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Board of Trustees Board noticeboard Archives
Welcome to the Board of Trustees' noticeboard. This is a message board for discussing issues related to Wikimedia Foundation governance and policies, and related Board work. Please post new messages at the bottom of the page and sign them.
  • For details of the Board's role and processes, see the Board Handbook.
  • Threads older than 90 days will be automatically archived by ArchiverBot.

Proposed resolution on user rights process[edit]

As announced earlier, I prepared a very simple text the board can certainly agree with: User:Nemo bis/User rights process. Please schedule for the earlier opportunity (a quick online meeting is probably sufficient). I recommend to vote on it before the WMF board elections end, to ensure higher participation. --Nemo 20:48, 8 May 2015 (UTC)

Hi Nemo, I will bring this to the attention of the board. But this is in no way the "easy" topic you are suggesting it is. I will get back to you Jan-Bart (talk) 10:30, 15 May 2015 (UTC)

Now that superprotect is gone, we no longer have the hypothetical problem "OMG the board is giving micro-management orders to the ED". It's time for the WMF board to focus on how to avoid future errors like that. Nemo 18:48, 5 November 2015 (UTC)

I agree, this is a good time to address this important issue. Thank you Nemo bis for taking the time and effort to put this proposal together. -Pete F (talk) 18:48, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
While this tool was not so much of a problem in and of itself, it was the misuse of this tool that was of concern IMO. Hopefully the same issue will not simply arise via another technique. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 13:25, 2 January 2016 (UTC)
The section was mistakenly archived by a bot. Nemo 07:47, 8 July 2016 (UTC)

Adding seat type to infoboxes at wmf:Board of Trustees[edit]

Hi. The thread at Special:Permalink/15340631#Regarding Board of Trustees suggests adding the seat type to the infobox of each Board member at wmf:Board of Trustees. Barring objections, I'm inclined to accept this request. --MZMcBride (talk) 17:01, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

I've always found it confusing to find this information and it required digging around, so I'm personally (without consulting with anyone) in favor :) Pundit (talk) 17:18, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
@MZMcBride:: Just one thing you might consider: Board members take different paths to join the Board, it doesn't mean that we have different classes of Board members. You know that, but it is as obvious for external readers who want to get information about the organization? It could be that pointing out the paths leads to a misinterpretation that there are differences in status, rights and obligations. But tbh it could also be that I'm just putting too much weight on it. Alice Wiegand (talk) 19:59, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
Small intervention: The members, that were properly elected by the community have a better legitimation to be on the board as the other ones, that are only appointed.
Unfortunately the board recently made clear that it doesn't care about democracy, and it ditched one elected member for dubious reasons. So yes, in practice you can probably say now: they are all the same, as they are all just inside jobs, just appointed without further legimization. But please say so officially on the relevant pages, don't just act in this way. --Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 09:37, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
Hi Alice. Yes, I had similar thoughts. In some ways, I'm not sure how necessary the seat type information is to readers and it seems a little pointed (overly critical) to include the data point in the infobox as seat type is really not very important. And I agree that the information could potentially be misleading. But in other ways, it's very Wikimedian (matter-of-fact, precise) to include such details. (cc: Lokal Profil) --MZMcBride (talk) 05:21, 18 February 2016 (UTC)
I can see your reservation. To me (as a community member) it is mainly relevant since it shows me which elections I can affect directly (community seats), or indirectly (through chapters). It also allows me to go back and find more informations on their candidacies etc. Especially for these two categories there is often an overlap (many chapters appointees could just as well have been community elected). If we are worried about the phrasing then "Took the seat after community election 2015"/"Took the seat after appointment by the board in 2016" might be more neutral ways of communicating the same info. Finally is this something we really want to make less transparent/harder to figure out? /Lokal Profil (talk) 19:34, 12 May 2016 (UTC)

Crisis of confidence[edit]

The continuing failure of the Board collectively and the majority of its members individually to engage with the stakeholder community in any meaningful way over such issues as: removal of a community-nominated member; selection of a member unacceptable to the community; inadequate supervision of the Knowledge Engine project; staff discontent; technology planning; work of the governance committee; discontinuation of the advisory board; long-term strategy -- all of these suggest a crisis of confidence. Are we at the point where a motion of no confidence in the Board by the stakeholder community is warranted? Would any members of the Board care to explain whether or why they feel such a motion should not be brought forward? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:18, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

