Begin forwarded message:
From: Krishna Chaitanya Velaga <kcvelaga-ctr(a)wikimedia.org>
Subject: [Wikidata] Call for feedback: WMF Community Board seats
Date: February 5, 2021 at 11:43:50 AM EST
To: wikidata(a)lists.wikimedia.org, wikitech-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org
Reply-To: Discussion list for the Wikidata project <wikidata(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees is organizing a call for feedback about
community selection processes between February 1 and March 14. Below you will find the
problem statement and various ideas from the Board to address it. We are offering multiple
channels for questions and feedback. With the help of a team of community facilitators, we
are organizing multiple conversations with multiple groups in multiple languages.
During this call for feedback we publish weekly reports and we draft the final report
that will be delivered to the Board. With the help of this report, the Board will approve
the next steps to organize the selection of six community seats in the upcoming months.
Three of these seats are due for renewal and three are new, recently approved.
Participate in this call for feedback and help us form a more diverse and better
performing Board of Trustees!
Problems: While the Wikimedia Foundation and the movement have grown about five times in
the past ten years, the Board’s structure and processes have remained basically the same.
As the Board is designed today, we have a problem of capacity, performance, and lack of
representation of the movement’s diversity. This problem was identified in the Board’s
2019 governance review, along with recommendations for how to address it.
To solve the problem of capacity, we have agreed to increase the Board size to a maximum
of 16 trustees (it was 10). Regarding performance and diversity, we have approved criteria
to evaluate new Board candidates. What is missing is a process to promote community
candidates that represent the diversity of our movement and have the skills and experience
to perform well on the Board of a complex global organization.
Our current processes to select individual volunteer and affiliate seats have some
limitations. Direct elections tend to favor candidates from the leading language
communities, regardless of how relevant their skills and experience might be in serving as
a Board member, or contributing to the ability of the Board to perform its specific
responsibilities. It is also a fact that the current processes have favored volunteers
from North America and Western Europe. Meanwhile, our movement has grown larger and more
complex, our technical and strategic needs have increased, and we have new and more
difficult policy challenges around the globe. As well, our Movement Strategy
recommendations urge us to increase our diversity and promote perspectives from other
regions and other social backgrounds.
In the upcoming months, we need to renew three community seats and appoint three more
community members in the new seats. What process can we all design to promote and choose
candidates that represent our movement and are prepared with the experience, skills, and
insight to perform as trustees?
Ideas: The Board has discussed several ideas to overcome the problems mentioned above.
Some of these ideas could be taken and combined, and some discarded. Other ideas coming
from the call for feedback could be considered as well. The ideas are:
Ranked voting system. Complete the move to a single transferable vote system, already
used to appoint affiliate-selected seats, which is designed to best capture voters’
Quotas. Explore the possibility of introducing quotas to ensure certain types of
diversity in the Board (details about these quotas to be discussed in this call for
Call for types of skills and experiences. When the Board makes a new call for candidates,
they would specify types of skills and experiences especially sought.
Vetting of candidates. Potential candidates would be assessed using the Trustee
Evaluation Form and would be confirmed or not as eligible candidates.
Board-delegated selection committee. The community would nominate candidates that this
committee would assess and rank using the Trustee Evaluation Form. This committee would
have community elected members and Board appointed members.
Community-elected selection committee. The community would directly elect the committee
members. The committee would assess and rank candidates using the Trustee Evaluation
Election of confirmed candidates. The community would vote for community nominated
candidates that have been assessed and ranked using the Trustee Evaluation Form. The Board
would appoint the most voted candidates.
Direct appointment of confirmed candidates. After the selection committee produces a
ranked list of community nominated candidates, the Board would appoint the top-ranked
Call for feedback: The call for feedback runs from February 1 until the end of March
14. We are looking for a broad representation of opinions. We are interested in the
reasoning and the feelings behind your opinions. In a conversation like this one, details
are important. We want to support good conversations where everyone can share and learn
from others. We want to hear from those who understand Wikimedia governance well and are
already active in movement conversations. We also want to hear from people who do not
usually contribute to discussions. Especially those who are active in their own roles,
topics, languages or regions, but usually not in, say, a call for feedback on Meta.
You can participate by joining the Telegram chat group, and giving feedback on any of
the talk pages on Meta-Wiki. We are welcoming the organisation of conversations in any
language and in any channel. If you want us to organize a conversation or a meeting for
your wiki project or your affiliate, please write to me.
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