Wikimedia Foundation elections/2022/Post-Analysis
The 2022 Board of Trustees selection filled two Board seats previously selected through the Affiliate Selected Board Seats process. The combination of the Community and Affiliate seats led to the changes in this selection. The Affiliates and the community both participated in the candidate selection process through engaging with candidates, community discussions, and voting. This process began in January 2022 with the Call for Feedback and concluded with the appointment of the successful candidates in December 2022.
The Post-Analysis report was created by the Community Resilience and Sustainability and Movement Strategy and Governance teams at the Wikimedia Foundation. Information was collected from talk pages and surveys created for those stakeholders responsible for the planning process. Stakeholders included members of the Board Selection Task Force, members of the Elections Committee, and Wikimedia Foundation staff supporting the selection process.
The key takeaways from the 2022 Board of Trustees selection are followed by feedback on specific sections of the selection process. The feedback sections are listed in approximate chronological order.
Key takeaways from the 2022 Board of Trustees Selection
Collaboration between stakeholders
The interaction between stakeholders could be greatly improved before, during and after selection cycles. Members of the Elections Committee, Board Selection Task Force, and Movement Strategy and Governance staff members all shared that communication was a pain point.
Improving collaboration between stakeholders
- Increase interaction between teams. This increased collaboration should improve the experience of the candidates and community members.
- Balance the scarcity of valuable time from volunteer-run bodies and time-sensitive workload for a team of professional facilitators. The unequal interaction and power balance between the stakeholders may jeopardize the selection process.
- Increase support of volunteer committees to achieve results, like organizing Elections Committee standing meetings, project management support, administrative support, and setting and deadlines.
Responsiveness to the Community
The community feedback gathered in previous iterations asked to not overcomplicate the selection process. Community members voiced that the selection is already complex and they feel the processes this year were even more complicated. In future designs, the recommendation is to take community feedback into account to ensure the community both feels like their time is appreciated and they feel heard.
Improving responsiveness to the community
- Increase responsiveness to candidates and community. Clarify the roles and responsibilities between the Board of Trustees, the Elections Committee and the staff. While there have been great improvements to the responsiveness of the Elections Committee over the 2021 Board selection, several candidates and community members wish for the Elections Committee to be more responsive. This has been an ongoing conversation since the 2021 selection process.
- Reduce the pressure of time constraints on the community. Simplify the process and make it more user-friendly and faster. The duration of the entire process from start to finish is too long. Reduce the many activities which caused fatigue for the voters. The changes created more messages for the community to consume - and sometimes invalidated available translations - and more changes for community members to process.
- Continue to communicate with community members about the different processes. Provide a clearer system to discuss, plan for and achieve a diverse Board of Trustees. This increased participation of community members and candidates.
- Simplify access to information. Offer easier ways to learn about the candidates with more translation. e.g. use a clear hub-page with centralized link to all information about the candidates, the process and all related stuff. Community members commented that the candidates’ information and the many sources of such information spread across many pages were poorly organized and hard to access and navigate.
- Clarify campaign guidance and improve access. Candidates need more interaction with the communities – expand what’s allowed during the campaign. Candidates were not happy with the restrictive campaign guidelines and thought there should be more interaction with the community and better guidance about what’s allowed during the process; several community members felt the same way.
Process changes and additions
The idea of establishing a voluntary committee like the Analysis Committee should be considered much more carefully in the future, as it generated frustrations at all levels. e.g. The selection of the Analysis Committee was complex and there was confusion associated with the process. The timeline was short, and not all members were chosen at the same time. The diversity criteria for the Analysis Committee to use for the candidates was a challenge.
The community would like to be involved in identifying the diversity criteria for the candidates to be compared against. While a plan is being executed there should be very few changes. The last minute changes disrupted the selection process and caused confusion.
Improving process changes and additions for the next selection
- Provide documentation for the community members and candidates about the selection process so the purpose, process and expectations are clear.
- Create a simple FAQ about the duty of the Board of Trustees and precise information about the requirements and workload, especially Board committee work.
- Improve the material that can be delivered for community members to learn about the candidates - using briefer videos, with more translation (e.g. for the statements).
- Continue using community questions, candidate videos, affiliate questions and Election Compass for the next selection. The processes for each of these items should be clear and the timeline set in the beginning of the selection process. The Election Compass should have better question guidance and control to ensure the questions are not reducing the tool’s effectiveness.