Without commenting on the substance of the issues above, I submit that it is clear at this point that the board is (now) paying attention and no doubt actively discussing next steps. Bearing in mind they are all volunteers spread out across the world spanning about 12 timezones, it is no doubt difficult to secure the time to actually get (at least a quorum) together to have the urgent and high-stakes discussions they need to have. I would suggest we assume that the extraordinary developments of the last 72 hours have had effect, and let the board deliberate. I think we have been heard loud and clear, and am prepared to wait for the board's considered response. Ijon (talk) 02:12, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
Disclosure: I am saying this in my capacity as a longtime volunteer, but I am also a WMF employee. Ijon (talk) 02:12, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
It may be clear to you but it can hardly be by reading this noticeboard. Can you point to any public statements by the Board or its members in a venue likely to be seen by a large proportion of the stakeholders? How much time and effort does it take to post a short message here saying that the Board is considering certain matters and will take action on a certain timescale -- five minutes, maybe ten? I am not calling a vote of no confidence, I am suggesting that one might be imminent if the Board does not give the community good reason to hold off. Like it not, time has all but run out and it is for the Board to take action now, or, by further inaction, let matters come to a critical, and highly damaging breach. This has been happening since summer of 2014, when the then chair explained to the community that they might have to leave if they did not agree with his views; or early 2015 when the Board allowed its advisory committee to lapse and its governance committee to go silent; or mid 2015 when the Board allowed the KE project to go ahead without involving the community; or late 2015 when the Board made two unexplained and highly controversial decisions on its own membership. This is not the Board being suddenly and unexpectedly bounced into action, this is the Board facing the predictable and inevitable consequences of its own failure to engage with the community. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 09:46, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
Rogol Domedonfors, I am reading what Ijon has to say for the first time here, but I would urge you to heed what he says. He has been tracking these issues closely, and has been a strong advocate for important changes, for a long time. He probably cannot share details, but if he is confident that there is a newfound sense of urgency among the Board, that is not an insignificant thing. -Pete F (talk) 23:36, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
I also concur, there have been a lot of discussions and commentary throughout multiple forms of communications including emails, wiki's, IRC and blogs. The next few days should be interesting. Reguyla (talk) 02:50, 23 February 2016 (UTC)
Peteforsyth: you may well be correct. But my point is that time is running out. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 07:29, 23 February 2016 (UTC)
It seems worth noting in this thread, for posterity, that Lila Tretikov announced her resignation on February 25 (four days after Ijon's words of reassurance). -Pete F (talk) 00:04, 1 March 2016 (UTC)
Does that announcement tend to increase or decrease the community's level of confidence in the Board, I wonder? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 05:04, 1 March 2016 (UTC)

It is somewhat troubling that little seems to have been done by the Board to allay concerns that the volunteer and donor community might have about the Board's handling of the events of the past few months. Let me just remind the Board that they have lost two Board members and an Executive Director in that time, and that suggests that the Board has been unusually unlucky, to say the least. If the Board wish to maintain the confidence of the community, they need to exert themselves to explain as fully as they can what has happened, why it happened, what lessons the Board have learnt and what they plan to do to manage such risks in the future. On the issue of the Board's removal of a community-selected member, it is vital to have better, clearer and more measured communications. The majority of the communications on this matter have come from one member of the Board -- it is not clear whether he is communicating on behalf of the Board or not -- and those communications have been unduly combative and have failed to resolve issues to the satisfaction of the community.

Of course, it may be that the Board simply do not regard the confidence of the community as of any importance, and do not see the necessity to spend any time trying to retain or regain that confidence. If so, and their lack of communication suggests that it may be be the case, then they need not be surprised to find themselves facing an explicit vote of no confidence. Is that what the Board wants, and do they think it would be in the best interests of the projects? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 07:09, 17 March 2016 (UTC)

It seems clear from the failure of any Board member to engage with this issue, and the continuing failure to adhere to the timetables laid down in the Board Handbook, that members of the Board no longer concern themselves with the views of the Community, and hence presumably are indifferent to whether or not they retain the confidence of the Community. It is time to begin the process of articulating the ways in which the Board is losing that confidence and I am listing them here in case there is any member of the Community or the Board who wishes to make a comment at this stage.

  • The Board's failure to oversee the strategic direction of the Foundation.
  • The Board have failed to publish their long-term strategy.
  • The Board have mismanaged the decision-making around the Knowledge Engine proposal.
  • The Board has failed to ensure effective senior leadership of the WMF.
  • The Board have failed to engage with the Community.
  • The Board have failed to give an adequate explanation for the removal of a community-selected trustee.
  • The Board have allowed one of their members to engage in a public dispute with a former trustee in a manner which is below the standards expected of a member of the Board when discussing Board business.
  • The Board have failed to manage their own activities.
  • The Board have failed to check the background of an appointed trustee with damaging consequences.
  • The Board has allowed its Advisory Committee to lapse without ensuring adequate external advice.
  • The Board is in breach of its own procedures for notification and publication of its own business.
Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 11:50, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Reviving important archived item (Superprotect)[edit]

