Wikimedia Foundation elections/2022/Community Voting/Questions for Candidates/Sorted
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These are the questions from Wikimedia Foundation elections/2022/Community Voting/Questions for Candidates#Proposed Questions sorted by number of endorsements.
Candidates are invited to edit this page with their written answers.
This page does not form part of the formal election process. See discussion for why some candidates are not answering here.
Under what circumstances should the WMF intervene in community affairs?
First, the WMF should respect the autonomy and self-governance of each community. For the most part these lines have been drawn over time and are well established. In general the WMF should be following the communities, not leading. In the case of the most significant intervention in recent years, which was ending the community capture of the Chinese Wikipedia, it was something that had been asked for by community members who were unable to properly participate.
Finally as someone who is both a long-term volunteer and served as WMF staff for eight years, it's important that the WMF maintains a good working relationship with community members. Incidents like superprotect, partial bans, and branding are so problematic not just because of the specific issue in question but because they damage the staff and community relationship in the long run which ends up taking years to rebuild trust. This ends up harming everyone and only sets the movement back. Kunal Mehta / Legoktm (talk) 03:05, 19 August 2022 (UTC)
[Michał Buczyński]: I'm a part of editing communities, affiliates and Wikimedia Foundation Boards, so I love this question. Wikimedia are a big interconnected world of living self-governing communities. Each community needs accountability and leadership and our governance is largely local. Project rules, discussions, administrators Arbcoms [Arbitration Committees], chapters, and it generally works just great. This is our strength and this must be respected. However, global movement brings global responsibilities - legal and ethical. As the movement we need to care about each other. We need to be confident that we do the right things, that our values, our editors, activists and volunteers, our offices, staffers, our readers are safe and taken care well. We need to know if projects are not filled with hoax or bias because we don't want pseudo-science of nazi wikipedia in some language. We need to know if the whole language is real, if our time and money are spent reasonably, if leaders are accountable, if people are treated well, if there are severe internal tensions hurting everyone or if some groups are abused by others. And there must be a process for that. Currently this primary steward is the Wikimedia Foundation partially via its community boards. Language committee, Affcom [Affiliations Committee], formerly the FDC [Funds Dissemination Committee] and now local grants making teams they are giving communities some safety nets. They can intervene when things go very wrong. Of course, one can challenge particular decisions, propose peer interventions, but the Wikimedia Foundation has dedicated volunteers and resources. In the FDC, while accessing plans and granting money, we needed to give feedback and maybe even make some interventions. Once we even raised a large red flag when we received complaints and then confirmed a very strange behavior of a large affiliate executives. I am proud we were first to name the problem and that our work allowed further steps finally helping this affiliate, its volunteers and staffers alike. This is needed. Of course it must be careful, diligent, self-restricted, governed by global communities, but sometimes this is just necessary. In the future when Movement Charter arrives, these factions can be and probably will be split from the Wikimedia Foundation and transferred elsewhere, but for now they need to stay and maybe even be more active.
[Shani Evenstein Sigalov]: Usually I believe the Wikimedia Foundation should not intervene in community affairs and the community is to determine its own processes and governance. This is core to who we are as a movement. That said, there are three cases in which I believe the Wikimedia Foundation should intervene and that is when there are threats to our values, threats to our operations, and threats to our volunteers. In threats to our values, I mean, if people are systematically working to falsify information or add biased content to our projects and the community is unable to solve it, that is a threat to our values and it is legitimate for the Wikimedia Foundation to try to address it. In threats to our operations, I mean that, if volunteers do something that can harm the smooth operations of the projects, then that's a good reason to interfere as well. For instance I believe it is okay for the Wikimedia Foundation to block users who are knowingly using their permissions and creating backlogs that may crush our servers and in that interfere with the service that we offer the general public through our different projects. Finally, and maybe the most important for me, threats to our volunteers. I'm referring to trust and safety issues. I cannot say a lot about that, only mention that the Wikimedia Foundation is involved in supporting our volunteers in challenging circumstances. Think of war, or any circumstances of violation of human rights, and sometimes in order to protect volunteers, we have to be discreet. So not everything we do can be transparent. But protecting our volunteers and our community is extremely important and currently we do not have any other structure in the movement to actually do this type of work with the exception of local affiliates which the Wikimedia Foundation of course is collaborating with when something happens. I also wanted to note that I believe the Wikimedia Foundation should not just be in 'intervening mode' but rather be in consistent close connection to the community. There should be mechanisms and platforms to have bi-directional dialogue on various issues from strategy to operations of our projects. For this reason I've actually founded the Community Affairs Board committee. Its goal is to assess, explore, and address current and future community related efforts. The main goal is for this committee to work with both the Wikimedia Foundation staff and the wider Wikimedia community in order to bridge conflicts and offer guidance with a focus on continuously improving the relationships between the Wikimedia Foundation and the wider community.
[Tobechukwu Precious Friday]: My opinion I feel the WMF shouldn't interfere with community affairs unless it's in the area of trust and safety and in that situation the Wikimedia Foundation can step in. But beside that I feel the Wikimedia Foundation shouldn't interfere in community affairs. Thank you.
[Kunal Mehta]: see answer above transcript (by Legoktm)
[Farah Jack Mustaklem]: Communities have different ways of governing themselves and should be left to their own devices. Communities and community members whether online or offline have a duty to uphold the movement's Universal Code of Conduct and to abide by the relevant laws. The Wikimedia Foundation can provide support to, but should not interfere in the internal affairs, of online or offline communities. The Wikimedia Foundation maintains vast talents and resources in all areas which it should lend to the communities when needed. A prime example of where the Foundation can help the online communities is technology. Implementing items from the community wishlist is a great way the Foundation can support the editing communities. The Foundation also has the capacity to offer organizational, legal, and financial support to communities. The trust and safety team is supposed to ensure a safe environment for community members but should use discretion when intervening in community affairs, especially if it's an issue that can be resolved without intervention from the Foundation. On the other hand if a situation arises which poses a threat to personal safety. the Foundation's intervention is warranted. For example, if the physical safety of a community member is under legitimate threat by another community member or by a state actor. Internal disputes and communities should not be interfered in except as a last resort. Such as if there is a serious violation of the Code of Conduct that the community is unable to or unwilling to address.
