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

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Pay attention to the overall Wikimedia 2030 Movement strategy[edit]

Please pay attention to the overall Wikimedia 2030 Movement strategy as well, for example the recommendation to ensure equity in decision making, which calls for inter alia the creation of a Global Council in the future, and an Interim Global Council in the short term. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 08:38, 19 February 2021 (UTC)

@Ad Huikeshoven Yes, there has been feedback related to the Global Council, also the Regional Hubs, and the need to take into consideration the Movement Strategy requirements and timeline when thinking about any changes to elections processes. It is an important area, and we want to reflect it well in this report. Qgil-WMF (talk) 12:40, 19 February 2021 (UTC)

"mostly but not only from Western men"[edit]

So, are we going to characterize all contributors like this, or just the ones that are out of favor at the moment? TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 23:53, 25 February 2021 (UTC)

@TomDotGov When we see a clear pattern we are mentioning it. The same section talks about women, Global South... We have organized dozens of conversations and we have seen a pattern that people who strongly oppose to the idea of quotas tend to be Western men, even if not all of them are.
In the current draft we are linking to your comment on Meta because we found it was characteristic, not because it is the only comment of this type. This is why I am saying in my reverts that this is not only about you. If you think that having that link gives the impression that this is only about you, then we can remove it. Qgil-WMF (talk) 00:31, 26 February 2021 (UTC)
Hi there. I'm also a member of underrepresented groups. So I'll be moving the report on my comment into that section. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 00:35, 26 February 2021 (UTC)
@Qgil-WMF: That is exceedingly inappropriate, in my opinion. Contributors are anonymous by default, and most do not reveal anything about their identities. Information about participants' nationality or gender may be incidentally exposed because of the medium used (especially in cases where the facilitators pushed people toward problematic media such as video calls), but that is not the same as giving permission to use that information. Independent of that, even if individuals had exposed the data already, characterizing groups of people by such off-wiki attributes is not okay. I don't think anyone would mind if it were something like "participants in WikiWomen's group" or "contributors to European-language projects", but you can't just bring up off-wiki identities and attach them to people's opinions. (Exceptions might be made for individual COIs, but those don't come from demographic groups.) --Yair rand (talk) 00:56, 1 March 2021 (UTC)
(Further, are all incidences of an opinion coming mostly from a demographic group noted, or was there something special about this that caused it to be considered relevant?) --Yair rand (talk) 00:58, 1 March 2021 (UTC)
The label is going to stick regardless of what this report ends up saying. There's no way the Board isn't keeping an eye on the drafting process, either directly or via the staff. --RaiderAspect (talk) 03:27, 1 March 2021 (UTC)
Hi there, Yair rand, Thanks for your feedback! Reflecting on the feedback received, Western men captures the discussion more holistically without providing direct links to the groups in which the conversations were happening. This seems like it feels personal to you so let me ask you for your thoughts. Would it feel better for you if the links were made to the user groups where the conversations happened? I feel like that might be more identifiable and might make participants feel more uncomfortable. Thoughts? Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 13:42, 1 March 2021 (UTC)
@JKoerner (WMF): "Western men captures the discussion more holistically". No, it doesn't. It's not an identity anyone has shared publicly - or if someone has, I'd like to see it. I know it's not an identity that I use for myself. It certainly applies to me, but so do dozens of other labels - which brings up the question of why this was the one the WMF staff chose.
And of course, the qualifier "mostly but not only" destroys the idea that the label captures the whole of something. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 07:56, 2 March 2021 (UTC)
Hi there all, I went back through the feedback received about this topic. The feedback about quotas that there is not a diversity problem on the Board and that quotas feel like discrimination come from Western men. I, personally, feel confident in saying this could be "some Western men" instead of "mostly but not only from Western men".
I am sorry you feel frustrated by the descriptor used. It certainly isn't the only identity the people in this group hold and I do see where we are staying that in the reporting. We captured this information based upon where conversations are happening. Like a conversation with Uganda Wikimedians can be said to connect to a certain region of Africa. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 15:05, 3 March 2021 (UTC)

