Talk:Wikimedia Foundation elections/2022/Candidates/Kunal Mehta
Support from the Kiwix team edit
There are quite a few quality candidates that we know and appreciate, but we at Kiwix, however, would like to single out Kunal for support.
Kunal has been a long-time supporter of Kiwix within the Foundation's dev team (I might stand corrected but he also single-handedly ensured Debian ports for it and volunteered top code). Needless to say (but I am still saying it), he has been getting our yearly Kiwix-branded chocolates ever since we started sending them out.
I encourage everyone to read his user page - Kunal is not just a coder, but has a vision for free knowledge. I am told he left the WMF last December, so my take here is that we would have a trustee here that 1. Understands the tech 2. Understands the WMF and 3. Understands Wikipedia offline use cases and needs (and he is, of course, a Wikimedia contributor).
Support from User:Ladsgroup edit
I've known Legoktm for around nine years and we have worked directly in many projects in paid or volunteer capacity. He has this great combination of being a great Wikimedian and being a great software engineer. Something we desperately need in the board. Amir (talk) 13:57, 26 May 2022 (UTC)
Support from User:Addshore edit
The history of Kunal and I apparently spans 14 years or so. Back in 2008 Kunal and I both started creating English Wikipedia bots, in 2013 we both joined a Wikimedia organization (WMF for Kunal, WMDE for me), and in 2014 we met in person finally at the Zürich Wikimedia Hackathon, and since have met at a number of other events. Throughout this time we have worked on a number of projects together both directly and indirectly touching on most Wikimedia projects in one way or another.
I have seen Kunal absorb so much Wikimedia experience over these years as an editing volunteer on Wikipedia, a Bot creator and maintainer across projects, a functionary on multiple projects, taking part in in-person and remote Wikimedia events with a range of focusses, working as a WMF employee in a number of teams with a number of roles on many projects.
Kunal is Wikimedia to the core, with a clear focus on Freedom, Openness, Transparency and Community which continues today after leaving the WMF now at SecureDrop. The prospect of him joining the board fills me with delight. ·addshore· talk to me! 20:34, 26 May 2022 (UTC)
Support from User:Enterprisey edit
Legoktm is incredibly dedicated to the Wikimedia movement. He has done work of the highest caliber across a broad area, and has enabled and encouraged countless others to do so as well. He deeply understands both the projects and the Foundation in a way that few others can. As a board member, he will bring several valuable perspectives: as a pillar of the technical and MediaWiki communities; as a long-term contributor to the projects at every level; as a WMF employee; and probably many other roles that I don't even know about. He cares deeply about the future of the movement and how we can all do our best to live up to its ideals. He is an outstanding contributor and a joy to work with, and I fully endorse his candidacy. Good luck, Lego! Enterprisey (talk) 05:35, 31 May 2022 (UTC)
Support from User:Barkeep49 edit
I think Kunal has the opportunity to play an incredibly important role on the board. He is someone equally at home in the editing and technical spaces and also has what I consider the large virtue of having been a former WMF employee. Underpinning all of this is a deep love and unwavering belief in the mission of various WMF projects. He will bring numerous areas of expertise to the board, many of which are not present or are currently lacking. I was excited to see him running and I hope you will join me in supporting his candidacy. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 18:35, 31 May 2022 (UTC)
Support from User:Vermont edit
I'm not great at writing endorsements of this kind, but Legoktm checks all of the criteria and more for what I believe would make a successful and productive member of the Board. He is highly respected across the movement, profoundly competent, and dedicated to his work and this community. He has extensive experience within editing communities, as an editor and administrator; in tech spaces, both as a trusted volunteer and WMF SRE; and in conduct, on the TCoC. His unique set of experiences, I believe, would add significantly to the level of diversity of the Board, expanding its' capacity especially in establishing and pursuing future movement strategy objectives, from the viewpoint of someone actively involved in the movement and familiar with these currently under-represented perspectives. I am truly happy to see Kunal put his name forward for this. Best, Vermont 🐿️ (talk) 22:00, 31 May 2022 (UTC)
Support from User:Inductiveload edit
