[MR 0a] Formal Wikimedia groups and roles
The Wikimedia movement consists primarily of hundreds of thousands of contributors, reusers, donors, and other readers who support the movement and the projects each in its own way. However the most complex parts of the movement, with their own legal, financial, and bureaucratic issues, are the incorporated groups within the movement — the Wikimedia Foundation and chapters, each incorporated in its own jurisdiction — and the governance groups that oversee and inform the work of those groups.
At present, chapters are the only groups formally recognized by the WMF with standard trademark agreements and a license to pursue partnerships within their jurisdiction. Another group type – a partner organization without geographic limits – is being proposed in one of the MR recommendations. There are few global governance groups at present, only committees of the Foundation and its Board of trustees. Two other bodies have often been discussed: a community council with representatives from the editing communities of the projects, and a chapters network or organizational council with representatives from all chapters and similar formal organizations.
The initial work of the Movement Roles group has focused on the roles and responsibilities of these formal groups, which have some of the most explicit needs for coordination. A related effort is needed to resolve these questions for informal groups – the roles of the more numerous individuals, small groups, and informal organizations that sustain the movement.
Wikimedia elections : thank you! and next steps
The elections results are out, and I will be serving the community as a Trustee for the next two years. I am looking forward to the challenge; thank you to those who trusted me with their vote, and congratulations to Ting and Kat – it is an honor to represent the community alongside them.
Thank you also to Philippe and the elections team, and to all candidates who took time to run. I was particularly glad to see Góngora running, as a new face in meta-affairs, and I hope to see more participation in meta discussion by active es:wp contributors.
I will help the Board be more open. I have revived the Wikimedia meetings page for suggested agenda items – please leave your ideas and comments there, in any language. (I know this is a tough thing to request in a monolingual blog. Suggestions for making this blog more accessible are welcome.) I will post my own thoughts about agenda items there in advance of future Board meetings. One of my first efforts will be getting all foundation resolutions and policies translated into Wikimedia’s core languages.
The next one is coming up in a few weeks, during Wikimania – I don’t officially become a Board member until we meet. I am looking forward to Wikimania, and hope to see some of you there!
I have also updated the old Wikimedia Reports page, as one way to better coordinate organize information – please help add new reports to it, and translate it into other languages.
My Wikimedia platform
I’ve organized my thoughts about being a good Board member in my platform for the Wikimedia Board.
The most common questions I have heard since this year’s elections began are, what does the Foundation do? and what is the Board of Trustees for? I posted answers to these questions and a few more.
People also ask, how do I qualify to vote? To be eligible to vote,
- You must have 600 edits as of June 1, and 50 within the past 6 months.
- You may need to create a Unified Login to count edits on more than one project; or to vote from your main wiki.
- If you are not eligible, you can still encourage fellow Wikimedians to vote, or leave suggestions for future elections
I am more intent on this year’s election than I have been in any year past – in part because the Board’s role has been shifting away from one that actively engages and challenges the community, something valuable Agnela and Anthere brought to the Board that I miss. I am deeply concerned by the lack of community growth for the past two years, and the complete stagnation of new project development (despite the growth of new independent educational free knowledge projects that requested Wikimedia hosting). And I was just talking to my friend Bibhusan Bista, who said that there is definite interest in the Foundation in Nepal, and in contributing to Wikipedia’s spirit of openness; but of course few editors there feel they can engage in related discussions (and none, for instance, would be eligible to vote).
So I have two goals for my campaign beyond getting elected: to inspire people to vote and remind them why a good foundation matters, and to encourage them to raise community priorities and requests of the foundation, while attention is on governance over the next two weeks (and while you can get an immediate response from at least three future Board members, something often hard to come by).
My request to you, if you appreciate Wikipedia and want to see it thrive, whether or not you have the edit count needed to vote: please leave suggestions about how Wikimedia should grow, blog about the election and your reasons for caring about it, and help support the election in smaller languages and projects.
I am running for the Board again this year, with the hope of bringing a stronger community voice to the Board, and organizing good and frequent open discussions between the Board and community about priorities, core services, new initiatives, and the like. Angela organized a few open meetings long ago when she first joined the Board which I really appreciated, and which encouraged some previously invisible community members to come forward with good ideas.
Meanwhile, my friend Kat Walsh has not yet stood for re-election to the Wikimedia Board of Trustees, though I hope she will!
Update: she did, and she was reelected for another term! Congratulations
She is among the last of a certain breed of board members who have been strong advocates for community involvement in key decisions, and we could use more. The current Wikimedia Foundation is strongly in support of openness even without nagging from the Board – for instance in framing the upcoming year-long strategic planning as a process to facilitate and crystalize plans from the many communities – but without active community trustees we might no longer be so lucky a few years from now.
My official statement, and throwback to an earlier era, after the jump.