This is my opinion on the candidates for this year's board election. Instead of going through individual candidates, I'll make my case more succinctly -
No, to all incumbents
I am strongly and vehemently against incumbents. We've had the same community elected candidates for the past 4-5 years. This is sad considering the chapter elected member go through a change regularly. Given how large and diverse our community, we are in dire need of fresh perspective within the board. The dynamics within the board have been set because of this for a long time, fresh perspective might change somethings, otherwise things are too set and stubborn in their way. If you ever found yourself complaining about WMF actions or the board in the last 4 years - please get someone new in there!
- Kat walsh- Please for the love of god, and all things holy, do not vote for Kat. I would request a Strong oppose for her. She has been on the board for 5 years. The last 2 years she completely stopped communicating with the community. There are less than 10 communications that originated from Kat in the last year - her page mentions she started working for Creative commons some time ago which might coincide. Even the questions page for the board candidate was unanswered by her alone, she started answering at the time of writing this guide, after 1 week delay by the committee. - this shows disrespect for the process and disregards concerns that have been brought to her. It is hard to discern what decisions she has or has not been responsible for, but she currently argues in her statement that her work with Sue was invaluable when she was hired, and she wants to spend the next year making sure her successor is aligned with her values- this is troubling to read. Instead of any organizational goal, her entire platform is based around making sure the new ED will be aligned to her opinion and values. The high opinions of her own influence, and that her guidance would be the key to Sue's successor are of concern. By one observation, she is more involved with the staff than what is reasonable for a board member.
- If there is anyone who wants to see some change - please oppose Kat!
- Phoebe - Though not technically an incumbent for the community elected board seats, she was elected by the chapters 3 years ago, and then not re-elected when she ran last year. She is currently trying to seek election back to the board after being removed for less than an year. Generally, a good person with a kind heart, though in the current climate she is likely to be influenced rather than influence anyone. I note the large majority of her comments argue the opposite of her stated positions - the most typical comment that I've seen start out with a position, then acknowledges the opposing arguments, and lastly gets confused between the two as to what is really the right call - this sort of indecisive is not uncommon, but really not helpful on a board that is slowly losing grasp of the community. Her tenure has been noted for WMF decision or indecision on controversial content, the change in the fundraising model. She has never been critical of anyone on staff or the board - which usually would be a good thing but not in the current scenario. She is great at Wikimania organization and general outreach help. I'm leaning towards an oppose here.
- Francis Kaswahili - There are some issues there, either communication related or more severe. The gentleman was blocked on the project when he first started. He has no prior experience, little editing knowledge, and generally unknown to most. Among his first attempts was to create a Wikimania bid page, with support letters from a fictitious Wikimedia chapter, some socks/alternative accounts editing his page, and generally a mess of copyright images. His current talk page is filled with copyright notices, warnings or advice. I don't know if it all stemmed from communication alone but it should be for the voters to decide for themselves - most of the contributions are on Meta. I would suggest an oppose here as well.
- Sj - Perhaps the best of the bunch. I am Neutral on SJ and generally supportive if he hadn't been elected twice. He's a wonderful presence, and a generally active person who communicates with people. My only reason for being neutral here is that the current dynamics within the board are set, they need some sort of a boost or kick to get some change going. Sj might be a catalyst for that, but given how large our community is, I would be happy to see someone new there, but I wouldn't be opposed to having Sj re-elected either. He's a steward, and a generally active Wikimedian. <3