Wikimedia Foundation elections/Board elections/2007/Candidates/Kim Bruning/questions
|2007 board elections|
Feel free to ask me any question! --Kim Bruning 01:39, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
- The current board will likely have appointed a new executive director and legal counsel by the time the elections are over. This allows the new board to concentrate on actually looking towards the future and giving guidance rather than taking care of day to day matters all the time. In a way this is more of a continuation than a change,I guess, but still a very important one.
- I'd like to promote more openness and insight into the foundation by the communities. Maybe if I'm elected alongside Eloquence (Eloquence's answer), together we might be able to tip the balance in that direction.
- Finally, just like I said on my candidate statement, we need to start working on ways to get the communities talking with each other. We can talk about spending millions of dollars on resources and external cooperation, but if the communities squander it all on duplication of effort and repeating the same mistakes, or even outright fighting, we still won't get any further. If instead we get communities to cooperate more strongly, we will need less resources to do the same amount of work, and the load on the board and the foundation will be reduced as well.
I am not exceptionally skilled in any of those fields, but the foundation does hire people in those fields. Some of our (appointed) board members do have some of these skills, and Mindspillage is currently stuying law.
As a member who would be elected by the community, my own expertise is in fact ..prepare to be amazed ... in the field of online communities. I've been working on a very large community (en.wikipedia) for quite a while now, and I have not hesitated to ask people from other communities for opinions and advice (and vice versa, people from other communities have sometimes asked me for advice too). --Kim Bruning 16:03, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
You can hire experts in the Legal, Financial and Accounting fields separately, and there are schools you can go to to learn these skills. It's rather harder to find experts on maintaining online communication, on wikis, and on online communities. I'd suggest we elect experts on the latter to the board, and hire the former "off the street". --Kim Bruning 11:49, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
I noticed you are a native Dutch speaker. Could you please elaborate on why you have not also written your candidate statement in Dutch? And could you also explain your view on the multilinguism of the Wikimedia Organization (broader as only WMF)? Thanks, Effeietsanders 06:33, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
- Wow, you were so quick with the questions! I just finished writing my statement in dutch, right before coming here to answer the questions. :-)
- We have people contributing in many many different languages. This way, we can one day spread knowledge to every single person in the world. But every advantage has a disadvantage. By having so many different languages, they end up acting as a barrier to cooperation between projects. The best solution I can think of so far is to invest heavily in making life easier for translators. This would include technical solutions, as well as increasing community awareness of, and respect for, translators and translation efforts. --Kim Bruning 16:11, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
- I think that peoples privacy is very important. It is not wise to reveal more information about yourself than absolutely nescesary for any one particular task. I do not think it wise to checkuser admin candidates except at their own request. We must also weigh the real-world damage to actual persons of good faith versus the virtual world damage to wikipedia. I'd rather have a hundred sockpuppet admins than that one real persons reputation was harmed. --Kim Bruning 11:52, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
What do You think of the sister-projects? Do You think they have been given enough support by the foundation in the past? Which ones would You support more than in the past, if any? Thank You, --birdy geimfyglið (:> )=| 11:16, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
- We should try to get projects to cooperate with each other more. Even many of the smaller projects are capable of putting forth a lot more man-hours than the office of the foundation itself. Think what would happen if we improve cooperation between 700 projects by even a fraction of a percent. --Kim Bruning 16:43, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
In what way do you forsee the office (and staff) evolving under your tenure as a board member, should you be elected? i.e. would you be in favor of expansion, contraction, status quo, more interns, new positions, less, what? Swatjester 13:47, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
- Do note that the actual foundation only has about 10 employees (including contractors), it's not really large, and it's not really hard for a single competent manager to handle such a number of people on an personal day to basis all by themselves. The bigger issue of course is actually coordinating with this HUGE community we have that we're actually supposed to be serving.
- I think the main problem the foundation is facing today is to find not just decent, but actual good staff. With due respect to the current staff, of course. I have heard that the foundation is looking at getting a new Executive Director and a famous legal counsel. We already have top notch programmers, mostly on contract basis. That's a good start. Further hiring decisions should be left mostly to the Executive Director once we have one, and let's see what (s)he* can do. There's a lot more to be said with regards to external contractors once we discuss project management, which I might do further on. --Kim Bruning 12:05, 1 July 2007 (UTC) * Actually I have a good idea who will be getting these positions, but I'm not allowed to say yet.... frustrating!
By nature and design, wiki communities are an amateur, unstable amalgam of widely differing perspectives and agendas. There is no individual or collective responsibility and no competence test for participation. Yet, the board of the ever-expanding and legally constituted foundation that runs one of the world’s top websites, needs to be highly professionally, highly competent, collectively coherent and responsible. It must have business savvy, and be willing to make hard-nosed and even unpopular decisions. In your opinion:
- Is the current board, vision and structure fit for that purpose?