[Also I am not one for this kind of thing, but here goes.] I can't think of anyone better placed to benefit the projects than Kunal. He is a truly dedicated person with only one thing in mind: the wider benefit of the Wiki projects. Not only does he exude competence at every level from wiki-content editing to Mediawiki server code and server-wrangling and works selflessly on various aspects of smaller projects (I am profoundly grateful for his help in resolving a bug that was critically blocking Wikisource workflows), he is delightful to communicate with and generally leaves everything better by just being involved. I am sure he can bring that in-depth skill, attitude and vision to bear on the Board. And yes, I am aware that this sounds bit "extra", but honestly, he's just that much of a good egg! Inductiveload (talk) 21:15, 5 June 2022 (UTC)
Support from User:Martin Urbanec edit
I'd like to support Kunal's candidacy for the trusteeship. As a board member, he would provide his perspective from a couple of roles, as Kunal's a long-time Wikimedia volunteer (including serving in a couple of community roles, such as en.wiki admin or the technical Code of Conduct Committee). Not so long ago, Kunal also used to be a WMF staff member. I believe Kunal's set of experiences will significantly help the WMF board, as it will allow him to carefully weigh in on board decisions, having in mind how the Wikimedia movement works like at various levels.
I have no doubt that Kunal will be a great trustee, if selected, and I fully support his candidacy. Kunal, thank you for volunteering to this role, and good luck. Sincerely, Martin Urbanec (talk) 21:10, 7 June 2022 (UTC)
Support from User:Bluerasberry edit
Reasons for support:
- Kunal is a Wikimedia community person who worked for the Wikimedia Foundation at one time. The best way for the Wikimedia Foundation to achieve its mission is by supporting the userbase of Wikimedia community members. Kunal is the rare Wikimedia Foundation staffer with personal experience on the community side to advocate for community interests as a strategy for Wikimedia Foundation success.
- Kunal is a sociable technical developer who voluntary chooses to go to Wikimedia community social events. They can start or join conversations about either technical or non-technical topics. If they talk about technical topics, then they do so in a way that non-technical people like. Evidence of this is in their prior talks at Wikimedia community events.
- Kunal has expressed willingness to give support to a Wikimedia Foundation staff union. When labor unions exist, they divide workers from management and senior executives. If Wikimedia Foundation staff are willing to unionize, then as a community member I like that because I feel that would empower Wikimedia Foundation workers to publicly discuss social and ethical issues of the sort that unions raise and which no one discusses in the absence of a union. Having a union is a permanent commitment to transparency and values. Of course Kunal cannot establish a union, but having a receptive former employee on the board would be a message to Wikimedia Foundation staff that if anyone wanted to start the union conversation, the time to do that is when a union-loving board member is on your side. I will mention that I am in a union affiliated with Communications Workers of America (Q5154183). Although that is a United States / Canadian union, it is also the parent of Google's Alphabet Workers Union (Q104661731), so there is some precedent for multicultural and multinational tech organizations affiliating. Although unions are not a magic solution for solving all problems, I think that in general, when the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia community come to conflict and disagreement about what is best for the Wikimedia Movement, then commonly Wikimedia Foundation executives and management are in opposition to community ideas and other workers are more likely to align with Wikimedia Community judgement. My wish for a labor union is that it would empower workers to align themselves with the Wikimedia community vision of the Wikimedia Movement if there were ever pressure to make a conflicting choice.
- Kunal is a resident of New York City and participates in Wikimedia New York City events. It is a benefit that they live in a place where they actively socialize with Wikimedia community members. NYC has more Wikimedia events than any other city on earth as documented in en:Wikipedia:Meetup/NYC/Event archive. Before COVID, thousands of people joined in-person Wikimedia New York City events every year to edit content in many languages, often in partnership with regional Wikimedia community organizations elsewhere in the world. While there are and have been other board members living in New York City, typically they do not associate with community events. Kunal is eager to talk with community and they have the opportunity right there in their city of residence.
