[Foundation-l] Policy governance ends

Florence Devouard Anthere9 at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 17 00:59:27 UTC 2007

daniwo59 at aol.com wrote:
> I don't understand this email. For one thing, there are many different  
> "ends," "goals," "objectives," or what have you.

I do understand your email generally, but I must say I do not understand 
that sentence.

Rather than picking a random
> number--four in this case--you might want to consider identifying numerous  "ends" 
> and prioritizing them. 

*I* am not picking up 4 ends (ends is different than goals). I am 
suggesting people to brainstorm and come up with a few ones.

What I hope to do is to collect a list of ends, put them on a page on 
meta, have them refined by editors. I have a list already on my wiki, 
some defined, some less defined. Some from the board retreat, some from 
the last board meeting, but whilst we have a list, I think it is a good 
idea to see if editors might not have other ideas that make sense, or 
approaches different but more interesting than the ones we have.

Mostly, I do think that the board is there to listen to what editors 
want the foundation to be. I could do that alone, I prefer asking them.

Then, when a list is available, what I hope is to let it open for 
editors to somehow express what they feel is a priority. A sort of poll. 
Then go to the board with that list (I hope they will have participated 
in creating it !) and have a final list retained and officially approved.

> For instance, in a worst-case scenario that there is only limited funds to  
> adequately cover server costs/bandwidth or wikimania, it remains for the board  
> to decide whether it should forego one, or alternately, split costs and do a  
> half-assed job with both.

By the way, this isn't so far from the truth. If
> there  are multiple ends, some, while important, will always have to be put 
> aside  because of other pressing needs. It is not just ends, but priorities. 

I think you should read the model description again (Carver one if you 
did not understand my mail). Allow me to tell it boldly. The board is 
the boss of the ED. As such, the board tells the ED "the website must be 
in working order" and "there must be a Wikimania".

When we say that, we are not defining priorities. We are not telling him 
"if you have time, and if you feel like it, could you do one or the 
other. And if you are really successful, we could appreciate if you 
could do both, but of course, it is up to you, we are just telling your 
about our sense of what should be your priorities".

When we say that, we say "your job is to have a website running and to 
organise Wikimania. You fail ? You are fired".

> That said, I would say that the foremost "end" is financial sustainability.  
> How much money is needed for minimal operations? Is that coming in? Are the  
> sources dependable? Are there alternatives if a source is cut off? What new,  
> untapped sources are there?
> Next I would look at the legal requirements. How are we in securing our  
> assets? What else needs to be done? How are we at compliance with government  
> regulations for not for profits? What can be improved?

All this is interesting, but not an End as defined in this model. The 
purpose of the Ends is to list a collection of things we want the ED (or 
the staff in absence of an ED) to take care of. So, what we should 
create is not a list of questions, but a list of what must happen.

One "legal" end for example, might be that all trademarks of our 
projects must be secured in countries xx.
The way to do it is not to ask "Are all of our tms registered in 
countries xxx ?", but rather to tell the executive, here is YOUR job. 
You have 6 months, and this should be done. Period. You are in charge of 
organising yourself the way you want, but have it done.

> Finally, one last question--all of the things you raise, Florence, were  
> discussed at the Board-Chapter retreat in Frankfurt this autumn. A series of  
> recommendations was made. Why are you reinventing the wheel? Was that  retreat an 
> (expensive) exercise in futility? I just don't understand.

Actually, I was looking at the list just 3 days ago, and thought that 
many of the items listed then for the BOARD to do, had been indeed done.
One of the few items left for the board is "reorganisation", and that is 
what I am currently trying to do.

Many of the executive items have not been done. They certainly will be 


> Danny
> In a message dated 4/16/2007 6:41:16 AM Eastern Daylight Time,  
> Anthere9 at yahoo.com writes:
> Dear  all,
> In the past few days, I have explored more systematically the  policy 
> governance model, and how it could be implemented.By the way, I  found a 
> short article about it on the english wikipedia :  
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Policy_Governance
> One of the  things the board has to design is what is called the ENDS.
> In each ends,  the board defines which needs are to be met, for whom, and 
> at what  cost.
> Let me give you two examples of  ends.
> *******************************
> The WMF is the host  provider of several websites, referred to as 
> Wikimedia project.   Wikimedia websites must be up and running 
> efficiently, 24/24 hours, 7 days  a week. That is the priority of WMF.
> Needs to be met ?
> Information  must be accessible anytime.
> For whom ?
> Any person with internet  access
> At what cost ?
> Well, within limits reasonable with the  revenue we have. If we had 
> figures to mention, we could say max 1 million  per year.
> *******************************
> Another  example
> The WMF is the organiser of an annual conference,  Wikimania.
> Needs to be met ?
> Both a scientific conference and a  community event, Wikimania brings 
> together members of various Wikimedia  projects in order to exchange 
> ideas, build relationships, and report on  research and project efforts.
> It also provides an opportunity for  Wikimedians and the general public 
> alike to meet and share ideas about  free and open source software, free 
> knowledge initiatives, and wiki  projects worldwide.
> For whom ?
> Primarily for Wikimedians.  Secondarily for the general public
> At what cost ?
> No cost. WMF  should find sponsors to cover Wikimania costs by  large.
> *******************************
> Now, these are two easy ends  to define.
> What I would like to ask you help on, is to define more ends,  which 
> describe what you think the WMF is about. The two ends I mentionned  
> above a "long term" ends, they would be listed this year, and then next  
> year and probably the year after. Not all ends are this way. We could  
> also have an end valid only one year, or only 3 months.
> Let us say we  want a BIG technical meeting around Mediawiki to occur in 
> the next 6  months, it would be one END.
> Or we want to produce a DVD of the english  high quality content, it 
> could be another END.
> Actually, hiring an ED  could also be an end :-)
> Now, before you tell me "eh, we elected you  guys to think of that for 
> us", my answer will be "no, you elected us to  represent your dreams 
> about WMF, and to make sure your dreams  happen".
> So, what I am currently asking you is
> "What do you want  Wikimedia Foundation to focus its attention on in the 
> next few months, few  years or more".
> Whether you are members on the "paper" (bylaws) or not,  morally, you are 
> the owners of the organization. I do not think the  editors represent the 
> only owners, but the editors definitly are part of  the owners. So, I ask 
> you your opinion as owners.
> What do you think  we should achieve ? If you had 5 points to list, what 
> would they be  ?
> ant
> ************************************** See what's free at http://www.aol.com.

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