[Mike Peel]: Ideally the foundation should never have to intervene in community affairs. However, there are cases where it has to, primarily for trust and safety reasons but also for legal reasons. It should always do so very carefully respecting local community processes and where possible widely consulting with the community before intervening. There are also a lot of opportunities where it could intervene better and more often in constructive ways such as through tech development, strategy, and fostering partnerships between editors and institutions alongside affiliates. However, this is more participation than it is intervention.
— Transcript of candidate video responses
What is the most radical change you would seek to see implemented in either the Foundation or the Movement?
The most radical change I'd like to see implemented at the Wikimedia Foundation is to move to a model of bottom-up prioritization. Time and time again we've seen the WMF Board and upper management be out of touch with the issues and problems that editors and staff on the ground are facing. We should be looking to those groups to come up with ideas to work on and resource, not just getting them solely from the top. Finally, I think that most editors wouldn't even consider this to be a radical change rather it's already ingrained in the wiki ethos. Kunal Mehta / Legoktm (talk) 03:13, 19 August 2022 (UTC)
[Kunal Mehta]: see answer above transcript (by Legoktm)
[Farah Jack Mustaklem]: The most radical change I would like to see in the Foundation is the emphasis on becoming a leader in advocacy for digital rights because open knowledge is at the heart of digital rights having free access to information should be a guaranteed right to all humans. I would like to see the Foundation take a larger role in advocating publishing under open licenses in promoting digital security and then actively opposing infringements on access to information. I'd also like to see the Foundation support smaller organizations that are aligned with the open knowledge mission.
[Mike Peel]: I would like to see the Foundation become much more community orientated integrating the community in all parts of its activities, which sadly is not currently the case. This is one of my main reasons for standing. Related to that, I would also like to see the Foundation significantly invest in the technology issues the community has been raising for many years now to processes like the community wishlist. I think these are two fundamental issues that would significantly increase the impact of Foundation work and make the community a lot happier with the Foundation.
[Michał Buczyński]: And this is a tough one as I don't know the outcome of the Movement Charter drafting process neither I am a member of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees yet, so there is a lot of knowledge to digest first, and I think that even radical and especially radical steps need to be informed. So in the future if we want to speculate I may be a fan of no big changes or for example I am or I can be a big fan of splitting Wikimedia Foundation into several entities like Wikimedia USA. We need to remember that such decisions require a lot of analysis, consultation, and thinking however so I think that you will learn about them and this consultation in the first place. This is about the future and what I might do.The more important thing is what I did and what I'm doing right now. What I did was being a part of the first outcome of my community growing, my affiliate and opening new programs. It was serving in FDC [Funds Dissemination Committee], advocating for decentralization, and doing many changes small, larger one here and there. What I'm doing now is even more interesting. It's not even taking care of a chapter or of a Movement Charter as we are speaking of. Perhaps the most radical thing is building the first regional hub serving communities and individuals in the whole Central Eastern Europe region. That's a revolution. What is more, my chapter plays a big part in developing other hubs or thematic groups as well, so the changes are happening right now.
[Shani Evenstein Sigalov]: There are three things I'd like to see radically changing in our movement. That includes the Wikimedia Foundation but also other parts of our movement. The first is how we embrace technology and innovation. The second is DEI - diversity, equity and inclusion - and community health in general, and the third is thriving interrelationships between different movement entities. By embracing technology and innovation I mean that recent years have brought about numerous technological advancements and changes to the way users consume information online. They look for platforms with videos, interactive components. In our case it could be timelines, tables, graphs, and, all in all, an engaging and adjustable user interface. Not to mention advancements in Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing and AI [Artificial Intelligence], I would like to see our movement embrace innovation more address our user needs both online and offline and in general harnessing the power of technology to reduce the amount of mundane technical actions currently done by our volunteers, so they can focus on more important actions that machines cannot perform. So both how we internally work and also how our users engage with our platforms online. The second thing I'd like to see radically change has to do with community health and DEI. This is not lip service to me. I wholeheartedly believe that in order to achieve our goals as a movement to serve humanity we must first become a safer, more welcoming, healthier online space, and second we must continue to make active efforts to include everyone in the creation of human knowledge, especially less represented groups. Finally I'd like to see a radical change in how different components in our movement operate and communicate with one another. I have watched us as a movement waste so much precious time and energy on internal affairs. I would like us to be internally more stable, resilient, and healthy so we can focus less on addressing internal issues and focus more on external threats. There's so much work to be done. The world both online and offline is not becoming an easier place to live in. We need to be focusing our energy on finding new mechanisms to fight fake news, bias, censorship and other threats to free knowledge.
[Tobechukwu Precious Friday]: Thank you again for this question. This is still very, very much interesting. Personally I'm someone who has been involved in diversity equity and inclusion and this is a very radical change that would seek to be implemented in either the world or the movement itself. We need, when it comes to tools, we need we need tools that are focused or centered on diversity equity and inclusion and I'm also very happy about the movement strategy because it's also addressing the the issue of knowledge equity and also when it comes to this I'm still still on this diversity and also equity and inclusion if you come to some regions you'll notice some of the issues they are having like the IP block or unfair blocking challenge which is affecting every - almost everyone - especially people from the African region. It has actually affected me personally and it's a very burdensome issue affecting a whole lot of well-meaning Wikimedians especially in Africa because just like I said and I will always keep saying it now Africa remains an untouched region for the WMF and also the movement that large and if we're aiming to really make the most of the movement strategy especially in knowledge equity we need to improve the limitations hindering this region. So if I am elected on I'm on the Board but this is one thing I would definitely support when it comes to implementing change or needing radical change I would definitely push for diversity equity and inclusion. Thank you.
