I'm writing with information about the Ombudsman Commission (OC), the small
group of volunteers who investigate complaints about violations of the
any Wikimedia project for the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees has
delegated some of the decisions about the OC (including composition and
size) to the Wikimedia Foundation staff.
The application period for new commissioners for 2013 has recently closed.
We are extremely grateful to the many dedicated and knowledgeable
volunteers who offered to assist with this work. Before announcing the
composition of the 2013 commission, however, I would like to let you all
know about a trial change in the OC. Although the OC is kept intentionally
small due to the high level of trust required of its members, this year we
are expanding the commission (on a trial basis) from five members to seven.
This expansion has two primary purposes. First, the commission bears a
heavy responsibility of ensuring that users are granted the privacy that is
expansion of the commission will help them remain swiftly responsive to
issues sent to them even when some of the commissioners have pressing
matters beyond their volunteer work. Second, commissioners have
traditionally been asked to surrender their CheckUser functions on their
home wikis during their term on the commission, a request that helps to
reduce the potential for conflict of interest between the roles but which
may also place an undue burden on smaller projects that have fewer
CheckUsers to assist. With a larger commission, we expect that
commissioners will be able to continue in this also critical function, only
recusing if issues are raised relating to their direct colleagues.
It's important that we carefully balance the need to keep this group small
against the requirements that they remain flexible and available. At the
end of the year, we will explore the impact of this expansion to ensure
that the benefit is sufficient to the functioning of the OC to warrant the
In addition, the Wikimedia Foundation is committing to more closely work
with the Commission this year, in an attempt to learn how we can more fully
support their work. We will also be working with them to generate more
regular reporting to the community in the form of at least an annual report
on case load (of course, non-specific due to privacy considerations).
With that in mind, we are pleased to announce the composition of the 2013
Returning to the commission are three members who have served since 2011:*
*User:FloNight, who primarily edits Wikipedia en (where she is an
administrator and a former member of the Arbitration Committee) but who has
also contributed to Commons.She is newly editing Wikivoyage and involved
with US GLAM. She is also one of the initial members of the Funds
*User:Sir48, who primarily edits Wikipedia da (where he has been a
CheckUser), but is also active on Commons and Meta (particularly in
translations) along with a number of other language Wikipedias. He took
part in vandalfighting initiatives a few years back.
*User:Thogo, who primarily Wikipedia de (where he is currently an
administrator and is a former arbitrator). but who has also contributed
substantially to Wiktionary de and Meta. He is formerly a steward as well
as having served as an administrator on several other projects.
We appreciate their willingness to remain, to bring their familiarity with
processes and experiences to the new arrivals.
Joining them are*
*User:Deskana, who primarily edits Wikipedia en. There, he is an
administrator, CheckUser and bureaucrat. He is also a former arbitrator.
*User:Erzbischof, who primarily edits Wikipedia de, where he is currently
an administrator and formerly an arbitrator.
*User:Huji, who primarily edits Wikipedia fa, where he is an administrator,
CheckUser and bureaucrat. He has also contributed substantially to Simple
Wikipedia, Wikipedia en and Meta, and is a Wikimedia developer.
*User:Levg, who primarily edits Wikipedia ru, where he is an administrator,
oversighter and bureaucrat and where he has twice served as an arbitrator.
Please join me in thanking the following volunteers, who have given
substantially of their time to serve on the commission the past years, and
who are not returning:*
I'd also like to say a hearty thank you to those returning and those coming
aboard for a first time, as well as to all those who applied. Again, it was
an extremely knowledgeable group of volunteers, and while we believe that
this mix of users may best serve the need for this year, I hope that those
who applied will consider applying again for future commissions.