- Are you? (Would you be a competent candidate for a board in any non-profit venture?)
(same asked of all candidates)--Doc glasgow 14:44, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
I don't think professional training exists in the fields of wiki-management. Let me find a quote...
|In retrospect I realize that in almost everything that we worked on together, we were both amateurs. In digital physics, neural networks, even parallel computing, we never really knew what we were doing. But the things that we studied were so new that no one else knew exactly what they were doing either. It was amateurs who made the progress.|
|— W. Daniel Hillis,Richard Feynman and The Connection Machine.|
Basically, there are decent schools which turn out professionals who are excellent in their particular fields of finance, accounting, law, etc. It would be insane to try to elect such people out of the ranks of wikimedians when we can actually just find and hire some of the better experts in the world in those fields.
At the same time, where else do we find people more qualified to work with online communities? Now that's where it is a good idea to find people inside of wikimedia, because that's where you will find the leading pioneers in that particular field, and that's what we're doing right now.
--Kim Bruning 12:40, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Chapters
Taking into account the growing importance of Wikimedia chapters in furthering our common goals on the one hand and the impact the decisions made by the Wikimedia Foundation have on the work (if not existence) of the Wikimedia Chapters on the other hand: What do you think about the idea of giving the chapters a formal say in WMF's decision making process? What do you think especially about a) letting the chapters appoint one or more board members (beside the ones elected by the community) and/or b) changing the WMF back to a membership organization (with the chapters as members)? Do you have any other ideas to achieve more checks and balances between Foundation and chapters? On top of that, would you care to elaborate on your vision about the current and future role of the Wikimedia chapters? Thanks in advance, Arne (akl) 15:40, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
- In future this might be a great idea. However, during the time that I would be on the board, I think we still need to do a lot of work in setting up chapters, and ensuring that they actually work towards creating a better wiki-world. This is a process of acculturation. If we can achieve that, then that would be a good start. I think one of of my successors would then be the first to prepare and then announce actual chapter influence in the foundation. --Kim Bruning 12:45, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
Project policy involvement
What are your views on board involvement in writing and implementing policy for the various projects, especially in controversial areas where it appears that community consensus will be difficult to establish, such as on the "attack sites"  and biography of living people (BLP)  issues? Cla68 15:52, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
- I think that the board should provide facilities for different projects to communicate with each other, and they should provide the means for projects to operate. Of course board members will also work on their favorite projects or provide advice "in their free time". The board itself should not actually be involved in writing policies for particular projects, short of things that are absolutely essential for the foundation to continue to operate. (Things like "don't break of copyright law", and "don't slander people", and maintenance of the foundation issues). --Kim Bruning 12:49, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
Improvement of internal communications
How do you envision to go about improvement of internal communication? We have a Communication Manager (although it is not clear to me to what extent her job includes internal communication. Maybe it is mainly press etc?) and we have a Communication committee, with various subcommittees. How do you look upon the role of comcom and subcommittees? You mention we should make things easier for translators. How should that be accomplished?
What I'm getting at is: OK you know what you want to do. Do you have a good idea of how to do it, too? // habj 17:54, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
- Indeed I do. There are several avenues of approach, some requiring Foundation Assets:
- Software approaches
- The widely touted "real soon now" Single User Login functionality should be completed and implemented. This alone might improve inter-community discussion considerably. I was once concerned that SUL might cause too much intercommunity communication, and sever the partitions between communities that serve as a kind of safety net. Now that communities are becomign rather *too* insular, SUL is a good first step.
- SabineCretella of the translations committee tells us that professional translators basically refuse to translate on mediawiki, because the interface is not tailored to them. This is an area that hasn't been looked at at all by anyone. We should contract one of our regular developers to work on interface design in this field.
- It might be clever to have certain namespaces be shared across communities, to force them to interact.
- Unified talk pages might be a boon for inter-wiki communication.
- Community/culture approaches
- People from all wikis should be welcome on all other wikis, and it should be recognized that experience on one wiki really does translate to experience on others. No more Not Invented Here syndrome. This requires education on multiple wikis.
- People often don't know who their interwiki contacts are. We should make that clearer
- Bot Operators and Translators are currently the people who have most contacts between different wikis. We should ensure that they are accorded honor, respect and reputation for the vital roles they play.
- Much communication work between languages is frankly boring. We may need to hire professional translators and/or pay people to do translation work, since it's not fun work.
- on the longer term, it might be interesting to look at acquiring translation engines.
- We should encourage people to spend some amount of time on wikimedia commons and meta and other such centralised projects.