— Transcript of candidate video responses
Does the Wikimedia Foundation provide value for the community in proportion to its budget?
Absolutely. Zooming out, the WMF runs a top 10 website at a fraction of the cost that it takes Google, Facebook and others. This alone is a significant value to the community. But we can do better than hold the WMF accountable to the same standards of Big Tech giants.
Now the real question is whether the WMF could be doing more with its existing budget, to which I also say absolutely! As I explained earlier I hope moving to a model of bottom-up prioritization will help with this, giving editors and staff on the ground a larger say in which projects and tasks are prioritized and resourced. I hope that by moving in such a direction we will be able to increase that the value that the WMF provides to the community without needing to increase its budget. Kunal Mehta / Legoktm (talk) 03:18, 19 August 2022 (UTC)
[Farah Jack Mustaklem]: The value of Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects is immeasurable. It is hard to imagine the continued functioning of this wonderful open knowledge platform without the underlying support of the Foundation though, be it financial technical or otherwise. Spending should continually be reviewed and evaluated to ensure it provides value for the community.
[Mike Peel]: The Foundation is inefficient in its use of budget compared to its accomplishments and this is something I've long wanted to see improved. The Foundation could also do a lot more to support the community through funding and community focused programs. I was part of the former Funds Dissemination Committee, which was reviewing the budgets of larger Wikimedia affiliates. The FDC also provided feedback on the Foundation's annual plans over the years, which was unfortunately not followed up on. I would like to see the Foundation follow its own requirements for affiliates by sharing detailed annual plans and budget information on-wiki. These should be subject to a substantial community consultation including external review by a grants committee. This model has been shown to significantly benefit affiliates over the years. After these reviews, affiliates are far more effective at demonstrating they are providing value for money for the Wikimedia movement particularly compared to the Foundation.
[Michał Buczyński]: I have seen many opinions and many people will have ready answers. For some of course it does provide value. It keeps up Wikipedia and the knowledge and this website are priceless. For others of course it is less so. These people will say that the real values provided by volunteers. Although the Wikimedia Foundation output in terms of the software, volunteer support, or collaborations is far from being satisfactory. The problem is, however, that I can't give you the definite answer, because I simply don't know. For that you would need to ask communities and at least discuss smart goals. The problem is the Foundation is not so great in setting public smart goals and then reporting its performance metrics.Then of course in a regular company one could discuss profits but we are not a regular company. We are a non-profit so financial reports will not help as much here. WMF publishes stories but these stories are not much for over 150 million US dollars budget.So I think the Wikimedia Foundation should improve in public discussion on its key goals and then checking its performance every year. I know that the evaluation by the FDC [Funds Dissemination Committee] was a difficult experience in the past all the whole WMF, but we should improve processes and not lower the bar. Strategic goals to be met by 2025 or 2030 are not enough to gather feedback and accountability. So as the Board of Trustees member I would encourage more public goal setting and regular checking performance this was because this would be good for WMF.
[Shani Evenstein Sigalov]: That is a complex question. It depends how you define value and how you interpret the budget, but after three years on the Board, to me, there's no question. I believe that the Wikimedia Foundation is definitely serving the community and the larger movement. It keeps the servers going, it is addressing and is responsible for a large range of topics which, compared to other tech companies and non-profits, is quite unparalleled. Can we do better? Definitely, and I believe actually we have improved our service and our transparency, which is part of why I joined the Board in the first place and also why I am hoping to be re-elected, because I want to see through some long-term processes that I've either led myself or have been involved in and I want to see them come to fruition. So to me the question is not really whether there is value to the community but rather what can we do to improve the understanding of what WMF is doing, and I'd like to mention three things. One is better definition of the roles and responsibilities of the Wikimedia Foundation, so making sure people know what to expect, what is within our role and responsibilities and what is not, what is within our scope and what is not, and of course making sure that parts that are not addressed by the Wikimedia Foundation find new owners within the movement. In that sense, you know, tying the Wikimedia Foundation's annual plan to the Movement Strategy has been critical, also the mapping exercise that Maryana Iskander, our CEO, did when she joined the Foundation was important and overall just improving the way that the Wikimedia Foundation is operating, improving the structures and stability, will allow us to give better service to the movement overall. The second is being transparent and communicating how and why decisions are made. We've improved on that and will continue to do so with mechanisms such as the Community Affairs Committee and community consultations, but we need to keep developing and working on that and finding new mechanisms, for instance to gain feedback from the community. The third and maybe most important thing to me is finding new and better ways to addressing community needs. To me for example the community wishlist is simply not enough. There needs to be actual ownership either by the Wikimedia Foundation, the Global Council, or affiliates or other future entities for specific tasks and services that we all need whether it's outreach tools or whether it's capacity building and training for all affiliates and volunteers.
[Tobechukwu Precious Friday]: Thank you. This is kind of tough, but then I believe transparency is the core objective of the Wikimedia Foundation and everything related to budgets is always in the limelight for volunteers to give feedback on or to give their comments, their suggestions, or ask questions. So with this being said, I feel it goes a long way in providing value for the community and also supporting the community. Thank you.
[Kunal Mehta]: see answer above transcript (by Legoktm)
— Transcript of candidate video responses
Do you think the Wikimedia Foundation's technical prioritization accurately reflects editors' wants and needs?
