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

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Combine community Board and IGC processes[edit]

Community board (s)elections are upcoming. So are elections for IGC members. Please combine both processes, and have them at the same time. Please involve the standing Wikimedia Foundation elections committee. @KTC, Mardetanha, ProtoplasmaKid, and AbhiSuryawanshi: Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 18:42, 21 January 2021 (UTC)Reply

Is there an announcement of elections elections for IGC (Interim Global Council) members? If so, I missed it. Discussions on how to establish the IGC are taking place this coming weekend (January 23 and 24). Vexations (talk) 18:50, 21 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
There will be an IGC. SWAN sentiment at their January 10th, 2021 meeting is to have elections of IGC members. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 21:07, 21 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
I think you're pre-empting the outcome of a discussion that has yet to take place, based on an informal discussion among one affiliate. I remember that discussion; slide 2 of the [jamboard] may give some context for people who were not there. The summary of that discussion mentions that participants felt that if the IGC is intended to exist for a considerable period of time, representatives should be elected by the community and/or affiliates to ensure legitimacy. I don't think that "and/or" is quite right though; as I recall it, nobody suggested the IGC could be elected by only the affiliates. Vexations (talk) 22:04, 21 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
I didn't suggest IGC to be elected by only the affiliates. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 09:25, 22 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
Hi all! Great questions and discussions. What an exciting time for our movement! I have noted your questions and feedback. Please keep the discussion going and we will talk more. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 14:34, 22 January 2021 (UTC)Reply

A vote. Period. No exceptions. Only this and entirely this is a remotely acceptable outcome. Anything else is an abrogation of the principles of the entire project. CoffeeCrumbs (talk) 23:13, 27 January 2021 (UTC)Reply

Clarification request #1[edit]

"Useful background" currently says

"Currently, the Board has 10 members:
3 members were selected via a vote by the Wikimedia contributors (these seats are currently overdue).
2 members were selected via a vote by Wikimedia affiliates (chapters, thematic organizations, and user groups).
4 members were selected by the Board directly.
The final member is Jimmy Wales, in a reserved Founder seat.
Recently, the Board has expanded to 16 seats:
3 new Community- and Affiliate-selected seats
3 new Board-selected seats"

The "3 new Community- and Affiliate-selected seats" is unclear. Is that 2 members selected via a vote by the Wikimedia contributors and 1 selected via a vote by Wikimedia affiliates? Or is it 1 for community and and 2 for affiliates? Or is it 0 and 3?

This should be fixable with an uncontroversial wording change explaining exactly how those seats are filled.

Consider this a test to see if anyone at the WMF with the power to change things is reading this page.

If the change I just suggested gets made or if someone at the WMF with the authority to change this page tells my that my suggestion was rejected, that will tell us that this page is being actively monitored.

If I get the inevitable bunch of replies from Wikipedia editors but absolutely nothing from the WMF, that will tell us that nobody who can change anything is listening and that we are wasting our time participating here.

Please note that the WMF has a poor track record of answering reasonable questions if they might require the WMF to change the way they do things. See Wikimedia Foundation Board noticeboard/Archives/2019#13 years and the question "So, will anybody from the WMF be answering the questions at the top of this section any time soon? (...Sound of Crickets...)". This, of course, is related to the fact that the majority of the Foundation Board do not appear to have ever read their own noticeboard. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:51, 28 January 2021 (UTC)Reply

@Guy Macon: Last week there was an announcement about changes in the Bylaws. One of these changes is the combination of community- and affiliate-selected trustees into one category. The relevant section in the current Bylaws is (C) Community- and Affiliate-selected Trustees. The purpose of this call for feedback is to discuss the process to fill these "Community- and Affiliate-selected seats". Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:37, 29 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
For those who clicked on the above link and ended up on the wrong page, here is the URL: [1]
It appears that the answer to my question is "undefined", at least for now. --Guy Macon (talk) 09:02, 29 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
Thank you for spotting the wrong link. Fixed. Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:32, 29 January 2021 (UTC)Reply

Clarification request #2[edit]

"How to participate" currently says:

"Discuss in the Talk page for each idea, or in this Talk page for general comments."

Where will the list of ideas be found? Who decides which ideas get a talk page to discuss them on and which are rejected out of hand?

There are two way to go wrong here.

On the one hand you could give any troll with a grudge a "talk page for an idea" no matter how unrelated. This would create chaos, with "ideas" like "overturn the recent presidential election" and "make the encyclopedia stop saying mean things about the alt-med quackery I make my living from".

On the other hand you could have someone at the WMF acting as a gatekeeper and only allowing a "talk page for an idea" for the "ideas" that they have already decided to accept and not allowing a "talk page for an idea" for any "ideas" that involve the WMF changing course from the predetermined outcome. This would make a mockery of the concept of community involvement, replacing it with a giant rubber stamp.

This requires an open discussion that includes members of the community and of the WMF. Please start that conversation here or provide a link to the place where we should be discussing this. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:53, 28 January 2021 (UTC)Reply

Hi Guy Macon, thanks for your feedback. Regarding where to discuss, we are offering many channels and places to discuss and provide feedback and in various languages. Please feel free to discuss here or on one of the other options.
There is a team of discussion facilitators documenting feedback. I am the discussion facilitator for the English language and Meta. Feedback will be collected and published in weekly reports, which are forthcoming.
We welcome diverse ideas and participation. If someone asks a question or asks for clarification, the facilitators ping the people who can answer questions or offer clarification. Let me know if this does not sufficiently address your concern. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 00:15, 29 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
The above failed to answer the specific questions I asked, instead simply linking back to the page that I asked the question about. Here are my questions once again:
m:Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees/Call for feedback: Community Board seats#How to participate currently says:
"Discuss in the Talk page for each idea, or in this Talk page for general comments."
Where can the talk page for each idea be found?
Who decides which ideas get a talk page?
--Guy Macon (talk) 01:06, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Guy Macon The list of ideas considered in the call for feedback can be found in its main page. Last Friday we added a new section "Ideas from the community", discussed below at How to add a new idea? The facilitators of this call for feedback decide which ideas are accepted, discussing as needed with other parties involved. I hope this answers your questions. Qgil-WMF (talk) 10:47, 8 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Boards, governance, and competencies[edit]

Moved to Talk:Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_of_Trustees/Call_for_feedback:_Community_Board_seats/Call_for_types_of_skills_and_experience#Boards,_governance,_and_competencies

Eliminate the Board's legal ability to overturn election results[edit]

Legally, the Board is under no obligation to implement the results of Board elections, and we have simply trusted that the Board would consider election results to be inviolable. It has become clear that this assumption is no longer risk-free. I propose changing the structure of the WMF such that the Board is no longer legally self-perpetuating, and cannot unilaterally overturn election results or otherwise give themselves permanent control over the Wikimedia Foundation.

Further details outlined in User:Yair rand/WMF membership proposal.

The continued ultimate control over the WMF must be held by the community. Recent events have shown that the future of community elections is very much in doubt. It is extremely important that the WMF must not continue down the course of removing community influence. --Yair rand (talk) 07:07, 1 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

I subscribe to that, since at least the Doc James disaster, as a community member with good standing was ditched by the board without any proper reason, explicitly against the community, it should be clear, that such antiwikimedian behaviour must not be tolerated. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 13:07, 1 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Absolutely, subscribe to that. Enough with AffCom style of nominations, which never represented the communities. This is especially true in the case of the BoT.--- Darwin Ahoy! 23:22, 1 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Yair rand, your membership proposal falls out of the scope of the call for feedback (processes to appoint community- and affiliate-selected trustees). Even if accepted, it would take a long time to implement and this call for feedback is about ideas that can be implemented to appoint six trustees this year. However, it is related to Board governance, it is a genuine proposal, and we will mention it in our report to the Board as part of the feedback received. Qgil-WMF (talk) 13:56, 4 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
much appreciated Qgil-WMF! --ThurnerRupert (talk) 17:23, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Please add the following to the reported feedback:
At least one editor (Guy Macon) is concerned, having studied various way that nonprofits in the past have gone horribly wrong and ways other nonprofits have created rules to avoid such disasters.
Assume for the sake of argument that some future board ends up in direct opposition to 99% of the volunteers who build the encyclopedia. Let's say that Scientology or Qanon manages to get some stealth true believers on the board and then are to bribe or threaten enough of the remaining board to resign, add more true believers, and get a majority. Then, when they have the majority, they reveal their true colors. How, exactly, would the WMF recover?
As I understand it, if that happened today Jimbo could dissolve the board, but let's assume that this imaginary future board has no Jimbo (kicked off the board, retired, passed away...). Could an election where literally 99% of the editors voted against the board kick off the Qanons or Scientologists? From what I am reading, under the new bylaws I don't think we could. --Guy Macon (talk) 01:41, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Guy, I am curious to know where you infer this power to dissolve the board. As there are no Board decisions that the Bylaws require to have a supermajority to pass, a majority of Trustees could technically do a good deal of mischief, including rewriting the Bylaws to keep themselves in control in perpetuity. A future revision might update X.I so that Bylaws amendments require approval by a larger proportion of the Board. –SJ talk  21:31, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
I'm assuming Wales could do this under a principle he has called reserve powers, in imitation of the monarchy of the UK. In short, he has asserted he retains all rights over Wikipedia & its derived projects not explicitly assigned to the Foundation. (This is my understanding; you need to verify this with him.) However, this has never been tested because he usually is in agreement with any decision of the Board of Trustees; in the few times he has not been, the community -- who would vote with their feet if they are unhappy with the proposed changes -- has served as the tie-breaker.
I'm not sure which section I'm supposed to comment in, but I just wanted to let it be known that I share the concerns about the growing power of the WMF. Ultimate authority must be vested in the community. Benjamin (talk) 05:28, 1 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

How to Add a new idea?[edit]

Hello everyone, and thank you for putting effort on organizing this important discussion and according to section 3 of this meta page "ideas discussed within the board", it is mentioned that "The Board has discussed several ideas to overcome the problems mentioned above. Some of these ideas could be taken and combined, and some discarded. Other ideas coming from the call for feedback could be considered as well". There are also sub-pages for each of the ideas to be discussed. My question is: If a person has another/different idea to complete what the board discussed, where should this idea be mentioned? Should it be put directly under these ideas (with its own link)? Or should it be mentioned separately?

