Talk:Wikimedia Foundation elections committee

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Wikimedia Foundation Elections Committee

Current committee
Past committees

Congratulations to newly formed committee[edit]

The Wikipedia Foundation election committee was just formed. Congratulations! Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:06, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

Access to SecurePoll[edit]

Does this committee control access to SecurePoll? I have some questions about the tool and am not sure where to ask. If anyone might help, please respond at Talk:SecurePoll#Questions_about_SecurePoll. Thanks. Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:06, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

Names of elections[edit]

I posted a question some months ago at Talk:Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/Board_elections#Wrong_name_here_-_need_confirmation_that_this_should_move about confusion on the names of various elections. If the new committee has any comment then I would appreciate any reply. Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:10, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

Names of committee members[edit]

Is there a very pressing reason why members of this committee should be known by pseudonyms? Given their crucial role in overseeing the selection of candidates for the Board, it seems that transparency requires that the committee members identify to the Community. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 20:29, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

No issues disclosing my own name (already done in multiple places), but I think it should be optional for committee members. Ajraddatz (talk) 20:57, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Why so? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:03, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Because that would seem to be the standard for any positions on these sites. If you can be a steward, arbcom member, functionary, or admin without disclosing your name, there should be no need to here. Members of this committee can still be held accountable even if just their username is known. The combination of words that a person identifies themselves by doesn't change their actions or opinions. Ajraddatz (talk) 21:07, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
This Committee is functioning in the real world, putting forward real people for real positions on a real body which is responsible for real money. Transparency would benefit from their doing so under their real names. If a question of conflict of interest arises, for example, it would be all but impossible to resolve if the real identity of the individual in question were not availble for scrutiny. Even in the case of some of the posts you mention, identification to someone is required. In this case, identification to to Community would be the appropriate level. What would you impression be of an election to the board of governors of your local school if the people running the poll refused to say who they were? Is this less important? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:15, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
I've worked government elections before, and was never required to disclose my name or identity (nor write a paragraph explaining who I was) to any of the electors. We aren't selecting people for the positions - we are just running the election. You still have failed to suggest any benefit from requiring this. – Ajraddatz (talk) 20:18, 8 April 2017 (UTC)
I feel like my comment on the mailing list last night didn't quite explain my position well. So I'll give this another shot:
  • "This Committee is functioning in the real world, putting forward real people for real positions on a real body which is responsible for real money" No, we are performing the technical processes of conducting the election including verifying the eligibility of electors and creating on-wiki pages for it. The final tally is released by the software through the WMF staff. As such, the ElectCom role is far more comparable to a poll clerk or DRO than it is to a returning officer. Though I hate arguing over the real-world equivalent, and really don't think such comparisons are very useful, so feel free to ignore that metaphor if you'd like. If this were a committee selecting people for board positions then this might be different.
  • "If a question of conflict of interest arises" - Given that there is no technical way for the committee members to manipulate the results, since we don't even make the tally of votes and have our vote-checking work confirmed by the other members of the committee, I'm not sure what conflict of interest there could be here. If candidate A was paying me off to support them, then there isn't much I could do about it. And having my very unimportant real name wouldn't allow you to figure out that conflict of interest any more than knowing my "anonymous" username would.
  • "Even in the case of some of the posts you mention, identification to someone is required" - Yes, and because this role deals with CU data, all members of the committee are required to identify to the Foundation. And almost all or all of us were previously functionaries. There is even a de-facto strengthened identification requirement for the Committee, though I'm not sure that I can talk about it here. I'll leave that to the WMF if they want to comment.
  • Giving a username is (IMO) a far more important revelation for wiki processes than a real name. You suggested on the list that ElectCom members could just reveal their real name instead of their wiki name, but I think that would severely cut into accountability. As it is, by providing my wiki username, you can check into every single comment I have made or interaction I have had with people. If my username was something less obviously connected to my real name, let's say Jaztaddar, then simply providing my real name would not give you any information about the useful conflicts of interest that I may have - such as, for example, a significant on-wiki conflict with one of the candidates.
  • Finally, if we go back to the terrible real-world election metaphor, the returning officer here is probably a member of the SuSa team at the Foundation. This is the person who opens and closes the polls, and gets the results. These staff are fully identified to both the Foundation and the community under their real name. The members of this Committee are just volunteers - we don't require any other volunteer role on these sites to reveal their real name. In light of the lack of benefits as highlighted above, I'm not sure why we would arbitrarily change that requirement for this role.
Apologies if I was overly dismissive of your argument here. I was getting the impression that you were just bringing this up again as a dead horse, but looking back I don't think I provided an adequate response to you the first time, so hopefully this is a bit better. – Ajraddatz (talk) 14:51, 9 April 2017 (UTC)


