The quality requirements are different in the various wikis. Some have very few requirements at the time, some others - e.g. de:WP - whose criterias (relevance) have already been set so high that it is often not possible for newcomers to partizipate. Almost every day, we lose more actual authors that we win new ones. You can not operate a constantly growing project with the same number of volunteers, if you expect article work in addition to administrative work. While the administrative burden is steadily increasing.
We have already today - and certainly much more in the future - due to an almost monopolistic position, a much greater social responsibility, which probably goes well beyond the current service character as an encyclopedia. Even there, were it seems to work very well we must find new ways.
Can you imagine that the Wikimedia Foundation also supports regionally operating wikis to foster a substantive as well as not yet locked personnel potential? And promoting such projects financially and through technical assistance and perhaps even integrated as part of the official Wikimedia system?
We would like to emphasize that we do not understand such a project as a competitor to Wikipedia, but as a supplement, the basics of Wikipedia and free knowledge must always be respected! --Hubertl (talk) 19:54, 27 May 2013 (UTC) --additional Karl Gruber (talk) 19:58, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
There always needs to be a balance between openness to newcomers and finding ways to keep or improve the quality of articles. I dont see how creating another category of wikis will help to raise the number of volunteers on the wikis we already have. One advantage to having the different standards on the different wikis is that we can see what works and what doesnt (think of it as a kind of wiki-federalism). However, it is frustrating for newcomers to face a wall that seems insurmountable. There have been efforts targeting newcomers which are sorely needed and need to be expanded. These have mostly focused on welcoming efforts but if a wiki wants to have very strict requirements as to content, it should work on creating easy ways for newcomers to get started, to experience success quickly and maintain the interest needed to learn more challenging tasks.
In relation to the FlaggedRevisions as implemented on German Wikipedia, I have one joke with my German friends: When Germans don't have a lot to do, they will find a way how to work more, no matter how much sense it has :P
Personally, I think that FlaggedRevisions (as implemented on German, Hungarian and Polish Wikipedia, unlike the implementation on English Wikipedia) are harmful for vitality of the community. If new user is not able to see the change immediately, than the wiki "philosophy" is flawed. Even it's about a primary school student, the difference between seeing and not seeing the change, even it's about vandalism, is the difference between potential editor and user forever.
At the other side, I completely understand necessity for high quality of all Wikipedia editions and I really admire that tendency of the German Wikipedia community. But we need to find a way how not to harm our ability to regenerate in the sense of new editors who replace the old ones. While I wouldn't have anything against creation of local wikis -- likely directly supported by appropriate affiliate organization and indirectly by Wikimedia Foundation -- I think that we should think more and find better ways for having high quality articles and lively community both.
For example, "stable versions" are common way to solve such issues: maybe de.stable.wikipedia.org could be the product of strictly imposed FlaggedRevisions, while de.wikipedia.org would continue to be not just a place for collaborative work, but also a playground for new ideas and young editors.
It is very important to keep our movement and our communities open, to actively build open culture. Years ago I noticed that we are becoming more and more conservative on all levels. One, anecdotal negative event triggers the next level of closure. At some parts of the community it created a number of bizarre rules, as well as many bureaucratic and inhumane relations. That's really bad. We shouldn't be such cowards as our present and historical position is so important, that significant parts of the future depend on our work, on conversations like this one is. Our responsibility is enormous and we should act responsibly. And responsibility means being bold, not a coward.
Regarding quality in general: I certainly agree with your first two paragraphs. Regarding regional wikis as a solution: I am strongly supportive of regional and local wikis, though I don't think they should necessarily be Wikimedia projects. For several years I have been involved as a volunteer with the LocalWiki
project, which is based in San Francisco -- and began with a wiki in the town where I live, the (somewhat famous and very cool) DavisWiki
LocalWiki is trying to start wikis in communities all over, and I think this is great -- there's a lot of benefit to having local sites where people can add as much detail as they want and really feel connected to other people in their community. That said, I don't think running sites like these would really fit with the goals of Wikimedia; I would rather see us continue to focus on globally-scaled reference works, which have quite different infrastructure needs (LocalWiki has done a fair amount of work on features explicitly designed for small regional wikis, for instance, and they are different from the kind of multi-lingual and massively scaling features that we must worry about). I do think that LocalWiki and projects like it are potential movement partners: they share the same goal with Wikimedia of getting lots of people involved in creating knowledge, and I think we can and should share ideas and learn from each other. I also think that getting more people involved in any
free knowledge project -- whether it's OpenStreetMap or a local wiki or an open archive or any other project -- helps the free knowledge ecosystem, gets people to think about contributing online, and therefore (indirectly) helps Wikimedia projects too.
On a more immediate note, since it began I've been trying to promote Wikivoyage widely -- I think in many ways it is the most accessible of our projects for new editors, since anyone can write about their hometown! So I hope that Wikivoyage can draw in some editors who might consider contributing to a local wiki.
