Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees/Call for feedback: Community Board seats/Conversations/2021-02-02 - First Office Hour/Second meeting

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Edits to fix typos or transcripted words are welcome.

There were 29 total attendees in this meeting, including 3 Board members and 7 facilitators.

Watch on Youtube
Recording of the part of the meeting dedicated to questions and feedback.


Quim provided an overview of the Board of Trustees Call for Feedback.

Mykola WM Ukraine: BoT are looking for skills and diversity. Community seats are for representation of community, and appointed seats are for skills. Why don’t you say that the people you are talking about should represent the community and should say how they will move the community forward?

Dariusz: Disagrees community elected board members should stick to the idea of representation. Board is responsible for lots of things for the organization. Don’t see it as half should be competent, half representation, I think as many as possible should be competent. We should have a diverse highly skilled board. These so-called expert seats should bring skills, community understanding, open source, open knowledge.

Mykola clarifies. They are not exclusive. We should not only be looking for only skills or only diversity. Sees representation as more critical over skills.

Dariusz: we need skills, we need experience, we need diversity

Benjamin: asks if the BoT thinks it’s lacking in diversity.

Dariusz: we need our board to get better and better. We shouldn’t focus on just diversity in community seats, but on board as a whole.

Esra’a: sometimes expertise required will change depending on what the composition and the gaps are.

Adel: What are the main criteria of this selection to make sure who can apply?

Quim: That is the main point of the CfF - to identify what will work. There are several ideas to be discussed.

Adel: How can we make sure there is a representation of the community and of the affiliates?

Quim: Asked Board members to offer context.

Dariusz: Different ideas on Meta. Huge lot of ideas right now. Asking what you hate most, loved most and what is missed. Nanour: There is no training to support people to be at the level of the board. There are so many communities that do not have the level of [experiences] to join the board. [hint at development of skills]

Dariusz: Absolutely. We need those people. The foundation should provide (personal opinion) systematic training for leadership development - whole movement will benefit.

Esra’a: +1 to that. Not base selection on existing expertise. Many people don’t have opportunities to begin with. Important point to bring up at the Board level.

Nanour: If there is this kind of training. There will be more people prepared as a contingency from the community.

Lane: Biggest issue of transfer of control from the community to the WMF. Five particular requests, please confirm the Wikimedia community consensus process gets to be the main way of deciding this CfF. Board member be the one to talk to the community instead of WMF liaison - not reliable way to transmit information, would like the Board to remove WMF staff from any part of this process - $100 million endowment influences the efforts, please grant budget to wikimedia volunteers to organize conversations and do not hire paid staff. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have not gone directly to the community but this process was approved without community approval. Staff ask people to be quiet about certain things - if they are not then their funding will be cut off. Take WMF out of conversations about ethics and these issues wouldn’t exist.

Quim: would be happy to continue with this conversation

Dariusz: appeals to Lane. Notes this is not his [Dariusz] experience. Regarding first 2 points, finds staff supporting organizations to be important in some situations. These are conversations to have.

Quim: clarifies this BG team is just supporting conversations and not designing the process. We keep our opinions to ourselves.

Lane: Asked who wrote the text on Meta.

Dariusz: said everything has been written by the board and as many of the board members are not native English speakers, so the foundation offered communication support and Board thoroughly reviewed and voted on content.

Adel: asked what next steps are

Quim: will post weekly reports and update the content pages and will be drafting a report to be finalized and delivered to the board. That is the scope of the work to be completed. This year there are 3 new community and affiliate seats. Need a process for these 3 new seats and renewal of the 3 seats that were due last year.

Mykola: Will the community and affiliates have a final approval of this process?

Dariusz: There has not been anything established for this.

Mykola: Will the board make a proposal and if groups disagree with it they can exclude themselves from this?

Dariusz: There is no process established yet. We are trying to find out ideas. We know what the problem is and we are looking for a solution.

Nanour: (wondering) is election or nomination better? Majority of communities are not part of Western communities. Nominations and elections are complicated for non-western communities. How can we ask which one is better and which one you prefer if people are not typically involved?

Quim: notes there are volunteers with years of experience working to facilitate conversations and there are a lot of assumptions behind how we participate and how consensus is built. Thank you, Nanour, because this diversity need is way deeper than just nomination and election.

Quim: we want to hear from everyone and will encourage discussion in whatever way people feel comfortable.


Adel Nehaoua 12:02 PM : es qu'il y a une traduction?

Maggie Dennis 12:02 PM : CAmeras off, shy people!

Adel Nehaoua 12:04 PM : donc j'écris mes questions rn francais sans problèmes?

