Talk:Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees

Other discussion about the board


Wikimedians discussed and continue to discuss the Board and, in typical fashion, the conversation sprawls over many pages. See the election results.

Early conversations


Live conversations


How does the board do its work? (explaining might help people vote)


I have edited since probably 2006 or before, and my involvement in Wikimedia is medium. Though for several years I could have voted, I may never have, because, though there is enough information on the many candidates, I wish the the board article was larger.

Do members work full-time, part-time, only when they want for a few hours a week? Do the they work at home or a Wikimedia location? How do people running elections know candidates seems able to fulfill duties, and what happens if you need a new member between elections? (I suppose all candidates are admins.)

Maybe I did not vote also because I did not feel I had expertise or time to consider candidates, but for years I have learned more about how Wikimedia works & tools, rules; hopefully I will vote later.--Dchmelik 12:37, 28 December 2011 (UTC)Reply

Hi, I can try to answer some of your questions. The board of trustees are composed of elected and appointed members. There are community elections for the elected members, every other year(once for chapters than once for the editing community). The appointed members are selected for their expertise and experience, and they are appointed rather than elected. The term for elected members is for usually 2 years, but it might be increased or they might be re-confirmed. If a board member chooses to resign, which might have already happened once, depending on the whether the resigning member is elected or appointed, a decision is made by the rest of the board to appoint someone else in their position or appoint an interim trustee till the elections. They are strictly unpaid, there are non-profit laws and Wikimedia's own rules, that require board members of non-profit to be unpaid and neutral, and disclose any conflict of interests in issues beforehand. They have a certain number of physical meetings through-out the year, mostly coinciding with other events and conferences, there are also certain meetings with staff and office-visits that the board members can do at their discretion. They keep in touch with each other through mailing lists, emails, IRC meetings -official and unofficial and interact with the community through the previously mentioned forms. Theo10011 13:28, 28 December 2011 (UTC)Reply
The rest of this question was never answered, I guess :(
Being on the Board is a volunteer job. People work at home using the wikis, mailing lists and IRC, just like being an editor. However, the Board does meet in person between 3-4 times a year, often in conjunction with Wikimania or other events. I'd estimate it takes around 10 hours a week of work; some members spend more, and during meeting times it comes close to being a full time job. Candidates are not necessarily admins. Board responsibilities have a lot more to do with off-wiki responsibilities: like passing budgets. -- phoebe | talk 18:30, 18 May 2013 (UTC)Reply

Others languages


Why this template, or something similar like the ones we can see on other meta pages, did'nt appear on the main page ? Simon Villeneuve 11:04, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

That's an old-style translations template for translating to the Foundation wiki. You can add it if you want. PiRSquared17 (talk) 00:26, 22 May 2013 (UTC)Reply
It's not really "cute". Do you think you can actualise it ? Simon Villeneuve 14:30, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Move this page to History of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees


Right now there is no central place for the Wikimedia community to develop the presentation of the Board of the Wikimedia Foundation. This is a problem to be addressed. Currently this page is titled Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, but the coverage here is on the history and it refers readers to the WMF website for information about the current board. This page should instead cover the current board.

At WMF:Board of Trustees the board is listed, but community members can neither edit this nor give comments on the talk page as this is on the WMF's own private restricted wiki. I have copied the content there to User:Bluerasberry/Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. I would like for a copy of that WMF page to be on meta so that the community can present the board as the community likes. The community is as much of a stakeholder in this as the Wikimedia Foundation.

My reason for wanting this move is that I want board positions to be labeled. Some seats are community elected, some are chapter elected, and some are appointed. The Wikimedia Foundation is not labeling the positions in this way and I feel that the Wikimedia community should be able to readily determine who is serving in the elected seats, since 5 of these seats are particularly close to the Wikimedia community. On meta if the community could edit a listing, then this would be possible, whereas this is not possible on the WMF site. I requested permission to make a request on the WMF website, and my request was not granted. Because it is extremely difficult for community members to interact with the WMF website, this content should be hosted here on Meta.

Because the page currently at Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees is less about any current board and more about historical boards, I think that it should be moved to History of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees so that it would reflect the content that it contains. After this move is done, User:Bluerasberry/Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees should be moved to Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees so that the meta page on the board actually focuses coverage on the present board. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:17, 11 June 2015 (UTC)Reply

I support the idea. Mainly because I think its up to the community to decide how information like this should be maintained and found on meta. wmf wiki is our official place to present information about the foundation, here of course it can be done differently. If you think that's the better approach, move on. If you have some supporters to help with updating from time to time -- even better. Alice Wiegand (talk) 16:57, 11 June 2015 (UTC)Reply
Again... Nothing stopping you from creating those page Blue Rasberry.--AldNonymousBicara? 21:56, 11 June 2015 (UTC)Reply
I created the pages but I am stopped from doing the move. Only Meta:Translation administrators can move this page. I need an administrator to perform these moves -
Once those moves are made, I think that Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees should be tagged for translation, because information about the current board should be translated. I am indifferent about tagging History of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees for translation because history is less of a priority for me. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:30, 11 June 2015 (UTC)Reply
I like this idea - but I think the proposed page has a lot of duplication from the WMF site. Is there an advantage to duplicating so much? --Varnent (talk)(COI) 20:57, 11 June 2015 (UTC)Reply
I have gone ahead and moved the BoT page out of the way - but do think the new page needs a bit of work first. --Varnent (talk)(COI) 21:04, 11 June 2015 (UTC)Reply
My immediate concern is met. The table you provided labels trustees' positions. This page can be developed, as can the history page. Both pages need work but now I am satisfied that this is an improvement and also anyone else can develop this also. Thanks. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:36, 11 June 2015 (UTC)Reply
@Bluerasberry and Lyzzy: What do you think about bringing WMF Board portal into this page as well? --Varnent (talk)(COI) 13:38, 12 June 2015 (UTC)Reply
Some of that information seems useful and some seems less useful. If it remains there, people are unlikely to find it. If it is moved here, people would find it but not all of it will be relevant and some could be confusing. Here are some thoughts:
  • I would prefer to keep this page short and simple to make it more accessible for more people
  • I recognize that more information exists, and this page is probably the best place for people to begin when they review all the documentation on the board (already thousands of pages, I expect)
  • I would support that portal being moved here. In time, I would expect about half of it to stay, and the rest to eventually be sorted somewhere else
  • I do not see any reason to rush this or put changes on a schedule. The page is nice now, and it would be nice if that portal were migrated here, and it would be nice still if people made more changes.
Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:48, 12 June 2015 (UTC)Reply