- Plan earlier to anticipate questions and concerns before emergencies arise, and avoid changes along the way (e.g. due dates). Provide a predefined, strict timeline, clearer division of mandates and clearer goals of the selection.
Feedback about areas of the selection process
The majority of community members, Election Volunteers, and candidates commenting on the outreach explained that the process was sufficient and helped inform them. However, a few stated the process was below expectations and they had to search for more information about candidates. Some recommendations include increasing the outreach via social media and improving overall communication with communities by providing precise, clear and pointed messaging (one-size-fits-all messages do not work).
Community members noted the different ways they were informed about the selection. The responses are listed by the number of responses received:
- On-wiki pages, e.g. announcements, CentralNotice banner, Board selection pages
- Direct emails sent to users’ private email addresses
- Social media
- Various engagement by the Movement Strategy and Governance facilitators not included in another category
- Movement Strategy forum posts
- Election volunteers
There is a need for more coherent coordination involving all parties, including the Board Selection Task Force and the Elections Committee, to be able to update the community and answer candidate/community questions in a timely manner.
Affiliates Voting to pre-select candidates
The process of the Affiliate voting was functionally good. The general comments received about Affiliates voting varied. For some, it was unclear and they thought it didn’t have a real impact on the outcome. Others explained their concern that the Affiliate vote yielded different results from the community vote, accordingly the process needs more consideration in the future. Three people felt the process should be exclusively handled through a community vote.
During the process, Affiliate representatives suggested and selected questions for the candidates to answer. This was done using the Movement Strategy forum. Communication using the Movement Strategy Forum (mainly to collect and rank the community questions) was functionally effective.
The majority of people talking about the Analysis Committee highlighted the need for not using an Analysis Committee in the future. Some community members were unhappy with the changes to the Analysis Committee timeline and process and were frustrated the analysis details were not published. Two members of the Analysis Committee felt the Analysis Committee role worked well, but others did not feel happy about the role of the Analysis Committee. Four voters indicated that the Analysis Committee’s evaluation helped them make their voting decisions. This is a very limited positive response.
Candidates thought this Analysis Committee process consumed more work and effort than the value it provided, and this resulted in puzzling and reductionist information. The candidates were not clear how it was used in voting. Additionally, the candidates felt the criteria were not clear and they would have liked the chance to review their results.
Community members referred to the following campaign elements when asked about what helped them to make their decisions. They are listed by the number of responses:
- Candidates statements
- Candidates answers to the affiliates questions
- Election compass
- Candidates videos
- Prior knowledge of the candidates
The campaign period imposed time and performance demands on the candidates. Some candidates have suggested running for the Board is like having a full time job. Changes to the process introduced in 2022 aimed at decreasing the time demand on the candidates. Alterations were made during the campaign period to accommodate timeline changes due to process changes. These process changes ultimately negatively impacted the candidates even in circumstances where the candidates requested the changes. The changes to the process during the selection made it difficult for candidates and the community members to anticipate participation and properly plan. The community wants sufficient time to engage with the candidates and organizers.
Some community members and candidates feel the Elections Committee should be more active and responsive. The community members and candidates have said there is a need to review how the Elections Committee is structured and reconsider how its members are organized. One person suggested long term membership means the Elections Committee may not always be as active.
For candidates, several noted it was confusing who to ask for help and who to email with questions and concerns. A candidate noted there were odd moments where the Elections Committee would not respond directly but through a staff member.
Comments and feedback about SecurePoll and Single Transferable Vote (STV) were mostly positive.
For example, 12 out of 14 staff members thought it was good, while four of six community members and Election Volunteers felt it was difficult to use. On the other hand, some commented that returning to direct voting may increase the turnout.
Community members and staff members shared different ideas to increase the turnout, including:
- providing less but better selection documentation, e.g. one video about the entire process.
- Educating the communities about governance, why they should vote and why it’s important, as many individuals, communities and affiliates don’t really care about the Board of Trustees work or the Board selection.
- Clarifying the voter eligibility criteria or even allowing everyone to vote despite their edit count.
A member of the Movement Strategy and Governance team analyzed the participation data from community voting in the Board of Trustees selection. The resulting summary is available on Diff.