Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees/Call for feedback: Community Board seats
|Call for feedback: Community Board seats|
|How to participate|
The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees is organizing a call for feedback about community selection processes between February 1 and March 14. Below you will find the problem statement and various ideas from the Board to address it. We are offering multiple channels for questions and feedback. With the help of a team of community facilitators, we are organizing multiple conversations with multiple groups in multiple languages.
During this call for feedback we publish weekly reports and we draft the final report that will be delivered to the Board. With the help of this report, the Board will approve the next steps to organize the selection of six community seats in the upcoming months. Three of these seats are due for renewal and three are new, recently approved.
Participate in this call for feedback and help us form a more diverse and better performing Board of Trustees!
You can also join our WM Community Board selection Telegram channel to receive these updates.
There is a detailed list of activities at Conversations.
- 2021-02-01: The call for feedback starts
- 2021-02-02: Three office hours
- 2021-02-05: Regional seats, an idea from the community
- 2021-02-10: First weekly report
- 2021-02-10: Specialization seats, an idea from the community
- 2021-02-15: First iteration of the Call for feedback's main report
- 2021-02-17: Second weekly report
- 2021-02-20: Four office hours, Call for feedback midpoint.
- 2021-02-24: Third weekly report
- 2021-02-26: Candidate resources, an idea from the community.
- 2021-03-03: Fourth weekly report
- 2021-03-10: Fifth weekly report
- 2021-03-12/14: Four panel sessions, Call for feedback final sprint.
- 2021-03-14: The call for feedback ends
- 2021-03-23: The complete Call for feedback's main report draft is ready for review.
- 2021-03-30: The Call for feedback's main report is delivered to the Board.
- 2021-03-31: The Board Governance Committee meets to discuss recommendations for the Board.
- 2021-04-15: Special Board meeting to discuss, ratify and launch the new process.
Problems to solve
While the Wikimedia Foundation and the movement have grown about five times in the past ten years, the Board’s structure and processes have remained basically the same. As the Board is designed today, we have a problem of capacity, performance, and lack of representation of the movement’s diversity. This problem was identified in the Board’s 2019 governance review, along with recommendations for how to address it.
To solve the problem of capacity, we have agreed to increase the Board size to a maximum of 16 trustees (it was 10). Regarding performance and diversity, we have approved criteria to evaluate new Board candidates. What is missing is a process to promote community candidates that represent the diversity of our movement and have the skills and experience to perform well on the Board of a complex global organization.
Our current processes to select individual volunteer and affiliate seats have some limitations. Direct elections tend to favor candidates from the leading language communities, regardless of how relevant their skills and experience might be in serving as a Board member, or contributing to the ability of the Board to perform its specific responsibilities. It is also a fact that the current processes have favored volunteers from North America and Western Europe. Meanwhile, our movement has grown larger and more complex, our technical and strategic needs have increased, and we have new and more difficult policy challenges around the globe. As well, our Movement Strategy recommendations urge us to increase our diversity and promote perspectives from other regions and other social backgrounds.
In the upcoming months, we need to renew three community seats and appoint three more community members in the new seats. What process can we all design to promote and choose candidates that represent our movement and are prepared with the experience, skills, and insight to perform as trustees?
Ideas discussed within the Board
The Board has discussed several ideas to overcome the problems mentioned above. Some of these ideas could be taken and combined, and some discarded. Other ideas coming from the call for feedback could be considered as well.
- Ranked voting system. Complete the move to a single transferable vote system, already used to appoint affiliate-selected seats, which is designed to best capture voters’ preferences.
- Quotas. Explore the possibility of introducing quotas to ensure certain types of diversity in the Board (details about these quotas to be discussed in this call for feedback).
- Call for types of skills and experiences. When the Board makes a new call for candidates, they would specify types of skills and experiences especially sought.
- Vetting of candidates. Potential candidates would be assessed using the Trustee Evaluation Form and would be confirmed or not as eligible candidates.
- Board-delegated selection committee. The community would nominate candidates that this committee would assess and rank using the Trustee Evaluation Form. This committee would have community elected members and Board appointed members.
- Community-elected selection committee. The community would directly elect the committee members. The committee would assess and rank candidates using the Trustee Evaluation Form.
- Election of confirmed candidates. The community would vote for community nominated candidates that have been assessed and ranked using the Trustee Evaluation Form. The Board would appoint the most voted candidates.
- Direct appointment of confirmed candidates. After the selection committee produces a ranked list of community nominated candidates, the Board would appoint the top-ranked candidates directly.
Please check each idea’s page for more details.
Ideas from the community
Volunteers can suggest ideas during the call for feedback. If you want to suggest an idea, please share it in the Call for feedback main Talk page.
- Regional seats. A type of quota to specifically ensure geographical diversity by reserving one or more seats to specific regions traditionally underrepresented.
- Specialization seats. A type of quota to specifically involve people that have the skills needed by the board.
