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

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Unnecessary, and none of the Board's business[edit]

There have been ten elections for WMF trustees in the WMF's history, resulting in 23 individual selections of trustees. 12 of those were male, and 11 were female (~48%). Of the twelve affiliate selections, 6 were male and 6 were female. We're doing pretty good at gender balance in community-/affiliate-selected trustees. (In Board-selected trustees, not quite as good but almost.)

The Board also generally isn't great on geographic diversity, with most of the problem coming from the Board-selected trustees: 12 of the 20 people selected by the Board have been based in the US, including 3 of the current 4. Perhaps having a US-based organization involved in selecting people for important positions in a global movement gives biased results. Certainly, the community itself is not evenly-distributed throughout the world, but it is far, far more diverse than the Board or the WMF staff or contracted companies.

If any quotas are to be implemented for elections, the Board and WMF should not be involved in the decision. The Board should not have significant influence over who is elected as their successors, and the WMF should not have any influence over the body that provides oversight over their activities. The community decides who are the community's representatives. --Yair rand (talk) 07:49, 1 February 2021 (UTC)

Your sentiment is reflected in this post to wikimedia-l, copied on talk:Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_of_Trustees/Call_for_feedback:_Community_Board_seats#post_to_wikimedia-l_and_all-affiliates-l. Please join the conversation there also. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 10:26, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
Hi there, Just to add for reference, Nataliia Tymkiv has replied to this post on wikimedia-l. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 23:25, 4 February 2021 (UTC)

Strongly Against[edit]

I come from a country where the quota system is used in the parliament (for young people and women). This system has widely proven its limitations in our context, where many people use it as a guarantee to "annuity" and "rent" without doing any effort, and without having the skills that might be asked from others. If diversification and good representatively is indeed crucial in our movement, it should not be done at the expense of skills or choices of the movement. I would rather think that quota shall be made in the nominated part of the board, where there is a clear unbalance in terms of diversity and representation.

Instead of quota, there might be many other alternatives to guarantee diversity, for example to hold elections for each community/region and have a member voted per region, or to make sure that information from the board is translated to many languages during crucial events such as elections, and that material is shared through different means (such as videos and easy tutorials) that will better disseminate than meta pages. So far, all board elections I have seen have almost not been noticed in my region and by my community, so maybe making more effort in outreach would bring more diversity and interest, and better results than a quota system.

In any case, I think that quota for community board seats is a very bad idea, and disagree totally with it. Regards -- Anass Sedrati (talk) 09:54, 1 February 2021 (UTC)

Symbol oppose vote oversat.svg Strong oppose to any kind of quotas for the reasons presented, but mainly for being a disrespect for the intellect of the people it's supposed to empower, and for its potential to be abused, appointing people unfit for the places just to fill up the quotas.--- Darwin Ahoy! 23:31, 1 February 2021 (UTC)

I'm with Darwin. Saturnalia0 (talk) 10:01, 9 February 2021 (UTC)

The Global Council is designed to capture the diversity of the movement[edit]

The Global Council will have many seats, and is designed to capture the diversity of the movement, including underrepresented voice. To get that thing going see Project wiki representatives. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 10:30, 3 February 2021 (UTC)

Ad Huikeshoven, I appreciate your passion about the move toward a Global Council. To quote the Problems to solve section of the Call for Feedback "As the Board is designed today, we have a problem of capacity, performance, and lack of representation of the movement’s diversity." Do you have feedback about improving diversity on the Board of Trustees? Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 23:21, 4 February 2021 (UTC)

Oppose as Discrimination[edit]

Let's call this what is - the proposal is to discriminate against certain people by denying them the ability to run for certain board seats. That's always been the problem with quotas - by saying "this seat is reserved for group A, B, and C, you're telling members of groups X, Y, and Z that they are not welcome. To tell someone they can't be appointed to an office because of immutable aspects (like their gender or skin color) is disgusting.

The Universal Code of Conduct has a long list of personal characteristics that it isn't acceptable to insult people for: Intelligence, appearance, ethnicity, race, religion (or lack thereof), culture, caste, sexual orientation, gender, sex, disability, age, nationality, political affiliation, or other characteristics. I'd say that to apply quotas to people based on any of these would be equally wrong. I'll note that in the recently approved text, the board denies ethnicity as a meaningful distinction, and now they propose discriminating against people based on their ethnicity.

The Board should apologize for this proposal. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 01:13, 5 February 2021 (UTC)

Oppose, but if you must...[edit]

First off, I oppose quotas. They're crude, divisive, guaranteed to provoke endless rounds of "my group isn't represented on the board, why don't we have a quota?", and they're unlikely to solve the underlying issues. The emerging communities are convinced that the WMF is a western organisation that is only interested in westerners. The european communities are convinced that the WMF is an American corporation that only cares about Americans (who are mostly on en-wp). En-wp is convinced that the WMF is a professionalised NGO that only listens to the big, professionalised affiliates (which are mostly european). The affiliates are convinced that they're sidelined despite being the only people with a quota! If the established communities are sure they're powerless, its unlikely that a quota is going change that for the emerging one.