- In their candidate statement, Kunal chose to not say anything about their diversity status except that they identify as a person of color. If Kunal spoke publicly, then I believe their personal story would demonstrate the kind of diversity which the Wikimedia community wants on the board. Since they do not want to talk about themselves, I will re-emphasize their advocacy for other vulnerable Wikimedia editors in their role on the committee of the Technical Code of Conduct. That Code of Conduct was years ahead of other Wikimedia Foundation efforts and not everyone would have been suitable to guide it, but Kunal was. While I think personal diversity is important, Kunal has a history demonstrating promotion of diversity at scale through good investment of resources to develop global policy. While Code of Conduct is popular to discuss and apply now, it was not in the past, and Kunal is capable of making other brave and difficult ethical decisions in the future.
Support from User:Kudpung edit
I am pleased to see support from many users whom know well and I am happy to join with them in endorsing Kunal's candidacy for the board.
- The Board of Trustees requires members with the trust, integrity, and sincerity demonstrated by Kunal. Wikipedia is synonymous with 'encyclopedia' and whatever designs the Foundation's movement strategy has of becoming a global socio-political operation, the Board needs to be populated by people who are familiar with, and have not lost sight of its grassroots, and who understand the manifest importance of the word 'Wikipedia', now a global household name which 'Wikimedia Foundation' is not. Kunal would be a Board member who brings the required baggage with him.
- Most important however, is Kunal's leitmotif in his candidate statement: A key part of the WMF's work is in developing and maintaining technical features—it is crucial that the board make well-informed decisions about technical initiatives and priorities. The en.Wikipedia's New Page Review system is on the verge of bankruptcy due to Phabricator's persistent stalling of important requests by claiming 'lack of resources'. The Board of Trustees has recently stated however, that while it recognises the importance and urgency of NPP, their work deals with high level strategic decision making, and not with day-to-day operations or specific workflows. They say that matters such as the indispensable NPP, a WMF development that is designed to maintain the quality and accuracy of the Foundations flagship encyclopedia, is only of specific interest to the English Wikipedia, are not within the Board's remit, and that the volunteer community should fend for itself.
- These are not the kind of 'supportive' statements that the volunteer communities, the Foundation's major stakeholders, want to hear from the Board's senior members.
- Technology and its funding are precisely the areas in which the communities need the Board's support, and whether or not Kunal will be able to encourage the Board to diversify its focus and impress upon the WMF the urgency for these and other software issues, he is the ideal person to initiate such a turnaround.
- The only way the WMF can regain the confidence of the volunteer communities therefore, is by providing the necessary technical and financial support which has not always been sufficiently forthcoming. The Board needs a strong membership that is not afraid to represent the volunteers who provide the work that is the backbone of the movement. Again, Kunal is the ideal candidate.
- Kunal's experience as a former employee is absolutely paramount. With his in-depth experience on both sides of the canyon, not only as staff and as volunteer, but also with 'hands-on experience developing, deploying and maintaining features that meet Wikimedia's unique requirements' , Kunal is a perfect match for a position on the Board and improving its support for the volunteer communities. He has the best chance of closing that chasm and moving the WMF and its projects forward in the right direction. I wish him the very best of luck in this election. Kudpung (talk) 06:58, 17 July 2022 (UTC)
Support from L235 edit
Kunal is my first choice vote for the Board by a wide margin. I am extraordinarily confident in his competence, dedication, and judgment. There's nobody I'd trust more to be on the Board. KevinL (aka L235 · t) 02:31, 26 August 2022 (UTC)
Support from User:Valerio Bozzolan (Free and Open Source! yeeh!) edit
Any help in guiding the Wikimedia movement toward Free/Libre and Open Source, also in online events like Wikimania, is a great help. Thank you for joining Wikimedians for software freedom and thank you for what you can do. +1 Valerio Bozzolan (talk) 09:49, 26 August 2022 (UTC)
Support from User:EpicPupper edit
Kunal is my first and only choice for the Board of Trustees. He brings passion, kindness and care to every situation, and is the ideal candidate to represent the Movement in such important operations. EpicPupper (talk) 03:44, 28 August 2022 (UTC)