Thank you for clarifying. Regards -- Anass Sedrati (talk) 09:43, 1 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Hi Anass Sedrati, Thanks for joining the conversation. Please feel free to add your feedback here. I am watching the Meta pages for feedback and will collect feedback for the weekly reports. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 12:57, 1 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Hello Jackie and thank you for your answer. So if I understand well, if I have a new idea/suggestion, I will add it in this talk page and it will be collected in the weekly reports. Did I understand well? If not please correct me.
That's my understanding from reading the page. –SJ talk 
Giving this understanding, is there any reason why the suggestions given by the board are given more priority and visibility than these that can emerge from community members? Especially that there was no mention or call to share ideas and suggestions until today (where community is almost "obliged" to choose between a pre-chosen set of choices)? Thank you again for the clarifications. Best. -- Anass Sedrati (talk) 17:32, 1 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Hi Anass! I share your questions - it would be helpful to have a refactoring cycle through which everyone can share new ideas, refactor or clarifying ones, and see the most popular or representative ones proposed so far. –SJ talk  21:57, 1 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Anass Sedrati, SJ, what about this: new ideas are proposed in this Talk page, only to ensure that they are within the scope of the call for feedback and sensible (a sanity check). Then the ideas that pass this check can be listed in the main page, in their own section in order to differentiate ideas discussed within the Board from those that have a different origin. There will be other details to figure out but the principle remains: "Other ideas coming from the call for feedback could be considered as well." Please bring these ideas to the table. Qgil-WMF (talk) 23:46, 1 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Hello Quim and thank you for your answer and clarifications. I think that your alternative is a good one, as I can also understand that not all ideas might need to be highlighted, depending on the context. I will do so that I will add a new idea in a separate section in the talk, and we see where it will lead us :) Thank you again for the clarifications. Best -- Anass Sedrati (talk) 08:03, 2 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Anass Sedrati Our team has discussed the process for your idea about Regional Seats and others to come.
  • We will create a section "Ideas from the community" under "Ideas discussed within the Board"
  • We will edit the navigation template to show separate "Board ideas" and "Community ideas"
  • Community ideas will be posted here first, and will go through a basic sanity check.
  • Those accepted will be listed in these sections
  • Each new idea will have their own subpage with an attribution at the top identifying the author(s) of the idea, to differentiate these ideas visible from the ones brought by the Board.
  • Our facilitators and our reports will process feedback about community ideas and feedback about Board ideas equally.
Tomorrow in the GMT morning we will proceed with these changes and the publication of your idea about Regional Seats. Thank you for your contribution, and your patience betatesting this process. Qgil-WMF (talk) 22:34, 3 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Quim, I have now created a new page for the idea of regional seats. Please go through it, and it you find it satisfactory, you can proceed and create the section related to community ideas, and link the idea there. Hopefully, other ideas can emerge soon. Thank you for the support. -- Anass Sedrati (talk) 11:33, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Anass Sedrati Thank you! I will proceed with the rest if changes in the next couple of hours or so. Qgil-WMF (talk) 11:56, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Single transferable vote[edit]

Comment by BethNaught moved to Talk:Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees/Call for feedback: Community Board seats/Ranked voting system. Qgil-WMF (talk) 11:28, 4 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Overviews, discussion, and refactoring[edit]

  • What's the idea for capturing discussions per topic? One talk page per idea, or one section per idea here, with subsections?
  • What about an overview of the summaries of each idea? I created an overview page transcluding all of the individual idea pages; if you have a better approach, feel free to refactor that or make something new.
  • It seems that facilitators will try to summarize / refactor discussion. Any other thoughts on how to make refactoring fast, iterative, useful? A catalog of links to places where discussions are happening would be welcome. When contributions are on-wiki, commenters can quickly get feedback on where their input sits in an overall conversation, so that they can clarify, refine, or find related places to contribute. [peer synthesis around feedback loops, rather than many parallel comments w/o immediate feedback, can be encouraging.]

SJ talk  22:19, 1 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

  • Hi SJ, the idea is to keep single-topic discussions in their own pages. While having everything in one place might look like a better solution for dedicates volunteers with enough time to follow everything, these are probably a minority compared to the rest of interested participants. We are promoting this call for feedback in multiple channels and we are doing our best to involve volunteers who usually don't participate in governance discussions (and rarely discuss on Meta). It is likely that most volunteers will be more interested in some topics than in others. Focusing conversations helps people with limited time watching the pages they are most interested about.
  • Thank you for your transclusions page. If people find it useful, we can integrate it.
  • I think we are already working on this "catalog" that you describe? Conversations and meetings are announced in the Conversations page. They result in Reports for each conversation/meeting. The weekly report captures and links to the highlights of the past 7 days. The main report is capturing the most relevant information of all this activity. Meanwhile, each idea page offers a summary of the ongoing conversation too, for those who mostly care about some of these ideas.
Qgil-WMF (talk) 00:12, 2 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Thank you Quim. The Conversations page is just the sort of thing I meant. –SJ talk  21:23, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

New Alternative: Regional Seats[edit]

Instead of the alternative suggesting "broadly" a quota system, that I do absolutely not think is a wise idea, I suggest to address the gap problem in a more structured way, and to allocate one or two seats for a specific region (or for the global south, but with a clear definition of it). The quota system has its limitations, because it neglects the skill aspect, and privileges only the aspect for which the quota is taken into consideration (gender, geography, etc.).

In my opinion, diversity is key, and is an important aspect to take into consideration, not only when talking about the board, but in the whole movement also. In order to ensure more geographical diversity, one or two community seats (out of the total 6) can be exclusively reserved for a rather broad region (such as global south, as mentioned earlier, or Africa/Asia - where more than the half of humans live). This will ensure that at least one member will be representing these regions. As the regions will be broad, this ensures also that the required skills can be found in *at least* that one person. Of course, this person should also be chosen by vote (either from its peers from the region, or by all - to be discussed).

As far as we have seen, it is mostly Asian and African community members that were not represented earlier at the BoT, while the gender balance is rather respected and seems doing better in comparison. It can be therefore a good alternative to allocate one seat for this region (Africa/Asia), where only a community member from this region can be chosen, to guarantee at least their presence, as well as an inclusion and empowerment. This alternative is more specific than the one stating "quota", which is rather broad and can be interpreted in many different ways. The aim here with this suggestion to identify specifically this gap (regional representation), and suggest a solution exactly for it.

Anass Sedrati (talk) 15:14, 2 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

@Anass Sedrati From the point of view of the Board, "regional seats" would be a type of quota. "Geography" is mentioned in the Quotas page. Your proposal, using the same terminology, would say that regional quotas could be considered, but that would be the only type of quota acceptable. Then there is the conversation about how exactly these regional seats/quotas would be implemented. First I want to check whether you find this reasoning... reasonable.
If you do, then we should discuss how to make your point visible. One idea could be to add a mention at the top of "Summary of ongoing feedback". People checking the Quotas page would see the link to the Regional Seats idea. We can also think how to make it very visible in the Quotas talk page. Maybe the discussion itself could start/continue in the Quotas Talk page itself, with a possibility of spinning it off if it catches a lot of feedback. What do you think? Qgil-WMF (talk) 20:31, 2 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Dear Quim, thank you for your answer and good summarization. Yes you caught the point very well. I do think that mentioning "quotas" as an alternative is too broad, and can be subject to all sorts of interpretations. It is also an idea that is rather easy to criticize (as I am not supportive of its general tone either).
So yes, you understood my formulation well, and it is that I suggest to address a specific point, which is geography, and have it as a separate point (as I believe it is the most critical point coming to diversity, if we see the history of the composition of the community seats). If we keep it within the quota page, this would seem like an "endorsement" or an "add-on" to the idea, while it is not (I have myself written that I am against it in its current formulation). If possible, I would go with both alternatives (having it mentioned in the summary, and also linked at the quota page). I know that other people can come with close ideas (such as a seat for underrepresented communities/minority languages), so if this grows and gets interest, maybe we can have a separate discussion for these threads/alternatives? Best -- Anass Sedrati (talk) 21:03, 2 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Anass Sedrati Alright, this makes sense. Let us finish this long day of office hours, sleep a bit, and discuss tomorrow in our team how we can best accommodate for this idea (and others to come). In any case, have no doubt that in our conversations with projects and affiliates we will add the specific aspect of regional seats to the list of ideas to consider. Qgil-WMF (talk) 21:11, 2 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Anass Sedrati Can you publish your proposal at Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees/Call for feedback: Community Board seats/Regional seats using a neutral style, please? Basically rephrasing sentences written in first person and avoiding personal judgement of other ideas. It is useful to say that this idea about regional seats doesn't endorse the other idea proposed about quotas in general. I guess you understand what I mean, and we can polish the text just by editing it if needed. Once we are all happy about the text, we will link it from places. I am watching the page and I will try to respond as soon as possible. Feel free to ping me on chat for quicker response. Qgil-WMF (talk) 11:23, 4 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Hello Qgil and sorry for my late answer. I just saw that you sent two messages in that matter. I will do what you suggest and publish the proposal at the suggested page. You should see a text there in few minutes. Thank you for the help :) -- Anass Sedrati (talk) 10:53, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Anass Sedrati See the Regional seats page, now linked from different places. I have edited the mention to the Quotas page because it implied that it is a final idea that is broad and with an unclear scope. The Quotas page aims to start a conversation, and it is broad precisely to not limit the conversation from the start. I have done my best keeping your intention of clearly statement that this suggestions doesn't imply an endorsement of the idea of quotas in general.
I want to make a second round later today to simplify the language a bit, without any changes in meaning. After some polishing, hopefully we will have a text we are all happy about, and then we will mark the text for translation. Sounds good? Qgil-WMF (talk) 16:58, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Qgil - Thank you for the time and effort put into that. For me this seems fine. I confirm also that your edits to the text captured well my intentions. Thank you for that! Regards -- Anass Sedrati (talk) 17:51, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Anass Sedrati, as mentioned before, I have edited the text to simplify it. We have done this type of review to the other texts as well. There are two smalls changes of meaning:
  1. "community and affiliate seats" to align better with the current language of the Bylaws.
  2. I have removed the idea that the trustees occupying these regionals seats would "represent" these regions, because trustees don't represent their constituencies at the Board. I have use the idea of "bring the perspective" which I believe respects your intention.
As I was reviewing the text in more detail, I found three points that I found confusing but didn't dare to interpret on your behalf:
  1. The text says "out of 6" seats, but the total number of community- and affiliate-selected seats is 8 (3 new, 3 originally community seats, 2 originally affiliate seats).
  2. The text mentions Global South and Africa/Asia as basically synonyms, but the former includes Latin America. Someone might ask.
  3. There is one sentence mentioning "required skills". I believe this is an attempt on your part to address the other idea about Call for types of skills and experiences. If it is, being from a region is no guarantee of having the skills the Board might be seeking at a certain point of time. If it is not, then I don't know what is the purpose of the sentence. Either way, I think it is just hanging there and would be better to remove it.
Qgil-WMF (talk) 21:59, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Qgil -- Thank you for the changes that you have made. As for the points you have mentioned. They can be indeed confusing, and I will try to clarify them:
  1. In the new model proposed by the board, the total number of community and affiliate sears, the total number is 8 and not 6. It was an inattention mistake from my end. I will correct it.
  2. I have left in intentionally unclear, hoping that the discussion with other community members can clarify it. South America is doing a bit better than Africa and Asia in terms of representation, but all are "in the same boat". I would leave it unclear and see what the discussion will bring.
  3. The intention with the sentence about skills was to address the problem of skills that was mentioned by the board. The sentence is not related to the the other idea about Call for types of skills and experiences, but it is more about the fact that skills can be found in all regions, so having a regional seat is not in contradiction with seeking a specific skill. As it feels as an unnecessary addition, I will remove it also from the text.
I hope that this clarifies the picture, and thank you again. Regards -- Anass Sedrati (talk) 14:20, 7 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

post to wikimedia-l and all-affiliates-l[edit]

Post to Wikimedia-l and All-Affiliates-l by ASBS election facilitators[edit]

(originally posted at

Members of the Board of Trustees and staff of the Wikimedia Foundation,

Please WMF Board of Trustees grant control of the WMF Board elections to the Wikimedia community, especially to the two existing committees. The Wikimedia community can manage its own values and ethics and has no need of non-volunteer, non-community members to assist with the fundamentals of designing the election.

