre-requisite: What are we asked here? Of course are elections essential, without elections there will be no proper board at all- Only elections validate the members of the board. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) Hold the election 11:44, 1 March 2021 (UTC)

Collected Feedback about Election of confirmed candidates from the first weekly report[edit]

The facilitation team was thinking it might be helpful to share the feedback pertaining to each idea on each idea's talk page. Here is the feedback from the first weekly report covering February 1 - 7 of the Call for Feedback. The facilitation team has revised the reporting procedure for weekly reports after feedback received from the community regarding the weekly reports. This is visible on the second weekly report.

  • Selection and election should be run by the Election committee and ASBS facilitators
  • What happens if the Board suggests a candidate who the community finds is unfit to serve on the Board?

Please reach out with questions or comments. Kindly, --Mehman (WMF) (talk) 07:08, 20 February 2021 (UTC)

Collected Feedback about Election of confirmed candidates from the second weekly report[edit]

Here is the feedback from the second weekly report covering February 8 - 14 of the Call for Feedback pertaining to this idea. The facilitation team has revised the reporting procedure for weekly reports after feedback received from the community regarding the weekly reports. This is visible on the second weekly report.

  • One person posed some questions prompted by previous situations (Arnon Geshuri)
    • It is unclear what will happen if a candidate is not confirmed.
    • Will a second-choice candidate be submitted for a new community vote?
    • Will there be a new call for candidates?
    • Will the seat remain vacant?
  • One person said this does not have the ability to accomplish the community’s goals and should be withdrawn and reworded to be more clear.
  • One person suggested a parallel with Iranian elections and suggested the people should overthrow such a regime.
  • Three people from Indonesia do not recommend Election of confirmed candidates.
  • Three people from Open Foundation West Africa group meeting were in support of the election of confirmed candidates.

Please reach out with questions or comments. Kindly, --Mehman (WMF) (talk) 07:12, 20 February 2021 (UTC)

Collected Feedback about Election of confirmed candidates from the third weekly report[edit]

Here is the feedback from the third weekly report covering February 15 - 24 of the Call for Feedback pertaining to this idea.

  • Claudia Garad, Executive Director of Wikimedia Österreich, says enforcing skills and diversity should not lead to a loss of involvement of the community in selection processes. To her knowledge this view was shared by a vast majority of the "Roles & Responsibilities" working group and is shared by the members of Wikimedia Austria too. Claudia would welcome any combination of ideas preserving the direct involvement of the communities in the selection process with a process ensuring skills and diversity.
  • Astrid Carlsen, Executive Director of Wikimedia Norge, said, community involvement is important due to shared ownership in the movement. Jon Harald Soby added that a lot of work within the movement is done by volunteers, so they should be a major part of the selection process, as decisions influence their work a lot.
  • One person mentioned concerns of being tricked by these ideas.

Please reach out with questions or comments. Kindly, --Mehman (WMF) (talk) 15:27, 25 February 2021 (UTC)