No standardized names for the types of board appointments


It seems that the community election and the chapter election currently have no formal name. I just linked to them from here. Here is what it says now:

I think all four of these appointments should have names, and that the names should seem orderly among each other. I cannot think of an appropriate name - ideas from others? Blue Rasberry (talk) 01:08, 19 January 2016 (UTC)Reply

Related is #Inside vs outside directors, but those standard names cut across the divisions outlined above. The founder is implicitly an insider. The seats nominated by the affiliates and community have consistently been insiders. 'Affiliate insider seat/director' and 'Community insider seat/director' would be accurate names for them. Of course both processes try to allow for outsiders, but it is extremely unlikely that the community will opt for an outsider, especially in the current climate of distrust, and there is a similar improbability that the affiliates will nominate an outsider for similar but more complex reasons. John Vandenberg (talk) 22:06, 23 January 2016 (UTC)Reply

Wording of "directly elected"


Stating that "three seats [are] elected directly" is inconsistent with the Foundation's bylaws, where this is not a direct election but a recommendation for appointment to the Board. Adamw (talk) 13:49, 22 January 2016 (UTC)Reply

I went ahead and made this change directly (see the diff) as you're quite right that "directly elected" gives a false impression of the legal implications of the community voting process. The people the community selects are, legally, only a recommendation to the Board which they then ratify. Wittylama (talk) 15:03, 22 January 2016 (UTC)Reply
This wording comes from the initial version by user:Varnent which largely came from wmf:Board of Trustees which still said 'directly elected'. The WMF wiki has always strongly implied a proper election, since the first version by user:Anthere. I've copied the change to the wmf wiki. John Vandenberg (talk) 21:31, 23 January 2016 (UTC)Reply
The bylaws need to change, to end this charade and bring in some real democratic element. As was seen in the dismissial of Doc James for no reason beyond we don't like him, the board doesn't take the communities serious at all. Direct elected is the only valid procedure for the board, the current absolutistic approach is plain wrong. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 14:53, 30 January 2016 (UTC)Reply

Inside vs outside directors


Since mid 2009 the four appointed seats have are typically been an 'w:Independent director', intentionally chosen from outside the organisation to bring diversity to the board. However the recent re-appointment of Alice, previously a affiliate-selected appointee, is not an outsider, and prior to 2010 those four slots where insiders.

Worth noting that while affiliate-selected appointee could be outsiders, they have never selected outsiders, and having been involved in that process I am confident the reality is that they will never select an outsider unless they are required to do so.

Requiring that three seats are outsiders, and explicitly naming them so, is IMO a good ingredient, but I think four outsiders is too many for our movement, especially if they are all from direct appointments.

IMO the most important improvement for the affiliate-selection system would be to require that they 'select' one insider and one outsider. That will mean they can only 'select' one of their own, which is more likely to require consensus rather than allowing Horse trading between the largest groups within the affiliates, and will mean they need to actively find suitable candidates outside of the movement to bring diversity. John Vandenberg (talk) 21:57, 23 January 2016 (UTC)Reply

I have two questions related to your idea:
  • What are the benefits for the movement of having an independent director? As far as I understand the main point in appointing outsiders is bringing people with profiles (geography or experience) that are otherwise not represented. In this case it would be much more benefitial to discuss with the Board what kind of profiles the Board is looking for. For instance, if the Board needs a person with HR experience and a person with an experience in Africa, I am pretty sure that all affiliates together have at least several members with appropriate profiles AND good knowledge of our community at the same time, which is a strong advantage.
  • How would you measure the fact that a person is an outsider? Some affiliates have board members who have never been active editors of Wikimedia projects (like WMUK), some affiliates have board members who joined an affiliate organisation first and only then started editing Wikimedia projects. If you want a complete outsider (i.e. a person who has nothing to do with Wikimedia movement) it would be very hard to find such candidate without any prerequisites — NickK (talk) 15:53, 30 January 2016 (UTC)Reply

Maria was appointed, not selected by the community


I just changed the table on the front here, as Maria was not elected by the community, but appointed by the board. The community selected seat is still vacant, as the community has not voted since the dismissal of user:Doc James without any valid reason. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 16:29, 27 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