Quality requirement are real different and this depends on integration of the community and commitment, having a Wiki chapter/Organization doesn’t any thing if accountability, responsibility and equality is zero. Actually there’s a big gape between volunteers with wikimedia Foundation system which causing misunderstand to general operation of Wikimedia projects also even the systems required more identification for a user from one project to another. We can reach our goals of increasing users as many as we can, concentration, clarity, courage and motivation is very important for built of commitment. On my view, first am convinced to refer on this philosophy of “bureaucracy kills” because there are no reasons of persistent on the rules which are demolishing development of the Wikimedia Foundation because until today we have only 16 chapter and no any efforts has been taken to help other countries. The reasons of granting funds to people to operate a project that is not enough, we might be serious if we real need a change. Yes for several times Wikimedia Foundation has been involved to help some people interested even in our continent of Africa but that funds did not help the community and was benefiting few people, and the reason here is a lack of monitoring and evaluation of the funds granted by the WMF and to wait report from the coordinating team this was not enough. Wikimedia Foundation as a Father and Mother of Wikipedia and similar sister projects should have to declare to all those funded clearly that the funds granted is there to promote the wikipedia as a source of the similarly projects. Do whatever you do on your wiki projects at the end you’ll fall on free knowledge integration.
Seriously, I actually have some doubt on regional operating wikis can be a way to attract new editors. Even though we keep some people in these wikis, probably the issue is how to tranfer them or the knowledge they created to the Wikimedia Projects. Of course WMF resources should help in anything related to free culture, like OSM etc.
Hello Hubertl, this is certainly one of the greatest barriers to participation today. I'm not sure quite how you imagine "regions" being defined here, but it is definitely important for smaller groups of editors to be able to contribute what they know, without being told they are "doing it wrong". Everyone has something to teach others, and we should encourage them to do so. Learning how to teach and write is part of becoming a Wikimedian, and one of the nicest aspects of joining a new smaller project is the ability to learn without feeling that your work is not good enough.
I would like to see our projects invest in creating safe spaces for experimentation: better spaces for building drafts and creating new articles that might not immediately become the encyclopedia article on that topic. Spaces for creating knowledge about things that may not yet be notable, but are verifiable. Spaces for local knowledge that is of high value to a small group of people. This could be on a new project separate from the current wikis, or in a new namespace; or could be the default behavior for work contributed by new users, until they have more experience with a larger community. [On the smallest wikis, there is no need for a separate space: all pages are effectively this sort of drafting space.]
While these might not be called 'regional' changes, this should make it easier for a group of people with shared focus, and no interest in bureaucracy -- just a desire to edit something together -- to contribute what they know, and excite others about contributing in turn.
Some projects nowadays have really high entrance barriers, indeed! I think many of us miss the simplicity of the earlier days, you know, having the Five Pillars as a guide and little else. Charting new territory! Now projects have become much more complex. While that isn't necessarily bad (it speaks of the quality we aspire to and the importance of the projects themselves), it is true it is harder for newbies to simply just jump in and stay contributing. Individual projects should find local ways to attract and retain editors. For example, Spanish Wikipedia has a tutor program. English Wikipedia has the Tea House.
While Local Wikis could be partners (after the User Groups and Thematic Organisations, next we -WMF, community, Affiliations Committee- will be tackling the Movement Partners), I'm not sure at all about the WMF running and operating their sites. It should be studied on case-by-case basis, in any case.
Hi Hubert. Yes you're completely right that there is a tension between increasing quality of content and the ease by which new people can join the projects. We want to have both, we need to have both, and we cannot ever fully solve this tension by merely technical solutions. There is also an important distinction to be made between different language editions - e.g. some have lower minimum standards for referencing etc. because it is extremely difficult to find footnotes for many things in that language. This diversity is how it should be.
As for specific 'local' projects I don't think that the WMF should host such websites, but I encourage their existence in general. For example, in Australia there is a small town that has a 'local heritage wiki' that enables the town elders and high-school students to collaborate and publish their local knowledge: Mallala - Then and Now
. The creation and support of these kinds of projects are something that potentially falls within the remit of the national Wikimedia Chapters. Chapters are much better placed to support local communities in their country to tell their own stories in ways that are appropriate for the local people.
Do you believe that the creation of Wikimedia LGBT as a thematic organisation would be a good demonstration of Wikimedia's diversity, and do you think it is a positive demonstration of the Foundation's commitment to diversity for members of the Board of Trustees to publicly identify themselves as LGBT, or their interests in LGBT culture? Fæ (talk) 14:31, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
Hi. Yes, like SJ, I think a thematic organization around LGBTQ issues would be great. But not as a demonstration: not because it would make Wikimedia look good. Because, rather, I think such an organization would bring new contributors in and help us do outreach to many of the great cultural institutions and groups around -- I know of several LGBTQ libraries and archives that I would love to see us do GLAM work with, for instance, or LGBTQ groups that we could work with to train new editors, or gender studies programs that we could work with in universities... the list goes on. Similarly, I think openness, tolerance and diversity is something the WMF has done a very good job of; I think, based on my time in San Francisco and elsewhere, that the WMF is already a particularly supportive organization for the LGBTQ community. I think it goes without saying that the Board does and should support this. For any individual trustee: I think our culture is one of listening to what people have to say about Wikimedia issues, regardless of who they are personally or who they declare themselves to be, and the Board culture in my experience is pretty much in line with this. I would not want to pressure anyone into saying more about their private life than they felt comfortable saying.