Mahuton Possoupe 12:04 PM : Oui sans soucis

Adel Nehaoua 12:04 PM : merci!

Mahuton Possoupe 12:04 PM : je t'en prie

Adel Nehaoua 12:08 PM : شكرا بشوندة‎

Quim Gil 12:10 PM :

Mahuton Possoupe 12:16 PM : Vous pouvez poser vos questions en Français aussi

Dariusz Jemielniak 12:16 PM : I can take that

Bachounda Mohammed 12:16 PM : +1

Nataliia Tymkiv 12:16 PM : please, Dariusz)

Quim Gil 12:17 PM : (Dariusz is one of the Board members)

Adel Nehaoua 12:18 PM : Quel est la critère principale de selection

Nataliia Tymkiv 12:18 PM : even community and affiliate selected seats should bring diversity and skills — the community seats should not be only from big language Wikipedias, we should be able have people joining from smallers language communities and sister projects

Adel Nehaoua 12:19 PM : comment distinguer la representation par affliation and commaunities

Wikimedia 12:20 PM : Is there any documentation about the guidelines the board uses to nominate members? Who decides on these guidelines?

Mahuton Possoupe 12:22 PM : Pour ceux et celles qui viennent de nous rejoindre, vous pouvez aussi poser vos questions en Français

Dariusz Jemielniak 12:22 PM : definitely NOT in charge :)

Mykola Kozlenko 12:23 PM : @antanana we should bring skills, but we might have a 'small language' seat and let people choose whom they want to get for this seat

Dariusz Jemielniak 12:23 PM : I was just directly addreseed by Benjamin

Mehman Ibragimov 12:26 PM :

Bachounda Mohammed 12:26 PM : regarde cette page

Bachounda Mohammed 12:27 PM : it's the same --

Nataliia Tymkiv 12:28 PM : @Mykola Kozlenko and if there is no one running from smaller language projects/sister projects? or the people running are not really bringing anything to the table?

Wikimedia 12:29 PM : @Natalia - maybe it should not be exclusive to small languages, but rather to global south for example, I don't think we can say that there isn't one person fit for the board from the "whole" global south

Bachounda Mohammed 12:30 PM : @adel  -  on pourra se contacter pour plus d'infos sur ce sujet

Mahuton Possoupe 12:30 PM : @Adel , sur cette page il y ad es détails sur la page Meta

Dariusz Jemielniak 12:31 PM : Nanour - excellent question, I think that the diversity includes that. BUT... there is one idea I've been passionate about over years: creating really systematic, planned leadership trainings

Adel Nehaoua 12:31 PM : je n'est pas compris bien  la deuxième réponse

Esra'a Al Shafei 12:31 PM : @Nanour That is a great point - and certainly room for capacity building in this regard

Dariusz Jemielniak 12:33 PM : Exactly what Esra'a said - this is something to account for diversity, too

Mahuton Possoupe 12:33 PM : @Adel en fait, au lieu d’un nombre déterminé de sièges choisis par la communauté et d’un nombre déterminé de sièges choisis par les affiliés, le Conseil a déterminé que 8 des 16 sièges du Conseil d’Administration seront des sièges « choisis par la communauté et les affiliés »

Mykola Kozlenko 12:33 PM : @antanana The lack of candidates is a risk of *any* process. I would very much like to see us as a movement more actively identify and recruit candidates

Dariusz Jemielniak 12:33 PM : Nanour - if we develop these trainings, this will also quite naturally create a pipeline

Nataliia Tymkiv 12:33 PM : @Wikimedia, of course we cannot say that. there were and are now people from Global South, but it does not mean that there are enough people from Global South joining conversations, asking questions, voting, running for a seat etc, because the current system favours bigger language projects

Esra'a Al Shafei 12:33 PM : Yes, organic & sustainable

Amuzu Photography 12:34 PM : I think one of my major point have be talked about. Training and grooming. So what I want to ask is this will there be away where the In experience will work with the experience to get to that level?

Dariusz Jemielniak 12:34 PM : Lane - but that is not the case in MANY of the proposals at all

one, for instance, assumes an entirely community-driven selection committee

Aleksey Chalabyan 12:35 PM : My concern is that with increase of numbers of members effeciency of communication and teamwork in general can suffer noticably.

Also in bigger group like that small vocal subgroup of 3-4 can become main leading group, si effectively instead of more skills, viewpoint and duversity we may end up with less.

Dariusz Jemielniak 12:35 PM : another coming back with a shortlist for direct elections.

