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Wikimedia Foundation elections/2024/Candidates/Lane Rasberry

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Lane Rasberry (bluerasberry)


bluerasberry (talk meta edits global user summary CA  AE)

Candidate details
Lane Rasberry, Wikimedian in Residence at the School of Data Science at the University of Virginia
  • Personal:
  • Editorial:
    • Wikimedian since: 2004
    • Active wikis: English Wikipedia, Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons
Total word count for the whole application (required + optional questions) is 1000 (one thousand) words
Required questions
Why are you running for the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees? What would you contribute? What would you like to learn more about? Investment in community is the best way to achieve our goals and I want to join the board to develop budgets which advance the Wikimedia Foundation mission through community empowerment. The Wikimedia Foundation collected US$1,000,000,000 since 2017, but only 10% of the annual budget is grants. This amount of money is too low to develop enough leadership and community governance.

At Wikimedia Summit 2024 the Wikimedia movement affiliates decided that the new Movement Charter and Global Council will transfer power from the Wikimedia Foundation to the user community. This power transfer may not happen without strong advocacy, but I will negotiate for the resources the community needs to be successful. This includes sustaining current community programs and increasing funds to the Spanish-speaking world, India, and African countries. Because currently only members of wiki organizations get access to some governance rights, we also must create governance participation options for the 99% of editors and readers who have no such membership.

I have 12 years of experience as a "Wikimedian in Residence", which is a professional Wikimedian role. I am at the School of Data Science at the University of Virginia, and my institution is ready to back me in my Board work with legal, accounting, ethical, and other expert academic support.

Please describe your Wikimedia experience (such as contributions to the Wikimedia projects, memberships in Wikimedia organizations or affiliates, activities as a Wikimedia movement organizer, or participation with a Wikimedia movement ally organization). *Served as professional Wikimedian since 2012, so 40 hours of wiki, weekly, for 12 years
From your perspective, what should the Wikimedia Foundation be prioritizing over the next 5-10 years, and why do you see these as the most important priorities? Our unique strength is crowdsourced decentralized governance and we must sponsor its growth.
  1. Establish the Global Council as the highest decision-making body representing Wikimedia editors, readers, and users.
  2. Fund underrepresented groups to improve diversity.
  3. Design institutional partnerships, including with universities for research, foundations for grants, civic tech organizations for open source software, GLAM for culture, and expert institutes for subject matter knowledge.
Optional questions - Professional Experience, Skills and Education
Please describe your experience with governing bodies of organizations (nonprofit or for-profit), mentioning the scope of your responsibilities, as well as the complexity of the organization (in terms of scale of operations, budget, number of people involved, or other meaningful measures) and the size of the board or body. Since I joined the School of Data Science at the University of Virginia, it has grown from 10 to 200 people, with annual budget of $24 million/year. In this startup environment we make all strategic decisions collaboratively, and my own contribution is emphasizing open science.

I have designed budgets and annual reports for Wikimedia New York City, Wikimedia Medicine, and Wikimedia LGBT+, so I understand Wikimedia community governance.

Since 2007 I have been on an ethics board reviewing ethics for multinational HIV vaccine clinical trials. Lessons from medical research can inform Wikimedia challenges. The United States government funds this from a US$3 billion budget.

I founded an LGBT community center (Q2945640) which hosts concerts. This includes posting artist profiles in Wikidata and Wikimedia Commons to showcase regional culture. Our events have helped 100 people in coming out (Q208099) as LGBT+.

Please describe your professional career experience. I am a data scientist and principal investigator in multiple research projects.

After university I conducted medical clinical research (Q5133849), which I still do indirectly in ethics and data curation.

From 2012-18 I was Wikimedian at Consumer Reports, which is a nonprofit consumer protection (Q664183) organization sharing product safety information in Wikipedia. Since 2018 as a data scientist at my university I do projects to promote open science (Q309823) and open data (Q309901). Partner organizations like these invest money in the Wikimedia platform, and we should seek more.

Please briefly describe 3 situations that show how you tackled, or advised others on, a complex problem in an organization. How did you work with others to address the situations? .
  1. At my university I mentor student researchers to attempt to solve challenges. Many problems are not as complex as they seem. Students often can either resolve them or at least discover what solution exists.
  2. Since 2007 I have served on a medical ethics board overseeing HIV vaccine research. When we encounter research complaints, we organize community discussions to resolve them. Transparency builds trust, and I opened general data at d:Wikidata:WikiProject Clinical Trials.
  3. Following the rebranding petition discussions I created documentation which showcased community demands.
Please describe your educational background, including degrees, certificates, and courses of study finished, and their relevance to board work. My bachelor of science in chemistry led me to medical research, then to ethics, diversity, and openness, and then to Wikimedia medical content.
Please add any relevant links describing your professional background, experience, profile (such as LinkedIn, staff page, etc.). .
Optional questions - Leadership Experience
Please describe ways in which you have helped to form a bridge between multiple communities (such as by working on projects outside your home wiki, or working on a collaboration between multiple affiliates). I edit medical content. During COVID my outreach recruited translators for articles.

On-wiki, I support Wikimedians in applying for Wikimedia grants. My own experience and the gaps in our funding reports have convinced me that many Wikimedians are unable to access money. I feel that financial transparency would increase trust in the Wikimedia grants strategy.

As is common among LGBT+ wiki editors, I get harassed. Because my town Charlottesville had a Nazi rally in 2017 and because I live in the United States where shootings are routine, I support increased discussion of disaster response. Development of protection resources for LGBT+ people, women, neurodivergent people, and other vulnerable groups will make Wikimedia safer for everyone.

Can you describe a policy, on wiki or off, that you helped to create or change? What did you learn from this experience? At my university, I developed my school's open access policy . I learned why people either support or fear openness.

I organized community protests in the controversies over Superprotect, the removal of WMF CEO Lila Tretikov, the rebranding, Can San Fran Ban Fram?, fundraising messages, and others. These are major wiki demonstrations with many petitioners. While protests are helpful, it would better if they were not necessary. I wish to reconcile conflicts with financial transparency and consensus-building.

How have you been able to empower people to make their voices heard? I empower people to be heard by joining and bringing media to protests, as I just described.
Sometimes in professional situations, there are personality conflicts. Explain how you remain productive even with personality conflicts. I remain productive by addressing conflicts with de-escalation (Q1182511) techniques. Many organizations already have developed ways to address conflicts, and I want to bring these practices to Wikimedia. For example, feminist scholar Sara Ahmed (Q15437208) describes how society systematically dismisses women's complaints, and teaches how to avoid this.
Optional questions - Strategic Thinking
Where do you see the need for greater diversity in the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees or within the movement? What steps would you take to improve diversity on the Board or within the movement? What steps would you recommend the Board take to improve diversity? The need for greater diversity is in the Wikimedia Foundation budget. Although our volunteer recognition programs are diverse, our investments are not. More transparency about Wikimedia Foundation budgets and the Wikimedia Endowment would inspire global confidence in our programs.
Verification Identity verification performed by Wikimedia Foundation staff and eligibility verification performed by the Elections Committee
Eligibility: Verified
Verified by: KTC (talk) 20:03, 3 June 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Identification: Verified
Verified by: – NahidSultan (WMF) (talk) 08:49, 31 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]