- Software approaches
These steps are just the tip of the iceberg. Once you start looking and working on these issues, we'll likely uncover more things we can do to improve communication, and thus also distribution of our knowledge among more wikis. --Kim Bruning 13:05, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
Ads, branding, business dev., GHGs.
- On the board, will you vote for ads on Wikimedia sites?
- only for a huge amount of money
- only during budget emergencies
- only if editors support it
- What are your thoughts on Wikimedia branding?
- What are your thoughts on the foundation's hiring of a business developer?
- How would you vote on the board about the foundation reducing or offsetting anthropogenic greenhouse gases, e.g. power used by hardware, flights, etc.?
- Never for sites with established communities. Very very maybe for new wikis, depending on the goal of such a new wiki, and whether advertising would damage it in some way. (think wikia)
- You mean thinkgeek and cafepress kinds of deals? Hmmm, I love t-shirts, if I don't have the T-shirt, it never happened. ;-) You have to be really careful though, since reputation is wikimedia's main asset. I would want to keep a close eye on what kinds of things are being sold, and maintain a veto right, to be written into any such contract.
- Sounds like a good plan. No matter what we're doing, be it that we just stick to donations; or if we have innocuous cafepress-like deals; or if people decide more sophisticated marketing with perhaps a larger risk to our reputation; whatever we choose, we should at least have at least one person in the organization who actually understands what we're doing.
- I think network-based organizations like wikimedia already do a lot to reduce greenhouse emissions as a side effect. Anytime we save money on power requirements or cooling, often the environment is helped too. Even so, I guess it can't hurt to keep our eyes peeled, in case of the hopefully rare situation where this doesn't quite hold. Going from there to actually becoming carbon neutral should be easy enough (famous last words).
--Kim Bruning 20:31, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
What would you do/recommend when elected and faced with 40% budget deficit? Absolwent 18:45, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
A budget deficit is a planning problem. You typically have some time to deal with it. How you deal with it depends on the exact financial situation and what the causes of the deficit are.
If you're actually asking how I propose to get sufficient funds to cover operating expenses? That's a different question, which I think is further down the page. --Kim Bruning 13:10, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
* One wiki was banning admins from a different wiki * Several wikis don't use consensus * One wiki had a POV-violation in the site-notice * Many wikis have never heard of Assume Good Faith
What are you talking about? These words seems meaningless if you can't explain what the real problem are, according to you. Please give links, refs...
Nicolas (Ze Kayl from the french WP)
- The English wikipedia banned User:っ, a ja.wikipedia admin, after which it turned out that en.wikikipedia has been banning people from jawiki for some time, since certain valid ja usernames were deemed invalid on en.wikipedia. This was fixed. part of discussion here.
- The Swedish wikipedia has only recently started using consensus. There are likely several more wikis with similar histories, which I may not be able to access without translator assistance.
- The Urdu wikipedia had a quote from the Qur'an in the site-notice for a while. see:  (search for [sitenotice])
- The Dutch wikipedia does not practice en:Assume Good Faith.
In each case, better inter-wiki communication could prevent situations from occurring, or could cause different wikis learn more optimal behaviours from each other.
--Kim Bruning 20:49, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Cash & users
We need money and people. We have lost users (for a while) after this event. Nobody expected it, but... the same was in 2006. Do you want to talk about money (with these wealthy guys) and what's your opinion about that event ;)? Przykuta 11:57, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
- I can't really see a trend of losing users there. Note that the english wikipedia database dumps have some issues (hence the perfectly flat line for en).
- Note that Anthere has been widely misquoted on that event. Wikimedia is quite capable of sustaining operations at the moment. Even so, we could certainly easily be earning more money if we tried. --Kim Bruning 13:13, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
Wikinews and Accredited reporters attending events
Wikinews may be one of the lesser-known projects, but we recently managed to get a contributor entry to the G8 conference. Efforts were made to get the Board involved in the drafting of a letter for the reporter's entry to the G8, but these received no response. As an involved party there is more about this issue on Eloquence's questions page . What is your opinion on this, it is - I believe - an issue the board should take seriously. Those of us who contribute on Wikinews are ambitious enough to think that we can overtake the Wikipedia article count (although I may be retired before we manage it there are new news stories every day). As we really want to be able to do truly original reporting we need people who can "almost" say they represent us. Do you support this, and do you believe the board should have been involved for something as important as sending a reporter to the G8 conference? --Brian McNeil / talk 21:11, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
The Wikimedia Foundation at a corporate level is soaked in its own drama and if conditions don't improve soon, it will crash and burn. I want the newly elected trustees to act as catalystic mediators to simply and peacefully transform drama into productivity and then success for the foundation. How do you plan on doing this? —Signed, your friendly neighborhood MessedRocker. 06:06, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
- The current board has already been taking steps, by hiring new, competent legal and executive help. It's amazing what a difference even a single good and ccompetent person can make, and I've already heard some sighs of relief and exclamations of pleasant surprise.