This thread from 2015 was archived, but is still important: /Archives/2015#Resolution on superprotect

Although there has been much informal discussion in many venues, there has never been an official acknowledgment of the letter signed by 1,000+ people, nor a formal statement of what will be done going forward. There is a bug entry on this (thank you Qgil-WMF. It may also be worthwhile to review the recent discussion and the November 2015 poll about the WMF's response to date. -Pete F (talk) 21:04, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

Small addendum -- this item is, according to the Phabricator ticket linked above, on the February agenda for the Community Liaisons. This seems like a good thing; but as I have stated before, I still feel strongly that explicit participation from senior leadership of WMF (the recipients of the letter) are important. If the response is fully delegated, that will send a clear message, and IMO not a healthy one. -Pete F (talk) 21:12, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
Hi Pete, I'm uncertain what kind of official acknowledgement would be appropriate. I can reply in my personal capacity and comment on my own view: I have fiercely opposed the introduction of SuperProtect since the beginning of my tenure. Once I was elected, I put the removal of SuperProtect on the publicly available list of items I have wanted to address. The actions I personally took to successfully resolve the issue was putting a discussion about SuperProtect on the agenda of every Board meetings we had, as well as discussing the timeline for removal of SuperProtect with the WMF ED at least every month, requesting status updates, and expressing my strong view that it is disruptive to the WMF relations with the community. I believe it was eventually instrumental in the SuperProtect's removal, although I believe it was basically the final small step in a series of many, done by many respected community members individually, and by group voice as well. If you believe some additional recognition of your petition is due, I can assure you that it definitely made me feel more certain that my own views on SP were right, and that the petition was a good, organizing and empowering move. Pundit (talk) 22:47, 28 February 2016 (UTC)
Agree having this strong statement from the community that superprotect was inappropriate made it easier to push for its removal. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:04, 29 February 2016 (UTC)
As The Board officially sided with the hostile actions against the community in this mail to wikimwdia-l, I think some apology for this huge mistake should come from the board as official as this, not only for superprotect alone, but for the whole actions against the communities with the MV-disaster, where the board and some rogue devs kicked the communities explicitly in the face. You are a new board now, so I hope such utterly wrong actions will never occur again, but to distance yourself from misdeeds of past boards would be well taken by the communities.
The Board should make clear, that this mail by the board was wrong and should never have been sent. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 11:03, 29 February 2016 (UTC)
User:Sänger I was not on the board when Jan Bart made that statement. I disagreed with JB statement when he made it, I disagreed with his statement when I was on the board, and I disagree with his statement now. I believe that the community and the WMF needs to interact as equals. Superprotect was the WMF trying to claim the upper hand. We have gotten superprotect disabled but we also need a clear statement by the WMF board that the sentiment behind that action no longer exists either. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:17, 29 February 2016 (UTC)
I know, that you were not on the board, that hostile decision against the community was one of the reasons, the community nominated members were all sacked by the community in the last election (or better so-called election;). It is nevertheless, regardless of its members, still The Board, and it would be fine if The Board revokes its wrong and hostile declaration and comes back to the community. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 18:23, 29 February 2016 (UTC)
I was not on the Board that issued this support neither, obviously, and from my activity on the Board it is clear that I worked consequently towards the SuperProtect removal. I generally agree that a clear statement that overriding communal consensus is never a good idea can help. However, I don't think that spending 30 minutes discussing this at a Board meeting NOW makes sense. We basically have to prioritize, and the search for a new ED, appointing an interim, seeking a new Board member, reforming the Board governance, as well as addressing the strategy, or reviving the Advisory Board are the things that need to be addressed ASAP. I will definitely support addressing this issue later in the year. Pundit (talk) 15:06, 3 March 2016 (UTC)
That assessment makes sense if you take the view, discussed above, that the community can be of no help to the Board. I suggest that in fact the Board cannot afford to do without any help they can get from the community, and indeed that such help would be available were the Board to choose to reach out for it. If you take this view then a few minutes spent repairing one of the more significant breaches between the Board and the community would be time very well spent if it promoted a more constructive engagement . It seems likely to me that the Board will not be able to resolve the multiple serious issues facing it and the movement if it attempts to do so entirely from its own resources -- perhaps you disagree?. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 22:42, 3 March 2016 (UTC)