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@JKoerner (WMF): Please stop using expressions like "Western men captures the discussion more holistically without providing direct links to the groups in which the conversations were happening" which amass an entire group in a single uniform entity. That is highly inappropriate. We are not 1900s correspondents of Western Geographic Societies talking about the Turk or the Iberic, referring to entire populations in the singular.--- Darwin Ahoy! 13:14, 4 March 2021 (UTC)

Hi there, Darwin, I hear you that you feel this term is inappropriate. I would be glad to hear your suggestions for terms and take them forward for the facilitation team to discuss. Do you have suggestions that might better capture the feedback and trends the facilitation team is seeing? Would American and Western European men work better? Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 14:36, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and edited the report to remove this distinction entirely, which should make this moot. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 15:20, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
@JKoerner (WMF): No, certainly not, it's exactly the same thing. Simply avoid making generalizations, in particular when talking about members of the communities. OK?--- Darwin Ahoy! 16:10, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
This is tricky. I am trying to think of a solution for this that serves the purpose of capturing feedback but is comfortable for you. The facilitation team is expected to deliver a report capturing feedback. Let me share my thinking process here for a minute:
Option one would be the facilitation team not identify any feedback with anyone or any region. This would be impossible to construct feedback in a meaningful manner taking diversity into account and the feedback would be completely useless when it would come to decision-making. This would end up disrespecting the time and energy community members put into this Call for Feedback.
Option two would be retaining identifiable information for all the other comments, but not on this comment. That seems unequal and it gives undue weight to the comments. It might then seem like people from all over the world said these things in this comment when they did not. Also, the Board then might not be able to make informed decisions without complete feedback from the community.
Option three would be to find a term we can agree on. This would allow the feedback to be classified and help illustrate the whole picture of the community. I also know it has been a problem in feedback on the first weekly report to not provide attribution to comments said. This would help the facilitation team be able to accurately classify and attribute comments said.
I don't know if I can get behind the idea of not classifying this feedback, because it is genuine and actual feedback. I'd like to try option three personally, because I want to make sure you feel confident in the feedback captured and I know my fellow facilitators and I are working hard to accurately capture a broad range of feedback. Would saying, something like, "People from these home wikis sound better? I'm really trying to work on a solution here but I might need your suggestions on a classifying term that might work for you and the facilitation team. Thanks for continuing in this discussion with me. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 17:05, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
The right answer is to only include identifying information that community members decide to include. It's fine to report that someone identifies as a member of Wikimedia Community User Group Uganda or as a former board member. It's not fine for the facilitators to fabricate a group identity, just like it isn't fine to allow the facilitators to fabricate the content of the comments.
This would fall somewhere between your option one and option two. It makes sense to review the rest of the report to see if group identities are supported or not. Option three isn't acceptable - you're still trying to generate a group classification when there isn't one, and asking for a name for it. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 18:40, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
I don't quite agree with all of that. If a certain type of feedback is received disproportionately from a particular language, project, or affiliate, I think it's reasonable for that to be reported even if the participants didn't specifically identify as from those when giving the feedback. This would have to be done neutrally, giving equal mention/weight to the participant "homes" regardless of the topic being considered. Of course, neither "Western" nor "men" are on-wiki groups at all unless specifically brought up willingly by the participants.
@JKoerner (WMF): Re option 3, finding a term we can agree on: The problem is, we'd be specifically looking for a term to collect a diverse group under a label. If there were a "natural" label (eg, all Portuguese Wikibookians, or something else that doesn't involve borderline doxxing), I imagine that would have been written in the first place. Am I right in assuming that, if you were to look at just the list of home wikis of all who gave that feedback (without knowing the topic being discussed), you wouldn't immediately identify it as a particular "set"? --Yair rand (talk) 11:28, 10 March 2021 (UTC)
We have rewritten the section and we have taken into consideration the topics discussed here. Please check. Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:22, 19 March 2021 (UTC)

ranked voting[edit]

