WALRUS/October 2021

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These notes document how Wikimedia community volunteer organizers in the United States and Canada are participating in the drafting process for the Movement Charter. Presently there are two important elections to join. One is the - group vote for Wikimedia community organizations ending 13 October and the other is the personal vote for individual Wiki editors ending 24 October.

Organizers are not advocating for any particular outcome or candidate, other than our wish that our regional Wikimedia community vote and participate in the election and process.

About[edit]

As documented in the meeting notes below, notice of these elections is short. There are meetings for 11, 12, and 13 October in the evenings. All notes for all meetings are on this page. https://etherpad.wikimedia.org/p/wikimedia-na-2021-mcdc-selector

Wednesday 13 October 2021[edit]

9 pm Eastern US/6 pm Pacific - join link - https://meet.google.com/imo-xryg-dgr

Tuesday 12 October 2021[edit]

9 pm Eastern US/6 pm Pacific - join link - https://meet.google.com/imo-xryg-dgr

Monday 11 October 2021[edit]

On Monday 11 October 2021 wiki WALRUS regulars met to discuss the Movement Charter Drafting Committee selector appointment for North America. Wikimedia Foundation staff set the schedule for this important event and consequently, this meeting and its next actions were rushed. The rush meant that although this meeting went out with notice, this was not a conventional WALRUS meeting which welcomed newcomers or people without prior engagement in planning regional Wikimedia community administration.

Notes from this meeting are below.

Details[edit]

Notes for the MCDC selector for US & Canada Meeting on October 11, 2021, 9pm Eastern US

Relevant pages: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WALRUS/October_MCDC_2021 https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Movement_Charter/Affiliates_by_Region/North_America#Procedure_for_determining_the_selector https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Movement_Charter/Drafting_Committee/Candidates#Affiliate_selection

About half of attendees were present at 11pm, two hours into the meeting. The meeting ended around midnight.

attendees[edit]

  1. Kevin / L235
  2. Andrew Lih
  3. Lane Rasberry
  4. Xeno
  5. Alan Wu
  6. LiAnna Davis
  7. Jeffrey Keefer
  8. Frank Schulenburg
  9. E. S. Jack
  10. Jackie Koerner
  11. James Udan
  12. Julie Farman
  13. LiAnna Davis
  14. Peter Meyer
  15. Richard Knipel
  16. Rosie Stephenson-Goodnight
  17. Stephen Clif Brown
  18. Jonathunder
  19. Lodewijk
  20. Brandon Sullivan
  21. Phoebe Ayers
  22. Megan Wacha

Notes[edit]

   Xeno and Jackie are paid WMF staff.
   Xeno - I started working with the foundation in January 2021. I am a long time English Wikipedia editor.
   We are meant to select an affiliate. There is a parallel process of electing the drafting committee at this time. Jackie has been in more meetings of tha actual selection committee, so she may know more about this.
   
   Thanks Xeno. I am Jackie. In January I started working with the Wikimedia Foundation on governance. We are looking for affiliate groups to get together and determine what is important. It is not right for the Wikimedia Foundation to determine who that should be. This is an open ended process. We have set some dates and suggested some things to consider, but other than that, we are trying to not give anything prescriptive. We want the community to be able to choose. There is not a suggested method for how affiliates should select. Right now Xeno's and my purpose is to answer any questions that you have.
   
   Andrew: We (people in this call, others?) have been participating in ongoing discussions on the issue of governance. Does anyone want to ask questions of Jackie and Xeno.
   
   Andrew: we were supposed to have an answer by now. The information on meta was just posted 30 September, which gave us just 10 days notice. The page giving notice was an orphan page and not linked from other pages about the movement charter. We asked for an extension 3 days to make a selection.  There is a substantial discussion about how this is not enough time for a full recruitment and evaluation and voting/consensus process. 
   
   Lane asked Jackie if she followed best practices for giving sufficient notice to the community about this process, including by reaching out to the community, posting notice in enough places and the right places, and allowing for sufficient time for community discussion. Jackie confirmed that the process that the Wikimedia Foundation conducted was fair by all established standards. Jackie said that she did not want the conversation to be stuck on the organization of the election notice. 
   
