Hi! Thanks for volunteering as a candidate for the Wikimedia Board. I have two questions. This one is about distribution freedom. As you know, free information implies freedoms to get, modify, and distribute content. Wikimedia Foundation is there to support and advance such information freedoms. In my opinion the 'anyone can edit' concept is an attempt at exercising the 'free to get and modify' freedom, but I have two concerns.
1) I believe that the current implementation of «anyone can edit» is a failure because of MediaWiki's bugs in flaggedrevs regarding templates, and because of inadequate diff viewer for reviewing edits.
- The way 'anyone can edit' works right now is encountering problems, especially on large wikis, as some pages are being protected and people are being shelled out of editing them, especially templates.
- Thanks to flaggedrevs, some pages are still editable, and a reviewer needs to approve the edit for it to be visible to other readers. But flaggedrevs has two bugs which prevent it from being used and scaling properly:
- a) For templates flaggedrevs is buggy and even a latest (even if unapproved) version of a template is always included.
- This bug impact is full protection of popular templates and introduction of the template editor right for lack of sysop human power to review the requested edits on the English Wikipedia.
- b) Instead of relying on git or other good old tested diffing software, an in-house mediawiki's php diff viewer is used, and as it is inadequate, the review backlog is increasing, making the sysops think that the flaggedrevs process is not successful. T
- This bug impact is full or partial protection from popular pages.
- In both cases, newcomers are assumed bad faith and driven away from editing.
- Most people would be too lazy to request an edit after realizing that the page is read-only.
- And there is no way to measure how many people closed the tab after seeing that the page is read-only.
- In my view, the WMF Engineering department consistently ignores the two above problems but doing so is a mistake.
2) I believe that providing adequate decentralized infrastructure for distributing content is vital for the success of the Wikimedia movement.
- The right/freedom to distribute content is not supported by the existing infrastructure. There is Wikia, but it is still centralized and making modifications to mediawiki or extensions on it is not possible. I would like to see the Wikimedia Foundation run a decentralized wiki program where anyone can copy a page or a number of pages (i.e. category members) to his own instance and edit them at leisure, including re-distribution and making them published. Running such program would also foster an increase in the number of mediawiki contributors. As with software, any useful edits from the copied versions can be cherry-picked back to Wikimedia projects.
- An interesting related essay: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html
Please comment on these two problems. Thank you. --Gryllida 02:17, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
Houcemeddine Turki (Csisc
I thank you for posting your comment although it was written after the deadline of posting questions. For your first point, I personally think that flaggedrevs should exist in Wikipedia to avoid plagiarism and vandalism particularly for important works. To solve the problems, I think that pages using these flaggedrevs should be assigned to admins. When some of the works are modified, an email arrives to the admin responsible of it. By that, where any problem of the cited ones occurs, the admin can interfere very soon and regulate the work as it should be. As for the second point you wrote about, I think that the problem can be solved by creating a SWF WikiViewer that can be embedded to websites ... We can also a sharing link within wikis in order to ameliorate the sharing of works within the wikis in Social Networks...--Csisc
) 18:21, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
I agree with the first point. On a more general level, many of our tools are not really functioning well. A thing I personally think is even more lacking, is proper bug reporting - Bugzilla is not a tool that allows for any sensible discussion with the community (and this example shows, why it is a problem
). Per your second point, I think it would be good to have increased distribution, but and also a decentralized wiki. I would even dream of a totally dispersed distribution (after all, with enough users all over the world, a lot could be mirrored at users' computers, by their consent). However, I think that a change in this respect would be a huge software project, and I basically think we have more urging issues for the next two years.
I agree with the Flagged revisions although it make growing the articles slower but It protect from many vandalism editing , and I am also din't get the second question could you please clarify it more .
I am answering these questions after pondering about them a lot during this year's OuiShare Fest in Paris, and I think at this point I can better articulate my position on these two important issues.
To address the first question, I think that there is still a benefit to using flagged revisions, coming from a project that actively employs it as a quality control measure (the Polish Wikipedia). I agree that anyone should edit, and barriers to entry should be as low as possible, but flagged revisions in principle shouldn't be seen as something that ought to be demonized, but rather as something that helps Wikipedians realize their true potential. The same could also be said for Media Viewer. That being said, we need to continue improving upon the technology, and the fact that we're continuing to insist upon using buggy software for the sake of convenience is discomforting. We need to reemphasize that technology is built for users, not the other way around.
However, I think the second question is the more important of the two. There are strong benefits to enabling the wide dissemination and distribution of our content, and a decentralized, distributed model of distribution would be a welcome, logical next step in making this a reality. But it won't be easy—we'll have to deal with problems both big (reconciling different software branches, the ability of MediaWiki to scale that widely, etc.) and small (edit conflicts, potential conflicting page histories, etc.), and this is something that we ought to look at down the road in order to better come to conclusions as to whether this is possible.
How does OuiShare Fest factor into this discussion? Aral Balkan
gave a talk on the last day of the conference on distributed tech systems and how the current regime of information handling by the big companies of the world is akin to us being comfortable with a not-so-magical white man sitting up in the clouds (referring to Mark Zuckerburg). While I don't think the Foundation is out to get our personal information to sell to advertisers, he does have a point: the current centralized model is unsustainable when factoring in the greater picture, especially with regards to freedom of information and our personal liberties. A distributed model helps resolve that, and this is something that we should consider for our future as a universe of projects and as a movement of people at large. --Sky Harbor (talk)
16:10, 23 May 2015 (UTC)
I guess it's clear by now to those who have been reading my replies that I am not much above a layman when it comes to software issues. Again, I would need to review an evidence base to assess how serious is the problem of 'people being shelled out of editing'. However question 1, whilst it clearly reflects a genuine concern of Gryllida
, doesn't give me any idea of the prevalence of the problems involved and it seems from its wording that there is 'no way to measure how many people' are affected by it. If
there is a serious problem and if
it is being exacerbated by the type of software being used, then evidently that is an issue for policy discussion and steps should be taken to address it. As regards question 2, I agree that free distribution of content is an important part of the wiki projects. However, when we go beyond our immediate boundaries and start to try to specify how third parties distribute content, we get into deep water. We already see (on Google) how wiki material is widely recirculated under other 'branding', and sometimes edited/manipulated in the process. How do we animate distribution whilst preserving integrity? It doesn't seem to me that this proposal is an appropriate answer.--Smerus
) 06:13, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
, just an advice that this is a page for questions and which I see here is an discussion on the questions page but to support your argument, its better to reallocate on the elected BOT for solution you have a point thank you. Francis Kaswahili talk
16:29, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
I am not sure I understand the first point of your question: in principle I think that FlaggedRevisions should be deployed in a limited set of articles because I think it is important for everybody to be able to contribute and see immediately the effect of their change. In some sense FlaggedRevisions are a limitation to editing Wikipedia and I think they should be used sparingly. Your question, though, seems to imply that FlaggedRevisions is in use everywere which is not the case. Your second point is much more important, the ability to duplicate Wikipedia is important because it would a real step to ensure that Wikipedia is really a free project, i.e. that anyone can actually take the project and replicate it. It is an important point also in a "disaster recovery" scenario. I know really well the essay by RMS that you are pointing out but I do not really uderstand why you think it should apply here (its main point is the difference between "open source" and free software", if I recall corectly).
If you have to get approval first (flagged revisions), it is the opposite of 'anyone can edit'. I am personally against breaking that principle, but I still think that implementing this should be a community decision. However, the 'anyone can edit' principle cannot be applied to technical pages like templates where a small mistake can break thousands of pages. Here I think the
right is exactly the correct approach. Editors can be expected to prove their abilities before messing around with those pages.
The display of diffs, from my editor perspective, is not so bad. For patrolling it could be more clever: I've seen a few instances of vandalism where a bad edit is followed by a good edit, and the diff viewer only shows you the good one. For readers and for long-term comparison, I think there should be another diff viewer that ignores moved text. All these are not Board tasks or issues, of course.
Regarding your second point, I'm not sure if I fully understand you. There are mirrors, there are books made from Wikimedia content, and in a way our license encourages that. We could help users to install MediaWiki and to import pages, particularly taking care of the template hierarchy (that is, if I import X then I also need template Y that X uses, template Z that Y uses, and so on). I think this is not particularly difficult; if there is a use case for it that serves WMF's mission then it should indeed be developed.
For question 1) I'm not sure I follow your specific argument about flaggedrevs. But I'll say in general: templates are a hassle, intimidate editors (new and old alike: I have a hard time with complex templates myself) and indeed bury edit histories many layers deep. It's a problem, and the more we use templates to hack around flaws in MediaWiki that should just be fixed with re-architecture, the worse it will get. Question 2) I agree totally; it is one of the WMF's core jobs to provide accessible distribution to anyone who wants to work with the Wikimedia data (regularly updated and accessible/usable dumps, open APIs, etc). Making data available to researchers is part of this too, and the recent efforts to create an open data site are important.
Problems with templates are some of the most long-standing bugs with the MediaWiki software. In 2011, I wrote in far too much detail
how the software does not allow us to actually perform what we consider the most basic operations with wikis - going back in history, etc. The problem of content being included into protected pages has been biting us again and again, first with templates, than with images from Commons, it will also very likely bite us again with Wikidata in ways we don't even expect yet (and a number of ways that was quite expected).
I am not completely convinced that the inherited protection of template pages is truly pushing newcomers away. If a new contributor made it to learning about templates and how to edit them, I would not count them as newbies anymore. Nevertheless, you are right that such long-standing issues do not really get the attention they deserve, and that other projects seem to be prioritized which have a much less clear pay-off. I understand our software and the infrastructure very well, and I am known for pragmatic solutions - as a Trustee, I will sure offer my expertise and help to the Executive Director to understand the technical challenges she is facing, but also the low-hanging fruits that are there and that could have enormous impact.
Regarding the diff mechanism, I consider the differ used on Wikipedia to be a rather decent differ. But it should be rather easy to set up a demonstration for another differ you prefer and how it would look like, and then make an informed decision. As long as it is free software, I don't see big barriers on using a superior piece of code.
With regards to your second question, I know of a number of attempts to put Wikipedia on something like Git, and thus provide a distributed infrastructure. I am not sure about the scalability of the current distributed systems. Also, I am not convinced of the wisdom to allow contributors to fork their content. Our goal should be to make the contributors more effective, and I am not sure if such forking would help with that. On the other hand, the whole stack of Wikimedia is free software: anyone who would like to set up and fork the project can do so. The software is free, the data is all there, the licenses are geared towards allowing that. But distributing our contributors even more by allowing them to create their own subwikis on Wikipedia? I don't really know. But maybe I misunderstood your suggestion.
Flagged revisions is a great idea. I agree that it does need more work to get it functioning smoothly and believe that the fact that it is slow is part of the reason it is used so little.
Yes anyone can edit. But that does not mean the bar to editing all of Wikipedia should be zero. We are radically opener than anything that has come before and while this has contributed to our success it has also come at the cost of many thousands of hours of volunteer time cleaning up poor quality edits.
In established languages, we are no longer a new encyclopedia in need of any old content. To take Wikipedia to the next level of quality requires research and consistent effort. Those who are serious about Wikipedia will spend the time to register an account and build a reputation. One of the first articles I tried to edit was semi protected. I ended up working on another topic until I was autoconfirmed. I do not think judicious use of semi protection turns away the editors we are most in need of.
I am not sure I understand the second part of the question. I have an entire copy of Wikipedia and Wikivoyage on my laptop. I could run my own instance of Mediawiki and set it up how I wish and many people do. There are more than 2000 mirrors of Wikipedia content for example. Doc James
) 09:27, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
I do not have a fundamentalist understanding of "anyone can edit." That's a lovely slogan, but it's simply not true, never has been true, and never will be true. Yet we still allow anybody to make changes through any IP address, without registration or accountability of any kind, and are left with the volunteer community to clean up the mess. Anyone can
edit. Yes. Register an account and do good work, maintain NPOV firmly, commit no spam, provide sources — your contribution is welcome. That is what "anyone can edit" should mean. So am I concerned about random newcomers and potential vandals being locked out of template editing? Not in the least. Prove yourself to gain advanced rights. This is not what the questioner wants to hear but it is the way that we should approach things, speaking as a Wikipedian. As a board member I would say this: these matters are to be decided by each functioning language encyclopedia's volunteer community. But if an encyclopedia wants
to require registration, I pledge to work my hardest to keep WMF from intervening against this and vetoing community action.
I am not a fan of flagged revisions, speaking personally as a Wikipedian.
