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

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Good idea[edit]

Seems to be a good idea, as this is the only kind of diversity that could be done through the elections, if they will still be open and integrative. Reserve some seats for certain areas, as there will be 8 community seats, that's perhaps 2 for affiliates, 2 each for different regions. Defining those regions may be a wee bit difficult (is Australia South or is it part of the anglophone north?, is South America part of The Americas or part of the Global South?, is Russia Europe or Asia?...) But in general, seems like a good concept. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 12:05, 8 February 2021 (UTC)

Non-aligned[edit]

Good idea from a good wikimedian, but I foresee a problem of representativty when it comes to communities who are not aligned with any Regional Body. Still, a combination of Regional and Thematic seats can be proposed, but this criteria would either "force" some communities to align with a given body, or either accept that they will not be represented by this criteria. It's a great idea, but needs some balance to represent "everyone".--TaronjaSatsuma (talk) 17:26, 8 February 2021 (UTC)

Hi, TaronjaSatsuma! I hear your feedback about the idea in general. I also hear you saying you foresee a problem of representativeness for communities not aligned with a regional body. Do you have a suggestion for a solution to this? Or do you have other ideas to ensure balance to represent "everyone"? Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 22:35, 12 February 2021 (UTC)
IDK. Perhaps a fully elected body but with some "quotas" to meet (gender, language, continent, developer-background...) might be useful.--TaronjaSatsuma (talk) 10:10, 13 February 2021 (UTC)

Thoughts[edit]

I remain opposed to quotas, especially if elections are moving to a STV system. However there's clearly support for them and I can understand why certain communities feel they need reserved seats. If the board goes ahead with it then Anass' idea seems a good base. My overarching suggestion is to keep the system as simple as possible. On specific points:

  • Hold a single election for all board seats. Assuming the quota isn't met, the top ranked unsuccessful candidate(s) from underrepresented regions replace the lowest ranked winning candidate(s)
  • Include all of the Americas other than Canada and USA in the underrepresented regions. Also include Japan and Korea, even though they're not always considered part of the Global South
  • Don't tie eligibility to some sort of regional alignments. Communities should be free to join with whichever body is most convenient to them without it affecting their members ability to run for the board

--RaiderAspect (talk) 05:00, 15 February 2021 (UTC)

Collected Feedback about Regional seats from the First weekly report (February 1 - 7)[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 first weekly report.

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

  • The responses on the talk page and in several conversations so far see this as a reasonable idea.
  • Defining the regions might be tricky.
  • Communities that are not aligned with a regional body might not be represented.

Please feel free to contact us for any further information. Bachounda (WMF) (talk) 01:00, 23 February 2021 (UTC)

Collected Feedback about Regional seats from the second weekly report (February 8 - 14)[edit]

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

  • One person suggested having a fully elected body with some quotas for gender, language, continent, developer-background, etc.) as a solution to representativeness for communities not aligned with a Regional body.
  • One person said to keep the system as simple as possible:
    • Hold a single election for all Board seats. If the quota is not met, replace the lowest ranking winning candidates with the highest ranking unsuccessful candidates from underrepresented regions.
    • Include all of americas outside of Canada and the US in the underrepresented regions. Include Japan and Korea as well.
    • Don’t tie eligibility to regional alignments. Communities should be free to join whichever body is most convenient to them without it affecting their members’ ability to run.

You are welcome, if you need more information. Bachounda (WMF) (talk) 00:58, 23 February 2021 (UTC)

Most practical method to foster increased diversity[edit]

I believe this would be the most practical and fairest way to foster increased diversity in an election process. Regional diversity is the area where we currently have the greatest deficit (including in appointed seats), and there is reason to believe that regional processes might encourage other forms of diversity as well.--Pharos (talk) 05:16, 23 February 2021 (UTC)

@Pharos: It's been confusing to deal with so many places to post. My post on this talk page addresses this point. There is no regional integration in Latin America. I am fine with the idea of regional quotas as long as a new governance model is proposed, in which the Brazilian community is rightfully represented and in which our perspective is not sided but meaningfully considered. --Joalpe (talk) 15:15, 10 March 2021 (UTC)

Collected Feedback about Regional seats from the Third weekly report (February 15 - 21)[edit]

Find the feedback from the third weekly report covering February 15 - 21 of the Call for Feedback pertaining to this idea.