- I think that the mediation skills I've built up while handeling and overhauling the enwiki dispute resolution system serve me well in foundation work as well even today, without being on the board. Sannse's law states that it is a lot easier to talk with people and assume good faith in real life. All of the additional information channels (tone of voice, body language etc.) that are missing over the internet are all present when you meet people in person.
- One of the nice things about being on the board is that one gets to meet people in real life much more often than otherwise, allowing one to spread a calming influence over a larger area with less effort than would ever be possible using internet alone. --Kim Bruning 18:52, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
This is a mass question being posted to all candidates. A couple days ago there was a proposal to hold an all candidates debate on IRC at a time TBD. The planning page is at ElectionDebate07 - please indicate if you are interested and if so, a time that would work for you. -- Tawker 22:58, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
Done. --Kim Bruning 20:38, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Experience and Qualifications
Your platform makes no mention of any relevant experience to running a major organisation; please detail what experience you have in the running of corporate organisations, specifically regarding their finance, management, marketing, and human resources. --Alison Wheeler 11:57, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
- The foundation itself is not a major organisation. It is a very small and efficient organization with a total of only 10 full-time employees, with a budget that is roughly in line with other typical organisation of that size. There is nothing truly remarkable about it.
- I just set up a small company of my own, and it's quite cheap to hire other people to do most of the paperwork, which is what you're mostly referring to. Currently that's almost exactly how the foundation office operates, so no big surprise there either.
- The big challenge is dealing with this truly massive community you are serving with that tiny little organisation. To do that, you need community experts. Internet community experts are a very rare thing to find. Finding really GOOD experts is harder. Wouldn't you want to especially elect community experts to the board? All these other skills can be hired "off the street", if need be. --Kim Bruning 22:49, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
Most Wikipedia users are technically inclined, but usability studies have turned up serious problems for non-geeks, and many of these problemsd remain uncorrected.
Have you read these usability studies? Do you consider them to be important? Would you commission more such studies? How would you implement their results?
Here's an example from just a couple months ago: a journalist working for a major newspaper thought that "there's no way to tell who wrote the entry or how many people contributed to it" until one of his readers corrected him -- he works for the media! How many regular people know how to check an article's contributors? If i might be permitted to opine for a second: the fact that you can view the revisions of an article should be obvious from the design of the webpage, but it's not: "history" is a terrible, non-obvious name for the function.
Put yourself in your parents' shoes: you're reading a page about Thailand that you found through Google, and you see a square that says "history". You click the square expecting to read about the history of Thailand and suddenly you're faced with a long, mysterious list of nonsensical words and numbers. You click the back button. Aaron Swartz gave one of the best summaries of the issue that I've seen:
"The page design the site uses encourages specific actions by making some links clear and prominent. Software functions like categories make certain kinds of features possible. The formatting codes used for things like infoboxes and links determine how easy it is for newcomers to edit those pieces of the site.
All of these things are political choices, not technical ones. It's not like there's a right answer that's obvious to any intelligent programmer. And these choices can have huge effects on the community.
One presentation was by a usability expert who told us about a study done on how hard people found it to add a photo to a Wikipedia page. The discussion after the presentation turned into a debate over whether Wikipedia should be easy to to use. Some...questioned whether confused users should be allowed to edit the site at all -- were their contributions even valuable?
As a programmer, I have a great deal of respect for the members of my trade. But with all due respect, are these really decisions that the programmers should be making?"
How would you solve this problem?
Tlogmer 00:09, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
- One of the members of the Dutch Wikimedia Community is working on a kind of "Image Wizard". I'll go bug him to see how far along he is, and then I'll ask one of the developers to see if it can be brought online.