Adel Nehaoua 12:35 PM : @Mahuton Possoupe merci

Nanour Garabedian 12:35 PM : Dariusz - exactlly and not depend only on one person

Nataliia Tymkiv 12:35 PM : @Mykola Kozlenko but the lack of candidates is also coming from the fact, that if one is coming from a smaller language community they have less chances to win. at all. so why would they even bother?

Wikimedia 12:37 PM : The fact that candidates is lacking is due to low awareness about this whole process. Who can help make this process more inclusive and let people know that a board is existing and that they can actually be part of it? Who is responsible of making this?

Mykola Kozlenko 12:38 PM : @antanana It does not mean we should not change the voting system. What I absolutely don't want is that we have a person on a community seat that is a member of the community but the community explicitly disagrees with

Adel Nehaoua 12:38 PM : @lane Rasberry thank's

Amuzu Photography 12:39 PM : @Lane Rasberry you have said it all. Thanks you for that conversation

Maggie Dennis 12:39 PM : That was wonderful!

You 12:40 PM : Love these young wikimedians!

Nanour Garabedian 12:40 PM : @Esra'a happy to see you here إسراء I just read about you yesterday

Esra'a Al Shafei 12:40 PM : شكراً عزيزتي :)

Robert Alvarez 12:40 PM : Points well made @Lane

Mahuton Possoupe 12:41 PM : N'hésitez pas à poser des questions, même en Français

Dariusz Jemielniak 12:41 PM : Quim - important clarification, thank you!

Adel Nehaoua 12:42 PM : nos soucis ont été résumées par @Lane Rasberry

Dariusz Jemielniak 12:42 PM : if you want to blame anyone, blame the trustees.

Adel Nehaoua 12:42 PM : quel sont les étapes suivantes

a ce qu'il y a un planning Nataliia Tymkiv 12:43 PM : @Quim this clarification probably should be added to Meta :)

Wikimedia 12:45 PM : Does the board have a plan to take into consideration the comments from community? Are there any etrics to measure this? In other words, how are we sure that this is not : We listen to you but anyway we'll do what we want? metrics*

Dariusz Jemielniak 12:46 PM : we really do not KNOW what *we" want

Mahuton Possoupe 12:46 PM : @Adel, nous avons lancé hier le 1er Février l'appel à commentaire. Entre le 1er Février et le 14 Mars, c'est la période de discussions

Dariusz Jemielniak 12:46 PM : just look at the proposals - they are really radically different

Nataliia Tymkiv 12:46 PM : aye, we posted a set of problems we want to resolve. and ideas we came up with so far

Wikimedia 12:47 PM : yes but all the proposals were made by the board, which means that the whole process does not start on equal foots. We are just discovering, while you have already "sat and thought" and brainstormed

Mahuton Possoupe 12:47 PM : @Adel pour avoir les retours de la communuaté. Pendant ce temps, l'équipe de facilitation fera des rapports ainsi qu'un rapport final qui sera adressé au Conseil d'Administration pour prendre des dé

Denis Barthel 12:47 PM : Hi Nadine!

Maggie Dennis 12:48 PM : That was weird. It said Nadine wasn't admitted? If that's true, does somebody know how to post Nadine to ask for another try?

Adel Nehaoua 12:48 PM : @Mahuton Possoupe compris merci

Mahuton Possoupe 12:48 PM : @Adel, le rapport final permettra u Conseil de décider

Adel Nehaoua 12:49 PM : @Mahuton Possoupe donc les facilitateur qui vont conduire les discussion?

Robert Alvarez 2:49 PM : @Dariusz, but the reality is that board structure and community elected seats has been changed by the board, with consultation afterwards about implementation, not whether to do it. Words and actions here are directly contradictory :-(

Dariusz Jemielniak 12:50 PM : it is 8091 km from Manilla to Missouri!

Wikimedia 12:51 PM : Exactly, why is consultation made after that you did brainstorming, and that the community was not involved in the brainstorming? It feels like the community is involved late, just to "legitimize" this process. Can you convince please that this is not the case?

Dariusz Jemielniak 12:51 PM : @Robert - what do you mean?

Nataliia Tymkiv 12:51 PM : @Wikimedia well, the conversation should start somewhere. and sometimes it is really easier to criticise (surprise, surprise!) somebody's ideas, rather than start talking from a blank page. also, this is not a new topic — it is just a complicated one (with all politics involved) and there was not enough desire to finally take it on

Dariusz Jemielniak 12:51 PM : @Robert - the changes now are not *made*, they are laid out for discussion.

