Wikimedia Conference 2017/Program/50
50: Ask the Board of Trustees anythingEdit
How to move forwardEdit
- What was this session about?
The members of the WMF Board of Trustees explained their way of working and their goals for the current year. Also, there was space to ask any questions to the trustees.
- What are the next steps to be taken?
There are no specific next steps planned. There will be a similar session at Wikimania 2017 ("Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees Q&A Panel").
To be uploaded
- Anyone interested by what the WMF Board of Trustees does and its expectations
- Session Format
- Presentation and Q&A
- ~45 min
- This session is in two half, first half is a presentation by the Board of Trustees of what they do, update on their year priorities and their expectations. It's a session for newcomers and experienced participants a like. The second half is a Questions & Answers (Q&A), which will start by the Board of Trustees asking you a question! You can anything you like, and you can also already start preparing your questions.
- Desired Outcome
- Better understanding of the Board of Trustees, its mindset and its expectations. The Board of Trustees are real people!
- WMF Board of Trustees (Alice Wiegand, Christophe Henner, Dariusz Jemielniak, Jimmy Wales, Kelly Battles, María Sefidari, Nataliia Tymkiv)
Christophe opened the session and gave a short introduction. He highlighted the fact that the board is consisted by “actual people”, as in humans with successes and failures. María took over and explained the structure and officers roles within the board. She also explained that there were regular call between certain members, as in a weekly call between Christophe and Katherine Maher (ED), and a monthly call between María and Christophe.
Afterwards, Kelly explained the meanings and functions of the Audit Committee and HR Committee with its stakeholders such as Jaime Villagomez and the volunteers Michael Snow and Gillian Singh. Nataliia explained the Board Governance Committee (BGC), and its volunteer advisory members Ira B. Matetsky, Gayle Karen Young, Tim Moritz Hector, Ido Ivry and Kat Walsh. Currently, the BGC is focused on the Advisory Board and how it can be used, such as in terms of community elections. As an example community members who can’t commit to full board duties could advise on a less regular basis. Dariusz explained the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC), the Affiliations Committee (AffCom), the Elections Committee and the Language Committee – and how they related to the WMF Board of Trustees.
In the last part, Jimmy Wales explained the goal of the $100 Million USD endowment fund which is aimed for the the long term safety of Wikipedia. There is an Endowment Board. This idea is that this money would be ring-fenced for a particular purposes. Getting larger organization who benefit from Wikipedia to give back, and the ring-fenced funding precludes the influence via donation concern.
Christophe closes the presentation by highlighting that the “local” aspect (as in: local communities, affiliates) are important to and for the movement. He asks how can we (as in: all Wikimedians) push forward the movement.
Questions & Answers
- Q: Problems with communication. Significant improvement but there are people who are still unhappy about communication from the board. Do you have support from WMF Foundation Comms to help prepare announcements to ensure that these are timely?
- Christophe: We do get a lot of staff support. In terms of how messages are crafted and that things are communicated in a timely manner. There are questions whether we need more staff support. But is board communications good enough? No, we need to improve.
- Dariusz: The board members should say what they think, when they think it. Spontaneously and also in a structured manner.
- Nataliia: Transparency and accountability are about being able to talk about problems. The problems last year can happen again, as we don’t have a process in place to prevent that.
- Q: Has the board thought about finding a balance between the support chapters and user groups need. I.e different types of support?
- María: Half the attendees here are from usergroups. Sometimes there are conflicts between established and new groups. User groups may be wanting more control, perhaps a vote in the elections.
- Christophe: The strategy process, in phase 2 [after Wikimania; comment by the note-taker], will be focused on covering specific issues like this.
- Q: What do you mean we’re not behaving as a movement?
- Christophe: We are competing. We are looking at things in a way where we are fighting for the same funds from one source. The strategy process is about coming together to try and work together a bit more.
- Q: Are there any tools you need from the movement to do your job better? And are you willing to ask other affiliates for advice/support?
- Christophe: The best thing we can do is lead by example. To do things that show we are cooperating. The board is treated in the same way as every other chapter’s.