I agree with you: I believe it makes sense to use the community's help. It is just that even the form of reaching out needs to be discussed, agreed upon, and planned - while currently we're spending a dozen of hours every week on things that have to be done ASAP, all of course over and above our normal work. I really hope once we're out of emergency mode, a constructive way of drawing on the community's resources will make sense. In fact, even for the ED search I think we will be able to ask for some support. I also wrote of three different ways of improving the Board and collaboration with the community on wikimedia-l (volunteer liaisons, revamping the advisory board, revising the Board's structure). I want to follow up on these ideas, as well as reach out for the community's input - but trust me that it is not viable to make it happen NOW. Pundit (talk) 00:25, 4 March 2016 (UTC)
Well, the decision is yours to make, and all we can reasonably ask for is that you take that decision explicitly and stand by its consequences. I am however gratified to note that my suggestions above under #Community broker, #Advisory Board membership and #Thinking about the WMF Board composition have aligned with your thoughts. Do you think this page might be a better venue for discussion of those ideas rather than a mailing list? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:25, 4 March 2016 (UTC)
I think we should have a structured discussion somewhere on meta, here it is difficult to refine proposals and discuss them, IMHO (but still easier than on the list). Pundit (talk) 15:54, 7 March 2016 (UTC)
Pundit, could you just join the discussion underway here, which began following Lila's November announcement? Talk:Letter to Wikimedia Foundation: Superprotect and Media Viewer#November 2015 poll: Has the letter achieved its goal? I don't see the benefit of creating yet another venue for discussion -- but I'd welcome hearing your thoughts there. -Pete F (talk) 20:28, 8 March 2016 (UTC)
This is the noticeboard of The Board, can you tell me a better suited venue to discuss this? And don't come up with less open venues like mailing lists or Phabricator, they are no proper wikipage. This is the wikiversum, and everything should be discussed on open wikipages, unless some very important facts recommend otherwise. If this is not the right wikipage, just show me the right one. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 10:42, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
Sänger, I think Pundit's point is that this page is not a good one to deliberate -- and that linking specific proposals that have been developed elsewhere (like Nemo_bis did) is a better use of this page. I agree with that in principle. In the case of Superprotect, it seems odd to me that the WMF should need advice on how to respond to a letter -- odd, but not impossible to work with. At this point, however, I believe the biggest obstacle to moving forward on this issue is now in the past; as such, I think talking with staff, rather than trustees, might be the most effective way to move things forward. Staff, as always, can advocate internally as needed, but may encounter less resistance now than previously. At the moment, I see an opportunity to bring this longstanding issue to a positive conclusion -- and, like Pundit, I'm not sure that getting it on the Board's agenda is a necessary step. Do keep an eye on phabricator:T119595. -Pete F (talk) 18:07, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
Hey, since when is Phabricator a venue for discussions? I was kicked off Phab because I dared to discuss something and didn't strictly adhere to problem solving. Could someone please inform user:AKlapper (WMF) about this change in the rules there, so that I could again use Phab? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 18:37, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
I did not suggest Phabricator as a venue for discussion, I merely pointed out that relevant stuff is happening there (which you are able to read, even if blocked from participating). The venue I suggested for discussion is one you're already aware of, Sänger -- the letter's talk page. -Pete F (talk) 18:43, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
[offtopic] Sänger's Phabricator account got disabled due to phab:T90632 and phab:T90801 after the user ignored warnings to please follow mw:Bug management/Phabricator etiquette. --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 11:26, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
I see the mentioned Phab as something purely for discussion, not even remotely technical. If the same logic that got me banned there would be aplied, it should never have been opened, and you, Pete, should be banned by now from Phab.
I was banned there, because I asked for a venue for discussion, and the devs failed to deliver any answer, despite there had to be some venue for such a pure community item as a profile. Discussion outside Phab was refused, inside it was denied. It was a catch 22 for me. So consequently those, who didn't want to discuss, banned me. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 12:37, 10 March 2016 (UTC)

