[Foundation-l] Board restructuring and community

Samuel Klein meta.sj at gmail.com
Mon Apr 28 01:20:33 UTC 2008

On Sun, Apr 27, 2008 at 3:56 PM, Florence Devouard <Anthere9 at yahoo.com>

> Samuel Klein wrote:
> > ((trivia: how long has it been since there was a commentable public
> version
> > of a board meeting agenda?))
> About a month.
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2008-March/040556.html
> (28th of march)
> I have *always* (afaik) published in advance board meeting agendas.

Thank you for that reminder, and for clearly announcing board meetings in
advance, which has been helpful and reliable.  You announced this one rather
farther in advance than just a week...


I should have distinguished more clearly between the general overviews that
have been the more recent style, and the detailed on-wiki bullet-point
agendas that were once published in draft form (often long in advance;
suggestions for the next board agenda could be found and added to at any
time), explicitly open for discussion and suggestions, and revised publicly
by board members.

On-wiki agendas, notable primarily for being there well in advance and for
their obvious malleability:


I know that you intended for this to be a more open discussion of agenda
items and points of discussion; you said as much in February.  And that you
have a tremendous amount on your plate.  This is not a slam against you...
but the redlink to the April agenda from
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_meetings#2008 was never filled in.
And I imagine that you and others may feel that, if you do not receive
aggressive input and replies, that the community does not care, and that it
hardly matters whether an agenda is made more public and advertised more
widely or not.  But I assure you that we do care, and that it does matter,
and that this disconnect between those who care and those who speak to the
Board will grow as long as this isolation increases.

Explicitly open for discussion and suggestions:
  http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Meetings   is not an input-friendly
page, does not link to agenda or minutes for the most recent meeting; and
its talk page points to a meta talk page that hasn't had meaningful
contributions since a query about why there weren't more recent updates,
from Aphaia, in July 2006.  There are around 750 people subscribed to this
list -- a good number, but not close to the # of editors of meta.

Revised publicly by board members:
   I never see anything but official announcements about Board meetings
these days, with the occasional brief email followup and neutral posting of
the text of resolutions.  There is no life or discussion around the
resolutions, and community representatives on the Board rarely talk about
their thoughts beyond the formal notes, a silence made more remarkable when
controversy is at hand.
   Perhaps I just don't know where to look, but even simple discussions
about what should or should not come up at a Board meeting, is now rare or

To use the board restructuring as an example, the last rough-summary-agenda
you posted ("possible future council, next elections, professionalization of
board, etc...") did not at all suggest to me a resolution altering future
board composition might be in the works.   I expected that the volunteer
council idea would receive feedback, the details of the upcoming elections
would be set (presumably for three positions, including the two newly
created community positions), and a public discussion of professionalization
of the board would follow -- something that has been alluded to many times
in the past without details and which would no doubt give rise to
interesting and illuminating discussions once the board's initial thoughts
on the matter were shared.

This is different from what actually was discussed in a few ways, and anyone
who had feedback to offer on the dramatic restructuring that was actually
proposed and later resolved would not have had warning to offer that
feedback.  I do not think I am the only one who was surprised by Jan-Bart's
recent announcement despite the agenda precis.


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