- More in general, I do think we need to spend more time on UI R&D. At the end of the day, this is mostly a question of either finding volunteers and giving them some room to play, or otherwise of hiring experts in the relevant field. (Another area that needs more UI work is translation: See also my answer to the question about how to improve community interaction.) --Kim Bruning 13:33, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
Danny Wool has proposed replacing the current board with "a professional board consisting of captains of industry and academia" -- presumbaly, web leaders and information academics, etc. Do you agree? What do you think Wikipedia can learn from, for example, professional writers of paper encyclopedias like Britannica? How should the foundation best recruit their advice and put it into practice? Tlogmer 00:09, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
- This is an election for the board of the wikimedia foundation. We have 700 very different projects in 250 different langauges. The expertise of a Britannica editor would be fairly limited. The Wikimedia board should be manned by captains and experts in the field of operating and maintaining online communities in general. That is to say: by ourselves. --Kim Bruning 13:28, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
Appropriate conduct for Board members
Recently, in a non-Mediawiki forum, Erik Moeller made the following comments: "Cyde's and Kelly's arguments are on the same level: they are driven by blind hostility, not thoughtful analysis."  Do you believe that responding to criticism of one's credentials and conduct as a member of the Board with personal attacks such as these is appropriate for a member of the Board of Trustees? Kelly Martin 00:54, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
- You seem to have a dispute with Erik Moeller. Would you like me to help mediate? Will you be at Wikimania in Taipei? That might be a good opportunity for us all to talk. --Kim Bruning 13:24, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
Intermediary layer between board and communities/chapters/projects
There has been a lot of talk about a wikicouncil. In my view (please tell me if you disagree) the great stumbling block has been seat allocation, because of the immense disparity in the size of contributor-base per language, and per project-type, which makes it near impossible to create a fair allocation system that would come even close to keeping everybody happy.
How would you feel about a body that was explicitly barred from being a deliberative body, but given a remit to share knowledge of practises, problems and the like; and in a consensus format (not unanimity, but with explicit opt-outs) try to bring the communities closer on those issues where they are able to share common ground, and with each "common understanding" then being sent back down to the chapter, language of a project or whatever, where they can then amongst themselves think about whether they wish to implement it fully, in part or what; each according to their own decision making culture?
As I see it, this would with one swift stroke entirely erase the need for strict representativeness. And each chapter, project or language, or what not could send one person to the body, with the only requirement being that that subcommunity has a working manner of ratifying decisions in a common framework. That is, no conglomeration of communities or tiny and largely inactive fringe community could send a representative, unless it had an actively working way for making decisions (Meaning that it regularly makes decisions; and needs to. There is no reason to burden those communities that are still in that happy state of just doing what needs to be done, without worrying about how to make community decisions) within themselves.
I am sending this to you, as by your candidate statement, this is one of the prime problems that vexes your mind. (Note, I also sent the same proposal to Mike Snows question-page, as he might have some valuable insight into it, being a political scientist/historian and all.) -- Cimon Avaro 11:43, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Wikiquote & copyright
What's your stance regarding Wikiquote and copyrights? As it is, most wikiquotes depend and extensively use fair use content, which is contrary to the philosophy of most other projects. What are your views on this? Should wikiquotes move to only free content? Should resolution on fair use have a special exemption for wikiquote? Should fair use be removed from Wikiquote after deadline for the resolution? drini [es:] [commons:] 16:06, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Donors and scope
Asked of all candidiates: Okay, I'm not naive so yeah, it follows that large donors will probably get some pull when policies, direction and the scope of the foundation get decided, but what's your take on it all? How far do we bend to satisfy our donors, and to what extent are ideals of the foundation non-negotiable? In five years say, would you expect the foundation to still exist in the same legal fashion as now and assert ownership over the assets it currently has? Steve block 20:37, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Hi, as this seems to get closer to the time that the elections are to start, I thought it would be best to go ahead and attempt to get the unofficial IRC debate a time and a place. By the time analysis on the talk page, the best time for the debate appears to be 1800 UTC, to 1900 UTC. As it would be best for this debate to occur before the elections, June 27 was chosen as the day. I know that this is short notice, but the whole unofficial debate thing was on a very short notice to start with. I hope that you are able to attend. Again the time is 18:00 UTC, June 27, 2007, it will be held at ##wikimedia-debate. Please do note that this debate is unofficial, and you are not required to attend. —— Eagle101 Need help? 20:39, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
- Argh, I missed that. :-/ --Kim Bruning 13:36, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
Dear Kim, answer some questions please.
- Does the Wikipedia require some council which would resolve most hard multilingual troubles, e.g. severe interwiki conflicts?
- What should wikipedians do if two articles in different languages are interwiki-linked, but severely contradict (semantically) each other?
- Have a language section of Wikipedia (e.g. ru.wiki) the right to ban interwikis to another language section (e.g. ru-sib.wiki)?
Best regards, Incnis Mrsi 20:57, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
- Those are interesting questions. I'll talk with one of the language (sub)committee members and see what he has to say. --Kim Bruning 13:38, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
- Some people are suggesting a foundation-level arbitration committee. Let's try to get foundation-level mediation first. (Shouldn't be too hard to set up. Let me think about that ) --Kim Bruning 09:29, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
- It depends on which way they differ. You could either break the link, or try to discuss between different wikis.
