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Talk:Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Meetings/Candidates meet with Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

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Questions made during the meeting - Answers by Lorenzo Losa[edit]

Unfortunately, during the meeting the whole time was spent with candidates presentations. There were some questions in the chat, but there was no time to answer them. Initially, I understood that a second meeting was going to take place, but apparently this is not going to happen. I am therefore answering to those questions here. The questions were made in Arabic; with the support of automatic translation, my understanding is that they were more or less:

  • Which of the candidates supports the idea of ​​regional hubs? And who among them commits to support the establishment of a hub for the Arab region?
  • Which of the candidates commits to develop the Arab region by employing more people from the region in the Wikimedia Foundation?
  • Which of the candidates commits to reopen the application for the chapters and allow the groups of the region to reach this stage?
  • What will the candidates bring to the Arab community?
  • Does the candidate agree to have a permanent seat for the Arab region?
  • Which of the candidates commit to make the meetings of the Board of Trustees and their outcomes public and open to everyone to read?

I will answer below. Please let me know if I misinterpreted your questions.

On the benefits for the Arabic region. Many of the questions ask, in a way or another, what benefit the candidate will bring to the Arab region. I understand the reason why these questions are asked. However, I must stress that every board member should commit to support the global movement, without favouring any specific region or group of people. No candidate can therefore tell you that will favour the Arab region.

What I can tell you is that I believe in having strong local groups, and my history in the Wikimedia movement proves that: both with my work in the chapter of my country (Wikimedia Italia), in the Funds Dissemination Committee, and in taking part in international networks like Iberocoop and the chairpersons group.

On hiring employees from different regions. I support the idea of hiring employees from different part of the globe. I think it is important that the WMF reflects the global nature of our movement. I also think that looking for talent everywhere is an effective approach to get the best people onboard, and it also makes it easier for the local communities to connect with the WMF staff.

On regional hubs. Regional hubs are part of the movement strategy, and (in theory) they should be implemented whoever gets on board. Personally, I like the idea of regional hubs as a way for local groups to work together and grow. We still don't know how they will be shaped, and I believe we should make sure that they do not become top-down organizations. I think that the Arab region is a natural candidate for a regional hub; but it is up to you to decide whether you want one, and which region should it actually cover.

On permanent seats. I do not like the idea of dividing the board seats by geography. We have only a limited number of seats selected by the community (5 as of today, that are planned to grow to 8): the result would be too fragmented. We would end up basically having a continent electing one person. While it would address the issue of geographical representation, it would be unable to address any other diversity issue, and in particular minorities inside each area would have no voice.

On the other hand, geography could be one of the factors in the selection of the Global Council, that will probably have much more seats, and because of its nature needs a more proportional representation.

On board meetings. I support the idea of making the outcomes of the board meeting more public. We currently have board minutes and resolutions, but the level of details is low, and they are often published late. It would also be good to know in advance what the board is going to discuss, in order to provide comments or suggestions. The same applies to board committees.

Making the meeting themselves public, however, is counterproductive. My experience is that if you push a board, especially in a large organization, to have public board meetings, the result is that the discussions move outside the meetings. As a consequence, not only the discussions are kept private, but they are not even recorded in the minutes, and often exclude part of the board members themselves, those who are in less powerful positions. The end result is that there is less transparency, not more.

On chapters. As I said above, I am a strong believer in affiliates (after all, I've chaired one for years!). I think that both chapters and users groups are an important part of our movement, and we need both to succeed.

Many years ago, the WMF board decided to suspend the recognition of new chapters for a few years. Even after that, for years the Affiliations Committee did not approve any chapter - even if they had the power to do it, and there were user groups that wanted to become chapters. I didn't like the board decision, and I didn't like the lack of recognitions from the Affiliations Committee. In more recent years, we have seen a couple of new chapters: Wikimedia Korea in 2018 and Wikimedia Thailand in 2019. I am happy that they were recognized, and I would be even happier if more user groups would become chapters - including in the Arab region, where there is an active community and multiple user groups that have been active for years. - Laurentius (talk) 21:20, 17 July 2021 (UTC)Reply

مرحبا Laurentius هل يمكمك وضع رابط صفحة ترشحك؟ (fr):Pouvez-vous mettre un lien vers votre page de candidature ? --Nehaoua (talk) 19:22, 23 July 2021 (UTC)Reply
Sure Nehaoua:
thank's Nehaoua (talk) 19:31, 23 July 2021 (UTC)Reply
I will be translate your statement to Arabic Nehaoua (talk) 19:33, 23 July 2021 (UTC)Reply