   We have a draft selection process at 
   https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Movement_Charter/Affiliates_by_Region/North_America
   In this process, every regional wiki community organization gets one vote for candidates. Currently we have no nominated candidates.
   Other selectors are at https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Movement_Charter/Drafting_Committee/Candidates#Affiliate_selection
   
   comment: following this "election of a selector" the selectors will deliberate among themselves to elect charter drafters.
   
   comment: We would like the next election process for North America to have a longer time frame with more time to deliberate all the choices and get comment from community organization.
   
   Jackie: the best selector is someone who most fully represents the groups ideas. We should select someone who is sympathetic and empathetic to the community. We want someone who would bring benefit to ??? and understand what it is to participate in the movement charter and really contribute in these ways. Someone who really undersatands the work to be done and it means to represent the groups in the region.
   
   comment: We have been talking about properties of good selectors. I would like there to be a process by means of which individuals can talk to their selectors, and have some formal way or structured way to tell what the preferences of our community is. 
   
   comment: Let's say that we will choose a selector, and that we give that selector our thoughts on what we want as a group. The selector will participate in an election, and eventually we see results. Suppose that the results are that all the chosen drafters are from America and Western Europe, and there is objection that the chosen drafters are not diverse enough to gain broader community approval. In this case, the selectors would get asked for additional work beyond the term of their anticipated appointment. What should we take into consideration about potential for the selectors to have much more work commitment than anticipated.
   
   Jackie: If it happens that the selectors have consensus that they cannot select appropriate members of the committee then that is an outcome of deliberation. I encourage you to choose a selector who is outspoken and can be decisive in advocating for what the group wants.
   Xeno: If the committee wants to push back on the date then it has the latitude to do this. 
   
   (discussion about the voting process which the selectors will use)
   comment: the election process is going to be sequential, rather than a vote where the selectors choose all drafters at once. 
   
   comment: I watched all the discussions creating this process and I can tell you it's an overly compromised solution that nobody likes
   
   comments: you just don't want to wait with deliberations until elections are over :)
   
   comment: can the selectors choose people outside the 70 candidates for the election for the MCDC? I do not see anything in the rules that say that.
   
   Xeno: I am not sure. This is the page of the rules. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Movement_Charter/Drafting_Committee/Set_Up_Process I think the expectation is that everyone will stick to the 70 candidates.
   
   comment: if we are going to be treating this as sequential but then the selectors can vote again depending how results come out, then that would change the way the election will resolve.
   
   comment: I have no idea why people think this "list of 13" is somehow baked into this process
   
   comment: what do we want to see in a selector? I want to see someone who 1) understands what the movement charter is meant to be; 2) has worked with a lot of Wikimedians; 3) has enough time next week to read 70 bios (!) and has some kind of experience with hiring committees or similar processes to pick people
   
   comment: I appreciate the WMF being present to talk about these things. My sense about the documentation is that if something is not specifically prohibited then they can do it. A key component of supporting the work is that legal counsel is supposed to be provided to the drafting committee, but I have not seen any updates on when and how this support will be available. It is important that this is not lost. 
   
   Jackie: Yes, I know of the legal counsel. 
   
   Xeno: Says he will seek for an update on the process for the MCDC to have a legal counsel independent of the WMF
   
   comment: It is important that the legal council report to the drafting committee, hubs, or global council rather than to the Wikimedia Foundation. The community and foundation have different goals and priorities, and the community previously negotiated to have the support to hire someone to discuss their interests. The community needs funds or access to resources to get legal counsel. 
   
   Jackie and Xeno out of the room
   
   comment: This is the worst selection process that we have ever had to appoint a committee in the Wikimedia Movement. However, we are not going to boycott the process and we need to move forward, so let's try it.
   
   Phoebe/Kevin:
       I want to see someone who 
       1) understands what the movement charter is meant to be; 
       2) has worked with a lot of Wikimedians; 
       3) has enough time next week to read 70 bios (!) and has some kind of experience with hiring committees or similar processes to pick people
       4) receptive to feedback that particular MCDC candidates are not ideal to be appointed
   
   Lane
   wants someone who will send money to Lower and middle income countries
   decentralize movement resources, especially money
   demand Wikimedia Foundation transparency about money
   diversity in funding allocation, not diversity in non-financial recognition
   
   comment it is good to have a selector who knows a lot of the candidates
   comment Good selectors may not have encountered a lot of the candidates. There is going to be politicking involved beyond just making good hiring decisions. 
   comment: currently none of the selected selectors are from English Wikipedia. It is a bit strange that the largest community by far does not currently have representation here.

