Talk:Affiliate-selected Board seats/2014 Archive

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This is an archived discussion, please see Talk:Affiliate-selected Board seats for discussion of current issues

Discussion about the processEdit

Where do I find the discussion regarding this process? The talk page redirects to this page, which is quite empty. I know it has been somewhere, but obviously not at this page. Confused. Alice Wiegand (talk) 10:43, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Talk:Chapter-selected Board seats/2014 resolution. harej (talk) 16:04, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Reflections on the processEdit

I'd like to use this space for reflections on the ASBS selection process. A few observations;

  • There were fewer candidates this year than previous years - 4 for 2014, as opposed to 9 in 2012 and 7 in 2010. I'm not sure why this was - the fact that each candidate needed the formal endorsement of an affiliate might have had something to do with it. (Worth noting though that no candidate has ever been elected without having this kind of nomination!)
  • The election was rather closer than in 2012, with 2nd place this year being decided on a handful of votes. In 2012, despite the high number of candidates, most of those candidates got 0 or 1 first-preference votes, and the two candidates won by a significant margin. In 2010, only three of the candidates received any votes at all, and the vast bulk of chapters gave their same preference to the same person.
  • In 2010 and 2012 there was a conscious effort to find a "consensus" solution and this was specified in the selection process. In neither case was a consensus fully reached, so the process fell back upon its election provisions. In 2010 the consensus that emerged at the Wikimedia conference appears to have been strongly represented in the votes. In 2012 there was a straw poll held at the Wikimedia conference, but the documented result of the straw poll differed quite a bit from the final election figures. This year there was no consensus provision in the process.
  • We also tried to hold an "in-person" hustings at the Wikimedia conference, in addition to the usual online Q&A. This didn't go entirely smoothly: 2 candidates were in the hall, one more participated by Skype and one was not able to participate by Skype. Technical problems meant that we weren't able to record/stream the hustings, which was what we'd originally envisaged.
  • This was the first occasion when the result was announced in any more detail than "these are the candidates who were successful". On this occasion we published the results at each round of the STV ballot.

Moving on from that, a few questions I'd open up for discussion - I haven't fully formed my views on all of them yet, but it's best if people think about them before the whole process lapses from memory.

  • Did removing the "consensus" element have any particular impact on the selection process?
  • Is the rule that candidates must be nominated by affiliates worth keeping?
  • Did the in-person hustings add value?
  • Does publishing details of the stages of the count add transparency?
  • Would it be better if all affiliates simply cast their votes in public?

Regards, Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 20:48, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