  1. Latin America (including Caribbean, Central America, South America)
  2. US, Canada and Europe
  3. Africa
  4. Asia and Oceania
  5. A representative from the Global Council or the non-Wikimedia projects - maybe someone from WikiBlind or a person who has not been represented in the past
  • An attendee on the WALRUS call said, What about splitting the seats and having 3 directly elected and 3 split amongst regions not represented?
  • One person on this talk page said there is reason to believe that regional processes might encourage other forms of diversity as well.
  • An attendee on the WALRUS call said, the Philippines has a large community and has not yet had a person on the Board.
  • One ESEAP community member said regional seats are pointless because just because someone is not on the Board does not mean they are voiceless.
  • One person on this talk page had the following suggestions:
    • Hold a single election for all board seats. Assuming the quota isn't met, the top ranked unsuccessful candidate(s) from underrepresented regions replace the lowest ranked winning candidate(s)
    • Include underrepresented areas (exclude Canada and US but include Japan and Korea)
    • Don't tie eligibility to some sort of regional alignments. Communities should be free to join with whichever body is most convenient to them without it affecting their members ability to run for the board

--Bachounda (WMF) (talk) 09:28, 25 February 2021 (UTC)

An observation[edit]

Hello! I think this is an interesting idea and it could well be a way forward. However I have some thoughts:

With 8 seats to allocate, it is difficult to see how one could define 'regions'. Would there be 8 regions each with one member? Four with two? Some other formula? In some ways a regional election model is easier to make work when there are more people to be elected, where each region can have several representatives. It may be more feasible for the (Interim?) Global Council, which is a larger body. It's also desirable for each region to have several representatives to ensure diversity within each region. Otherwise you could easily end up with each of 8 regions all electing men who have edited Wikipedia for 10+ years; geographical diversity would increase but other forms of diversity might decrease.
Also, how will voters (or candidates) be allocated to regions? Do they just pick a region to vote in, or are there some kinds of requirements about it? If so how are those requirements enforced? I lived in Singapore for a few years as a very small child, and my 'home project' is English Wikipedia which is widely read and edited in Singapore; is it permissible for me to put myself forward as an East Asia region candidate, or to vote in the East Asia region election? I would submit the answer should be no, but if that is the intention how do we define rules to prevent this?

Many thanks, Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 19:45, 25 February 2021 (UTC)


Collected Feedback about Regional seats from the fourth weekly report (February 22 - 28)[edit]

Here is a report summarizing all the feedback from this week's discussion section; This report covers new activity February 22-28.

Let's start with: Meta-wiki Talk page conversation statistics:

5 users from 3 different home wikis have participated in the conversation on this idea's talk page so far.

  • One volunteer from Malaysia thinks it is good to have Regional Seats but make sure that they are not biased to the group they primarily represent and represent smaller communities too.
  • During a meeting with the Georgian community two people liked the idea of quotas, but only if it is based on quotas on a regional or linguistic basis. It would be best to use quotas based on a regional or linguistic basis and each should get a seat.
  • For the representative of Wikimedia Russia we need to take into account the number of the population and size of wikiprojects by region
  • One person from Wikimedia Levant said that the Regional seats were the most favorable choice, the way to implement it should be after assigning the seat, only the people from the region should vote, and by having regional seats that don't mean people from the region can not nominate themselves for the general community seats.
  • Volunteers from the Odia community liked the idea, but suggested not to restrict the voting to the region only, as there are a lot of expats who are involved with home communities.
  • A volunteer from the Gujarati community suggested distributing the seats based on ratios of user bases and/or number of languages in a region, and these ratios to be updated every 3-5 years.
  • Former trustee Bishakha liked the idea, but objected to restricting voting to a region only, as it sort of makes it a ghetto, and Wikimedia is a global movement.
  • A volunteer from the Brazilian community argues that a regional seat doesn't address power dynamics in the region where Brazil, in the opinion of the volunteer, has been systematically disempowered and silenced, because of the ways Latin America is structured in the movement.
  • A member of the Wikimedia LGBT+ user group said diversity is important but there are a lot of different countries and regions so they should not be placed into one group.
  • One volunteer from the Wikimedistas of Ecuador User Group is in favor of this idea,  taking into account other factors such as the economic and social proximity of the countries. The volunteer thinks that a regional seat would give context to what is happening in the region and might reduce gaps of needs, financial and human.
  • At a European community conversation, Ad is concerned of quotas for too many groups due to the small size of the board, but he supports the idea of regional seats.
  • One person shared an observation about regional seats. They feel the IGC is more capable of regional representation because it’s a larger body. They also noted the voting community should be considered as well.


for any comment or clarification just ask Bachounda (WMF) (talk) 15:09, 4 March 2021 (UTC)

Proposal: Combine ASBS and community election mechanisms for regional seats[edit]

I would like to propose that we use a mechanism similar to Affiliate-selected Board seats for the affiliates in a region to come together to pick 5 or 10 nominees that are qualified in their eyes and from their region, and that we then have a second round that is an at-large global election by editors from everywhere. This might get us to the best of both worlds. I don't think that all seats should be elected in this way, but I think it would be useful for the subset that we call "regional seats".--Pharos (talk) 01:06, 10 March 2021 (UTC)