The WMF's technical prioritization is out of sync with what editors want and need. I am specifically running for the Board because it has no relevant technical expertise for Wikimedia's unique requirements. How can the board perform oversight and sign off on complex technical projects without even understanding the projects themselves? As I've mentioned before, we need to move to a model of bottom-up prioritization where editors and staff on the ground are determining which projects and issues get resourced and prioritized. This is a shift that will take time to implement and it'll require work on the community's part to provide actionable feedback, but I believe it is the best solution to fix our technical prioritization in the long run. Kunal Mehta / Legoktm (talk) 03:21, 19 August 2022 (UTC)
[Mike Peel]: There is a big gap between the Foundation's technical activities and what editors actually need. An easy way to solve this gap is to significantly increase staff resources to the community wishlist program. This has been working well over the years but it has not had the staff capacity to fix all the requests it receives. There is also a significant backlog of technical issues some of which date back to more than decade, which should be fixed. Significant improvements could be made elsewhere as well. A flexible user interface that scales with screen sizes will significantly help those using smaller devices such as mobile phones for editing. This is particularly true for Global South communities. Sister projects also particularly need technical support. For example Wikisource has huge potential to transcribe both old texts in the public domain and newer freely licensed publications; however, Wikisource desperately needs significant technical work to modernize and streamline its editing process. We also need to make it easier to embed and edit media content on Wikipedia and Commons to make our content more accessible to those who struggle to learn through reading text.
[Michał Buczyński]: I am not sure about that and I don't think this is the best question to be asked. Firstly, Wikimedia Foundation technical prioritization should not necessarily reflect editors wants and needs. There are technical challenges like technological debt or infrastructure scalability, which are very important, but far from a typical editor's wish list.Also we should cater for not only current editors but also for future editors and other users like readers. They have their needs and we should be meeting them possibly well. Think about multimedia user experience and tools facilitating the best content. Secondly, I believe that in general we are spending too little on tech. Wikipedia is a top independent website and its budget is nowhere near the giants of internet. Latest annual report claims 42 percent of the total expenses to be spent on the website; however, only a fraction of this is spent on actual development and our needs with Abstract Wikipedia and promised AI [Artificial Intelligence] usage are big. In the past the scope of an investment was pretty limited. I remember Wikimedia Czechia applying for funds for an android app or Wikimedia Commons because it couldn't be funded by the WMF directly. We need to invest much more in both strategic changes and in the community wish list. This is one of key priorities I would like to support so we remain relevant and we keep and expand our audiences and user base.
[Shani Evenstein Sigalov]: As a volunteer myself working extensively on outreach, be it education, GLAM, libraries, collaborating with governmental institutions, working on medical projects, to efforts focusing on Wiki Women, the gender gap and other knowledge gaps and in recent years lots of Wikidata, and also as an admin on Hebrew Wikipedia, I've been acutely aware of various technical needs of the community and the necessity to invest in technological infrastructure and tools to aid the manual work that volunteers have been doing as well as working with our partners. I believe there is a known gap in that respect between what the Wikimedia Foundation is currently doing and what the community needs, which is why it was important for me to address it as a trustee and work from within to improve things. Besides Community Affairs Committee that I've been heavily involved in, one of my top priorities as a trustee has been a focus on our product and technology work. I've been a member of the product and technology board committee since its inception and I have worked with our staff on strategically thinking how we can improve both the services we offer to our users as well as the services we provide to our community. I was especially interested in how we can involve our community more in what is being done in help prioritizing and addressing needs in a consistent way that is part of the Wikimedia Foundation strategy for product and tech considering that we have such a talented tech community with amazing innovative and creative volunteers. It so happens that on August 1st a new CPTO [Chief Product and Technology Officer] joined the Wikimedia Foundation, so after years of divided departments --the product department and the technology department, which together consists of the majority of Wikimedia Foundation employees--, we now have an opportunity to reassess that structure, to reassess how we work and find ways to work more effectively, more efficiently, as well as to address more needs that came from the community. As I noted before I believe the Wikimedia Foundation cannot do everything but I do think that we can do much better with the existing manpower and talent that we currently have, and I hope that as we better define roles, responsibility and scope what the Wikimedia Foundation cannot do other stakeholders in the movement can own and address together with our community. So technical prioritization is a process that must rest upon what the community wants and needs, as well as our vision and priorities for 2030 and this process is a challenge that we are determined to see through and make sure we address. Thank you.
[Tobechukwu Precious Friday]: Okay thank you. I really do like this actually but in my opinion no I don't think so and that's why I always encourage greater collaborations between editors and the Wikimedia Foundation as a whole. And I also encourage tools or on technological tools that are DEI [Diversity, Equity, Inclusion] centered that's diversity, equity and inclusion. And just like the Wikimedia Deutschland has done with Igbo Wikimedians User Group and the Wikimedia Indonesian User Group community tools development should be encouraged, as they are the ones who know what they need. So the community knows what they need to know where it's failing them and they know where it's going to - what is going to help them. So whatever they need to promote the mission as well as whatever tools that are centered on DEI should be something for the editors and the WMF to discuss and not just the WMF being the one to make decisions on whatever tools they feel the editors need or the community needs because we can't say that I one tool will fix it or it's not possible and we can't even say that once we've invented one tool or once we've brought up one tool that we are done because just like health we can say today I'm healthy and I'm done with health because tomorrow something else can one challenge or the other can come up. So in my opinion I would still encourage greater collaborations between editors and Wikimedia Foundation in tools development so that they will have tools that are exactly what they want and which satisfied and satisfy their needs. Thank you.