The Wikimedia Foundation is a link between the community and creators, users, readers and developers with the full mandate of expanding the capacity of free knowledge to enable all the the part of the world coming together and to speak the same language. The founding of LGBT for LGBT is to have an opportunity of discussing their interests without any discrimination to non LGBT. The idea of the Wikimedia foundation is to integrate between the different of caliber and caliber freely, either one of obligation of the community is to prove of awareness about WMF, to prove that WMF stand for all community ideologically it make very good seance for a father of the house after sending his child to school and after few days the child wrote a letter to his father with only two words of tank you dad, do you think will father's respond negative to his son? of cause not. founding of different thematic s is to support WMF.
I am not comfortable commenting on particular case, I think. However if such group really have some ground work, generarting content, or doing something benificial to incread reach or recruit volunteers, I think we should support them and get funded.
Thematic organizations focused on new communities and cultures, to improve content across the projects, can be great for the projects. They help improve our scope, and welcome new communities of contributors who might not feel welcome without that shared working group. An LGBT org could be effective in this, and I hope to see it succeed. The WMF has a history of support for LGBT culture in the policies it sets. Whether Trustees publicly identify as LGBT is a personal choice, but publicly supporting and promoting LGBT initiatives certainly contributes to the sense of diversity of the foundation and of the movement.
I'm divided on this matter. On the one hand, clearly, a LGBT thematic org is a great thing and should be done. Should it be done now? I am not sure. Wiki Med is going to work because it has a strong editor-base, established working methodologies and deep community links. I'd worry that setting up a legal entity is bureaucracy which would detract from the matter of improving LGBT content - and so my first preference would be to see strong attempts to build on-wiki communities (which then naturally transition to thematic organisations).
However, I think if a sensible plan of practical actions could be presented - with some reasonable objectives - then a strong argument can be built for a thematic org to support those actions!
As to identification as LGBT; that is a personal choice and not even slightly relevant to the election. Ever. No one should be voting for candidates because they identify as LGBT, but because they support LGBT initiatives! One thing I do think we need to look at, as a community, is an assumption that interest and participation in a LGBT project means the participant is LGBT. This is disappointingly old fashioned and I'd like to see us move away from it :)
I would want the creation of any LGBT-related thematic organisation to show how useful it could be providing free content to the projects, doing outreach and multiple activities and attracting and retaining new editors. :) I think it has the potential to be a very successful thematic org, and I hope it takes off the ground and becomes a reality.
As for the second part of the question. I am aware of the importance of having LGBT (and other) role models, not just on the Board but everywhere in life. Nonetheless, I would respect a person deciding whether they want to be out or not. You know how important it is for every individual to move within their own comfort zone. That said, as a Board candidate I have made it a point to declare my interest on LGBT culture, even if it could go against my candidacy. If you want to see what I would do as a Board member, you will just have to vote for me and find out. :D
I would be perfectly happy with an LGBT thematic group, Wikiproject or any other mechanism that helps improve the quality of content on our projects. Equally, I would be happy to see systems in place to support community members who have been harassed or otherwise treated in a discriminatory way (similarly to some of the issues the GenderGap project have been working on). However, I think clarification is needed about the scope of this question - what is the purpose of this (or any) project as it pertains to our mission of providing access to knowledge? I would not like to see Wikimedia groups created solely to be an advocacy group for a particular interest group - be it sexual, religious, ethnic etc. As for whether the WMF Board should be obliged to make public declarations of their sexuality or personal opinions on LGBT matters, I would find that to be quite invasive. I can see how languages and nationality ARE relevant to the election process, but I already find the mandatory candidacy question asking the candidates' age to be irrelevant. It shouldn't matter what age, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexuality etc. that I am, and I don't see how it would be relevant to this election for me to be obliged to announce such things.
I would support establishment of an LGBT* thematic organisation or Wikimedia User Groups
. I don't believe a LGBT* organisation is critically needed, so it would not be at the very top of my list, but I can easily foresee this cohort of contributors forming an affiliate in the near future, or an existing organisation being approved by the Affiliations Committee
I think it should remain a personal choice whether Board of Trustees members publicly self-disclose as LGBTI. I hope that they would feel comfortable self-disclosing in our community. If you believe that self-disclosing should be mandatory, I would like to hear more detailed reasons as I'll admit I have never pondered at length about this type of self-disclosure and it sounds like you have.
I believe all of our Trustees members must sign a document indicating that they are committed to our Values
(which includes 'sexual preferences'), and there are many other WMF resolutions and policies which are more detailed when defining diversity, such as wmf:Resolution:Nondiscrimination
. The WMF commitment to diversity is clear. Are there gaps in implementation?