But since my reading of the tea leaves is that quotas are coming, here's how to make them less bad:

  • Use quotas to solve problems with representation, not make statements. Gender imbalance hasn't been a problem in BoT elections, geographic imbalance has.
  • Keep them simple. One or two guaranteed seats for people who don't live in the EU, Norway, Switzerland, or AUSCANNZUKUS (I'm probably missing someone there, but you get the point). Don't try to micro-target specific regions ("one trustee from an ASEAN nation, one from a AU nation..."), or life experiences ("grew up in a non-democratic country"), or add in contingent rules ("three trustees from emerging communities unless this would cause the percentage of female trustees to drop below 40%...").
  • Don't change them every single election. Don't panic because they don't work out the way they're intended in one election. You'll never convince people it wasn't to benefit or hinder particular candidates.
  • Conversely, don't set them in stone. If one region is consistently filling the quotas for a decade something may be going wrong.
  • Again, keep them simple. Make the selection method as similar to the non-quota trustees as possible. Highest ranked candidate from emerging communities replaces the lowest ranked winner.
  • Make the quotas small. Two out of eight at most.

--RaiderAspect (talk) 13:07, 5 February 2021 (UTC)

Hi RaiderAspect, Thanks for your feedback. I've included it in the first weekly report. I see you say geographic imbalance has been an issue. Some members from communities in Africa and Eastern Europe said during the office hours sessions and during conversations the only way they would be represented on the Board is if there were a quota. I do want to ask, have you checked out Regional seats or Specialization seats under Ideas from the community? Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 20:17, 12 February 2021 (UTC)
Hi JKoerner (WMF), sorry to ping you, but did you mean the Middle East instead of Eastern Europe? I've had a read through the two community proposals and will be posting feedback there. --RaiderAspect (talk) 03:58, 15 February 2021 (UTC)
@RaiderAspect:, Thanks for reaching out. I do mean Eastern Europe. Someone from Georgia was talking about quotas being an option to avoid larger user groups and communities from dominating elections. I think they might have been talking about quotas in a way that would fall within the Regional Seats idea. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 13:31, 15 February 2021 (UTC)
Interesting. I wonder exactly what they meant by that though. After all, there are two Eastern Europeans on the BoT at present and one of them is from a former Soviet Republic. Were they unaware of that? Or do they not consider Ukraine and Poland part of their region? Or did they mean it was the only way other regions could be represented on the Board? The first two would definitely reinforce my suspicion that everyone feels disenfranchised and reserved seats aren't going to resolve the issue. --RaiderAspect (talk) 14:50, 15 February 2021 (UTC)
Hi there, RaiderAspect, let me @Mehman (WMF):. I think they meant it was the only way other regions could be represented on the Board, but let me ask Mehman to clarify this since I was not there. Hopefully more context will allow the conversation to continue! Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 18:18, 24 February 2021 (UTC)
Hello. Eastern Europe is, of course, represented in the BoT by members from Poland and Ukraine, but there are also large linguistic communities who believe that it would be better to present their candidate from the linguistic community to them, than someone from the countries of Eastern Europe. I just want to tell you, that Eastern Europe is a diverse region and there are communities with different opinions. Thanks, --Mehman (WMF) (talk) 21:26, 24 February 2021 (UTC)
That final point is precisely one my concerns about the quota system. Even the maximalist ideas for regional representation will have individuals representing a large number of disparate communities. I fear that in two or three years we'll be back where we started in terms of feelings of disenfranchisement. --RaiderAspect (talk) 04:24, 28 February 2021 (UTC)

Good intentions but bad idea[edit]

The intentions here are good and I welcome diversity. However I agree with everyone above. This appears to be unanimously opposed, at least thus far. We already have enough difficulty finding sufficient good candidates. It's already clear that our people are eager to vote for diversity when candidates with remotely-comparable qualifications show up.

The Board recently tried to mandate "Global South" representation in the Rebranding committee. One affiliate failed to find any candidate at all, and a second affiliate only found single person with fringe position unsuitable for representing the community. It is unclear whether any of the other affiliates did any better finding candidates. You can't force good candidates to show up. You can't force Wikipedia to have 50% female biographies without forcing 50% of U.S. President biographies to be female. There's no internal-problem to fix here. Consider that we have a gender gap in readers - "67% of respondents across all 13 wikis studied identified as men".[1] That is not an internal problem. You can't force more women to show up to read Wikipedia.