@Sänger: I recognize that is the situation you would like, and respect your right to advocate for that. However, as Patricio stated in his 29 January 2016 email announcing María's appointment: "María Sefidari will accept an appointment to the Board of Trustees, stepping into the third community-nominated seat." As has been recently discussed, all community-nominated and affiliate-nominated Trustees are ultimately appointed to the Board, which is why the word "appointment" appears in his message. So, as it stands now, María is holding the third community-nominated seat previously held by user:Doc James. As a result, I plan to revert these edits to the Board page to accurately reflect where things stand now. Again, I respect your right to explain why this should be changed, but I do not believe anyone is helped by implying the change you are seeking has already been made, when in fact it has not. I hope you understand the desire to keep this page accurate. --Gregory Varnum (WMF) (talk) 20:43, 28 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
This is the fairy tale those that ditched the proper elected board member without any valid explanation, thus kicking the community in the face, gave as an excuse for their illegitimate deeds, to cover up their fault. No, it's plain an appointed seat, no matter what they maunder. I don't have anything against Maria on the board, she is probably much better suited then the crook Arnnon ever was, although she acted explicitly against the community in the superprotect disaster, along all other board members at that time.
Maria was not selected by the community, full stop. She was appointed against the community wish, and it was tried to get her as a replacement for the illegitimate removal of Doc James. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 21:02, 28 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
P.S.: If you change the board page back to the wrong tale, please state explicitly, that all this charade about community seats is just that: a charade to keep the masses calm and pretend some kind of democracy, that in reality never existed. The removal was oligarchy acting pure and simple. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 21:06, 28 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Again, I respect that this is your position, but your disagreement with what was done does not change the fact that she was appointed to the community-nominated seat, and currently holds that seat. After considering your response, I am proceeding with the revert. --Gregory Varnum (WMF) (talk) 21:13, 28 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Will you make clear with your change, that this so called community-nominated doesn't have any connection with the community at all, but is all just at the whim of those already on the board? That all this pretending of democracy is just that: pretending? Or will you keep lying to the communities about this obvious fact that they are willingly ignored if the (fake) election doesn't get the right result? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 21:18, 28 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Sänger: I have added notes. --Gregory Varnum (WMF) (talk) 21:39, 28 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
And you have simply reverted the other change to the old, false fairytale about community nomination. Why do you insist on this fake? user:Doc James was removed with no reason at all, it may has been somehow legal by the words of the bylaws, but it was completely illegitimate by any moral values. And it made clear, that the board doesn't care about this so-called election, if someone inconvenient will be elected. The whole election process is obviously just a charade, and the wrong description on the front page here is a mosaic piece in the Potemkin village you at the disconnected WMF are building. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 21:47, 28 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

To GVarnum-WMF and Sänger, I think you are both expending a lot of energy over a detail. As we frequently find with Wikipedia editing, often the best way to get out of a dispute is simply to use different language or a different approach, that exposes the underlying disagreement to the reader, and lets them decide. The reader is not well served by either the statement "she was appointed without a nomination" or the statement "she holds a community seat," unless there is additional context. I hope my addition of a new footnote (which is about the nature of the seat, not about Maria herself) will help. -Pete F (talk) 23:18, 29 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

Why was Doc James removed?


@Lyzzy, Pundit, Denny, Frieda, and Patricio.lorente: @Guy Kawasaki, Jimbo Wales, Stu, and Jan-Bart:
Up to now not a single valid reason was given by any of the members of the Board, why Doc James got kicked out from the board.
I'd like to point you to this mail by Jimbo on the wikimedia-l mailing list (which I expect to be read by all board members, if they take their job serious). There is a huge amount of mistrust towards you, because you keep silent and don't say anything. Perhaps there is a valid reason, but as long as you keep quiet, I tend to believe Doc James, as he seems to be believable and has a coherent story. I don't think a slick joint answer by The Board in meaningless corporate lingo will do anything to get this situation straightened, I'd rather see your personal reasons to ditch a community elected member from the board, without consulting the community beforehand, or even informing it in a meaningful manner afterwards.
Your silence has done enough damage, come fore and deliver some answers to the community. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 14:25, 29 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

I believe this question will be better answered by someone who voted to remove James (I voted in James' favor). I think there is an internal discussion regarding a reply now, but I would also hope you'd understand that while this issue is also urgent, there are currently things that are actually critical time-wise, in the times of leadership transition. Pundit (talk) 16:28, 29 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
While I definitely agree that things have boiled over, and there are other pressing issues now, it should be quite easy for those who so light-hearted dismissed an elected member to give their reasons here, now that two months have gone by. It was a severe lack of required openness and accountability not to do so by those members, who decided against the community, and how should we trust them with the next, even more important, task of new ED and staff uproar, if they failed here so completely? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 16:44, 29 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
I shared my thoughs on wikimedia-l. --denny (talk) 19:09, 29 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

There just was an update about this on the Wikimedia-l Mailing list by Denny Vrandečić. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 09:22, 3 May 2016 (UTC)Reply

