Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees/Call for feedback: Community Board seats/Reports/MEA

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Here are reports from all discussions and meetings with MEA affiliations and communities.

2021-02-05 First meeting with Arabic community [edit]

Meeting held on Friday 5th Feb 6:30 PM UTC. 13 people showed up, from 5 different affiliates.

Feedback about proposed ideas[edit]

  1. The most popular idea was Regional seats to be assigned to each region, then elections for assigned seats.
  2. There was a suggestion of Merging regional seats with or based on upcoming regional hubs.
  3. People emphasized that the board to publish the needed skills is essential then based on that candidates can nominate themselves.

Suggestions[edit]

  1. Suggestion has been made that elected people should be evaluated after one year of their assignment, with an option to withdraw the endorsement.
  2. Suggestion for a type of legal commitment to be held upon the candidates that they will have enough time to represent and work for the board and community.

General Comments[edit]

  1. Comments have been made about appointed seats of the board, that they don't have any transparent clear criteria for assigning them.

Actions to follow[edit]

  1. Community Asked for a follow-up meeting by End of Feb.
  2. Community Asked for small meetups with each user group, arranging started already with Egypt & Sudan.

2021-02-09 First meeting with Kurdish community [edit]

Meeting held on Friday 9th Feb 6:00 PM UTC. 9 people showed up, from 2 different Wikipedia languages (CKB, Kur).

Feedback about proposed ideas[edit]

  1. Most of the participants were happy that this is the first time they have a meeting with a foundation representative.
  2. As a minority, they agreed that a ranked voting system would definitely bring some trustees who don't have a clear idea about what they need and what support they require.
  3. The most popular idea was regional seats or language seats, I've explained that there are more than 300 different languages so it's impractical to have certain seat for a specific language.

Suggestions[edit]

  • Another meeting is suggested by end of Feb after the members will read and discuss the CfF properly.

General Comments[edit]

  1. A kind of complaint has been made that this user group is very underrepresented, they don't get accepted in any meetups or conferences.

Actions to follow[edit]

  1. A detailed follow-up meeting by End of Feb will be arranged.

2021-02-15 First meeting with Israeli Chapter [edit]

Meeting has been held with the contact person of the Israeli chapter, Gitit Podemski. The call of feedback explained, and the result was that the Israeli chapter is not that interested in global events as they are much involved in internal work. An agreement has been made stating that all the communication with the Israeli chapter will be through emails with Gitit Podemski, and the emails will be translated to Hebrew and distributed to chapter members through their private mail list.

2021-02-17 Meeting with Egypt User group[edit]

Meeting held with 7 attendees of the user group.

General remarks[edit]

Some general questions have been asked:

  • Why the board members want to be board members? if the work is a lot as described, responsibilities are a lot, and the position is not paid at all. Then why would someone want to do it?

(The point is editors are volunteering to add knowledge and make it free accessed to everyone, but why the board member would give that much effort and time?

  • After the CfF is over, what parameters are being in consideration to take the last decision of what will happen?

Ranked voting system[edit]

Walaa mentioned that this system will only guarantee to win for people with the majority behind them, as in the past, this majority elected member mostly will not have a clear idea of what the Middle East and North Africa needs to grow up in regards to Wiki projects.

Quotas[edit]

Muhammed mentioned that quotas without specific criteria will be a total mess, we need to specify first what type of quotas?

Vetting of Candidates[edit]

  • Questions:
    • Would it be transparent or it will be an internal process by the board?
    • Would it happen before the voting starts or afterward?

Regional seats[edit]

All agreed this could be the best idea to occupy the new seats, as long as not all of the seats are tied up to regions.

Specialization Seats[edit]

Walla & Donia agreed that this should be taken care of by the appointed seats, this should be the purpose of having appointed seats, to have people with the required expertise to decide for the foundation.

2021-02-19 Meeting with INSM Network (Iraq)[edit]

INSM is an Iraqi network, the first network of Citizens Journalists in Iraq who are interested in free knowledge, editing Wikipedia, & advocate for free, open, diverse & safe internet. Meeting held Zoom with more than 20 attendees and published live on Facebook with more than 70 attendees. General remarks Some general questions have been asked:

  • If there is an Arabic member already in one of the appointed seats in the board, then why can't we see any efforts regarding supporting and growing up the wiki projects in the Middle East?
  • What the board is up to besides deciding how to spend the donations budget?

Call for feedback and the board changes Most agreed that taking this step by the board is a good sign and shows more commitment to align with what the community needs. For the election, the most preferable idea was a regional seat, with assigning a seat for the Middle East with the condition that the elected member be elected by the region communities only and to have an assurance (Periodic Evaluation) on that he would serve the foundation and make the needed effort and time.

2021-02-22 Meeting with Sudan User Group[edit]

Meeting held with all women attendees, that was a reversed gender gap! General remarks The user group is relatively new, they were so grateful that someone from the foundation reached out to them. Some general questions have been asked:

  • As Sudan got released recently from the US applied sanctions, would that make it possible for them to get support from the foundation? as they were not able to receive any support earlier.
  • In which ways the board members or changing them would affect them as volunteer editors and user groups?

Call for feedback and the board changes They agreed that no matter is the way of election, what matters after all is having good skilled, and trustworthy trustees to run the foundation and bring it forward. The Regional seats are the most favorable choice, but they can consider choosing a committee to be responsible for choosing the new trustees.

2021-02-27 Meeting with Levant User Group[edit]

Meeting held with 15 members of (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine)

General remarks

  • Michel said that through time no one was interested in voting or participating because of a certain feeling that their voice didn't matter and because they've seen that most of the board members especially the appointed ones are separated from the communities and have no clear and full idea how the wiki projects being run and grow from inside.
  • Michel said that appointed seats should be from communities as well, explaining that worldwide there must be some expert in finance and a wiki member as well, or a legal master who happens to be a wiki project participant. This will give the whole board more credibility and will change the way they look at things and the way they work and make decisions.

Some general questions have been asked:

  • What can we do as communities besides voting to try to make an impact in the process for the good of the foundation?

Call for feedback and the board changes

  • Specialization seats should be from appointed seats.
  • The Regional seats were the most favorable choice, the way to implement it should be after assigning the seat, only the people from the region should vote, and by having regional seats that don't mean people from the region can not nominate themselves for the general community seats.
  • Another meeting has been required to discuss further before the end of the CfF, meeting has been set for Friday 5th March.