[Foundation-l] A PC instead of a VC

Gerard Meijssen gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Mon Apr 7 07:55:41 UTC 2008

Effeietsanders <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Effeietsanders> has
proposed the setup of a council that is to complement the staff, the
advisory board and the board of trustees. The name proposed is the "Volunteer
Council <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikicouncil/Resolution>" or VC. To
make this all happen a PVC or a provisional VC is to be created that is to
get a mandate to specify what the VC is going to be. A group of good people
are selected for this, people that I trust can do a good job.

I find myself opposing something that I think is sorely needed. The reason
for this is very much one of focus. This council will particularly deal with
the projects, the issues of the projects and thereby be complementary. The
staff and both boards are about the organisation that enables the projects
to function. This council will be about the projects and will deal what
makes the projects function better.

The council will deal mostly with issues of the projects, not about issues
of the volunteers. The fact that this council will consist of volunteers is
incidental what is relevant is that this council will be there for the
projects and consequently it will represent the projects and not so much the
volunteers. When you consider the English
Wikipedia<http://en.wikipedia.org/>for instance, it is well able to do
all the things needed; it has the
attention of the organisation, the world. There are many capable people
beavering away and does within reason its own thing. It does not really need
a council.

For most of the other projects things are starkly different.  A recurring
theme from Wikinews is that it does not get the necessary attention. You can
however exchange Wikinews for most other projects including most Wikipedias.
With the ever increasing number of wikis, it becomes ever more impossible
for projects to be heard.

It is for all these reasons that I propose to name the council the "Project
council" PC and for it to represent the interest and needs of the projects.
The first thing it should do is ensure that the policies that exist are
actually implemented and functioning. Then it should look into what make the
projects be better represented within the limits of what is possible. Limits
because the WMF functions very much as an ISP and this distinction prevents
liability. In this way the projects and by inference the volunteers get a
better representation and help the WMF fulfill as an enabler for the

Practically, I would have the same group of people prepare for a Project
Council. I would not give them a blank check, I would have them prepare a
draft proposal. While working on this paper, I would have them consult with
members of the staff particualrly Sue and Mike and consult with members of
the board of trustees as well. I am sure that it will be good because there
IS a need for a council in any way you slice it.

More information about the foundation-l mailing list