Alecmconroy's Voter Guide to the 2011 Board Elections**

More questions for Board Candidates (or others)

MOVED to Board elections/2011/Extra questions
Questions that have been moved
Draft, still accumulating questions, but by all means answer those questions that you feel are meaningful.
Candidates absolutely shouldn't feel 'compelled' to answer any of these, they are meant to be 100% optional-- to reiterate this, a few of the questions are intentionally silly.
In virtually all cases, I do not know what the "right" answers are, and I don't know whether your answers will help people decide who to vote for or not. Rather, people who represent our community's best and brightest have all gathered in one place and are answering any questions-- why not take the opportunity to actually draw upon their collective wisdom.
  • Is Wikimedia most like a library, a school, a museum? something else?
  • Of the other candidates, who do you most support?
  • Do you have a favorite article (or more) that illustrates the 'best' of Wikipedia? Favorite on other projects?
  • Of the current board members, who do you think is our most effective leader / who do you look to as a role model?
  • What's your Myers-Briggs type-- here's a test if needed. (I can't imagine the answer themselves directly affecting any votes-- but it's sorta fun and might help people understand your other responses)

WM in Politics/Activism/Law

  • Should WMF have an advocacy role in any circumstances? If so, broadly speaking, how do we decide what issues to take a position on?
  • Does the WM Movement have a role to play in local, national and international politics? If so, what does that role look like in the future?
  • What can we do to help those directly-affected by 'The Arab Spring'? What can the WM movement do collectively do for those nations? What can the WMF foundation do? What can individual wikimedians do?
  • If it were feasible, should the foundation promote 'internet freedom'-- that is, advocate for or active provide unfiltered internet access to citizens of repressive regimes?
  • If it were feasible, should the foundation promote 'universal internet access'-- that is, advocating for or actually providing computer&internet access to impoverished peoples?
  • Should the WMF promote "Net Neutrality" in the US?
  • Should WMF advocate any position on copyright reform?
  • WMF, its offices, and its servers are US-based. Looking far forward, well beyond the next two years-- Should we choose our 'home nation' based on purely pragmatic concerns, one or is it a cultural/ideological motivation? That is if another nation would be demonstrably better pragmatically for us, would we be likely to switch? (This question arises when a nation changes in ways that could either greatly help or greatly hinder our mission).

Movement Vision, Scope

  • What's our Big Purpose? What's our Mission? Jimmy Wales famously said "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing." Without quoting or paraphrasing, how would you say it?
  • What is the "big new exciting amazing thing" that the Wikimedia Movement could potentially accomplish in the next five years?
  • Can WM host a 'non-educational' project if we want to? For example, suppose there was a multiplayer online game targeted at Israeli and Palestinian children, in the hopes that this childhood experience will promote future peace. If there's a broad consensus that the non-educational project would bring good in a clear way, could we host it if we wanted to?
  • Should promoting "free culture" a goal in and of itself for the WM movement?
  • WM content has generally been described using terms like "knowledge" and "educational". Do you think WM has a role in hosting non-notable art, fiction, music, and other works of open-culture? As hosting expenses naturally approach zero due to ever-dropping technology cost, should WM host increasingly more diverse content, or should we stick to the domains we currently focus on-- namely, factual, notable, instructional content of the kind that might be found in an encyclopedia or textbook.
  • Looking far forward, beyond the next few years. Should each Wikimedia-named projects have to adhere to the same basic set of values we, as a community, currently hold here in the existing projects? (Namely, valuing the free distribution of factual knowledge). Or will falling hosting costs eventually mean that Wikimedia's projects will eventually become more diverse in their values, methodologies, and purposes?


  • How can we empower our developers and other programmers to "be bold" in trying to create 'the next big Wikimedia thing' that will do good for humanity?
  • How do we fix the "MediaWiki Problem", namely, an over-reliance on a single software platform?
  • If it were technically feasible and of negligible cost, should we someday empower trusted users the "be bold" and create new projects on their own initiative, ala Wikia?
  • On projects like Wikipedia, how do we fix the quality problem? (some of our articles aren't very good and don't necessarily seem to be improving with time)
  • Distributed Wikipedia-- great idea or greatest idea? :)
  • On projects like Wikipedia, how can we 'move beyond' the inclusionist/deletionist schism over inclusion criteria? How can we use software or social innovation to create a 'win-win' that gives us the best of both approaches?