Use of off-wiki sites which harm the Foundation and individual Wikimedians
Some of the current candidates for election have written for websites publicly critical of the Wikimedia Foundation, an activity they have not declared in their statements. At least two of the candidates have supported Wikipediocracy in the past by writing there, a website known for harming the reputation of the Wikimedia Foundation, outing and making personal attacks against Wikimedians, and is a source of damaging inflammatory allegations that have been repeated by journalists in national newspapers. Do you think it proper that the candidates should declare their use of these critical websites as part of their candidacy for the Board of Trustees, and do you think members of the Board of Trustees should publish past pseudonyms so they are accountable for what they have written about the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia projects? Fæ (talk) 14:57, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
There is a difference between criticizing Wikipedia and personal attacks against Wikipedians/Wikimedians. I dont think that participation in criticism against the Foundation in any media should serve as "black mark," which the question seems to imply. We already have policies for those to make personal attacks on or off wiki.... I dont think that should be extended to the Foundation or wiki-world itself as there is such a thing as valid criticism. Not long ago, I was asked to guest write something on a conservative political blog called "Legal Insurrection" 
In it, I tried to be as fair as possible and did not simply defend Wikipedia as there are significant problems in how we handle controversial topics. U.S. conservative blogs and websites tend to be quite critical of Wikipedia. Under the question, as I understand it, I would have to "disclose" such statements as something against me as a candidate. To me, this seems chilling of freedom of speech.
In a perfect world -- which is not the one that we live in -- I would wish that there wasn't an "us-vs.-them" mentality towards critics of Wikim/pedia, or sites devoted to such criticism. There's a place for good criticism; it's necessary and healthy that folks feel like they can criticize the projects, or even just vent, in a place where they will be listened to and supported. What I find distasteful about these sites (Wikipediocracy and its predecessors) is not the criticism, but rather the personal attacks, name-calling, vulgarity and general lack of good faith; there's also the occasional inaccuracy or malicious meme that gets amplified there, which sometimes the outside world picks up on. Because of all that, I don't think it's worth my time to participate; I do not, as a general rule, enjoy the kind of back-and-forth hotheaded posting that characterizes many forums (not just this one). But I wouldn't begrudge participation to anyone else.
I hope that we can spend our energy trying to model good criticism inside the WMF and Wikimedia, though. So often, community members feel they don't have a good way to criticize WMF actions without getting into a larger debate about WMF-community relations; so often people in the WMF feel similarly. It can be extremely difficult for community trustees to walk that line, too; as a trustee, your duty of loyalty and care is to the WMF, but this does not preclude having strong personal opinions about what Wikimedia should be doing (if we didn't have strong personal opinions, none of us would be running for a board seat). This often manifests as a kind of tightrope act where you can't say everything you think, but also get criticized for not speaking up enough!
So for both parts of your question -- pseudonyms and use of outside sites -- I don't know that we need a policy, though I don't see anything wrong with the idea of declaring past pseudonyms as a matter of practice if you have them. (For my part, I edited the wikis for several years under 'brassratgirl'; I migrated everything to 'phoebe' circa 2008, except for some accounts on the early Wikimania wikis [2005, 2006, 2007] and a few other projects
that were created pre-SUL. Except for the Wikimania sites, which are one-time projects, most of these I just created a new account on as user:phoebe and didn't have enough edits to bother merging. I changed my name mostly so I wouldn't have to explain it every time I gave a talk about Wikipedia.)
Some of the current candidates for election have written for websites publicly critical of the Wikimedia Foundation, an activity they have not declared in their statements. At least two of the candidates have supported Wikipediocracy in the past by writing there, a website known for harming the reputation of the Wikimedia Foundation, outing and making personal attacks against Wikimedians, and is a source of damaging inflammatory allegations that have been repeated by journalists in national newspapers. Do you think it proper that the candidates should declare their use of these critical websites as part of their candidacy for the Board of Trustees, and do you think members of the Board of Trustees should publish past pseudonyms so they are accountable for what they have written about the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia projects
Thank you, Fæ
)what saying am on your questions, many of community by majority can say any thing especially at this time of elections race, but always the truth will remain be truly, me am representing Africa a the old man by age but every young on the industry (Wikimedia community) am telling you to day, stakeholder/users can talk a lot about wikipediocracy and many more others recalled wikis and not part of Wikimedia and behind the curtness its better you think before you. in Africa other users are introducing with names of Africa and etc.and even if you tress there real name you will never find, am sorry to explain on this on my views its a problem i don't see a reason of hiding names if your expectation is to give free knowledge , do you think how your features can be received by the readers (community) once they want to learn from you with hided name. Any body can challenge, but if your challenge you don't need a lauding instead of that post your questions in the project talk pages and definitively you will be given explanations about your problems. I don't think that some one can make abuse today and come tomorrow wishing to share with the abused its not possible, may be there was misunderstand, and the treatment of misunderstanding is only transparent and starts form users for adding their true names, let us built together a reputation of Wikimedia Foundation and its projects, yes we can the only way is to come together.