As for the distribution of content: we release under a license providing for free reuse. That is the ultimate form of decentralized distribution. WMF's purpose is the production
of content, helping to make sure that the best possible set of language encyclopedias are created and maintained. The distribution of that content produced is a matter for others, who have made it ubiquitous. Carrite
) 17:27, 17 May 2015 (UTC) —Last edit: Carrite (talk) 18:02, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
Mimi naitwa Diana Sherina francis nataka kujua uhusiano wa bara Africa je kuna mtu gani aliwahi kuchaguliwa kuwa kiongozi wa Wikimedia foundation najua kwa sasa kunamchakato wa uchaguzi kwa ajili ya wajumbe wa Body, ili kujua msima wa Wikimedia kama na sisi tunasifa ya kugombe kwenye hiyo Bodi --Dianasherina 13:05, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
Unconfirmed rough translation: My name is Diana Sherina francis I want to know about the relationship of the African continent if there's any person who had been elected to a leader of Wikimedia Foundation am aware that there's a an election process of board members, to know the principals of Wikimedia if we also qualified to contest in that board.
Houcemeddine Turki (Csisc
As I had understood, you would like to know about the position of Africa within the Board of Trustees. You asked if there is a person who had been elected before in this important board and if it can contain African members in the near future. The position of Africa in the Board of Trustees is too limited. Before this edition of Board Elections, few african candidates had tried to be candidates but failed to be members. The reason behind this is that the number of edits of African users is limited because of some political and technical problems. However, in the 2015 Elections, priority is given to Africa to join the Board. That is why you can find several candidates from Africa including me as I am Tunisian. But, this does not insure that there would be some members in the Board from Africa because active candidates from Africa are too little... We do not have sufficient audience to support us... Furthermore, our effect in wikis is not very clear and valuable. So, limited people will be aware about what we do and how we are useful for WMF. That is why our position within the Board of Trustees would not change until we will work to better the situation of Africa in wikis. --Csisc
) 18:41, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
I don't have any direct contact with Africa but i will love to work with African Wikimedians. India and African Countries are part of Global South, growth of global south Wikipedia will lead to the growth of WMF. African and Asian language Wikipedias are equally important as Western languages. I wish we will be able empower our global south wikimedians with the help of community and aware them about the importance of Wikipedia.
As a Board member it will be my prime task to help out my Wiki friends and as a young Wikimedian, I will try to attract many youths to us.
Apologies, if my automated translator-supported understanding of Swahili leads to a misunderstanding. So far, NEVER in the history of our movement has anyone outside of Northern America and Western Europe got elected. I am from Poland (Central Europe), which is a well doing country now (GDP per capita 4x bigger than that of Ukraine, 4x smaller than that of France), but I did have experience of living for 1 USD per day, as well as living in a totalitarian regime with censorship. As I have stated elsewhere, as a Board member I would like to animate Wikimedia Zero project, as well as focus on accessibility and fostering local communities, such as Wikimedia AZ (which, sadly, has withdrawn from the FDC process, but I hope it will get back in the next round).
I am from continent Africa , Egypt and I think the board should contain people from different regions around the world
We need to increase engagement in the developing world, and this is something that the Foundation has failed to do not only in Africa, but elsewhere too. Like others who will answer this question, my understanding of it will be incomplete, but let's face the facts here:
- The WMF Board is overwhelmingly composed of people from the developed world. As Pundit pointed out, not a single member in the history of community-elected Board seats has come from outside the United States or Western Europe. There is only one person from the developing world in the current Board.
- The Wikimedia model scales poorly in developing countries. In societies where people are forced to think about more basic needs, it is extremely difficult to find dedicated volunteers who would have the time and the resources to contribute to Wikimedia. At the same time, resources are less abundant, leaving them out of the greater narrative.
In order for the Wikimedia Foundation to really
understand developing world issues, it needs someone there in a position of authority who actually comes from that world and who knows what they're going through. So far, of the candidates in this election, I am the only candidate capable of providing that. --Sky Harbor (talk)
21:39, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
My connection with Africa is slight - brief visits to Egypt and a South African son-in-law. Outside Western Europe I have a lot of experience of Russia (outside Moscow and St. Petersburg - including Murmansk, Irkutsk, Astrakhan, Kaliningrad), Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova,the Caucasus countries and the Central Asian countries. Also of Sri Lanka where I set up a clothing manufacturing unit some years ago. I spend a lot of time in our second home in Eastern Slovakia. It's of course up to voters to determine their own criteria for casting their votes. As regards the wiki movement in the developing world as a whole, see my answer to the next question. Should the lead criterion in voting be the geographic location and experience of the candidate, should it to be to make some kind of 'statement' about the voter's own bugbears about software or politics, should it be to choose representatives who will have the experience and vision to help steer the Board to constructive decisions about the role and future of the Wiki movement? You decide!--Smerus
) 05:29, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
Thank you very much Dianasherinafor
your supportive question About Africa, the issue here is Africans them selves to come together and my point here is to volunteer on WMF project. my plan to our continent is mobilizing more users, and about elected some one from Africa it hasn't may be tomorrow if not a day after tomorrow and please Dianasherina
don't be discouraged WMF and it's projectsis for every one. Francis Kaswahili talk
19:06, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
Wikimedia Italia and Fondazione Lettera 27
in 2006 started the project WikiAfrica
on the Italian Wikipedia
that produced 30,000 contributions
regarding Africa on it.wiki. Another project supported later in 2011 was Inside Tunisia
a reportage by a Tunisian journalist about the situation of Tunisia after the 2011 Tunisian revolution. I have been participating in discussions about Wikipedia Zero and I am supportive of the project, I know that Net Neutrality is an important principle but I think that if we have a serious set of operating principles an "exception approach" could be taken until we develop a broader "public internet" solution. I also think that volunteers in Africa should be supported.
So far nobody from the African continent is represented on the Board of Trustees. This year it could change if one of the African candidates gets the popular vote. However, compared to the other continents Africa does not have many active editors. This is partly a problem of infrastructure. I just returned from a forced 5-day wikibreak because there was no way to get reliable Internet access in a four-star hotel in Africa's diplomatic capital
. It is also a problem of our current requirements of reliable sources for articles. Indigenous communities' knowledge is often maintained by performing and narrating rather than reading and writing. I participate in a small research project
investigating this issue. And it is a problem of readership: Wikimedia projects have, even accounting for lower online participation in general, fewer readers from Africa than from almost anywhere else in the world.
There has been some doubt
whether I am 'sufficiently African' in the context of this election. I'd like to make one point clear: I don't seek to get elected because I reside in Africa but because I think I have the capability to perform well. I think I can positively contribute to the discussion on African issues. I have done outreach, university assignments, offline Wikipedia deployment, and general lobbying for free software, open access, and open content, in Africa.
At the Fundación Mujeres por África last March.
I have tried to translate the question, but have too met with some difficulties. My understanding is you're asking about our involvement with Africa and African content.
I come from Southern Europe, specifically Spain. As you can tell from my profile pic, my heritage is more varied than that. I am also half Persian, and have family living in Iran with whom I am in fairly regular contact. I have travelled extensively including Africa. But regarding content, recently this year I collaborated at the Fundación Mujeres por África (Women for Africa Foundation) for the Art+Feminism initiative organized by Club de las 25 and the Spanish chapter to increase content in Wikipedia (see pic here!).
Greetings. I do not have a personal relationship to Africa, but I am very interested in supporting work in Africa and African language projects (though my personal contribution has only been around doing some research into and light editing in projects like Yoruba and Swahili, I have been following other work with interest). There are some really cool efforts going on now, for instance the Wiki Loves Africa
contest. But there is so much more to be done. I'm interested in partnerships as a way to increase the size of many of these wikis, including with local groups, universities and language classes, as well as partnerships to increase the reach of Wikipedia in Africa, including Wikipedia Zero and similar efforts. We also need to increase coverage of African topics in other languages, where there is a huge gap in coverage. There is a lot of work to be done, and a lot of potential!
(I do not speak Swahili, and thus I base my answer on the unconfirmed rough translation below the question.)
Wikipedia's goal is to allow everyone in the world to share in the sum of all knowledge. It is true that the goals have not been met especially in those languages who need it the most, which is sad. But the Swahili Wikipedia has almost 30,000 articles, which is already more than just a good start - Encyclopedia Britannica has 65,000 articles, and the lexicon I had as a kid had 7,000 articles (it was a treasure of mine. I read it all. And I also understand that these numbers alone do not mean much). Thanks to the internet today, it is becoming much easier to share knowledge than it used to be. Projects like Wikipedia Zero aim to expand the reach of Wikipedia.
Everyone can participate in Wikipedia. You can go to the Swahili Wikipedia and help them grow right now. There are many other ways to contribute, too, for people from everywhere. Three of the candidates for the Board are from Africa, and I am sure that they would bring unique perspectives to the work of the Board.
I think that the most important thing that can be done to increase the reach in Africa, and in many other places, is to help making the contributors be more effective. To increase the quality and the coverage of the content, to maintain it, and to answer more questions and spread more knowledge.
My understanding of the question is incomplete due to having translated it with Google. Am working with the translation company Rubric
out of South Africa to increase the amount of content we have in African languages. The key to success is bringing together partners with different expertise. We often struggle in African languages as volunteers are more difficult to find. We definitely need to trial efforts to increase the number of people involved. I have; however, made a few hundred edits on Swahili Wikipedia 
and helped with the creation of a few dozen articles as listed here Doc James
) 12:27, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
Re: "I called Diana Sherina francis want to know the relationship of the continent Africa is there anyone what had been the elected leader of the Wikimedia Foundation know by now kunamchakato of choice for members of the Body, in order to determine the wells of Wikimedia like and we praise the cattle on that board"
— That's what it looks like coming out of Google Translate. Carrite
) 05:42, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
I'm an admin on the Swahili Wikipedia and have supported translation and outreach projects there. We know that a major source of systemic bias on our projects is lack of knowledge about places, people, and ideas that are prominent in Africa. We need to build hubs of creators in Africa in many languages. Our movement has some excellent contributors and some weak ties with local organizations and governments throughout the continent: it deserves attention to find messages and tools that work in different regions there.
How will you expand Wikipedia for the billion users in Poor Countries?
Many candidates have said that they will help or work more with users outside of Europe and North America and since less than 20% of humanity lives in Europe and North America that sounds like a good goal. Still, what exactly will you do to benefit the 50% of human beings on earth who are under the age of 28 and live in non-Europe and North American countries? Thank you in advance for your responses.Monopoly31121993 (talk) 11:12, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
Houcemeddine Turki (Csisc
Personally, I think that we should work on the internationalization of WMF wikis by creating new versions of Wikipedia in the main local languages of the global south. This will help finding more audience from such countries. Furthermore, I will help encouraging translating works from English Wikipedia for example into local Wikipedias and inversely... Moreover, I will help promoting Education Programme through the introduction of Massive Open Online Courses and tutorials about the policy and regulations of the WMF wikis in these local languages... By that, I think that the situation would be ameliorated as it should be. As for the technical solutions for this problem, I had always heard of Offline Wikipedia. Users can edit their works using an offline Editing Software of Wikipedia and then just connecting to publish the work. This software should be adapted to all available devices that can be connected to Internet. The software should be adapted to device requirements and it should be little so that it can be downloaded by users more easily. --Csisc
) 17:45, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
We can't say any country poor, if they are economically poor then many of them are Culturally rich. I accept that except North American and European countries there are many countries which are economically poor. However, It doesn't matter where economically poor countries can't Edit
Wikipedia , It only depends upon the resources that are available to us.
I said it before and even i will say it again that , History is always an example to us many Govt. had fall because they never spread the importance of their policies to the citizen. I hope the same situation shouldn't come for Wikipedia because the resources of Wiki are limited within certain peoples many people aren't aware of this. Wikimedia Foundation appoints employees for our countries unluckily we never see their faces or never ever get chance to contact them.
For User's who belongs to these countries, It's their chance to make their country more resourceful and enrich the cultural aspects. For me Editing Wikipedia is like saving the Culturally Advanced History of my country. It's WMF's duty to spread resources of its project with Global South users so that it can make user Wiki friendly.Being a Board member by the community selection, It's our prime duty to work for every single community without any hesitation and try to solve their problems in single hand.
WMF could help its contributor in better ways by providing them the resources ( Money never matters ) Like;
- We all know about Wikipedia Zero , It was one of best initiative by WMF to make Wikipedia for reader friendly but in the same moment the editors pay their bills to make Wikipedia strong. If we can also start same initiative for Wikipedia editors it could help us getting more active editors and remove the burdens of existing Wikimedians.
- Wikipedia Education program is also best initiative to reach among the youths and make Wikipedia famous in them. School ,College and University students can get information from Wikipedia as well as can contribute to it.
- We allow every age group and every race or gender people to edit in Wikipedia, In most of the Global South countries many housewives are educated but aren't aware of Computer if WMF and Wiki Women Collaboration can help us in empowering them.