--Alecmconroy 01:56, 24 May 2011 (UTC)Reply

Am I welcome to answer those here? — Coren (talk) / (en-wiki) 03:30, 24 May 2011 (UTC)Reply
Started to answer here --ErrantX 12:28, 25 May 2011 (UTC)Reply
Sorry I have just began the appetizers here (copying what ErrantX had done previously), I hope I will find enough time to answer it all and sorry if my answers are sometimes too long. Take care, have a good night! Claudi Balaguer/Capsot 21:30, 25 May 2011 (UTC)Reply

My answers to the questions above. --Millosh 13:33, 27 May 2011 (UTC)Reply

It's a pity you didn't ask me these questions when it was within the rules to answer them (question time is now over, I believe). I'd be happy to e-mail you my thoughts, though?
James F. (talk) 12:43, 29 May 2011 (UTC)Reply
OK, see here.
James F. (talk) 14:31, 29 May 2011 (UTC)Reply

The question bank has gotten sufficiently popular that I've moved the contents to Board elections/2011/Extra questions. If you have optional questions for the candidates, to go there and add your own questions! If they interest you, answer the questions even if you aren't a candidate. --Alecmconroy 17:57, 29 May 2011 (UTC)Reply

draft for mailing list


Is WM 'educational', 'cultural', or 'political'? Does legitimate (but potentially non-notable) art 'naturally' belong in WM, or does it only belong here by the secondary property of being 'educational'. Obviously, these thoughts were triggered by the Controversial Content debate, but I'm not talking about that kind of content-- I'm thinking here only of the broader idea of legitimate art and culture. My "instinct" is that any project that provides positive international interpersonal interaction is good for the world, even if the 'focus' of the project might seem lame or unimportant-- notable examples on Wikia include interest in TV shows, Video Games, etc.

"Mandela encouraged black South Africans to get behind the previously hated Springboks (the South African national rugby team) as South Africa hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup. (This is the theme of the 2009 film Invictus.) After the Springboks won an epic final over New Zealand, Mandela presented the trophy to captain Francois Pienaar, an Afrikaner, wearing a Springbok shirt with Pienaar's own number 6 on the back. This was widely seen as a major step in the reconciliation of white and black South Africans."

Reflecting on these events, it's becomes apparent that, at least in some circumstances, even trivial, noneducational culture can actually create very powerful shared experiences that ultimately have a strong positive effect on the world.

Could the WM movement do more to empower the people of the world to have these kinds of positive cultural experience?

Question for current board members Re: May 2010 and Projects' Scope


I'm asking the same question of all current member seeking re-election. It concerns the "May 2010 'unpleasantness". In brief, Wales proposed that the board redefine all our projects' scope in a controversial way (specifically to exclude anything deemed 'pornographic'). Some board members strongly supported this idea, some opposed it from the outset, and some supported first and then opposed it after community feedback.

The question to you is pretty simple: which group were you in? Did you support or oppose the redefinition at the outset? If you changed your mind in May, when did you change your mind and what prompted it? Where are you on the issue now?

(I should say, how you acted in May 2010 is absolutely not a litmus test for me. Ultimately, it's how you're likely to act in the future that we care about.)

Long form:

In May 2010, Jimmy Wales announced and implemented a policy without prior community consensus. He made the following statement:

This is not merely the advice of one person. I don't intend to deadmin anyone - but I will. The order of operation here is going to be that we first [implement the new policy], and then we can open a broader discussion about [how to apply that policy]. I just don't want anyone to get the impression that we're going to have an open vote [on the policy]. We aren't. It isn't going to happen. This is not a democratic debate, this is policy. [1]

When pressed, Wales further clarified:

I am in constant communication with both the board and Sue Gardner about this issue, yes. I expect the board to issue a statement within a few days offering a general philosophical support for the serious enforcement of policy on this issue. [2]

Ultimately, the forthcoming board statement was quite clear that it no new policy has, in fact, been authorized. So my question is-- who was Wales in communication with, such that he believed his actions would be vindicated by the board? Who endorsed the idea that one individual, or even one handful of individuals, should be able to unilaterally declare a new policy of that magnitude?

The specific question over images isn't the "real issue"-- there's a legitimate diversity of views on that question. The big issue, to me, was that in May 2010, we learned some minority within the board had come to feel that board votes, not community consensus, should be able to redefine the projects and their policies in controversial ways.