#Proposed resolution on user rights process is the current concrete proposal. Nemo 15:03, 29 February 2016 (UTC)

Nemo_bis, I like that proposal a great deal; but a statement from the board or from the executive director (or even the interim executive director) need not get into that level of detail to accomplish good things. -Pete F (talk) 00:07, 1 March 2016 (UTC)
Might be. But producing a statement, even one sentence long, will require a lot of work. On the other hand, my resolution is ready for approval and can't possibly be improved further. :) Nemo 21:16, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
I do agree, Nemo_bis, that moving to enact this proposed resolution would be a good, strong step, and the board should certainly consider it, and consider it a pressing priority. My point is merely that it's not the only possible step forward. But it would be an excellent one, and there is no visible obstacle to passing it at the next meeting (nor has there been since you published it). -Pete F (talk) 22:05, 27 March 2016 (UTC)
I generally agree with the spirit of the proposed resolution. I have some doubts (for instance, why should it always be up to the global community to decide what technical roles be introduced? I'd prefer local communities to be able to take or leave some), but this is ok. my main concern now is bandwidth: we're in the middle of a search for a new ED, a new Board member, and we're already dangerously cutting the workload on critical topics such as strategy. My personal view is that SuperProtect is gone. I did my fair share of work to make sure it got removed, and when I was making actual effort to make this happen, I truly believed it mattered. I'm not so convinced that such a resolution is critically important now (for instance, more than thinking about the vision for our movement in 5 years), and it still can take disproportionately much of our time. As I stated before, I hope we will have an opportunity to readdress this issue before Wikimania, and you can also think of ways the topic can be discussed in the community. I don't think that drafting a Board's resolution is the way to go though - this is the final step (and done by the Board), not the middle one. Pundit (talk) 16:58, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
Is the strategy work you refer to something which you feel that the wider community is or ought to be involved with? If so, perhaps you could point to the venue where that community engagement will take place. If not, please at least tell us when and where you propose to publish the results of that work. (I asked a similar question here some time ago [1] but it seems that the Board did not then regard the issue as important enough to take notice of.) Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 10:31, 9 April 2016 (UTC)
Strategic consultations were conducted by the WMF, but currently we're for instance seeking the community's input on the desirable skills, things to seek or avoid in our ED search, etc. Before Wikimania I intend to start a discussion about the Board's reform, and even before that I plan to publish an agreed on skills matrix. Pundit (talk) 15:13, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Meetings in February and March 2016[edit]

The Board usually meets monthly, and had presumably had meetings in February and March of this year. Please may we know when the minutes of those meetings will be posted? (Even better, of course, would be to have the minutes posted, but one step at a time.) Currently the latest set of minutes linked at wmf:Meetings is for January 2016. Should we take it that no resolutions were passed at the February and March meetings, since none are recorded at wmf:Resolutions, or were they perhaps secret resolutions? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:17, 27 March 2016 (UTC)

Update: it now appears that resolutions were passed on the 10th and 30th of March [2]. So there were at least two meetings held in March for which minutes are not published. This is not a satisfactory state of affairs. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:11, 1 April 2016 (UTC)

Further update. Just to add to the confusion, the resolution wmf:Minutes approval January 30, 2016, approving the minutes of the meeting of 30 January 2016 (the last one mentioned at wmf:Meetings) states that it was approved on January 30, 2016. Surely that cannot be correct? It contradicts the minutes themselves and is prima facie nonsense. That resolution was posted on 8 March, so it cannot have been approved on either the 10th or the 30th March, the only two meetings of which we have any evidence, even though they are not properly documented. So there must have been a third meeting after 30 January which is currently undocumented. Do members of the Board agree that this degree of laxity in publishing a timely and accurate account of Board business is unacceptable? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:26, 4 April 2016 (UTC)