On behalf of the ASBS committee I request you

  • remove the "problems to solve" section from that page,
  • remove the "ideas discussed with the board" section from that page,
  • remove the 8 subpages with "ideas"
  • include a section with words like:

"The Board asks the Election committee and ASBS election facilitators to work together to set up a process, define rules, and hold a (s)election process for six community- and affiliate sourced board seats. The board asks the joined committee to pay respect to the strategic direction of the Wikimedia Movement and the strategy recommendations. The board would like to welcome a diversity of candidates. The board oversees an organization with an annual budget over one hundred million dollaras and a staff of over 500 people. The board would like to welcome candidates with governance experience in non-profit organizations of the same magnitude."

The ASBS election facilitators published their debrief of lessons learned in 2019.[1] We as a committee are committed to act upon them. The ASBS committee is prepared to collaborate with the standing election committee for this process.[2] <>


Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 10:21, 3 February 2021 (UTC) On behalf of the ASBS election facilitators.Reply

[1] [2]

I'd like to read what the ASBS facilitators suggest about how to set up a process and rules for this, whether or not that is written on this page. (since there's a Team listed on this page, it's not clear to me if this is a place to capture all discussion around the topic, or the description of a specific WMF effort to facilitate some of the discussion; but either way the important thing is finding a good way to proceed.). –SJ talk  15:09, 3 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Just for the record, Nataliia Tymkiv has replied to this post on wikimedia-l. Qgil-WMF (talk) 20:51, 4 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Thank you... Let's find ways to make this whole discussion warmer, somehow. –SJ talk  20:55, 4 February 2021 (UTC)Reply


An idea for the Election/ASBS Committees, the Board, the next Board, or whoever organizes the elections:

I'm wondering if a reasonable idea would be to somehow run slates of candidates that are voted in as a group, rather than individual candidates. Many of the issues that we consider important, like making sure the community board seats can contribute to the board in the multiple ways that are required, and making sure that the board is sufficiently seem like things that would be better solved by electing a group of candidates as a slate, rather than electing individual candidates. This would then make it possible for the community to consider, in advance, if it believes that the group can function, is sufficiently diverse, and satisfies other requirements that the community imposes.

I think this might be a better way to go about it than a situation that considers individual candidates. I mean, everyone is diverse, and everyone can contribute something. What might help with board dysfunction would be to make sure the ways in which groups of people elected at the same time cover the necessary skill sets.

Just tossing this idea out there, to see if it goes anywhere. It's admittedly half-baked, and I'm not 100% sure of it, but I wonder if slates could be a more community-driven approach to board reform. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 15:07, 3 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Hi TomDotGov, thanks for thinking about this and sharing your feedback. In interest of discussion, would you mind coming up with an example? I want to make sure others joining the discussion clearly understand your idea for this. I also appreciate you said this is "half-baked" and respect your time and energy on this. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 19:27, 3 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Let's take four skills that the Foundation needs from the board. Since I'm not sure what these skills are, I'll make them up - (Fundraising/)Finance, (Executive and Staff )Management, (Government )Outreach, and (Software )Development.
Right now, potential board members run independently. This means you can get problems where say, the Outreach people are better at campaigning that the Development people are, and you wind up with the top three people are in Outreach. This leads to the feels-bad situation of the outgoing board saying "We don't need three Outreach people", and rejecting two of the top three candidates.
What I'm suggesting is that, for example, we elect slates of multiple people. Each slate would consist of four candidates, and be able to explain how among them, they're able to address the Foundation's needs. The community would rank the slates using some election mechanism (I'm no expert in this part, but some sort of ranked voting seems right here), and then the slate as a whole would join the board. The community would consider each slate in its entirety, and could debate how well the group of four (or however many) people would satisfy the requirements. By electing a slate that has, say four people - one with Finance/Management experience, one with Outreach Experience, one with Gopvrnment/Finance experience, and one with Development experience, we can be sure all spots are covered.
Does this give a more concrete example? TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 20:34, 3 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
This seems in turn unfair to candidates who don't happen to be on good terms with 3 other people they think meet the other skillsets, or, perhaps more likely amongst trustee candidates, have overlapping but differing groups and find the people they would prefer to slate with already grabbed by someone else. Trustee elections would start getting earlier and earlier (in the background) as people tried to make sure they weren't left off a strong slate. Nosebagbear (talk) 16:23, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Deserves a more detailed introduction + "motivation" section[edit]

This will clarify what we are discussing, and how people can contribute most effectively! Example Q's to A:

  1. What is working and not working with the status quo?
    Problems are listed, but not balanced. It doesn't provide clear motivation for those whose have worked on current approaches. Be more specific about where current election models are specifically being challenged, and describe the opposing challenges faced by appointment models.
  2. What alternatives have been considered historically, and by whom?
    Current election groups do consider alternatives each year, though often not w/ enough advance notice to make substantive changes to process. A nod to those conversations offers continuity and recognizes that past work.
  3. What alternatives are already being considered this year, and on what timescale (for the ~6 open seats)?
  4. How does this all (discussion, timeline, process) parallel that of the proposed Global Council?
    Parallels in process are relevant. Timing + discussion would benefit from coordination. (which happily is in ample supply)
  5. Can we break these proposals into different layers of abstraction / implementation?
    To paraphrase Chris Keating: "Should it be a vote? / Who should participate + be represented? / How should that be implemented?"

SJ talk  22:01, 3 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

@Sj (I was replying to your question and all of a sudden your text had changed. For a moment I thought I had broken something! Let me try again.  :) Qgil-WMF (talk) 21:01, 4 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Sj I see your point. At the same time, I need to explain that publishing content signed by the Board takes time. If new content raises new disagreement, then more time will be spent discussing the intro instead of the ideas themselves. I'm not sure about the best approach. I will check what we (the team running this call feedback) can answer quickly.
About Chris' feedback. The idea was to present more pre-cooked options easier to digest (wording is mine) with specific combinations of ideas. Doing this had the risk of feedback falling in the pattern of "These are the options, let's support/oppose." The Board is seeking diversity and depth of opinions, with all the nuances. This is why the ingredients (wording is still mine) are presented separately, to get specific feedback about each one, and also about possible combinations.
Many of these ideas are new in the context of our movement. Many communities we are reaching out to, never have discussed about the Board. It is our belief that after an initial phase of confusion, some topics will raise more interest than others, and some trends will start to emerge. We are trying a couple of new approaches in this call for feedback. Please give us the benefit of the doubt until we have published our first weekly report (Feb 10) and our first iteration of the final report (Feb 17). Qgil-WMF (talk) 22:09, 4 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Thank you, looking forward to those reports. [there's a longer conversation to be had about how to combine broadcast <-> response loops w/ peer-to-peer conversation and polylogue. :) ]
I understand the time lag in publishing + annotating something approved by committee. Especially here where the group involved is large, and has other responsibilities. (This is also one of the challenges of a larger Board: a slower turning of gears, unless there is concise delegation to small groups)
Perhaps combining the "official background language" with the "page summarizing the conversation + how it is going" makes this harder than it needs to be. You might consider sth like an overview page that is open to transient editing (for instance by the various groups who have tackled / are tackling the challenge of appointing + electing representative governance across the movement), and linking that page to the static introduction by the Board and other context. –SJ talk  17:24, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Sj the "pages summarizing the conversation + how it is going" are connected with the ongoing draft report, and that is fully handled by the facilitators, without requiring the Board's feedback. We are letting a few more days to receive more feedback and start adding information there.
I agree that there is more conversations and work be done about how to combine all the pieces of a proper call for feedback! Consider this another iteration to be improved. Qgil-WMF (talk) 11:16, 8 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

"confirmed candidates"[edit]

Sounds a bit as it would be like "approved by the Guardian Council". This is the opposite of a free election and therefore unacceptable. Habitator terrae (talk) 16:45, 4 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

voting per wiki[edit]

In some wikis there are already working mechanisms to elect "officials". This could be used by a partly vote of the seats within the wikis. Habitator terrae (talk) 16:50, 4 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Hi Habitator terrae, thanks for joining the discussion. I see you have concerns about elections. Do you want to take your discussion to this talk page of the Call for Feedback? I think that might fit the topic of your discussion. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 22:46, 4 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Hi @JKoerner (WMF):, the voting per wiki proposal isn't connected with the "confirmed candidates"-theme. Habitator terrae (talk) 17:06, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Habitator terrae: Ok, I think I understand now. Do you find that your thoughts align with Anass Sedrati's suggestion? Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 18:56, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Office Hours[edit]

It would have been nice had all the office hours been publicised rather more broadly before they took place. The link I followed to find these was only posted yesterday, and so was too late to join them.

Additionally, office hours in the middle of the consultation are also critical because they help handle disagreements about what certain things mean and prevent support and opposition for certain things being interpreted differently

I'd love a second set of office hours at the start of March Nosebagbear (talk) 16:21, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

@Nosebagbear, I'm sorry you missed the first round. Can you specify in which channel you saw the announcement, please?
We are planning to have at least two more rounds of office hours like the ones we had this week. One in the middle of the call for feedback exactly for the reasons you explain. The other one week or so before the end, to better catch opinions about open topics. We will schedule and announce these office hours well in advance.
We are also considering the possibility of organizing panel sessions about specific topics. Qgil-WMF (talk) 17:26, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Qgil-WMF: ah, that makes me feel much better, and panel sessions could also be good. I saw it on the Wikimedia Forum - sort of my catchall as if it's not ultra-clearly on the front page, you've got to already be watchlisting the right place). I've also just posted it on the en-wiki village pump and central discussions listing. Nosebagbear (talk) 17:31, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

A run through each current idea[edit]

I'll drop a more detailed reasoning of each point on the respective subpage, but I wanted to include an overall summary on the page getting the most eyes:

  • Ranked voting system - currently I could be viewed as an oppose, but am still willing to change my mind. STV can risk getting non-objectionable candidates in over generally positive. It also makes the election process more complicated, not to mention that if, say, I had 4 candidates I really didn't want in a 20 candidate election, to maximise the chanced to them not getting in I'd have to cast intermediate ranking votes on those I didn't know, without a clear ability to decide (say) who warranted "7th" and who warranted "16th".
  • Quotas - never, ever. Neither in diversity nor experience, the Community must decide what is good for it and each person should have the same competitive platform as another to be trustee. Quotas risk undermining confidence in the reps, and the process. Nay, a thousand times, nay.
  • Call for types of skills and experiences - yep, seems a good positive to me. So long as it's just skills and experiences being asked for, this seems to come without negatives.
  • Vetting of candidates - I read this and immediately thought of how the Iranian and Hong Kong elections have stopped any reformist candidates from running. It would give backdoor control of community trustee elections away from the Community, and would certainly read as such to everyone. Concerning it was even proposed.
  • Board-delegated selection committee. See the above - even with the Community reps, it risks a couple of major negatives (either of members picking members like them, even subconsciously, or deliberately avoiding members like them) plus a major drop in Community control
  • Community-elected selection committee - while less bad than the ones above, it does risk the exact opposite of what the WMF is trying to avoid. They feel that a few big wikis pick individuals and that the hyper-meta active have too much control. Trustee elections already don't get that much participation, but imagine how much less review and participation each person on this committee would have. Let alone ensuring that everyone voting has done a good amount of research before participating. Even a fairly small amount of hidden canvassing could get a rep onto the committee, and that's a major risk for marginal positives to me, and the loss of direct democracy over Trustees.
  • Election of confirmed candidates - even having read it all, I'm still a little unsure about what this option means. Who would be carrying out the Trustee Evaluation Form in this case? While I wouldn't be firmly opposed to a structure of "1) community-selected panel reviews each candidate against the form 2) They provide non-binding scoring to the Community that is attached to each candidate's statement 3) Community then vote per the status quo, with that additional info to be utilised as each voter wishes (or not)", I would be opposed to Board scoring. I also wouldn't support even the method I give above as somewhat inefficient for the marginal benefits gained. If the topic also covers non-use of the Form, then yes, I obviously support and require election of confirmed candidates. Election of a selection panel is simply insufficient, and feels like no more than the WMF trying to do an end-run around Community representation. Although the Community majority remains, the proportion has shrunk (and will do so even more when Jimmy leaves, if he is counted), which means the safeguard also shrinks. Anything avoiding a proper election of such is an unacceptable overreach.
  • Direct appointment of confirmed candidates - No, for reasons covered directly above. Never

tl;dr Happy for the WMF to say the general areas they would like knowledge in. Any loss of control either over nomination or of selection by direct community democracy is unacceptable.