Before it gets too strongly embedded can we please drop the misleading terminology of "election" for community nominated members of the Board? Selection rather than election would seem to be the mot juste. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 20:32, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

No, it's still an election, so election makes sense. Ajraddatz (talk) 20:57, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
To me it looks like a process in which the Community selects a list of nominees whom the Board may or may not appoint, as they see fit. That is not what I call an election. Maybe you are indifferent to the distinction, but that doesn't mean it is one. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:01, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes, the community selects their list in what we call an "election" in the English language. Probably not worth spending much time lawyering over the properness of the term, considering it clearly applies. Ajraddatz (talk) 21:04, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Ah, "I am right because I say I clearly am right". I think we can both agree it's not worth spending much time on that sort of argument. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:20, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
There is an election in the process. The WMF BoT is not bind by the result of that election doesn't conflict with the concept that the community is electing who they are putting forward to be appointed by the board. And regarding "before it gets too strongly embedded", that might have been back in 2007, not 2016. -- KTC (talk) 21:32, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
So, as I said, you agree that the process is not an election, since a part is not the whole. There is no such thing as might be suggested by the term "Board of Trustees elections". There is a selection process, part of which is an election to the position of person designated to be considered for possible appointment to the Board by the other Board members. The literary figure of naming the whole (selection) by the part (election) is called synecdoche, and it is a rhetorical device. In this case the rhetoric is intended to make the Community feel better about the process by believing that they have a stronger stake in it that they do in reality. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 06:34, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
Sure. Or maybe you're just making a ridiculous point over something which clearly fits the general definition (from google) of "the selection by vote of a person or persons from among candidates for a position". This will be my last post on this topic, and I really would recommend that you find better windmills to tilt at than semantic naming issues - there are potential serious concerns with elections and how they are run that you could focus on, for example. Ajraddatz (talk) 06:40, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
The relationship between the Board and the Community, and the way the Community is, or is not, represented on the Board, and the way these issues are described do not seem to me to be ridiculous topics of discussion -- your opinion is clearly different. The sad story of the Board appointments and dis-appointments (see what I did there) over the last 12 months show that the Board at least does not view these selection processes in the same light as a representative democracy views its elections. In the wider political world the term "election" is co-opted in a number of cases because of the aura of legitimacy it casts over processes which do not always deserve it. If, for example, the Board were to commit to always seating the Community's preferred candidates, or not unseating them without cause except with the demonstrated approval of the Community, then it would be less objectionable to use the term "election". Will the Board make that commitment? Perhaps it is an issue that the Elections Committee might discuss with them.
If you do not have anything further to contribute to discussion of the rhetoric around the process, then perhaps you would like to open a discussion with the Community on the potential serious concerns with elections and how they are run that you refer to. It's important, indeed, somewhat alarming, that a member of the Elections Committee should take that view. I urge you to give more detail. After all, it is entirely possible that the Community, who after all are somewhat involved in this process, may be able to help you resolve those issues. But we do need you to tell us what those concerns are. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 16:11, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
Public conversations will happen. I suppose I'm a bit alarmist calling them "serious" concerns, just perhaps more serious than petty semantics. Ajraddatz (talk) 17:34, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
Glad to hear that conversations will happen. Are you in a position to inform the Community as to when, where and how those conversations will take place, or are we to await the Committee's pleasure? I hope that one of the topics of conversation will be the relationship between the Community's election of nominees, and the Board's appointment, or not, or removal of those nominees. You may regard this latter issueas petty semantics, but there are others who do not, indeed regard it as a serious concern. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 19:33, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
I don't think Ajraddatz has suggested that conversation on "the relationship between the Community's election of nominees, and the Board's appointment, or not, or removal of those nominees" is semantics, but rather arguments over the use of the word "election" is. Anyhow, no, no one is in a position to say when such and other conversations will take place since the committee haven't decided it yet. The members literally found out they are members only shortly before the public announcement (and that's assuming they checked their emails before the public announcement). I'm sure the community will be informed as soon as the committee has decided on what it's doing. -- KTC (talk) 21:08, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
I read Ajraddatz's responses as implying that the whole issue is one of "petty semantics", and as not choosing to discuss it further. You and I, on the other hand, seem to be starting a sensible discussion about the nature of the selection process. Rather than dwell on the less than constructive responses of a third party, it would be of value not only to me, but, I venture to suggest, to the Community as a whole, if you felt able to say whether you were satisfied with the Board selection process and the relationship between the Board and the Community; whether you agree that there are serious concerns with the way the elections are run; what those might be, if any; whether you view them as issues to discuss with the Community; and what, where, when and how discussions might take place. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 10:38, 24 July 2016 (UTC)
The issue of elected board members being removed is indeed an important one, KTC is correct. But that issue won't be solved in one talk page conversation, and especially when indirectly introduced under some sort of wording issue. Ajraddatz (talk) 18:17, 24 July 2016 (UTC)
The issue of community-nominated Board members being removed a short way into their term of office is certainly a part, although not the whole of, the issue of the relationship between the Community selection and the Board nomination processes. I don't, and didn't claim, that a single conversation here will resolve all those issues. So I ask members of the Committee to say where when and how they propose to conduct the conversations and consultations with the Community that will help the Committee and the Community to drive forward the resolution of these issues. Telling us what you don't think works well is may be a small part of that but is hardly the whole of it. The ball is in the court of the Committee and its members. What are you going to do? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 19:07, 24 July 2016 (UTC)