As I have stated before, I find it really unfortunate that all Board members elected so far are from North America and Western Europe. I'm distinguishing Western Europe from CEE countries, as the latter have experienced poverty, totalitarian regimes, travel and communication restrictions, censorship, as well as war - and even though in terms of economic development they are currently much better off, the memory remains (and having actual experience of living for 1 USD per day, or of being afraid of what you say in public, or of looking up to the West with awe and jealousy, does increase one's sensitivity to the issues of the people in Poor Countries you're asking about). One of my priorities is helping Wikimedia Zero develop. I also believe that partnering with local organizations of Wikimedia activists is the way to go (rather than setting up "professional" organizations driven from San Francisco, which at least on two occasions didn't work). According to my research, that I am going to present on Wikimania
, quality standards and perceptions across projects differ significantly - I want to increase our understanding of these processes, to let smaller projects set their own priorities. As a Board member I would strongly promote focusing also on communities outside of the English language zone. I find it awkward that many of the tools available on en-wiki (ProveIt, Twinkle, etc.), are not propagated at a fraction of their development cost to other projects. Also, I believe that WMF, whenever they try to learn from community's experience, has to make an effort to reach to communities outside of their immediate vicinity, and that it is important to draw especially from communities that are outside of the Western bubble. As a university (full) professor, I hope that WMF would reach out to Academia in different countries and support Wikipedia development this way, especially in the non-Western countries (I have made my own attempts
in this respect, but as a Board member I will be able to do much more). Apart from the issues I've mentioned, one of the problems we're seriously facing now is operating in a reality, where most of our users are young people, often outside of the West, who rely on their mobile devices heavily - we don't really have good content for mobiles yet, and our fundraiser relies on the desktop version. So all in all we not only are not benefiting people outside of the West well enough, we're also all cutting the branch we're sitting on.
I think the best way to benefit the 50% of human beings on earth who live in non-Europe and North American countries is to deliver the free content to them by all the possible ways , by growing Wikipedia offline projects and Wikipedia Zero projects in all the poor countries .
I'm from the developing world, and it is reprehensible that our reach in the developing world is not as strong as it can be. Sure, there are challenges to increasing our reach in the developing world, but I strongly believe that these challenges can be overcome. Having worked with communities in the developing world, it's not as hard as people say it is, and allow me to elaborate on three particular things that I would like to see to better enable the developing world to shape the future of our projects:
- Enable the projects to accommodate developing world demands. We've seen this with oral citations, spoken Wikipedia and video support, but we need to bring this further. We need to enable content creation by investing in the ability of our developing world communities to generate this information, studying best practices for sustaining these communities in the long term, and reducing barriers to entry both technological and societal.
- Giving the developing world a place at the table. The movement's power structures need to be overhauled in order to account our diversity, especially geographical diversity, and we need to have a deeper conversation on diversity at this label. Among others, there needs to be investment in incentivizing the developing world to participate in the movement's governance structures, and supporting affiliates and movement partners who engage with the developing world so that they have a greater say in how the Foundation is run.
- Sustain distribution of our content, both for reading and editing. Wikipedia Zero and the Education Program are helpful, but we can go further. We should invest in the growth of new editors through projects more relevant to people in the developing world (e.g. the Cultural Heritage Mapping Project), enhanced offline distribution methods, and generation of information that would be most relevant to the developing world (e.g. medical articles, agriculture. etc.).
Many editors in the developing world don't care about the movement's politics and only care about editing. That's fine. However, that is not an excuse for excluding them from the table. There are
people in the developing world who care about these things, and we need to find ways to accommodate them. We have to try, even if we fail. --Sky Harbor (talk)
10:15, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
For those who have no access to the internet there is little that the Foundation can do, directly or indirectly. For those that do, it is up in the first instance for the wiki organizations serving the languages of those people (rather than the Foundation) to devise initiatives that will involve and inform them - such organizations will obviously have a better idea of what is needed for their audiences than the Foundation board. The Foundation should listen to the opinions and ideas of those wiki organizations and do what it can to support them in advice and (if necessary) secondment, funding and other initiatives. I don't believe that the Foundation board should prioritize 'gesture' statements in areas where it can't itself make a difference. It should however be a resource for the wiki organizations which are campaigning to make a difference in their regions. Incidentally it doesn't seem to me that there should be a uniform approach for developing countries - some of those characterised as developing (e.g. Russian Federation, China, India, Brazil, Nigeria) are in the top ten countries for internet users. So immediately we come to a different policy issue - do we concentrate on countries where a large number of users will ensure the greatest impact, or do we use resources which are much more costly (on a per capita basis) and hence less 'efficient', to support countries at the 'bottom end' of the developing countries list? That would also be a debate to be carried out. I myself have no preconceptions on this. --Smerus
) 05:37, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
A good and best reader always think about integration and not a separation if I get this opportunity I will not be a member of Tanzania or Africa but a man of the global, It's my believes that we are all the same whether from north, west, east or south. I promise to be a man of speed and Standard and my readership is unitedly. Francis Kaswahili talk
19:28, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
So far my contribution to this area has been as editor and activist: Explaining to local politicians that there is a new cultural problem arising from leaving the description of Africa to first-world editors. Explaining to Wikipedia editors that the sum of all knowledge not only consists of heavy volumes in libraries. Editing Africa-related topics and weeding out Eurocentric points of view. For instance, before I arrived, English Wikipedia had as the foundation date of many Namibian towns, the time when they were named by missionaries. Of course missionaries settled at already populated places
, their foundation thus dates back decades or even centuries. There is still a lot to do: I read Wikivoyage's Addis Ababa
entry the other day. It states, in bold, "Be prepared for culture shock." That shows clearly that this entry is written by first-world authors for first-world visitors. If you come from Lagos or Sao Paulo this caution is utter nonsense, and there are at almost any point in time more visitors from Lagos
in Addis than from the entire Global North combined!
As Board member I will undertake to sensitise colleagues, Foundation employees, and editors whenever necessary. We often call our Global North dominance systemic bias. This is very convenient because, by its very definition, we cannot eliminate our systemic bias. We can shift it by aligning the composition of our editor base or our Board. Then our systemic bias will be different, but it cannot disappear. What we can fight is bias, the ordinary one, rearing its head in pretty much all our projects. Prof. van der Velden and I described the problem in some detail here.
If we want to reach young people in developing countries we need to strengthen three things:
- Mobile applications for countries like Namibia where there is cheap and reliable Internet access but few computers
- Offline Wikipedia like Kiwix for countries like Tanzania where there are computers but no or expensive Internet access
- Wikipedia Zero for countries like Angola where there are neither computers nor affordable Internet access
This is an excellent and important question, and one that is central to strategic planning for the WMF right now.
I'll repeat some things fellow candidates have said, but broadly, as a foundation and a movement we should focus on:
- improving access: including mobile (for free with zero-rating, with apps, with redesigns for feature phones); supporting better offline access; better software language and font support; and examining our search engine ranking around the world so that the articles we do have are findable.
- supporting organic communities: including supporting Wikimedians and meetup groups all around the world, supporting Wikipedia outreach efforts, etc.
- supporting local educators: who want to use and develop Wikipedia in (and out of) the classroom.
- improving content: including a push to improve all our language sites, including the smaller Wikipedias, but also to make sure that topics of concern and interest are addressed in all languages. Our best articles are not our most highly-read articles, in any language. In the English Wikipedia (which I know best) we may cover obscure historical topics beautifully, but our practical engineering articles leave a lot to be desired, let alone global culture, some aspects of basic health, and much much more. To accomplish this, of course, we need more editors, better tools, and outreach.
- remixing and refactoring: articles that are absolutely technically correct are not always the most understandable, or practically useful. This is a lovely article that doesn't tell me anything about what to do if I'd like to avoid HIV (it turns out that's in two other articles: this main article and this unassessed article). We should be supportive of creative refactoring into other books, summaries, translations, and usage of Wikipedia that does not always follow the strict encyclopedic model.
- working with partners: including educators, publishers, phone companies: we must maintain our values, but we do not have to go it alone in this challenge.
That is a very important question! I am from Croatia, from the beautiful island of Brač
(if you ever have the chance, you should come to visit it). Being on an island in the time before the Web and when communication was expensive meant that you were rather isolated. Today, in many ways, we live in magic times: knowledge is available to you on the swipe of a finger within seconds no matter where you are. For some of us.
For many of us though, this dream remains unrealized: maybe we don't have a device to access the Web, maybe no electricity, maybe data access is prohibitively expensive, maybe people or organizations don't want us and block us from accessing knowledge, maybe the knowledge is not available in a language or expressed a way I understand. I have experienced all of these constraints first-hand, and have repeatedly fought them, and sometimes won - not just for myself, but also for others. I will continue to do so.
The Wikimedia movement and the Foundation cannot solve all of these issues, but we need to be aware of them and move towards enabling more and more people to access the Wikimedia projects. Projects like Wikipedia Zero directly (and controversially) aim to solve one particular piece of the puzzle, but what good is Wikipedia Zero if there is no content available for the reader?
I believe that our contribution towards reaching a billion new readers in the developing world is to enable more contributors to become more effective. We have to enable contributors to maintain content across languages and projects, to deal with vandalism and agenda pushing effectively, to massively increase the speed content is made available to the readers. I have sketched out ideas for how to improve our content and coverage across languages in Question #2 on page 3
a bit, and I want to refer to there for more details on the answer.
I come from a poor country in South Asia. The per capita income of Bangladesh is around USD 1,000 and I live in the challenges of poverty every day. So I can see the potentials that the poor countries have in a way different than others. At present, WMF’s main strategy for the Global South is promotion of Wikipedia Zero and I am in full support of it. Wikipedia Zero opens up the opportunity to access Wikipedia free of cost for people without access to internet. However, it should not be the only major strategy of WMF for the Global South, but unfortunately it is the only one. In Global South countries, there are people who already have access to internet and they need something else to engage with Wikipedia. For example, WMF employees have visited Bangladesh at least 4 times in past few years for Wikipedia Zero partnerships and Wikipedia Zero was launched in Bangladesh very recently. However, there are over 40 million people in Bangladesh who already has access to internet and does not need Wikipedia Zero to access Wikipedia. Unfortunately, we do not see any strategy from WMF to engage this huge number of people who are already using internet, they are left out of WMF's radar. No one from WMF ever came to Bangladesh to discuss this matter with the community or even reached out to the community in any manner. The full responsibility of engaging this 40 million existing internet users rests on the small Bangladeshi Wikimedia community and our Wikimedia Bangladesh chapter which was born few years ago! If I am elected for the Board, I will make sure WMF has a separate and effective strategy for the people in Global South who already has access to internet alongside the promotion of Wikipedia Zero. Only then, the communities in the poor countries will be effectively activated & engaged and it will allow them to sustain further growth of their respective communities in the Wiki-way.
I have been working to improve Wikipedia's medical coverage in collaboration with 100s of volunteers from around the world in many languages for years per this effort
. Recently Andrew West and I looked at just how much medical content there was in different languages and I agree it is less than ideal.
Many languages have little or no health content on key topics.
I am working to change this by raise awareness regarding the issues and through collaboration with other organizations. This morning for example we had a blog post published by the London School of Economics.
One effort I would love to see increased is collaborations between Wikipedians and local medical schools. I believe that translation can be a great introduction for students to Wikipedia editing. As long as the students have excellent base content they do not need to worry about sourcing or copyright issues. The students also develop the skill of translation from English into the languages they will ultimately be using to practice medicine which will ultimately benefit their future patients. Doc James
) 12:08, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
I'm in favor of building the best possible set of language encyclopedias. That process will require talented people from around the world. As of right now, however, WMF doesn't even know who its core volunteer community is, nor does it have the slightest grasp of how to nurture and develop permanent volunteers. Database and survey first, then listen, listen, listen. Spend money on programs that work, don't spend money on things that don't work. It has been cart-before-horse for a long time and tens of millions of donor dollars have been squandered. Getting that fixed is job 1. Carrite
) 05:34, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
Houcemeddine Turki (Csisc
I do not think that Interns are disadvantaged. Being intern within WMF can be beneficial... By working within WMF, interns learn more about how Wikimedia Foundation works, how wikis are working, what are the problems within Wikis and how to solve problems... and this is important. Personally, if I get involved in Wikimedia Foundation as a WMF intern, I will accept this because this will add something to my knowledge and experience. I think that Wikimedia Foundation should be thanked for that... Moreover, Wikimedia Foundation is not the only institution doing this. Even Faculties of Medicine are doing this with students as the students of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year of Medicine are obliged to get unpaid trainings in Summer. However, I did not see any student who is bored of that fact... --Csisc
) 16:57, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
Internships helps individual to improve skills and experiences , I find that unpaid internship is an extra load to an individual sometime. Proper environment will help an individual to work as it differs from country to country.-- Sailesh Patnaik (Talk2Me|Contribs)
14:42, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
I have mixed feelings about unpaid internships. On the one hand, we all are unpaid volunteers, and there are people who enjoy contributing their time (in a form of public service, as well as to get experience). Yet, on the other, way too often unpaid internships are a form of exploitation of young people, who are desparate to get anything on their CV, and also live a hope of being employed later. I would be in favor of fair pay for work. I think that unpaid internships for young people should be introduced only if the benefits for interns are clear, and also if there is a non-theoretical chance of employment later.