For those who made it through, thank you. Please feel free to point out areas that could use more clarity/expansion Nosebagbear (talk) 16:54, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Hi Nosebagbear, After reading your response, I am getting the feeling you don't like any of the ideas. Do you have an idea to suggest that might help form a more diverse and better performing Board of Trustees? Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 19:50, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@JKoerner (WMF): I mean, historically, the elected trustees have actually been somewhat more diverse than the appointed ones. But to answer your question - I would say that trying to fiddle with the process at the nomination/selection is a) too late b) has more negatives than positives, by a large margin. Instead, more effort should be put into reaching out - instead of notifying communities when the formal nomination period has started, reach out to communities you assess as under-represented *much* further (at least 6 weeks) in advance and talk to them about finding people willing to stand for such a position, find out what discourages them, and then work on that.
The fact that the evaluation form was put through without changes despite multiple issues being raised makes me nervous about encouraging methods that might add filters when those filters are not being properly created. Nosebagbear (talk) 20:21, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
What does it matter? Absolutely nothing we say matters. The board is going to do whatever the board wants because they see themselves as the owners of the Wiki movement, not its stewards. And Jimmy Wales lied to us when he said how he was going to stand up and refuse to vote for things that took away the community's ability to make decisions. That people like you draw this out, pretending as if we have a voice, is just twisting the knife. We have no reason to trust people like you at all. The best thing for the movement would be for everyone with (WMF) in their handle to find a new community to torment, including you. CoffeeCrumbs (talk) 02:37, 7 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Thanks, Nosebagbear, for clarifying. That helps me better place your thoughts in the feedback. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 14:17, 9 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Trustee Evaluation Form[edit]

I don't understand how this resolution was approved with only one dissenting trustee (Doc James). The criteria is so skewed. It sometimes seems like Doc James is the only trustee in touch with the community, yet I'm guessing he wouldn't even meet that evaluation criteria. That criteria is skewed to create trustees who are out of touch with the communities, not more in touch with it. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 17:54, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

It's also a shame the feedback from Wugapodes at Talk:Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_noticeboard/October_2020_-_Board_candidate_evaluation_form#Feedback_from_Wugapodes wasn't considered. That was excellent feedback. Yet the resolution was approved without amendments. Why even ask for community input if it won't change anything? ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 18:17, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
I like Wug's feedback too. But just because there was no change doesn't mean it wasn't considered or that the exercise was for no reason. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 18:31, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
I mean, @Barkeep49: I'd be more inclined to accept that if they'd provided detailed minutes (or better yet, feedback during the actual process) explaining *why* it had to be accepted as is, rather than utilising community suggestions for improvement Nosebagbear (talk) 19:35, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Disappointment with the resolution aside, there's no reason we cannot use the criteria I suggested to evaluate candidates ourselves. The rubric is CC By-SA, so there's absolutely no reason we cannot take the rubric's wikicode, add our own criteria, and use that to evaluate candidates in a community essay. If anything, that would be a positive outcome because it demonstrates to the WMF that we have and use explicit selection criteria when evaluating board members. I understand their concerns---entrusting a multi-million dollar endowment to a bunch of randos on the internet is a hard sell (and quite possibly illegal)---so demonstrating that the community is mature enough to develop, maintain, and utilize objective and professional criteria would be an important step on our end to build trust in shared governance. Ultimately, Meta is community controlled, so there's no reason we cannot set up a "competing" rubric system, and no reason that the WMF should be seen as having a monopoly on opinions. As an example, consider ArbCom elections on EnWiki. There is an official, neutral, and objective guide to candidates maintained by the election organizers, but we also have (and advertise) unofficial guides developed by community members, some of which use the official guide as a starting point (for example, en:w:User:Wugapodes/ACE2019). A system like that, where the WMF features a community organized and maintained rubric as a supplement to their vetting, is pretty simple all things considered. It just requires that we show the WMF we can do it instead of asking for permission. This is a wiki after all, so there's no reason we need to ask permission to do any of this. We just need to be bold and try to build structures ourselves instead of hoping the WMF builds one for us (though it would be nice if they helped us out). Wugapodes (talk) 20:41, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
So I have no objection (indeed the opposite) for people doing recommendations, but I'd find it odd should it be more than unofficial evaluations, though I suppose there's nothing prohibiting meta from saying they'll run it on everyone. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:15, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
One of the reasons I did not support this rubric was my concern that "years" doing something does not equal expertise in something per User:Wugapodes comments. Community feedback is critical... Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:14, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
There is an obvious easy technical fix - evaluating the experience rather than the number of years (which would also allow to give *some* points e.g. for board experience in a slightly smaller org). Pundit (talk) 08:36, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
+1. That makes sense + should be fixed in the top-recommended rubric itself. –SJ talk  21:21, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Evaluation Form use[edit]

The Resolution:Approving Trustee Evaluation Form evaluation form does not provide clarity in its use. For instance, if a candidate is a yes for all the diversity questions and has 10+ years for one experience category and less than 1 year experience for the remaining how does that compare to a candidate who is yes on 2 of the diversity questions, and has 2-5 years in all the experience areas? The evaluation form is not written to lead to an objective outcome. It's meant, seemingly, as a starting point for candidate selection not an end point. So sure have the governance committee complete an evaluation form for each candidate but direct elections should, I feel, be the final outcome. Now I would say that if it's decided that X% of the community seats would be from the Global North and X% from the Global South well that's an outcome I could live with. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 18:08, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

@Barkeep49 It is not yet clear how this evaluation form will be used in practice. In part it depends on the feedback received in this call and the specific process(es) defined. If anyone has suggestions about the best way to put this evaluation for to use, they can share them in the Talk pages for Vetting of candidates and Call for types of skills and experiences, where this form is mentioned. Qgil-WMF (talk) 22:36, 10 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Sorry if I wasn't clear. I haven no thoughts about how the board chooses to use this form for seats that the board could fill with anyone. For community selected seats, I am rejecting its use in several of the methods proposed in Ideas Proposed By the Board and stating instead that it could be completed for consideration by the appropriate community electorate (whether affiliate, project, or otherwise). Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 22:44, 10 February 2021 (UTC)Reply


I'd like to register my complete opposition to these patronising new measures that have been proposed, and also to any watered-down creep versions. Community-appointed trustees should be just that, not a list parsed through to find a candidate who fits the WMF's definition of who should be a trustee. Who specifically represents the community is a decision that should be solely vested in the community. Direct election by the community, un-influenced by outside interests, is the only appropriate method.

Furthermore, it seems to have been forgotten that the WMF and satellite projects exist because of en-wiki and other-language Wikipedias, not in spite of them. En-wiki is a volunteer project, not one run by slaves; i shouldn't need to spell out the massive effect on editor retention, and the knock-on effects, should the WMF continue on this expedition to reduce the ability of en-wiki to represent its own interests. In utmost sincerity, Zindor (talk) 12:42, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

I subscribe to this despite your remarks concerning enWP, the enWP is up to now far too much represented in this anglocentric WMF- and Meta-world. EnWP is just one project among many others, but unfortunately one, that gets far too much attention because it fits so good in the anglocentric thinking of the WMF. The content creators are the core of this community, not some detached functionaries. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 12:48, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Apologies Sänger for under-representing the other Wikipedias etc, that wasn't a concious intention and I know how important they are. This does of course concern all content creators worldwide. Zindor (talk) 13:02, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
No hard feelings, just a wee reminder, that the world is not english ;) As I said, I subscribe to your post. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 13:06, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
From a non-English view, if "trustees don't represent their constituencies at the Board" why call it "Community-appointed trustees"? Most likely, the Community vote people from their own communities so they are represented and these representatives bring the issues in the communities and of the Community up there on Board. The Global Council is just tokenism. --Filipinayzd (talk) 17:07, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Hi Filipinayzd, I hear what you expressed about the Global Council being tokenism. Have you shared this in discussion about the IGC? Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 22:54, 11 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Thirded. Let the actual members of the community select their representatives, without extra representation of any group including those with the money, time, and interest to join WMF affiliates and go on junkets. WMF: stop trying to pretend you run the movement. The movement consists of those who contribute to the projects. The Board is supposed to rein in your excesses, not enable them. Yngvadottir (talk) 05:01, 10 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Hi All, I read your feedback. I hear that you want this to be a community run process and you are frustrated at the Wikimedia Foundation's involvement. Can I ask if you all might have a solution to propose that might make sense to you? The Call for Feedback is to help "form a more diverse and better performing Board of Trustees." Is there something that you could see as supporting the community in doing this work? Another question, have you all read the proposal from Anass Sedrati? Would that be something you'd like to see or no? Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 22:49, 11 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
JKoerner (WMF), the WMF does realise that the content-creating community isn't the Aryan Brotherhood? There's editors from across the world. If editors from diverse backgrounds aren't putting themselves forwards, then encouraging them to do so is something the community can work on. There's no reason to reduce the representation of content creators.
As for better performing? That's just a buzz-word for WMF-compliant, and is not a criteria the WMF should be concerned about. It's the community who chooses their representatives.
It's become apparent that the issue of diversity is being used by the WMF as a veil to disguise their power grab. It disgusts me. Zindor (talk) 12:09, 12 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Hi Zindor, I hear you about tokenism being frustrating. I personally am frustrated by tokenism too in society. I'll save that soapbox rant for another day.
Now, let's see if I understand what you're saying so I accurately capture it. I hear that you completely disagree with this Call for Feedback and the community should have complete control over elections. I have heard this from others as well. You'll be glad to know it's captured in the first weekly report. Next week, there will be another report published so we can see what else comes from more conversation.
Could I ask your thoughts on the topic of skills? I hear that you and others in this conversation think the community should select Board members. Several people noted in the first week of the Call for Feedback that skill development is important for people from their area to be able to be on the Board. Some Board members who were on the first office hours said skills were important too.1, 2 What are ways you think to have community controlled selection and election and see that certain skills are present on the Board as well? Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 16:54, 12 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

What problems are we trying to solve here?[edit]