We should seek diversity and welcome it, not fill slots in a trophy rack with human-tokens. Alsee (talk) 18:41, 5 February 2021 (UTC)

Thanks for your feedback, Alsee. I hear that you oppose quotas. You'll be glad to know that feedback is reflected in the first weekly report.
Have you checked out the ideas from the community? Might these sound better than quotas? Have you given your feedback about the Call for types of skills and experience idea? Perhaps these might better speak to the problems you're speaking about regarding qualified candidates. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 20:53, 12 February 2021 (UTC)

I am against quotas. There has been roughly equal community voted members by gender. Usually an gender quota is placed when there is not enough of either gender, usually females. I see that some african members think that quotas would be helpful, but I feel that africans have not been chosen that often because of lack of experience in comparision to other candidates. It is just a matter of time when more african members are voted. All of this is also despite the fact that I live in an country where there are some quotas, yet I do not see the need for them here.--Snaevar (talk) 20:02, 9 March 2021 (UTC)

Hi Snaevar, Thanks for your feedback. I have captured it. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 15:43, 16 March 2021 (UTC)

Bad both for candidates and for the community[edit]

In theory quotas are an interesting avenue. But from my personal experience of trying to increase diversity in a number of committees from the chapter board to an online ArbCom any 'quota' system will be bad for both candidates and the community:

  • It is bad for candidates as they are viewed as 'quota' candidates but not qualified candidates. I have helped recruit a good board candidate, who was a woman coming from an ethnic and linguistic minority. She would perfectly meet any 'quota', but she did not want to. She was a media expert and she wanted to be recruited as a media expert. She did not want to be recruited as a woman, she did not want to represent an ethnic minority, she wanted to be recruited for her skills and experience, and she was very unhappy to be considered a 'diversity' candidate. Not everyone wants to apply for a 'quota', and many potentially good candidates will likely prefer to win without a quota than to apply for a quota seat.
  • It is bad for the community as they may support none of the quota candidates. I have seen elections where the only candidate(s) meeting a certain 'quota' (e.g. only women participating, only older person participating etc.) were simply not consensual candidates. A real case: out of two women applying for an ArbCom seat, one has a significant track record of conflicts to the point of annoying a majority of the community, and another one is a newbie lacking any relevant experience (who in the end got elected, quickly got a burnout and left). If we had a 'quota', our members would have had to choose between two candidates they would not support in normal circumstances. Sometimes you might want to reject a candidate not because they represent a certain diversity, but because of something else: set of skills, views, track record, behaviour etc. Making people choose a candidate they would not support without a 'quota' is bad for the community.

So please do not introduce 'quotas', and encourage people with uncommon profile apply for regular seats — NickK (talk) 11:26, 6 February 2021 (UTC)

Hi NickK, thanks for bringing this up. This is a good point - just like tokenism noted on another talk page, making people feel marginalized is not a good outcome either. I will include this in the feedback. It seems like the rest of your comment has almost a burnout theme - would you say quotas might not be sustainable? Just trying to accurately capture your comments. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 21:06, 12 February 2021 (UTC)
@JKoerner (WMF): Oh no, burnout is not the main theme of my comment. However, burnout is something that might happen to an unprepared candidate. With quotas having an unprepared candidate is just something more likely — NickK (talk) 16:22, 13 February 2021 (UTC)
@NickK: Sorry I wasn't more clear. I should have said I noted the other feedback in your comment. I just asked about the burnout situation because that is new feedback I had not yet heard about quotas. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 13:22, 15 February 2021 (UTC)
@JKoerner (WMF): Just to clarify: that's an unintended feedback, and I don't want to generalise but it can indeed happen.
I have not seen any case directly related to quotas. I have seen a few cases where new and more diverse candidates were elected (partly because people wanted new faces, partly because they added some diversity), and unfortunately these candidates happened to be not very well-prepared for the position and had a burnout. This might not have been a direct consequence of being uncommon candidates, but these burnouts really happened.
I would say the 'burnout' point for 'quotas' is the following: quotas should not go too far enough to make us elect a significantly less-prepared candidate (or candidates). Even a well-prepared candidate would be in a difficult situation: they would be a hope for an underrepresented group, while other voters would see them as a candidate who relied only on this quota to get elected. A less-prepared candidate, in addition to this pressure, would be on a steep learning curve, making a burnout just more likely. If we are feeling that some group is not represented as their candidates are weaker, so we need a quota to get a candidate from them, we really should invest in training these candidates first — NickK (talk) 14:46, 15 February 2021 (UTC)
Oh! @NickK: It is good we are talking more about this then. I see now. Let me list the feedback I heard here just to double-check that I understood correctly:
  • Quotas could put some people on the Board by trying to fulfill the quota, but that person might not be prepared for this role on the Board and burnout.
  • If the community wants people from certain areas on the Board, those people should be provided with training first to prepare them.
  • Quotas might make some very qualified candidates uncomfortable, or even make them hesitant to take the seat on the Board, because they don't want to be seen as getting the seat because of diversity quotas.
  • Voters might see the candidate as someone who relied on the quota to get elected to the Board.
Does that about capture it? Let me know if I missed anything? Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 16:34, 15 February 2021 (UTC)
@JKoerner (WMF): One point is missing: Voters may support none of the quota candidates for an unrelated reason, meaning they have to choose a candidate they would not have supported in normal circumstances. They can meet all quota requirements but be unpopular for an unrelated reason (let's say we have a quota for Africa, but all three African candidates think Wikipedia should introduce ads, something the community cannot support). This point is clearly one of my top-2 together with #3 (very qualified candidates) — NickK (talk) 17:57, 15 February 2021 (UTC)
I'm glad you clarified that for me. I have it all now for the next weekly report. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 18:16, 15 February 2021 (UTC)