From the outside: yes, publishing the counts added valuable transparency. While having them "real time" would probably only add interferences and confusion of roles.
Something you didn't mention is the discussion on Meta-Wiki. We'd always want more. --Nemo 21:34, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
As to the question whether it was worth keeping the rule that some board members must be nominated by affiliates, I think the affiliates have too much a say in the whole process already. Those interested in joining the Wikimedia committees and the board are usually already heavily involved in the local Wikimedia organisations. We should be looking for a process that strengthens the community to act directly and democratically without intervening organisations.
I'd like to dwell on what the Wikipedia Signpost reported last weekend, viz., that Remarkably, only 27 of the 41 eligible affiliates voted. Could you please explain how that came about? – Thx.--Aschmidt (talk) 22:46, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
I would not mind to know which organisation supported which candidate. When was the secrecy introduced, is it a requirement of WMF? Ziko (talk) 23:27, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Aschmidt: That is a difficult question to answer! I can only guess, based on the tone of the discussions (both public and private) and what I know about the organisations. I suspect that in a number of cases, it's a reflection of an organisation lacking the capacity to participate (there are still some very small chapters). In other cases, it might be because organisations feel that there is no need to get involved in the "politics" of the movement. I know when I first joined the Wikimedia UK board my own view was very much "I want to get on with what we're doing here and don't want to get distracted by the international stuff" - and when the Wikimedia UK board consulted its members about how it should vote, I heard a number of members saying more or less exactly that.
Ziko - voting in private has been a feature of this process since the first time it was introduced, in 2009. I think the issue could do with more discussion.
You could make an argument for publishing future votes as follows: Movement affiliates ought to be accountable to their memberships and the broader community about the way they conduct themselves in this selection, and so their votes should be public. However, there are counter-arguments. For instance, you could argue that private discussion, debate and voting is less likely to result in "playing to the gallery", and give a more thoughtful result. And you could argue that, since all Board members perform their duties in exactly the same way, it might be unhelpful to publish the votes. For instance, if a Board member was elected after receiving only 2 or 3 first preference votes (say, from organisations who all spoke the same language), would that make it difficult for that Board member to do their job effectively?
Regards, Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 14:14, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Chris, thanks for your reply. I had already thought about the fact that the affiliates that did not take part in the vote were in fact simply not able to do so. However, this shows that almost a third of the affiliates are not really able to fulfill their duties within the movement. As a result from this, the bigger affiliates have an even larger say in the process which again strengthens their influence vice versa the smaller affiliates in the long run because they are not represented properly on the board. I think, those affiliates should either be adequately supported in order to provide them with sufficient manpower and expertise to become viable members of the movement, or we should think about reducing the number of affiliates to those who are really fit to act responsibly and who are able to come up to the expectations the community puts in them. — BTW, I second Ziko's request for yet more openness in the election process. I think a board member elect will usually get notice in some way or the other which organisations supported him/her. It would make it easier for the community to follow events and to see which preferences make it into the board which also reflects the sympathies and the controversies within the movement that will show anyway sooner or later. It is up to every board member to come up to the expectations the community puts into him/her, even if he/she is elected by affiliates.--Aschmidt (talk) 23:38, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
When active community members vote for board positions, it is public knowledge who voted but not how they voted. The primary reason for keeping votes secret in most voting systems is to prevent reprisals. It would therefore be consistent that chapters who voted be listed as having voted but the votes remain secret. The process by which a chapter determines their vote should be, just as for individual community members making their decision, entirely up to them - it can be as public or private as they wish. In a community as large and diverse as WMF, I think it is worth knowing who did or didn't vote (both as individuals or chapters) at least for the purposes of demographics to establish if there is a pattern of not-voting that reveals some inherent bias in the process. For example, if chapters who voted were the nations with a high level of English fluency, it might suggest that the voting process needs to do more to ensure the less-English-speaking chapters are better able to participate. Kerry Raymond (talk) 01:13, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
I agree, publishing the list of voters would be useful for the reasons you say. That said, there is probably little to find: 2/3 seems a good participation to me and we should thank the entities who took the time to contribute to this process. Let's remember that any chapter and group is entitled to their own interests and level of development. It's not at all unlikely, at any given point, for one third of the entities (and [board] members thereof] to be too small and/or too busy and/or uninterested in international matters and/or interested but new to them.
For instance Wikimedia Italia's vote comprises years of "study" of our board members in the international matters, a preliminary assessment by the board and after that a discussion among members, finally a resolution voted by the board which will also be subject to confirmation by an assembly... There is a cost, and a certain bar, in such a democratic process: it's a considerable gift our chapter (like the others) made to the Wikimedia Foundation and the movement, that sadly but understandably some others couldn't afford. --Nemo 17:39, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure the nominations/endorsement process is helpful. Endorsements weren't *required* in 2010 when I ran for a chapters seat; and I'm not sure what the purpose of required endorsements is meant to be (recognition that a candidate is a useful member of their local community?) It seems like requiring an endorsement might discourage candidates who have reputations built on individual volunteer, international or cross-group work, rather than having a clear affiliation with a single community. -- phoebe | talk 01:54, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Interesting, phoebe... I'd assumed that was actually the point of the requirement -- to ensure that candidates elected by affiliates have a clear and established relationship with at least one affiliate. Nathan T 23:01, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Nathan I assume it was too, but it would be better if that was explicit. It seems like a couple independent candidates wanted to run but were confused by / disqualified by this requirement. If there is this kind of limit on these candidates, I think that merits a wider discussion. (FWIW, I am going by memory here, but I believe in the early days of discussing the chapter seats there was talk that the chapters could put forth non-Wikimedia candidates who would be good but otherwise unelectable). -- phoebe | talk 17:19, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
Just to clarify, no candidate has been disqualified (for any reason). - Laurentius (talk) 15:23, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

In person meetingEdit

I have no problem with the outcome, and even if not supporting the requirement of endorsement I can live with that. But I have serious problem with the component in-person mmeeting. It was not stated as a prerequisite to be able to participae in such a meeting. And as it now turned out I was not able to join, specially with the short notice, and I feel it made the whole election process unfair. All nominees should be given the same opportunity, and if a In person meeting is part of the process, a real effort must be made for all to be able to join, etiher with (paid) trips or by help setting upp appriproate "skype" connections. In many way, though, I think it would be fairer to skip the in-person meeting and only have presentions, and Q&A via the Metapage.--Anders Wennersten (talk) 03:51, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

I think in future we certainly ought to confirm schedules about Q&As, hustings, etc before opening nominations, to avoid this kind of issue happening.
Just to explain my logic for introducing the in-person Q&A: Inevitably some candidates attend the Wikimedia Conference and some do not - whether there is an election meeting or not. The candidates who attend will naturally talk to people and discuss some of the issues in the conference programme. Part of my reason for suggesting the in-person Q&A was so that candidates who couldn't attend but can attend via Skype had a formal opportunity to speak to people. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 14:23, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
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