You can refer to the article on English Wikipedia: Comparison of electoral systems for finding a good enough system. STV is one of the proportional election systems. The number of seats available in an election determines the minimum relative size of a minority to have a chance of being elected. A global south candidate will get elected in a proportional system with say 5 to 8 seats available if they are seen as THE representative of ALL global south communitiesm because the big languages make up 80% of all active contributors. The remaining 20% belong to hundreds of small language communities, across three continents. Someone told me contributors in Africa are more likely to contribute to English or French Wikipedia than one of the languages native to this continent. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 12:59, 4 March 2021 (UTC)

@Ad Huikeshoven Your comment is fully relevant to the Ranked voting system talk page, where this discussion is still open. Unless you have an objection, I will move it there. Or you can, of course. Qgil-WMF (talk) 14:35, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
Yes it is relevant to ranked voting, and you can *copy and paste* my comment. I commented here, because I commented on the draft of the main report. The main suggestion here is to refer to the article on English Wikipedia: Comparison of electoral systems which is *not only* about ranked voting, but all voting systems. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 12:36, 5 March 2021 (UTC)

Open questions after reading the report[edit]

There is a dedicated section for Problems to solve but so far there is little content or dedicated space for the question which of these proposals should or should not be adopted together? Some possible combinations may produce unwanted results, whereas others could reinforce each other in positive ways. Or are there proposals which would require changes in other areas (e. g. shorter term limits and longer cooling down periods) to mitigate risks? --HHill (talk) 15:14, 8 March 2021 (UTC)

@HHill If there is clear feedback about combinations of ideas we will find the way to reflect it. So far, feedback about specific combinations have been scarce, and (as far as I can tell) we have captured them in the section of the stronger idea. There is also the Additional feedback section, that is likely to have subsections about main themes. That is another potential location for feedback about combinations of ideas. Qgil-WMF (talk) 22:27, 8 March 2021 (UTC)
You get what you ask for. --HHill (talk) 09:16, 9 March 2021 (UTC)
Probably true. Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:30, 9 March 2021 (UTC)

"This, in turn, has raised clarifications about the difference between gender and sexual orientation."[edit]

Back on March 4th I raised this on telegram, but since it has not been changed, I am bringing it up again.

This excerpt of the quotas report troubles me: "The concept of “50/50” has raised complaints about non-binary people being discriminated against. This, in turn, has raised clarifications about the difference between gender and sexual orientation." (my emphasis)

I would like to understand what does sexual orientation have to do with gender in this context. I am assuming this is a poorly phrased report of an irrelevant parallel discussion on one of the many venues this call for feedback is taking place. But an alternative interpretation of the words as written is that genders cannot be non-binary and those were "clarified" as sexual orientation.

Please remove the excerpt in bold, or at least reword it to not be ambiguous. Chico Venancio (talk) 22:29, 8 March 2021 (UTC)

@Chicocvenancio Yes, your point already was taken from Telegram. We are sorry if addressing your point is taking longer. We are trying to update sections at once as new weekly reports come. Since this section had other comments, we are still working on an update. Qgil-WMF (talk) 23:00, 8 March 2021 (UTC)

@Qgil-WMF and JKoerner (WMF): Adding to the question raised above over that very bizarre sentence: Why is the "50 women/50 men" type of quota still being allowed by WMF as a valid option in the discussions and reports? Do you really think that such situations where majorities lobby to erase the rights of the minorities have any chance to fly in the Wikimedia Movement? --- Darwin Ahoy! 15:19, 12 March 2021 (UTC)

