Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question3
Gerard Meijssen (GerardM)
Board members are typically chosen for a special ability. They then take on their role and consequently given the requirements of their position they are not at liberty to be open about everything. My “platform” is opening up our data to a public. I will be particularly interested in learning what we can do to do better and seek attention for what might work.
Dariusz Jemielniak (Pundit)
That's a tough one. Trustees need to be listening, but cannot talk much prematurely - as the Board work requires not making statements or promises individually, before a collective decision is made. Such declarations make it more difficult to persuade the whole Board to doing the right thing. Nevertheless, in my tenure I've made attempts to be responsive and open to questions, and to monitor the ongoing discussions in the common channels. However, I still believe that we should do better in terms of communication and solve an important problem: how to know if several voices of concern represent the community? As I wrote in my statement, I strongly believe we should develop tools and modalities for aggregated feedback and decision making. Pundit (talk) 11:14, 7 July 2021 (UTC)
Lionel Scheepmans (Lionel Scheepmans)
As far as I am concerned, the first question I will ask if I am elected member of the board of directors is to know under what condition I can always continue to contribute to Wikimedia projects. I still believe it is the best way to keep in touch with the reality experienced by the publishing community. For the rest and at the communication level from the board of directors to the communities, this must be done in a formal and concerted manner, certainly with the help of competent people at the employee level. On the other hand, I would always be available to forward relevant requests or comments from the members of the community to the board of directors.
Reda Kerbouche (Reda Kerbouche)
in my case I will always be available on all communication platforms on the one hand and I will consider doing live as I sometimes do now, to discuss the themes which are the most important at the moment. my participation in the different event is also a great opportunity to be part of the community.
I am always involved in projects or contests related to publishing or photo activities. this will give me the opportunity to be among everyone. you can see my contributions to understand that I participate in several projects at the same time.
Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight (Rosiestep)
If I am elected to the Board, I won’t be able to speak up and address topics as an individual, but I will: --Rosiestep (talk) 00:43, 9 July 2021 (UTC)
- ... continue to attend community-led meetings, e.g. SWAN;
- ... continue to attend movement strategy events;
- ... resign from the Affiliations Committee (AffCom) where I currently serve as Chair and will request appointment as one of the Board Liaisons to AffCom so that I can continue to be mindful of Affiliates' challenges and points of view;
- ... continue to edit Wikipedia/Wikidata/Wikimedia Commons and follow the conversations of editors and editing communities, e.g. Village Pump, Wikimedia-l, Facebook’s Wikipedia Weekly.
Mike Peel (Mike Peel)
In general I think the more communication between the WMF Board (and the WMF in general) and the community, the better. Formally, there are the WMF Board minutes and resolutions, which I would like to see more detailed and better communicated (e.g., announcement emails when they are posted on-wiki). Informally, there is a WMF Board noticeboard that I would be active at, as well as being generally open to questions (user talk page etc.), and of course, continuing to be active in the editing community. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 09:32, 5 July 2021 (UTC)
Adam Wight (Adamw)
Reading the current Board handbook, I was surprised to find that communicating with volunteers is not part of the expected duties, rather we will be given summarized information prepared by staff and committees, and then asked to communicate decisions to community members—I would like to change that. Although our organization lacks the legal structure to call this an election, I will still treat this role as if I were an elected representative, and I will listen and respond to volunteers the same as I do fellow Board members, and give them similar amounts of time.
My preferred venue would be weekly IRC office hours, rotating the time each week to be more available to different parts of the globe. Text would be ideal for reducing the language barrier, and to make it possible to hear from each participant and not just the loudest or most articulate. The discussions would be kept public. Perhaps other Board members might like to use a similar format, and we could share a time slot as Waltercolor suggests.
I will push to open the WMF Board meetings to the public, broadcast them live, and create a dedicated time slot in which we engage directly with volunteers.