Mahuton Possoupe 12:51 PM : @Adel, Non. Les discussions sont ouvertes. Chacun participe comme il peu. Soit directement sur les page de discussion sur Meta, soit dans le groupe Télégram. Nous aurons aussi des réunions par régions

Robert Alvarez 12:52 PM : Ah, so the board has not decided to change its structure?

Dariusz Jemielniak 12:52 PM : we are expanding - but the pathways are not decided.

Robert Alvarez 12:54 PM : So, you have already made the decision to increase board seats, and increase appointed seat numbers. Presumably it's no accident how these numbers of seats and whether elected or appointed has been established.

Wikimedia 12:54 PM : maybe discuss the quetions of the chat from Robert

Bachounda Mohammed 12:54 PM : @adel on aura 6 semaines a partir d'aujourd'hui - pour discuter et expliquer

rien n'est décidé c'est la raison de ces reunions   - pour ecouter la communauté et collecter toutes les propositions et les inquétudes

Robert Alvarez 12:54 PM : No doubt there was legal advice as to exactly how that changes governance.

Dariusz Jemielniak 12:54 PM : @Robert - we have been super dilligent to make sure that the proportion of community seats is not diminished, if that's what you're asking

Maggie Dennis 12:55 PM : Thank you, all. :) Off to my next meeting! :)

Nanour Garabedian 12:56 PM : Thank you

Robert Alvarez 12:56 PM : Perhaps you could also now publish the legal advice. Thanks for the consultation.

Denis Barthel 12:56 PM : Thanks everybody for participating!

Adel Nehaoua 12:56 PM : merci bye

Stella Agbley 12:56 PM : Thank you too .bye

Bachounda Mohammed 12:56 PM : merci   adel   --  pour tout


This is an automatic transcript. The team has edited it only slightly and many mistakes still remain. We welcome corrections.

[00:09:55] Yes, hello, I'm Mykola from Wikimedia Ukraine. I have a simple question. You are saying that the things you are looking for are skills and diversity. But why is there is, there is a strong, these are community seats. These are not appointed seats. Appointed seats are for skills and diversity, community seats are for representing community. Community seats are for people who have specific views that match the views of the community, who are being elected on specific program and who would be working to implement some specific ideas. So how would you, why don't you say that the people we are talking about should represent the community and the community should also have a say on their views, on their opinions and on the ways they would be moving the Foundation forward. Well, how would we capture this aspect, and why it's completely missing in what you're looking for at the moment?

[00:11:10] Oh, yeah, I can dig that, I guess. First of all, I disagree with the idea that the community-elected Board members, this is my own feeling, my own view, not the board shared sentiment, because we didn't discuss it in detail.

[00:11:28] But I don't think we should stick to the idea of representation. It's not the union's.

[00:11:36] The board is responsible for governance, strategy, finance, lots of things of the organization. So instead of seeing it as half of the Board should be just representatives, half should be competent, I would perceive it differently. As many as possible Board members should have excellent understanding of the community and should have excellent top world skills that are needed for an organization of this sort. So ideally, we should have a diverse board with people who have high skills, expertise, experience and community understanding. Also community trust, of course. But my personal view, again, just me, I think we should aim we should try to get as far as possible to the ideal. Also, it means also that the so-called expert seats, they should bring skills, diversity, experience, excellence, but also ideally community understanding, understanding of our values, understanding open source, open knowledge and everything else.

[00:12:41] So I would I I disagree with the sentiment that this is just the representation part and the experts contradicting each other.

[00:12:51] I'm sorry, can I clarify my question, what I'm saying is not that they are exclusive. What I'm saying is that when we are looking for the community seats, they are not we should not be looking only for skills and only for diversity, but we should also look for representation that we don't want to elect people who are not representative of the community views. But community views might say here is a person who has, who is an expert in finance and come in from Africa, the person who is a perfect, diverse profile for the Foundation. But we don't want to vote for this person who is expert in finance and for Africa because we are not satisfied with their views. But instead, we want to vote for someone else who might also be an expert in finance from Africa, but who might have views which correspond more to what community's looking for.

[00:13:47] Mykola, if you're saying, if you're talking about cultural alignment, I'm - No, not cultural, not cultural at all. Cultural - If I may, cultural alignment in terms of understanding our values, understanding what the movement has at heart. This is the cultural alignment. And this, I entirely agree it's important, super important. That's, that's why I think we should be discussing this with ways for the community to voice their important opinion. Not necessarily through direct voting, but voice its super important opinion, but we cannot at this stage of development, I don't think we can afford to have half of the board without skills possibly, without diversity possibly. So I think we need to, absolutely nobody is discarding this alignment. This fact that, we need people who have our values. This is super important. But what I would say we need people with these values as experts too. Nevertheless, we need skills, we need expertise, we need diversity.

