[Foundation-l] Nominating Committee

Ting Chen wing.philopp at gmx.de
Wed Jun 29 12:10:55 UTC 2011

On 25.06.2011 10:50, wrote Lodewijk:
> Hi,
> I read from several posts that the process with the nominating committee did
> not work out at all. In the mean time the whole nominating committee (and
> therefore any formal procedure where non-board members, read: the community,
> have any say on who gets onto the board in the appointed seat). I might have
> missed it (probably have) but is there some kind of evaluation of the
> functioning of the NomCom and a good reasoning why it was totally abolished?
> Is it clear /why/ it did not work?

Hello Lodewijk,

this is my personal analysis of the result of the NomCom. I didn't talk 
it with the other members of the NomCom or the board, it's my private 
oppinion only.

I would like to break the process of the NomCom in three parts: collect 
candidates, analyse and evaluation, interview with candidates and 
recommendation to the board.

I believe in the first phase the NomCom was great. And actually later 
the search company we hired also adapted the same method and Bishakha 
was named by a community member, and not from the pool of the company. 
So I think that this is something that really worked good, which we also 
should keep in the future. I agree with Milos here as that our community 
is now broad enough to surface good candidates.

By the second point evaluation there were definitively skill defecit on 
the NomCom. The NomCom had worked like almost all our committees like 
LangCom or ChapCom: We have a list of criterias which was given by the 
board and worked through those criterias very mechanically. But the 
thing is that for a board candidate this is not enough. There are some 
unnamed criterias that the LangCom didn't counted in, for example the 
candidate must be available, should be basically interested in serve on 
the board of WMF, etc. As I said these criterias are not named, they are 
sort of inherent. A professional search company has such experiences to 
know that a certain person basically comes in question or not. The 
NomCom didn't count these criterias because they were not on the list. 
So at the end we came up to a handful of names that are all high-scored 
according to the board criteria but not available for the WMF. On the 
one side I don't think that the NomCom had not worked orderly here, it 
is simply so that no one of us had ever such professional experience. It 
is basically possible that after let's say three or four such 
experiences that the NomCom can build up the experience, all of the 
NomCom members are very intelligent people and all of them learn very 
fast. But first of all we don't have so often the need to search for a 
board member and secondly as like the ElectionsCommittee, after a 
nomination it is probable that the members would disperse, until the 
next time we will call for volunteers again, and the new NomCom may be 
totally different as the old one so that the lesson learned and 
experiences gained may be lost. There is a big difference between such 
committees like Elections Committee and NomCom which is called for need 
and committees like LangCom or ChapCom where people can really gain 
experience and professionalism through a period of years. I must also 
confess that reflecting about this experience I also clearly see my own 
failure in the whole process. As the board member on the committee I had 
to report back to the board and correct the criteria so that the unnamed 
criterias got emphasized when it was apparent that the old set of 
criterias don't work properly. That was the first time I worked on such 
a committee and I just came into the board and started to learn the 
board work. Today I may have worked differently. But yes, we all learn 
from our failure. Unfortunately there are things like NomCom where one 
can only make the failure once.

Now come to the execution part. The NomCom had mostly worked via 
mailing-list and wiki. In total (if I recall correctly) we had only two 
IRC meeting. This was way too ineffective. As we saw in the past how 
personal meetups or even telefon conference was able to push works 
forward, like the recent LangCom meeting in Berlin, the way we worked 
was far too ineffective. In that sense the Foundation and the board 
should have give the NomCom more resources, for example for telefon 
conference or even personal interview with potential candidates. The 
search company also did things like preinterview potential candidates to 
see if the first evaluation was right. What the NomCom was not able to 
do, due to resource problems and due to lack of experience. Since we 
didn't really came to this stage, I cannot tell how good the NomCom 
could have worked out on this point.

So, this is my personal reflection. There were failures made also 
especially from my side, a lot of things learnd for me personally. A lot 
of things I learned after I had the chance to observe how the search 
company had worked, and maybe would not have learned or would have took 
far longer without that experience. A few of things was not so clear to 
me until I started to formulate this mail and to write them down.


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