I am supportive of these programs only if the workload is suitable for being volunteer so the unpaid programs are not suitable for any job, and also the volunteers in these positions will not gain money but will gain experience .
I am not a fan of unpaid internships, and I believe that you should be fairly compensated for the work that you've done. That being said, we should remember that we do Wikimedia work often for no pay at all, either as a vocation or otherwise. Unpaid internships, therefore, make sense only
if there is a clear elaboration of incentives for those who willingly decide to work for the Foundation in that capacity, including
the possibility of joining the Foundation as paid staff at a later date, and providing employment support (letters of referral, connections, etc.) to them if this arrangement doesn't work out.. --Sky Harbor (talk)
10:30, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
It appears? Tell me more. It depends on the conditions of the internships, their duration, the support provided to internees, etc. I am not a priori
against unpaid interneeships if there can be real benefits (skills, improved employment potential, etc.) --Smerus
) 05:38, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
Ooh, Didcot power station
)I can't say yes or no but my perception as human being I will have a time of study before reacting as I have also said that my concern is on WMF grownup and community demand, it simply noted. Francis Kaswahili talk
19:42, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
I think that internships should always be compensated with a salary, maybe with the sole exception of very short ones (e. g. 2 weeks internships for high school students, that in Italy are common). I think that working completely gratis
should be left to who wants and decides - in an autonomous and self-aware way - to be a volunteer, not for students that maybe are required to do internships to complete their education or for luring young students or graduates with the promise of a job, even if that that promise is eventually fulfilled. I have to say that I disagree with Doc James
(talk · contribs
), I know that there are many professions where people normally do many months of unpaid work but this does not make it a good (or ethical, to some extent) idea, anyway.
This depends on the amount of work that WMF employees put into the education of the interns. If interns are used to take over repetitive work that needs to be done, and where they learn rather little, then they should be paid, simply because its morally the right thing to do and because the Foundation has the money. If it is rather a practical semester of education where the intern needs constant supervision - thinking of the legal or medical fraternity - then payment is not always appropriate.
Unpaid internships are very typical in my country. They are mostly oriented to students who can get in some work experience before graduating. Usually they get some credits for it, but sometimes they don't. I would like it if the offer also included if there is a chance of getting a permanent job later, but otherwise, I am not unfamiliar with the concept.
As others have noted, for some fields (notable law) getting an internship is normal and in fact required for those going through school. I think internships are ok if done ethically: if the student is clearly learning new skills that fits into their larger educational program and gains work experience and connections through the experience, if the internship is made widely available, and if the intern is not being used to replace what would otherwise be a paid role for a staffperson (and is not doing work that others are being paid for). Generally paid internships are ideal, though that can sometimes also lead to complications. Aside from the legal department, I think internships are relatively new for WMF and the organization is still figuring out the best way to do it. As Denny notes, there's a fair amount of overhead in running an intern program as well. It's worth noting though that however it's done, mentoring people is an overall goal of the organization; we participate each year in Google Summer of Code, for instance (where students work for a summer on a project and are given a stipend by Google).
More important than whether these internships are paid or not is I think: are they truly open to everyone, or is this something only for Bay Area college students? Would the Foundation do the necessary paperwork for a visa and enable a candidate from Central Asia to work as a Multimedia Storytelling intern, if it was the best possible candidate? Are these offers global, as they should be for a global organization, or are they not, because it is not convenient? Are we fully supporting the idea of diversity?
In face of the costs to run a program with such a premise, the cost of paying a compensation to the intern becomes usually tiny. The flight, board, legal costs, etc. would not only outweigh any payment to the intern, but probably also the direct benefits from the internship. And yet I think it would make sense. Because there are many intangible secondary benefits to such a program.
I would love to live in a society where working for good would be as readily compensated as ... the other thing. But we do not. And it would be great if the Foundation would also open up on this side too. This is a question of priorities, too, obviously.
Just if it was not clear, I am not in favor of unpaid internships, but we also do not exist in a vacuum and a proper answer to this question would require an understanding of the environment and practices in the given working field, and an understanding of what needs to be done to both improve these general circumstances and to move closer towards achieving our mission.
I am supportive of these programs. In the process of becoming a physician one is required to do a 1.5 years internship for which they are required to pay in the range of $10,000 to $40,000 a year (yes that is right the Intern pays for the privilege of being an Intern). This is than followed by a residency where one works long hours and is paid relatively little. Law has the same sort of practice were before one becomes a full fledged lawyer one is required to spend time working for free with someone more experience. Many professions have apprenticeships.
I think it is exceedingly useful for the WMF to be involved in these sorts of programs. This is often a useful way to find future staff members. It additionally spreads awareness regarding the work we are doing. These programs have a number of benefits for the Interns. It gives them the opportunity to develop skills, making them more eligible in the job market. It helps them develop connections in the tech industry. And they end up with official recognition from a global technology leader. As editors many of us are working an equivalent of a full time job or more for free without gaining official recognition for our resumes.
Academic writing has historically been unpaid work. Most people neither get paid to write a journal article nor get paid to provide peer review. Academic publishers have sprung up (such as Elsevier) and made billions by simply being the middle man between those doing the work and those benefiting from it. One reason why Wikipedia is amazing is that we are replacing these middle man. We have returned a system were neither the writer nor the distributors are making money, but most importantly people are getting access to knowledge. Doc James
) 05:03, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Unpaid internships can be a way for students to get experience in their field, in exchange for credit, or funded through their home institution. In some fields that is standard. Where this outside support isn't available, paid internships are appropriate. –SJ talk
11:19, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Term Limits for Board Seats
What are your opinions on term limits for Board members, such that Board members may serve a maximum of, say, two or three terms (4 or 6 years)? I understand the need to have stability in the Board and so perhaps term limits could be excluded for the 'Board-appointed' members, but do you believe that such limits should exist for the community-elected and chapter-selected seats? I'm certain that this question (or a discussion relating to it) has been asked before, but I can't seem to find previous discussions at present. Template:BoardChart summarises the current history of Board membership. Thehelpfulone 21:23, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
Houcemeddine Turki (Csisc
I think that term limits should exist for community members because if the same members always win Board Elections, other interested active contributors can be tired of this and become having less interest in contributing more in wikis and this will be harmful for the progress of the wikis... So, term limits are required to insure the dynamicity of the wikis and the stability of the administration of the Wikimedia Foundation can be acquired through the fact that the owners of chapter selected seats can hold their seats for some decades allowing WMF to go through long term projects and ameliorate its performances. --Csisc
) 16:57, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
I fully support term limits. I believe that 2-3 terms is a very reasonable maximum. Staying longer decreases added value of a member (they run out of ideas and iron will to change things), and increases chances of adverse effects (groupthink, alienation from the community, politicizing the process, burnout, etc.). A break from the Board can be refreshing (after all, one can return after a reasonable while) - and I think we should look for good ways of accommodating highly qualified ex-Board members (advisory board, FDC,AffCom, and maybe some new ways, too). I declare that if I get elected, I would advocate for formalizing such limits.
I am also support term limits. I think 3 terms are very suitable . because the board needs to renews its blood every few years to get new and innovative ideas.
I am not opposed to term limits either, but I have reservations about whether having term limits would really lead to increased representation and a better discussion of ideas. Remember that the people who participate in our politics form a relatively small pool of our entire editing community, and it would do no good if we get people who are generally from that pool. Increasing the pool of people involved in our movement's politics, which in turn empowers even more editors to have a direct stake in the future of our movement, is a more effective method of inducing turnover than arbitrary term limits. That being said, should the community will that we have term limits, I will definitely support their decision and abide by it accordingly. --Sky Harbor (talk)
16:13, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
I have no problems with such term limits. There is a large and ever-changing community - we don't want community representatives hogging their places, the board should also reflect the way the wiki movement develops.--Smerus
) 05:40, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
To me it doesn't matter with tenure, what's important is accountability, passionate and responsibility but 3-4 years it can be better, it could've be helps for the elected members to do more better for making the first year for study, 2nd year for robbing and and the remaining tenure for the better sanction. Francis Kaswahili talk
12:34, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
I fully support term limits for all members of the Board (besides Jimbo). I think that the maximum should be three terms (six years).
A forced 'sabbatical' from Board membership is a good thing and should be implemented, with two or three terms limit. However, I would not rule out allowing someone to be reelected after one term break, in case they really did stellar work.
I'm open to the idea of term limits, but to me they only make sense if they apply to all Board seats equally.
I support term limits (for all seats besides the founder). There are pros and cons for term limits (pros include getting new perspectives in leadership, cons include a potential loss of stability and institutional knowledge), but I think at this point in our history, as a fairly mature non-profit with a large community of long-time volunteers and an interest in increasing diversity on our board, term limits make sense for us. As Sj noted, this is a timely question, as the board governance committee (which I'm on) is discussing it right now.
I support board term limits (besides for the founder's seat). Usually I would go for two terms, but since the terms are rather short, a third term could be considered. Since the Board is due for considering a restructuring anyway, and seeing the answers from the other candidates, it seems that this is likely to happen.
I think term limit should be applied for all board seats except the founder’s seat. For me, ideal term limit should be between 2 terms (4 years) to maximum 3 terms (6 years). Stability on the board can be ensured in a different way. For example, term limits can be different for elected and Board-appointed members. If the term limits are known in advance for the different types of Board seats, it should not be a problem to ensure smooth transition and maintain stability on the board. At the same time, it will allow more diversity and new ideas on the board.
We need to make the board more democratically elected by increasing the number of seats elected by the community. And we need to make the board and thus the foundation more responsive to the community. I am not opposed to term limits but I am not sure that they would achieve this goal.
If enough of the community; however, see this as an important issue I would be supportive of the creation of a RfC to address it and would support whatever decision the community makes.
Additionally I am not sure why we would want term limits for community elected members but not for board elected members? I am happy to have Jimmy Wales excluded from term limits but not sure why other would be if they were implemented. Doc James
) 05:31, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
I don't think formal term limits solve very much. Constructing a more democratic board doesn't require term limits, it requires placing more than 3 seats on the board under community control. Open up the electoral process, publicize the elections, and the turnover will take care of itself. Carrite
) 05:28, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
I support a limit on continuous terms for all Board seats except the founder; as well as an increase in the number of community seats. I have proposed a 3-term limit to our board governance committee (currently under discussion). We need other ways to keep people involved in movement guidance and governance; it's good to have rotation and an influx of new approaches on any particular body. –SJ talk
11:19, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Overriding local policies
Suppose a certain edition of Wikipedia decides to abolish the "citation needed" template, leaving editors unable to directly challenge statements found in articles. Or, suppose they decide to abolish WP:BLP, and proceed to block editors who remove WP:BLP-violating content from articles as "vandals". Should there be a global body with the ability to override such decisions and practices? If so, what would be the threshold for involvement and how far should they go in enforcing the global decisions (blocks, desysopping)? GregorB (talk) 19:24, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Houcemeddine Turki (Csisc
As I had said before, any version of the same wiki should meet to standards of the wiki. If a community would like to create a local version of a given WMF wiki, it should accept all its regulation... However, I am against using SuperProtect for example to solve the problem. Any change to policy of a wiki could be discussed and merged in a council of the admins of all version of that specific wiki. If it is accepted, the change would be merged by all versions of the given wiki as I explained in preceding answers and if it is refused, the specific community making the proposal cannot adopt the change for their version of the WMF wiki. --Csisc
) 19:07, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
Local policies are always a delicate matter and I am against direct interventionism, unless really necessary (for instance, if local regulations could result in legal consequences, or violating our movement's pillars). However, when such circumstances arise, there already is a body that should be active in taking the lead to override such decisions - and it is exactly the Board itself. Additionally, in some communities there may be other, unhealthy processes (as a steward, I e.g. witnessed a real cabal in a small community). While such cases may not necessarily be within the Board's scope, they still may need some body to go to (global arbitration committee? if we had it, it would immediately be swamped with trolls...). However, since I dislike bureaucracy, too, and I don't believe setting up committees is a solution to everything, maybe widening the stewards prerogatives wold be the most effective solution.