Strongly against gender quotas[edit]

Strongly against any kind of gender quotas, but in particular the extremely discriminatory 50/50 ones. Because:

  • Why someone should be forced to assume a specific gender and reveal it, in order to be part of the BoT? Does it make the candidate more fit to the job?
  • 50/50 quotas clearly is a form of dictatorship of the majority, with the booty divided between the two genders with greater expression in the world population, blocking all others from having that job. The 50/50 solution, in particular, should be completely discarded, as worst than being "non inclusive", it's a discriminatory solution that clearly blocks candidates from minority genders, or candidates that do not which to reveal their gender at all.
  • Because it is not only a non rational approach, but even goes against our history and practice: In the last ASBS BoT elections, of 12 candidates, 10 were men, and 2 women. At Wikimedia Portugal, we have favored the 2 women candidacies (which actually won), not because they were women, but because we thought they were the best for the place. With 50/50 gender quotas, one of the candidates would have to be a man, which would imply moving one up of the non immediate choices. There were also excellent candidates there which were men, but why be forced to chose them just because of gender quotas? Another example are WMF CEOs, which have all been women till now. Is there some logic at all into introducing quotas there, forcing the next one to be a man, even if he's not a primary or even secondary choice for the job? It's absurd.

--- Darwin Ahoy! 20:38, 17 February 2021 (UTC)

Collected Feedback about Quotas from the first weekly report[edit]

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

There have been two ideas developed from the community around the topic of quotas: Regional seats and Specialization seats.

  • Some contributors on Meta expressed a dislike for quotas; members of the Russian WikiCommunity agreed
  • Some oppose due to worry some people could get onto the Board without the proper skills
  • The proposal is to discriminate against certain people by denying them the ability to run for certain board seats.
  • Participants in the office hours sessions said quotas might be a solution depending on how they are implemented
  • A comment from a French-speaking discussion suggested geographical quotas with at least 1 seat and increase in relation to regional community size.
  • Participants in a discussion in the Middle East said quotas would be the only way someone from the region would get on the Board
  • Three-fourths of the conversation attendees of the Wikimedia Nigeria User Group said they were in support of quotas, more specifically regional quotas.
  • Three-fourths of the conversation attendees of the Wikimedia Tanzania User Group said they were in support of quotas, more specifically regional quotas.
  • Any quotas should be handled by the community
  • Gender representation on the Board should be equitable
Note: Other participants including members of the Wikimedia LGBT+ user group complained, saying that 50/50 gender concepts were binary and implicitly biased against non-binary, trans or genderqueer people. The Facilitation team acknowledged this problem and rectified the related mentions in their reports. Here this phrasing was updated to reflect the feedback in a non-biased manner JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 22:19, 25 March 2021 (UTC)

Please reach out with questions or comments! Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 16:46, 18 February 2021 (UTC)

Collected Feedback about Quotas from the second weekly report[edit]

Here is the collected feedback about quotas from the second weekly report covering February 8 - 14 of the Call for Feedback. This weekly report integrates the feedback received from the first weekly report to better identify the information sources.

Note: Other participants including members of the Wikimedia LGBT+ user group complained, saying that 50/50 gender concepts were binary and implicitly biased against non-binary, trans or genderqueer people. The Facilitation team acknowledged this problem and rectified the related mentions in their reports. Here this phrasing was updated to reflect the feedback in a non-biased manner. JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 20:45, 26 March 2021 (UTC)

Please reach out with questions or comments! Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 19:22, 18 February 2021 (UTC)

Quotas and voting[edit]

Hello, I support increasing the diversity of the WMF Board, and having quotas is a valid method. Now, there are many ways to implement quotas, in particular how the community would vote in such system.

An option could be that each continent votes one or two Board representative. I discourage this case. I would like to have the chance to vote for or against candidates from other continents as well. So either have a worldwide vote, or have both continental and worldwide votes. --NaBUru38 (talk) 23:12, 19 February 2021 (UTC)

Hi there, NaBUru38, thanks for your feedback! I have added it to the upcoming weekly report. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 18:26, 24 February 2021 (UTC)


Collected Feedback about Quotas from the third weekly report[edit]

Here is the collected feedback about quotas from the third weekly report covering February 15 - 21 of the Call for Feedback.

