A Wikimedia Community Council (WCC) is proposed to facilitate the Wikimedia Foundation Board’s work through regular input from Wikimedia community members.
As an evolution on the Wikicouncil concept, we should work toward building up a complementary democratic body of community ambassadors working alongside the WMF Board, with representatives chosen by Wikimedia-wide elections.
To jump-start the creation of a body with real responsibilities, the Wikimedia chapters and thematic organizations should begin by addressing the democratic deficit in their own Affiliate-selected Board seats process. By a majority of the chapters transferring their rights to the community in an agreed "Compact" (cf. w:National Popular Vote Interstate Compact), they would pledge to vote for the choices of the community council, which has itself been elected on Wikimedia-wide elections.
This proposal seeks to address two perennial movement concerns, by strengthening both WMF-community communication and governance ties through clearer channels.
There would be six elected members of the proto-assembly, which would then select two Board members for the chapters-selected seats. That should happen during the first half of 2016.
During the second half of 2016, the second election would be held for the next group of the Wikimedia Community Council. During the next few years, WCC would be filled to the optimal number of seats.
Chapters and other groups should be represented inside of the WCC. For example, if we want to have 30 community-elected seats, we could have 20 Wikimedia-groups seats, as well.
This is the list of organizational ideas. They are not complete and they should be discussed and the consensus should be reached:
- The exact number is negotiable. We should avoid creation of "another Board", having small number of members, which would necessarily lead to creation of the same culture, which dominates present WMF Board. Larger number of WCC members would ensure us that various groups inside of the movement are well represented. However, number larger than 50-60 would be proved to be impractical from the point of the present infrastructure of the Wikimedia movement.
- The exact proportion of community- and chapters-elected members is for discussion, as well. Counting eligible voters (in the way Election Committee counts them) and comparing them to the paying members of the chapters would make serious disadvantage of chapters and other Wikimedia organizations. However, chapters and other Wikimedia organizations should have their voice inside of the WCC. Chapters and other community organizations could be represented in different ways. For example, by creating a consultative or a body more involved into decision-making process, creating bicameral model of assembly.
- One of the main ideas behind this initiative is to give appropriate voice to the community. The formal outcomes of the initiative are not known at the moment. However, it's known that, if handled properly, this initiative will make the framework for articulation community voice. Even as purely online body, without formal power over WMF resources (it will not have any budget, similar to something like the Language Committee), WCC could become a key institution of Wikimedia movement, which would give to it significant persuasive power.
- WCC should engage much larger group of Wikimedians interested in expressing their own voices in relation to the issues affect all of us. WCC representatives could become network points around whom other Wikimedians would talk about their needs and be informed about global goings on.
- WCC should be created in the way to express the needs of various groups. Those groups could be formalized and create the basis of something which would resemble a pluralistic system.
- WCC should inherit the basic values of our movement, like participatory democracy and empowering marginalized groups are. The exact methods how to do that is up to the discussion, but we have plenty of such documents already written by WMF and chapters.
- WCC should use Wikimedia infrastructure, as it would be a Wikimedia body. That assumes not only physical servers and sites, but also social infrastructure. For example, Election Committee should oversee the elections, based on the previous WCC decisions.
Endorsement by organizations
The following Wikimedian organizations have endorsed the Wikimedia Community Council Compact.
As such, if they are eligible to participate in Affiliate-selected board seats, they pledge to vote for the candidates elected on Wikimedia-wide elections, in the process described here.
Endorsement by individuals
The following Wikimedian individuals have endorsed the Wikimedia Community Council Compact.
As such, they urge Wikimedia affiliates and the Wikimedia Foundation to recognize a system of Wikimedia-wide elections, in the process described here.
- Pharos (talk) 00:52, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
- Millosh (talk) 00:57, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
- Pundit (talk) 16:30, 13 January 2016 (UTC) I'm interested in the general idea and the concept, while I think that the details and construction definitely need to be tuned up and widely
- Thelmadatter (talk) 22:47, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
- I support the general the concept if there are safeguards put into place to make sure that the lack of diversity in the current wikimedia movement is not permanently baked into the Council. We need true diversity of members (geographic and identity-based) not just people who support the concept of diversity in the movement. Sydney Poore/FloNight (talk) 22:49, 13 January 2016 (UTC)