Projects should (and must!) have the leeway to act in the best interests of their communities, and for those new Wikipedias they should have the leeway to build policies the way they see fit, of course within reason. But we have generally accepted standards of behavior that are uniform across all projects (no personal attacks, etc.), as well as universal principles (NPOV, verfiability, etc.), and projects must
Remember that ultimate authority for closing projects lies in the Board, which has so far devolved this authority to the Language Committee and the stewards, including dealing with issues where the projects themselves become problematic (e.g. the Siberian Wikipedia). I would suggest at this point that we expand the purview of the Language Committee and the stewards to include dealing with projects that are in violation of our principles and policies, setting them back on the right path unless they become really problematic, after which closure can be initiated according to the current process, with exceptions made for very problematic cases (e.g. wikis promoting hate crimes, wikis overrun with advertising, etc.) where they can be closed immediately and restarted if necessary.
I agree that a lot of this has to do with consensus, which naturally varies between projects. That being said, should consensus lead to behaviors that run contrary to our values, the Foundation should have the authority to act accordingly. However, this must be done only under strict parameters to prevent overreach—an example would be overriding consensus only when there is sufficient advice from some position of authority (stewards, Legal, ombudsman committee, etc.) indicating that the actions of a local community would be detrimental to our movement's interests. --Sky Harbor (talk)
11:38, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
While we should respect local policies, it's clearly possible to envisage developments which could be contrary to the underlying wiki principles. Verification and verifiability are amongst these principles - without them, the quality of what is offered deteriorates. (" All articles must strive for verifiable accuracy"....see the Five Pillars
). In the circumstances envisaged in the question, the Foundation should clearly challenge the local wiki concerned - and get that wiki to consult its own contributors. If they decide to abandon verification as a standard, they should be excluded from the movement, and prevented from associating their activities as being part of the movement. Respecting local po;icies has as a counterpart the respect by local organizations for the principles of the movement.--Smerus
) 10:13, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
),Typically this question is administratively and doesn't help to give people an opportunity to have a best choice of the BOT and I don't think that we still need more departments on WMF unless other wise it have been proved beyond reasonable doubt that our modulators has failed to manage, we have every thing on WMF what is needed now is only accountability and responsibility to every body on our link. am speaking this seriously and this is my perception am going to the board with my status completed with eldest of over 50yrs to help our young men am sure to be there for solution and not testing. Francis Kaswahili talk
16:11, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
Besides things that are required by the law and very extreme cases, I do not think the Board should intervene directly in the local policies of the projects.
On the one hand, we should respect local cultures, and a language always represents a culture. In our local Otjiherero
project, potential editors were quite unambiguous that propositions about their customs, places, and traditions could never
be sourced to anything in writing because all that has been written so far was authored by visitors alien to their culture. I think we should allow that.
On the other hand, there are stereotypes and and superstitions shared by virtually all speakers of a local language, particularly in cases where the act of speaking a certain language is an expression of one's political or social alignment. This is a complex problem, and it might become entrenched once smaller language editions grow. There should be a minimal standard for all affiliated Wikimedia projects, developed after a global discussion. There should be a global Board (of editors) to which cases can be brought, much in analogy to the International Criminal Court which hears cases where the accused might have acted in complete adherence to local law. Interventions could include blocking, banning, deleting, and in extreme cases even closing the project and oversighting its content.
Imagine German Wikipedia in the year 1980. The articles GDR and FRG (the two Geman countries at the time) would have been a drama scene, with probably no consensus anywhere, on anything. Now imagine the two countries speaking different languages. The same two articles would be POV on both language Wikipedias, enjoying happy consensus from the whole editor community, respectively. That's a situation where the editor community should intervene, the WMF should assist, and the Board should steer.
, not questions of notability or sourcing on a particular Wikipedia. That said, this is a movement-wide issue that concerns all of us. I am in favor of small wikis organically developing, rather than importing norms from English or German or Spanish or another big language, which means that most small wikis probably don't have
a citation needed template to begin with (and that's ok). But for problems and disputes, I am also in favor of a global dispute resolution body, and perhaps expanding the remit (and number) of the stewards (and perhaps Langcom, as Josh mentions) to act in a mentorship capacity for small wikis that seem to be struggling or drifting apart from our mission, or that are dominated by just a few people that are driving others away.
As I said in a number of my other responses, I am a strong supporter of the local autonomy of the wikiprojects. If a Wikipedia decides to not have a citation needed template, it is entirely in their right. If a Wikimedia project would decide to center on oral sources to better support a given language, instead of books, then I would say: go for it! (Here is a scenario where this would make sense
.) The number of cases external authorities - like Langcom, the Stewards, the Foundation or its Board - should directly intervene in a Wikimedia project should be very small and very well defined.
There are obviously a few global policies that all Wikimedia projects have to follow. But I would like to keep their number small. A project must have the air to grow and breath organically. Rules that might work on a huge wiki like the English Wikipedia with its 30,000 active contributors might be stifling growth in a project with ten active contributors. And the majority of our projects have ten or less active contributors.
Having said that, a clear process that is actually available and discoverable for members of a smaller wiki-project to escalate important issues to a body outside their local project, would be a very good idea. Maybe a global ArbCom, maybe the Stewards - currently, it seems, the accepted path is to appeal to the media and to try to get Jimmy involved. Whereas I can see that this path can from time to time yield results, and its appeal given the lack of alternatives, it might not necessarily be a model that scales. It would be good to determine and ensure there is a process for the communities to call for arbitration and help.
An excellent question. We have looked at the same issue within English Wikipedia regarding how much can be decided by local consensus at the level of a Wikiproject and what requires a more global discussion by the en community. The answer is that it is not entirely clear.
Having a discussion regarding one of the smaller language versions of Wikipedia on a movement wide scale has the additional complexities of language. Google translate only works in 90 or so languages and we are in 287. Even the languages Google does translate, it often does not do so well. So the question becomes has does one have a fair discussion of a controversial issue?
Individual languages; however, do not and should not have complete autonomy either. We all share and need to uphold the names Wikipedia/Wikivoyage/Wiktionary/etc. We have the five pillars for Wikipedia in more than 108 languages 
. We also have the founding principles 
. If a single language project for example become primarily about promoting genocide or selling commercial products the wider movement would need to take action and if issues were not solvable would have the authority to close down a language or project. Doc James
) 01:44, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
I am, as a general statement, very supportive of the local autonomy of individual language encyclopedias and very wary of central intervention to overturn local decisions. Proviso: there are some elements of the fundamental software that can't or shouldn't be turned off and there are some communities insufficiently large and stable to make fundamental and binding decisions, but these are exceptions to the rule. Exactly where these lines are drawn is something that needs to be determined on a case by case basis. Carrite
) 01:52, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
Specifically in relation to your candidacy for membership of the board, on what justification are you WP:HERE?
I guess this is a WMF specific version of that blunt interview question: why should you get the "job"?
In response to a question that I raised at Talk:Wikimedia Foundation elections/Board elections/2015 that asked, "#How come infrequent editors to Wikipedia want to be trustees?" Gryllida constructively advised "Please ask them."
There are 3 positions for board members that are elected directly by the community with 20 candidates "en:shortlisted" with all the candidacies being considered by, perhaps, ~1809 potential voters many of whom may variously wade through various candidate statements, a questions and answers content that so far extends to most of four pages and may additionally make other, further enquiries.
en:WP:HERE states that, "A major pillar of Wikipedia is that editors are here purely to build an encyclopedia."
Having explained my involvement on this page I would like to primarily ask:
- 1. Why are you here? / Why is it that you think that you are one of the three best/most relevant candidates for the position?
I appreciate that earlier sections on the questions pages have given you opportunity to mention various of your credentials including:
On the page mentioned Alsee has helpfully added a base format of data to which I have added stalktoy stats as follows:
- 137,701 James Heilman (Doc James) "Statistics: 138122 edits on 181 wikis... Oldest... (2007-03-12 03:48)" averaging 46.1 edits daily over 2,996 Days
- 98,342 Mike Nicolaije (Taketa) "Statistics: 100030 edits on 718 wikis... Oldest... (2008-02-15 10:15)" averaging 37.6 edits daily over 2,656 Days
- 57,958 Tim Davenport (Carrite) "Statistics: 58063 edits on 71 wikis... Oldest... (2008-12-28 19:00)" averaging 24.8 edits daily over 2,339 Days
- 47,754 Syed Muzammiluddin (Hindustanilanguage) "Statistics: 47715 edits on 207 wikis... Oldest... (2011-01-11 10:22)" averaging 29.9 edits daily over 1,595 Days
- 43,158 Samuel Klein (Sj) editing from: 08:14, 22 February 2004 averaging 10.5 edits daily over 4,110 Days
- 30,063 David Conway (Smerus) "Statistics: 30073 edits on 86 wikis... Oldest... (2005-12-22 17:31)" averaging 8.7 edits daily over 3,441 Days
- 27,072 Phoebe Ayers (phoebe) "Statistics: 27199 edits on 235 wikis... Oldest... (2003-08-13 01:02)" averaging 6.3 edits daily over 4,303 Days
- 27,052 Josh Lim (Sky Harbor) "Statistics: 27064 edits on 140 wikis... Oldest... (2005-04-07 00:17)" averaging 7.31 edits daily over 3,700 Days
- 24,232 Denny Vrandečić (Denny) "Statistics: 24243 edits on 226 wikis... Oldest... (in 2005 or earlier)" 14:57, 2 September 2003!? so averaging 5.66 edits daily over 4,283 Days
- 22,976 María Sefidari (Raystorm) "Statistics: 22976 edits on 75 wikis... Oldest... (2006-03-05 14:31)" averaging 6.82 edits daily over 3,368 Days
- 21,545 Nisar Ahmed Syed (అహ్మద్ నిసార్) "Statistics: 21552 edits on 49 wikis... Oldest... (2007-11-17 21:40)" averaging 7.85 edits daily over 2,746 Days
- 20,111 Mohamed Ouda (Mohamed Ouda) "Statistics: 20114 edits on 203 wikis... Oldest... (2006-08-06 15:34)" averaging 6.26 edits daily over 3,214 Days
- 14,566 Peter Gallert (Pgallert) "Statistics: 14573 edits on 56 wikis... Oldest... (2008-01-25 10:24)" averaging 5.44 edits daily over 2,677 Days
- 13,941 Dariusz Jemielniak (pundit) "Statistics: 13953 edits on 848 wikis... Oldest... (2006-11-14 16:48)" averaging 4.48 edits daily over 3,114 Days
- 7,268 Cristian Consonni (CristianCantoro) "Statistics: 7335 edits on 110 wikis... Oldest... (2007-08-23 23:06)" averaging 2.59 edits daily over 2,832 Days
- 4,882 Francis Kaswahili Kaguna (Francis Kaswahili) "Statistics: 4883 edits on 32 wikis... Oldest... (2012-08-11 10:36)" averaging 4.80 edits daily over 1,017 Days
- 4,139 Ali Haidar Khan (Tonmoy) (Ali Haidar Khan) "Statistics: 4180 edits on 59 wikis... Oldest... (2008-02-21 08:59)" averaging 1.58 edits daily over 2,650 Days
- 2,959 Sailesh Patnaik (Saileshpat) "Statistics: 2959 edits on 105 wikis... Oldest... (2012-03-29 19:05)" averaging 2.56 edits daily over 1,152 Days
- 2,407 Houcemeddine Turki (Csisc) "Statistics: 2407 edits on 39 wikis... Oldest... (2009-03-17 20:24)" averaging 1.06 edits daily over 2,260 Days
- 1,836 Edward Saperia (EdSaperia) "Statistics: 1836 edits on 49 wikis... Oldest... (2011-01-11 00:21)" averaging 1.15 edits daily over 1,595 Days
In the light of the above I would also like to ask:
- 2. How, within any context and perhaps detailing specific involvements, have your understandings of Wikipedia and of its editor/editorial needs developed?
