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Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees/Call for feedback: Community Board seats/Reports/2021-03-06 WMF Elections Committee

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Conversational Report
Wikimedia Foundation elections committee - 6 March 2021





The objective of the meeting was to talk to members of the Elections Committee to collect their thoughts, feedback and questions, on the proposed ideas for candidates for community-sourced seats on the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.

Topics and Notes


Feedback on specific ideas

Ranked voting system
  • One member thinks that we could move for a Ranked Voting System but is still debatable what kind of system to put in place.
  • One member argues that with quotas, you would have a problem where later on, the members elected under a quota are seen as less legitimized to be part of the board.
  • A member considers that unless you have a system of short-term rotation it is not possible to cover all the diversity of our movement with quotas.

Vetting of candidates

  • A member considers that this idea is a necessity at this point and definitely needs to happen at the start of the campaign, rather than the end.
Board-delegated selection committee
  • One member considers that with this type of idea, you end up having the same problem of diversity in the board, except now is the selection committee’s problem to solve.
  • A member assesses that a hypothetical selection committee might cause important disagreements, seen as taking power away to the community.
Community-elected selection committee
  • One member argued that if you have a diversity problem in the selection committee, that might affect the outcome of an election.

Election of confirmed candidates

  • A member doesn’t know how this idea differs from what is happening right now.

Direct appointment of confirmed candidates

  • One member reflects on this idea and thinks that while the movement is moving away from direct elections, there are some very strong opinions out there that argued that the final voice is in the hands of the community, so in theory, this idea could work.
  • One member considers that with the direct appointment of confirmed candidates, you end up stripping some functions that the community understands are theirs.
Regional seats
  • One member thinks that there is a lot of problems in having regional seats. Instead, it is better to have a regional with specialization seat with a rotation between regions. For example, region A will have open a seat on technical skills, the following year the region B would have the same seat open.

Specialization seats

  • One member considers that instead of having specialization seats, it might work to open a search for people based on requirements previously set to target both diversity and specialization. In the end, you’re going to elect some form of diversity. You can’t guarantee is going to be someone for the global south or LGTB+ community, but you guaranteed some of those criteria to be met, and you can change that criteria in every other election.
Candidate resources
  • Both members think that this idea would be only beneficial for future elections.