On 3 March 2016 at 10:36, Brion Vibber <bvibber(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
On Mar 3, 2016 7:00 AM, "Risker"
Those who think it's an easy task that should be
able to be done practically after the meeting is
over tend to have no
experience with writing and managing minutes at
non-profit board level and may not fully understand why it it is
that they are correct before they're
published. Publicly presenting an
early, uncorrected draft will lead to nothing but tears, but there are 9
board members (plus individual presenters) who have to read, correct and
approve [sections of] the minutes. The WMF Board is not and should not
the most important person in the lives of any of
our board members.
What sort of problems are envisioned from public drafting of minutes lead
by a dedicated secretary/minute-wrangler (ideally a professional staff
member with experience doing this and enough time to dedicate to it rather
than double-booking a trustee or a C-level)?
Well, there's the fact that board minutes are actually legal documents;
they are required by law, they need to contain certain information, and
they are binding on the organization. I do not believe you will find
any major international non-profit organization (whether or not they've got
strong community links, support open and free knowledge, or are just
ordinary charities) that would publish drafts of their legal documents.
Getting approved versions out more promptly, and in particular including
more information and context for the decisions and discussion, is probably
a better first objective; this should be achievable because we can find
good examples from other organizations.
And, not to put too fine a point on it, but there are plenty of people who
will point to the public draft and insist that's the "real" information and
that any subsequent modifications were made for political reasons rather
than to reflect correct information. I think it's fair to say that, as of
this precise moment, there's not a huge assumption of good faith directed
at the board by at least some sectors of the broad community. Whether or
not it is deserved, I think it reasonable to say that the Board has some
work in regaining the trust of the community. I'd encourage them to start
with small steps that are easily repeated and documented and don't need a
lot of exceptions, so that they will be building a more solid foundation.
Making major changes that, after a few months, turn out to be
unsustainable, will be more harmful than helpful.