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Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees/Call for feedback: Community Board seats/Reports/2021-02-15 Conversation with WALRUS

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2021-02-15 Conversation with WALRUS


Comments on Ideas

  • Ranked voting
    • might encourage more people to run.
    • Elections are important.
    • If it is one person per vote there could be a lot of dominance for larger groups.
  • Quotas
    • People on the call expressed interest in regional quotas more than quotas based on identity.
    • One person said Portland (Oregon) has for many years had a policy about gender balance on representative bodies.
  • Call for types of skills and experiences
    • The appointed seats should be used to fill in the gaps for skills and experience
    • It would be nice to have someone who understands the software-side of things on the Board.
  • Regional seats
    • Regional seats and rotating seats (like some UN bodies) seem like good opportunities.
    • Community-elected seats have largely been from North America and Europe. There are different ways to approach diversity - maybe temporary quotas.
    • The Philippines has a large community and has not yet had a person on the Board.
  • Specialization seats
    • This seems like a good idea but it's too complicated for this first round. Maybe look at this again after the Global Council is in place.

New Ideas

  • What about splitting the seats and having 3 directly elected and 3 split amongst regions not represented?


  • Diversity
    • Diversity and competence are things we want.
    • Engage more people in running for the Board.
    • Maybe we should focus on regional diversity for now and other ideas like skills later.
    • Acknowledgement that white, cisgender, heterosexual males are not diversity and "we need to get people who don't look like us"
  • More clarity needed:
    • Definitions are needed (like what does diversity mean in this context?)
    • Clearly state what the problem is.
    • Board of Trustees is supposed to be the governing board but perhaps with the Global Council they can become the upper house of a bicameral legislature.
  • Training and election campaign support would be helpful.
  • Elections are favored.
  • It'd be valuable to compare Creative Commons, Mozilla, NPR, and other approaches to governance in these chapter/HQ organizations
  • The future of elections
    • It would be nice to have a validation process for people voting in elections.
    • Several people mentioned elections are the only way. It seems some people think elections are going to be removed from the process. One person said the following:
“Getting rid of the conventional election system is a one way process. It’s a transfer of power from the community to the Wikimedia Foundation -shutting off money to the community and they have $200 million themselves. Wikimedia Foundation staff are becoming like Mozilla and NPR - all kinds of corporate contracts. There is no coherent theory of why we need to get rid of elections. I am extremely worried about corporate takeover. This is an insane transfer of power. There is no community demand to get rid of this. This is an action of propaganda. This is the end of the Wikimedia movement if we get rid of elections. Eight of the board members are against elections.”
Another person responded: “They have a strong opinion but it’s justified even though it’s not something we can prove.”

CfF process feedback

  • Why are we giving feedback? The Board is unresponsive to community feedback.