[Foundation-l] Board accountability - was Letter to the community on Controversial Content

WereSpielChequers werespielchequers at gmail.com
Tue Oct 11 14:02:42 UTC 2011

> ------------------------------
> Message: 9
> Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2011 18:17:21 -0700
> From: Ray Saintonge <saintonge at telus.net>
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Letter to the community on Controversial
>        Content
> To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List
>        <foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
> Message-ID: <4E939921.1010704 at telus.net>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8; format=flowed
> On 10/09/11 9:58 AM, Risker wrote:
> > On 9 October 2011 12:48, Federico Leva (Nemo)<nemowiki at gmail.com>
>  wrote:
> >> Risker, 09/10/2011 18:40:
> >>> The primary responsibility of Board members is to the Foundation, not
> to
> >>> the community or the chapters or to any other external agent.
> >> I find this response a bit odd. ;-) It almost seems to assume that the
> >> community (or Nathan?) is likely wanting to elect someone the WMF
> >> couldn't accept, or that "responsibility to the community" is a bad
> >> thing, while we used to say only that there's no imperative mandate and
> >> that chapters-elected trustees are not chapters representatives, etc.
> > I'm not sure what you find odd about it, but it is factual.
> >
> > The key point is that board members must work on behalf of the
> Foundation,
> > and must not act as representatives of a particular constituency, and
> those
> > constituencies cannot direct board members elected/nominated by them to
> act
> > in certain ways.
> >
> >
> It's not the factuality of the statement that is odd.  The Hong Kong
> style of democracy that insures that the elected members can never form
> a majority is.
> In a fully democratic country all elected representatives work on behalf
> of the country, but they still represent particular constituencies
> and/or parties, to which they are accountable.  Without that the entire
> notion of constituencies is a sham. When they fail to represent the
> interests of their constituencies they should be voted out.
> Ray
> In a real life democratic election there are certain checks and balances,
if a candidate was in jail or had recently been disqualified as a director
from another organisation, then you would expect that the opposing
candidates would find this out and bring it to the attention of the voters.
Virtual elections don't always have the same transparency, and so it makes
sense to me that for trustee elections we have the safeguard that the
community nominates but the existing board can refuse to accept a
nomination. However I think it would be unwise for the board to refuse to
accept someone over something that was disclosed in the election, and
especially if that was  a difference of opinion as to the future direction
of the Project rather than a bit of personal history that the candidate had
persuaded most of the community to ignore.


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