Hi @DarwIn, you ask: "Do you really think that such situations where majorities lobby to erase the rights of the minorities have any chance to fly in the Wikimedia Movement?"
No, I don't think they have any chance. To start with, they would not be allowed as long as the Terms of use and the Universal Code of Conduct are in place. More importantly, I don't think such lobbying would be morally accepted by anyone in our movement. And perhaps more importantly, I don't think that the participants (as far as I am aware all of them women and actively involved in gender diversity initiatives) who have mentioned "50/50" or "50%" when referring to quotas were thinking of discriminating or oppressing non-binary people or the LGBT+ collective.
Now, the Facilitation team is aware of how these expressions can be misleading or misrepresenting. We are also aware that several people have complained about the use of these expressions as we were quoting participants in our reports. I also believe that probably more people are silently unhappy. For all these reasons, we will rephrase our report to ensure that the feedback is captured properly without discriminating or offending anyone. Qgil-WMF (talk) 16:18, 12 March 2021 (UTC)
Hi DarwIn, I can second what Qgil-WMF said. In conversations people are mentioning what comes to their mind about gender representation. If we said, "Well, what about people who are non-binary?" I personally feel confident they would say, "Oh, yes, of course they should be represented too." I certainly do not think their exclusion by saying "50/50" was malicious in any way. Further while I personally understand gender identity and sexual orientation are exclusive, I believe the thoughts from feedback were expressed as LGBTQIA+ together as usually represented.
We facilitators are trying to influence the feedback received as little as possible. We do not want our personal opinions to filter into the feedback. I appreciate you, and others, bringing this forward. I know how difficult it can be to bring something up like this.
Secondly, while I know there was no ill intent, I see the result was the same. I am sorry this has upset you. It is clear to me that this is something that has truly offended you. This was certainly not the intention, but let's talk together about what would look and feel better to you while still representing the feedback that was shared. I am sorry to put this work on you, but do you have suggestions of phrasing this in a way that feels less offensive? Or makes it clear this does not mean to exclude other genders? Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 17:34, 12 March 2021 (UTC)

Ok! I think I now have more context. Thank you, Chicocvenancio for continuing this conversation with me. I do not want to go into the weekend without an attempt at creating language that better fits. Please let me know @Chicocvenancio: and @DarwIn: your thoughts on the following:

"The concept of balanced gender quotas has raised complaints about non-binary people being discriminated against. This, in turn, has raised clarifications about the difference between a representative of the LGBT+ community or considering the gender spectrum more specifically."

This is just me trying to discuss language that fits better independent of the team. Let me know if I am closer to a successful sentence or if I am still far off. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 22:12, 12 March 2021 (UTC)

@Chicocvenancio @JKoerner (WMF) Actually, I have just removed the whole subsection for now. We are working on a full rewording of this section but it is not ready yet. We were hoping to have it ready this week, but other tasks kept coming. Meanwhile, we have received several complaints about this subsection, and it is better to remove it. We hope to have the updated draft next Monday, that hopefully will address the concerns expressed. Qgil-WMF (talk) 00:05, 13 March 2021 (UTC)

@JKoerner (WMF) and Qgil-WMF: Thanks a lot for your clarifications. The assurance that the 50/50 option will never be considered, even if it has significant community support, is a relief, indeed.--- Darwin Ahoy! 12:38, 13 March 2021 (UTC)

@Chicocvenancio @DarwIn We have rewritten the Quotas section, we have completely rewritten the paragraph with the sentence that you have mentioned, and we are also reviewing all the reports we have produced to ensure that any "50/50" mention or similar concepts explicitly or implicitly binary are addressed. Please check. Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:27, 19 March 2021 (UTC)

Draft ownership[edit]

@Qgil-WMF and TomDotGov: Any chance some compromise wording could be reached here? If I understand correctly, the major points to describe/imply are:

  • The Board/WMF assigned the facilitation team the task of producing a report.
  • The team is basically okay with other people being involved in the writing of the report, and doesn't intend to assert authority; the wiki way of preferring discussion and consensus to deal with disputes is supported by the parties. (I'm not certain whether this is correct. Qgil, can you confirm?)
  • Regardless of that, the team has the ultimate responsibility to make sure that we reach a comprehensive, fair, and informative report, but only the limited pseudo-authority that comes with involvement and expertise. (Always a difficult, but quite common around here, situation.) ("Ownership" is an ambiguous term which can imply either responsibility or authority, so should probably be avoided here. Also, it has negative associations with things like WP:OWN behaviour.)