On a personal note I think that there may be a possibility that issues related to en:WP:SNOW and even en:WP:DISRUPT and related p & g contents may potentially apply. For the sake of 3 places on the board there are 20 candidates and I wonder if there may be possibilities in future elections for a different extent of en:shortlist to be finalised. GregKaye (talk) 16:18, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
Houcemeddine Turki (Csisc
I do not think that the number of edits is the only means of assessment of the quality of candidates. For example, I am contributing regularly to Wikipedia. I participated to the Wikiconcours of French Wikipedia several times and had significant contributions to works related to Tunisia as I created 23 non-stub works since 2011. However, I have only 1041 edits in this important wiki... As for English Wikipedia, I am still participating to 2015 WikiCup. Some of you have already seen the Do you know part of the main page of Wikipedia in 12 April 2015 when "The World is Bardo" had been evocated. However, I have minor edits in the English Wikipedia. I do not think that quantity is the only metrics to assess candidates. Any voter should assess the offline contributions of the candidate as well as the quality of his contributions to main wikis. Personally, I have made many offline works related to Wikipedia. For example, I am standardizing Tunisian since 2011 in order to use it in writing several WMF wikis and had written some works about the issue. Moreover, I have made a ranking of most productive Tunisian Scientists in 2014 and wrote works about some of them in French Wikipedia... So, I have some ideas about how to do Wikimedia oriented researches and can help to ameliorate the performances of Wikimedia. You had asked about how, within any context and perhaps detailing specific involvements, have my understandings of Wikipedia and of its editor/editorial needs developed. I can answer you that when I joined the French Wikipedia in 17 March 2009, there was not an Education Programme. So, I learnt all these facts by experience. I have written "Triaga" several times until this was finally accepted in 2010. After each trial, I reviewed my work and tried to guess what went wrong until I finally got the skills of editing Wikipedia... and as you see, I had written since 2009 more than 18 works in French Wikipedia that are in the list of the 500 most visited Tunisia-related works in French Wikipedia and in September 2014, my work "Liste des scientifiques tunisiens" had been selected in the official selection of Wikiconcours and I am still competing in WikiCup within the English Wikipedia those days. --Csisc
) 16:57, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
I accept that am less experienced than other candidates. When you belongs to a small language Wikipedia where the community is limited , editing articles or increasing edit counts isn't the prime job of an editor. We faces difficulties in bringing new editors to our Wikipedia, so most of the time my prime role is to bring editors to my language Wikipedia , organize conference or Workshops and I also handles the social media part of my Wikipedia and also Wiki Loves Food (A contest of Wikimedia India).
I am here because India have 20+ Wikipedia and almost all Indic languages comes under top 30 most spoken languages. However, expect Hindi Wikipedia not a single Wikipedia have crossed the milestone of 1,00,000 articles, which i believe that most of user aren't aware of Wikipedia and it's work. Being an Indian my top most priorities is to be the growth of my Indic language.
With my little experience I want serve more for the communities and being a young Wikimedian , I wants to attract more and more youth to Wikipedia and empower them.-- Sailesh Patnaik (Talk2Me|Contribs)
06:58, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
A good question, and I really regret it was not one of the first ones, as more users would see it :) Let me address it first by listing what I believe are the most important characteristics of a good WMF Board candidate and what s/he should have:
- significant external (outside Wikimedia) experience of similar roles, preferably including experience from other boards of organizations of similar size/budget. Essentially, WMF Board is not the place to start learning how to deal with such roles. It is my understanding that I am one of the very few, if not the only one of the candidates who does have experience of sitting on different boards of large organizations outside of our movement.
- high knowledge of strategy and management in F/L/OSS and software, both in terms of theory (understanding the processes) and actual practice (experiencing them). I not only know the theory (with a Master and a doctoral degree in business management), but have also contributed to it, as I published academic articles and two books with the leading global publishers. I also have a hands-on startup development experience (I developed several startups, including the largest online dictionary in Poland, ling.pl), as well as national and international experience from consulting (which, sort of, proves that my qualifications have been recognized), and mentoring. I am one of the very few candidates who have sufficient and diverse experience in this department.
- significant and versatile Wikimedia websites experience, not just in terms of an edit count; in fact I think that anyone with a five-digit edit count has basically more than enough editing experience, but may lack experience from other important community roles: applying blocks (admins), dealing with privacy issues (checkusers), global protection and control (stewards), resolving problematic issues of privacy breaches by other functionaries (ombudsman). Especially the roles of a steward and of an ombudsman open one's eyes to the problems of our communities that are otherwise known only from hearsay or even unknown at all. It is my understanding that I am the only of the candidates who has acted in all of these roles.
- significant and versatile Wikimedia movement experience: it is essential that a good Board candidate has a wide understanding of what people in our movement, especially in the chapters and thematic organizations, actually do (since one of the problems we're facing is very poor knowledge transfer, limited exchange of great ideas, as well as minimal cross-community collaboration). This experience can be gained through participation in the Board itself, as well as other major committees in our movement (the FDC, AffCom, GAC, etc.). I have been the FDC chair for three terms (the fact that I was unanimously re-elected twice should probably signify that I gained trust and appreciation of skills from other fellow highly trusted Wikimedians). I have an intimate understanding of our movement's finances, plans, and strategies; on the level of chapters possibly even better than the current Board incumbents do.
- High professional skills from the real world. Bringing expertise to the Board means also bringing top professional skills (irrespective of whatever profession a candidate may have). I am a tenured full professor of management, one of the youngest in the history of my field in Poland, with visiting appointments at Cornell University, Harvard University, University of California Berkeley, MIT.
Now, all of the above qualifications are important. Even though I believe I possibly do better than other candidates in many of these areas, as well as definitely when all of these areas are combined, there are two more major reasons why I run for the Board:
- Diversity is very important, as bringing different perspectives to the Board helps it work better. I find it really sad that NEVER in the history of our movement has anyone outside of the Northern America and Western Europe been elected to the board. Diversity in this respect seems to be even worse in our movement than the gender gap (which is another huge issue that requires addressing, too). While I am lucky to be benefiting from a number of privileges, and also my country now is doing quite ok economically, I do have a vivid memory of living for 1 USD per day, in awe and jealousy of the West, in a country suffering from significant shortages (of food, of toilet paper, of other basic necessities), and also in a totalitarian regime with active censorship - this experience increases my sensitivity in this respect. Also, on a number of occasions I have been able to show that I have the civil courage to stand up for human rights and diversity (I am a member of Honorary Committee of Pride Parade in Poland, among others). Finally, it seems that I am one of the few who perceive the development of anti-harassment policies as well as reporting mechanisms as important enough to support it.
- We need change - although I agree that there is a need for continuity in the Board, replacing 1/3 of it is hardly a threat in this respect. There is, however, a need for community-elected members of the Board to be more active. I am not an idealist (or populist, choose one) to claim that the Board members should do hands-on, everyday work, and that wonders could be done. But I do believe it is the role of the Board members to stand up for us, as the community, when mistakes are made. SuperProtect issue, the whole story of WMF forcing a technical solution on a community, that didn't want it, shows very acutely that passive community-elected Board members may very seriously exacerbate problems, which otherwise would be relatively small. It is vital that all Board members, but especially the community-elected ones, act in their role of overseeing the WMF and our movement strategy - with this safety valve missing, governance problems and misunderstandings arise.
As I addressed your first question in a rather long statement, I'll be brief with the other one and write mainly about governance, as it has evolved dramatically. Initially, when I started editing in 2006, I wasn't even aware of the WMF's existence. Later I was told many war stories, how the WMF is the evil entity blocking our development. I grew out if this view, when I met the WMF people and spoke to them, and then I started perceiving some of the chapters as not meeting the organizational quality standards I would expect. This view also changed as well, when I delved into my research, and even more later when I joined the FDC, as I understood that chapters are and should be volunteer-driven and cannot be expected to meet the corporate standards. I believe that my view is balanced now: I think that for good or for the bad, there needs to be a balance and oversight between the WMF, the chapters, and the communities themselves. In my role of the Board member, I hope to do my share to improve it. In regards to my perception of editing needs, the thing that has struck me most is how different they are across communities, as well as how little propagation of useful tools and ideas we have (ProveIt or Twinkle being just minor examples of en-wiki specific great tools).
I'm running to fight for the little guy. And when I say "little guy", I mean those who feel that the Board is out of touch with them and who would benefit very strongly from having someone on the Board who understands their needs better than other candidates. Initially I decided to run in this election because I strongly felt that the Board lacked a strong developing world voice, and we outside North America and Western Europe have gone for quite a while without adequate representation at the table regarding how our movement is run. But at the same time, I've also come to realize that this isn't enough, and ultimately I've decided to run because our movement can be better than where it is right now and that we should
do something about it.
I have been a Wikimedian for ten years now, and on-wiki I am extensively involved in article writing, mostly about the Philippines but delving into other topics from time to time. Over time this has evolved: from the joy of simply writing Wikipedia articles I have since written numerous articles that are extensively cited and are as comprehensive as they can be, mostly in later years, and I enjoy putting in the long hours required to make Wikipedia a better place. I find greater pleasure in writing articles than using admin tools, which I've had since 2009 and have used very sparingly. But at the same time, Wikimedia is more than just Wikipedia (and the English Wikipedia at that), and I believe I can bring that perspective to the Board: for one, I am one of the few candidates running in this election with extensive experience editing both in other languages (to which I also edit in Tagalog, Spanish and Polish) and other Wikimedia projects (including building the Tagalog Wiktionary). My edit count is not as high as other candidates, yes, but I am exceedingly hard-working in doing good for our movement.
Running for the Board though also means not just being active on-wiki—it also means knowing what to do offline, since we're running after all to serve on the Board of Trustees of an organization with significant resources, and not just Wikipedia. Since 2006 I have been involved in outreach work and community-building activities, growing the Filipino Wikimedia community in the process through meetups, thoughtful discussions on the future of our movement in the Philippines, and just being there for community members (since, after all, a good way to retain editors is to build those vital bridges between newer and older ones). This has culminated in the founding of Wikimedia Philippines in 2010, and we've grown over the last five years to be one of the leading Wikimedia affiliates in Asia. My interests have also led me to pursuing Wikipedia as a subject of academic inquiry (listed here), and I have also spoken about the Philippines and Wikimedia at three Wikimanias (with a fourth this year) and two Open Source Bridge conferences (with a third this year). I have also spoken about Wikipedia at different events in the Philippines, as well as for various news media (e.g. CNN).
But Wikimedia for me is more than just about the Philippines. Unlike other candidates, I am probably the only candidate who has proactively sought to visit other Wikimedia communities to learn from them, to interact with them, and to see how they do things. To date, I have visited and spoken with Wikimedia communities in ten different countries (listed here), largely on my own initiative but both as a private individual and as a member of the Affiliations Committee, and I find immense joy in understanding them and seeing how we could work together. I want our movement's players to learn from one other, and I will foster this tradition should I be elected to the Board.
These interactions (and more!) have given me a very holistic understanding of the Wikimedia movement both in the developing and developed worlds, and the responsibility that it takes to be on the Board of Trustees: that there is more to Wikimedia than just Wikipedia, and that we are one community, not communities in our own separate bubbles. That we have a lot to do in order to make our editors feel at home, and at the same time be that welcoming place that we used to be for those joining us for the first time. We need to renegotiate our social contract so that things can be better between us as editors, staff members, the Foundation as a unit and the movement as a whole, as I have written in my other answers, and I have the skill set, the knowledge and the drive to make all of this happen. I strongly abide by Wikimedian principles both on-wiki and in daily life, where I uphold our culture of respect, diplomatic honesty and thoughtfulness even at work, where I was most recently a community manager for a prominent Singaporean startup. I am exceedingly dedicated to the movement, so much so that I have pressed on even if others have urged me to quit.
I must apologize for this very long answer, but I hope this proves to you why I should be elected to the Board. My loyalty is to the Wikimedia movement—a loyalty that will never
waver, even if I lose in this election and come in last place. I hope to make all of you proud should I be elected, and I will continue to do so even if I'm not. --Sky Harbor (talk)
06:44, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
I am here because I am responding to the words of the call for candidates, which includes as one priority those who "have basic management experience (teaching, people management, project management, larger non-profit board experience, especially those of international organizations, etc.)" I believe I meet these criteria, perhaps to a greater extent than other candidates. As I make clear in my presentation I "have worked for 25 years as manager and/or leader in large-scale development aid projects throughout the former Soviet Union. Previous work in clothing manufacture (UK and Sri Lanka), enterprise development. Degrees in economics, maths, psychology and music history. Former non-executive director on boards of National Health Service Trusts, and of UK colleges. Many years experience as senior elected councillor in UK local government." The aid projects are on behalf of the European Commission, by the way, and I have participated in numerous international meetings and committees as part of these. The projects are large budget (Euros 3m +), and as team leader I have been involved in both project management planning and in day-to-day management of international teams. OntheHealth Trust, I was Chair of the Audit Committee, overseeibg abudget of UKP140 mn. As an elected Councillor, I was leader of the Council of a London borough with an annual budget of UKP 1000mn., and a workforce of 10,000. I am also a dedicated Wikipedia editor, particularly in article creation and improvement, with a number of FAs and GAs to my credit. I do not stand in order to press any particular standpoint, sector, class, nationality, topic, software process, etc. etc. - only to offer my extensive experience and my services, starting from a neutral point of view but in accordance with the principles of the organization in assessing complex issues and working at policy determination at a board level. I have the personal commitment, and also the time, to undertake the duties of a Board Member responsibly. As regards your second question, my understanding of Wikipedia has inevitably developed through interaction with other editors in working with them (and resolving differences with them) through creation and development of articles - your figures indicate that I am respectably active in this context.--Smerus
) 21:28, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
) Francis Kaswahili is a very younger to Wikimedia Projects but my emotion is what I have on my mind to help WMF as an African I thought that am a man Capable, committed, talent, unitizing and creative, wisdom, prudence, idea exchanges, participation, commitment, knowledge and community integrating. I also have a knowledge on Wikipedia editing for three years now as you have already acknowledged and believing that my lowest is not an objective to compete with experienced users, because even the founders decided to expose their projects public for global integration through their creative. to be a younger doesn't meant boundary of people but what we need is unity and enjoying the WMF opportunity globally. Francis Kaswahili talk
22:02, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
I have been involved with the projects since 2007 (see above) and I have been more broadly active in the movement since 2008. I have served several terms in the board of a local chapter (Wikimedia Italia) and I have also served for two years in the FDC. In the meanwhile I have also helped organizing the Wiki Loves Monuments photo contest both at a national and international level.