Nominations (self or third party)[edit]

  • Lianna! (volunteered despite misgivings)
  • Phoebe (nominated by Lodewijk); Phoebe decided not to run
  • user:Tryptofish nominated by James Udan (rightcowleftcoast)

"nominations are open through Tuesday end of day" (AoE?)

Messages to solicit community participation[edit]

draft message version 1[edit]

I am writing to share notice that your Wikimedia community organization is invited to vote in a process relating to Wikimedia Movement governance. I am posting this notice Monday 11 October. Your group's vote is due by midnight on Wednesday 13 October, which is in two days. Vote by selecting at Movement Charter/Affiliates by Region/North America.

I am asking for your nomination or vote, or otherwise participation in a governance process. I am not advocating for any candidate or cause, other than community participation in governance. The matter at hand is that Wikimedia volunteers have negotiated a right to draft the Wikimedia Movement Charter, which will be a constitution or governance document for the movement. A small group of Wikimedia community drafters will deliberate to produce that document. These drafters will be chosen by yet another committee, the "draft selectors". The negotiation that we have is that for all of North America, we get to choose 1 of the 7 "draft selectors", and we are making that choice by polling all Wikimedia community organizations to either or both nominate or vote for draft selectors.

I regret the late notice but this is our odd situation at present. I recognize that you may not know much about this process, and personally, I have tried to follow this issue and have had difficulty understanding as well. As a volunteer organizer, my wish is to use this vote as an opportunity to raise awareness that volunteers have governance power, and also to invite everyone to be more aware of future such opportunities.

If you would like to ask questions about the notice or the issue at hand, then for this current process contact Wikimedia Foundation paid staff User:Xeno (WMF) and User:JKoerner (WMF), for general issues about the issue at stake please post to Talk:Movement Charter, and for future process please join Wikimedia community organizations such as WALRUS for discussing United States issues or Strategic Wikimedia Affiliates Network for global issues.

It's rushed but we are acting in good faith here to encourage participation in Wikimedia movement governance.

-bluerasberry - econterms too if you wish please

FYI I am emailing the georgia people, the chicago people, and all of canada's list do you have email text? should we use the same message?

  • posted my emails below, after the next section

Other people contributed to this draft and were invited to co-sign. There were no objections to this process.

draft message version 2[edit]

We are inviting you to informational meetings on the evenings of Tuesday and Wednesday this week, Oct 12 and 13. Our Wikimedia community organizations are invited to vote in a process relating to future Wikimedia Movement governance. Your group's vote is due by 11:59 p.m. PST on Wednesday 13 October, which is in two days. The voting details are at m:Movement Charter/Affiliates by Region/North America (or https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Movement_Charter/Affiliates_by_Region/North_America)

We welcome your group to nominate candidates, discuss, or vote, or otherwise participate in a governance process. We are not advocating for any specific candidate or cause, other than for increasing community engagement. The matter at hand is that Wikimedia volunteers have negotiated a right to draft the Wikimedia Movement Charter, which will serve as a constitution or governance document for the movement. A small group of Wikimedia community drafters will form a Movement Charter Drafting Committee to produce that document. A group of 9 selectors chosen by affiliates will help complete the selection of the Drafting Committee. The negotiated arrangement is that the North America affiliates get to choose 1 of the 9 selectors. We are making that choice by polling all North American Wikimedia community affiliates to nominate and/or vote for selectors.

The process is complicated and we regret the late notice here, but we did not choose this situation. As volunteer organizers, we can help advocate that our values are built into the Movement Charter.

The page m:Movement_Charter/Affiliates_by_Region/North_America is the central coordination page for North American affiliates to their vote/preference for a selector. You are free to use whatever process makes sense for your group to make a determination, whether it is informally by email, online chat, or video call. To record your decision, please have an official representative note your affiliate's decision in the table.

For more information, contact any of us. Wikimedia Foundation staff User:Xeno (WMF) and User:JKoerner (WMF) are supporting the process. For general issues about the issues at stake, please post to Talk:Movement Charter. For future process, please join Wikimedia community organizations such as WALRUS for discussing United States issues, or Strategic Wikimedia Affiliates Network for global issues.