I'm thinking that it should be worded to neither exclude (normal, wiki-style) participation from outside the team nor gloss over the team's role. Thoughts? --Yair rand (talk) 11:10, 10 March 2021 (UTC)

@Yair rand The ownership of the draft is clear, and I think the rest are logical consequences:
  • The Board/WMF assigned the facilitation team the task of producing a report.
  • The team has no obligation to draft this report on Meta. This is not a usual practice, and it is my hope that volunteers like it. We thought it would be useful to try and experiment. We want to see whether we get feedback that helps improve the draft. We want to check whether a public draft eliminates suspicions about how the feedback will be presented. We want to see if a public draft helps to focus ongoing conversations during the Call.
  • The team owns the responsibility of writing this report. This includes the responsibility for potential mistakes and wrongdoings. We welcome feedback, we welcome edits, and we advise anyone to share their ideas before working on big changes. These elements are fairly common to general wiki editing.
  • The difference with general wiki editing is that... the team owns the responsibility of writing this report, and the team will deliver it on its own terms. We share our drafts here, we welcome suggestions, but we are not going to enter into disputes. If a discussion or a couple of reverts still don't convince each other, that's fine. We can agree to disagree. If the topic is relevant, we will capture this disagreement in the report as another type of feedback.
By fully subscribing to the content of the report, the team can be fully accountable for its content. If someone disagrees with some aspects of it, then it is clear that the team is responsible. Qgil-WMF (talk) 16:12, 11 March 2021 (UTC)
If the report was drafted on google docs or neocities, would anyone take it seriously? Of course not. Having something gain consensus on-wiki is how things gain legitimacy.
This has been a problem with the WMF over the past couple of years. There are a lot of things that require community consensus to proceed - everything from strategy to branding to the UCoC to this. But instead of letting the community determine what the consensus is, the Foundation feels like it's necessary to put its thumb on the scales by inventing rules as to what the community is allowed to edit.
Well, no. The Edit button isn't a decoration. By developing the report on-wiki, the Foundation gives up control in exchange for legitimacy. And legitimacy, more than anything, is what this process needs. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 17:35, 11 March 2021 (UTC)

A general concern is how to avoid that trustees elected through regional quotas have as much credibility as the rest.[edit]

I sure hope this sentence is missing a not. Or it needs another verb like ensure. HHill (talk) 07:27, 19 March 2021 (UTC)

Of course you are right. Good catch, and fixed. Thank you! Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:32, 19 March 2021 (UTC)

Feedback after reading the entire report as of March 24th[edit]

  • Kindly remove usage of "Global South", replace it with "emerging communities". The usage of socio-economic status should not be used as a measurement on how active an affiliate or community is.
  • Despite some man hours spent discussing this topic, feedback from ESEAP regional chats & video calls had not been taken captured. It frustrates me. --Exec8 (talk) 14:33, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
Hi there, Exec8, Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We appreciate you taking the time to mention this. Apologies that we did not know about the discussion around this. Thanks to your note about this, we asked some questions and did some reading. This is something we will update in our reports. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 16:27, 24 March 2021 (UTC)

Hi again, Exec8, I just wanted to let you know I corrected our use of "Global South" on reports and pages related to the Call for Feedback excluding the Talk pages. After learning from other people, we decided to use "emerging Wikimedia communities" and "emerging communities." Please do ping me if you find a place I missed. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 21:37, 25 March 2021 (UTC)

Over-representation[edit]

While the report covers concerns about tokenism etc as a negative of quotas, it seems to understate (given that a number on meta, plus more in spoken and chat comments in some of the calls) the concerns about "quotas make some peoples' votes impact less", and the scale of some of the larger quota methods proposed would reduce certain groups representation (even if that was categorised as readers, not editors) to vastly less.