I do think we have communication problem, if the current ways work, why Wikipedians need to address the fustrations or critisism somewhere else? And I think it should be a pernsonal choice on disclose the past pseudonyms or declare their past publications.
Contributing writing or ideas on a site run by critics does not necessarily harm the Foundation. It is often a good-faith effort to find common ground. I assume you do not mean that candidates have themselves written things that were damaging, inflammatory or harmful. I don't believe that is the case this year. We have certainly had candidates who were outspoke WMF critics in the past, but that was always made an explicit part of their platform.
A longer list of each candidate's writing and contributions would be welcome, as a facet of the candidate profile. We already seem to have a social norm that 'opposition' candidates who are broadly critical of the WMF indicate this in their statement. And anyone may ask a question of specific candidates about work they have written under a pseudonym. I do not think requiring information about contribution to any particular site is worthwhile.
I'm cautious answering this question because a) I'm one of the two the asker refers to and b) I have a personal, and unpleasant, history interacting with Fæ that is not relevant to this election.
Some general comments though... although the off-wiki site Fæ refers to is a major issue to him, it's only really a middling part of the wider community. And so I didn't refer to my (past) participation in the forum in my candidate statement (which is very constrained in length!). I agree with sj it is important to have full disclosure by candidates - and indeed I like to think I exemplify a high level of openness. For example, I edit everywhere [even off-site] under the same pseudonym, which is publicly and consistently linked to my full name and career. I think this is important to both build trust and friendships within the community.
Interestingly, during my participation on Wikipediocracy I did get harassed, and discovered several people whispering about me behind my back - but these were all Wikipedians. I think we definitely do need stauncher harassment policies and safe ways to report concerns. I have a number of friends who have been, or have felt, harassed by one or two Wikipedians - and there is no real path to removing these objectionable people from our community. I've heard these stories, because we lack a path to report harassment securely - and this is something the Foundation can look at.
Finally; I stopped contributing to Wikipediocracy some time ago when it took what I saw as a worrying turn toward outing and attack, over criticism. Prior to that there was a lot of useful criticism, from some interesting people. Sadly the signal was crowded out by noise. And, I am sad to say, the final nail in the coffin was being advised by a wiki-friend that by participating in that website was making me enemies who were attempting to undermine me across the Wikimedia community. A sad state of affairs, and I find such politics tiresome. This is one of the reasons I stepped back from wider community participation for a while to focus on article writing, which was a very pleasant experience! :)
If anyone has any specific questions about my comments on Wikipediocracy, or anywhere else, please do get in touch! Either in public or private.
Sure. I wouldn't make it mandatory, but it makes sense as a personal act of transparency towards the wider community so they know who they are supporting. Remember though that, as Liam points out, the character limit is a hurdle in the candidate statements, and choosing what activities to highlight might involuntarily make you go for the most recent and relevant material.
Fyi, I've always used Raystorm as my username, and have never contributed to this site you mention.
I have not personally been involved in any websites that you describe. This does not mean that I have not been critical of decisions made by the WMF over the years. However I have always tried to be "from within the community" rather than from the outside. The difference is between trying to be constructively critical rather than merely being critical for its own sake.
Given the brevity required in the candidacy nomination statements (and the prohibition on linking to longer texts) it would be impractical to require a thorough listing of opinions. However, I think it would be sensible to require the listing of any previous Wikimedia usernames that the candidate has had. I would hope that if a candidate has made statements in the past that are contradicted by their current answers, that this Q&A section, articles in The Signpost, mailinglists, etc would be appropriate places to discover and debate it. I suspect that making a requirement to declare past usage of x, y and z websites would be a simplistic method of improving transparency.
For the record, I contributed to w:Wikipedia Review
' with 271 posts in total, and have a login to w:Wikipediocracy
with one post dated April 2012 which says: "I created an account here when invited to by a regular. I've yet to decide whether this site is for me."
I believe candidates for the Board of Trustees should be people who stand by their words and actions, and therefore they should self-disclose their activity on other websites that are relevant to their role as a Trustee. I do believe that participation in Wikipedia Review and Wikipediocracy is relevant, and candidates should link to those accounts before this election begins. If asked about an account on an external website, a member of the Board of Trustees should honestly answer if it is their account. The community must trust them, and their fellow board members must also trust them. Board of Trustees should not hide behind pseudonyms on other websites like those mentioned, as that allows a Board of Trustee to play games that to put pressure on their fellow board members, and it also means the operator of those websites is in a position to blackmail the Board of Trustee when they become aware of the linked identity.
About the approval of new Chapters
Pryvit! what would be your personal opinion or position regarding the approval of new Chapters like say Wikimedia Kossovo, Wikimedia Catalonia or Wikimedia Scotland if these two last entities were to become independent in 2014? Dyakuyu!
posted on behalf of my cholovik, Claudi Balaguer/CapsotInnaBalaguer (talk) 18:50, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
I have no problem at all. In fact, it is not necessary to have political independence to justify a chapter. After all, we have WM-NYC and WM-DC. I dont see how chapter status has to be so intricately tied to nation-state. If we are lucky, the movement will grow enough that some chapters will need to split in order to serve Wikipedians/Wikimedians in the area better!