[00:14:53] Ok, that makes sense, but, I mean, can we can we avoid getting to start just at the beginning? Yes, yes. Yes, of course we can.

[00:15:00] Hopefully, we will have time to just go deeper on all the questions just to give opportunity to others.

[00:15:07] Benjamin raised his hand afterwards.

[00:15:09] There have been some questions in the chat in French. Maybe I can translate them.

[00:15:17] Hey, guys.

[00:15:21] Benjamin, yeah, so somewhat similar question to Mykola's, I guess. I ask, does the board feel that its current composition is lacking and in terms of skills or diversity, I mean, I guess, Dariusz, do feel that you don't have the necessary skills? And I mean, I guess when I look at the the community-sourced seats, it's not. Obviously, we're not diverse on every axis, but I see three women, two men, from four different continents, native speakers of five different languages. So by some measures I would have thought that we were doing well. But I guess could you just speak a little more to the exact concerns and what this is?

[00:16:10] Yeah, if you asking me about answer and then I'll shut up. Of course, they have all possible skills in the world, I'm super, thanks for asking. But honestly, we need to stand on the shoulders of giants. Every next generation has to be better. I think we need our board to get better and better because we are a bigger and bigger organization with huge resources, huge movement that we need to really help. So my view is we shouldn't focus on diversity just within community seats. We need diversity on the board as a whole, and we need skills and expertise on the board as the whole. From this point of view, I think it is imperative that we focus on not just on being good at winning elections because it's super political, but we also focus on the fact that people have expertise, have skills, understand our values and are diverse. Overall, of course, including the expert seats.

[00:17:03] I wonder if there's other board members who want to bring other opinions so people don't get the impression that there is is the person in charge of I guess you understand what I mean? No, not yet. Just the.

[00:17:20] This is Esra'a here, just chiming in real quick to say that the expertise will also fluctuate, so it won't just be this is the one expertise we're looking for, but it's the expertise sought-after will also be prioritized based on the strategic outputs of the Foundation. In case that helps.

[00:17:37] So thematically, that might change. Sometimes the expertise required will be more on the technical side, more on the community side, product development, security, privacy, legal expertise, for example, finance. It would really depend on the composition and then based on the gaps missing to make sure that as many skill sets to successfully steer the Foundation will be represented.

[00:18:11] Naruto.

[00:18:17] I don't know yet. I have to question from Adella Endecott, so the first one is he want to know what is what is the main area of this?

[00:18:40] I think the question, a venture saying that perhaps the question is unclear because it's the current criteria, if these are explained somewhere else and maybe I don't know if it's the right time to to provide this explanation, but then if the question is what what are the criteria that that the board has in mind, then that would be a legal precedent?

[00:19:04] Yeah, yeah. I think I would tell you that. Right.

[00:19:18] [Speaking French]

[00:20:21] Okay, merci, so I will translate. So he wants to know what is the main criteria we need to take account for this election? You know, if someone is okay to apply and how the community can see on which criteria the community can be, it's to select people for.

[00:20:45] The thing is that this is exactly the point of this call for feedback. There are some criteria's now, but those criterias now are being questioned. And we don't have we have the board hasn't decided new criteria. We have no idea how similar, how different they are going to be in the future. So this is exactly the point of this call for feedback. There's several ideas in the in the page that someone can share here again. Some ideas here to be discussed. But, yeah, right now this is last question is so good that this is exactly the question of the call for feedback in this in these six weeks of discussion.

[00:21:28] [Speaking French]

[00:22:49] So the second question then is how can we make sure that some people are representing the community and other people are representing the affiliate?

[00:23:05] Is that if if there is a differentiation right now.

[00:23:17] Well, I think it's given matter so we can let let me let me turn this question.

[00:23:23] So do any of the board members want to share their views or opinions about how how the representation of individual contributors and affiliates might look like in the in the future if you want? But I think that this is how we could interpret this discussion in the context of the call for feedback.

[00:23:49] I would say there's quite a number of proposals on Meta already, including non-direct voting, but through a community-run committee, through different ways of assessing skills, diversity, coming back to the community with elections or two-stage elections. So it's a huge pot of ideas at this moment. I think we were basically asking what you hate most and what you love most and what else have we missed?

[00:24:24] Ok.

[00:24:30] If we can move on because we are getting too stuck in this point and I know there's other people in the queue, none to yes, I would ask a voter if the person that is not above the type of selection or nomination, if a person has like a lack of, for example, in points like a security of her, has not the chance to be in a global community, but is a person that his local community trust in that person. There is not the kind of training that can the Foundation provide this person to be able to be in the level of to be in the board. So if we think about that, there are so many cultures and community that they cannot have the possibility to be in the global level. So we will wait them to go there or the foundation we go there to bring them to the foundation board level.

