[Foundation-l] "By electing some of the Board members, who are really few"...

Anthere Anthere9 at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 28 21:32:41 UTC 2006

Gatto Nero wrote:
> I'm sorry not to agree totally with you, but I think there's a
> misunderstanding too.
> I cannot explain which (headache doesn't help), but there's.
> You said: 4 of 7 members, 5 of 7 members. Nice, but that's not 7 of 7,
> and I think this is the first problem.
> I really appreciate the contribution of Jan-Bart and Michael, but they
> are "outsiders" (as you described them), and I cannot understand why
> "outsiders" should be part of a board, then. They could be "outsider
> helps".

"Outsider" is a bit strange a term actually.
During the board retreat (Frankfurt), the 20 or so people present (many 
from local chapters) tried to brainstorm on what "community" was. And we 
could come to no clear conclusion.

Is someone part of the community because he has at least 300 edits in 
the past 3 months (but does not care at all about the infrastructure 
supporting the projects ?)

Is someone part of the community when he is very involved, either by 
being a very active editor, a sysop, a developer, an arbitrator, a 
wikimania organiser etc...

Is someone part of the community as soon as he has made even one single 
correction ?

Is someone using the content a community member ? the community of 
humans finding information on our website ?

is a community member someone who *cares* and wants to help ?

It is very difficult to define what THE community is. There are numerous 
communities of language/project. There is also a developer community. 
And more and more, a foundation community. And each chapter is a 
community in itself.

Very difficult.

I am using the term "outsider" to identify them with well-known, long 
term "editors". There are not really outsiders. Michael has been 
helping, with much dedication, for over 2 years. He shares our vision. 
He was (and still is) an unvaluable asset.
Jan-Bart is new, but has known the projects for quite a while. He is 
bringing anothe perspective and fresh air which is much needed.

You perceive these two guys as "outsiders". Just realise that in the 
mind of board members, they are not "outsiders". They are part of a 
team. Both will leave one day, and others will replace them, just as 
community members will also be replaced. But meanwhile, they will have 
brought their own qualities and input.

> Going on.
> Jimbo is more simbolic. Yet he's *very* important and he *must* be
> part of the Board, as far as I think. But he's not that representative
> of... for example, Chinese Community or European Community.
> This makes 4 members remaining.
> Four members for *a lot* of editors. Quite few, proportionally.
> Local communities are not represented: what about spanish community?
> what about italian, or polish, or south-african community?
> Don't get it as an offense or an attact, but I don't think you
> represent me. I've no way to interact with you, to express my opinion.
> I quite don't even know you.

In all democracies or republic, there is a "representation". And more 
parliaments are not made of 10 000 people. There is never full 
representation of all minorities. Never. We can not fully "represent" 
all languages (250) and all projects. It is just impossible.

Beyond this impossibility, I think that it would be a big error to think 
someone can only represent one community. You seem to consider that I 
only can represent the french community, that Kat can only represent the 
american community, Oscar the dutch community and Erik the german community.

But really... do you think even one individual can represent entirely 
one language community ? And don't you think that in our organisation, 
with projects actually trying to go BEYOND nationalities, we should try 
to organize ourselves according to our nationalities ? I do not think so.

I can represent certain italians much better than certain french people.
You may not feel I can represent you, but perhaps all you need to do is 
try to get to know at least one of the board member, select this one as 
*your* representative and contact this person each time you want to talk.

Just as you do with parliament members.

Why do you say you have no way to interact with me, to express your 
opinion ? This is precisely what we are doing. You give your opinion. I 
listen to it. I *hear* it. I hear some people hear complaining about the 
logo. I hear some people saying it is advertisement and that it is not 
okay. I hear others saying that it is a decent compromise with "selling 
us" or accepting advertisement. I hear all this, I read it. Other board 
members hear it as well. And according to feedback, we'll think about 
the best move, according to what we read here, according to many people 
feedback, according to financial needs, according to other proposals.

None of the solutions is fully satisfying. We'll always have to make 
compromise. If you have other good suggestions, please speak up. But 
look, your proposition have to be feasible and reachable.

You have many ways to speak up and have your opinion heard. This list, 
other lists, direct emails, wiki, irc. Even phone (though, I would 
prefer to discourage that solution). There are few organisations where 
representants can be so easily "reached" and interacted with. You can do 
that everyday.

> I think there's a problem in the way the Foundation is organized: we
> are *big*, and we should start to think bigger.
> What does this means? For example, more voice to local chapters,
> intended as an intermidiate organism between Foundation and local
> communities...

Well no. Not really. First because some communities have no chapters. So 
why would these ones be denied representation just because they have no 
chapter ?
And second, chapters are generally self-organised. Not all members of a 
community vote to elect chapter representatives. So, if we were saying 
"from now on, the chapters are the intermediate organism between the 
Foundation and the communities", the communities will rightfully complain.

We can consider adding a chapter representative to the board. But again, 
according to you, this will not be fair representation.
We can make more meetings with chapters to interact more. I would have 
loved to do so just a few days ago in Serbia. Instead, I spent the whole 
day in an airport. I had a very boring and tiring day. It was saturday, 
I would have preferred to be with my family. I was happy instead to go 
and visit a chapter and many community members. Instead, I spent 8 hours 
in a stupid airport, and possibly some people will think I refuse to 
discuss with them :-)
We can also organise retreats. We can also meet in Wikimania.
Or we can discuss together on the lists.
That's a good start at least :-)


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