Yes, SJ has it right: if they became independent, they would certainly be eligible, but would likely also want to work with existing groups in building that chapter. Personally, I'd encourage groups of users in these areas (or any other area) to also consider forming user groups first, to get started with outreach activities and building a local in-person community. The grants process for user groups is pretty straightforward, as are the requirements, and a user group can do a whole lot of excellent in-person work without the same level of administrative overhead as a chapter. And I hope over the next few years that we will have gatherings involving all kinds of Wikimedia groups, to share ideas and get to know one another.
For new chapters, generally to gauge future success I look to see how many people are involved, their track record with grants/activities and their stability as a group; for user groups, I might look at the size of the group and their planned activities. As a trustee, I generally supported and trusted chapcom's (now affcom's) recommendations on the formation of new groups, and expect that would continue to be the case.
To be honest Francis Kaswahili am representing Africa the continent where there's no strong Chapter regardless of given opportunity of hosting Wikimania conference in 2008 which was an opportunity of going forward, to day if you ask me the Question of Wikimedia Kossovo, Wikimedia Catalonia or Wikimedia Scotland. I have been saying this for several times, that we can have many problems but it must be solved and challenges be faces. i promise if elected with my ability and convincing power i will do what ever possible to make WMF the the Proud of every one and I will do this at my first term. I will prove this if i got enough votes, I will not work for my Africa but for all continents.
I am not comfortable commenting on particular case (again), I think. However if such group really have some ground work, generarting content, or doing something benificial to incread reach or recruit volunteers, I think we should support them and get funded. And according the current policy, it seems to me only Kosovo can get a chapter, as my understanding as I was member of ChapCom.
Hello Capsot, if Catalonia or Scotland were to become independent principalities, they would be eligible to have their own geographic Chapter. I expect Amical Wikimedia to be recognized in the next few days as a thematic organization; as there is much overlap between that group and Wikimedians based in what might be Catalonia, that group could decide whether they wanted to shift their focus to that of a geographic Chapter, at which point their status could change. A group of Wikimedians in Kosovo would be welcome to form a User Group, regardless of the region's independence.
Well, this seems a rather simple question: if those countries become independent, and they have an active volunteer base that wishes to set up a chapter, great! In fact, if a group of people want to set up a chapter and can come up with a good proposal it should be considered regardless. However, take Scotland. The UK chapter has been trying to establish a group there for a while - and whilst there are some active volunteers I doubt there is enough activity to support a chapter. So often the constraint is not independence! :)
While I suppose it is technically possible for the Board to go against a recommendation from the Affiliations Committee (AffCom), in reality that has never happened. And as a current AffCom member myself, I would fight against that happening! So I'm going to support AffCom recommendations. It is the job of the Affiliations Committee to check that all potential user groups, thematic organizations and chapters comply with the current requirements and guidelines (is the group viable? how many people are actively involved in it? how many wikimedians? does the group have a history of past wiki-related activities? do they have a provisional board and bylaws? and so on, depending for what model of affiliation they are aiming for), and to subsequently provide the Board with a recommendation. And as I said, I would support their recommendations.
The role of a Chapter is to represent a geographically defined administrative region - enabling the organisation to do things like manage a bank account, talk to a government, make formal partnerships with cultural organisations etc. Now that the concept of the "Thematic organisation" exists, there are for the first time other mechanisms for being formally affiliated with the Wikimedia movement - and these groups do NOT have to be based in a geographical defined administrative region. Kosovo, Catalonia and Scotland are all geographic and administrative regions with different levels of contest about their Nation state-hood. Depending on whether the local Wikimedia community is organised and capable, I would be very happy to see Chapters in each of these areas, but the crucial thing is this: Are these groups being created merely as an expression of Nationalism (in opposition to the neighbouring Chapters), or are they genuinely useful to the Wikimedia movement (in collaboration with other Wikimedia affiliated groups, Chapters...). In that case, the question is: what is the intended purpose of the group? If they want to support the sharing of the local language and culture then there should be no opposition to providing support from the WMF and the existing neighbouring Chapter through the various Grants programs. Setting up an affiliated group to support a Language edition might also be relevant. So, to answer your specific question: I would be happy for there to be a Chapter in places that are sovereign nations (and I'd also like to see 'branch' or 'sub' chapters in regional areas of Nations when applicable) but it is important to state that a Chapter should not exist simply because there is a Nation. A Wikimedia community does not need a Chapter to be considered "real" or to have access to support programs.
Decisions regarding affiliation are the responsibility of the Affiliation Committee
. My personal opinion is in line with my fellow candidates and the common practise of the Affiliation Committee
- Independent nation states qualify to have a 'chapter'.