My reading of this post:
  • Some staffers contacted a few select members of the board to make their discontent with the Foundation heard, and demanded and got promised strict confidentiality.
  • After some time those few select members decided, to take the issue to the whole board and a official task force was created. This task force demanded the information given to the select members under strict confidentiality for all of them to see. James didn't want to break his promise for a long time, before he budged to the pressure. This was constructed as non-cooperation with the task force and lack of transparency.
  • This exemplary adhering to the given promise of confidentiality and was then one of the reasons to ditch him, as it was even construed as lack of confidentiality for board manners.
The staffers only gave their input to some select members, with a demand for strict confidentiality. This confidentiality was broken by all those members, which is for me a mayor reason not to trust those members. James seems to have adhered to his duties not to betray the staffers for quite some time, until he as well budged team pressure. His exemplary adherence to the essential principle of caring about privacy and confidentiality was construed as something bad, while in reality all others showed bad judgement with their illegitimate breaking of given promises.
Of course it could be, that all those staffers were asked to give their consent to making the notes etc. public to the board, but that's not how I read the statement now. Without this explicit consent the information must never have been given to the other board members.
@Denny: How was the trust the staffers set in you as a person maintained? How were they asked for their consent to share the information with lots of other board members and even outsiders? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 05:55, 4 May 2016 (UTC)Reply
Without going into details and reporting on the internal affairs, just to disperse another forming myth: the people contacting us gave us liberty in timing and decision on talking to the others. I also don't believe that James was non-cooperating in his actions. The stubbornness that Denny is referring to is a personal, subjective account of his, which he justly recognizes and emphasizes - and in my view is a matter of perceived attitude (just as Denny writes). I understand that James may be perceived as arrogant, or nonchalant in an organizational sense (as I occasionally am as well - this is typical for academic, legal or medical professions btw). I also agree that any board member in any organization may basically have strong convictions about other members professionalism/conduct/attitude, and that if such feelings cluster (that is, a large majority of a board strongly believe that a single member is unfit, not even necessarily objectively, but in a given subjective configuration) it is natural that this person is removed. Still, I believe that James' removal was a mistake. Even if he had been disruptive at the time (which I'm not commenting on - just observing that some people appear to may have felt this way), the fact that nearly half a year later the issue is still fueling major discussions and conflict clearly shows that the costs for the movement are just huge. Pundit (talk) 15:30, 4 May 2016 (UTC)Reply
Yes, it is a problem. A problem inflicted on the board solely and completely by itself by ditching a valid elected member without any decent explanation at all. And just week later appoint some completely unsuited member, that behaved in a most anti-social way as a HR manager, to the board, and even held fast to him until he himself decided to do the inevitable and resigned.
Will there ever be an explanation by the board, to justify their obviously anti-community decisions?
I especially ask those, who have remained silent until now, who ducked for cover instead of standing to their decisions. @Guy Kawasaki, Frieda, Stu, and Jan-Bart:. Why are you not answering the questions of the community? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 16:01, 4 May 2016 (UTC)Reply
Denny just answered my questions on the mailing list, I very much appreciate his openness and forthcoming about this issue, quite a contrast to most other members of the board at that time. Thank you very much for that, Denny (and Pundit as well, of course)!
Before that, User:LuisVilla wrote this very interesting mail on that list, recommended reading as well. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 16:17, 6 May 2016 (UTC)Reply

Removing the 'Dr.' from the Names


Hi, personally, I find the 'Dr.' in the names of some Trustees rather unusual. I think that in most circumstances it just takes unnecessary space. If someone is interested in the educational background of a person, they can look them up. Any thoughts on that? --denny (talk) 19:07, 29 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

Sounds good to me. Physicians typically go by "Name, MD" rather than "Dr. Name". I do not think we need either. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:15, 29 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

Board minutes about Knight grant


Doc James has said in several places that he and Dariusz were asked to propose and second accepting the Knight grant. The minutes say that James and Denny did this. [1] Can someone clarify? SarahSV talk 23:08, 29 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

Thanks User:SlimVirgin I made an error and it was only me who was requested to put forwards the motion not Dariusz. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:36, 29 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
James, thanks for clarifying. SarahSV talk 02:42, 1 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

One'd say that people may want to reach Wikimedia Foundation elections/2017 from this page, but I don't think I see it linked from here. Elitre (WMF) (talk) 09:42, 18 April 2017 (UTC)Reply

Hello! I think it makes sense. Though I cannot think of how and where. Any suggestions? --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 09:49, 18 April 2017 (UTC)Reply
At the very top? I'm thinking of that as a sort of disambiguation, a "You may be looking for" note. I don't remember if there's a specific template for that on this wiki. Elitre (WMF) (talk) 10:11, 18 April 2017 (UTC)Reply

Wikimedia Endowment


May I please have some substantive answers from the WMF to the questions asked at Talk:Wikimedia Endowment#How should we select members of the Wikimedia Endowment Advisory board?.

For background, see User:Guy Macon/Wikipedia has Cancer and Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2017-02-27/Op-ed. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:47, 18 April 2017 (UTC)Reply

Answered on 19 April 2017 -Guy Macon (talk) 12:02, 21 April 2017 (UTC)Reply

Bug in line 84?


I see a note to Jimbo was added to translation here. How come it show as a plain ref in its translated page in translated Japanese? Could you fix and show it under "Notes" as intended please? ----Omotecho (talk) 04:44, 4 May 2017 (UTC)Reply

It needed to be marked for translation, which I did. Ruslik (talk) 12:28, 5 May 2017 (UTC)Reply



Shouldn't this be updated to reflect the recent changes to the Board? Kudpung (talk) 00:18, 2 June 2017 (UTC)Reply

User:Kudpung The newly selected trustees do not officially join the board until voted on at Wikimania. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:35, 2 June 2017 (UTC)Reply
Yes, that's one of the strange outcomes of this rather byzantine and slightly undemocratic procedure here at work. Despite being the best legitimated trustees we have on the board, the rules say, that this election by the highest power in the wikiverse, the communities, was just a mere proposal, and some very much less legitimated people can overturn this decision by simply doing so without any need for explanation (see the illegitimate removal of Doc James 1.5 years ago). This procedure is something that desperately need fixing, the bylaws have to be changed to a correct procedure. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 06:56, 2 June 2017 (UTC)Reply

