I decided to go back to the "source", as it were and re-read the resolution.
Below are my concerns (inline). My conclusion is that the members below (as
well as any others the Board wishes to appoint) should become a working
group - not a provisional council - and determine what the heck a VC would
do, clear it legally, and begin to define the process of appointing people
to it. That does not, I believe, require a resolution this wordy or with
this level of detail.
Whereas the Board,
* recognizes the value of volunteers in Wikimedia projects and that
their work is the very reason of their success,
* values the volunteers' opinions and takes them into serious
consideration when discussing issues involving the volunteers,
* is of the opinion that these volunteers should have a strong say in
changes in the articles of incorporation and the bylaws of the
No problem, agree totally.
* considers a Volunteer Council a valuable
volunteers and the Foundation, and as a good instrument to hear the
voice of the volunteers:
it is hereby resolved that:
1. The Board of Trustees hereby creates a Volunteer Council, to serve
as a valuable complement to the Staff, Advisory Board and Board of
Really? Thought we were creating a provisional council, which would
recommend to the Board how to create a volunteer council. I'm uneasy about
the board creating a volunteer council without knowing what it is to do.
This resolution addresses what the VC will do, not separately what the PVC
will do. I believe the resolution should be re-written with that in mind.
2. Without restricting the generality of this
provision the purposes
of the Volunteer Council shall include:
1) Offering advice and support on issues relevant to the Wikimedia
2) Recommanding the opening or closure of Wikimedia projects,
3) Approving changes to the articles of incorporation or bylaws of
the Wikimedia Foundation and
4) Assist in establishing a clear separation between the legal
responsibilities of the Wikimedia Foundation as an Internet Service
Provider and the community decisions for the Wikimedia Projects.
I have concerns with sub-heading 2, 3, and 4.
For subheading two: (other than that the fact "recommending" is spelled
wrong), I wonder what's wrong with the process we have now.
For subheading three: I think this is treacherous legal territory.
For subheading four: Again, I think this is treacherous legal territory.
The words "Internet Service Provider" are carefully defined in law. Our
current by-laws support that definition, and I simply don't know what impact
the proposed council will have on that.
3. The members from the Volunteer Council must be volunteers within
Defined how? 1 edit? 1000? What about sysadmins who basically don't edit?
If not defined here, who will define it? The latter part of the resolution
specifies that the PVC will advise as to the composition of the VC, so why
is this resolution doing it?
4. The Provisional Volunteer Council shall report to
the Board no
later than September 1, 2008, which report shall include
recommendations regarding the number and composition of the Volunteer
Council, and how the members of the Council shall be chosen. Said
report shall also include recommendations regarding the distribution
of rights and responsibilities between the Board and Council, and any
changes in the by-laws that may be necessary to implement this.
Except that we never created by resolution a PVC to report this. I'm
uncomfortable with the PVC (selected, unapproved by the community beyond
Foundation-l) approving charter and by-law changes. I'd be far more
comfortable with such changes coming from the VC, once created. Yes, that
means creating an essentially neutered body and then assigning them
responsibility, but at least they're a community selected group and not a
foundation-l and effe selected group.
5. Except where it pertains to its own procedures, no
decision of the
Provisional Volunteer Council shall bind any person.
Of course it will. Any rule-making binds people, even in selecting how to
6. On receipt of the said report the Board shall take
such steps as it
deems necessary to confirm and empower the Volunteer Council, and
provide for a transition of operations from the Provisional Volunteer
What if the PVC returns a Bad Thing? Isn't the Board empowered to say "no
thanks, let's send this back for future study?" If the PVC returns
something that's even illegal (obviously not on purpose, but I didn't see a
Florida lawyer on the PVC), or would take us out of compliance with funding
requirements, etc, I don't want this resolution to bind the Board to create
and empower the VC - even "as it deems necessary", which doesn't give the
Board a lot of wiggle room.
7. Members of the Volunteer Council will not be
compensated for their activity. On approval by the Board of Trustees
expenses of the Provisional Volunteer Council and Volunteer Council in
the fulfillment of their duties may be reimbursed.
8. The following people are hereby appointed as member of the
Provisional Volunteer Council:
Michael Bimmler, Mbimmler (Main project: de.wikipedia)
Yaroslav Blanter, Yaroslav Blanter (Main project: ru.wikipedia)
Lise Broer, Durova (Main projects: en.wikipedia and commons.wikimedia )
Jesse Plamondon-Willard, Pathoschild (Main projects: en.wikisource
and meta.wikimedia )
Sydney Poore, FloNight (Main project: en.wikipedia)
Milos Rancic, Millosh (Main project: sr.wikipedia)
Ray Saintonge, Eclecticology (Main project: en.wikisource, en.wikipedia)
Andrew Whitworth, Whiteknight (Main project: en.wikibooks)
Michal Zlatkovsky, Timichal (Main project: cs.wikipedia)
9. The members of the Provisional Volunteer Council may on a 2/3 vote
of all its members add such additional members as they may deem
necessary and useful to their deliberations.
This one strikes me as a bit cabalish. I would think they could ask people
to serve as advisors, but if the Board appoints a PVC, that ought to remain
the PVC, just as when the Board appointed the election committee, we stayed
the election committee, though we have the freedom to ask advice of experts
(Tim Starling, for example, on technical issues).