Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Post Analysis

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Question selection issues[edit]

First up of several wash-up areas that occur to me: with question selection being an obvious first one. Per this thread and others on the same page, there are several issues that occur here: Nosebagbear (talk) [Duped to "Questions to Candidates" on the Post-Mortem page as that is where discussion has been occurring]

Odd question selection[edit]

The questions selected did not include the large majority of the most-endorsed questions by the actual Community. Multiple questions with no endorsements were included. The thread, as well as complaints I've seen elsewhere, also feels that a significant number of "soft-ball" questions were included, vs more critical other questions.


Question non-transparency[edit]

This involves two main facets:

  1. That participants were not aware that question selection would occur, as the phrasing used was "collating"
  2. That no reasoning was provided for which questions were selected, not selected, and that specific number

I should also note that it was indicated that much of the methodology for this election was stated to come off the 2017 set-up. Except that one also had similar complaints about transparency on "collation" raised, so I'm not sure how a functionally identical recurrence happened.


Question Numbers[edit]

While the question reduction was covered by @JKoerner (WMF): as avoiding overwhelming candidates, 11 questions seems very few to someone who must have sufficient time to act as a good-communicating Board member, and a long-run in. While I could understand some limit (if made obvious from the start), it must be much higher than what it was.


ElectCom concerns/communication[edit]

Immediately after the above question selection, @TomDotGov:, plus numerous others, raised concerns about it, asking ElectCom to explain their choices, as well as discuss amending them etc. As far as I can see, none responded, even to confirm awareness of the issues.

2 weeks later, on the 16th July, I pinged each member of ElectCom and two of their permanent WMF advisors (as distinct from JKoerner, who was a specific BOT-election facilitator, and communicative throughout, within the areas they felt it appropriate for WMF staff to comment on). On the 17th July, another editor dropped a note on ElectCom's talk page.

Further communication attempts were made, including another request on their talk page to respond.

None of these would gather a response. Discussion with JKoerner indicated she could understand our irritation with non-responsiveness, and beyond the methods utilised by myself and others, couldn't offer a logical other communication attempt to try prior to conclusion of the election I unfortunately do not have a new solution for you. The only suggestions I have for reaching out are ways you have already reached out

Ultimately, on the 21st August I tried reaching out through the Community Affairs and Board Governance Board subcommittees. With this I garnered an impressively quick initial response by @Shani (WMF):, and some well-informed discussion, but was neither able to resolve the issues nor, as of this post, confirm reasoning for the non-responsiveness.

Given the 9 week timescale, I'm not sure what the lack of response, from some well-experienced editors on Electcom, was due to. Obviously in the close-run period there would be on-going demands on their time, but not full-time when the concerns were first raised and especially to the tune of no member even noting the presence of major concerns. Nosebagbear (talk) 19:02, 7 September 2021 (UTC)[]