User:Shalom Yechiel/2008 WMF Board elections

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I ranked my candidates on a scale of 1 to 4

  1. Strong support
  2. Support
  3. Oppose
  4. Strong oppose

My criteria[edit]

My ideal candidate is:

  • at least 25 years old. The WMF Board is not a student council where a young member of a local community talks about ideas. It's a serious enterprise managed by adults, responsible for managing legal and ethical issues, providing a vision for future development of the Wikimedia projects, and raising and spending funds. I do not trust an 18-year-old to fulfill these responsibilities. Any age limit is arbitrary, but in general I expect a candidate to have real-world experience outside an academic environment.
  • involved with Wikimedia since 2005 or before. In order to articulate a vision for the future, a candidate needs historical perspective on how the projects have developed until now. Three years of experience with Wikimedia projects can endow a candidate with a sense of direction. Someone who just signed up last year does not know enough about Wikimedia to earn the respect of constituents who have been contributing for much longer.
  • involved with Wikimedia on the level of local chapters and/or coordinating with the Foundation. One of the important tasks of the Foundation is to support local chapters and develop a global community by connecting various local communities in many countries and languages. Candidates who organize local events and who participate in Wikimania have acquired the understanding of community dynamics that will guide their vision on the WMF Board. The few candidates who are directly involved with the WMF board already, in financial auditing or public relations or OTRS, also understand the workings of the board and will be ready to advance its goals from day one. People whose full involvement with Wikimedia projects does not extend beyond editing pages are not ready to help the WMF Board.
  • involved in more than one Wikimedai project, especially projects other than English Wikipedia. The large majority of my participation is on English Wikipedia, but I do not seek a representative from my home wiki on the WMF Board. I seek someone who can represent a multitude of communities in an effort to unify the global community. The English Wikipedia is already well-established, but the Foundation needs to ensure the viability of smaller wikis in other languages, so a user who actively edits foreign-language wikis will bring more perspective to the discussion than someone who specializes in English Wikipedia.
  • an administrator on at least one Wikimedia project or a steward. Since "adminship is no big deal," I do not insist on it, but adminiship on a local wiki demonstrates a level of trust in that community that can speak to the candidate's readiness to earn my trust in the global community.
  • a man or woman of supreme ethical integrity. This goes without saying, but I've voted against two candidates who lack ethical integrity.

My vote[edit]

  • Strong support: Ad Huikeshoven[1], Samuel Klein[1], Harel Cain[1]
  • Support: Steve Smith[2], Jussi-Ville Heiskanen[2], Ting Chen[2], Alex Bakharev[2]
  • Oppose: Ryan Postlethwaite[3], Ray Saintonge[3], Matthew Bisanz[3]
  • Strong oppose: Dan Rosenthal[4], Kurt M. Weber[4], Paul Williams[4], Craig Spurrier[4]
  • Disqualified: Gregory Kohs[100]


Huikeshoven, Klein and Cain meet all of my criteria. I wish I could support all three of them, and I am disappointed that for all the outstanding candidates, only one will be elected.

Heiskanen, Chen and Bakharev fulfill all the criteria except for direct involvement with the Foundation or with a local chapter. However, they are all strong candidates, and I wish them success. Smith is a little younger and less experienced on Wikimedia, and focuses most of his energy on English Wikipedia, but his work on OTRS and his real-world experience with non-profits will guide him if he joins the WMF Board.

Postlethwaite and Bisanz are nice guys and administrators on English Wikipedia, but they lack the real-world experience I'm looking for. Saintonge spends only a little time editing Wikisource these days, and is inactive on other projects, so he does not represent the community of deeply committed editors and administrators.

Williams and Spurrier are too young. Weber is too controversial on English Wikipedia and is not active elsewhere. Rosenthal is an admin on English Wikipedia and has worked for the Foundation, but I do not vote for him because he wrote publicly about a fellow administrator: "He's just another angry, out of control, white supremacist." diff When asked to retract these words, he chose not to do so. Rosenthal's bid for the English Wikipedia Arbitration Committee in December 2007 failed badly with 112 supports to 136 opposes. I supported, but having reviewed his overall record, I seriously doubt he has the ethical integrity to choose his words carefully in a public role of trust.

Kohs should have been disqualified. He cites his activity on English Wikipedia to justify his eligibility, but he is banned there for paid editing, which is a fundamental violation of the Neutral Point of View policy. For him to criticize Jimbo Wales for lapses in ethical integrity is the sickest form of irony.

Technical issues[edit]

I discovered a hole in the voting software. Yesterday I changed my English Wikipedia username from Shalom to Shalom Yechiel in order to prepare for creating a global single-user login (SUL) account. I tried to vote, but the software said I did not have 600 edits. Then I created the Shalom account on English Wikipedia and voted with it. This could potentially allow a serious breach of security because the Shalom account on English Wikipedia has zero edits but was still able to vote. Other users who have been renamed recently for SUL, and who were eligible to vote from their old accounts, may have left their old account names open to hijacking by any user who wishes to create the old account name and vote with it. I don't want to make a public fuss about this (per WP:BEANS), but if the election commission suddenly sees a pile of first-place votes for Kohs, they should examine this possibility. Shalom Yechiel 14:30, 5 June 2008 (UTC)