Governance is not "government" (there's no implied authority, necessarily) but is mostly patient persuasion of contributors to work within a consensus.
Original vision discussionEdit
One simple model is to assess visions which drive people to come here, and compare them to the original vision of the founder. The vision may be expected to change over time, or it may be agreed that the current group's vision takes priority over previous ones.
Even assuming people were to agree on a shared vision for Wikipedia, the procedure for handling disagreements on objectives, strategy, and tactics toward that vision is still undefined. If there is no such procedure, then Wikipedia may become dominated by opinionated system managers. If, on the other hand, people had to follow a status quo assessing procedure whenever they had a serious problem with "the management", or with the other writers, they might discover much more about themselves and their difference from the rest of us - without being forced to change their views or their value systems. Then again, if this procedure gets out of control, wikipedia becomes Nupedia
If you think of anything simpler, by all means, edit the above as you will, and tell us why in "Talk" (to your bottom right).
The following is a detailed list of serious concerns with wikipedia governance that outlines exactly how the above addresses those concerns:
"Is Wikipedia an experiment in anarchy? I don't think so. Is anarchy of such extreme, perhaps intrinsic, value that we ought to try to preserve it at the cost of other values? Absolutely not." - Larry Sanger, November 1, 2001
So, if wikipedia is not an anarchy, what is it? How do we govern wikipedia and deal with its detailed administration? The wikipedia article database seems safe from any concerns, but on March 1, 2002, the wikipedia lost its chief editor, Larry Sanger, and has no clear or obvious way to make certain policy decisions critical to its future. What follows is a consensus on the topics that matter (if you feel that none of these topics matter more than any other meta topic, feel free to move this entire section into another article with a suitable name OR if you do think it matters, try to remember that this was here, and move it back if anyone else moves it off this page).
most common meta concernsEdit
A common concern is that of our vocabulary, which necessarily expands to deal with professional jargons, but must be readable to more casual users or those to whom English is a second (or less familiar) language. This affects directly who can use, or contribute to, the wikipedia. It's extremely basic. Unless it's dealt with, you aren't able to read this material at all.
Another common concern is whether w:neutral point of view is really a policy sufficient to carry us through the future - obviously we cannot attribute every single word we write to some authority or another, and our biases about what requires justification or citation affect the project much.
Some think we should try to reach a Natural point of view, and focus our visions on how we can best serve the three billionth user - others find those goals downright subversive and claim that there is no reason to worry about such things, and no systematized way to get to such goals anyway.
For now, the only way to know what the common concerns really are is to ask our contributors and users to make an assessment of the project in simple terms, derived from the language that others use to describe their goals, fears, and visions.
If you have an assessment of the wikipedia project as a whole that you'd like to share, read the process in status quo, anyone can write an assessment. And, very importantly, anyone can modify that procedure as well.
Your status quo will have much more value to others if you understand the way fictional threats and visions, and realistic worst cases and best cases, combine to give each of us a far better view of each other's ambitions and concerns. So, please, do your best to understand that method.