Vinicius Siqueira (Vini 175)
The role of the Board will possibly change as we ratify the Movement Charter and establish a Global Council, and consequently the way trustees connect with the community might also change. The community will possibly have an increasing role in devising the Wikimedia strategy, and it is especially important therefore to have trustees that are good at working collaboratively with the movement.
My hope is that communication between trustees and the community becomes more frequent and more empowering. From this perspective, we need a better design for WMF-community interaction. Poorly conveyed proposals are more prone to unleash fierce opposition and even generate enduring disruption and mistrust among stakeholders. When faced with a high amount of on-wiki opposition, processes should be paused and thought over by the WMF.--Vinicius Siqueira (talk) 02:26, 9 July 2021 (UTC)
Yao Eliane Dominique (Yasield)
As a member of the Board of Trustees who works for the well-being of communities, the minimum would be to listen to them in one way or another. Several platforms can be used. Mailing lists, social networks which are now becoming essential in terms of communication. I think that all the elected members of the Council should connect more often to the communication platforms of the communities in order to know their reality and their daily life in terms of projects, innovations and "Wiki" needs. Council members could also participate in local events organized by communities from time to time in order to be close to them.
Douglas Ian Scott (Discott)
In my view connecting with the community is a vital part of this position. Community and affiliate elected board seats on the board is one of the most important and direct connections the WMF has with the community. Without that strong connection to the community the board is more likely to make decisions that run counter to the needs and values of the community. That is why communication between elected board members and the community is so important.
Although it might not be an official requirement of this position to act as an elected representative the reality is, and should be, that anyone siting on the board in one of the board seats subject to this electoral process is directly accountable to the community. As such, should I be elected, I will always act with such direct accountability to the community. Some of the requirements of board membership unfortunately limits feedback from board members to the rest of the community. However board members can always, and very importantly, listen to community members. Board members can also clarify the thinking of the board on certain issues. I will also advocate for clearer publicly aviable board minuets so that the board's decision making process is more transparent.
- Continue to attend community and affiliate meetings (community meetings, SWAN, etc.)
- Closely follow online community discussions
- Open door policy for community members in the form of a twice weekly sessions so those in different times zones can attend
- Attend the strategy sessions
Pascale Camus-Walter (Waltercolor)
When someone is elected, he/she is no longer a candidate. This Board is a collective of 16 persons and has to make decisions and impulse a strategy. Some points are discussed in the Board and adopted by the majority, so it may not reflect the point of view of individuals. It may be frustrating but it is not a direct assembly decision like in a community. But I believe the 8 community elected members of the Board can form a group and meet together to discuss points and communicate regularly and collectively with the community. --Waltercolor (talk) 10:15, 9 July 2021 (UTC)
Iván Martínez (ProtoplasmaKid)
It seems to me that the connection should be under a permanent listening model, following conversations permanently in the usual channels. Likewise, to create specific listening channels in languages other than English. It is necessary that the members of the Board of Directors, after being elected, lose the halo of being authority and for that reason involuntarily distance themselves from the community. We don't see board members coming back to edit frequently, to join events and it is understandable because of how one can reconcile work, volunteering and life outside of it. Having numerically more people on the Board will help distribute the work of the table.
I also think there is a need to know more about how the board behaves. We need to know how it performs and whether the proposals that were placed by candidates were ultimately fulfilled. Personally, if there are decisions that I do not agree with or there are items that I cannot make a decision on, I will not hesitate to say so in public and consider staying on this board.
Victoria Doronina (Victoria)
We need to increase the links and feedback between the board and the communities. The technology allows that now more than ever. I think the Board should have an annual online meeting with communities representatives where Wikimediand can ask questions about the current situation. In addition, each board member, irrespective of “new” or “old,” should hold an individual meeting, probably with broad geographical communities such as North America, South America, etc.--Victoria (talk) 05:53, 7 July 2021 (UTC)
Lorenzo Losa (Laurentius)
I think I understand where this question comes from. As a community member myself, during the years I have sometimes seen good people elected to the board, and just after that disconnect from the community. This is frustrating and puzzling.
