[Foundation-l] Board elections

Philippe Beaudette philippebeaudette at gmail.com
Wed Feb 20 16:46:28 UTC 2008

Hi Andrew:

I can only speak for my experience last year.

Last year, we had essentially three main tasks: rule-making, communication, 
and logistics.

1)  Rule-making was, far and away, the easiest.  Part of that is because we 
were sort of locked into one voting system for technical and timing reasons 
(no time to change it really), although we spent a good deal of time looking 
at it to see if it could be done prior to making a recommendation to the 
board.  Then, we created the endorsements system and wrote the documents to 
make them public that had the rules of the election on it.  We also codified 
who was eligible to vote in that election, etc.

2)  In Communication, we (by we, I mean "Aphaia" primarily) found people to 
translate the documents into as many languages as possible and posted them 
as many places as we could think of ... including the Village Pump or 
equivalent on EVERY wiki ... and pushed the documents out as far as we 
could.  This took a major chunk of our time.  Throughout the election, 
communications dominated my life, and I can't even imagine how much work 
Aphaia put into it.

3)  For logistics, we communicated with SPI to get their agreement to help 
and to audit, and we set up (by we, I mean "Tim and SPI") a wiki on SPI's 
server.  Then, the messages were localized on that Wiki and prepared for 
voting.  In addition, we reviewed each endorsement to see if they were 
appropriate to the rules and watched (closely) for sockpuppets on the SPI 
wiki.  We also had to deal with importing (and then re-importing, because of 
a technical glitch) the list of voters with suffrage.

It was hard work.  Frankly, there were some things that I wish we'd had time 
to do that just didn't get done.  I couldn't even guess how many hours went 
into it for each committee member.  The committee we had worked well 
together, as a rule - like any group working under that much stress, there 
were disagreements - and worked hard.  I can remember several IRC meetings 
that were hours long.

I hesitate to guess how many total hours I put in, but I'll tell you that 
when the election was over, my partner joked that he hadn't seen me in 
weeks.  I was up very late many nights, and cancelled a lot of "non-wiki" 
events in order to be online as each of our several deadlines rolled over. 
My boss still shudders when I mention that time.  So, while the time 
commitment is great, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  As a study in web 
2.0 communities, it's fascinating work.  As a study in election systems and 
methods, it's even more fascinating.


From: "Andrew Whitworth" <wknight8111 at gmail.com>
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 8:21 AM
To: "Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List" <foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Board elections

> A few quick questions about this: First, what are the responsibilities
> of this committee? How much work is involved in it? When does work
> start?
> I would love to volunteer for something like this, if an opening were
> available.
> --andrew whitworth
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l 

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