In the interest of transparency and openness, perhaps the community should have learned by now who stood where during the events of May 2010. But given all the emotions running high during that time, it didn't seem prudent to actually ask. So long as board members didn't run for re-election, they had a good claim to "put the past behind them and just move on" with taking care of business. But now the community has to decide whether to re-elect you, so I think that means it's time to for you to show your hand. Where were you on things and when?


  • Where did you stand on this issue before Jimbo's announcement on May 6? Did you endorse or oppose his stated plan?
  • Where did you stand on the issues during the interim when Jimbo was implementing his new policy? Did you endorse or oppose his actions?
  • Where did you stand on the issue during the board resolution vote? Did you advocate for the resolution that was more in support of Jimbo's new scope definition, or did you advocate for a version based on the status quo 'educational' test?
  • Do you feel differently now, or wish you'd acted differently, or have learned anything from those experiences?
Hi Alecmconroy
I am not a current board member but I casted my oppinion in the case. I left here the references: [3], [4] (I don't know why this one is broken I have pasted the original full mail here). --Gomà 17:48, 24 May 2011 (UTC)Reply
Here you have the Michael Snow answer to the unbroken mail: [5].--Gomà 18:35, 24 May 2011 (UTC)Reply

Research for a future Voter Guide



  • Jan-Bart de Vreede [24] supported (I think) on May 7
  • Stu West [25] Supported on May 8 [26]
  • Phoebe Ayers [27] [28]



Florence Devouard [29]

Answers and questions

MOVED to Board elections/2011/Extra questions

Thanks for all of these questions. I answered most of them here (and will collate the other questions there as well): User:Sj/Board_2011/questions#from alecmconroy. Let me know if any of the answers need clarification. Regards, SJ talk | translate   02:02, 29 May 2011 (UTC)Reply

Here you are my answers too: User:Gomà/Alecmconroy. --Gomà 08:54, 29 May 2011 (UTC)Reply

Infobox test


Okay, do you work? --Alecmconroy 17:10, 29 May 2011 (UTC) (You do!)Reply

Be careful!


I hope you are doing fine. Well, I just wanted to advise you to be careful in your actions, you might get blocked (a temporary block, not more I hope) if you go on confronting administrators here (as WizardofOz pointed out in my discussion: "Wikipedia is not a democracy") and then people will suspect you of being a bad guy just because you have been blocked without even wishing to know/investigate the reasons of your block... but well if you want your name to follow mine on Meta's black list, no problem then... I think you are right to express your opinions as some others express they love stroopwafels (at least your project has something to do with the thing...) and since many candidates answered I deem that they think the same way, that your actions make sense, but I can do nothing more to help since I am nothing but an ex-convict here... And then be really careful if you should ever get blocked do not expect anyone to defend your case (or to be judged fairly), I hope some people will react but well... Capsot 07:27, 30 May 2011 (UTC)Reply

No no-- I've been here a very long time, and Wikimedia deeply respects and is encouraging of alternative opinions. Nearly all our now-mainstream opinions started as "alternative opinions". The responses I've been getting back have been overwhelmingly reassuring on this point-- the concerns about participation are indeed widespread. Candidates and election coordinators have both been saying there's a need for more participation and discussion, neither of which are happening enough yet. So, no worries.
As to your situation-- my guess is that it wasn't your opinions that led you to trouble, more the way you expressed them. We have a very-near-zero tolerance for publishing private residence locations, for example. There are a lot of other "landmines" like that which people who express controversial opinions often engage in-- but it's the landmines that we're concerned about, not the opinions. We're a wiki-- we wake, eat, sleep, and dream about conflicting opinions. Human nature aside, I don't know of any other human creation that's MORE welcoming of diverse opinion than the WM movement projects, unless you want to count the internet itself.
I want to again apologize for not having investigated your personal situation, in part it's because most successful candidates have an _extensive_ history of contribution and leadership in some branch of the moment. Anyone can stand in our elections, but historically speaking, dark horses don't do well. I promise you I will look into the specifics of your dispute before I cast my final ballot.
As you have obviously noticed, 'my focus has shifted entirely from trying to _evaluate_ the ballot to trying to _engage the global community_ in the election-- it's nothing about you personally. Until we get the global community to start discussing what they want the future to be, until we get people from all over sharing their views-- then average EnWiki users like me will continue to have no clue on how we should be voting on any of the candidates besides the few who have already been prominently leading us in a global capacity (like the four I've commented on elsewhere).
I'm going to take a minor wikibreak for a bit longer to reflect (and to enjoy a memorial day and how adorable a toddler and a puppy are when they meet). But I'm definitely be back to look into your specific issue before end of election --Alecmconroy 19:24, 30 May 2011 (UTC)Reply
Hi, I am glad and relieved there nothing this serious about the talk I had seen with an administrator; I thought it was being heated but then I read very quickly. The main reason of my block was "making public" a (very bad) letter (which actually was already public) and then I was charged of "being libellous" which did not apply to my case and afterwards the things went a little further... But well I won't bother you now, I have to go, so enjoy the time with your family and extended family (pets in my opinion are also members of the family). Have a nice day. Bye, Claudi/Capsot 05:08, 31 May 2011 (UTC)Reply