I hope that in two years time we wont be worried about 'chapters' vs 'other affiliates', as all chapters and affiliates large and small will feel adequately supported and empowered, and they will work together on program activity when it is appropriate. That should be our objective.
Executive director selection and oversight
It's commonly said that the most important thing a board does is hire, evaluate, and fire its top manager (CEO, executive director, etc). On May 21 the job posting for the new ED was announced. How do you approach your supervisory role? First off, what qualities do you think are most important, e.g. experience, vision, technical aptitude, community involvement? Second, how should you direct, supervise, and evaluate; for example, to what extent should Wikimedia be setting measurable expectations for the ED? Do you believe in a 360-degree evaluation? Also, how demanding of a supervisor are you, and is performance which strikes you as "OK" or "not bad" adequate for retention purposes or do you think a position such as this requires outstanding performance? ImperfectlyInformed (talk) 21:06, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
That is a great question, and an important one especially for the next Board, which will have to spend much extra energy and time on this.
For the WMF ED, I would look for vision and value alignment above all. Vision, meaning someone who appreciates the scope of Wikimedia and the Wikimedia movement, the power our projects have, and who has long-term ideas and interest in building a vibrant future for them. Values, meaning someone who both already agrees with and can defend our core values (openness, collaboration, transparency, free information) in principle; but also someone who is prepared to live and work with those values every day: someone who is prepared to be a Wikimedian, as well as a director. Whoever the next ED is, they will have an immense amount to learn about how Wikimedia works, and they must be flexible, patient, sympathetic and tolerant in that learning process. We have been lucky to have Sue in this regard, with her good humor and curiosity about the world. Of course the next ED must also have the core management skills and experience necessary to do a good job of running a $40M organization; but given that baseline, I think their values and vision will be more important than any specific skillset, as I have written more about here.
The Board will play an important role both in hiring the ED, but also in supporting him or her through this learning curve and beyond. This will no doubt range from the practical (what kind of communication the community expects) to the philosophical (what our core issues are), and this guidance will be in addition to the formal organizational direction that the Board gives the ED. And while we need to hire someone who has from the outset what I'd describe as the right attitude towards Wikimedia, the Board can help them understand the WMF as an organization that helps our projects and movement to excel. The Board and ED ideally work in partnership, with a good working relationship that leads to good decision-making; we should aim to hire someone, and then help them succeed.
Broadly speaking, the ED is evaluated both personally and organizationally by the Board. Personally, the ED is evaluated largely on their judgment: whether they made a good call in difficult situations. Organizationally, they are evaluated on how the organization itself is doing. The ED assumes responsibility for making sure the organization's finances and infrastructure (both physical and human) is in good order and healthy. So the baseline expectation, when evaluating an ED, is that the organization is doing well under the ED's leadership. But I think Wikimedia deserves much more than just this baseline; we need someone who can meet our challenges, and lead and inspire us to solve them.
When it comes to evaluation, I'd also look for whether someone is personally growing and learning, whether they are effectively leading their senior-level staff (who in turn are leading the rest of the organization), whether they maintain a strong and productive tone for the organization, and whether in their decisions they demonstrate that they understand and continue to align with our core principles. And finally, I'd look at how setbacks and successes are reacted to: how someone responds to feedback, both personally and organizationally; the lessons that someone takes from failures small and large; how they communicate with their Board, staff, and community; and how supported their staff feel in the learning process (and 360 feedback is an important part of determining this). In my experience, anyone with the skills necessary to work at this level also has very high personal standards for their own work; so the total package of evaluation is about whether they are able to meet and master the whole scope of the position, and lead effectively.
This is not exactly how I approach day-to-day supervision, which I have also occasionally done in a small way. Trustees are not expected to be hands-on managers of the ED, but rather to guide, direct and evaluate them based on the big picture. But there are certainly shared characteristics. When I've managed employees, I try to direct them enough on what to do so as to not leave them lost at sea, but also give them enough flexibility to creatively solve problems in their own way. The Board must do the same for the next ED: give them context and direction, but also freedom to act. It's not a simple process, and the coming period will be difficult but also hopefully quite exciting for the Board, Wikimedia, and the new ED alike.
Do whatever you do, if there's no responsibility, accountability, associatively and accommodatingly, alternatively all these are thematic tools working together and can apply in any manner of performing of the Implementation o order tabled with supremely and admirable. the coming Executive should have experience on the general sanctions of Wikimedia Foundation practically and aptitude familiarly with wikis projects, am also proposing to use the 360-degree evaluation
, my reason on this is experience of performing the free knowledge provided by Wikimedia's projects, the Board of trustees as a governing body shall handle this selection very carefully. I don't expect ED from out of 360 because he/she will need more time of studding the environments which I think Wikimedia doesn't have that time, what is needed, is transparent.
I think the urgency for me, is the communication. I tend to have an ED, really good at internal communications, stablize the structure and lesson keeping, or at least have dertermination and will on doing this. I think this is the basic problem we have, if won't consilidate this fudemental issue, volunteers time just wasting on beaurcartic waiting and tasks dealing with bureaucracy.
