Talk:Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021

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A user-friendly and translatable election main page[edit]

Hi @Sänger: just a note to say that the Board election facilitation team has plans to work on the election pages and offer content that is concise, user-friendly, and easily translatable. The goal is to increase participation overall and especially among volunteers who haven't participated in an election before. For this, we plan to depart from the usual structured used in previous elections. We recommend anyone to hold on for a bit before we propose a structure for this page and subpages. We also need to work in coordination with the Elections Committee. Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:21, 27 April 2021 (UTC)

Reconsideration of eligibility criteria for technical contributions in election[edit]

The 2021 Board elections are scheduled to take place in the next few months. I would like to flag the voting eligibility criteria for “Developers” previously and should be reconsidered. In 2017, the criteria were

  • Are Wikimedia server administrators with shell access;
  • Or have commit access and have made at least one merged commits in git to Wikimedia Foundation utilized repos between 1 October 2016 and 1 April 2017.

The wording used is not commonly used in the MediaWiki and Wikitech communities. Issues with the above criteria are:

  • The group of “Wikimedia server administrators with shell access” nearly completely overlaps with Wikimedia staffers.
  • There is no hard-defined category as “Wikimedia Foundation utilized repos” (there is some work in progress: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T190891, but nothing concrete as of now)
  • "commit access" has an unclear meaning nowadays. It made sense in SVN days but we use Git and Gerrit nowadays. Now anyone can create a Developer Account and "commit" a change to Gerrit as a proposed code change, but whether the change will also get merged ("+2'ed", means: included and made available by default to everyone pulling that codebase) depends on someone else first reviewing that proposed code change in Gerrit.

A significant number of folks do not necessarily make edits to mediawiki.org but are still developing tools, gadgets etc. A good number of them work on Wikitech and/or Gerrit/Git. That requires using an LDAP account (aka 'Developer account'). An LDAP account is separate from the SUL (Single User Login) account used for mediawiki.org and also used by SecurePoll. There are several people who develop and run bots, user-scripts, building tools for deployment on Toolforge (or anywhere else), but don’t necessarily make edits on mediawiki.org or contribute to MediaWiki core - they are being excluded as well.

It seems like these criteria were developed long ago and have not been updated with the changes in practices of MediaWiki and Wikitech contributors. I don’t have a perfect solution as of now but would like to raise this issue with the Elections Committee. It would be helpful if other developers can share their thoughts and what can be good criteria. This will affect not only the upcoming elections but others such as the Steward elections.

Also created a Phabricator task: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T281977

@AbhiSuryawanshi, Carlojoseph14, HakanIST, Mardetanha, KTC, Masssly, Matanya, ProtoplasmaKid, and Ruslik0: -Jayprakash >>> Talk 12:52, 5 May 2021 (UTC)

Thank you for raising this issue! I think we, as a committee should hear feedback from the technical community and revise the criteria based on colleced feedback. Matanya (talk) 13:20, 5 May 2021 (UTC)
These observations are correct. The criteria were definitely developed a long time ago and don't match the current technical situation anymore. It isn't just "shell access yes/no" anymore. We have many admin groups with different privileges. We also do have a few volunteers with deployment access but it is true that the vast majority are WMF staff. We also have some former staff who used to work for WMF and then kept their access in a volunteer role. Back in the days "shell access" meant resolving tickets by doing things directly on servers. That is something we now try to avoid as much as possible by using configuration management / devops. The thing that most people would associate with that nowadays is deployers, people in the specific admin group needed to deploy MediaWiki (config) changes. Regarding LDAP, yes the Wikitech user is considered the "Developer Account" and it gives then access to code review (Gerrit), Cloud VPS and other things. So having one of those could be a good criterium, it definitely indicates someone is involved in more than just editing projects. Having it is also a requirement for the things building on that, like shell acces. Mutante (talk) 17:09, 6 May 2021 (UTC)

For those who don’t have 500+ edits across all WMF wikis, the development requirements are quite important for eligibility. Committing code to Gerrit is somewhat of a strict requirement. In my case, I’ve released several MediaWiki extensions since joining the community recently, and due to my company’s policies, these extensions are not uploaded to WMF version control. I propose allowing people with a certain amount of participation on Phabricator tickets to also be able to vote. MyWikis-JeffreyWang (talk) 16:05, 7 May 2021 (UTC)

@AbhiSuryawanshi, Carlojoseph14, HakanIST, Mardetanha, KTC, Masssly, Matanya, ProtoplasmaKid, and Ruslik0: We got response from technical community here and on the phabricator task. I request you to go through them and compile them.--Jayprakash >>> Talk 18:35, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
@Jayprakash12345: The Committee is currently discussing eligibility requirements and has taken note of the discussion in the Phabricator ticket. Carlojoseph14 (talk) 03:02, 14 June 2021 (UTC)

Agree. The technical bar is set far too high, and in archaic terms. A more reasonable threshold would be something like "a developer with at least one patch merged to a production Wikimedia repository". I also like the suggestion that some level of involvement on Phabricator should qualify.