Slight discrepancy


Could someone harmonize these three pages please: Kelly Battles, Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees#Current members, and foundation:Board of Trustees#Kelly Battles? Two of them state that her term ended in December 2017 and the other one say it will end at Wikimania 2018 (July 2018). Cheers. Green Giant (talk) 22:18, 13 February 2018 (UTC)Reply

@Green Giant: Thank you for pointing that out. I have updated the Foundation website. The Kelly Battles page here on Meta-Wiki is not something the Foundation created or is officially maintaining. --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) (talk) 02:42, 14 February 2018 (UTC)Reply

Open letter from the Arbitration Committee to the WMF Board


The Arbitration Committee of the enWP has send an Open Letter to this board in regard of the completely botched ban of an admin on enWP. As it's an open letter, it should be linked here as well. I won't copy it here, you can read it over there. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 09:41, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply

Note: "botched" is not NPOV. Aron Manning (talk)   15:51, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply
The whole situation is completely botched, who is mainly responsible for this complete mess is still not clear. Imnsho thew buck clearly stops at the kangaroo court T&S, where one of the arc villains of the superprotect disaster miraculously is head of. I still wonder whether it's a road to Damascus experience or something along the lines of fox and henhouse. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 20:07, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply

Thanks User:Sänger. The board have all received this. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:54, 1 July 2019 (UTC)Reply

The board has issued a Statement here on enWP. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 07:41, 3 July 2019 (UTC)Reply

13 years


On 03 February 2006, it was reported to the WMF that our CAPTCHA system discriminates against blind people. See phabricator T6845. This appears to be a direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and leaves Wikipedia open to the possibility of discrimination lawsuit.

In particular, National Federation of the Blind v. Target Corp. was a case where a major retailer, Target Corp., was sued because their web designers failed to design its website to enable persons with low or no vision to use it.

So why, after 13 years of inaction, do we not have a set of software requirements (including a testable definition of "done"), a schedule with milestones and updates, and budget and staffing information for solving this?

And no, I will not accept any proposed "solution" that lacks the name of an WMF employee who has been given the assignment of fixing this, a budget that says how much the WMF expects to spend on solving this, a deadline that say how long the WMF expects it to take to solve this, and a way for an independent third party to look at the results and verify whether the requirement were met.

Regarding hiring someone else to fix this, I would very much like the idea to be given careful consideration rather than being dismissed out of hand. The WMF is great at running an encyclopedia. Nobody else, anywhere on earth, even comes close. However, running an encyclopedia does not magically confer the ability to create high-quality software, and the WMF has a pretty dismal track record in this area (Examples: Visual Editor, Flow, 13 years of failing to making an obvious but boring improvement to accommodate blind people.) I realize that this will anger some people, but why should it? Olympic-level athletes don't get angry when you tell them that their athletic ability does not magically confer the ability to repair automobiles or do astronomy.

Comments from phabricator:

  • "This doesn't just effect addition of external links, it also prevents new users from registering, requiring them to use ACC to request an account."
  • "There is no one currently assigned to this, so no one is taking it upon him to fix this at this moment. It's also not something that any team at the foundation is responsible for, so it's not likely to be prioritized from that end."
  • The only thing stopping us from having an audio captcha is that nobody's put the work into implementing it yet." --Source: Chief MediaWiki developer as of 2008
  • "So the question is why has work not been put aside to fix an issue of recognised high importance that will, 13 years after first being raised, resolve an issue that results in us discriminating against people who are (in many jurisdictions) a legally protected minority?"

--Guy Macon (talk) 13:11, 8 July 2019 (UTC)Reply

Does anyone on the Board have responsibility for Equalities issues? DuncanHill (talk) 18:50, 10 July 2019 (UTC)Reply
Related: [2] --Guy Macon (talk) 19:00, 10 July 2019 (UTC)Reply
I've posted on the Foundation Board noticeboard to draw attention to this. DuncanHill (talk) 19:49, 10 July 2019 (UTC)Reply
  • ...And his decision to ignore my followup question on the same page.
See Wikimedia Foundation Board noticeboard#Questions.
--Guy Macon (talk) 11:30, 24 July 2019 (UTC)Reply

Proposal to amend bylaws regarding Founder's seat vacancy

Discussion moved to Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_noticeboard#Proposal_to_amend_bylaws_regarding_Founder's_seat_vacancy.
@Alsee: Might be better to bring this up at the Wikimedia Foundation Board noticeboard. --Yair rand (talk) 20:23, 11 September 2019 (UTC)Reply
Good idea.   Done Alsee (talk) 20:47, 11 September 2019 (UTC)Reply

Because of the relative lack of Board participation on their Noticeboard, I have created Wikimedia Foundation elections/Board elections/2020/Questions and submitted that and a couple more starter questions there for next year's candidates. EllenCT (talk) 20:52, 3 November 2019 (UTC)Reply

Wikimania 2020


The table of current trustees lists 5 members whose terms are due to expire at "Wikimania 2020". Wikimania 2020 has been postponed until 2021 so clarification is needed about whether the members' terms have been extended or whether their terms will end when Wikimania 2020 was due to be held. Thryduulf (talk: meta · en.wp · wikidata) 11:57, 15 April 2020 (UTC)Reply