I am not an heavy editor, but from my experience I think that I have contributed to the movement in other ways. In this sense, while it is true that we are on Wikipedia to build an encyclopedia you should remember that the vision of the movement is broader and contains many other projects. I think I have accumulated enough experience (to use my own words, I have "walked the path") to have something to say participating in the board.
I think that the role of a board member should be furthering the mission. I am committed to the mission and I have always tried to advance it following my own skills and making myself available when help was needed. I now think that this attitude could be useful in the Board.
I do not expect to have direct experience in all the matters that will be examined by the board but I think this is normal for any complex organisation. I am ready to be seeking out for help from all the people that could be affected by a board decision, in fact I think that the communication between the BoT and the "rest of the world" has been lacking in the past.
I am here because I haven't seen much of the Board all those years, and because I think the constant tensions, if not outright fights, between WMF and the editors are unnecessary, unproductive, and a danger for the movement. It is in the interest of the editors that the Foundation assists them. But it is also in the interest of the Foundation that editors are happy with them. There is no need to forcefully govern the projects, and in quite a few recent cases the Foundation has not acted in the interest of the editors, and has thus shot itself in the foot. The Board of a company is there to prevent that, and I believe I have the insight to give meaningful advice.
I'm in the lower half of the edit count table. Yet I have created a few hundred articles, expanded a lot more, participated in policy debates, and so on. If you read anything about Namibia in the 1960s and 1970s on English Wikipedia it is probably from me. The same goes for the pre-colonial period and for current events. Actually, you might not find too many articles on Namibia, excluding sports, arts, and entertainment, without my account name somewhere in the article history. I won't complain about editcountitis. Even with 'only' 14K I have been around the block a few times.
I am a suitable candidate because I am not afraid to speak out. I will not hide, and I will not lie. I have the analytic capability to tackle complex challenges, and I have the experience and the technical expertise to work efficiently and fast. With almost 30 years of work experience I have gained some perspective that I believe is necessary to evaluate medium and long-term decisions.
Hi there. I'm running because I know I can contribute a different perspective, and having already served for one term in the Board will make me more effective at this. I have to say that I wish that with so many candidates, we would have gotten at least one new woman to run for the Board, and it gives me pause that not a single one did. I hope it gives pause to more people.
As for my wikiness, I have been editing for about 9 years now. I began on English Wikipedia and then started editing on Spanish Wikipedia. The list you provide would have been more entertaining if it included the kb's added per edit, but what can you do. :-) I have written around 14 or 15 Featured Articles in different language projects, including English Wikipedia, and significantly contributed to several more. I've written about 10-12 Good Articles. I've also delved in the sister projects and have a Quality Image here or a Featured story there. I try to make every contribution count, I've never had editcountitis but qualitycountitis.
But without doubt, what I'm most proud of is creating the LGBT wikiproject in Spanish Wikipedia. I was able to set it up from scratch and find amazing contributors, creating a collaboration hub that resulted in the creation and improvement of innumerable LGBT-related articles that were missing or had substandard quality. By producing high quality content we earned the respect of the community. Yes, sometimes there were clashes with other editors, but this is a controversial topic for many people in the world. Today, I honestly believe that some of the LGBT-related articles in Spanish Wikipedia are the finest of all projects, including English Wikipedia. And that gives me deep satisfaction.
I am also an administrator and bureaucrat in Spanish Wikipedia, for what is worth. I am familiar with regular maintenance and have handled my fair share of conflicts and drama. :-P As for the sister projects, I am an accredited reporter on Wikinoticias, and was an admin on Wikidata for a while. I haven't just done Wikipedia, and I know that the needs of the sister projects can be very different.
However, like Phoebe said, being a skilled contributor is not enough for this position, relevant experience is required as well. I have been a member of the Affiliations Committee, and was its first Treasurer. I was also part of the IEG Committee in its first round. Furthermore, I was a founding member of Wikimedia España and its first Vicepresident. And I helped found Iberocoop, which has bloomed into a successful cooperation network for Iberoamerican affiliates beyond my expectations. Additionally, during my first term in the Board, I have also been a liaison with AffCom and the FDC, as well as a member and Chair of the Board Governance Committee. I have strong experience with organizations, reports, grants, plans, committees, etc.
As for the second question, as of the last year or two, and because I have become very active in the local scene with wiki workshops, edithatons, etc, I have become more attuned to the needs of new editors. And I have seen this happen to other veteran editors too: the more contact with new editors via local activities, the more you realise what things are stopping others from becoming regular contributors as well. We've celebrated many activities in Madrid, for example, and we get many women participants who are very interested in contributing to the projects. And we see what the entrance barriers are, and I think that is changing our perceptions. Because you cannot hold for very long the assumption that women are just not interested in contributing to the projects when all the local activities have a majority of women participants. :-) I would like for this to take hold and start translating to the wiki, so we can see some change there. But it has been very interesting to see this indirect effect of off-wiki activities on veteran editors. My involvement with Iberocoop has also helped me see how universal some situations can be, which likely means that the culture of the projects is more determinant than we care to acknowledge.
I honestly think I can contribute a different perspective to the Board. I don't just talk about eg. needing to increase diversity of content or editors, I actively work towards achieving it, and my work regarding LGBT, women or Iberocoop is proof of it. I want to help take the WMF to the next level, and make it as inclusive as possible in the process. That's why I'm running.
Hi. As for why you should vote for me: I think it's important that there is a strong continuing trustee from the community on the Board. I bring ties with academia and libraries and a broad understanding of the Wikimedia movement. I know how to work within the structure of the board, and will do so to increase our Wikimedia's long-term health and sustainability, and community support.
If you are looking for my Wikipedia CV: I have been editing Wikipedia for 12 years, and I've been doing outreach about the project for nearly as long. With Charles Matthews and others, I wrote the second book in English to be published about Wikipedia, and still one of only two how-to books (and, I believe, the most comprehensive). My edit count includes work on four sister projects. My edit count on Wikipedia is not outstandingly high, but I have many major edits, including lots and lots of sources verified and added. I have given dozens of talks about Wikipedia, run lots of meetups and edit-a-thons, and taught hundreds of people how to edit. I've run some Wikimanias and attended all of them. I wrote a weekly column for the Signpost (News & Notes) for a year. And, I've been following Wikimedia governance -- and been a part of it -- for quite a while. In my day job, I'm an academic librarian at a top-tier university who works with finding and using scholarly sources all day long, including other encyclopedias. In other words, I think I know how this project works, I know how knowledge is produced in general out in the world, and I'm familiar with Wikipedia from both the perspectives of an established editor and a new editor. I have done all this because I believe this is the most important knowledge project in the world today, full stop.
But here's the thing: you're not voting for someone to work on Wikipedia. You are voting for someone to oversee a $60 million non-profit organization. And I have the experience and skills to do that, as well
as being a skilled Wikipedian.
We are here to create projects which aim to enable everyone to share in the sum of all human knowledge. I have started the Croatian Wikipedia, I have started Wikidata. Of all candidates, I am the one with the longest Wikipedia history. Also, I have been reading and enjoying encyclopedias since I was a kid
. I am here to help with achieving our vision, I am here to enable everyone to share in knowledge.
My goal is not to achieve a big edit count, but rather to make every single edit by every single contributor count more. I want to make every single edit to be more effective, to make every contributor more effective. Because of Wikidata we have reduced the number of edits by a few million every month - but at the same time we have improved the content, ensured that it is easier to maintain. Hundreds of millions of line of Wikitext have been removed. Additionally, Wikidata has introduced several thousand of new contributors to the Wikimedia movement. It has been the most successful single initiative in this direction in the last decade.
I want to continue this trend. I want to ensure that all of us, when we make an edit, become even more effective. I want to reduce the number of edits that have to be done for maintenance, so that contributors can focus on the parts that are most interesting to them. I can help the Foundation and the Executive Director with my experience regarding the MediaWiki software, the Wikimedia infrastructure, and deploying large-scale changes to the Wikimedia projects. I can help with guidance and pragmatic advise, and yet I would push towards ambitious goals. We have to make every contributor be 10x, 100x more effective than they are today. And I can help the Foundation with achieving that goal.
I am running for the board as I believe that I can both make a difference and provide the perspective of the core editing community. I am "an in the trenches" editor who typically spends many hours every day writing and reviewing content and have for many years. I therefore continually use the Wikimedia software for one of its key purposes, writing an encyclopedia in a collaborative manner and have an excellent idea of its pluses and minuses. I remember the day visual editor rolled out, remember struggling to try to figure out how it worked, and then realized that it did NOT support the easy adding of references. Really we rolled out a key piece of software that did not support WP:V to all editors as the primary option? gah! After a few days being involved in the uproar it was made opt in.
I am also extensively involved in trying to solve one of the biggest issues facing our movement, that of decreasing or stagnating editor numbers. Efforts I have been involved in include speaking at universities including UBC, McMaster , University of California San Fransico,, in New Delhi, and in Iran. As well I have spoken at medical conferences about Wikipedia and Medicine aswell as at the World Health Organization and at the National Institute of Health.
I have not simply edited and promoted Wikipedia but have also studied and defended our site. One of my first notable activities was defending our right to contain the public domain images of the Rorschach inkblots. This received a write up in the New York Times  which was followed by a number of legal attacks and me needing to get a lawyer for nearly a year. Thankfully my insurance covered the tab. In 2012 I was involved with defending the right to fork CC BY SA content when we set up Wikivoyage based on Wikitravel. For this I was also sued (and appeciated the backing of the WMF for legal support). In 2014 I was involved in defended Wikipedia against poorly done research both in the academic  and the lay press. I have protected our content from plagarism by others. This has resulted in a couple of publishers pulling books due to borrowing from us without attribution.
I am exceedingly hard working, put in massive numbers of hours, and have done large amounts of out reach most of which was self funded. I have lead the creation of a number of very success collaborations with other organizations of which that with Translators Without Borders has resulted in nearly 1000 new articles in other languages.
I am here for one purpose and that is to promote the collection of the sum of all knowledge and make it freely avaliable to everyone. To acheive this we need to make our software work not just for new editors and readers but also the core community. I beleive that my involvement on the board can help acheive this goal. Doc James
) 18:04, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
I am a content writer on the English Wikipedia first and foremost. I am here to research and write and to help improve and protect what others have previously written. That means sticking my nose in at Articles for Deletion to make sure that honest debate and the rule of law prevails. It means sticking my nose into the new articles queue periodically to make sure that 5 day old new contributions which meet site notability guidelines aren't ignored. It means sticking my nose into messes at Administrators Noticeboard/Incidents and ArbCom periodically to make sure that solid content contributors aren't lynched away by POV warriors or misguided worshippers of civility over productivity. It means chiming in, regularly and loudly, on Wikipedia's main off-wiki criticism message board when bad things happen so that problems can be identified and corrected.
I'm running for the WMF Board of Trustees because that institution provides a vital oversight function which makes it possible to keep certain negative tendencies of large and growing bureaucratic organizations in check. I'm not running for Trustee to gain brownie points or status or paid junkets or career opportunities — I want to, in short, preserve, defend, and expand Wikipedia's content credibility and platform. We must work vigorously and ceaselessly to ensure that the original decentralized, non-commercial, volunteer spirit of Wikipedia isn't lost under bushels of cash poured onto our heads from donors around the world and that such money is spent wisely. Such has not always been the case.
I enjoyed seeing the comparative edit counts. I do think that detail is telling. Pay attention to that. Carrite
) 05:45, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia-centrism is an opinion that is shared by some contributors of the side-projects who thinks that the WMF put all the efforts (MediaWiki development, call for contributions, promotion, etc) on Wikipedia and neglect other projects. Do you think it's a true statement?
What side-project do you think the development and contribution effort should be reinforced? How the WMF can help?
What is your plan for Wikibooks?
What is your plan for Wikiversity?
What is your plan for Wikisource?
Houcemeddine Turki (Csisc
I personally think that there is a kind of centrism about Wikipedia and I think that this is evident because Wikipedia is the first and most successful project of Wikimedia Foundation.