[00:25:43] Thank you.

[00:26:02] Does anyone want to take this question?

[00:26:07] I think the more I just not want to occupy this moment, just two answers, absolutely, we need those people. This is exactly what the diversity is for, also to see people who do not have the chance even to run the extra mile, but one way or the other that we have not discussed around the elections. But I think it's super important is that the foundation should provide, and this is my personal opinion, nothing coming from the board. I have been passionate about it over the years. We should provide a systematic system of training for leadership and this strategy to leaders of our movement, local leaders and affiliates will benefit from it. The board will benefit. Everybody will benefit. The whole movement will benefit from this.

[00:26:47] So this is sort of addressing this outside of the election question.

[00:26:54] I would just went back and say that, you know, completely agree and and I think it will be a critical way for us to lower the barrier of entry to this level and not base selection on existing expertise on board management levels.

[00:27:10] Also, because as it relates to the context of a lot of global south countries, many people simply don't have those opportunities to begin with. So so I think that's a very critical point to to keep bringing on the table at the board level.

[00:27:31] And if there is this kind of training, I think there will be more that, in French it's [??], to prepare these people to be, if for one cannot continue so

[00:27:49] the second one is already ready to take the place. So that's my point.

[00:28:02] Thank you. Lane Rasberry has a case to send.

[00:28:09] Yes, I'd like to speak for a few minutes and just drop some points, I don't know if they can all be addressed, so I've read - My name is Lane Rasberry, User:Bluerasberry. I'm with Wiki LGBT and I was on the committee for the Affiliate Selected Board Seats election for the past two election cycles, and I followed the elections and I know what's happening here. So on the Meta page, the biggest change that I see. So I respect the board's interest in changing the selection election process. I can respect and understand that. But the biggest issue is it's not on the page. And what I see in this text is the transfer of control of the board selection process from the community, mostly to the Wikimedia Foundation. And that's what alarms and concerns me the most. The trust and support of the volunteer community is the source of the success and stability of the Wikimedia movement. And I feel like by changing this process, you're risking the trust and respect that the Wikimedia community has for the Wikimedia Foundation. I have five particular requests. I'm just going to throw them out briefly. What I would ask of you, the board, is to, whatever the consequences and whatever changes you make, please confirm that the Wikimedia community consensus process will always be the highest authority in selecting who gets to be on the majority of seats of the board, whether it's selection, election, whatever else. Number two thing that I request is I would like a board member to always talk directly to Wikimedia community members, whether selection election happens one way or the other.

[00:29:59] In previous elections, I was on the committee. The board relied on the Wikimedia Foundation paid staff person to be liaison between the committee and the board. And I don't think that's a reliable way to transmit information. The board should hear directly from Wikimedia community consensus and not rely on paid staff. Number three, I would like the board to remove Wikimedia Foundation staff and consultants from any part of designing the selection process. And here's the heart of the problem. The Wikimedia Foundation has a hundred million dollars in revenue and spending, and depending on who sits on the board, that determines who in the Wikimedia Foundation gets their projects funded versus who gets laid off and doesn't get funded. Because of this large amount of money that's now in our movement, there's a certain number of intrigues and political gaming that paid staff of the Wikimedia Foundation are using donor money to influence what kind of conversations the Wikimedia community has and to intervene in how the community has conversations about ethics and values. The fourth thing that I would ask is instead of investing so much money in Wikimedia Foundation staff and facilitators to organize all these parts of the selection process, please grant a budget to Wikimedia community volunteers to organize these conversations themselves. Based on the available public evidence,

[00:31:32] There is no money allocated to Wikimedia community members to make their own decisions, to participate in these conversations you're having right now. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have gone into the research and staff funding process of this process so far, with none of that money going directly into Wikimedia community hands. The fifth and last thing that I request of you is to encourage the Wikimedia community to speak freely without hindrance. It's a common occurrence that staff of the Wikimedia Foundation ask for favors that Wikimedia community members do not discuss certain difficult issues or to be quiet about different things. This is especially true of people in the developing world, and there's a common perception that if someone in an underserved community or from the developing world gets in an argument with a Wikimedia Foundation staff person or disagrees with what they're saying, then their entire community and culture will be cut off from funding. They won't be eligible for grants, they won't get access to conferences, and they will just not speak up publicly, freely. If you would just take Wikimedia Foundation staff out of all conversations about values and ethics, these problems would not come up so frequently. I know I've laid out a lot here. I don't expect you to respond to it all. But I wanted to tell you. Thank you for hearing me out.

