[Foundation-l] wikicouncil

Thomas Dalton thomas.dalton at gmail.com
Sat Dec 29 18:24:57 UTC 2007

I've considered this idea before, and have always felt that sooner or
later we were going to need something like this. I was thinking more
of something just for enwiki, and I don't think we quite need it yet.
The main determining factor is how many people we're making decisions
for - small groups can work by consensus, larger groups can work by
voting, even larger groups need decision-making representatives.
enwiki is currently trying to be in the first stage and is actually
quite clearly in the second, soon it will need to be in the third.

However, the whole of wikimedia is obviously quite a bit larger than
enwiki, so probably does need to be in the third stage already. There
are, however, enormous numbers of issues with how to do it. We are
basically talking about creating a cabal, the fact that it's elected
won't make much difference. Unless it's elected on a weekly basis
(which is obviously impractical), people will complain about what it
does at every opportunity. Obviously, everything it does should be as
open as possible. There may be some issues which need to be discussed
in private - I would suggest those be handled by the board so that the
council can be 100% open and transparent.

The biggest question is how to select it. Do we simply do it one vote
per person, like the board elections? Or do we give each project a
certain number of seats and have one vote per person per project they
are active on? If so, how do we determine number of seats? Do we do it
by number of editors? Number of readers? Number of pages? Should we be
voting for individuals or "political parties" (by proportional
representation)? The former has less risk of the whole thing becoming
extremely political (although, that may be unavoidable...), the later
works better (if two people have very similar platforms, voting for
individuals means votes will be split between them and perhaps neither
will get in, if they are in a party together, the votes will be
combined and perhaps one of them will get in).

Ant, you ask people to contact you privately. Please don't hold
private discussions on a method of increasing transparency - that's
just asking for trouble! I suggest creating a new mailing list for
discussions about a council and allowing anyone interested to join.

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