[Kunal Mehta]: see answer above transcript (by Legoktm)
[Farah Jack Mustaklem]: First of all let me start by saying that editors wants and needs are never ending and these wants and needs differ from one editor to the next and some of them could even be conflicting in nature. So the editors wants and needs are not a clearly defined monolith. That said the Wikimedia Foundation's approach to answering the editor's requests has not been consistent over the years. Whereas for years there appeared to be a disconnect between what people wanted and what the Foundation was focusing, on excellent effort has been put in the last few years to bridge that gap and to come to a better understanding of the various wants and needs of the different users. One way in which the Foundation is trying to better address the technical needs of users is the creation of the core experiences team. For not only are the needs of veteran editors important to consider, but also the features and tools needed to grow the editor base by attracting new talent. On the other hand the Foundation has found it difficult to implement some of the most sought after changes. For example, dark mode has been on the community wish list for a while and it's yet to be resolved. IP masking is another feature that the Foundation has been working to implement it has decided to keep the users in the loop and to continually get feedback from them, which is a very good strategy for aligning with the needs of the users. While listening to the community and deciding on the priorities of what technical changes to implement is certainly commendable, one must remember that the loudest voices do not necessarily always have the most important requests. In fact underrepresented communities such as people with disabilities or small language communities are disproportionately affected by not having their needs met this could be due to a lack of knowledge to the language barrier a difficulty in presenting the issue or to the lack of significance to the general population all in all I believe that the foundation is moving on the right track and catering to the needs of different stakeholders and should continue improving on its processes to prioritize the changes to help retain existing editors to gain new ones and to strive for knowledge equity.
— Transcript of candidate video responses
What role should affiliates play in the selection of Board members?
The original idea was that Affiliates would be able to use their contacts to find good candidates that the wiki communities wouldn't be able to on their own, but in practice it was just affiliate leaders who would end up being selected. I agree with the direction the Board has taken in having the community do the final vote for what traditionally would have been two affiliate-selected seats. But ultimately the use of affiliates as a primary wasn't effective as the Analysis Committee consumed more time than the value it provided. Instead it would be good if affiliates can use the connections they have with community members to run "get out the vote" style events and keep their members engaged and active in the voting process. As this election has shown we should aim to keep the official process as simple and straightforward as possible. Kunal Mehta / Legoktm (talk) 03:07, 19 August 2022 (UTC)
[Shani Evenstein Sigalov]: It is no secret that I come from Affiliates, big, small and everything in between. I've led chapters, user groups and THORGs [thematic organizations] and I think Affiliates are amazing. They are part of the backbone and the infrastructure of our movement and can enable work both locally but also thematic work across regions. Affiliates are able to take on roles that the Wikimedia Foundation or even a future Global Council may not be able to do. So in short I believe that they should be highly involved in the selection process and should be part of determining who is on the Board and make sure that there are representatives that reflect their position, their view as a meaningful stakeholder in the movement.
[Tobechukwu Precious Friday]: Just like the communities of the affiliates, the role the affiliates played in this particular election, where they were involved in the candidates analysis, this is the kind of role I definitely like or, the affiliates should definitely play when it comes to the selection of board members. And as well as paying attention and also voting to select candidates who would represent them and also promote the mission of what they stand for and not just this, they should also be involved in educating their various members on the essence of the election and voting to select members on the Board. Thank you.
[Kunal Mehta]: see answer above transcript (by Legoktm)
[Farah Jack Mustaklem]: Affiliates play a major part in the Wikimedia movement and they play a complementary role to the Wikimedia Foundation therefore affiliates should have a say in the Board members election. Affiliates represent various stakeholders with unique ideas and challenges that would enrich the Board.Now with the advent of regional hubs I believe the focus should shift to selecting representatives from these hubs to represent a truly global movement that rather than the affiliates selecting the Board members individually. Ideally these hubs would cover the different regional and thematic areas in the movement and allowed for diversity within the Board, and also the proposed Global Council is another way affiliates can have a say in the Board selection process.
[Mike Peel]: The original idea behind the election process by affiliates was that they can identify and propose people from their wide partner networks who will bring new perspectives into the Foundation Board; however, in practice the process has selected community members instead of people from wider networks which reduces the value of having a separate process. The general situation is also changing now. We will soon have the Global Council and affiliates will probably want to focus on selecting council members instead particularly given the way the Foundation Board's role will also change at the same time. So it may be worth rethinking this role, but I wouldn't want to commit to supporting any particular approach without talking about it more with the affiliates and wider community.
[Michał Buczyński]: As a long time board member and even a president of the affiliate, I like this question. The role of the Affiliates in selecting the Wikimedia Foundation Board depends very much on the role of the Foundation itself. In the future, after the Movement Charter, it can be very different. Maybe there will be other central body or bodies. Maybe the governance will be assured by a network of entities recognizing each other. I don't know. For now Wikimedia Foundation plays a central role. It keeps the trademark, the servers, and most of the code development as well. It keeps and distributes the majority of resources and it recognizes affiliates. It runs global programs, etc, etc. So to a larger or smaller extent, it affects lives of any communities forming a chapter, smaller, larger, so it seems fair that these communities should have their say. What is more these communities represent at least to some extent, larger groups groups, of editors, groups of readers, they are also a growing resource of knowledge about their local context. They have the insight how to do wiki things. They have own programs. They have experience, own governance, so I believe that this is smart to use them at least as a resource. Personally, I believe that both editing and affiliate activist communities, which very often is the same, should have their voice. In fact the more major we are, the more community seats, in general, we should have. I think the Wikimedia Foundation should explore changing this proportion of selected and elected members to be more democratic...we are 21 years old after all.
— Transcript of candidate video responses
What do you think about the Foundation's current approach to fundraising?