11 users from 6 different home wikis have participated in the conversation on this idea's talk page so far.
Note: Other participants including members of the Wikimedia LGBT+ user group complained, saying that 50/50 gender concepts were binary and implicitly biased against non-binary, trans or genderqueer people. The Facilitation team acknowledged this problem and rectified the related mentions in their reports. Here this phrasing was updated to reflect the feedback in a non-biased manner. JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 20:48, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
  • One person said Portland (Oregon) has for many years had a policy about gender balance on representative bodies.
  • A person at the conversation with “Les sans pages” is in favor of a gender-based quota. Another participant suggested having a minimum of 2 seats for women among the 6 seats and another person suggested having some quota based on linguistic community. The same idea was very positively discussed at another conversation with French Canada community.
  • One person in the midpoint office hours mentioned age as a consideration - suggested a mix of ages for more perspectives.

Do reach out with any questions or feedback. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 18:07, 25 February 2021 (UTC)

WMF already has power to appoint runners-up[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation has, and has always had, the power to appoint runners-up in community elections to the board. It would be a good use of at least one or two of the new appointive seats to select runners-up from community elections who did not win outright, but who are from parts of the community that have been underrepresented. This would build confidence all around, I believe.--Pharos (talk) 05:14, 26 February 2021 (UTC)

That's a good idea, especially as those appointed seats will be a lot more as well in the future, far more then missing skill-sets can justify. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 09:11, 26 February 2021 (UTC)

Research on use of quotas to increase diversity[edit]

After having organized many conversations where the topic of quotas became prominent, the Facilitation team has detected a lack of information about the use of quotas to increase diversity in organizations. Here is some information we have compiled.

This collection of information has been produced by the Facilitation team independently from the Board, based on the feedback received during the first half of the Call for feedback. There is no current consensus about quotas, and this is not to suggest that this will be the approach embraced. Please reach out if you have any comments or questions. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 18:44, 3 March 2021 (UTC)

