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Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees 2022 election - updates
Cross-posted from wikimedia-l
The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees met between March 23-24 for our first in-person meeting in over two years. It was an opportunity to welcome our new CEO and several new trustees who have recently joined the Board. Further updates from the meeting will be shared soon, I am writing now to report on resolutions that the Board made regarding the upcoming 2022 elections:
- We resolved to adopt recommendations related to the elections process. These recommendations have been developed as a result of feedback from the community Call for Feedback that happened in January and further discussions by a Board Selection Task Force. They will be implemented on a trial basis for the 2022 election.
- In service of maintaining continuity and stability in our leadership, we resolved to make some modifications to our plans to expand the Board.
You can read about the details of these resolutions on Meta. We are happy to discuss and answer any questions on the corresponding talk pages.
Simpler analysis of candidates + role of current standing Elections Committee?
I appreciate the sentiment behind the current recommendations, but some of the implementation details seem to have erred on the side of "laborious effort by community, through multiplication of new community-elected bodies". I did not realize when reading the Board resolution just how involved and multi-stage the resulting process might become; now I'm somewhat confused about how it will all resolve 😅.
Rather than electing a one-time-only group to conduct a heavy central analysis of the candidate proposals, perhaps the elections committee itself can provide a lightweight evaluation, while inviting anyone else to do the same based on the public criteria, and all of these evals can be made visible through the voter-information tool.
Issues of simplicity, communication, facilitation and consistency come up every year -- even the current Task Force mentioned above was only set up for this year's election. I would love to see a more active, permanent EC, with responsibility for drafting + updating these processes, which generally works publicly on the wiki + might be able to channel new ideas towards lightweight implementations, and sketch them out w/ public participation of the network of coordinators and implementers in each language. And where there are concerns about equal geographic representation, that might be applied to the EC itself – putting thought into that standing body rather than spinning off new one-time bodies. [or is this analysis group thought of as an extension of eleccomm?] –SJ talk 17:17, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
Shortlisting process for Board elections
This  WMF report proclaims that the affiliate shortlisting process for the Board of Trustees elections was created after a community feedback process. The call for feedback it links to,  , says that:
> One person on Meta-wiki stated that affiliates should not have a role in the election process, other than encouraging communities to vote. A call with the Sub-Saharan communities proposed a similar approach.
> A person from the CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) region proposed affiliates should create a shortlist of candidates that would later be voted on by the community. This proposal was supported by the attendees of the francophone conversations from the Western & Northern Europe region.
So, it appears this was proposed by a community member & supported by more people in the Europe region, opposed by another person and people in the Sub-Saharan region, and implemented without any further community consultation. This to me seems unfair, but I'd like clarification on this.
It also is concerning to me that this was, as it appears to me right now, decided by only community members in the Europe region, which comprises ~32% of all regional affiliates . It is unclear how other community members were consulted. This appears to be not representative of the demographics of the Wikimedia movement as a whole; according to the 2008 General User Survey , editors in the Europe region do not comprise a majority.
I would appreciate clarification on how communities were consulted on this shortlisting process.
- @EpicPupper: I got the idea from reading Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_of_Trustees/Call_for_feedback:_Board_of_Trustees_elections/Affiliations_Consultation that this idea of a shortlist essentially bubbled up within the board and was then made the focus of any conversations following. Quotes:
- "In the past, we had separate participation of communities and affiliates. Each of the groups voted in a way similar to Board elections but through a different process. Each chapter, user group, and thematic organization cast one vote. Affiliates elected 2 seats. That's how it was until now. Now, as the 2 categories have merged, at the first level, it is a formal change. We don't have a decision yet, the bylaws don't automatically say that/what we have to change. We could have elections in 2 sets. The community selects lists of candidates and affiliates select (not saying I'm proposing this)."
- "this is all directed at a particular two-fold goal: to use affiliate as an important resource to allow us to obtain candidates with more expertise/qualifications as candidates, and also to filter the candidates to help the community make the best choices as to who is elected."
- "the Board is not looking to impose anything but to consult and collect opinions as to what everyone would like to see from this election. Can affiliates give formal endorsements to candidates?"
- "In some way, whatever the method that is chosen for these two seats, there should be a more restricted field of candidates - and that is where groups (both recognized and unrecognized) can be involved. So maybe a start will be with endorsements; e.g. a candidate should already have some support behind them."
- "If all community-selected seats are done the same way with community voting, then the result will tend towards the same types of people and there is a suggestion to have different ways to select people to the board - as different methods could produce different results. If only community voting is used, some movement participants will not be represented."
- "By Victoria: Currently, there are a range of options for affiliates to be involved; e.g. the same way as before (ASBS) or; the affiliates could select among the candidates, and the community votes on those candidates, or swap it around, to have the community vote on a shortlist for the affiliates to vote on."
- The idea was then mainly discussed just with the affiliates. The community wasn't exactly disinvited, but people were told that the board wanted primarily to hear from the affiliates:
- "How should affiliates be involved in the selection of new seats? ... The Board of Trustees is seeking feedback about this question especially, although not solely, from the affiliate community. Everyone is invited to share proposals and join the conversation in the Call for Feedback channels. In addition to collecting online feedback, the Movement Strategy and Governance team will organize several video calls with affiliate members to collect feedback. These calls will be at different times and include Trustees."
- I am not aware of any on-wiki Request for Comment (RfC) seeking the community's views on this. This is just part of a general and concerted trend to move any decision-making away from the wikis and away from the established RfC process. Andreas JN466 11:20, 24 June 2022 (UTC)
- @EpicPupper: Please, see my personal reply here. -- (Board Election Taskforce member, Trustee) Victoria (talk) 16:20, 25 June 2022 (UTC)
 https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_user_groups#existing reports 139 user groups and https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters#Existing_chaptersreports 38 chapters. 139+38 = 177; 56/177 = ~32.
 https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/General_User_Survey EpicPupper (talk) 04:49, 19 June 2022 (UTC)