I'm a little concerned by how under-reported it is, given the consideration in one of the earlier calls, and as a matter of fairness, it matters to me (and I assume to the others who raised it) as a reason not to participate. Nosebagbear (talk) 16:45, 24 March 2021 (UTC)

Hey there, Nosebagbear! Thanks for reading the report and offering your feedback. I am not sure I quite get what you're saying. I don't know if I recall feedback about "quotas make some peoples' votes impact less" and "the scale of some of the larger quota methods proposed would reduce certain groups representation." I do know you spoke about the ranked voting system making it difficult to support candidates while opposing others. Could you help me understand please? Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 21:17, 25 March 2021 (UTC)
@JKoerner (WMF): - Board elections will, presumably, be elected by active editors (as the ones who know about the election). To give a fairly drastic example proposed, if there was 1 seat for Africa projects and 2 for Asia projects, then I can vote for the at-large positions, along with the full editor population "n". The number of Asian-project editors is much, much, smaller than the global population "r". Each of their votes has significantly higher chance of having a trustee who they desire elected into position than each at-large vote (they will, I assume, also be able to vote for the at-large seats). That's a written explanation I put together here, so it's clearer, but it also came up in the 3rd of the second group of calls. In regards to the ranked voting which is fairly distinct from the above, I would be okay with one of the proposed ones on the report - where there's a ranked vote and an oppose function (with candidates needing below X oppose as well as otherwise winning the vote, or, alternatively, having the opposes count as the bottom vote in the ranked measurement (so in a 10 candidate election, you could have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10) Nosebagbear (talk) 21:50, 25 March 2021 (UTC)
Hi Nosebagbear, thanks for the clarification. Is this assuming that regional voting is instituted as well? Or does your example include having the whole voting population also vote on the regional seats? I know there were both suggestions and I just want to understand where you're coming from.
I'll go back and review the third of the midpoint office hours to see this point as it was expressed there. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 20:07, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
@JKoerner (WMF): my assumption was the regional voting for those seats would be used, but I don't think that was actually made clear - just an assumption on my side. I can't recall if someone clarified during the meeting, I may have just forgotten if so Nosebagbear (talk) 21:00, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
Hi Nosebagbear, Thanks for clarifying. The feedback about regional voting was not widespread so I am not sure it will receive enough attention to be implemented at this time. I do know the thoughts about oppose votes and ranked voting are all contained in the report so the Board will be able to see that information. Please let me know if you still have a concern about this. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 19:24, 29 March 2021 (UTC)

"with an outreach of 66,000 people."[edit]

I've removed part of the sentence "The Call for Feedback has been promoted outside of wiki projects in 35 social media channels worldwide with an outreach of more than 66,000 people.", as the latter number needs better justification. Simply summing together the subscribers to all channels isn't valid, as generally social media posts aren't presented to all subscribers, and a single person can be part of multiple social media channels. If techniques were used to determine how many people engaged with the posts, those should be noted.

A very similar mistake - confusing the number of people that a message was sent to with the number reached - was a major mistake made by the Brand Project, and so probably shouldn't be repeated here. Plus, it sort of undermines this team's work (which has been well done, as a whole) to incorrectly imply that only 1.3% (878/66,000) of people reached responded. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 14:38, 26 March 2021 (UTC)

Hi TomDotGov, Thanks for reading the report and suggesting this. I personally can see what you're saying. I will mention this on Monday when the facilitation team is all together to see if there is another way we can find to phrase that or if it is just best to omit it. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 20:11, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
Hi again, TomDotGov, During our weekly meeting I brought up your edit and the facilitation team saw this edit as making sense and we decided to just omit the piece. Thanks for bringing this up. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 19:27, 29 March 2021 (UTC)

CfF Main Report Review Period Complete[edit]

Hi everyone, 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) 13:29, 30 March 2021 (UTC)