The role and function of the BoT towards the WMF are in large parts defined by law (as far as I can tell, IANAL) and thus unlikely to change significantly. The role of the BoT towards the communities of the Wikiverse is less well defined (see the first bulletpoint of the Summary of Recommendations). Quite a few of the proposed solutions here appear to only address the second bulletpoint of the linked Summary of Recommendations. Most of them seem concerned with increasing the efficency of the BoT in its role towards the WMF and increasing some types of diversity (like this other example) while decreasing others (Trustee evaluation form etc.). But this addresses only parts of the current functions of the BoT. Many content contributors will only ever encounter the BoT as a final arbiter in major conflicts between the WMF and online projects. In those (sadly way to regular) past occurrences having the perspective of content contributors in the BoT has been invaluable to resolve (or at least pacify) said conflicts. But the BoT is (for legal reasons, as pointed out above) structurally ill-equipped for being a representative decision-making organ in the Wikiverse. As long as we continue with this utterly broken conflict resolution mechanism, there will, I fear, always be some trade-offs in the (s)election of future trustees. Are we designing the trustee (s)election process with existing structures and processes in mind? There is currently quite a lot of uncertainty regarding future structures and processes among the different entities of the Wikiverse. Some of it could be reduced unilaterally by the BoT, e. g. during the upcoming CEO transition. What roles and responsibilities towards online communities will the BoT of the WMF have in, say, five years, when some of those trustees, whose (s)election process we are currently designing, will likely be still in office? Will there be mechanisms and policies in place to resolve future conflicts at lower levels, or better yet, to reduce their number outright? --HHill (talk) 16:45, 7 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Hi there, HHill! Thanks for taking the time to write so extensively about your understanding of the situation and posing questions. I just want to put a note here saying I have seen your feedback. I don't have answers right now, but your note hasn't been unnoticed. Do you happen to have ideas about what skills or needs the Board will need in the future?
Also, I see you mentioned quite a bit that the only time anyone would interact with the Board would be during a conflict. I am hearing that this is concerning to you. Is there a solution you might suggest to this? Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 23:03, 11 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Hi! I believe this depends in no small part on what tasks and responsibilities the Board wants to focus on in the future. That is why I am asking. I am quite certain there will be path dependencies resulting from decisions the Board will have to make in the very near future. In the worst case scenarios, the board will at some point have to value onwiki crisis communications skills over the capabilities of fulfilling its legally mandated roles. As an example of two possible different paths contrast the reactions to the news of the ED of WMDE leaving to the recollections of his predecessor.
I do not expect members of the WMF Board to regularly attend our local meetups as has happened with some of their German counterparts in the past. I would very much like not having to care about the exact composition of either board and not having to regularly interact with them, taking time I could better use contributing content. In future conflicts I would like the Board, or better yet the CEO or someone lower down the chain of command, to more often take the circuitous indirect route to reach their goals as this could very well be the fastest and most effective path anyway. HHill (talk) 08:33, 12 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate your time and energy on this. You said a lot of things in your first post here. It is now a new day and I have fresh eyes to look at it. I have more questions, if you will humor me, I think you are sharing some important feedback I want to be sure to capture.
  • Can you explain a way to better define the role of the Board of Trustees towards the communities?
    • Are there ideas you might be able to come up with to connect this with the Community Board seat selection processes?
  • Somewhat related to my question above, do you have ideas for the Community Board seat selection processes that better speak to the other points on the Summary of Recommendations you referenced?
  • How do you see the evaluation form as reducing diversity?
  • What are those trade-offs you are thinking about?
Also, you said, "Are we designing the trustee (s)election process with existing structures and processes in mind? There is currently quite a lot of uncertainty regarding future structures and processes among the different entities of the Wikiverse." And, "What roles and responsibilities towards online communities will the BoT of the WMF have in, say, five years, when some of those trustees, whose (s)election process we are currently designing, will likely be still in office? Will there be mechanisms and policies in place to resolve future conflicts at lower levels, or better yet, to reduce their number outright?" I have not forgotten these questions. I just do not have answers for this. I will note them in the feedback because perhaps other people have similar questions.
I understand I asked a lot of questions. You do not have to answer them if you do not wish. Please forgive me, you've given such a large amount of feedback and questions I want to give it my proper attention. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 17:57, 12 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
The planned stakeholder analysis would certainly help with the definition. In addition to such a rather traditional managerial look at the matter a political science perspective could perhaps be useful (at least I would be interested in reading such a document). The Board regularly engages in the "authoritative allocation of values" (David Easton) which directly or indirectly influences volunteer contributors. Some recent examples include the UCoC or quite literally being the ultimate authority over the lions share of available funding.
But what has all this to do with the seat selection process we are discussing here, you ask. Well, lets have a look at the intended effects of most of the proposals and the evaluation form. Prominently among them is the desire to get more qualified trustees for the legally mandated parts of the Board's obligations. Either by surfacing relevant experience outside the Wikiverse, or tilting the playing field in favour of someone, who absolved some sort of cursus honorum among other Wikimedia organisations. Just being a good and prolific author or administrator (or even both), which under the current set of rules would probably get you a lot of votes (not least because quite a lot of possible voters would get to know you this way), would likely not be enough. But that is, at least in my perspective, the most desired quality for the decisions of a more legislative nature the Board is currently taking for volunteer content contributors. Just making the Board even bigger, to get a more representative (or even random) sample of voices aboard, could have negative effects for the core tasks, with the planned changes already possibly aiming for a size too large for those.
Again, the Trustee Evaluation Form is aiming to get more qualified candidates for the core tasks of the Board. A good and necessary step. And there is the laudable desire to increase the diversity of the Board on four clearly defined dimensions. All well and good. But taken together these actions risk narrowing the diversity in other dimensions (again, have a look at the linked example of the British Conservative Party). In a worst case scenario trustee seats would rotate among a shallow pool of eligible candidates, whose worldview could get increasingly out of touch with the experiences of the average contributors.
To sum up there are in my opinion two different groups of tasks and roles the Board is currently shouldering, with somewhat conflicting demands on the skillsets of the individual trustees and perhaps the size of the Board overall. As long as Board is not ceding at least some of its current responsibilities, there will be some major trade-offs either in the selection of trustees or its effectiveness in either role, I think. Just focussing on the selection process wont solve those problems, some Eierlegende Wollmilchsäue are no solution. HHill (talk) 10:24, 14 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@HHill After reading your comments here and with the information I got from the Board through documents and meetings, I have the impression that you are all aligned in your concerns. It is true that this Call for feedback, together with the recent Bylaws changes and the approval of the evaluation form in the direction of the Board's "core obligations." This is because the Board looks at our current status, the goals the Foundation must achieve, the budget and size of the organization, and the 2030 Strategy, and they conclude that the Board needs to step up its game. The Board is made of volunteers, some of these volunteers are selected through community processes, and these processes too, the Board thinks, need to step up their game accordingly.
As you point out, the communication and relationship with the volunteer contributors and affiliates is another important work area for the Board. They also see a need for improvement in this area, and they are working on this as well. This area of community communications is not covered as strongly in this call for feedback to address a specific problem: how to fill these 3+3 seats this year. Similarly, the fact that there are no specific mentions in this call for feedback about emerging structures like the Global Council and Regional seats doesn't mean that the Board is not thinking about them. It is again a matter of focus in the discussion about community Board seats.
Several people providing feedback in this call are bringing ideas and concerns related to the board's performance communicating with the communities or the risks of growing a Board while creating an Interim Global Council and even hiring a new CEO. We are taking note of this feedback in our reports. We agree that these topics are closely related. Still, back to your initial question, the main problem this call for feedback wants to address is the best way to select 3+3 community members for the Board this year, considering the problems stated of lack of diversity and need for fitting skills. Qgil-WMF (talk) 14:26, 19 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Thank you for your answer, which has been somewhat corroborated by the first session of yesterdays office hours and the ensuing Telegram chat.
This is, IMO, not simply a communications issue, it has to have visible consequences in the actions of the Board. Certain matters simply are not for the Board alone to decide, not now and certainly not if it is focussing more on the needs of the WMF. The results may look very similar (we do share a mission and at least some goals after all) but the way we get there matters.
I think, it could be useful to delineate this context in the call for candidates. Explicitly asking for candidates who can help guiding the WMF (not the Movement or words to that effect) through this transition and hand over areas of responsibility the Board is currently occupying to other entities in the Wikiverse, existing or newly created.
Hopefully these actions will help alleviating the pressure and need to elect someone, who promises to be primarily a community advocate and who is demonstrating mostly their onwiki qualifications.
If the s/elections are to be staggered the process could well be tweaked in the iterations, less reason to worry about getting it exactly right the first time. HHill (talk) 12:28, 21 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Proposing to add seats for capacities[edit]

Moved to Talk:Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees/Call for feedback: Community Board seats/Specialization seats. Qgil-WMF (talk) 13:29, 11 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

A timeline[edit]

The team running this call for feedback has published a timeline of events related to the Board's governance. We hope it helps understanding the many steps that led to the current status. Qgil-WMF (talk) 20:46, 9 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Out of curiosity, how come the pandemic that made it totally-super-impossible to vote on new Trustees somehow wasn't an obstacle to having this unelected rump board remove the last shred of the community's agency? Talk about some impressive threading-the-needle, right up there with, say, a member of the board of trustees having an unelected Star Chamber go after the enemy of a board member's spouse without the slightest whiff of transparency. Note that this is a purely theoretical example of something that surely hasn't yet happened. If you could give us a timeline of when the board will simply ignore all feedback, we can save the wear-and-tear on our keyboards. CoffeeCrumbs (talk) 23:59, 9 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Useful background[edit]

Per Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees/Call for feedback: Community Board seats#Useful background, is this talk page for discussion the selection of

  • 3 members were selected via a vote by the Wikimedia contributors (these seats are currently overdue)

- or -

  • 3 new Community- and Affiliate-selected seats

or both? If these are to be two separate classes of seats, with affiliates only participating in selection of the 3 new seats, shouldn't there be separate discussions for each? Wbm1058 (talk) 21:30, 9 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Hey there, Wbm1058! I found this on the Useful Background page: "This call for feedback refers to the process to fill the three overdue contributor seats as well as the three newly-created Community- and Affiliate-selected Trustees seats." I hope that helps. If this does not resolve your question, do let me know. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 23:08, 11 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Rotating seat[edit]

First of all, full support of widening the BoT with no ifs or buts. Working through the idea of Quotas and the idea of geographic diversity, I think it is also worth few lines discussing a "rotating seat". This could be allocated from the three Quotas or designated "honorary" one. I am aware not all Wikipedias are language based but the majority (99%?) are. Therefore, there must be some < 300 round-robin goes. If each turn takes say one month, we would get through 300 in 25 years. Now, I prefer that to no chance at all for Kurdish Sorani. With some fine tuning, bringing that 300 down to something like underrepresented X number, would mean the one month could be even longer. In the worst case scenario, an accepted Alpha algorithm to randomly select from the pool, gives everyone the chance to be represented for T period of time on BoT. --هیوا (talk) 23:47, 9 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Given that most Board meetings happen on a quarterly basis, this would lead to 2/3 often not getting a/many substantive decisions set within their "term". Additionally, it would be a significant negative for the functioning of the BoT, because no-one could get fully caught up on their subcommittee's business, efforts, and pending plans within that time and actually start to contribute significantly. Nosebagbear (talk) 10:01, 10 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@هیوا Just adding to @Nosebagbear's comment, onboarding (pun intended) a new trustee is not a trivial task. It takes quite a bit of time and effort for the new trustee to familiarize themselves with the role and the current topics. It also takes time and effort for the other Board members and the staff supporting the team. Not only it would be difficult for the volunteers in this rotating seat to have an actual impact, it would bring a lot of extra time and work for the rest of the team.
Imagine a similar situation in a sports team, where the trainer should bring a total newcomer to play on the field every four games. No matter how good the rotating players are individually, fitting them in the team for such a short period would be very difficult. Qgil-WMF (talk) 12:34, 12 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Four office hours on February 20, Call for feedback midpoint[edit]