"I want to make it clear to everyone that the team that is running this call for feedback, we are not involved in the design of anything. We are organizing conversations like this one. We are helping others organize their own conversations. We are taking note of this. We are writing reports that are public. We are consolidating reports in our main report that will be delivered to the board. But none of us, if we have opinions about how things should be done, we keep them to ourselves. I just want to make clear this. ... I really want to be clear on this, there hasn't been, none of us that's been there saying, hm, should the quotas be, you know, I want to be, and I bring examples, like we staff members haven't been designing this. We are working on making sure that all these ideas and whatever other ideas come are known through the movement, that the movement is aware that this conversation is happening and that they participate. And we are also responsible of making a fair summary of all these conversations and have it available in multiple languages. That is our job here." - QGil, during the second office hour.
Has the job description changed? It certainly looks like it, because, that document above? That's not a neutral summary of available research. That's advocacy. There's a conversation to be had about the topic of quotas, but actions like this by facilitators are unhelpful. --Yair rand (talk) 19:08, 3 March 2021 (UTC)
I agree with Yair rand, this very much looks like pro-quotas - more specifically, pro-women quotas - activism (example of website used as source). This, coming from the facilitators, is completely inappropriate.--- Darwin Ahoy! 20:31, 3 March 2021 (UTC)
I've added a neutrality banner to the report that was used in the past when WMF staff created non-neutral work product. I believe that this report needs quite a bit of context. Right now, without quotas, the board consists of 6 women and 4 men. While 'The Wikimedia movement does not endorse "race" and "ethnicity" as meaningful distinctions among people.', it should probably include the context that the five community-chosen members hail from five different home wikis. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 22:03, 3 March 2021 (UTC)
Hi all, I hear that you feel we missed some things in our brief summary of research. I am glad we are discussing this. Please feel free to suggest articles or content you think should be included in the summary of research. I look forward to your suggestions. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 22:58, 3 March 2021 (UTC)
@JKoerner (WMF): Why are you posting activist stuff here?--- Darwin Ahoy! 23:07, 3 March 2021 (UTC)
Hi there, @DarwIn: I am sorry but you have misunderstood. That was not the intention. Like I said above, if we have missed any important articles about quotas, do let me know! Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 23:16, 3 March 2021 (UTC)
@JKoerner (WMF): Have I? Why everything you have collected there focus on and favours only one and the same point of view in the debate? What's the point of doing that?--- Darwin Ahoy! 23:28, 3 March 2021 (UTC)
Hi again, @DarwIn: I know bias can be a tricky thing to identify in oneself. Please do let me know if we have missed any important articles about quotas. Links or article titles would be helpful. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 23:34, 3 March 2021 (UTC)
@JKoerner (WMF): You have missed everything that questions the success of the quota approach. Why?--- Darwin Ahoy! 23:39, 3 March 2021 (UTC)
It's disrespectful to expect the community to produce a neutral version of an unnecessary essay. You need to achieve consensus that your writing is neutral, or move it to a talk page where it belongs. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 23:36, 3 March 2021 (UTC)
I'll add that [2] could be used as an example of how this subject could be presented in a neutral and rigorous way. This may be useful for determining if the essay is neutral, once you revise it. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 23:55, 3 March 2021 (UTC)
My apologies, TomDotGov. I was not suggesting the community do the work. I thought you all might have some articles or links to suggest. Since you noted that the list was biased I thought you all had done some reading as well. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 01:49, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
Thank you. What do you think about replacing the essay with a link to the Rotman research brief I linked above? (I'll also ask Darwin and Yair Rand to weigh in.) It seems to be a third party report that covers both the pros and cons, and and doesn't seem to have the bias that, like you say, can be a tricky thing to identify. Since there isn't anything Wikimedia-specific about the essay, the Rotman brief seems just as relevant. This would also prevent the community from having to divert our energies to an essay that wasn't asked for. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 02:48, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
@TomDotGov: Personally, I found the Rotman Brief quite useful. It is, however, focused on a binary approach of men vs. women, and has nothing about non-gender quotas. In any case, it's certainly way better and more neutral than the random pro-quota stuff JKoerner (WMF) has collected in her essay.--- Darwin Ahoy! 12:27, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
@JKoerner (WMF): Just a recommendation: I think that the facilitators who worked on this should withdraw from dealing with the area of quotas. I don't know if that's feasible (Are there enough people to work that? Are workloads even divided that way?), but it's pretty clear that there's some sharp biasing going on. (With this for context, the issue of quota feedback as covered by the report (and also certain, ah, general wording issues in that area) look like they may have also been influenced by facilitators' opinions.) I would also recommend withdrawing the research summary, until issues can be dealt with.
On most topics, coverage has been pretty decent. I have no idea what the relevant facilitators' personal opinions are on, eg ranked voting systems, specializations, etc, and that's the way it should be. If swapping certain people between topics wouldn't disrupt things too much, I think it's worth looking into. (If it's not possible, there are some things volunteers might be able to do to ameliorate things, but I don't know how effective it would be.) --Yair rand (talk) 05:56, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
Oh! I think I see where the confusion is. I personally didn't author this collected research on quotas but rather the facilitation team did and I merely posted it. I'm engaging in the discussion here because I am the facilitator supporting this talk page. Does this clear up the bias concern @Yair rand:, @TomDotGov:, and @DarwIn:? If not, please do let me know how my participation here is biased.
Also, TomDotGov, Thanks for the Rotman brief. The facilitation team will check it out (I'll read it today since I still have time left in my work day). We will then discuss and update the collected research. Please let me know if there are other articles or links you'd like to draw our attention to on this subject matter.
We certainly aren't promoting quotas. During the discussions the facilitation team heard very diverse feedback about quotas - some people were absolutely against quotas while others said quotas were the only way they'd get elected to the Board. We thought maybe having some research and information about the use of quotas on boards around the world might be helpful in furthering discussions. We don't want to put more work on the community and recognize the time it takes to participate in community conversations for volunteers. We simply thought collecting information would be helpful and relieve additional time demands on volunteers. And, you're right, this is not something that conversation facilitation teams from the Wikimedia Foundation usually do, but we're trying new things! We are exploring new ways to support conversations with the community and relieve some of the demand on volunteer time.
These are hot topics worth discussing and the facilitation team's goals are to support community conversation and gather feedback. That's why the facilitation team wants to continue these conversations.
I do hope this clears up some of the confusion and frustration. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know! Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 19:07, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
@JKoerner (WMF): Not at all, from my part. The report is clearly biased, but that has nothing to do with you being the author. I (apparently wrongly) assumed you were because you posted it, but independently of its authorship, it remains completely biased to a given POV, to the point of including explicit activist material that I don't think is helpful at all in the context.--- Darwin Ahoy! 20:37, 4 March 2021 (UTC)

Collected Feedback about Quotas from the fourth weekly report[edit]

Hi all, here is the collected feedback about quotas from the fourth weekly report covering February 22 - 28 of this Call for Feedback.

Meta-wiki Talk page conversation statistics:

12 users from 7 different home wikis have participated in the conversation on this idea's talk page so far.

