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

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This report is based on the 2015 and 2017 postmortems of the Wikimedia Foundation Elections, containing various feedback of community members. As the postmortems contain some valuable input to the Call for Feedback: community board seats this report has been written on it.

As most paragraphs are not directly related to the current Call for Feedback, they have been dismissed in this context. In case you are interested in these, please check the Postmortems itself. As always: in case you miss something in this report, please address your issue on the talk page, we will reconsider the report then.

2015 postmortem[edit]

Outreach[edit]

Some community members referred to the effect of the early presence of many translations and strong outreach campaigns especially in the Italian and the Ukrainian Wikipedias. In sum they caused a way higher diversity of candidates and voters alike:

“the 2015 candidates came from a much wider range of projects, geographic locations and native languages, and the voter participation from projects outside of the main language groups is significantly higher than ever before.” (Risker)

Cultural differences in voting[edit]

In a short exchange of view points Pundit and Risker addressed the topic of voting behaviours in the classical Support/Neutral/Oppose-system. They referred especially on the will to “Oppose” throughout regions and cultures, thus same votes from different regions might have different meanings, though being counted the same way.

2017 postmortem[edit]

Single transferable vote[edit]

Chris Keating spent in his election review a full paragraph on the current voting system compared to a preference voting system, recommending a Single Transferable Vote system as it might lead to a less “homogenous result” and “much better at reflecting the whole community”.

Strongest Wikipedia community reinforces itself[edit]

A discussion started from a critical remark on the requirement of Board members to speak English. The participants agreed in the need to revise this, treating it as an exemplary case of exclusionary structures.

Weaknesses of the Support/Neutral/Oppose-system[edit]

Along with the postmortem, a separate report was provided, collecting further feedback on the election from other sources. It recommends to make

"use of a new system for the next cycle, since there are several flaws with the current system:

  • It encourages "tactical voting" since an oppose vote is far more powerful than a support vote. This means that, in theory, a candidate with 999 supports and one oppose vote (99.9%) would still lose to a candidate with 200 support votes and no oppose votes (100%).
  • This weighting of votes in opposition also means that reelection can be especially difficult, which in turn leads to unstable, fluid boards. (This is not necessarily a bad thing and did not impact the result this year.)
  • The current system renders "neutral" votes essentially useless, which is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on what the neutral votes are intended to signify."