This is true. Choosing the Executive Director takes a great deal of thoughtful consideration: it is a hard decision to change, and affects both what the Foundation focuses on, and its atmosphere and personality. This guides the sorts of people who are comfortable working there or collaborating with it, and directly affects the governance of the Foundation as well. The Board not only chooses the ED, but also works with them, supports them throughout their term, and relies on them for effective collaboration.
Some skills can be learned in the position. Sue certainly learned a great deal about how our movement works and about leading a different sort of organization when she joined. Other skills cannot: Passion for our work, and the power to inspire others cannot be so easily learned, and are greatly important for our work. A willingness to work in public, and a certain unflappability, is also critical to success as the WMF's ED.
Vision, creativity, and openness to new ideas are necessary for juggling the many opportunities and projects in our movement. This too requires comfort with public discussion and revision. The ED should be a clear communicator, and bold in public discourse, sharing ideas early and often. Similarly, the ED should be a good mediator and facilitator: personally or through their staff, as much of the WMF's work is supporting efforts throughout the movement.
Our size and growth call for experience leading organizations or projects of significant size, and working comfortably with both financial and technical plans. And knowing where to turn for deep expertise, and how to attract and keep brilliant and talented staff, is a more robust quality than personal topical expertise.
As to evaluation and performance: we should expect outstanding performance from the WMF - both because there is so much potential for our projects and because the broad appeal of our mission allows us to be selective.
I support 360-degree evaluations, and both the WMF and the Board have started using them.
It would be very
important to hire someone who is passionate about our mission. Top level management experience, administrative and technical expertise are vital, of course, but it will be the commitment to the mission which will make the ED go the extra mile. Being a good communicator and motivator are two other important skills. However, let's remember how groundbreaking as an internet-based non-profit the WMF is: its ED should be able to lead changes to keep it at the top, should manage the staff to promote new types of thinking and ideas, and should be both flexible and confident, ready to defend his/her ideas.
I do believe in 360º feedback evaluations, used in conjunction with other evaluation tools. And we need outstanding performances, not merely okay ones. Sue is leaving the bar high in this regard.
This is a big question that goes right to the heart of the purpose of the Board of Trustees. Traditionally, yes, you're right that the role of the Board is to talk to and evaluate the Director, and for the director to be the conduit between staff and board. However, our community is so very different that it is almost impossible to make neat deliniations of role and authority. For that reason I think evaluation by one's colleagues is just as important (if not more important) than evaluation by managers. Because of how uniquely structured our movement is, the quality I would most look for in the new ED is flexibility and, in the absence of a better way of describing it, a sense of Zen. The new ED must be able to be calm and see above the water even when they feel like they are in a raging river. They must be able to know when something is important to manage directly and when the best way of managing is to encourage the community to come to consensus first. For Wikimedia, I think that often the best decisions we make are those that were slow to arrive at, but in the process of arriving we manage to solve much of the underlying problem - getting an excellent solution slowly is much more important for Wikimedia than getting an adequate solution quickly.
The responsibilities of our Board of Trustees
are very broad, as the Wikimedia Foundation is the legal custodian of the assets created by the volunteers.
The selection of the next Executive Director (ED) is a daunting responsibility, as Sue Gardner's shoes will be hard to fill. Unlike other responsibilities, selecting the CEO is a decision which can't easily be revised.
We are fortunate that Sue has provided the organisation with a path to follow, so we do not need to rush to make this appointment. (I can't see any wmf:Bylaws regarding the period within which the Board of Trustees must appoint a new ED.)
For the WMF ED, I will primarily be looking for experience in running an organisation that has successfully achieved its goals through a network of affiliates across the world, being able to set out a broadly supported agenda, as I believe this will be an important part of the next phase of the Wikimedia Foundation. The ED also needs to be closely alignment with all of our Values in their previous jobs, and Sue's "Wikimedia Foundation Guiding Principles" is an excellent expanded version of our values.
I have only managed small software teams as a team leader in my professional life. I do not have high level human resource management experience, and I am not sufficiently familiar with w:360-degree feedback or similar tools so I will defer to others on what is the best tools for this activity.
I am an idealist, and believe that the staff and volunteers deserve outstanding performance from the WMF ED, however I think 'effective' performance is the yard-stick (assessment gauge) I would use. The WMF ED needs to be a sustainable appointment; the WMF ED is an important part of a very large community with many people performing outstandingly at times, and all our hopes should not lie on the shoulders of the WMF ED.
Community involvement can be learnt in the first year as Sue did
About overspending and/or misspending
Wikimedia Foundation elections/Board elections/2013/Questions/3/ja/question
Narrowing focus and funding allocations
Wikimedia Foundation elections/Board elections/2013/Questions/3/ja/question
Wikimedia Foundation elections/Board elections/2013/Questions/3/ja/question
Investment policy and philosophy
Wikimedia Foundation elections/Board elections/2013/Questions/3/ja/question
WMF effectiveness and board self-evaluation
Wikimedia Foundation elections/Board elections/2013/Questions/3/ja/question