- Candidate resources. Better support for potential candidates interested in running for election.
Call for feedback
The call for feedback runs from February 1 until the end of March 14.
We are looking for a broad representation of opinions. We are interested in the reasoning and the feelings behind your opinions. In a conversation like this one, details are important. We want to support good conversations where everyone can share and learn from others.
We want to hear from those who understand Wikimedia governance well and are already active in movement conversations. We also want to hear from people who do not usually contribute to discussions. Especially those who are active in their own roles, topics, languages or regions, but usually not in, say, a call for feedback on Meta.
How to participate
You can choose your preferred language and way of participation. A team of facilitators is watching multiple channels and capturing the outcome of conversations in weekly reports (see below).
- Discuss in the Talk page for each idea, or in this talk page for general comments. Translated pages welcome discussions in their respective languages.
- Discuss in the “WM Community Board seats” Telegram group chat created for this call for feedback.
- Join a conversation or an online meeting near you. We are organizing multiple conversations on wiki projects, with affiliates, and other groups.
If there are no conversations or meetings organized for your project or your affiliate, contact us here, on Telegram, or via email at community-board-seats-cffwikimedia.org. A facilitator will contact you to organize one.
- See also the Board Governance timeline.
The Board of Trustees is the governing body for the Wikimedia Foundation, a +450 staff organization supporting an international movement formed by hundreds of projects, communities, and affiliates. Its sole role is to oversee the management of the Foundation. The Board plays a key role in setting the Foundation’s long-term strategy. The Board monitors the Foundation’s activities and finances to ensure that they are healthy, aligned with the Foundation’s mission, and compliant with legal obligations. The Board also directly hires, manages, advises, and sets compensation for the Foundation’s CEO. More information is available in the Board Handbook.
Currently, the Board has 10 members:
- 3 members were selected via a vote by the Wikimedia contributors (these seats are currently overdue).
- 2 members were selected via a vote by Wikimedia affiliates (chapters, thematic organizations, and user groups).
- 4 members were selected by the Board directly.
- The final member is Jimmy Wales, in a reserved Founder seat.
The Board has expanded to 16 seats to better cover the increasing work and areas of expertise required to steer the Wikimedia Foundation. This expansion was based in part on recommendations from an external governance review.
- 3 new Community- and Affiliate-selected seats
- 3 new Board-selected seats
This call for feedback refers to the process to fill the three overdue contributor seats as well as the three newly-created Community- and Affiliate-selected Trustees seats.
We aim to capture the outcomes of conversations and other relevant information in reports. These reports are available on Meta, and we translate them as soon and into as many languages as we can.
We produce three types of reports:
- Local reports. They capture one group conversation. For instance, a discussion organized with one affiliate or an online meeting hosted in an African language.
- Weekly reports. They capture outcomes of local reports and progress in ongoing conversations in the main channels.
- Main report. Drafted publicly on an ongoing basis during and after the call for feedback, it is delivered to the Board at the end of the process.
Feedback about any report is welcome in its corresponding Talk page. A beta version of the main report will be shared for community review at the end of the call for feedback, before being officially delivered to the Board.
- Wikimedia Foundation staff
- Katherine Maher - Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director
- Amanda Keton - General Counsel / Board Secretary
- Quim Gil - Project management
- Chuck Roslof - Lead Counsel
- Maggie Dennis - Vice-President for Community Resilience & Sustainability
- Ryan Merkley - Chief of Staff
- Discussion facilitation
- Jackie Koerner - Facilitation for English language and Meta-Wiki
- Denis Barthel - Facilitation for German language and North and Western Europe affiliates
- Mahuton Possoupe - Facilitation for French language
- Vanj Padilla - Facilitation for East, South-East Asia and Pacific region
- Krishna C. Velaga - Facilitation for South Asia region
- Ravan Al-Taie - Facilitation for Middle East and North Africa region
- Mehman Ibragimov - Facilitation for Central and Eastern Europe region
- Zita Zage - Facilitation for Sub-Saharan Africa region
- Oscar Costero - Facilitation for Latin America region
- Mohammed Bachounda - Facilitation support for French language and MENA region.
- Wikimedia Foundation Trustees
- María Sefidari - Board Chair, Board Governance Committee member
- Nataliia Tymkiv - Board Vice Chair
- Esra'a Al Shafei
- Tanya Capuano
- Shani Evenstein Sigalov - Board Governance Committee member (alternate)
- Dr. James Heilman
- Dariusz Jemielniak - Board Governance Committee member
- Lisa Lewin - Board Governance Committee chair
- Raju Narisetti
- Jimmy Wales
- Approval of Bylaws amendments and call for feedback
- Announcement regarding governance reform and the postponement of the election
- Board of Trustees Resolution to expand to 16 seats
- Trustee Evaluation Form for use in future trustee selection processes
- Bylaws on Foundation Wiki
- Board meeting minutes
- 2019 Governance Review Summary