[Foundation-l] Board restructuring and community

David Goodman dgoodmanny at gmail.com
Sun Apr 27 18:11:36 UTC 2008

I think it is very much fair to say that concerns of the ordinary
membership about representation were not taken into adequate account,
when they  are not discussed openly and lead to a major loss of
representation of the ordinary membership.
The board is doing what executive committees of all sorts regularly
do, which is to assume that it can best judge for everyone else. Not
surprisingly, that judgement almost always leads to the loss of
representation from elected members, who would represent everybody
else. tI's   discouraging to see the gradual decline in the role of
the people who do the ordinary work at Wikipedia, in contrast to those
who seem to be running it.
FWIW, Citizendium selects its governing committee by asking which of
the frequent contributors above a fixed cutoff in participation want
to be on it, and then choosing by lot. That's a very primitive form of
democracy, but its better than self-perpetuating boards with the power
to change their own constitutions to suit themselves.
A majority of the members of the board should be directly elected
without special representation. The inclusion of the different
geographical areas has proven itself to be sufficient without special
chapter seats chosen by not-yet specified means.   And the usual way
to provide sufficient input in special areas is not by private
appointment, but consultants.  WP is becoming an explicitly top-down
hierarchy; the informal organization in that direction is unfortunate
enough (though inevitable), without enshrining it.

I challenge the board to put its suggestion up for a open plebiscite.

On Sun, Apr 27, 2008 at 1:45 PM, Mike Godwin <mgodwin at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> (Resent with corrected subject header and attribution -- apologies for
>  my errors.)
>  Thomas Dalton writes:
>  >> I don't this characterization is entirely fair, Lodewijk. The
>  >> opinions
>  >> of the community and the chapters about governance of the Foundation
>  >> and its projects, as expressed here in foundation-l and elsewhere,
>  >> were weighed heavily in the course of the Board's consideration of
>  >> its
>  >> governance issues.
>  >
>  > It can't of been. There's been very little (if any) discussion about
>  > chapters appointing board members, since the idea never really came up
>  > (it may have been mentioned in passing once or twice). If the board
>  > wanted our opinions, they would have had to ask for them.
>  I think it's an error to infer, simply because the particulars of the
>  Board restructuring were not vetted through you, that chapter and
>  community concerns did not weigh heavily on the Board as it considered
>  all the goals it was attempting to meet through restructuring. I can
>  assure you that your general comments and feedback here and elsewhere
>  figured prominently in the Board's consideration of these issues.
>  --Mike
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David Goodman, Ph.D, M.L.S.

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