The current fundraising approach is based on the WMF constantly growing. The Board and upper management set aggressive growth targets and then the fundraising team needs to resort to more and more aggressive measures to reach them. Some of those measures result in misleading fundraising banners that editors feel don't appropriately reflect the financial reality around the WMF. I would like to see the WMF stop growing and stabilize at its current size and I'd like to better understand how the endowment can reduce our dependency on small dollar donations. If elected to the Board, I'll push for more transparency around the endowment. Kunal Mehta / Legoktm (talk) 03:09, 19 August 2022 (UTC)
[Tobechukwu Precious Friday]: I've been seeing this come up a whole lot that the Wikimedia Foundation has a lot of money and why are they still asking for more money? The truth is that this is open knowledge and the Wikimedia Foundation is trying a whole lot to share free knowledge - free and accessible knowledge - to be involved in knowledge equity and in this kind of situation it needs a lot of funding. So the Wikimedia Foundation also is primarily funded by donations, institutional grants, as well as gifts as well as some small revenue and from the Wikimedia Enterprise. I don't in, my opinion, I feel there's nothing wrong with the approach as no one is forced to make donations. People see value in what the Wikimedia Foundation does and hence they decide to support it because they know it's something very important and something very useful. Thank you.
[Kunal Mehta]: see answer above transcript (by Legoktm)
[Farah Jack Mustaklem]: The Foundation's current approach to fundraising is reasonable. Individual small donors continue to generate the vast majority of the operating income of the Foundation which is great as this shows that trust individual donors put in the Foundation and the value they put on having universal free access to the sum of all human knowledge. This also means some sort of accountability towards Wikipedia reader, the recipients of the free knowledge themselves. For as long as Wikipedia and sister projects provide value to the users they will keep giving. The funding from those with means benefit the less fortunate users who may not be able to give, which is great and work king towards knowledge equity. Wikimedia Enterprise is another model of revenue generation that the Foundation is testing. Now this is a tricky one and care must be taken for the commercial needs not to undermine the mission and the ethos of open knowledge and open access. In short the emphasis in fundraising should remain on the individual donors and new ways of reaching out to them should be explored for sustained growth.
[Mike Peel]: The Foundation's approach to fundraising has been very successful in terms of dollars received. I particularly like the approach that the Enterprise project has been taking recently to ensure that significant reuses of Wikimedia content contribute financially towards projects since that is based on mutual benefits. However, as those people have pointed out the banner campaigns are not entirely honest in its advertisements. Centralized fundraising is also not optimal since it'd be possible for local affiliates to raise more money due to local tax benefits and by being able to have local donor relations if they were allowed to do so. The process could also be coupled with editor recruitment processes which may have a significant impact if the community is ready to support many new editors coming into the projects. In general though we need to do much better with donor relations. It's not just receiving money, it's creating a wider community.
[Michał Buczyński]: You asked what do I think about the Foundation's current approach to fundraising. Wikimedia Foundation fundraising spurred, among some Wikimedians, a number of controversies. I will mention two. Wikimedia Enterprise and messages to the readers accused by some Wikimedians as being overly aggressive, in particular in some less privileged regions. Some voices question even the fundraising targets as too high.Personally I believe that the Wikimedia Foundation advancement team is composed of professionals dedicated to meet the target, allowing the planned growth, using possibly non-intrusive methods. My personal experience with this team is really good and I trust they do their best. Nevertheless, certainly we need to be careful with our messaging and with our promises. Personally I would encourage educating general audiences and increasingly raising funds using specific projects, stories and issues, like fighting disinformation. Hear stronger reporting, please listen to my answers to next questions should also help. Also partnerships, including partnerships with athletes and other charities, could open interesting opportunities. And finally, taking it from a different angle, a concept of systemic internal ethical validation of Wikimedia Foundation fundraising should also be explored.
[Shani Evenstein Sigalov]: That is a tricky one. I can understand how an organization with an annual budget of close to 175 million dollars seem rich and privileged and that can clash at times with the 'donate to keep us alive' message we see in our fundraising campaigns, but knowing our budget well and thinking about sustaining this movement and the projects that we all contribute to for a long, long time for the sake of humanity, I also understand why we need to keep fundraising and we need to keep having money. We - you know we're the seventh biggest website in the world -, we serve billions of people across languages, across countries and we need a budget to do it. I stand behind the Movement Strategy recommendations to diversify our revenue stream, to create new possibilities for fundraising, which, for instance, led to the Enterprise efforts. There are also good lasting relationships with specific donors and organizations that keep donating to us and give us large donations, and I also like the sort of recent direction of people leaving money to our movements through their wills and developing these long-lasting relationships with donors, which our advancement team has been doing so brilliantly. The one thing that I think we can improve is our on-wiki campaign. It is sometimes too aggressive to my taste. I wish there was a way to fundraise but also frame it in a way that makes more sense to the volunteers who actually contribute to these projects. Even if we lose some donations, in the end I think it's worth it. I know that there are professionals working around the clock to fine tune the messages and make sure it's as effective as it could be. But I also think that the view and the good feeling of volunteers who actually contribute to making everything happen is important, so I would rather us fundraising through this campaign a bit less, but having a message that we can all stand behind and feel good about.
— Transcript of candidate video responses
How can the Foundation best support editors who are in crisis—be that medical (including psychiatric), legal, or something else?
First legal: the WMF has the Legal Fees Assistance Program, which covers administrators and people in various project governance activities. I would like to understand more about how often it's been used before proposing expansion to cover more project roles, like patrolling (e.g. rollbackers, new page patrol) or even just standard editing. I once undid an edit on some obscure university's article, and a few months later the WMF reached out to me notifying me that my information along with literally everyone who had ever edited the article had been subpoenaed (see the discussion). I was not yet an admin and freaked out about possibly needing to pay for a lawyer. Thankfully the WMF was able to resolve it without handing over any private information, but it did not leave me feeling very comfortable. I would support a more expansive legal protection system after better understanding and discussing the costs and risks of doing so.