  • One person from Wikimedia Malaysia User Group is not sure about quotas. It would be good if most representatives were from small communities, but to appoint a representative from such a large number of small communities will be so tedious. We need to find a way to represent all those small communities.  
  • One person said quotas could be a measurement of the depth of the affiliations. She thinks this is a good way to represent the diversity of the community provided that the seats are also open to the diverse members of the community.
  • The representative of Wikimedia Russia assessed this as an American system that should not be applied in this process.
  • A person at a conversation with “Noircir Wikipedia community” is in favor of both regional and gender quotas. All participants to the conversation agreed that having a quota for under-represented groups like Trans people, LGBT+ groups is a good idea. They suggested that the quota criteria could be updated at each election round to take into account the diversity in the movement at the moment of elections.
  • People from the Odia community felt that it is good to have quotas, but mentioned that minimum skills requirements should be in place for candidates applying using quotas.
  • Former trustee Bishakha Datta
    • said that the negative connotations around quotas should not stop us from using the concept.
    • suggested to have elections within quotas, so that the best of the underrepresented group can get the opportunity to serve on the Board.
    • suggested looking at it as underrepresentation, it can be phrased as a required expertise that has been historically missing.
  • One person from the Wikimedistas of Ecuador User Group referring to quotas on gender as 50/50 doesn’t take into account people who identity as non-binary.
  • Former trustee Bishakha encouraged the process to be proactive about new articulations of gender such trans, non-binary and also sexual orientations such as LGBT+
  • A member of the Wikimedia LGBT+ user group said quotas bring an opportunity for tokenism.
  • Regarding a gender quota, a person from Wikimujeres User Group thinks that the Board needs to be aware of the gender gap on Wikipedia and then the Board can understand how to approach a solution. The person doesn’t know if a 50/50 quota is a solution.
  • A person from the Brazilian community feels there is not enough time to properly discuss quotas during this Call for Feedback.
  • At a European community conversation, one person agrees to an equitable gender quota and doubts a regional quota is necessary. Another opposes quotas in a broad sense, saying that the board is gender balanced already, had persons of non-binary gender and is already regionally distributed.
Note: Other participants including members of the Wikimedia LGBT+ user group complained, saying that 50/50 gender concepts were binary and implicitly biased against non-binary, trans or genderqueer people. The Facilitation team acknowledged this problem and rectified the related mentions in their reports. Here this phrasing was updated to reflect the feedback in a non-biased manner.’’ JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 20:08, 29 March 2021 (UTC)

Please reach out if you have any questions or comments. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 19:49, 5 March 2021 (UTC)

Other mechanisms for diversity[edit]

Any restriction placed on the community that limits the choices of who the community can "elect" to the board is wrong-headed. Such restrictions threaten the integrity of the process as the selection would be biased on the restrictions based rather than the perceived strength of the candidates to represent the community. This would only add to the mistrust of the process, even if the candidates selected are representing the community well.

Assuring the diversity of the board is important though: having a homogeneous slate of candidates isn't ideal. However, I doubt that would be the case in any scenario. The community is not homogeneous and people with the motivation can always present themselves, and they'd be able to get a section of the vote which isn't the same as other candidates, which improves on the representativity of the community and fulfills the need for a wide range of diverse candidates, for which there must be a lot!

It would be better for such quotas to be rather towards inviting users to present themselves. Being invitations, there is no obligation imparted on the potential candidate, but who would be motivated and avoiding a feeling of tokenism by being equal to the other candidates. This approach could however be more intensive to search within hundreds of wikis to find interesting/interested users but who wouldn't propose themselves without this "push".

Another aspect is that the community seats are not all the seats on the board. I've argued that a candidate elected with the restrictions on who can be elected cannot be an effective representative. It should be incumbent on the board with their appointed seats to create a board composition that they wish, and leaving the community to choose their seats as they see fit. With the proportion of appointed seats to community seats, any self-imposed appointment requirements would have the same effect on composition than imposing it on the community, but without drawing the ire and sense of an illegitimate process. It could also be good for some appointed seats to be from the community, if that'd increase the diversity of the board as they see! Ebe123 (Communication | Activity report) 04:30, 6 March 2021 (UTC)

Thanks, Ebe123. I will include your feedback in this week's weekly report. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 19:47, 9 March 2021 (UTC)

Collected Feedback about Quotas from the fifth weekly report[edit]

Here is the collected feedback about quotas from the fifth weekly report of this Call for Feedback. This weekly report covers feedback from March 1 - 7:

Meta-wiki Talk page conversation statistics: 14 users from 7 different home wikis have participated in the conversation on this idea's talk page so far.

  • The facilitation team published some research they had collected on quotas to support community discussion. Three people voiced their opinions about this on the WM Community Board seats Telegram channel and/or the talk page on Meta.
    • One person said, “This very much looks like pro-quotas - more specifically, pro-women quotas - activism.” Another person in the discussion said, “it's pretty clear that there's some sharp biasing going on.”
    • A person said the content collected by the facilitation team is “explicit activist material”
    • A person in the discussion tagged the collected research with a neutrality banner.
    • One person in the discussion suggested to delete the collected research on quotas and link to this Rotman piece about quotas

Suggestions of articles and links about quotas are welcome from the community. The community is welcome to include links and content from articles by editing the wiki page. The facilitation team also understands that the community may not have the time to do this. If this is the case and you find an article or link, the facilitation team would be glad to review and summarize on the wiki page.

