*(long email incoming)*
Dear Sanskrit Wikimedians,
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
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:
1. *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’ preferences.
2. *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 feedback).
3. *Call for types of skills and experiences*. When the Board makes a
new call for candidates, they would specify types of skills and experiences
4. *Vetting of candidates*. Potential candidates would be assessed using
the Trustee Evaluation Form and would be confirmed or not as eligible
5. *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.
6. *Community-elected selection committee*. The community would directly
elect the committee members. The committee would assess and rank candidates
using the Trustee Evaluation Form.
7. *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.
8. *Direct appointment of confirmed candidates*. After the selection
committee produces a ranked list of community nominated candidates, the
Board would appoint the top-ranked candidates directly.
*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. I will also reach out to communities
and affiliates to soon have focused group discussions.
An office hour is also happening tomorrow from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm
(IST) to discuss this topic. Access link will be available 15 minutes
before the scheduled time. In case you are not able to make it, please
don't worry, there will be more discussions and meetings in the next few