Hi Rogol, it's in the middle of the night where I live, so I won't look up what you say in your last paragraph, but I want to give you a comment note on your general question. The board can pass resolutions following two paths: a) have a formal meeting and vote while every board member is able to hear everyone else and b) via an online vote. Both resolutions you mention in your first post have been passed online with unanimous votes. There has been a meeting in march with the overall topic of internal governance, minutes will be published as soon as they are prepared by our secretary and approved by a board vote. Especially the last part usually takes more time than you may suppose. I try to come back tomorrow to respond to your last question. Alice Wiegand (talk) 21:57, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for your prompt reply. The current mode of presenting the resolutions does not distinguish between the two species, and, as it appears, there has been at least one formal meeting which is currently undocumented. It would be helpful to the community, and follow the values of transparency which the Board is committed to, if the fact of a meeting having been held on a certain date were published promptly: this does not seem an onerous task. I am well aware of the fact that preparing Board minutes takes time (having more experience of being a trustee myself than you may suppose) but do not regard that fact as an acceptable reason not to publish the mere fact that the meeting has occurred. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 22:14, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
Follow-up. The Wikimedia Foundation Board Handbook requires that the agenda for each meeting be posted to wikimediaannounce-l at least two days before the meeting. Was this done for the meeting in March? Where is the agenda for that meeting? What was the date of that meeting? The Handbook also requires that the minutes of a meeting be published no more than five weeks after the meeting. In the case of the December 2015 meeting, the delay was over nine weeks. Why was that? Will the Board examine the way in which is has conducted its own business in recent months and publish a statement as to whether they believe it has been acceptable? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 06:01, 5 April 2016 (UTC)
Further follow-up. I see that the obvious error in the resolution wmf:Minutes approval January 30, 2016 has been silently corrected (with no acknowledgement here, which would have been courteous). That correction reveals that there was a Board meeting on 4 March, in addition to the non-meetings of the 10th and 30th March. It is somewhat shameful that we are reduced to this sort of exegesis to recover information which, according to the Board's own handbook, should have been published long ago. Just to make it explicit: there was no publication of the fact of the meeting on 4 March to the mailing list wikimediaannounce-l. The minutes of that meeting have not been published within five weeks of that meeting. Both of these are violations of the procedure laid down in the Wikimedia Foundation Board Handbook. No member of the Board, or Board officer, has troubled to post here an acknowledgement of that fact, let alone an explanation or an apology. It seems that the Board have abandoned the Guiding Principles of Transparency of which they appear to be so proud. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 20:56, 14 April 2016 (UTC)
Hi Rogol, the minutes of the January 30 meeting have been approved by an online vote as said above. That online vote was closed on March 4th when the last Board member signed the resolution online. The correction is just that: a correction of an obvious mistake, there is no resolution needed to do that. The fact that the March meeting wasn't announced with its agenda is my fault. An announcement was prepared, then we postponed the meeting, then the announcement slipped out of my mind. In general I beg for some understanding that there are many things on the table of the Board. We have to prepare the search for the next ED, we have two vacant seats, we need to review our internal processes and efficiency, we need to provide guidance and support to our interim ED, we have to come to some general working agreements. We do this in regular meetings, with informal check-ins, we are discussing via mail and phone and the current frequency of all this is really high. Same is true also for the staff which is supporting the board. This is not an excuse, I agree with you that we have to follow our own rules. But reality demonstrates that -- especially when the workload is high -- it's hard. It's not our intention to hide anything. The existence of an resolution though doesn't mean that there was a meeting.
These are the regular meetings of the Board:
Hope that helps to clarify. Alice Wiegand (talk) 08:21, 17 April 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for taking the time to provide that information. I realise that the Board is rather busy, but suggest that it would have saved your time, not to mention mine, to have adhered to the normal procedure. As I understand it then, there was a meeting of the Board on 21 March, the notification and agenda for which were never published, and the minutes of which are due to be published by 25 April. Presumably there were no formal resolutions made at that meeting since nothing has been published, but I suppose that will transpire within the next few days.
Of course it is hardly important, but when I pointed out the obvious anomaly in the published resolution, I was not expecting a formal vote of thanks, as you appear to think, and which would have been rather disproportionate, but I did feel it would have been nice if the person making the correction had spent an extra minute of their valuable time posting either here or to my talk page acknowledging the mistake, thanking me for bringing it to their attention and noting that the change had been duly made. But still, as you say, the Board is very busy and such niceties take up time. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 16:29, 17 April 2016 (UTC)
  • It appears that while the agenda for the meeting of 22 April was posted on the 18th (thank you) it was not announced on the mailing list as discussed just one day previously. Much more seriously, the minutes of the meeting of 21 Msrch, presumably approved at the meeting of 21 April, have still not been posted, in breach of the procedure described in the Board Handbook. This is the fourth consecutive Board meeting for which minutes have not been posted within the time limit laid down. While we appreciate that the Board is somewhat busy, this lack of attention to timely communication with the Community is simply not acceptable. Please post the minutes of the Board meeting of 21 March without further delay. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 16:44, 27 April 2016 (UTC)
I note that these minutes were finally posted last night, two weeks late, and, it would appear, as a result of a public posting [3]. Even so they are not correctly linked. The situation remains unsatisfactory, and I call on the Board to explain, apologise and take corrective action to deliver on this part of their commitment to transparency. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 06:38, 11 May 2016 (UTC)

About this page[edit]

When I entered the WMF Board of Trustees in summer 2012 I wanted to create a place where the community can get in contact with the Board, where exchange and deliberation can happen and where Board and community have the opportunity to get a better mutual understanding. After some discussions in the Board SJ started this page in November 2012.

Looking back I think the page hasn’t fulfilled its purpose and it was created with too little thinking about expectations and realization. In general the page has become more a Q&A page, where the Qs are a mixed bag of curiosity, assumptions, and inquiry and where the As are behind schedule or missing at all.

Why is that? The Board does not have a general process how to deal with this page. So, if you get an answer depends on if your question has been noticed by a board member who feels able to answer. If your question addresses staff related issues, you probably won’t get an answer at all. That’s far away from what was intended and also far away from how we imagine a fruitful communication between community and board. We definitely need to think about how to fix it with the resources we have. Given the amount and the importance of issues on the Board’s task list, I can’t promise you a quick solution, but I wanted to let you know that the Board is aware of this flaw and wants to change it. Alice Wiegand (talk) 09:34, 17 April 2016 (UTC)