- My favorite language-committee member went "OH MY GOD! IT'S THE RUSSIANS AND SIBERIANS AGAIN!" when I asked that question, then immediately went on to suggest we really need a wikimedia-wide Arbitration committee. Might I gather that this isn't an entirely innocent question? ;-) Hmmm, interesting, I'll have to find a translator to help me see what's really going on.
- --Kim Bruning 09:29, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
Regarding the Signpost question
Overall I think you've managed well to make your statemant and your answers to the Signpost questions comparably easily translatable. But. What on earth is "the seed-page set"? A set of pages where you sow... no. I am lost. Help? // habj 21:53, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
SeedPosting is one of the first steps in the WikiLifeCycle. You create an initial set of pages (a seed) from which your wiki-community will grow. As you know, the larger the number of pages a wiki has, the more useful it gets (due in part to the Network effect), and the faster it will grow. So all else being equal, if you make your initial set of seed-pages larger, then your wiki will grow faster. --Kim Bruning 13:44, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
What do you do when faced with a difficult decision to take ?
I saw in the recent irc debate the following question. Would you support releasing the state of the foundation's finances quarterly? Why or why not.. Of course, making such a decision is a matter of board-level policy. Now, the job of the board is also oversight. So, let's imagine the hypothesis that the board made a policy for quarterly release, the staff was asked to provide the statements according to the policy... and in spite of this, the report does not come. As board, you are embarassed. First because the policy is not respected. Second because the community is complaining. And third because, with no financial statements, there is no oversight possible. Please imagine you are facing this situation, reminded the staff once, then twice, then three times, and still no report.
What do you do ?
fund raiser and chapters
do you support to facilitate fundraising by offering a direct link to country specific donation possibilities? an example woulde be medecins sans frontier's donation page. in wikimedia's case the donation page for the year end fundraiser would contain flags, and the links behind the flags would go to the donation page of local chapters, for two reasons:
- local law (which donators know and can make use of) strengtens donators feeling, that their donations are used at their will
- local tax exemption allows to donate up to 50% more without paying more
--ThurnerRupert 12:04, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
In the past we have had a conflict. Instead of defusing the situation you permitted the situation to get worse to the point where you jovially had the pleasure to utilize you admin. powers and block my account. When faced with conflicting views and an obvious cry that says "something wrong is happening in the way you are managing the conflict", as was the case for the aforementioned block, how do you plan to manage other conflict you may face? --184.108.40.206 04:44, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
- Well, I haven't blocked anyone from enwiki since 2005. Even back when I did still block people, my blocklist is very short, so I can probably figure out the exact conflict and what went on. I generally tried to have very good reasons for blocking, back when I did do so, so I should be able to give you quite detailed information. Can you be more specific? If you prefer, you can e-mail me too.--Kim Bruning 13:24, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
I think you answered the question very well. I'm sorry. I was mistaken with the administrator that blocked me and it wasn't you. You where the administrator whom we had an escalating argument and some other administrator then blocked me. If I remember correctly, it felt like there was escalation of the conflict in part because of you. Nevertheless, if I remember correctly you also tried helping me get away from a community ban once things calmed down. The big question being here... was it truly necessary to get involved? I don't think anyone knows that answer? But I do know that you appear to have some interesting conflict resolution methods. Good management? Or good acquaintances? I don't know. But what I do remember is that our initial encounter was not so pleasant, even after I warned you on what would happen. I think my comment was something like "I guess you have the bigger club." And even though you did end up helping me out and saving my skin I wonder what the entire point of bringing on such an escalation was for? I could be more specific however I think you answered the question. If you are interested to know what that case was, I can send you some more info via email. --220.127.116.11 01:03, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
The committee system has been around for roughly a year and a half now, not counting previous initiatives. Several of the committees are now dormant and some never got off the ground. Some, conversely, have done fairly well.
I know this is a long-standing and groan-inducing topic of debate, but what is your view on the committee system? Do you have ideas for reviving the current committee system or making it more functional? Do you think there is a place in the Foundation, in theory at least, for community-based committees to do some of the day-to-day work or oversee certain areas? Who should the committees report to, ideally? Are there new committees that should be formed, or old ones to be reworked?
Sorry about posting my question(s) so late! -- phoebe 00:31, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia, being one of the ten most visited sites in internet, has some negotiation power. I believe we should be able to use this power in order to increase both the freedom and quality of the encyclopedia. In example, the board could contact copyright holders of promotional images (places, objects, models, singers, bands, etc), and convince them to release their items under a free license. I have been doing this myself, but I believe the Board could have better chances than a single person, a WikiProject or even a Wikipedia project. What do you think, do you think this could be a priority? And good luck! -- ReyBrujo 18:37, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
I am asking these exact same questions of you and all your opponents so I can make an apples-to-apples comparison.
