Stephen Bain wrote:
> On 7/19/07, Alison Wheeler <wikimedia(a)alisonwheeler.com> wrote:
>> On Wed, July 18, 2007 15:52, GerardM wrote:
>> > It is not even true that a board member could not be paid a
>> > salary because otherwise the legal entity is an for profit
>> OK, I might have slightly muddied the two points there in the way I
>> my point, but to clarify: in the UK (and, no doubt, some other
>> jurisdictions) it is not permissible to pay the board member of a
>> non-profit / charitable organisation for their being a board member,
>> whereas with a 'for profit' organisation this would be normal.
> That's correct, you can't pay a board member for being a board member,
> since (in just about every case) the board are the non-profit
> corporation equivalent of shareholders in a for-profit corporation.
A board is not a nonprofit corporation equivalent of shareholders in a
for-profit corporation. The equivalent to shareholders would be members,
of which the Wikimedia Foundation doesn't currently have any, or perhaps
failing that, donors in some sense. The for-profit corporation
equivalent to a nonprofit corporation's board is - surprise, surprise -
the board of the for-profit corporation.
I don't see what the comparison to shareholders has to do with the issue
anyway. A for-profit corporation can certainly pay shareholders for
being shareholders. It's called a dividend, or a distribution, which is
one of the things that absolutely distinguishes a for-profit corporation
from a nonprofit.
Let me add my congratulations to the successful candidates in the Board
election that just concluded, and my thanks to everyone who participated --
including all the candidates, my fellow election committee members, and the
voters. (It feels odd in a wiki context to actually write "voters" rather
than ! voters. :) )
I have seen some references in this and other threads to people wanting to
discuss some possible changes to the way in which future elections are run,
based on lessons that we have learned this time. This year, the Election
Committee members were selected only a few days before the election
timetable began, which meant that we had comparatively little time to
discuss the proposed election procedures before we had to get the process
moving. Despite this, my opinion is that everything went reasonably
Nonetheless, and I emphasize that I am speaking here only for myself and not
officially on behalf of the Election Committee or anyone else, I think it
would definitely be a good practice to plan for future elections much
further in advance than we were able to do this year.
I suggest that there be an on-wiki dialog regarding some of the matters
concerning the Board Election procedures that contributors might (or might
not) want to change for future years. The purpose would not be to have an
endless debate for the sake of debating, but to address concrete and
specific changes that might (or might not) be desirable, with a goal of
setting the parameters for future elections in advance. The topics to be
addressed could include (but not be limited to):
(1) Voting system (approval voting versus other systems)
(2) Candidate and voter qualifications and the endorsement system
(3) Election publicity and communications
Although we have not decided this as a committee, I believe that most of
this year's Election Committee members would be willing to set up pages on
Meta and help to guide this discussion, if there is consensus here on the
list or elsewhere that this should be done. It is unlikely that anything
much would happen until after Wikimania, but I think that it might be a good
idea to get any discussion going relatively soon while whatever issues arose
during this year's election are fresh in people's mind. If we table the
discussion for too long, then I suspect it will stay tabled until the 2008
elections are just around the corner and next year's committee will find
itself in the same position that this year's did.
Everyone's thoughts will be appreciated.
I have enjoyed the technical discussions around the design of the
voting mechanism, and I think it is quite worthwhile for us to
continue learning and thinking about these things. There are several
tradeoffs here, and the choice is not easy.
But additionally I think we should think about what the purpose of
the elections is, and what the appropriate design should be. This
should be part of a broader analysis of what the purpose of the board
should be, and what the overall design of the process of board
selection (including elections, appointments, etc.) should be in
order to achieve those goals.
The possibilities open to us are endless. And there are strengths
and weaknesses to various approaches.
A quick list of some of the things that I think are important:
1. Diverse representation - and I mean diversity in the sense of
geography, languages, projects, gender, skills, etc.
2. Professionalism - part of diversity, we don't want or need all the
board to be "good editors" but rather to have as well people who have
technical experience, nonprofit governance experience, legal
experience, big business experience, dot-com experience, public
charity fundraising experience, foundation grant application
experience, political experience/contacts, etc.
3. Harmony - the current board is filled with good people who do not
always agree but who -- to my great pleasure -- work together in an
atmosphere of mutual respect and trust (mostly, we are human of
course :) ) -- approval voting is good for this, it generates
candidates who have broad support. Some voting systems would be much
more likely to allow a "troll candidate" to concentrate attention and
get elected in a partisan split, etc.
4. Responsiveness - that the board listens to the community
5. Independence - that the board has the moral authority to make
unpopular decisions at times, so that the board does not end up being
too beholden to internal politics of the moment and can feel the
strength to stick to principles even in cases where those principles
might not be so popular
(Yes, 4 and 5 are in tension and therefore have to be balanced.)
> "But bothem line is that is the responsibly of very Wikimedia project
> wiki community to organize there own community and inform there local
> community. That it is not the task of the WMF to hire people to make
> translations. Like was written before here this is not a kindergarden."
My impression is that voter turn out in countries with a local chapter
of the Wikimedia Foundation are highest ranking. Correct me if I'm
Walter's suggestion to "organize there own community" would I read as
increasing the number of local chapters rapidly.
My suggestion to the election process would be not to change anything
- but only to start preparing and planning the election - starting
with appointing a election committee as soon as possible to have
plenty of time for arranging evertything that is needed.
Is there any chance of getting an anonymized list of all votes in the
recent board election made public? I'm especially interested in how
many people voted for only one candidate, but it'd also be interesting
to see the various groupings of votes. The low percentage "approval"
of the winners is probably a symptom of many people voting for only
one candidate, but there are other possibilities.
On 7/18/07, Casey Brown <cbrown1023(a)comcast.net> wrote:
> Most of us believe this as well, but the fact of that matter is that we
> rarely get anyone from such projects to stand. Your point is taken by us,
> but we are not the ones who need to hear it.
"fact of that matter" ? "rarely" ?
I think you misspoke there. Or you simply have not examined the history
of past elections at all.
Jussi-Ville Heiskanen, ~ [[User:Cimon Avaro]]
Congrats to all. Even though I only voted for one of the users who won, I
know Erik and Kat and Frieda will do a great job on the board. I'd have
hoped for a little more diversity (i.e. not two US based and one Europe
based) but perhaps next year there can be more seats made available for this
to be easier.
Watch all 9 Live Earth concerts live on MSN. http://liveearth.uk.msn.com