It would help us, the Community, to help you, the Board, if you were able to give us some ideas of the amount of additional effort that you might be willing to invest in the desired fruitful communication. So far it is clear that the interaction has not been as fruitful as we all wish but I claim that the principal reason is that the Board has not been willing or able to invest the time and energy required. This is a pity as I am sure there are members of the Community ready willing and able to assist if only they were able to engage the Board in a constructive way. As I have already pointed out, the persistent failure to engage is diminishing the Community's confidence in the Board, and this is something that needs to be improved sooner rather than later. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:27, 17 April 2016 (UTC)
Rogol, I honestly disagree that "additional effort" is a realistic opportunity. My personal opinion is that if something does not work the way you expect, it doesn't help just to do more of it. You need to do it differently to make a shift. Alice Wiegand (talk) 18:45, 18 April 2016 (UTC)
It is for you and your fellow Board members to determine the amount of effort you wish to devote to engaging with the Community: the choice is yours. You seem to be telling us that however you wish to engage in the future, you will not be devoting any more effort than you do at present, and that is your decision to make. But that decision has consequences, and it is for you to accept responsibility for those consequences. The amount of effort devoted by the Board collectively and individually in this forum and elsewhere to engagement with the Community on strategic matters has been small: very small. Indeed, elsewhere on this page I described it as conveying an impression, whether intentional or not I cannot say, of an attitude to the Community akin to contempt. This is the message you are sending out, and the message you are willing to continue to send out for the indefinite future. That is your choice, and I think it is a damaging one: you are choosing to worsen an already poor relationship by your inaction and disengagement. It is clear that the Board needs help in the present situation. It has, for whatever reason, chosen to allow its Advisory Committee to lapse, and it is faced with a major crisis in the governance of the Foundation and in the management of its own membership, to the extent that it cannot always manage its own affairs correctly. This is a time to ask for help, not the time to alienate the Community by comments which suggest that the reason for the Board's lack of engagement is that the Community has somehow failed to ask you the right questions. There is no way in which a successful mode of exchange and deliberation can be developed if you are not prepared to invest time and effort in participating fully and frankly in it. It doesn't matter what the Community does, if the Board is not prepared to engage. I do not know how to help you if you are determined not to be helped. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 20:33, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

Mostly, this page could be merged to the Wikimedia Forum, from which issues can be "escalated"/notified to wikimedia-l (which WMF board members really ought to follow; following would be easier if WikimediaAnnounce-l was properly managed). What's really needed is a place for the community to officially log concrete proposals, such as #Proposed resolution on user rights process, which of course are expected to be preceded by wide discussion in proper venues (such as the Wikimedia Forum itself). Of course the WMF has never cared about community proposals in the last decade; but who knows, things might change sometime if people are given a chance. Nemo 07:47, 8 July 2016 (UTC)

Training for external Board members at Wikimania 2016[edit]

hi, I've created a proposal page to ask for community feedback regarding a possible workshop for our external Board members, to increase their understanding of our culture, values, and relevant topics. Please, weigh in! Pundit (talk) 19:22, 29 April 2016 (UTC)


It has been almost two years now since the Foundation published its paid editing requirement in the TOU, the Wikipedia project has still not complied with the requirement to publish their alternate policy. The Wikipedia guidance is becoming more onerous by the day. My experiment with paid editing has resulted in exactly the kind of problems I was concerned about and discussed in the Foundation's RfC.

The disdain for paid and COI editing at Wikipedia is resulting in profiling of new users, their submissions and direct admonishments (sockpuppet allegation etc) on a regular basis from WP:COIN. Even established, compliant editors, can run afoul of the project's guidance when the rules can be changed (by certain editors) upon a whim. In the broadest terms, let's face the fact that the Wikipedia project does not want subjects that utilize sales of any type.

The Foundation's goals were amiable, but the implementation missed the mark of informing the end-reader of possible slanted content. (Unless the end-reader is sophisticated enough to inspect the article's talk page, the edit summaries and the user page of each contributing editor.) Contention on the Wikipedia from veteran volunteers that feel that nobody should be paid to edit, either as a consultant or an employee assigned to the task, is high enough now that I believe that the project should be divided. One solution would be a sister project for article's where the subject has to earn money to sustain itself/themselves -- a business friendly project to remove this contention. (A serious integrated sister wiki, not a cartoon.)

  1. The Wikipedian's who are most opposed to paid editing (anything that could be interpreted as advertising) and delete any perceived signs of advocacy, tend to be in academia and prefer short, traditional paper-style encyclopedic articles. Conceptual, scientific, academic articles would remain with the Wikipedia.
  2. An integrated business friendly wiki, would house corporations and organizations, biographies of living persons, film and recording, authors and books etc. (I.e., a wiki about creators and their creations which by their very nature require exposure to thrive, it's just a fact of life.) The new wiki project could warn the user that the wiki might contain information about sales, services and some articles may have connected contributors.
  3. Much like the migration to the Commons, the Wikipedia could choose to keep the article and sustain soft or hard redirects to the new location of the article. For instance, the Wikipedia could determine whether it wants to maintain the entire Microsoft article, or summarize the article in a soft redirect and provide a "See main article" hat, linking to the full article.
  4. In the new business friendly project, interested parties would adopt existing or create new guidelines. For instance, accepting RS interviews as evidence of notability. Paid editors could disclose their status on the new project and not be discriminated against when volunteering contributions to the Wikipedia project.
  5. The internet has changed, spamming the Wikipedia is not a viable SEO tactic as most Wikipedians still tend to believe. The reason why notable businesses, organizations and creators want a Wikipedia article is to participate in RDF and WikiData resources. With the enormous effort of the Wikipedia project to keep these articles out, migrating them out, instead of pruning to prepare for deletion, would seem to be a more productive use of energy and resolution of contention.