- Do you think the Wikimedia Foundation should invest in stocks and bonds so that it has a source of income if donations dry up? If so, should its investment strategy be active or passive, diversified or focus, value or growth?
- Do you think the Foundation's spending on travel and conferences before it has a long-term source of income is responsible?
- Should some of the Foundation's major financial decisions, such as expansion of the paid staff, be subject to referenda of the editors and donors?
- The oversight function -- where edits are hidden even from admins -- has legitimate uses, but the potential for misuse is Orwellian. How can abuse be avoided?
- Do you believe control over Wikipedia content policy should ultimately rest with the man who created the skeleton of the site, or the editors who create its flesh and blood and/or their elected representatives?
- What is your position on freedom of expression in the User namespace?
- Where U.S. copyright law unfairly impedes Wikimedia Foundation projects, should the Foundation lobby for the law to be changed? If so, how should it do so without spending money it can't afford?
- To what extent is Wikipedia yet reaching the developing world, and what could you do during your term to speed that up?
Seahen 05:37, 30 June 2007 (UTC)
Wikinews and building on an unexpected publicity opportunity
As I would hope you have seen, Wikinews has made a splash in the news as the original non-blog source for the story of a prank edit to w:Chris Benoit's Wikipedia page. Our Alexa rating has skyrocketed, Google news has hundreds of articles that mention - or cite - us. I had planned to sponsor a Writing Contest on Wikinews following these elections - but this seems like too good an opportunity to miss. I've asked a few people to contribute to the prize pot, but most of our local contributors don't have the spare cash.
- First question, should we do things like this - we've had other competitions in the past and the daily article count has gone up significantly.
- Second, are you prepared to put your money where our projects are and donate to the prize fund?
- Third, if you are prepared to donate to the prize pot would you also be prepared to help out as a judge? I feel the impartial position the board should strive to take day to day would be welcome in defining rules and judging a competition. --Brian McNeil / talk 11:15, 30 June 2007 (UTC)
International Symbol of Access
If elected, would you act to remove the Foundation's ban on the use of the International Symbol of Access and International Symbol for Deafness outside the scope of fair use? If you are unfamiliar with this issue, it boils down to the fact that these symbols may be freely used for their intended purpose but are extremely unlikely to be released under a free license. Because they are internationally recognized symbols, no free equivalent could be created to replace them. There would be no legal risk to either the Wikimedia Foundation or to downstream users if we were to use these symbols in infoboxes to designate handicapped accessible metro stations, Disney rides, etc. I'm not asking for permission to use them in userboxes or the like. I just think that the current Foundation-level policy of lumping them into the "fair use" category is quite detrimental our goals.
There is actually general consensus to make this change on the English Wikipedia. The only thing standing in the way is the Foundation's policy. —Remember the dot 04:01, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
On English Wikipedia, there has been some controversy about whether it is, or ought to be, the policy that linking to so-called "attack sites" against Wikipedia and Wikipedians is to be banned. Some administrators have (overzealously, in some others' opinions) removed links to criticism sites from such places as talk pages, evidence pages for ArbCom cases, and even in a few cases from actual articles where they were being used as a source. I wrote an essay on this issue. What is your opinion? Dtobias 04:01, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
How will you deal with this...
Whenever I can not find the specific answer to a question in an article I turn to Wikipedia help. In many instances, however, the reply is devoid of thought or knowledge and merely a student's guess to fill blank space on the page as if to say: "Here is my guess. I've done my job. You have received my authoritative response."
How to deal with consensus of uninformed editors
Sometimes a popular opinion is contradicted by scientific evidence. Majority of editors stick to the popular opinion (which is also theirs) and vote to delete all pages that contradict their opinion (intrinsic weakness of democracy). As a result Wikipedia propagates old prejudices. How would you solve this problem?