The three community elected trustees have had their terms extended until next Wikimania in 2021 or until there are community elections, whichever is sooner. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:29, 31 October 2020 (UTC)Reply
Whichever is sooner? How can anything be decided on the Wikimania, if the sovereign hasn't voted before? The vote has to be first, without a vote absolute no valid decision is possible. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 07:51, 31 October 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Doc James: Could you please clarify on your remark? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 11:47, 26 November 2020 (UTC)Reply
User:Sänger We have proposed bylaw changes here. Some of the proposed wording is "sourced from candidates vetted through a community nomination process". What that will look like is not yet defined. One trustee made a proposal here in 2019. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:03, 26 November 2020 (UTC)Reply
The election is long overdue, the massive changes of the bylaws won't make it in time, so we should live with the existing ones for this turn. The mentioned bylaws changes especially don't guarantee a formal election of the majority of the board through the community, which is essential for our grassroots project, where every valid decision has to be vetted by the community. Your sentence seemed to imply, that it could be possible to not elect new board members before Wikimania, that is of course impossible. The bylaw change is nothing time-critical, if that doesn't happen next year, so what? But elections of the board members are extremely important, they must happen in the next few months. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 17:12, 26 November 2020 (UTC)Reply

Reviewing fundraising practices and the use of gigantic banners


Most Wikipedia users are regularly presented with gigantic banners pleading for donations when trying to access the information they need. I believe this is a practice which many active community members and donators are opposed to, but I see little discussion of it, and I don't know how anyone would go about trying to have it changed. Is there some kind of process for influencing fundraising decisions, which regular community members can make input to? Or is it more a question of electing different trustees to the Board? (Would electing different trustees even be likely to make a difference?) Ornilnas (talk) 01:08, 15 September 2020 (UTC)Reply

If you select the right appointed trustees, maybe they could do away with fundraising. For example, each trustee could be backed by a foundation or a relative that pledges a certain donation at the time of appointment. If the total money pledged is enough, then the banners could be removed as unnecessary. Getting rid of the banners could be a consolation prize for those who are offended by the lack of control over the selection.--Epiphyllumlover (talk) 04:49, 25 November 2020 (UTC)Reply

Wikimedia Enterprise timeline


--Guy Macon (talk) 13:24, 17 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

Confusing description for the board timeline


I'm just learning about how the board works and noticed two confusing things:

  • In the table of Current Members it says Jimmy's term ends at the end of 2021 but then in the timeline graph it shows his term running until the end of 2022, is one incorrect or is it automatically renewed or something else? It would be helpful if this was explained somewhere on the page
  • The graph in Former members runs until 2024, maybe it could be renamed to Members timeline or something? Its probably a complete palaver and not helpful to split out current and former members into different charts

Thanks John Cummings (talk) 13:50, 23 June 2021 (UTC)Reply

Stop abuse and violence in Fawiki by checkusers


Hi Dear.

I sent a complaint to OC and reported that my account " shahramrashidi" has been blocked and banned in Fawiki as nominating Sockpuppetry, without any evidence. Even the user checking has not been requested by any in check user page. But the checkusers have blocked my account according to doubt only as their declaration. Which policy of WP tell you can block unlimited any user without evidence and with doubt only.

This is the response of OC: "The Commission is responsible for investigating complaints about infringements of the Privacy Policy, the Access to nonpublic personal data policy, the CheckUser policy, and the Oversight policy, on any Wikimedia project. The OC pays close attention to policies and their violations. Regarding the complaint relating to the block of User:Shahramrashidi for sockpuppet, the commission has found no violation of any of the aforementioned policies.

Shahramrashidi was blocked according to the Persian Wikipedia's (fawiki) sockpuppetry policy, which provides that a sockpuppet can be blocked without needing to identify the "sockmaster". The Commission is not an appeals body for blocks. The local community's appeal processes should be used in this case."

How do i tell and prove my account is not sockpuppet and the response of OC is about sockpuppet user only, then when my account is not sockpuppet, this policy is not applicable for my account. I asked OC to check my account is not sockpuppet and check users have abused from their facility and access, but instead of checking my account and their action has replied as a/m.

My question is can any check users block and ban any account as sockpuppet even it not to be sockpuppet? Who check this and stop their abuse? My account is not sockpuppet and check users abuse from their access. Please check my account in Fawiki and if my account to be sockpuppet, block me in all wiki projects else stop their abuse. please stop abuse from fawiki. i am ready to provide any document to prove my account is not sockpuppet and there is no any supervision on fawiki check users. Please return credit to fawiki.

Why mixing up community and affiliates


@JKoerner (WMF): They are elected in two distinct and not connected ways, why did you just wiped that clear distinction away on the other side here? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 19:02, 5 November 2021 (UTC)Reply