Most people have to earn a living, let's acknowledge this, and the fact that the Wikipedia project does not want these articles. Separate the two ideologies into sister projects so they can coexist in peace. 009o9 (talk) 20:06, 7 June 2016 (UTC)

Do I get this right: You're proposing a spam-wiki as an official project alongside? Ever heard of en:Wikia to set up your own project? I really don't think your strange idea will get any traction here. BTW: I don't think that anyone really has anything against paid editors from GLAM, as long as they provide useful and npov content. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 17:42, 9 June 2016 (UTC)
@Sänger: You decide, is this spam?[4] The article (not mine but I grabbed a copy) was recently pruned and AfD'd. Several years ago, such an article would have been at least a stub. There is definitely a protracted effort at WP:AfC to keep articles out and paid editing accusations abound at WP:COIN, even school alumni are now required to declare COI.[5] (Which means you have to stop editing your article of interest.) As far as I can tell, Wikia is a cartoon, not a serious wiki with an RDF backend. Regards, 009o9 (talk) 20:04, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
"The Foundation's goals were amiable" not really, they just wanted some news headlines. Nemo 20:20, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
Why would this commercially oriented wiki be associated with the WMF? How is it educational? Anyone is free to create such a site. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:51, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
Because useful stub articles like En:The Best American Science Writing are no longer wanted at the Wikipedia and will likely be nominated for deletion as advertising when discovered.009o9 (talk) 18:47, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
Additional Yes anybody can create a Wiki, but cross integration into the WikiData project is not likely. Yes, another data source could offered and curated, but it would be a lot like reinventing the wheel. A lot of decent subjects and contributions are being purged and declined if they even have a hint of commercial subject matter. I'm suggesting a place to sustain articles, like "The Best American Science Writing" instead of summarily deleting them. All information is valuable. What if I want to know who is the most preeminent scientist behind a commercial venture? If I have a product or corporation name, I'd have the breadcrumbs to do the research and learn the scientific terms behind the venture. If the information I'm seeking is buried under a scientific name, chances of finding it are greatly reduced.
Using the term "educational" in terms of scholastic learning is rather narrow, learning is a life-long process. In fact, most learning/education comes from a real world initiative, not the lecture hall. Even shallow articles like "The Best American Science Writing" can be improved in the Wiki format, but it is less far likely when a COI editor is precluded from direct editing, in addition to declaring her interest and employer. 009o9 (talk) 19:47, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

Wikimedia Armenia[edit]

The following discussion is closed.

Because there is no 2015 annual financial report, and the 2014 annual financial report is half done, has nothing about "One Armenian, one article" campaign, please cancel the Recognition of Wikimedia Armenia. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Vadgt (talk)

Financial report for 2015 will be ready in July, WMF is informed about it. 2014 annual financial report is complete. As for the "One Armenian, one article" campaign, Wikimedia Armenia spent no money on it, it was done in the collaboration with the local TV station.--David Saroyan (talk) 16:13, 30 June 2016 (UTC)
Vadgt, these questions are not for the Board of Trustees to answer. The purpose of this page is "discussing issues related to Wikimedia Foundation governance and policies, and related Board work". The Wikimedia Foundation is monitoring chapter compliance through its staff, so I have moved your questions to Wikimedia Armenia talk page. David Saroyan, thanks for providing the answer to the questions above --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 16:56, 3 July 2016 (UTC)

wmf:Resolution:Gift Policy Amendments Increase Threshold[edit]

«In most cases, the Board will be given 7 business days to decline». What a funny wording:

  • "be given" for "will give itself",
  • "in most cases" but no mention of who decides which cases are like "most" and which will require more time.

Is 7 days really an appropriate time? Such grants can take months of discussions, hence

  • such a limit forces the board to a yes/no choice without possibility of amendments and
  • the ED/delegate has a remarkable discretionary power in deciding when to submit the grant for approval.

I note this minimal amendment was not joined by any change to increase transparency. Also, will the WMF website state who is delegated by the ED for such matters, if anyone? --Nemo 07:38, 8 July 2016 (UTC)