[Foundation-l] wikicouncil

Dan Rosenthal drosenthal at wikimedia.org
Sat Dec 29 19:19:11 UTC 2007

I agree with Florence that something like this is useful, Thomas Dalton that
we will need it soon but we don't critically need it just yet, and Erik that
it needs to be carefully considered in its relationship to the board,
especially the community members. The point where I disagree is giving it
authority beyond just advisory. I think such a thing would be perfect as an
internal advisory board, different than our present advisory board. This
advisory board would come to a decision on internal practices such as
languages, project openings and closings and stuff, and would present their
recommendation to either the board or the office or whoever, and the
board/office would have the final decision as to whether to act (in essence,
a veto).

This would be great, because it helps avoid the "what is consensus" issue of
the community by allowing an actual vote by elected representatives,
ensuring decisions will not only get done (as opposed to not getting done at
all), but get done quickly.


On Dec 29, 2007 1:24 PM, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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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Dan Rosenthal

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