On the topic of medical crisises, this is not an area I am well informed in and would primarily enage in listening to community members and professionals that have suggestions or proposals. Currently the emergency@ line is for immediate threats of harm/self-harm, I would like to see us better support editors who are in trouble and intervene before it gets that bad. There are quite a few directions this could go in, I would be very open to recommendations and suggestions on this.
Ultimately this is something we must keep improving on, as it is fundamentally part of our bedrock wiki principles: defending and fostering each other. Kunal Mehta / Legoktm (talk) 22:51, 10 August 2022 (UTC)
What do you think of this election process?
Elections work best when there is an engaged electorate that is able to participate in a robust debate over ideas on how to improve the WMF. I am concerned that the new election process has dramatically increased voter fatigue and clamped down on debate by limiting candidate interaction with the community. I intend to provide a more detailed response after this election process is over. Kunal Mehta / Legoktm (talk) 22:51, 10 August 2022 (UTC)
What Board initiatives will you advance to provide resources for additional efforts in support of community workflows?
One of the key points of my campaign is to push for bottom-up prioritization of resources. The editors and staff on the ground know best the specific issues and problems they are dealing with, and they should be the ones deciding which projects and proposals are resourced and prioritized. Kunal Mehta / Legoktm (talk) 22:52, 10 August 2022 (UTC)
The Endowment has not disclosed any financial status since June 2021, when it reached its $100 million goal five years early. How often should the Endowment report its market value, holdings, donations, transactions including rebalancing, fees, and commissions? What categories of investments should the Endowment avoid, if any?
Finances are not one of my specialties, but I would expect annual reports should be reasonable. If the reporting burden is too much, we should investigate devoting more resources to ensure an appropriate level of transparency. I would like to see us avoid investing in companies/organizations that are working in ways antithetical to the Wikimedia Movement, like those that seek to lock up knowledge or significantly harming the environment/climate. Kunal Mehta / Legoktm (talk) 22:52, 10 August 2022 (UTC)
What departments within the Foundation do you believe should be scaled back, if any, and why?
This is a tough discussion to have because while it’s easy to think about departments in the abstract, we are also discussing whether a group of people should be fired for reasons (mostly) not related to their individual performance.
At the moment I am not looking to ax or scale back any departments (nor do I think the Board should be micromanaging at such a level), rather I would like to see a freeze on growth and see us stabilize at the current size. Then I would like to see where the decentralization plank of the Movement Strategy leads us, and whether the WMF can/should shrink. Kunal Mehta / Legoktm (talk) 22:55, 10 August 2022 (UTC)
Suppose the United States Congress was considering enacting statutory compulsory licence fees to be paid by wealthy corporate beneficiaries of work done by volunteers under free licences (such as Wikipedia and free software) to those volunteers, via organizations supporting them. Should the Foundation support such legislation? Why or why not? If so, what amounts and remuneration processes would you prefer?
I would expect the WMF to listen to what the communities want (possibly facilitating consultations on the issue) and then advocate for that position. Kunal Mehta / Legoktm (talk) 22:55, 10 August 2022 (UTC)
What proportion of the budget should be allocated to grants, and how would you improve the grantmaking process?
I don't have a specific percentage number in mind, I think the WMF should make available as many grants as we can reasonably perform oversight for, have recepients for and focus on benefitting the movement (and leave us enough reserve funding of course). One of the affiliate questions asked whether the WMF should sponsor other free knowledge projects, which I indicated my support for - this could be another area where we distribute grants.
My experience with the grantmaking process has been providing input on technical grant requests or watching people I know go through the process. I don't have any specific improvement proposals at this time, but am always ready to listen to others' suggestions. Kunal Mehta / Legoktm (talk) 00:06, 11 August 2022 (UTC)
What will you do to improve the quality of content in Wikimedia projects?
My push for bottom-up prioritization is to empower community members to get the tools they need to do to successfully and productively edit. The WMF should be supporting community members so they can focus on improving the quality of content. Kunal Mehta / Legoktm (talk) 22:56, 10 August 2022 (UTC)
What does "neutrality" mean to you in an increasingly polarised world, where right and left, east and west constantly accuse each other of disseminating disinformation and fake news?
I am happy to get into an extended discussion about neutrality in our current world, but since this is the board election, I'd like to approach it from the perspective of the WMF.
I do think the WMF (and affiliates) should be devoting resources to political lobbying on issues that directly affect the movement's ability to spread free knowledge, like copyright reform, freedom of panorama, Section 230, etc., both defensively and offensively. We should do so in a non-partisan manner (so not backing specific candidates or parties). And while the WMF may need to take a public stance on issues that directly affects its ability to hire and support employees (e.g. immigration issues), I think we should take care that the WMF doesn't get labeled as yet another "generic progressive organization". Even though they are distinct entities, a non-trivial amount of people will (incorrectly) associate things that the WMF does with our individual community-run projects.
Finally, there will always be adversarial governments that are unhappy with content on Wikimedia sites that will try to stop us by legal or technical means. The WMF, in conjunction with local affiliates and community members, should be prepared to deploy anti-censorship measures, whether legal, technical, social or all of them. Kunal Mehta / Legoktm (talk) 00:11, 11 August 2022 (UTC)
Chapter actions and response
我的居住地區在2007年就有一個維基媒體附屬分會(本地註冊核准的非營利團體，“會員人數：30包含：讀者,編輯,翻譯者,分會的高級官員,工作人員,志願者”，入會費用每個人需要交付$35美元這，35美元在我的國家可以讓一個普通的上班族群生活7天，在所有的附屬組織這個會費排名第一)這個附屬分會的消極不作為，與各式各樣的個案政治立場對立產生的互相攻擊波及到了使用互聯網供應商分配到的IP地址被聯級封禁IP塊，這些狀況不斷的一再發生。仲裁委員會有沒有介入調查處理? [Google translate follows] There was a Wikimedia affiliated chapter in my area of residence in 2007 (a locally registered approved non-profit group, "Number of members: 30 including: readers, editors, translators, senior chapter officers, staff, volunteers", the membership fee needs to be paid $35 per person. This $35 can make an ordinary working group live for 7 days in my country. This membership fee ranks first in all affiliated organizations) The negative inaction of this affiliated chapter, and various In various cases, the mutual attacks caused by the opposition of political positions spread to the cascade blocking of IP blocks using IP addresses assigned by Internet providers. These situations continue to occur again and again. Has the Arbitration Commission intervened in the investigat?
