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Thoughts on committees[edit]

> We're currently reevaluating the ombudsman commission as part of a
> larger rethinking of the committee system that was established some
> years ago, before the foundation had much in the way of staff or
> structure. This will be a significant topic in our board meeting next
> week, and I hope we can provide more information after the meeting.
> In the meantime, if anyone would like to offer feedback, I would be very
> happy to hear it. In particular, ideas or suggestions on what our needs
> are and how best to satisfy them. I'm less interested in random
> complaints about this or that committee, I think we're already aware of
> most of the concerns that have been raised, although anyone who thinks
> they know of a problem nobody has ever mentioned before is welcome to
> contact me off-list. I'm more interested in analysis of how our
> committees work, what their strengths and limitations are, what can be
> reasonably expected of them, and how we should fill in the gaps.
- Michael Snow, January 2, 2009

I took a trip down memory lane, having a vague recollection that I had in fact been the first to suggest a committee structure in my candidateship platform in the very first elections to the board of trustees in 2004. I found that at least Anthere had made some mention of work groups in her candidate platform (and no, I didn't bother digging up which of us was the first to edit that into our candidate statement). I did find that the way I formulated my thoughts then, has stood the test of time remarkably well (in terms of reflecting the general manner I still think about these things).

So without further ado, this is what I said then:

If other trustees agree; appointing /working groups/ of qualified people to prepare workable choises (in consultation with both the board of trustees and the users of the various Wikimedia projects) for policies and institutions that the users may adopt through either /consensus acclamation/ or if neccessary, /qualified majority voting/.

These working groups consisting of 3 to 5 /appointed members/ and 1 to 3 trustees from the board of trustees.

Suggested (incomplete) list of working groups:

  • /Copyright and intellectual property licencing policies./
  • /Member association structures and bylaws./
  • /User community institutions and policies./
  • /Crossproject integration./
  • /Steering committee./ (This including the whole Board of trustees and a number of appointed members determined by the Board.)

I infact have very little of consequence to add to these thoughts I then had, before there ever was a board of trustees. The starkest contrast between this and the current system is that all board members are not *inside* what is perhaps the semi-equivalent of the Steering committee in my proposal. That is to say, the advisory committee does not contain all of the board of trustees as its members.

- Cimon Avaro

August, 2009[edit]

The next Board meeting will be held at Wikimania in Buenos Aires, at the end of August. This page will be updated once details are set. I don't know yet if there will be an associated public discussion, but I will try to hold at least an informal open chat with the community elected Board members - I certainly appreciated those when in the early days of the Board even when I could not make the scheduled times in person. -- sj | translate | + 23:31, 12 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

According to the schedule, there's a one-hour Q&A session with the Board on day 3.--Eloquence 01:29, 13 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
True. I was thinking of an online IRC meeting, and wouldn't consider past wikimania's board panels 'meetings'. I am usually frustrated by how slowly those sessions go, how few questions are answered (especially with 5-8 people) and how few people get to respond to each question. And there is little chance for collaboratively working towards a solution among audience and Board. -- sj | translate | + 02:31, 13 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
A well-edited summary of a longer online Q&A session, stretched out over a few days would be interesting. And live Q&A is always interesting in its own right. But we need a better mechanism for town hall equivalents - if IRC isn't sufficient, let's work towards something that is. -- sj | translate | + 03:21, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

Week of Aug 24[edit]

Suggestions for topics to address? Leave them here.

  • Each board is different than the last. What does consensus mean to this board? What is the community? Is the Board's relationship with the community the same as was originally envisioned, or has it diverged from that vision? Has it changed in a reasonable way, or have mistakes been made? Do the benefits of seeking out broader community input outweigh the costs (signal/noise)? Who does the Board represent? Does the Board represent more than just the people who are currently eligible to vote? Why should any vote be turned away when technological solutions that can amplify signal and reduce noise exist, or could conceivably exist? Is it reasonable for the Foundation to accept money from anyone but then turn them away when its time to vote? Does money buy a vote? Does editing buy a vote? How is donating a less useful contribution to the Foundation than editing? What is it about people who have edited that makes them more likely to select the correct candidate out of an international pool of candidates, many of which most votors may not of heard of, and for whom all voters are expected to read some kind of dossier to famliarize themselves? Are people who haven't edited somehow less capable of making an informed judgement based on reading personal statements of board candidates alone? Really? Is the original spirit of the WMF as a membership organization, where all project contributors are members, an idealistic and useless goal? Would the projects benefit from greater community participation? Why should the board intentionally limit such participation, then? --Alterego 19:59, 23 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

September 11, 2009[edit]

moved to Talk:Wikimedia meetings#September 11, 2009

May 12, 2010[edit]

moved to Talk:Wikimedia meetings#May_12,_2010


When do the board anticipate that they will resume publishing the minutes of their meetings on the Foundation wiki? Jon 23:56, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Good question. We're just waiting on the last votes to approve their publication. I am also looking for brief notes from past IRC meetings, which should also have short minutes. SJ · talk | translate 20:48, 8 June 2010 (UTC)Reply
Note: I am still waiting on transcripts from a few IRC meetings, and we are approving minutes from the August 31 meeting. SJ · talk | translate 05:34, 8 September 2010 (UTC)Reply
All old meetings should be up to date by now.

General topics to address[edit]

  • Issues of censorship in various countries
  • Audiences in the global south: systemic bias and ways to limit it
  • "Boots on the ground": what does this mean in practice? How does it related to what local organizations already do?
  • Movement roles: expanding input from individual contributors, connection to strategy, grants, chapters association?
  • How to create or review new projects - sister projects assessment
  • Endowment