[Foundation-l] wikicouncil

Chad innocentkiller at gmail.com
Sat Dec 29 16:08:37 UTC 2007

I had thought about ideas like this before, and they make a lot of
sense. As Erik
mentioned, the board should concern itself (largely) with corporate
governance and
fund raising, not the meta-issues of the community. Sadly, the larger Wikimedia
community do not participate in meta, nor do they post to this list
(nor would we
want that, could you imagine 10000+ voices debating the new CheckUser policy
in 30 different languages?). I think that we (as a community) would
need to decide
exactly what and what not to task this council with. Additionally,
strictly defining
what functions it retains an advisory capacity to, and what functions
it has binding
decision-making powers over. Under no circumstances should the council's actions
deviate from what the community (and board) originally mandate it to do, without
a reexamination of said mandate. Failure to do so will result in a massive
backfiring of this plan, not to mention decreased community faith in the board
and this new council.

In short: Fantastic idea Florence, but we need to make sure the community and
board are transparent about this process and make sure it proceeds with the
community's blessing. I can tell you that en.wikipedia (if not other
projects as well)
will be wary of accepting "rulings" handed down from some "insider"
council (as it
will inevitably be perceived by some) they had little say in the
original organization

All the best,
Chad H.

On Dec 29, 2007 10:42 AM, Florence Devouard <Anthere9 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> It was already mentionned several times and I would like to revive that
> and really finalize it.
> I really do think we need this wikicouncil type of thing. I know it will
> never be the perfect thing for everyone. I know there will always be
> complains that this project or that language is not represented enough.
> Still, I do believe it will be more beneficial than the current situation.
> In most big projects, sub-groups have been created over time, such as
> Admin groups or arbcom groups. Interprojects, sub-groups have also been
> created, such as stewards.
> We need, badly, a way to get a feeling of what communities think.
> Foundation list does not provide this. Meta does not provide this. We
> really can not do project wide polls any more as we did back in 2004.
> One way out of this is to gather a group of representatives, in the same
> way that parliaments can represent citizens, and give to this group a
> certain authority to make decisions on behalf of the wikimedians. There
> are many cases right now where either these decisions are made by the
> board (and I do not think the board should do that), or by random
> sub-groups, or by ... no one.
> I envision for it roles such as
> * defining and deciding policies projects wide - such as steward
> policies, oversight-policies, checkusers-policies. Giving the final
> stamp of approval of stewards
> * defining the eligibility rules for candidates or voters to the
> elections of the board of WMF
> * deciding of the rules for opening or closing new languages
> * being the body being polled for various changes proposed by WMF
> * proposing projects and looking for funds (from chapters or wmf)
> The limits of what this group could do is only our imagination, and the
> willingness of its members. It should not be advisory only, but have
> authority as well.
> Benefits would also be more transparency, more control by the community
> (as opposed to official organization), easier way to communicate both
> ways between wmf and communities.
> The council can be pretty large. Actually, it should be pretty large.
> I know some members expressed interest to work on such a proposition.
> Those who are interested, please contact me privately and we'll start
> working on that in january.
> Thanks
> Ant
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