Your questions for current board members


First of all I've seen your voter guide and thank you for your support!

Unfortunately it's taken a fair amount of time to get to your questins--to say noting of the additional set--so a somewhat abbreviated reply:

   * Where did you stand on this issue before Jimbo's announcement on May 6? Did you endorse or oppose his stated plan?
   * Where did you stand on the issues during the interim when Jimbo was implementing his new policy? Did you endorse or oppose his actions?

For both--Jimmy's actions were his own and I think they were ill-considered. I hope my mailing list post set out my opinions well enough that I don't have to restate them; my opinion hasn't significantly changed.

   * Where did you stand on the issue during the board resolution vote? Did you advocate for the resolution that was more in support of Jimbo's new scope definition, or did you advocate for a version based on the status quo 'educational' test?

I didn't like the version of the resolution that passed nor any other that was under serious discussion; I think we were not close enough to agreement as a board to really write something everyone could stand behind; we may still not be. I think that there are still many different opinions about what "educational" is and so using the word without defining it only hides the disagreement. (I support having only educational images on Commons too! But I have a very broad idea of what can be educational.)

   * Do you feel differently now, or wish you'd acted differently, or have learned anything from those experiences?

My feelings on the issue are the same. What I do support is development of features that will enable people to individually choose what kinds of media they do and don't want to see. I wish I had gotten involved in the public discussion earlier as it wasn't clear where people were acting on their individual opinions and where they were acting as a group, and been more active in the private discussion pushing the idea that we weren't ready to come out and say anything.

Cheers, Kat Walsh (spill your mind?) 19:39, 30 May 2011 (UTC)Reply

And I've started answering your extra questions here. Kat Walsh (spill your mind?) 22:18, 6 June 2011 (UTC)Reply

Data about the Candidates


Answered in my talk page: --Gomà 12:17, 1 June 2011 (UTC)Reply

To provide more input


Hi Alecmconroy

I just mentioned that your extended questions (that I find highly interesting) had not enough visibility. This was a pity and a bit disappointing. I thank you for adding a link to those questions in your guide.

Regarding the support/not support I respect your decision and your efforts to spread your vision. But the pools are running and the “no rated” candidates are not taken into account. Sincerely I would prefer a “no recommend” than a “nothing said” because against a “no recommend” I can express my opinion but against a “nothing said” I can’t do anything. During the voting period your voter’s guide has been visited 374 times. Until now more than 1200 votes has been cast. In past 2009 elections difference of being elected or not was of 60 votes between the 3th and the 4th candidate.

Regarding the possibility to evaluate the local community confidence I can try to give you some clues. I am not a sysop because I like to write articles about mathematics and we have few people capable to do so while there are more people able to do the sysop tasks. But this is not due to the lack of confidence from the local community. For example I am promoting the chapter Wikimedia CAT, you can take a look at the list of members of the members of the local community who support this initiative and compare it with the number of members who usually vote in electing Sysops. While the chapter is not yet approved we have created the association Amical Viquipèdia I am the president of this association. You can compare the activities done by this association in favour of the projects with those done by the official chapters.

Best regard ant thanks for your efforts. --Gomà 10:00, 6 June 2011 (UTC)Reply



Hi! Do you know why the height of the box is fixed? Thanks, --Mikołkatalk (plwiki)e-mail 06:59, 7 June 2011 (UTC)Reply

It works now. ;) I had a vertical text overflow in the left column with Polish translation (here). Regards, --Mikołkatalk (plwiki)e-mail 07:21, 7 June 2011 (UTC)Reply



Hey, I was at Wikimania when you sent email to me. I tried to reply to you, but it seems that your Gmail account is not in function anymore. Trying this way... There are some good news. You know my email. --Millosh 17:30, 11 August 2011 (UTC)Reply