@Pharos: Hello. I strongly oppose this proposal, thinking about it from the Latin American perspective. Brazil has one affiliate, yet it represents a large proportion of the continent and has distinctive features in comparison to the rest of the continent. The proposal you are making would create a system of disempowerment and voicelessness for the Brazilian community. --Joalpe (talk) 14:44, 10 March 2021 (UTC)
@Joalpe: I actually do not favor a Latin America "regional seat" at all, but think that such seats would rather work best for Africa and Asia. If there were a Latin America regional seat, I could see a provision where any affiliate in the region could nominate a candidate, and then they are voted on globally (by editors from the whole world, not just Latin America). The concept about the final vote coming from global editors is key to this - in any case, I believe separating out global editors by their regional IPs addresses is actually a technical impossibility.--Pharos (talk) 16:29, 10 March 2021 (UTC)
@Pharos: I do not really agree with this idea. Having seen how nomination and vetting work in a local context, I would suggest more transparency and openness in the processes. I would rather see someone from the region nominating themselves and being directly voted by the community, than going through this process. According to experiences I saw earlier, a lot of lobbying and "friendship" and "shared interests" will make that the "nominated" 5 or 10 people you have mentioned, will not really be the ones who will represent the community best, but they will rather be those having the most "powerful allies" locally, and those who have the "strongest" friends, and those "doing favours in order that other do favours for them as well", which is not what we want. Right? -- Anass Sedrati (talk) 17:01, 12 March 2021 (UTC)
Thanks all for this discussion! I have captured it for the weekly report. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 15:57, 16 March 2021 (UTC)

Collected Feedback about Regional seats from the Fifth weekly report (March 1 - 7)[edit]

Please find below the Weekly report of the Call for feedback: Community Board seats/Regional seats this week we have 5 Feedback from differents regions from different communities, that you can comment and we will happy to help if you need more details

  • A volunteer from Malaysia said the Board knows the best candidate it needs from the selection committee’s submitted list of candidates. It should be implemented with utmost transparency.
  • A Filipino volunteer said there should be a limit on the direct appointments done by the Board.
  • One volunteer on the idea talk page on Meta commented that direct appointment of candidates is not a good way to get buy-in from the participants in the different Wikimedia projects. They said this method does not represent the community ethic so prevalent in Wikimedia projects. They said there is an increased risk of appointing unqualified people.
  • A person from Hong Kong says the community-elected selection committee will choose the best and the brightest people that deserve to be on the Board.
  • One member of the Elections Committee considers that with the direct appointment of confirmed candidates, you end up stripping some functions that the community understands are theirs.

--Bachounda (WMF) (talk) 23:09, 10 March 2021 (UTC)

Proposal: Underrepresented regions seats elections in alternating years[edit]

After the panel discussion today, I would like to suggest that we hold "Underrepresented regions seats elections" in alternating years. We can see who is elected in the general community and ASBS elections, and then have an election just for those underrepresented regions that were in fact not represented in the most recent general elections. So for example, if the candidates from Bangladesh and Ghana were elected in the general election, then we might say that South Asia and West Africa no longer count as underrepresented in the current round. This would necessitate coming up with a regular list of "potentially underrepresented regions" (probably, much of Asia, Africa, Latin America, CEE) that would then be evaluated against the actual board after every general elections.--Pharos (talk) 14:57, 14 March 2021 (UTC)

Collected Feedback about Regional seats from the sixth weekly report (March 8 - 14)[edit]

What would be the most potential way to abuse this system? dwf² 16:23, 14 March 2021 (UTC)


Meta-wiki Talk page conversation statistics: 8 users from 3 different home wikis have participated in the conversation on this idea's talk page.


  • One volunteer in the Spanish Telegram Chat thinks that it is not possible to measure each regional group with the same yardstick (referring to Iberocoop, Wiki Indaba, CEE, etc), since country to country conditions change radically and this condition changes how Wikimedia's mission is delivered. Other variables such as GDP, HDI, population size or the level of Internet coverage or access must be taken into account.
  • Volunteers from West Bengal suggested considering affiliates in a region to drive the selection process with community input, to finalise candidates for regional seats.
  • Former trustee Christophe Henner said, regional seats would fix the diversity issue. If you talk about diversity, that's one option.
  • A CIS-A2K staff member said the voting process should not be limited to a region as “we are volunteers without boundaries!” Even if a Board member is from India, but is not a Board member for India, but for the entire movement.
  • During a 1:1 with Florence Devouard, former Board member, she said not to be in favor of a regional or geographic quota
  • One person on the Quota idea talk page on Meta said while some people from Africa feel quotas will help, African members “have not been chosen that often because of lack of experience in comparison to other candidates.”
  • One person on the idea talk page on Meta suggests to implement regional seats “we use a mechanism similar to Affiliate-selected Board seats for the affiliates in a region to come together to pick 5 or 10 nominees that are qualified” from their region, and we then have a second round that is an at-large global election by editors from everywhere.
    • One person responded this “would create a system of disempowerment and voicelessness for the Brazilian community.”
    • Another person said this proposal might not work because of favoritism of people within their region.
  • One person on the CfF talk page on Meta said to spread out the seat allocation for Africa/Asia seats: have 1 for the 2021 election and add 1 seat for the 2022 election so the candidates from the regions have time to organize and prepare.
  • One volunteer of the Brazilian community stated that it is fine with the idea of regional quotas as long as a new governance model is proposed, since the existing models were not designed for regional representation, and therefore should not be considered legitimate instruments of regional representation moving forward.

Bachounda (WMF) (talk) 23:57, 17 March 2021 (UTC)