Thursday 2 June 2022 Meeting of North Americans to choose Analysis Committee representative.
Invitations went out to all attendees of the previous WALRUS meeting and in various public chat forums.
- Gerald Shields
- Richard Knipel
- Peter Meyer
- Benjamin Lees
- Neal McBurnett
- Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight
- Lane Rasberry
- Andrew Lih
- Peaceray / Ray Leonard
- Josh Lim
We will record here the names of candidates with their comments; but not include names with comments and questions by others in the meeting. In other words we will follow Chatham house rules for the people who aren't candidates.
This meeting is happening on short notice due to the election design. We all wish that we had more time to prepare and organize this.
- every candidate gets 3 minutes to speak
- then Q&A
- then quiet deliberation among those who are NOT candidates
- The people present will attemt to reach a consensus decision, and then that determines who the rep is
- There was one vote already on the Meta page, but that voter is also present here in the deliberation today.
Meg Wacha is a librarian in NYC and has been active in Wikimedia since 2011. Their primary work is in the increasing representation in Wikipedia both for content and in user participaation. Meg has been active in the Movement Strategy process since it began a few years ago. Meg's focus in this is making community perspective more visible. Concerns about this process include public disclosure about one's areas of marginalization. The process encourages voting by identity rather than perspective. Anyone who has put themselves forward for election is likely a good candidate
Gerald Shields has been involved in Wikipedia since Wiki Loves Monuments and photography - for a long time. Is intersted in policies and procedures. In 2019 he participated in the nominations for trustees and posted some of his views. He is an attorney and was on the town council of Berwyn Heights, Maryland. He's gained experience in evaluating people for roles. He's thinking of how to evaluate candidates for the BoT, perhaps along the lines of gold/silver/bronze, based on their activities. He wants candidates who represent many communities, regardless of where they live. They may have or need eclectic set of skills. They are to represent a planet not just a continent.
Neal McBurnett worked at Bell Labs (AT&T) for many years. An early adopter, and got the WWW started here, in Boulder, CO. Been with Wikipedia since 2002, and has a general interest in governance as a process. Elections and auditing of elections has been an area of focus in recent years, including work with the Women's League of Voters locally in CO. Has worked with others for affiliate selected board seats. Agrees that this is an odd process for an election and kind of amazed that there are four candidates in the position of analyzing candidates to give gold, silver, bronze, to the affiliates. Would like to see a range of skills to bring. Wonderful things about geographic diversity, but linguistic diversity, diversity of experience, etc. is also critical to Board. This process is perhaps skewed to one easily quantifiable aspect of diversity. Personally looking for someone who understands the grassroots efforts and honors the ability of people to organize themselves, rather than a top-down organization. Attitude is to honor the board request, but to broaden the board itself to be responsive to the wisdom of the community and look for vetter processes as we move forward.
Josh Lim has been with Wikipedia since 2005, so has some experience dealing with both the Wikipedia and Wikimedia communities at large. Currently lives in Madrid, but lived in LA previously. Still in touch with LA User Group. Also has experience with Wikimedia Philipines, and is also a member of Wikimedia España. He noted that having a broad level of experience with how the movement works worldwide is important for a member of the Analysis Committee, which he has Josh says he Is aware of the possibilities of tokenism in this selection and for the board of trustees; that happens when we focus on the board's "composition." He has run for the WMF Board himself. He wants to make sure that the evaluations of the Board candidates incorporate experience with various Wikimedia communities.
- Q: I have concerns about the process here. If you get on the committee, and it's not working from your point of view, what will you do?
- Megs: There need to be mechanisms for communiation with the community. We have to respect the process here although we have questions/doubts about it
- Gerald: Would recuse myself if I felt I could not evaluate a candidate, e.g. because of bias. If the process is messed up beyond belief, I would communicate it to my fellow evaluators, and make my reservations known, but I would still have to go through the process to make evaluations.
- Neal: My hope is that if we encounter a problem in the process, then the committee will identify some useful function for the committee to do. I question why the Wikimedia Foundation wants only the star ratings and not published comments. I am puzzled by the process.
- Josh: The process is what it is and we need to work with it. I believe that for us to be effectively represented we need to work with the process but also be critical of the process. We need to look at how the Wikimedia Foundation has designed this process with a critical eye, but just as the other regional representatives will make it work, so will we with North America.
- Q: The Analysis Committee has already begun work. The NA rep is coming in "mid-stream". Next meeting is tomorrow (Friday). Knowing this, what criteria seems reasonable to you to rank someone as Gold vs. Silver vs. Bronze star?
- Josh: The candidates are people who do good work both within and outside the Wikimedia community. The people should be able to meaningfully contribute to the movement. At the very least, the candidates that we have, even if they are not of a minority, they have done great work for the movement which benefits everyone. I also will look at any verifiable record of achievement that they have.
- Neal: All of the criteria that Josh named are good. I would like for the process to have a more diverse set of "diversity" criteria beyond what they already apply. There are two things to look for in board members: do they have policies that I think are good, and can they be effective in getting things done.
- Gerald: Regardless of whether potential candidates policies and procedures agree with me, I think we should consider whether this person can be trustee of a planet-wide project which touches billions of people, and whether the person understand the Wikimedia ecosystem well enough to actually be effective.
- Meg: Perhaps a year ago there was a document created which was a proposal for how candidates should be ranked according to their level of diversity. We are seeing a lot of shifting in the Wikimedia Movement right now, including activities like corporatization and inclusion of new interests. I am involved in open research too. As the Movement Charter is being drafted and Wikimedia Enterprise is expanding we are at a decisive moment in the movement. I want to support people who respect the grassroots aspect of the movement and who can be effective in articulating ideas to move things forward.
(Candidates departed and the remaining attendees discussed to form consensus and choose a nominee. This discussion was closed and there were no notes.)
The selected candidate was Meg Wacha.