2021-02-20 - Second Office Hours contains all the information about the next round of office hours on Saturday, February 20. This time we organize four meetings to cover different time zones better. We are also trying a small idea, inviting participants to declare their main topic of interest beforehand. In theory, this could help everyone see what the main topics of interest for each session are. This is optional. Anyone can raise any topics related to the Call for feedback during the sessions on the spot. Qgil-WMF (talk) 12:11, 12 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Draft of the call for feedback's main report[edit]

At the end of the Call for feedback about Community Board seats, the facilitation team will present a report to the Board. The team is drafting the main report during the Call, taking the Weekly reports as the main source of information. We have just published the structure of the report, and we expect to start having drafts for each section later this week. If you want to suggest improvements to this report, we welcome your feedback in the talk page. Qgil-WMF (talk) 10:35, 15 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

The first section receiving a first iteration in the main report draft is Ranked voting system. Our plan it to publish first drafts for the next sections in the upcoming days, and then refresh them on a weekly basis, following the weekly reports. Qgil-WMF (talk) 20:51, 18 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
We have published a first iteration of the Quotas section. Qgil-WMF (talk) 23:18, 25 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
We have published a first iteration of the Vetting of candidates section. Qgil-WMF (talk) 10:45, 4 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
We have published a first iteration of the Regional seats section. Qgil-WMF (talk) 22:54, 4 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
We have published a first iteration of the Call for types of skills and experiences section. Qgil-WMF (talk) 20:03, 5 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
We have published a first iteration of the Selection commitee section, which contains the feedback about the Community-elected Selection Committee and the Board-delegated Selection Committee. Qgil-WMF (talk) 22:18, 8 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
There is a new draft of the The call for feedback process section. Qgil-WMF (talk) 13:38, 11 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
This is the expected timeline for this report:
  • 2021-03-18: The complete Call for feedback's main report draft is ready for review.
  • 2021-03-25: The Call for feedback's main report is delivered to the Board.
Our initial plan was to have a first iteration of the full report completed sooner, but we haven't had enough time to do this. Most of our time has been invested in organizing conversations, writing the reports of these conversations, and producing the weekly reports where all the new information has been summarized. Processing all this new content every week made it more difficult to find the time to write new sections, and update the ones that had been drafted.
These are some of the lessons learned that will help us do better next time. Still, we started drafting the sections about the most dynamic topics, and this gave everyone a chance to react sooner to the drafts, perhaps also to the topics themselves. The four panel sessions organized between today and Sunday are likely to generate a burst of feedback before the Call for feedback closes.
We will do our best to publish these sessions as soon as possible, and capture the relevant feedback in the 6th weekly report on Wednesday 17. Meanwhile, we will complete the main report draft with all the sections by the end of Thursday 18. We will continue publishing new sections and updating the existing ones one by one, as soon as they are ready. Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:48, 12 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
Two more sections drafted: Election of confirmed candidates and Direct appointment of confirmed candidates. Qgil-WMF (talk) 22:34, 15 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
This week has been even busier than expected, and the draft report is not fully completed. Still, the summaries of feedback are all drafted and ready for your review. We hope to publish the rest on Monday... except the participation metrics in the Appendix. That might take us a bit more. The official review period will go from Monday to Sunday next week. Qgil-WMF (talk) 21:19, 19 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
The draft summary of the report is ready for review. With this summary, the body of the draft report is ready for community review until the end of next Monday, March 29. We are still planning to update the appendix with some metrics about the Call for Feedback. Also we might make minor improvements for more consistent wording across the document. Qgil-WMF (talk) 14:42, 23 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

The review period for the Call for Feedback: Community Board seats is now closed. Thank you to everyone who read the report and thank you to those who provided feedback during the weeklong feedback period for the report.

The facilitation team looks forward to learning what is next. For now, we are using what was shared during the CfF and past documentation to plan outreach to encourage more eligible community members to take part in elections. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 13:32, 30 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

Idea: stagger the introduction of new seats over the next 3 years[edit]

Elections and reviewing potential appointments take time. It's healthy to stagger elections so that only 1/3 seats come up for election or renewal each year, particularly during an executive transition.

  • Hold the delayed [s]elections for 3 community seats in mid-2021.
  • Plan [s]elections for 3 community seats next year, moving to a 3/3/2 cadence.
  • Start looking for additional appointed Board candidates in mid-2021.
  • Add 1 additional appointed seat each of the next 3 years, moving to a 3/2/2 cadence.

SJ talk  04:48, 16 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

A table of the old staggering, and the new proposed staggering, for reference:

CS + BA: Community-selected + Board-appointed seats

  # of Trustees (CS + BA)
Year Old New:
This idea
Max change
2019 2 + 1 -- --
2020 0* + 2 -- --
2021 3 + 1 4 + 2 6`+ 4`
2022 2 + 1 4 + 2 2 + 2
2023 0 + 2 0 + 3 2 + 3
2024 3 + 1 4 + 2 3 + 2

  * 2020 elections were postponed to 2021.
  ` 2 CS seats for a 2-yr term, 1 BA seat for a 1-yr term.

@Sj Just a quick note to say that already yesterday we took your suggestion and we are aiming to get initial feedback from the Board Governance Committee, meeting today. Qgil-WMF (talk) 10:55, 17 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Qgil-WMF and Sj: I do think that staggering elections is a positive (and the 3/3/2 cadence is logical, though 0/4/4 would also work), but I would say that's it's better to run elections to get all the candidates in (accepting that the initial wave will be chaotic), but with the lower ranking candidates having the shorter starting terms, in order to move us to the tranche system. Nosebagbear (talk) 13:31, 18 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Thank you for the update, Quim.
NBB: In other cases I would agree with this, but this year is different in two respects:
  • I don't think it is a good idea to have so many [6 to 9] new trustees, nor to have 1-year appointments, during an executive transition.
  • There are a lot of other obligations [and governance opportunities] taking up the attention of many of the more experienced community members, so the overall pool may be less deep than usual.
  • We will be attempting to use new [s]election methods, which may bring their own challenges. A common challenge in such an environment is that fringe, troll, or joke candidacies (that nevertheless pass the threshold for participation with great sincerity) are reasonably popular.
So a selection method that works fairly well to rank a few top results may work significantly worse at ranking candidates 4-8. –SJ talk  01:27, 19 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Sj Although there is no official response from the Board about this point, let me attempt to answer by putting together several pieces:
  • The Board has been planning to increase its size for about a year now. Your proposal would imply no size increase for another year from now. I believe that this zero growth scenario is unlikely as many trustees have expressed their desire to increase the Board's capacity with more trustees. The new seats for directly appointed trustees cannot be filled before filling the community-and-affiliate new seats, which puts more pressure on organizing the corresponding community selection.
    • Thanks for these notes. For clarity: the intent of the proposal is that there would be 3+1 community trustees, and +1 additional appointed trustees, sought this year. The total board would grow by up to 2, and at most 5 of 12 Trustees would be entirely new.
  • The discussion about skills also brings the idea that the pool of suitable candidates might not cover exactly the same "more experienced community members" we usually think of as usual suspects.
  • Following the call for feedback conversations, we find ideas like regional seats or specialization seats. The Board hasn't said anything about such proposals but if these ideas (or part of them) would be integrated, this would have an effect on this discussion about the pool of potential candidates.
    • The IGC is looking for similar but not identical skills, and also perhaps considering regional seats...
  • If my memory serves me well, the idea about staggering candidates came once during the recent series of office hours. When discussing regional diversity, @Ad Huikeshoven that electing candidates for 6 seats would increase the chances for a more diverse group of new trustees. In comparison, he said, staggering these elections year after year would increase the chances of having only Europeans and North Americans elected. It is another point to consider.
    • Ad's point is interesting, do the next few ranked candidates from past elections bear that out? The primary concern addressed by this idea is the possibility of a majority of the Board being new, and chosen by a new method, in a year when maintaining trust in the governance process is itself important. –SJ talk  02:40, 23 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
In any case, the Board is considering this factor of renewal and growth. This topic has still room for discussion during this call for feedback, especially when put next to the creation of the Interim Global Council, also expected to happen this year. Qgil-WMF (talk) 22:20, 22 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Sj Sorry for misreading your proposal. I got confused by the steps proposed for mid-2021 and next year/s. I want to get your idea right to reflect it well in our report. In any case, change management, timeline, and implications of the Interim Global Council's creation are already topics the Board and especially the Board Governance Committee are considering.
It would be useful to connect better this call for feedback with the conversations about the creation of the Interim Global Council. To understand better how the IGC and Board elections can affect each other, support each other? Ideas to connect these conversations are welcome. In the meantime, I will check with my colleagues in the Movement Strategy team. Qgil-WMF (talk) 10:13, 23 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

I added a table above for precision. Based on NBB's and other feedback, I changed the proposal to 4/4/0, which makes things cleaner, running a process only 2 years out of 3. The "maximum change" approach would add an extra 4 trustees this year, meaning that 37%-56% of the Board would be completely new by the end of the year. That seems risky for little benefit.

Agreed, election scheduling and outreach about it would be best combined with the parallel IGC process! Ideally the WMF Board process this year resolves before the IGC process takes off. –SJ talk  17:08, 23 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Feedback numbers/groups/methods[edit]

Just wanted to register a few comments on the first weekly feedback report:

  1. I was rather horrified that an attempt to use Twitter as a direct means was made - there's no way any level of nuance, let alone provision of for/against reasoning, can be made in that format. Answers are likely to be extremely broad which risks being interpreted as a support for whatever more detailed proposal gets made.
  2. While the detailed descriptions are useful (including a few ongoing trends), just a note to everyone to check that how few editors are actually participating in them.
  3. Is there a list, with access/timing details, for all of these, or are affiliates just notifying those signed up to them?
  4. All autocaption's bases are belong to us Nosebagbear (talk) 10:27, 17 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Nosebagbear We are open to experiment with all channels and it seems Twitter is an important channel of communication used in the French-speaking context. If we get any useful information, we integrate it. Talk pages are filled with useful opinions that would fit in a tweet. For instance, when asking about ranked voting systems, we got two suggestions about voting systems that nobody had mentioned in this call for feedback, coming from an account specializing in multiple choice voting systems. Qgil-WMF (talk) 13:20, 18 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Nosebagbear About quantity of participants, yes, we also want more participants. 3.5 weeks to go, and we keep organizing conversations. Then again, it is understandable that not everyone if rushing to join a discussion about Board governance. We keep involving people covering a range as diverse as possible and we are happy about quality and variety of feedback we are getting so far.
Is the Conversations page the list you are asking for? Qgil-WMF (talk) 20:58, 18 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Community Board seats and the future Wikimedia Hubs[edit]

Hi, I think this discussion about community board seats should be addressed in parallel with the future design of Wiki Hubs (regional or thematic). In my opinion and in order to make sure that all hubs can be involved/represented directly or indirectly in the future board and taking into account that it's not possible to have all the regions/communities represented, I suggest the followingː̩

  • each hub will elect its own candidate,
  • all the candidates representing the hubs will convene and elect the future board members.