Hi there, Sänger, I made the change because the seats are now referred to as Community-and-Affiliate seats. I wanted to make sure there was consistency across documentation. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 04:08, 6 November 2021 (UTC)Reply
But why (and by whom) was this important distinction ditched at all? That's a loss of information, and those seats are distinct, period, the obliterating of this distinction s a bad choice. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 08:46, 6 November 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Sänger: the term “community-and-affiliate-selected” was introduced with the change to bylaws back in January. See this announcement. dwadieff 09:26, 7 November 2021 (UTC)Reply
But they are two very distinct types of seats, one elected by the community, one selected by the affiliates, that are sometimes part of, sometimes mor something parallel to, the community. The election process is as well completely different, so the least is the solution I just implemented with bolding the relevant part of those two, I'd like to stick to the old version, which is more clear and less obfuscating about this. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 09:31, 7 November 2021 (UTC)Reply
To come back to this, as now the affiliates seats (not the community seats) are to be elected, I still have seen no answer to the question, why this two completely distinct and unconnected types of seats got suddenly mixed up. @Jimbo Wales, Pundit, Rosiestep, Victoria, Laurentius, NTymkiv (WMF), and Shani (WMF): Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 11:01, 24 April 2022 (UTC)Reply
I've replied to your question on merging the seats on Talk:Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_noticeboard/April_2022_-_Board_seats_in_2022_and_2023#Again_this_community-and-affiliate-selected_nonsense. I realize that it may not be a satisfying reply as I'm not providing an answer to why the bylaws were changed in the first place, but that's not something I can give you a first-hand answer since it was discussed before my term. - Laurentius (talk) 13:59, 24 April 2022 (UTC)Reply
I'm sorry if it sounds like a brush off but this was done _before_ my term. However, I can see the logic in it. There used to be only two types of communities - on-line and Chapters. Now we have Chapters, user groups, thematic groups etc. From the Board's consultation with the Affiliates before this election, I know that the Chapters complain that their power is diluted by the user groups (UG) as it's much easier to register an UG than a Chapter. The user groups complain that it's difficult to register one. People in the emerging communities complain that they are not represented by the Affiliates at all and demand 100% "one wikimedian - one vote" elections.
We have tried to compromise, giving the Affiliates the power to select the best candidates and the community to select the best of the best. I personally hope for a different outcome than the last Community election (although I cannot complain about the result, as I was elected), where only people from Europe and the US were elected as it would be great to have other continents represented.--Victoria (talk) 08:57, 5 May 2022 (UTC)Reply
I see it this way: We have the community, the people working on creation of the online encyclopedias and such. And we have organised groups within, sometimes even outside of, this community. I could not care less but about the names this groups give themselves, be it chapter, user group, thematic group, whatever, they are more or less the some kind of stuff, with more or less members and more or less financial independence. As they are somehow organised themselves, they are treated other then the normal, disperse, community and got two special seats, that were always a wee bit contentious in the normal community, especially in cases, where they are something completely distinct from the online community like WMDE.
I don't see any reason to give them more saying about the board, but as the seats are getting more, the number of two could be kept. As long as it's clear that they have absolutely no special influence on the normal community seats, and that only these seats are increasing, it's fine. And if the affiliates decide to give the community some saying in their reserved seats, I would not complain.
I have more complaints about the just appointed seats, with no community backing whatsoever. Those are there to fill gaps in the skill-set of the board, with more elected members, those gaps should get smaller, and thus the reason to appoint board members is diminishing. Thus bigger board should lead to smaller percentage of appointed members. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 11:56, 5 May 2022 (UTC)Reply
Zu „As long as it's clear ...“:
Also hier – in dem Feedback-Aufruf, der zu dieser Wahlmethode führte, bei der die Affiliates die Vor-Auswahl treffen – stand, „Die Frage [nach der Rolle der Affiliates] ist insofern weit gefasst, als sich die Antworten nicht nur auf die beiden genannten Sitze beziehen, sondern auch auf andere, von der Community und den Affiliates gewählte Sitze. Das Board hofft, einen Ansatz zu finden, der die Affiliates (Chapter und Usergroups) einbindet und ihnen mehr Handlungsspielraum gibt, und gleichzeitig die Ergebnisse im Hinblick auf die Auswahl von Personen mit den besten Fähigkeiten, Erfahrungen, Diversität und breiter Unterstützung durch die Community optimiert.“ Andreas JN466 23:18, 6 May 2022 (UTC)Reply
  • The rationale for giving more agency to the community in the selection of affiliate-nominated candidates is something quite self-explanatory: it gives more agency to the community (plus, more community-legitimacy, backing etc. to those elected). I personally do not perceive giving more influence to the community as particularly problematic - the main issues raised seem to be linked with assumptions about the future elections, which is something we frankly have not even started planning/discussing. Pundit (talk) 15:42, 24 April 2022 (UTC)Reply
    One of the main issues for me is, that the reasoning is absolutely unclear, and whether it means more community or more affiliates is as well not explicitly stated anywhere. What should be achieved with this mix-up?
    Without proper discussion about a) the intend and b) the execution of this it's rather educated guessing, and with former experiences with the WMF the trust is definitely not on the side of the WMF, they still have to regain lots of spilled beans, thus trust they ditched with actions against the community:
    In regard of the board I think of the events around Doc James and Aarnon Geshuri, where the board acted rather heavy against our values and the community, and the self-serving elongations of the terms of the board members, while there were no restrictions whatsoever on online communities during covid times, offline communities had to come to terms with moving to online, but we were already there.
    The UCoC-process was as well something a wee bit detached from the communities, especially in the light of the mayor blunder made by T&S with FRAMBAN.
    I really don't know, whether the completely unwanted and antagonising renaming enterprise is really completely off the table, I still read some leeway for later times to open this box of Pandora again.
    It should at first just been community sourced members, thus no validation by the community was necessary with your first try. Only loud discussions lead you to get back at normal behaviour.
    So now we should believe you, that this mix is not meant for more institutionalised, i.e. dependent on your money, members, but rather more power to the real community? If you make a decision as the board to explicitely state this, that the community is above the board and must have the last word, and that this is written in the bylaws, I'll trust you. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 16:03, 24 April 2022 (UTC)Reply
    Note: You as you, the function of trustee, not necessary you, the person. The function has to be described independent of the person, even a bunch of Aarnon Geshuris should have no possibility to act against our values. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 16:05, 24 April 2022 (UTC)Reply
    "Giving more agency to the community in the selection of affiliate-nominated candidates" sounds good but does not accurately describe what is happening. As your own documentation makes clear, there is no such thing any more as "affiliate-nominated candidates" – it is all "community-and-affiliate-selected" seats. Moreover, you said that this year you want to implement this new process, whereby the community can only vote for candidates pre-selected by the affiliates, on a trial basis. You say you haven't even thought about future elections, but inherent in the word "trial" is the notion that one is testing something to establish its suitability for future application. This is what the word "trial" means. It is a dry run.
    Finally, could you say why you issued your "Call for feedback" on 23 December 2021? Is that a good date to make sure an important issue gets maximum attention? Did you in fact get substantive community discussion in response to that call, other than your meetings with the affiliates where Victoria suggested this new two-tier voting process? --Andreas JN466 16:38, 24 April 2022 (UTC)Reply
    Also, note that the Foundation's January mailing list post titled "Question about the Affiliates' role for the Call for Feedback: Board of Trustees elections" made absolutely no mention of the fact that the decision taken with regard to the affiliates might impact who the community is permitted to vote for. However, it did mention that "The question is broad in the sense that the answers may refer not just to the two seats mentioned, but also to other, Community- and Affiliate-selected seats." I want to acknowledge that there was also an announcement on Jan. 10 which I had missed earlier. However, this seems to have resulted in minimal community feedback, probably in part a reflection of the fact that it was written in soporific consultant-speak and made no mention of the fact that the "solution" sought might lie in the abolition of open community votes. --Andreas JN466 11:46, 25 April 2022 (UTC)Reply

