On 3 March 2016 at 11:51, Chris Keating <chriskeatingwiki(a)gmail.com> wrote:
A few reflections on this subject:
1) I would however endorse the idea of publishing more papers /
presentations, and fuller notes of discussions in minutes. These give a
lot of context to what is going on, and often it's lack of context that
makes people concerned about what is actually going on. (I'd echo Eric's
comment about the level of depth that WMF staff share in quarterly reviews
and so on!)
I think this may have got written out of order :-) But, yes, I agree
that publishing board papers can be very useful.
2) Audio or video recording meetings is, in my view, a
very bad idea.
Wikimedia UK tried this for a while and then abandoned it. Board members
start worrying about how their words are going to be perceived by people
outside the meeting rather than the people in the meeting. In an
environment where someone will start a critical email thread about every
single misphrasing or ambiguity, I really worry this would cripple the
Board's ability to have a conversation about any issue.
Also agree. Detailed minutes strike a good balance here.
3) 3 weeks for publication of minutes sounds like a
reasonable time frame
to me. I'm seeing a few "How can it take 3 WEEKS??!!?!?" reactions from
people. Probably because the Board spends all weekend meeting then on
Monday go back to their jobs. Then someone starts writing up the minutes
from their notes, probably the next weekend. The realise they need to query
something and drop someone an email about it. They respond on Tuesday, by
which point the minute-writer is spending the free evening they dedicate to
Board work on addressing some other issue and the next chance they get to
look at it is first thing on Saturday morning - they spend Saturday morning
writing up minutes and then circulate a draft .... which then someone wants
to amend ... .you get the picture. :)
I think this is entirely reasonable for minutes made by and for an
entirely volunteer group. But WMF is a large organisation, employing
many staff. It coordinates and supports the board meetings, presumably
at some cost. Surely it could arrange to provide a confidential
note-taker whose *job* it is to take those minutes, put them into a
fit state the following day, and circulate them shortly afterwards? It
might still take a little while to get them approved and published,
but we'd still be a step up on where we are now.
- Andrew Gray