I think this is better than ̈

  • electing a new board member directly by all affiliates as some regions can have more affiliates than others,
  • not all communities are represented by affiliates but all communities will be part of at least one hub,

PSː the idea can be developed more in order to add more guarantees for gender diversity.

Thanks Yamen

Yamen (talk) 22:43, 17 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Except this further reduces the effect of direct democracy, and seems to fall afoul of the same issue as affiliates - to register my maximum impact at Board level, I have to join and participate in additional bodies that I disagree with. Nosebagbear (talk) 10:22, 18 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Thanks Nosebagbear for your feedback. First of all I think being part of a hub is more inclusive and more flexible than being part of an affiliate. Secondly the idea here is not to have all board members elected via this process, some seats must remain elected directly by the community. It should be a mix between direct democracy and representative democracy because if we will rely only on direct democracy (i.e. vote by users) there is a high risk that not all regional/thematic hubs will be represented like it was the case for all previous community elections--Yamen (talk) 11:16, 18 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Hi Yamen, is there a particular reason why "being part of a hub is more inclusive and more flexible than being part of an affiliate" would be the case - this isn't a "gotcha" question, I'm genuinely curious what evidenced reasoning there is for it. But either regional or thematic hubs are going to have wildly different numbers of active editors who associate with them - if each is electing their own candidate, the (indirect) electoral strength of some editors will be vastly higher than others. That seems to be trying to bring in fairness while ignoring major unfairness. Nosebagbear (talk) 13:28, 18 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Hi Nosebagbear, IMLTHO it will be more easy for wikimedians to identify themselves as being part of a hub (either as a regional hub or thematic) than being part of Chapter/UG as I think hubs will be less formal (not like what some UGs are doing by asking wikimedians to submit requests and then decide whether they can be accepted as members or not). I'm not saying this is the best solution but having it at the same time with directly elected board members by the community will ensure more diversity and more involvement of all regions/thematic groups of our movement. The indirect electoral strength of some editors won't be higher than other as for exampleː a European hub will have one candidate same as an African hub. Nevertheless the effectiveness of this idea will depend on how hubs will be designed e.g. will Africa be considered as a single hub or several hubs (North Africa, Ouest Africa...). So to summaries I'm suggesting a mix between a direct elections done by the community and indirect elections closely linked to the future hubs. Thanks Yamen (talk) 00:51, 20 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Yamen: the electoral strength will be higher, just made indirect. My hub might have thousands picking a candidate (who will then participate in picking), others might have a couple of hundred. Changing the level at which the electoral imbalance is at doesn't avoid it being unfair. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:44, 22 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

I am hoping that the prescribed design for hubs will not be affiliate-centric. Underrepresented communities must have a voice. Going further, care must be taken with regard to the scope or size of a hub, IMHO. A hodge-podge hub serves meager purpose. Buszmail (talk) 15:47, 14 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

Wikimedia Boston Sends Notice of Important Meeting One Day Post Meeting[edit]

Why would people be receiving meeting notice for important Wikimedia considerations one day after the meeting(s) have taken place?

"Date: Mon, 15 Feb 2021 19:21:24 -0500 Subject: [Wikimedia-boston] Fwd: [Wikimediaus-l] Tonight: Community board seats meeting, 9pm Eastern: US Wikimedians Wikimedia is revisiting how it elects and appoints Trustees to the Board. You can follow the current discussion on Meta, and there is a phone call later tonight to discuss ideas for those interested.

Forwarding details from the US-wide mailing list:" MESSAGE RECEIVED AS FOLLOWS - ONE DAY LATE OR "ONE DOLLAR SHORT" AS SOME MIGHT SAY: " Feb 16, 2021, 7:05 AM (1 day ago)" ItaloSuave (talk) 04:14, 18 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Hello ItaloSuave, it looks like that message bounced to your address when it was first sent; mailman can retry for up to a couple of days before giving up. You might check w/ your mail provider, and check other mailman messages to see if they are delayed for you. –SJ talk  01:43, 19 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Idea: Greater support for potential candidates[edit]

We should be putting more resources into support for potential candidates and leaders in the movement. This could include community office hours, mentorship, leadership development etc, for those potentially interested in running for elections. Sometimes elections have had rather limited participation, and making efforts to increase diversity at the candidate stage will make for greater diversity in actual officeholders. Both Wikimedia Foundation and community members could help with such a project, and it should be part of a larger ledership-supporting ecosystem. I believe this would further Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Recommendations/Invest in Skills and Leadership Development.--Pharos (talk) 05:44, 23 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

@Pharos Yes, this idea is fully supported by the Board. Paradoxically, because of this clear support it was... overlooked? This Call for feedback focuses on potentially controversial topics requiring further feedback. About Foundation support, the current assumption is to take the resources assigned to this call for feedback as a baseline. This includes a team of multilingual facilitators and a translation budget. It would be a clear improvement compared to previous elections. We are also discussing leadership development to support candidates. What can we offer to the next row of candidates in a couple of months is still unclear.
If you want, we can create a page for this idea. The conversation would focus on how to support potential candidates especially in the short term, in the next elections. This conversation would continue after the call for feedback, from ideas to implementation. Qgil-WMF (talk) 10:37, 23 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Qgil-WMF: Thanks, I think a new page on this candidate support would be a helpful missing element.--Pharos (talk) 19:00, 24 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Pharos Great! You can start the draft, or we can if you wish. Qgil-WMF (talk) 19:28, 24 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Qgil-WMF: I've started something at Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees/Call for feedback: Community Board seats/Candidate resources, lightly adapting my original comment.--Pharos (talk) 19:46, 24 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Pharos I have suggested some changes. Please add or revert any changes. Tomorrow in my morning I will remove the draft template, mark the page for translation, and link it from the same locations as the other ideas. Qgil-WMF (talk) 20:50, 25 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Qgil-WMF: Thanks for yor clean-up and formatting, looks great to me.--Pharos (talk) 04:27, 26 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Long overdue elections[edit]

When will the long overdue elections finally take place? The current board is not completely legitimate, as it has not been properly community vetted through elections. The elections were postponed with the very far-fetched reasoning of Covid-19, something rather irrelevant for an online community. I've asked the election committee, when they will start doing their duty and organize the long overdue elections, but there was a telling and solid silence on the talk page, they simply won't do their duty.

The current board has because of the missing elections a far diminished legitimacy, only proper elections legitimize board members, so any< decision made by the current less legitimized board are not worth as much as decisions by a proper legitimized board. All this now discussed changes could only be done and implemented by a prper legitimized board, thus not by the current one. When will the election committee finally start doing their work and start the overdue election process? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 08:51, 24 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

@Sänger The current assumption is that the overdue elections will be launched as soon as possible. This is how the timeline looks like right now:
  • 2021-03-14: The call for feedback ends
  • 2021-03-18 (tentative): Completion of the Call for feedback's main report.
  • 2021-03-31: The Board Governance Committee meets to discuss recommendations for the Board.
  • 2021-04-15: Special Board meeting to discuss, ratify and launch the new process.
About "the very far-fetched reasoning of Covid-19, something rather irrelevant for an online community"... This is just my opinion: an online community is made of real people, and elections candidates are real people too. Last Spring everyone's routines were disrupted and the future looked even more uncertain that usual. Among those with jobs, many had to work from home, many moved to emergency mode, many lost their jobs or saw their income reduced... Among those with kids, basically everyone had to face homeschooling of some form, taking care of kids all day long, everyday... Among those with old parents or relatives the stress, dedication and need to provide care skyrocketed...
Maybe for some people last year's COVID burst was rather irrelevant for their online activities. But (again, personally) I think it is fair to say that many potential candidates had their lives disrupted and probably would not have thought of, precisely in the middle of a new pandemic, decide to run for the Board, commit to an election campaign and to the demands of a trustee seat in case they won. This is especially true for the kind of underrepresented volunteers that the Board and the Movement Strategy discussions agree that we need to support better. Qgil-WMF (talk) 14:17, 24 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
A counterpoint to this is that, if a potential candidate is unable to run for the board during COVID, would they have been able to serve on the board during COVID? While hopefully the current crisis will be a thing of the past soon, what will happen if, say, the board has to navigate Section 230 reform in a hurry, despite having old parents and stress and so on. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 21:20, 25 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
I guess we were really lucky that our wonderful current Board members did not face any of these challenges and could spend the time changing the bylaws and starting some process to delay elections even further! --MF-W 00:18, 3 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
Regardless, the points of the "long overdue elections" and also the skepticism about the COVID reasoning have been mentioned several times by other people during this Call for feedback and they will be captured in our report to the Board. Qgil-WMF (talk) 14:24, 24 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
So all this other stuff was fine to work on, like the completely irrelevant branding nonsense, the board enlargement, the bylaw changes and such, but the very base for all that, proper validation of the board itself by the overdue elections, the only way the board members get any legitimacy at all, could be postponed for far over a year? I don't buy that, these are completely botched priorities. At least the branding nonsense should have stopped 'til at least 2023 or such, if such useless nonsense can still be worked on, the is no excuse for not doing relevant stuff. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 14:27, 24 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Agree with previous commenters. Wikipedia is an online institution, probably the most advanced one to date. It has a responsibility to set the tone for others and overcome "real life" challenges to proceed with the business of a properly run institution. There are no health concerns with voting or "campaigning", only time management and ability to log on. As far as I am aware, the pandemic has not caused any internet outages worldwide. --Nweil (talk) 21:12, 2 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
Given that the Board of Trustees has found more than ample time, during COVID-19, to continue to eviscerate the basic community structure of the Wiki movement, I daresay there certainly was enough time to hold an election. But a cleaning out of the Augean stables would have left WMF at risk of not being able to carry out their final hijacking of the work of others. 07:23, 25 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
As noted, the problem is less the reasoning itself and more the fact that the reasoning has been contradicted by the Board's other actions. I'm sure the Board believe that delaying the election for a year was the only practical option, but the same obstacles didn't prevent them from moving ahead with their own (and the WMF Executive Team's) ideas. Add in that two Board members describing elections as just popularity contests during the office hours and it becomes clear holding new elections was low on the priority list. It would be nice if the Board did some self-reflection here and considered the part their (unconscious) biases may have played. --RaiderAspect (talk) 05:04, 28 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Proposal: Reconciling community, diversity, continuity and overdue elections[edit]

I would like to make a specific proposal, bringing together many of the different strands raised in community conversations here and elsewhere, and ensuring the values of community and diversity, and also keeping some continuity and making up for overdue elections. This is based on the concept of staggering elections, and the undeniable historical record that Africa and Asia have been most underrepresented at the WMF board level. There is also a provision for the appointment of runners-up in the case that there is a gender or other imbalance.