Inactive chapter funding
維基媒體董事會決議通過的一項新的方案，對於在同一個地區存在不活躍的社區分會問題，可以由同一個地區的新成員申請替代該公司。目前在所有的國家普遍都存在這種現象，通常在一個國家/地區都有一個比較資深的附屬分會，一般的自由貢獻者不會因為沒加入分會就無法貢獻，但是在權利與社會資源的層面上就無法跟這種擁有複雜的利益、政治關係的少數人組成的小組一樣可以輕鬆的申請註冊到居住地政府的非盈利機構的身份，我們這些自由的貢獻者普遍都是屬於個人。分散在各個維基網站的各位的獨立志願者就算有意思參加選舉，也沒辦法得到任何社區成員的票數，每個“國家/地區”要在當地註冊成為非營利團體非常困難，如果不需要申請任何資助，自由的獨立志願者不須要面對這種難題，董事會成員決議通過的法案出自善意，普遍的獨立貢獻者想要在公平的競爭中獲得任何幫助，就必須需面對這些年來在層層權力組成的老團體，這些方案幫助不了被剝削的志願者。這些決議通過的方案是由那一個部門負責擬定計畫？[Google translate follows] A new plan approved by the Wikimedia board of directors. For the problem of inactive community chapters in the same region, new members from the same region can apply to replace the company. At present, this phenomenon generally exists in all countries. Usually, there is a relatively senior affiliated chapter in a country/region. Generally, free contributors will not be unable to contribute because they do not join a chapter, but at the level of rights and social resources It is impossible to apply for the status of a non-profit organization registered with the government of the place of residence as easily as a small group of people with complex interests and political connections. We free contributors generally belong to individuals. Independent volunteers scattered across various wikis will not be able to get votes from any community members even if they are interested in participating in the election. It is very difficult for each "country" to register as a non-profit organization locally. If you do not need to apply for any Funding, free independent volunteers don't have to face this kind of problem, the bills passed by the board members are well-intentioned, and the general independent contributors want to get any help in a fair competition, they have to face all these years. The old groups of power, these programs do not help exploited volunteers. The programs passed by these resolutions are the departments responsible for drawing up the programs
還是同樣的問題，各個地區的附屬公司不曾有過合作的實務紀錄，包含維基媒體基金會本身旗下有6個職掌不同職務的委員會，各個委員會的成員有重疊，辦理事務的時候6個委員會在公告欄目的資訊中也沒紀錄可過曾經有2個以上的委員會協調合作的實務案例。委員會的體制屬於不需要了負任何法律責任的組織，我們無法信任這種不帶任何法律效力的人員管理共同的利益衍生的財務。能不能有一個專業負責的部門成立，基金會沒有準備聘雇員工的資金嗎，維基媒體基金會在全球各地有600多個員工，這些員工屬於那個部門？負責管理那些業務? 新成立的全球中央委員會的正式名稱和業務範圍是什麼？ 我花了一個月的時間在元-維基網站上搜索相關信息。這些公告放在哪裡? [Google translate follows] Still the same problem, the affiliated companies in various regions have never had practical records of cooperation, including the Wikimedia Foundation itself, which has 6 committees with different positions, and the members of each committee overlap. When handling affairs, 6 committees The committee did not record in the information in the bulletin column any practical cases of coordination and cooperation between two or more committees. The committee system belongs to an organization that does not need to bear any legal responsibility, and we cannot trust such a person without any legal effect to manage the finances derived from common interests.Can a professionally responsible department be established, and the foundation has no funds to hire employees. The Wikimedia Foundation has more than 600 employees around the world, and these employees belong to that department? Responsible for managing what business? What is the official name and scope of business of the newly established Global Central Council?
Board response to chapter abuses
董事會意識到了這些問題，也已經決議通過各種不同的法案用盡全部的心力實施各種保障政策，每一個公司的董事會成員最不喜歡開會討論，董事會處不是負責處理這些基礎問題的結構組成的工作小組，UCOC已經投票通過實施的決議案件怎麼一直保持在討論中的階段？種種的問題足夠表現出負責辦理這些業務部門的主管效率程度。招聘跨領域專業人士開出的條件用什麼標準擬定的？有這些業務營運經歷的專業人士通常都有一份穩定的職業，這些招募的廣告橫幅趕緊撤掉吧。想對公司製度進行整頓，但實際上還是沿用了招聘條件的老觀念，這個改革措施感覺很矛盾。[Google translate follows] I have spent a month searching for relevant information on the Metawiki website. Where are these announcements placed? The board of directors is aware of these problems, and has decided to pass various bills to exhaustively implement various safeguard policies. The board members of each company do not like to have meetings and discussions. The board of directors is not a working group that is structured to deal with these basic issues.How come the UCOC has voted to implement the resolution cases that have been kept in the discussion stage? The variety of problems is enough to show the efficiency of the managers responsible for managing these business units. What criteria are used to formulate the conditions for recruiting interdisciplinary professionals? Professionals with experience in these business operations usually have a stable career, and these recruiting advertising banners should be removed immediately. I want to rectify the company system, but in fact, I still use the old concept of recruitment conditions. This reform measure feels very contradictory.