[Foundation-l] Floating a notion: permanent Wikimania committee?

phoebe ayers phoebe.wiki at gmail.com
Fri Jun 18 07:00:27 UTC 2010

On Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 10:58 PM, Michael Snow <wikipedia at verizon.net> wrote:
> On 6/17/2010 5:35 PM, phoebe ayers wrote:
>> OK, so I guess my question is (and we talked about this on IRC too) --
>> who has the power or the ability -- or who *should*, in a perfect
>> world -- create such a committee? We don't have much precedent for
>> this. There were concerns over who or what body can create
>> governance/oversight structures, particularly if this isn't really
>> just a Foundation issue.
> I suppose the board could create the committee, if it's not clear who
> else might have the authority. Or perhaps better, the board could
> authorize its creation. I think the board is a bit reluctant to jump in,
> partly for the reason Sue mentioned that overseeing Wikimania is not
> really a board-level issue (it's primarily operational rather than
> strategic), but also because the board is not well placed to fill and
> maintain committees like this. When it becomes a situation of appointing
> people none of us really knows, or feeling that there are probably
> people we're not aware who ought to be recruited to a committee like
> this, it's pretty uncomfortable to have that responsibility. But if we
> authorized the committee and then let the staff and experienced
> Wikimania volunteers review applications or expressions of interest to
> join the committee, that might work out. That's kind of the direction
> things have moved in any case. Some of the early committees that still
> function have evolved to a place outside the board's immediate activity,
> and the current work of the governance committee is focused more on
> structures needed to organize the board's own functions.
> --Michael Snow

Yes, authorization seems right. I wouldn't really expect that the
Board actually fill such a committee or even necessarily ask for
direct reports. The question that came up in IRC though was where
would such a committee derive its authority from (assuming it had any
particular authority). Perhaps the answer for this is "it doesn't" and
simply fills a communication and reporting role that is currently
lacking. Or perhaps (my ideal scenario) we come up with a way where
the interested community grants it authority by building the
structure, filling the seats, etc., and that is generally recognized.

I'm interested in this case specifically of course, but I also am
wondering more generally what the current state of affairs is for
forming any sort of operational, community-driven committee. Of course
we're good at forming wikiprojects to do things that need doing, but
for areas that also require overlap with things that the office works
on, it seems tricky.

Re: scheduling a time at wikimania for discussing this potential
glorious wikimania committee: yes, let's. I wanted to have a reprise
of the Future of Wikimania discussion from last year, anyway. How
about Sunday? I'll volunteer to check with the 2011 team and other
interested parties and schedule a time. This overlaps with Manuel's
panel, too, but I think we need a dedicated time maybe. Stay tuned!

-- phoebe

p.s. if we get both James Owen AND James Forrester involved it will be
unstoppable. Powered by James^2.

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