Supporting evidence for the problem: Once I wrote several pages on Einsteinian physics (I'm just doing my PhD on it) and all of them were deleted by consensus of editors (9:1) who preferred their old high school physics :-). Unfortunately their high school physics was invalidated about 100 years ago by Einstein. Yet till today one can read as the first statement of Wikipedia's Gravitation: "Gravitation is a natural phenomenon by which all objects attract each other". According to contemporary science objects don't attract each other they just look like they do. Similarly as the Sun looks like running around the Earth while it doesn't and there exists a simple explanation in both cases. So I just explained the simple Einsteinian mechanism of this apparent attraction, since I thought it may be interesting to Wikipedia's readers. All those pages were deleted by consensus of editors cooling my enthusiasm for Wikipedia. So the issue of propagating old prejudices, because of democratic process involved in editing, seems to be very real in Wikipedia. JimJast 14:00, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
- So how are you dealing with the informed editors? It looks like EMS has a decent amount of clue, and is trying to help you out on those points. See if you can work together with him, and figure out the details from there. --Kim Bruning 00:44, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
- Then the problem is even bigger since EMS voted against updating Wikipedia with Einstein's discovery in a readable form. As a result Wikipedia succeded in keepping intact the three centuries old prejudice while Einstein's discovery has been available since 1915 and I just provided the badly needed popularization which high school student could understand. It's badly needed since even (uninformed) physics professors feed their students with this 300 years old prejudice damping somehow their development (which I'd seen while studying phisics at a rather decent university). And if Wikipedia is wrong even on such a basic and already clarified by science issue as gravitation then how much confidence we may have about its other stuff? In my opinion sticking to the old but popular pejudice (consensus of editors) while ignoring (unpopular, and therefore not supported by consensus) science may become an issue that might destroy the credibility of Wikipedia for eveybody, as it did for me. JimJast 05:59, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
- Kim - I thank you for being thorough enough to research this issue before commenting on it. --18.104.22.168 (EMS w/o a WikiMedia acct.) 16:44, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Majority biasing of the facts
- 12:35, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
it is an increasing frustration to me that a supermajority of wikipedians has apparently decided to defend their common view of the world as the only truth. All minority views are blocked. This goes so far as to not allow facts, which are acknowledged to be true, on article pages when they are seemingly at odds with this view. This tends to make the articles POV and destroys the knowledge and hard work brought together by many, many editors in this unique enterprise. It makes wikipedia a very unreliable and biased source of information. Subjects are e.g. terrorist attacks. Will you make an effort to change this trend? It is imortant to us that the guidelines are upheld fairly and equally, and not just to defend a single viewpoint.
Who Writes Wikipedia?
Late question: do you have any thoughts on this essay (and if so, what)? It suggests that Jimbo formed a radically false picture of anonymous users and their contributions to Wikipedia. This may have far-reaching implications. Dan(pedia) 21:28, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
- I have a link to it on my user page. I wonder if Jimbo still holds the same talk these days though, as it's a rather old text. Doesn't everyone know about it by now? <innocent look> --Kim Bruning 12:07, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
- If so, Mr. Everyone has failed to address the issue of our format discouraging editors. I can't tell from a quick look around if anyone has considered what decisions the programmers should make on behalf of the Eloi, or thought at all about the morality of blocking occasional users from voting, for example. Dan(pedia) 20:30, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
- My comment about "doesn't everyone know that by now" was intended to be somewhat cynical. Certainly, everyone should know, and many key wikimedians are well aware of how wikis work. Unfortunately, many more people in fact do not know basic facts about how wikis operate (forget about how reliably maintain wikis, or fix issues when they arise) . Such basic understanding is one of the things I'd like to provide, by improving internal communications. --Kim Bruning 22:18, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
- If so, Mr. Everyone has failed to address the issue of our format discouraging editors. I can't tell from a quick look around if anyone has considered what decisions the programmers should make on behalf of the Eloi, or thought at all about the morality of blocking occasional users from voting, for example. Dan(pedia) 20:30, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
A Fairer Voting System
Would you support the use of choice voting in the next Board Elections?
Choice voting protects majority rule while providing for the fair representation of minority views. Voters rank the candidates 1, 2, 3, and so on, in order of preference. If your top choice either is not elected or already has enough votes to win a seat, your vote goes to your next choice. No vote is wasted, and all viewpoints are represented. Choice voting would drastically reduce the number of wasted votes.
Choice voting can be used for single or multiple position elections. It is used for national elections in a number of countries including the Republic of Ireland. It is also used by a wide variety of organsations such as students' unions, charities, trade unions, universities, hospital trusts and housing associations. Choice voting is already used to elect the board of Nominet UK.
Choice voting is also called preference voting or wikipedia:single transferable vote (STV)
John Cross 16:59, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
- One of the reasons I run every year is to get out the word on how Approval Voting works (vote for everyone who you would find acceptable as a board member, don't vote for anyone who would not be acceptable). People often just don't realize, and might end up with candidates that they didn't really want. So it might be tricky to explain some of the more sophisticated voting systems.
- Provided you can figure out a way to explain the system you want to use to everyone, I'd have no objections. Be aware that this would be no mean feat. Will you be starting work on that soon?
- --Kim Bruning 22:28, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
Voting under STV All you have to do is rank the candidates in order of preference. That means you put a "1" next to your favourite candidate, a "2" next to your second choice, and so on. That's all there is to it! .
I am not sure how I can get the message out to the Community, but I don't think explaining how to vote would be hard. It might be a little harder to explain how it works but I need to know how much support there is first.
John Cross 14:25, 8 July 2007 (UTC)