[00:33:02] He was a lot indeed, but even if I think it's difficult to just address everything now at the very least, and I see at least I had their finger raised, I don't know if that was any indication. But I also want to say, because there's been a lot been a lot has been said that, yeah, I'm happy to continue with these conversations, even if there's no time today to address them.

[00:33:24] Just, one brief comment, maybe two brief comments. Lane, we've known each other for probably over a decade, well over a decade. I personally, I hear you. I appreciate that you're sharing this sentiment, I disagree with a lot of what you're observing. I that's not my experience as a trustee, but I also appreciate the fact I understand that you may have a different and still valid perspective. Regarding the first two points about the communication. I think there is value in staff supporting, volunteering, unpaid board members in some communication, but I also personally, I hate the fact that they have.

[00:34:08] Yes, of course. Sorry, folks, but I think I took a few minutes and I really think. That there should be more communication coming from the Board. And I think the trustees is definitely coming across more.

[00:34:30] I agree with you there that there should be more that probably something in between regarding the fact that the volunteers should have resources to run this conversation.

[00:34:40] I would say maybe. It's very difficult to coordinate most of the funding for such things goes to the affiliates. They do have resources, but I agree that maybe there should be more process. I hate to say it's very difficult to organize a worldwide conversation run by volunteers because it is just staff. But we probably should try harder. Agree.

[00:35:16] That is Othmar. More returns and more questions from the chat.

[00:35:24] Maybe someone else has a question in its heart.

[00:35:30] There's one clarification I want to make, so I don't know when you talk about staff members involved in the design of I just want to make clear, I don't know if you meant this or not, but I want to make it clear to everyone that the team that is running this call for feedback, we are not involved in the design of anything. We are organizing conversations like this one. We are helping others organize their own conversations. We are taking note of this. We are writing reports that are public. We are consolidating reports in our main report that will be delivered to the board. But none of us, if we have opinions about how things should be done, we keep them to ourselves. I just want to make clear this.

[00:36:16] Can you clarify who wrote the text on the page like all these proposals and things, list of the issues. The board.

[00:36:26] I can clarify that it's been it started in the governance committee and it was iterated. We definitely did have staff support for wording, many of the board members are not native speakers. But so we did have we did have communication support in wording, but every single sentence could be voted on. And the committee has the grip over it.

[00:36:56] I really want to be clear on this, there hasn't been, none of us that's been there saying to should the quotas be you know, I want to be, and I bring examples, like we staff members haven't been designing this. We are working on making sure that all these ideas and whatever other ideas come are known through the movement, that the movement is aware that this conversation is happening and that they participate. And we are also responsible of making a fair summary of all these conversations and have it available in multiple languages. That is our job here and responding because I also feel responsible for the the work this this team is doing.

[00:37:52] Mahato.

[00:37:54] Yep, I have a question from the dotcom crash, and then I want to know what will be the next steps in the planning process.

[00:38:10] I can answer to the steps within the call for feedback briefly, and then if someone from the board wants to explain what are the expected steps after that. So during, we just started yesterday, the call for feedback. We said we are right now already contacting different wiki projects, different affiliates, and we are doing our best starting all these conversations all over the place. On a weekly basis, we are going to publish a weekly report trying to summarize what is going on. We are going to be updating the the different pages with summaries of of the current the current discussions so people don't have to be watching 17 pages at once every morning. And then on March 14th is there is the closure of the official time of the call for feedback. In the meantime, we will be drafting a report also openly, and this report will be finalized and delivered to the board. That is the scope of the call for feedback, and that is the scope of the work that this team of facilitators is doing right now. What happens after that then? It's up to the board. From our point of view.

[00:39:37] Lane, you still have your hand raised or do you have a second?

[00:39:45] It's OK, I try to talk about it later.

[00:39:55] What I got was what I can also explain, maybe it's useful because it's part of a known calendar this year, there's three new community and affiliate selected seats that have been approved. They are these are new seats and someone will have to sit there and there's no process for that at all. So a process will need to be defined for these three three seats. And there's also the renewal of the three so-called community seats that that were due last year. But because last year was even crazier than usual or in his mind that they're in the process of of renewal was postponed to this year.

[00:40:47] Nicola.

[00:40:49] Yes, so I want to ask another question, do we really will be having the end approval of the final process by the community and by the affiliates? Because we are talking about community in the affilate-selected seats and will be have some sort of confirmation in the end that the community and the affiliates are active in the new process.