Historical context


Signpost coverage that may help put these developments into context:



Auf der englischen Seite ist es jetzt ja auf Stand, leider hat (wie üblich) niemand es für nötig befunden, das zum Übersetzen zu markieren, das sollte mal dringend nachgeholt werden Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 09:57, 6 November 2021 (UTC)Reply

Ach ja, die Grafik unten muss auch noch angetriggert werden, ich habe sie zwar geändert auf den aktuellen Stand, aber nicht mal Englisch wird da angepasst, weil es seltsamerweise selbst dafür eine /en-Seite gibt. Was soll denn sowas? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 12:25, 6 November 2021 (UTC)Reply
@JKoerner (WMF), MF-Warburg, Minorax, and Felipe da Fonseca: Could someone please update the translation markup? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 09:01, 7 November 2021 (UTC)Reply
  Done --Minorax«¦talk¦» 09:23, 7 November 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Minorax: There are a few dates, that are still not translatable and thus show the wrong direction M-D-Y instead of the correct D-M-Y in other languages. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 15:29, 18 November 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Sänger:   Done --Minorax«¦talk¦» 01:14, 19 November 2021 (UTC)Reply
Thanks a lot! Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 08:17, 19 November 2021 (UTC)Reply

@Minorax: And another run, now, that Luis is appointed. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 16:21, 13 January 2022 (UTC)Reply

Neue Tabelle (new table)


Ich habe gerade eine neue Tabelle geschrieben, d.h. die alte um 4 Jahre erweitert. Ich habe es beim zwei-reihigen Layout gelassen, bei der nächsten Verlängerung sollte dann wohl wieder die alte Zeilenlänge, aber eine Reihe mehr genommen werden. So sollte es allerdings für die nächsten 3-4 Jahre erst mal reichen.
Bevor ich das drüben reinkopiere, wollte ich hier erst mal fragen, was da ggf noch zu beachten wäre, und ob ich irgendwelche Lapsi eingebaut habe. Der Entwurf liegt hier.

I've created a new chart, thus I've elongated it by 4 years. I kept the two-row layout, the next elongation should go back to the original row length and insert a third one. For the next 3-4 years this should be the proper solution.
Before I insert this on the other side I wanted to ask, whether anything else should be done, and whether I involuntarily put some errors in there. The draft is here.

Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 09:39, 14 January 2022 (UTC)Reply

December 2022


Why does it say Mike Peel 'reappointed'? As far as I know this is his first tour on the board following his 2022 election by the community. Kudpung (talk) 17:30, 12 December 2022 (UTC)Reply

Typo, fixed as soon as it was published --ELappen (WMF) (talk) 20:19, 23 December 2022 (UTC)Reply

Wikimania 16.-19. August 2023 [ 2023-08-16]


Zum Schutz von wikipedia (und Ähnlichem) & allen freiwillig 'Zeit Investierenden' ist es notwendig 1 zentrale 'Stelle' für ein effizientes & eineindeutiges [one-to-one] Beschwerde - Management zu implementieren. Insbesondere um das in letzter Zeit häufige & häufig nicht-begründete 'Zurücksetzen & Rückgängigmachen' raumzeitlich-zeiträumlich zu beschränken vor dem Hintergrund des Energiesparens, ..., Transaktionen-Reduktion etc.. Copy-Schutz, ..., eine Datenbank für Kopien:

Es darf nicht n u r alles aus der Wikipedia-Werk - Perspektive gesehen werden, sondern sollte auch optimal in freundlich gesinnter Atmosphäre aus der Wikipedia-Inhaltgeber - Perspektive sein ( sogenannte nicht-umständliche, nicht-bürokratische Benutzerfreundlichkeit).

Große Probleme tauchen auch bei den Meta-Ebenen der Translationsdienste auf, da unterschiedliche grammatikalische Konstrukte unterschiedlicher Sprachen unterschiedliche Satz-Bausteine & deren Anordnung hervorrufen.

Insbesondere sollte man versierten sprachwissenschaftlich* erfahrenen Informatikern einen größeren Aktionsradius zugestehen. Und davon wiederum insbesondere denen der Alt-Sprachen (- > Spiegelungsproblematik). Uazt (talk) 03:03, 6 August 2023 (UTC)Reply

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