  • This above situation sparked a conversion on the WM Community Board seats Telegram channel about quotas:
    • One person voiced concerns about language used in the final report.
    • Several people discussed how to implement a gender quota and the challenges of that.
    • One person suggested that gender representation should not come before regional representation.
    • One person suggested a maximum of 50% of any gender on the Board.
    • One person said women are not underrepresented at the Board level and there is no glass ceiling at the Wikimedia Foundation. Diversity rebalancing will be done by the Global Council.
      • A Wikimedia Foundation executive noted that women are underrepresented in elected/nominated seats, and appointed seats should not be the only guarantee of balancing diversity. They continue to say a glass ceiling and a welcoming environment for women in leadership roles, particularly women of color, are very different things.
      • A former trustee said representation doesn't remove the sexist bias that exists and, while not being pro-quotas, we should be mindful that this discussion is not just about representation. Saying there is representation can lead into thinking there is no problem.
  • A person in the conversation with Wikimedia Bénin User Group said a gender-based quota might be a good idea. Another person said a weighted system would allow for more representation from underrepresented groups.
  • Wikitech volunteers suggested that it should be ensured that there should be at least a minimum number of candidates participating in the elections from each defined region or group rather than having quotas.
  • A Wikidata volunteer suggested thinking of the question “if 50% of the seats are allocated to women, what is the basis for allocating 50% but not 40% or 60%?” They noted quotas should be based on objectively defined evaluation/scoring standards.
  • A Telugu community member suggested having scientific methods to decide which groups would have quotas. Some examples are ratios of number of languages in various regions across the movement, historical participation of volunteers from that region on the Board and other governance matters of the movement.
  • One member of the Elections Committee argues that with quotas, you would have a problem where later on the members elected under a quota are seen as a less legitimate member.
  • Another member of the Elections Committee considers unless you have a system of short-term rotation it is not possible to cover all the diversity of our movement with quotas.
  • One person on the idea talk page on Meta suggested instead of quotas on the board using quotas in the process for motivating candidates to run for the Board. Restrictions on Board seats could apply to appointed seats if the Board wants a certain representation. Imposing restrictions on the community seats makes for ineffective representatives.

Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 19:13, 11 March 2021 (UTC)

Collected Feedback about Quotas from the sixth weekly report[edit]

Here is the collected feedback about quotas from the sixth weekly report covering March 8 - 14, 2021:

Meta-wiki Talk page conversation statistics: 14 users from 7 different home wikis have participated in the conversation on this idea's talk page.

  • Three participants from the ESEAP LGBTQ volunteers say quotas ensure diversity for all genders. They think that LGBTQ volunteers in the movement are a minority but this minority voice could be given a chance at representation.
  • A Kannada volunteer shared their concern that if there is a quota for South Asia, communities such as Hindi and Bengali might heavily influence the election results, as they have more users, and volunteers from smaller communities will barely get a chance. It is similar to English dominating the rest of the world.
  • A volunteer from West Bengal suggested quotas for non-Wikipedia projects such as Wikisource, Wikivoyage, and Wiktionary, as they have received very little support and representation historically.
  • Volunteers from the Urdu community said quotas should be based on the population spread across the world, rather than active users. Even though Asia might have less users, they have a huge population, which indicates the future potential. This was also said in a conversation on the CfF talk page on Meta.
  • On a gender quota, one volunteer in the Spanish Telegram chat argued that women are a large portion of the global population, thus they are not a minority group, and gender diversity is fundamental in the Board of Trustees.
  • One volunteer in the Spanish Telegram chat thinks that a 50/50 gender quota is a binary concept that doesn't take into account the participation of LGBTQ+ individuals.
  • One volunteer in the Spanish Telegram chat considers it's of no utility to convene a group of different origins in an aseptic way. It is useful to analyze the particular context of what you want to place as a group.
  • A volunteer in the Spanish Telegram chat considers that any kind of quota produces a silent minority. This is the problem of thinking about reserved quotas, which in his country has been to the detriment of the indigenous community of that country.  
  • One volunteer from the 2nd Spanish conversation said to rank gender quotas over a regional quota because there is a need to generate a space where all genders can have more participation and space for decision-making.
  • Former trustee Christophe Henner said that he is not in favour of quotas, but they would have a direct impact on diversity and diversity is what the Board needs. Other ideas are not focused on diversity.
  • A CIS-A2K staff member said the Board adopting quotas will set a precedent for the governance structures across the movement, and implications of such measures should be considered. Since the reversal of the quota system can be controversial, criteria should be defined in advance for allocation of quotas.
  • A CIS-A2K staff member mentioned since there are a lot of opposition to this idea, there is a risk candidate(s) getting negative votes or lower rank just because a person is using the quotas to run for the Board.
  • During a 1:1 with Florence Devouard, former Board member, she said that there should be a clear definition of what the Board is looking for in terms of diversity. It is difficult to satisfy all types of diversity as there are only 6 seats.
  • One person on the idea talk page on Meta said quotas are only useful when there is a lack of gender diversity, but this is not the case.

Please reach out if you have questions or comments! Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 14:43, 17 March 2021 (UTC)