I assume this is for you guys? :p

A new wiki was created by reedy at Mon, 06 Nov 2017 19:54:05 GMT for a Wikimedia in English (en).
Once the wiki is fully set up, it'll be visible at

 · Salvidrim! ·  19:57, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

I do not know who might have information about this. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:46, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
I inquired about it, and apparently it is for ElectCom. More information to come... – Ajraddatz (talk) 22:12, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, must have not posted my message yesterday. Yes, this wiki's for the election committee. Now that the committee is a standing committee (read: it exists for longer than just three months every two years), it made sense to have a wiki to discuss things in formats that don't make sense on a mailing list. It'll also allow us to more easily onboard new election committee members, as it'll be something of a historical record for these discussions. There was a lot of feedback from last cycle about various aspects that might have gone better, a lot of which were down to time pressure. This was preventable, and this new wiki should in theory allow us to work on that. Sorry for the seeming opaqueness :) There's a Phab task for this too, phab:T174370. Joe Sutherland (Wikimedia Foundation) (talk) 17:41, 8 November 2017 (UTC)


Hi, I have been busy as Election Gacilitator with ASBS lately. Two people were nominated to the Board through that process. I just learned about this committee. I would like to have a chat to shate experiences. Could ASBS Election Facilitators get access to the election wiki? Greetings, Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 05:57, 30 July 2019 (UTC)

Renewal and voting method[edit]

In light of recent discussions, it's clear that in a few months we'll have again an election process I (and many others) would complain about, with the same arguments as always. So, to be proactive, I'm open to volunteering on the committee, but before allocating my time to this effort I'd like to have confirmation from the board (or the chair of the board governance committee?) that the board is seriously interested in re-assessing the election method and that there will be a process to do so (including a streamlined committee and a dedicated agenda point on the relevant board and board committee meetings in due time). If so, I'll post a proposal and open a discussion before applying. JSutherland, can you relay this message to the appropriate channels? Nemo 09:26, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

@Nemo bis: You have my support as a candidate for this. I was on the election committee for Affiliate-selected Board seats/2016 and Affiliate-selected Board seats/2019 and I have appreciated your engagement in matters of Wikimedia governance. Of special interest to me is promoting transparency and accountability, and I trust that you share those as Wikimedia community values. I want the best election, but I also see the limited resources and constraints that we have. When there is wiki-style documentation then I can better accept the attempt and recommendations that an election committee can make. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:25, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
@Nemo bis: even if there's not time to change the election method this time, how about adding a question about whether the candidates would prefer your proposal (where is your proposal?) to Wikimedia Foundation elections/Board elections/2020/Questions? EllenCT (talk) 21:15, 13 January 2020 (UTC)