[00:41:22] If the question is whether there is a process established for assuring that the majority of the community or the majority of the affiliates is most happy with the solution, my understanding is we have not established such a process yet.

[00:41:37] I mean, probably to ask the question otherwise will support make a proposal to the community to say, like, that's what we said, yes, please vote if you're happy with the proposal, both for the community and for the affiliates, which is option one. And the second option is that the board says that what we have decided is, are you accept as a community and affiliates or you basically exclude yourself from the process if you don't want to participate in it.

[00:42:08] Again, I don't think it's it's decided what the process is going to look like yet. Historically, whenever the organization or the board went very much against the community's wishes, it always backfires.

[00:42:23] My, my, my feeling is that we were trying to go the extra mile, ask people what you really think. Find the best ideas. And we don't really know. It's not that we have like a proposal we would love secretly to sneak in and have all the trustees want. And we just want to know the rubber stamp feedback from you. We're looking for ideas. We know what the problem is. We're going to do what the solution is.

[00:42:51] Thank you, and we'll return.

[00:42:54] Yes, actually.

[00:43:00] You are not.

[00:43:04] Sorry, I was thinking about, yeah, what is the better election or nominate or is this one or the both together? But I then I said to myself, the the majority of, I don't say majority, the big part of communities is they are not from Western or European communities. And the concept of election at nomination is so difficult for us. So in the first point is every members or contributor, they know how they can give their opinion about the election.

[00:43:49] This is a big question also that I'm sure that in many, many communities we we don't do it. We we don't have it. We don't know exactly how could be. So how can we ask them to which one is better and which one you prefer. And so.

[00:44:16] It's more than just this.

[00:44:24] If I can just echo this thought, because I'm working, so we have facilitator's from uncapping, talking about them because, you know, it's something that we knew we have. But of course, I will not going to say anything that is not familiar to you. We have facilitator's from Manila to Missouri, even between us, it is very clear. And all of these people are volunteers with years of experience in the movement and they are talking with our communities. And things are not as simple as let's discuss until we agree or let's work on consensus. When when we are saying things like this, there's a lot of assumptions behind of how you participate, how how consensus is built. And it's just that not only that different regions of the world are used to different ways to reach to positions. It's also that even within our own my own Western societies, there's many groups who actually don't participate equally in these conversations. So it's really it's a really complex point. And I just want to thank the North because, yes, it is it is way deeper. And this is why this problem is so hard to solve.

[00:45:48] Nicola.

[00:45:55] Lowered his hand.

[00:45:59] Is there anyone who hasn't said anything I'm stepping on, I just want to encourage if there's anyone who hasn't said anything yet, we would love to hear more, more opinions, more and more questions. There's a lot of activity in the chat that we should just go back to chatting. Can you can someone that is writing in the TED comment, what list can someone explain what is being discussed? I was maybe it seems to be interesting conversation.

[00:46:54] It's partially in French and the discussion ongoing between David and Robert and Natalia. And on the board, the restructuring of the board and the. And the conditions are what happened up to now.

[00:47:22] Competition in the Fresh Air Show was about how we have spectators going to lead conversations here, so our opinion that we are just fascinated everyone is free to give these points and what you want to back and maybe on the talk page, maybe Telegram group, by the way, during our meetings.

[00:47:50] Yeah, and to be clear, if you want to have a conversation in your community, of course you can do it on your own, if you want to have support from us to just organize it, write a report, bring the report even translated to English if he was in another language, this is why we are here for we are we want to hear from everyone, not just who made it, not only that 30 who made it today in this call, but I mean. Many, many more discussing in whatever ways they feel more comfortable to speak up.

[00:48:36] Anything else or do you prefer to finish earlier?

[00:48:57] As as the presenter of this meeting, I'm in a situation I don't think I found myself before, which is a meeting that is silent, but there's a lot of activity in the chat, so I feel bad about calling it. So I welcome your feedback. What do you prefer to do? In any case, it's five minutes before the official end of the call. And just as a reminder, if anyone wants to stay around and maybe talk in a more cozy, casual way, we are going. Some of us are going to have to stay here longer.

[00:49:40] Well, I'll just make a transition in respecting everybody's time since we have the silent. I think we can end the official meeting here. But as I said, if anyone wants to stay around, we are going to talk about we are going to stay around here.

[00:49:58] We have been about 30 people today. This is the first meeting a few hours ago. There was also about 30 people, which is good. And we still have a third meeting to today. And we are going to publish a set video transcription minutes of all this and it will be integrated in our report. Thank you, everyone, for your participation. And let's continue this. This has only started.