[WikiEN-l] You are invited to vote in the Wikimedia board elections!

Gregory Maxwell gmaxwell at gmail.com
Mon Jul 2 05:03:51 UTC 2007

I suspect most of the readers of this list are eligible to vote in the
current board election, yet most eligible people haven't voted and
most won't unless there is a major trend change. Especially excluded
are users who only log in to edit every few weeks. Hopefully this list
will reach some of them.

There are many reasons why it is very important that YOU vote in this
election. The board is responsible for oversight and direction of the
Wikimedia projects, including fundraising, defining the mission, and
determining foundation-wide policies, so though it does not have
direct input into English Wikipedia day-to-day policy, you still are
affected by what they choose to do.

The election process is simple, and because it uses approval voting,
you don't have to figure out who is best; you simply need to select
all candidates who are acceptable.

You can find out more about the election at

The election closes at 23:59 on Saturday, July 7, 2007 (UTC, don't let
the timezone catch you off guard!). That means you still have time to
participate, although with thousands of words written in question and
answer pages it will probably take you a little time to build a fair
assessment of the candidates, so you should start looking now.

You can read the candidate statements at
and each candidate has as Question/Answer page linked from their

As it stands right now substantially less than 16% of all eligible and
recently active voters on English Wikipedia have participated in the
election process. This is a lower turnout than previous years although
enwiki has always had poor voter turnout.

Low turnout makes the election process dramatically more vulnerable to
several types of bias; for example, people with strong emotions and
potentially unreasonable feelings about the candidates are more likely
to participate without encouragement. The impact of sockpuppets,
small-POV groups, and parties with any personal or financial interests
in the outcome is greater when turnout is low, because these parties
will tend to cast a fixed number of votes.

Regardless of the election outcome, low turnout from English Wikipedia
also sends the wrong message to the board. English Wikipedia is by far
the largest Wikimedia community, and English Wikipedia has the largest
readership. While it is very important that other Wikimedia projects
be well supported and understood by the board, the importance of
English Wikipedia should not be understated.

There are organized campaigns to increase turnout from some of the
other projects, and the result appears that English Wikipedia's
influence and interest in Wikimedia is far less than it actually is.

Even if you do not have an opinion on the outcome of the election,
even if you think that all candidates are acceptable or that all are
unacceptable, you can and should still vote. We use approval voting,
and you can cast a vote approving everyone or even a vote approving no
one. Neither of these two options will influence the direct outcome of
the election, but both will still add to the total count of English
Wikipedia voters and both will send the message that our project is
important and involved.

I am disappointed that the election committee hasn't worked to improve
voter turnout, but it is what it is.. Their time is limited and they
already have a huge job without drumming up more participation so our
communities need to step up to the challenge and fill this gap.

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