This process is rushed, but we are acting in good faith here to encourage participation in Wikimedia movement governance.

-bluerasberry -econterms

draft version 3[edit]

Wikimedia Movement Charter vote and informational meetings

Our Wikimedia community organizations are invited to vote in a process relating to future Wikimedia Movement governance. We are inviting you to informational meetings on the evenings of Tuesday and Wednesday this week, Oct 12 and 13, which you can access through our event page. Your group's vote is due by 11:59 p.m. PST on Wednesday 13 October, which is tomorrow. The voting details are at m:Movement Charter/Affiliates by Region/North America (or https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Movement_Charter/Affiliates_by_Region/North_America) Additionally, all individual members have a personal opportunity to vote in the another arm of this selection process from 12-24 October at m:Movement Charter/Drafting Committee/Elections.

We welcome your group to nominate candidates, discuss, or vote, or otherwise participate in a governance process. We are not advocating for any specific candidate or cause, other than for increasing community engagement. The matter at hand is that Wikimedia volunteers have negotiated a right to draft the Wikimedia Movement Charter, which will serve as a constitution or governance document for the movement. A small group of Wikimedia community drafters will form a Movement Charter Drafting Committee to produce that document. A group of 9 selectors chosen by affiliates will help complete the selection of the Drafting Committee. The negotiated arrangement is that the North America affiliates get to choose 1 of the 9 selectors. We are making that choice by polling all North American Wikimedia community affiliates to nominate and/or vote for selectors.

The process is complicated and we regret the late notice here, but we did not choose this situation. As volunteer organizers, we can help advocate that our values are built into the Movement Charter.

The page m:Movement_Charter/Affiliates_by_Region/North_America is the central coordination page for North American affiliates to their vote/preference for a selector. You are free to use whatever process makes sense for your group to make a determination, whether it is informally by email, online chat, or video call. To record your decision, please have an official representative note your affiliate's decision in the table.

For more information, contact any of us. Wikimedia Foundation staff User:Xeno (WMF) and User:JKoerner (WMF) are supporting the process. For general discussion about the issues at stake or development process, please post to Talk:Movement Charter. For future discussion about Wikimedia governance with the volunteer community, please join Wikimedia community organizations such as WALRUS for discussing United States issues, or Strategic Wikimedia Affiliates Network (SWAN) for global issues. The notes of the meeting which produced this message are available at WALRUS/October 2021.

This process is rushed, but we are acting in good faith here to encourage participation in Wikimedia movement governance.

-bluerasberry -cosigned and authored by user:econterms

emails peter sent[edit]

[as discussed just now, Peter will follow up with this link: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Movement_Charter/Affiliates_by_Region/North_America]

To Georgia/Piedmont people Aleta, Jennifer Sutcliffe, and Ganesh

Hello again, Georgia Piedmont Wikimedians! There is a rushed process to pick someone to represent the US and Canada who will help select the members of the Movement Charter drafting committee.

The immediate questions is . . . Is there a representative from your group who could join evening conversations in the next couple of days? We are trying to form consensus around a candidate. It’s not difficult I think, but it would be best if representatives from many affiliates met the rest of us and the likely candidates.

— Peter / Wikimedia DC

(Our past emails: are below)


To WM Canada's president, VP, board member Benoit Rochon, and their "general list"

Hello WM Canadians! There is a rushed process to pick someone to represent the US and Canada who will help select the members of the Movement Charter drafting committee.

The immediate questions is . . . Is there a representative from your group who could join evening conversations in the next couple of days?

We are trying to form consensus around a candidate. It’s not difficult I think, but it would be best if representatives from many affiliates met the rest of us and the likely candidates for this role. It’s good if they know what views or capabilities you would want the drafting committee to incorporate, and we can stay in touch with the process through this person.

You would not have to be an official representative to join the evenings meetings tomorrow and Weds. Then we decide. The process is a rushed mess, not designed by any of us, but I think we can get a good outcome.

— Peter / Wikimedia DC


To Airplaneman, with whom I had recently corresponded

I hope the conference went well! If not, please let me know, but I immediately have to write about something else, besides the WikIConference: the US and Canadian affiliates are supposed to pick a Movement Selector.

I can explain but the immediate question is who can represent the Wikimedians of Chicago user group in a sudden decision process. Are you the right person?