Please note however that the bar for editors is quite high as well, requiring an average "active editor" (5 edits per month) level of editing over the previous 5 months, and what equates to 5 years of this level of editing (300 edits = 60 months * 5 edits per month) overall. Relatedly, some might be interested in task T282563, which begins to show how common it is for editors to lapse in active editing and then start again. The same data could be used to explore our definition of a sufficiently-engaged contributor. —Adamw (talk) 20:26, 6 June 2021 (UTC)

Updated timeline[edit]

Hi there, friends! The timeline for the Board of Trustee election has been updated. This is the timeline the Election Committee is proposing to the Board of Trustees. In practice, this timeline is two weeks later than the original to allow for more time to implement Single Transferrable Vote on SecurePoll Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 20:45, 10 May 2021 (UTC)

What do communities want to know about candidates?[edit]

Update: An Election Volunteer asked for a page to be created so it was translatable. JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 12:20, 12 May 2021 (UTC)

Hi all, The Board Election facilitators have been looking at what was done in previous elections and how we can support community participation in the Board of Trustees election. We were thinking about how the community reviews the candidates and what would be helpful for the community to know.

Then we knew what we needed to do! We should ask you: What are the things you would like to know about candidates?

We are asking very informally here and on social media. Please let us know what you think and feel free to reply in any language you wish. We thank you for your feedback! Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 17:52, 11 May 2021 (UTC)

Eligibility criteria not having user account age[edit]

Previous elections’ eligibility requirements didn’t have any criteria regarding an account’s registration time, for example, something like at least six months old. I am not sure why, but I feel having something like this is quite important. Given the requirement for the edit count is not very high, creating an account and getting 300 edits is quite easy, especially with Wikidata and Structured Data on Commons. There is a chance that accounts are created in mass and edited to favour a particular candidate. What are the Elections Committee thoughts on this, and if anything is thought about mitigating the risk mentioned above? @AbhiSuryawanshi, Carlojoseph14, HakanIST, Mardetanha, KTC, Masssly, Matanya, ProtoplasmaKid, and Ruslik0: R Ashwani Banjan Murmu (talk) 15:34, 25 May 2021 (UTC)

Hi, do you have any evidence this is a real risk? Matanya (talk) 06:12, 26 May 2021 (UTC)

Let us be assured of the access of all communities[edit]

There are only two or three volunteers for each project. logically, they are not in contact with all the wikimedia communities that contribute to the project. In addition, they do not have access to mass messaging (since it is reserved for administrators). It is not too late to provide them with the means to reach as many people as possible. Kitanago (talk) 15:12, 3 june 2021 (UTC-5)

Hi there, Kitanago! I agree with you. It takes a lot of people to get the message out. What would be helpful? Do you have any ideas? Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 19:51, 10 June 2021 (UTC)
Hello JKoerner (WMF)!, I think Mass messages could reach at least a minimal percentage. If we could also give the volunteers the possibility of contacting some contributors by email that would be interesting. And as we do the headband is even more interesting. Kitanago (talk) 22:11, 16 june 2021 (UTC-5)

Candidate Resources[edit]

I am considering possible WMF 2021 board candidacy. In doing so, I noticed omissions on the 2021 election page. Correction could help other potential candidates.

The election timeline diagram is great! It starts with "June 4 Candidate Resources published". Candidate Resources aren't mentioned in the 2021 election page timeline sub-section though. There IS a "Candidate Resources" link in the Documentation box. I navigated there and found a page titled Candidate Toolkit. The URL for the Candidate Toolkit page is

https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/Candidate_Resources

The page name is "Wikimedia Foundation elections/Candidate Resources - Meta". I'm still uncertain because it isn't year-specific, unlike other 2021 election pages, so I checked the page history, expecting to see 4 June. Creation date is 7 June, and this edit was on 8 June 2021: "moved page Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees: Candidate Toolkit to Wikimedia Foundation elections/Candidate Resources: better location". Great, this confirms that the toolkit is the resources page! Most content was in place on 9 June, and final revision is on 15 June.

Correction to Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021 page
Timeline sub-section: insert as follows between current bullet points

  • 2021-06-09 to 2021-06-29 Call for Candidates<--linked-->
  • 2021-06-09 Candidate Resources<--linked--> published
  • 2021-06-30 to 2021-07-02 Announcement of confirmed candidates

Information for candidates sub-section: Currently is one paragraph, ending with "The Call for Candidates<--linked--> opened on 9 June 2021." Append the following sentence: "The Candidate Resources were published on 15 June 2021."

Correction to Candidate Resources page
Change first level heading (title) from Toolkit to Candidate Resources.

I am BOLD, so I will make the corrections.--FeralOink (talk) 12:43, 17 June 2021 (UTC)

Hi there, FeralOink! Thanks for being so thorough in reviewing the content. The dates changed for the publication and that was after we created the timeline graphic. I am not sure the date difference of a few days impacts usability.
It is not listed on the timeline template on the election page. Candidate Resources is something for all election years, not just 2021. We published it on the infographic because that may be circulated by itself and does not have the benefit of a navigation box.
Thank you for correcting the name and the content on the page. Yes, the naming was confusing. This was a miscommunication between folks and "toolkit" was added to the name when it was published. Thanks for making the edits to make this more clear. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 21:25, 18 June 2021 (UTC)