Many of us are an active part of the community. The most important thing to do is just to keep things like that. I edit the project and connect with other volunteers on-wiki, via mailing lists, Telegram chats and video calls, and with in-persons meetings and international events like Wikimania (well, not right now because of the coronavirus epidemic!). I intend to keep doing it, as I have been during the last 17 years.
This is the most important thing, but is not enough. When you enter the board, you need to make sure to listen to the widest range of voices, from all across the movement. Ironically - at least in my experience from other boards - at the same time it becomes more difficult to understand some of those voices, because those who have concerns may not feel comfortable in voicing them to you.
I have an appeal, in case I get elected: please talk to me! I need your help to do this. If you see something wrong, or you have an idea relevant to the work of the board, please tell me - please tell the board. I care.
Raavi Mohanty (Raavimohantydelhi)
Since WMF has its presence throughout the globe, adequate representation of all the regions and communities hinges on swift and transparent communication. Effective mechanisms made on the mutual agreement should be made, where the writers and volunteers can put up their individual and collective problems. An annual online seminar of the WMF Board at global level, and a quarterly conducted seminar at regional levels will keep the board abreast with the current issues. Besides this, a virtual dropbox on meta can be created where anyone can post their problems, difficulties, ideas, and feedback. Raavi Mohanty (talk)
Ashwin Baindur (AshLin)
As a candidate, I still remain a community member and editor in my own right, so I am able to take part in the various forms of communication that are available, so that I am both part of the community and aware of community sentiment and activities. Where necessary, input from the community could also be sought on WMF noticeboard on any issue necessary.
The WMF lists a number of ways for community to communicate with it. Should there be a need felt by the community for more or different modes of communication, they could be added as well.
The community has means of contacting the Board members or contacting the Foundation, including the Wikimedia user talk pages of candidates are available for people to initiate contact with them. There are also a variety of forums, mailing lists, social media groups and scheduled discussion forums available, most important of which would be the Board’s own Community Affairs Committee’s email or Office Hours, which should be the preferred mode of communication where possible.
hile the avenues of communication are available, in my case, in addition to normal channels of communication, I would be engaging in outreach with communities that I have not been part of, to institute a dialogue by means of which I hope to learn about their issues and concerns.
Pavan Santhosh Surampudi (Pavan santhosh.s)
I believe the board should be easily accessible to community members through various channels. Having said that, Some roles require connecting and listen to people but restrain from making any promises. WMF board membership is one of such roles.
- My professional experience as a community facing employee and a Single-point of contact for a platform helped me to learn these skills. It requires me to be in touch with users, improve connections with the community, take their feedback, be empathetic, and yet not promise things instantly but channelise the feedback to help decision-making. If I got elected, I would bank on my professional experience and improve this ability further.
- As my statement says I would like to work on improving board relations with the community. This includes improving better communication with the community. There are several communities unheard and left out because of barriers like language, lack of awareness, etc., I am committed to work on establishing communication methods to reducing these barriers and ensure collective voices of communities heard.
--Pavan Santhosh Surampudi (talk) 19:10, 13 July 2021 (UTC)
Ravishankar Ayyakkannu (Ravidreams)
As a community member, I am already available in all community channels including the talk pages, social media platforms, and messaging services. I will be available at regular annual events for the communities and affiliates. I commit to being available to hear the community’s views on any issue.
Farah Jack Mustaklem (Fjmustak)
Being a community selected Trustee means the community has put its trust in that trustee. It would only be appropriate that the Trustee communicate with the community. If selected to the Board, I would make sure to work on increasing the transparency of the Board, and improving community relations. I would welcome any communication from the community, regardless of the channel, official or non-official. --Fjmustak (talk) 23:09, 31 July 2021 (UTC)