Alexa Ranking gives these standings for Wikimedia Projects 1. Wikipedia (Ranked 6) 2. Commons, MetaWiki, test and Incubator (Ranked 206) 3. Wiktionary (Ranked 663) 4. Wikibooks (Ranked 2667) 5. Wikisource (Ranked 6753) 6. MediaWiki (Ranked 11987) 7. WikiData (Ranked 18939) 8. WikiVoyage (Ranked 24325) 9. Wikiversity (Ranked 25782) 10. Wikinews (Ranked 64432) 11. TranslateWiki (Ranked 447145) 12. Wikispecies (Ranked 10772763)
As you had mentioned, the situation is harmful and solving such problems would not be easy... Wikimedia Foundation cannot do many things for this... Its role consists on merging Wikispecies into Wikipedia and closing this underestimated wiki and trying to let the used systems in Wikis more flexible and interactive by implementing Flow and the VisualEditor into wikis and using Atom and RSS in the official page of Wikis in Social Networks in order to let the tracking of new pages and quality works more efficient. I think that our priority should be saving Wikiversity and promoting it efficiently as this wiki is widely challenged by leading MOOC Websites... I think that Wikimedia Foundation should apply from leading US universities to post their courses on Wikiversity and promote its system using Flow and the MOOC system. After that, more tutorials should be published by WMF in order to arise the consciousness of the users about how to edit in other wikis and how to do some excellent and effective works within them. --Csisc
) 12:01, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
I agree there is a domination of Wikipedia over other projects, and yet there is an even bigger domination of English over other language versions, irrespective of the project. I am definitely hopeful for wikinews or Wikisource, and Commons is doing quite ok as well. But smaller projects, both in terms of focus, and language, are not receiving priority (also because of smaller communities). One thing that I would love to see would be a WMF effort to not only develop new tools, but also increase their propagation. It is a shame that a lot of attention ends when en-wiki is concerned, and other languages and projects are still waiting for support.
That statement is definitely correct, and this pervades at all levels of the movement. Call it first-mover advantage, popularity or what-have-you, but Wikipedia by far has been given the most airtime and the most attention out of all the projects, followed by Commons. This is not a new issue: this was brought up during the last strategic planning process
, and even then we haven't really done anything about it.
We need to seriously invest in our sister projects to make them viable, although we have to admit that this will be a challenge: we're even at a point where "there are lots of projects that are not useful or viable and we should accept the fact, but there are a handful of exceptions" is an acceptable conclusion. For me, it isn't. That being said, I agree that this investment needs to be impactful, and it doesn't necessarily have to come in the form of money from the WMF. We could invest in Wiktionaries for smaller languages which could then feed their Wikipedias (if any). Partnering with libraries and archives to build Wikisources through the digitization of their content in the public domain (with or without the use of WMF funds) is also a wise investment path forward towards making Wikisource more useful. One of my favorite long-term goals for Wikimedia Philippines is to convince the Department of Education to adopt Wikibooks as a platform for crowdsourced, dynamically edited textbooks for public school as an alternative to error-ridden, privately-published textbooks. We can certainly invest in that in partnership with governments.
There are many ways our sister projects can be more useful, and we need to put in the time and effort to make this happen so that our sister projects can also benefit from the large amount of intellectual capital that we have amassed as a movement over the last fifteen years. For example, in the spirit of the Inspire campaign, we can have a campaign specifically for non-Wikipedia projects to apply for WMF grant funding. Or we could work towards publicizing our sister projects more rather than focusing all our PR efforts on Wikipedia. While I'm not saying these will work 100%, at least we can better assess at this point whether these investments will make an impact, and if they do (which I hope they will), then we can better allocate resources to them. --Sky Harbor (talk)
12:29, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
Please understand that I as an individual do not come to the Board with detailed preconceived 'plans'. The role of a Board member is not simply to lobby, but to judge the issues in the basis of evidence and engage on constructive discussion with other members so as to develop useful, viable strategies. When I have the evidence to hand, and listened to the opinions of others. I will draw my conclusions. I will be keen however to encourage all wiki users to let me know their ideas and opinions and will reply to these and take them into account. Best, Smerus.
I will definitely work on WMF projects and not to some of project, as a board member one of my duty is to work racially for looking all of our projects, what I need is your vote to enable fulfill my dreams.
We have eleven major projects. We have 288 languages, not counting the thousands that have no own edition yet. The matrix is very, very big, and some cells will remain near-empty for a considerable time. We won't find enough editors for Setswana Wikinews any time soon. Wikipedia and Commons are the flagship of the movement, and the world languages dominate. This is natural, it will remain so, and I am not the one to change that.
What certainly can be changed is to use our influence to lobby for free content. I just returned from a conference where several companies that exhibited there have landed multi-million dollar contracts with African governments, providing stuff that Wikiversity, Wiktionary, and Wikibooks give away for free. A fraction of these monies could make a huge difference to our projects, but even their existence is not widely known. WMF must become an exhibitor at such conferences, become the competition to all these get-rich-quick backyard enterprises.
I don't think the sister projects are under-funded. They lack editors, not money, and my experience from WMF Grants
is that any reasonable project will be funded by the Foundation. However, WMF's approach to funding should not be entirely passive: For things really important, the Foundation should actively (that is, without any editor requesting it) offer their services, take the money, and hire the editors if no volunteers can be found. Apparently, the price tag for a 7,000-word dictionary English/some-obscure-language was several million US$. What could we have done for human knowledge with that kind of money!
I am a sister projects editor; I care about them and believe they are important. But we haven't done a good job of figuring out ways they can be successful, or consolidating smaller projects that are unlikely to be truly successful on their own (multilingual Wikisource, Wikibooks and Wiktionary editions make sense for smaller languages or groups of languages; Wikispecies should be incorporated into Wikidata). I think for the smaller projects partnerships may be important, too: there's obviously promise and a lot of energy around free textbooks from various educational groups, for instance, that we haven't been yet able to tap into with Wikibooks. For Wikiversity, I was on the committee (as a non-board member) that helped approve Wikiversity, but again we haven't been able to really support it since. I think there's a lot of promise for user groups and affiliates to help support these projects through tool development and outreach as well. DocJames is right that the vast majority of our readers, traffic, and editors go to Wikipedia, so we should proportionately focus on these projects, but that doesn't mean forgetting about the sister projects. I also agree with Denny about our general lack of strategy on opening and closing sister projects. We also need to think much more about how to make each project accessible from one another: how can we hook Wiktionary to Wikipedia, for instance?
Since I have founded one of Wikipedia's sister projects - Wikidata - I guess that's a good proof against Wikipedia-centrism :)
But more to the point: it is a bit unfortunate that the set of projects we currently have is more or less a historic accident. We had, early on, a short phase of enthusiastic project creation, and then a long time nothing until, coincidentally, Wikidata and Wikivoyage have launched within weeks of each other. Both of them had very peculiar histories and do not offer a template or a process for how to launch new projects. What we really need are procedures for how to propose, evaluate, and decide on the creation and closure of projects. There have been discussions before on this topic, but they have not led to effective results. The only processes we have in place are the Language Committee deciding on opening and closing language editions of a given project, and I am very grateful to LangCom for doing that hard job. But we lack the same processes on the level of projects.
Also there is a branding issue with many of the projects, since the connection with Wikimedia might be tenuous to discern and remember for outsider.
Regarding the particular projects you ask - Wikibooks, Wikisource, etc. - I believe in the autonomy of the projects to set up their own goals and define their own visions within the Wikimedia movement, and that it certainly is not the Board's task to define their goals. But I could imagine that one result of the processes above is that every project needs to come up with a charter for itself, and that its success and its need for support is measured from this charter. But this is really a discussion that has to be held in a much wider context.
I have not found my En Wikipedia based efforts showered by technical support from the WMF. Support for the projects; however, should be at least partly based on readership and editor community size. En WP received 9.5B views out of a total of 20.7 B (46%). Out of a community of 84K, 34K are En (40%). Thus support for the EN and WP community should be significant. I; however, believe that their should be greater support for the editing communities generally. I do not have specific ideas for what is required by Wikibooks / Wikiversity / Wikisource but they should be eligible as other communities for both technical support and IEG grants to help solve the key issues that they face. I would love to see more tools that allow different projects to collaborate more effectively (such as global notification and some consistency in certain templates) Doc James
) 11:06, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
Size of Wikimedia staff
Do you think paid wikimedia staff body should more grow or shrink in future? --Itu (talk) 21:08, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
Houcemeddine Turki (Csisc
I personally think that the paid wikimedia people should not shrink in the future because we have many facts to improve in WMF wikis and system. So, we have to keep all of them in order to not to harm the improvement of wikis. However, future adoption of people to work within WMF should be wisely controlled because WMF has a large number of employees in some disciplines. But, there is a lack of employees in some other important disciplines. For example, Internationalization Team should included two linguists further than the engineers... So, I think that the Wikimedia Team should grow wisely in these years so that adoptions would be fructuous and efficient and so that WMF would not have to apply more support and become dependent of some other institutions... --Csisc
) 11:28, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
intuitively, I'd say that they are already really large. However, as a person from tech background, as well as a management professor, I understand that for this kind of operation (running the fifth website in the world) there have to be a lot of people. Also, when compared to WM-DE (which also has quite a lot of staff) it is, comparatively, understandable. All in all then, I would like WMF staff to stay the same size, with the vast majority of employees in software and legal departments (which I perceive as the most crucial for Wikipedia and support for our movement). Whether everybody has to be in San Francisco is a different discussion, but I understand there are advantages to that. Pundit
) 09:19, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
We should be able to glean some insight on this from the upcoming WMF annual plan
, which has called for an increase in the number of staff. Increases in the number of staff are fine if they go to the departments that need them the most, like engineering. I don't think they need to go to, for example, a 175% increase in the size of the Communications team for Wikipedia 15 (among other initiatives), when a smaller team successfully executed Wikipedia 10
That being said, I think the Foundation in its current size is doing okay, but it should be given room to grow within reason. At the same time, growth in staff numbers should complement, not supplant, community efforts in either developing new software tools, or devising new community engagement strategies, etc.
I also believe at this point that the Foundation should, when making hiring decisions, consider its compliance with the pluralism, internationalism, and diversity policy
. The Foundation, like the movement at large, is largely, if not predominantly, led by and composed of people from the developed world, and that is a disturbing trend given the international character of our movement and the Foundation's overtures towards diversity. --Sky Harbor (talk)
13:39, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
This question can't be answered on a knee-jerk basis. If I am elected, then using the experience I have gained at board level in numerous public bodies, I will examine the Foundation's plans for the future and also its likely financial flows, and offer an opinion based on this information.
I can not say yes or not but this matter is very important before declaring of personal interest to tell the community, it can be discussed by the community, thank you very much for that interest. Francis Kaswahili talk
23:40, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
I am not yet conversant with workload, backlogs, and job descriptions of WMF staff. I have to guess that all employees have something useful to do during their work day, and under this assumption shrinking the WMF is not an option. I still anticipate the Wikimedia projects to grow, so in the future WMF should likely grow as well.
I don't think most software development should happen in-house. What would from my perspective be much more valuable is establishing and improving relations with the open source software community - MediaWiki is used in thousands of companies, and developing this body of software could benefit more entities than just the Wikimedia readers and writers. I am not sure why it is not currently happening, though.
But there are other functions that appear to be - again I have to guess - currently understaffed, like community liaison, and documentation. I think for every large editor community there should be somebody at the WMF that is fluent or even native in their language. I doubt this is the case. So the general direction is growth, but not growth in the software engineering division.
There is often a tendency for non-profit organizations to grow with the amount of money instead of the amount of work. I actually think that the Wikimedia Foundation is doing a decent task at countering that effect: Millions of dollars are send to be redistributed to the communities and chapters instead of used for centralized growth, tens of millions are used to build up a short-term reserve, and now plans for an endowment are finally becoming imminent. It is the Board's task to ensure that we do not fall into this trap of simply expanding because we currently have the funds.
But I think the question should be "What should the Foundation do and what should it not do?" - the raw number of employees should derive from how many people are needed to get our tasks done. I do not want to see important projects and developments being stalled because of understaffing. I do not want to see support for our communities being insufficient because of understaffing. I also do not want to see money spent spuriously. All of these questions are key concerns for the Board, and it is its duty to oversee the Executive Director in the effective and efficient execution of the Foundation's tasks.
So, just to make clear that I am not dodging the question: I am happy with the number of employees of the Foundation going up or down, as long as we are efficiently getting the right things done.
There are a large number of tech improvement that would help us. If we could support 10 more developers and figure out mechanisms by which the community decides what should and shouldn't get build than I see no reason not to increase the number of staff if we can afford it. For example http://stats.grok.se/
could contain mobile but doesn't. With mobile at often half our readership we are missing important data on what articles we should be developing as a priority. These popular page by project lists only exist on En Wikipedia.
They are one of the big motivators to edit Wikipedia. They should exist in all languages. Doc James
) 10:51, 30 May 2015 (UTC)