  • 2023
    • 0 community
    • 3 appointed
      • Any remaining skills or demographic gaps

--Pharos (talk) 18:23, 26 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

I like the basics of this suggestion, though there are some things that should probably be changed about it. Fundamentally, it feels that having less than half of the community seats being based on criteria other than project participation feels like a regressive change. Right now, we have 3/5 of the community seats elected based on project participation. I think dropping that to 3/8 feels like it's too low - 4/8 feels too low, but 5/8 might not leave enough room for other goals, so probably half is the right choice for project-based seats.
It feels like for the numbers to work out, we'd need to figure out a way to combine regional- and affiliate-based seats into a pool of four, and apportion them out - probably with seats representing North America/Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia. I'd worry about two seats going to Asia, because I'd worry about the Chinese Communist Party gaming an election in an underrepresented area to get two seats, and leveraging that into control over content.
I'm wondering if the right thing to do would be to expand the current 2 affiliate-based seats into 4 regional affiliate-based seats in 2022, and then to something like Regional Hub-based seats if and when those entities exist. At some point, we're looking far enough into the future we can't predict what the needs of the movement will be, or even what the organization might be, so it's probably best to punt to the new board and 2025. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 19:08, 26 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Extended discussion on the People's Republic of China.
@TomDotGov: I'd worry about two seats going to Asia, because I'd worry about the Chinese Communist Party gaming an election in an underrepresented area to get two seats, and leveraging that into control over content. What, in all due respect, are you talking about? dwf² 01:58, 27 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
See, for example, our article on the en:50 Cent Party, and [2]. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 02:13, 27 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
I'll note, by the way, that we have a dissident a few blocks over from me being protested by supporters of the Chinese government, so this sort of thing has been on my mind lately. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 02:15, 27 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
While I perfectly recognize such problem, the sound of "I'd worry about two seats going to Asia" sounds to me a degrading commentary for all of Wikimedia affiliates and communities in Asia. You are proposing a solution that is fishing for a problem. dwf² 02:19, 27 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
For what it was worth, that wasn't my intent. I'd hope that the affiliates in Asia would be just as concerned with the possibility of a government that does not share movement goals taking over 1/8 of board seats and 1/4 of community-selected seats. Since I don't think what I wrote conveyed my intent, I've struck it out. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 02:31, 27 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Well.... that is not any better. Such possibility is remote, if there's one at the first place, and you cannot escape by simply saying this is not your intent in the first place. The board is not some corporate board that is vulnerable to hostile takeover. I believe that Asian projects and communities would be perfectly capable to sort out potential candidates with links to a state actor. By assuming that allowing Asian representation on the board would increaase the possibility of the fiduciary authority in our movement to be in bed with a certain regime, you deny that Asian Wikimedians are capable to represent themselves. The fact that you even raise this possibility is awful, offensive, and degrading. dwf² 02:42, 27 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Likening Asia to Communist China is an unfair, awful statement like putting Trump loyalists to Americans, ISIS to MENA, Putin loyalists to CEE. Please stop it. Any Wikimedia community have AGF in choosing a person to various forums & committees..--Exec8 (talk) 02:53, 27 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
No, Pharos is right.
Moreover, quotas and regional seats are unfair, since they neglect the skill aspect, and privilege only the aspect for which the quota is taken into consideration. RobertBlinov (talk) 06:59, 27 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@RobertBlinov: the skill aspect has been addressed with the Candidate Resources proposal (which I see was also proposed by Pharos), so it should not that big of a problem. dwf² 05:19, 1 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
Yes, it has been addressed, but it would be better if the election proceeded without any artificial preferences. RobertBlinov (talk) 14:12, 2 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

Hi All, thanks for this discussion here. I have captured it for the upcoming weekly report. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 23:20, 3 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

  • Again with a huge movement away from direct unfettered selection - this massively weights certain representation, as well as reducing unpressurable community control. Skills can be requested but only the Community as a whole should be making a specific choice as to whether someone is good enough to be on the board. I'm also at a loss on why Asia would need two dedicated reps, coupled in with an additional one for Africa. That causes a staggering imbalance in editor to Board count, especially considering the remaining seats would be, I assume at-large. This proposal prioritises a few narrow benefits at major unfairness and negatives in almost every other category. Nosebagbear (talk) 20:57, 5 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
    @Pharos: Thanks, a compelling proposal. @Nosebagbear: Aside from the effectiveness of regional quotas at ensuring effective focus on needs from a region, I want to address the "editor to Board count" comment. Weighted by population and accessible artefacts and records, Asian history and languages are the most dramatically underrepresented source of past and present human knowledge on the projects. Despite having the oldest written languages, longest-lived libraries, 60% of the world's population, 50% of the world's internet users, some of the largest pre-Wikipedia encyclopedias ever created, and two of the three largest wiki encyclopedias, the community of editors makes up -- as you point out -- a relatively small fraction of editors and contributors to Wikimedia projects. That corresponds to a disproportionately small % of sources from those regions used as references. We should be considering the pool of expected and desired editors, not the pool of current editors, in determining how much weight and attention to give to the needs of the region.
    Of all our failures to address systemic bias in the projects and their knowledge, their communities, and their impact, this is among the broadest and most persistent. Our efforts to support community work in India and in China for instance have been sporadic, conflicted, and underprioritized... and have notably not included simple things like a regionally-managed trust for supporting work in the area, or scholarships, workshops, and technical + professional development for communities there. The parallel gaps in Africa are not far behind, with roughly 1/3 the affected population and potential editorship, but vastly less coverage and representation of sources and languages and current knowledge networks. Supporting small regional events, and giving out grants overseen by American or European groups that travel to Africa and Asia, only scratch the surface of what we should be doing. More strongly empowering regional community leaders is a necessary step, and inclusion on the WMF Board, while not sufficient, can help set a tone for the Foundation, its partners, and the movement as a whole. –SJ talk  19:43, 6 March 2021 (UTC) + 17:01, 11 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
    This only holds up if you can provide direct evidence that these regionally appointed board members will: dramatically increase editor count from within those pools, without causing any significant issues elsewhere and that any impact could not be caused by alternate measures by an at-large pool . I don't believe that is possible to prove now, and if it was going to go ahead, should come with automatic termination indicators.
    "Setting a tone" in governance makeup only works if there is very broad awareness of the BoT and its makeup and still would be a wildly inappropriate tool to pursue a goal. Nosebagbear (talk) 11:07, 7 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
    @Nosebagbear: One of the advantages of a staggered plan is that in the first year there are the 3 directly elected seats and 1 Africa regional seat, so there will be time to adjust the plan bsaed on our actual experiences, before there are 2 Asia seats scheduled for the year afterward.--Pharos (talk) 16:46, 10 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
    @Pharos: That would necessitate another significant discussion that I would imagine the board wouldn't want to have, plus disagreement in what evidence would look like. If a staggered pattern offers these possibilities, then it would surely make more sense to have a single non at-large seat, say, Global South, then if *that* works, without any significant drawbacks, then we can discuss a further specified seat then. Nosebagbear (talk) 19:18, 10 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
    @Sj: that was a fairly major refactoring, with numerous stress and reasoning additions - beyond that of mere elucidation. I know you're not trying to be problematic, but please don't make such changes after multiple posts have responded to it unless you're using strikethroughs etc Nosebagbear (talk) 17:20, 11 March 2021 (UTC)Reply


To repeat the concern of @TomDotGov, I would be concerned of any political party to gain power in a way within our communities, to include gaining one or more seats on the board, to influence content (to include but not limited to the CCP which TomDotGov mentioned specifically). Perhaps this is bias built in from my time on English Wikipedia, but we are suppose to be nonpartisan and neutral when it comes to bringing open knowledge to humanity. And therefore I can see a concern of any political party to influence us to how open knowledge is given to humanity in order to advance their political agendas.

As for regional representation on the board of representatives from the new open seats, it is one that I favor, but in different ratios than what you proposed. Here is my proposal, which I shared with Dr. Jackie Koerner during San Diego Wikimedians User Group's February Zoom Call:

4 seats to specific regions (1 for Latin America, 1 for Europe & North America, 1 for Africa, 1 for Asia and Oceania), 1 as a representative from the Global Council which will represent the affiliates, and 1 from underrepresented community affiliates (Art+Feminism, wikiBlind, etc.) and smaller Wikimedia projects (wikidata, Wikimedia commons, etc.).

If there are shortfalls on skills or inclusiveness from the community chosen/voted seats, that can be made up through the appointed seats of the Board of Trustees. RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 20:42, 9 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

@RightCowLeftCoast: Asia is a very big place, home to the majority of the planet's population, and due to its closed nature mainland China actually has substantially less influence on the Wikimedia governance level than many smaller countries in the region- we can and should certainly design regional seat mechanisms in a way that would not be vulnerable to government influence. My purpose is to preserve the majority of the community seats to be elected by global communities and affiliates, with only 3/8 for regional seats from two well-defined continents that have actually been underrepresented at WMF board level historically. Your proposal seems to leave no room for resuming the overdue Wikimedia Foundation elections/2020 and the 3 directly elected seats that should have been filled last year.--Pharos (talk) 00:53, 10 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
To further clarify, there a variety of possible regional seat mechanisms, but neither I not anyone else I know is in favor of creating voting constituencies by gelocated IP address, which would indeed be vulnerable to abuse. I and others have proposed regional seat nominees to actually be elected by global users, since that is the only practical way to do such an election online.--Pharos (talk) 20:10, 10 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

Hello and thank you for sharing this suggestion. Although I like the idea and the intention behind it, I believe that it is very difficult to "fix" a specific date or year for a specific region. Maybe the best and most suitable candidate for the continent/region we are looking for will not manifest themselves exactly during that time (for many reasons: can be busy that year, unaware of the process, etc.). I would instead leave it a little more general, by suggesting to "allocate" a seat to a broader community, where the best candidate can be chosen, and in the next round maybe a person from another region within the same broader community can be chosen and so on. More concretely, and instead of having a seat for Africa in 2021 and 2 for Asia in 2022, I would prefer to have 1 seat for Africa/Asia in 2021, and 2 seats for Africa/Asia in 2022 (or 1 seat per year for Africa/Asia). This will allow these communities to have candidates in both/all rounds, and can guarantee a better quality outcome, and a broader choice. What do you think? -- Anass Sedrati (talk) 20:02, 11 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

Four panel discussions - call for feedback final sprint[edit]

We invite you to a round of panel sessions next week, in the last days of the Call for feedback:

  • Regional diversity
  • Skills for Board work
  • Support for candidates
  • Board - Global Council - Hubs

We are confirming guests and times, and we are updating the wiki page accordingly. In any case, expect 90-minute sessions with video recording. 45 minutes for a panel to dive deep into possible scenarios followed by 45 minutes to continue the conversation with open mic for all participants. You can share your questions and comments already now, on the Talk page. Qgil-WMF (talk) 13:38, 3 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

@Qgil-WMF: How does that last one relate to the Board call for feedback on community-selected board seats? Are the facilitators for the Board's feedback process going to be involved in the conversation on selection processes for the IGC/GC/Hubs? Why? That's not even a Board thing. I don't understand why WMF staff working on an entirely separate issue are getting involved in these community processes. --Yair rand (talk) 15:19, 3 March 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Yair rand Another volunteer had a similar concern in the Talk page about the sessions and I have replied there. Qgil-WMF (talk) 21:45, 3 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

Resolution about the upcoming Board elections[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees met last week to decide on a plan for the 2021 Board elections. The Board Governance Committee created this proposal, based on the Call for Feedback about Community Board Seats. Please check the related announcement for details. Qgil-WMF (talk) 18:24, 21 April 2021 (UTC)Reply