[Foundation-l] Board restructuring and community

Florence Devouard Anthere9 at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 28 13:04:58 UTC 2008

Samuel Klein wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 27, 2008 at 3:56 PM, Florence Devouard <Anthere9 at yahoo.com>
> wrote:
>> 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...
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2008-February/038858.html
> 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:
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikimedia_meeting_agendas&direction=prev&oldid=266996
> 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.


By and large, this type of activity is under the responsibility of the 
secretary. Until November, we had a secretary. He was very well taking 
care of minutes and publishing most resolutions. However, he never took 
care of filling up the type of pages you are showing. I tried to 
maintain such pages as I felt it was best.

Between November and March, we had no secretary. Not out of trying. I 
asked a volunteer at least 3 times and I met a deep silence from the 
rest of the board. During 5 months, we had no secretary and no 
treasurer. I tried the best I could to supplement.

Since March, we have a new secretary. So, I expect this will be taken 
care of. But not by I.

> 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.

Yes, I chose to publish the agenda of meetings on this list. Sometimes, 
editors comment on this list, sometimes they comment by private email (I 
got several requests regarding privacy policy, CU issues and Oversight 
policy after last publication of agenda; the privacy policy issue was 
fixed, though the update of the policy has not yet been published). 
Other times people drop me notes on my talk pages. I regularly patrol 
those to make sure not to miss things.

I stopped publishing regularly those on meta, mostly because I got very 
little feedback from those pages.

> 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.

Frankly, this is making me swallow painfully. I do not think you have 
been reading my emails on this list for at least 6 months. If you had, 
you would have read "life", "disagreement", "personal position".

>    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
> obfuscated.

However, it is also probably due to the fact we hired Sue. Operational 
issues are now in her hands, not in ours anymore, a fact that the 
community still does not seem to have grasped. Most of our past year 
discussions have also been on topics either quite confidential, or at 
least on issues which seriously should not been discussed publicly.

I however would agree with you that board restructuring is a public 
issue, and I apology to those of you who felt it should have been discussed.

> 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.

Yes. I fully agree with you.
After the day-discussion in SFO regarding board restructuring, I had to 
take a two-hours break to cool down.


> 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.
> SJ

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