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Calling Ombuds Commission "Ombuds" with consistency rather than sometimes calling them "men"Edit

Dear WMF Board members,

The Ombuds Commission acts on your behalf as part of the movement's governance processes and it is, therefore, the WMF board that authorizes Ombuds policies. The Wikimedia project systems and policies for the commission were established many years ago with rare amendments since, and are not harmonized on the use of the word "ombuds". For example, though the email contact group uses "ombuds", the detailed policy page on Meta uses "ombudsman" and refers to members of the group as "ombudsmen". As a gender-neutral form is in common International English and American English usage and is already used in some places and not others, can the WMF board agree that the gender-neutral term is desirable in line with the goals of the Wikimedia Foundation strategy and should be applied systematically?

With your agreement, this would then harmonize in the names of email groups, the group name configured into the system on Meta and the wording of policies, and help avoid an accidental bias towards identifying ombuds members as men. As this is a question of harmonization, rather than a change in process, policy or scope, this is a style issue rather than a change that required a resolution or a community RfC.

For those unaware, the Ombuds Commission "investigates 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 for the Board of Trustees. They also investigate for the Board the compliance of local CheckUser or Oversight policies or guidelines with the global CheckUser and Oversight policies."[1]

  1. Ombudsman commission
  2. Special:GlobalUsers/ombudsman
  3. Wikimedia-l open letter/discussion

Thanks, (talk) 17:28, 10 June 2020 (UTC)

Saw this linked in a discussion, not trying to follow you around Fae. We (the OC) have been increasingly using Ombuds Commission in our external communications, and it would make sense to rename the group to the Ombuds Commission and individual members to Ombudsperson(s). It might also make sense to rename the group to something more specific to its purpose, like the Privacy Ombuds Commission or even just Privacy Commission. There are other types of ombudspeople even within the Wikimedia movement. – Ajraddatz (talk) 21:40, 14 June 2020 (UTC)
The term "privacy ombuds(persons/men)" was occasionally used in the past when the Commission was tasked exclusively with privacy-related matters; it is hardly a good fit anymore, given the additional, non-privacy related responsibilities that the Commission eventually assumed (oversight policy, etc). — Pajz (talk) 11:06, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
It's a better fit that a completely generic name. I think it should be possible to find a word that, with a little imagination, makes sense for a group that investigates violations of the privacy, CU and OS policies. – Ajraddatz (talk) 15:18, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
Of course Ombuds is an exemplar for a possible firmer general guideline. Naming groups of all types (from affiliates to name choices in software configurations) would benefit from a quotable 'official' WMF statement about the direction to take that would better reflect the diversity of volunteers. -- (talk) 11:27, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
We don't call them "men", we call them "ombudsmen". All words ending in -men do not mean exclusion of women. Is your next proposal going to be moving "human" to "huperson"? As a huwoman, I find this unnecessary. Natureium (talk) 15:56, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Have started a discussion here. Seems like a simple "yes of course". Will ping legal to see if they have any concerns. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:50, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
    • @: There is no opposition to this change from the board. As such I have made the first few steps in renaming. And happy for others to continue any renamings I missed. Not sure if technical support is needed for some of these ie[1] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:38, 24 June 2020 (UTC)
      No harm in tracking it, so Phab:T256299. If anyone want to pause it for a bit, they can say so on the task. -- (talk) 18:43, 24 June 2020 (UTC)
      Doc James, might want to get Category:Ombudsman commission and possibly also the various subpages, some of which are listed in the category. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 18:52, 24 June 2020 (UTC)

Board Update on BrandingEdit

Updates on Branding from June 22, 2020 are posted as a separate subpage here: Wikimedia Foundation Board noticeboard/Board Update on Branding. Please post your thoughts/comments on the talk page of the message itself, so we can have a structured discussion and people can "subscribe to it" if they want to. Thank you! --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 01:03, 22 June 2020 (UTC)

Board Update on Branding: next stepsEdit

Updates on Branding from June 26, 2020 are posted as a separate subpage here: Wikimedia Foundation Board noticeboard/Board Update on Branding: next steps. Please post your thoughts/comments on the talk page of the message itself, so we can have a structured discussion and people can "subscribe to it" if they want to. Thank you! --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 23:47, 26 June 2020 (UTC)

Briefing postponementEdit

The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees was notified by staff on the night of July 7th that the briefing of July 8th needs to be rescheduled because of the illness of one of the key staff members. We are looking for a new date before the August board meeting, and we shall share an updated timeline in a few days --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 17:50, 8 July 2020 (UTC)

Get well soon, whoever you are! I hope it's not Covid-19. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 18:31, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
Update on timing: this Board briefing has been rescheduled for July 28th. - ZMcCune (WMF) (talk) 17:23, 17 July 2020 (UTC)

Next board meetingEdit

Has been moved from August to Sept 24th, 28th and 30th. Best Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:07, 6 August 2020 (UTC)

Expertise seats and the communityEdit

Two of the Board's appointed members' terms are almost up, and given the typical length of appointed board members' time on the Board, I wouldn't be surprised if one or both of them are not going to continue after their term finishes. I imagine the Board might be looking into finding new members, so I'd like to make a few points about filling appointed seats:

The appointed seats, sometimes called "expertise seats", serve a valuable role in filling out the Board's range of skills and capacities. However, these trustees are usually unfamiliar with Wikimedia. If I might make a recommendation: Before looking for candidates from outside the movement, perhaps first try to recruit from within the community? The Board could put together a list of particular qualifications/qualities they're looking for, and calls could be put out to the communities to see if anyone around has those qualifications. We have tens of thousands of very active volunteers, and I expect that at least one willing Wikimedian will have the qualities that are sought. (Also, an effort could be made to specifically target certain languages, to fill out the Board's issues with geographic diversity.)

  • Going on a brief tangent on the point of geographic diversity: The current Board has, IIUC, four people in the US North America, four in Europe, and two in the Middle East. The Board currently has no members east of 60th meridian, an area that includes 60% of the world's population. Of the 35 members that the Board has had over the past 17 years, only one has been in this area. Additionally, none have ever been from Africa. Might be something to work on.
    The appointed seats in particular, have several times included individuals with high-level experience in executive positions in large tech organizations (eg Kawasaki, West, Geshuri, Battles, and Capuano), every single one of which has been an American company. It's not like there are no major tech companies in Japan, Taiwan, Israel, South Korea, Singapore, etc. (I don't actually know whether or not this was deliberate; for all I know, it's quite possible that experience with American companies is actually more relevant to the WMF's work. But if it's just that it's easier for the WMF and Board to find Americans, that sounds like another problematic bias introduced by the selection process.)

Besides for the issue of trustees' unfamiliarity with Wikimedia, I'm generally concerned by the extent to which the staff are involved in filling positions of the group that is supposed to oversee the organization and keep them accountable.

There are currently six members of the Board that we ever hear from, six that have editing experience, six that we really know who they are. I'd like it if we could increase that to ten. --Yair rand (talk) 06:26, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

User:Yair rand am I being counted as being from the United States? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:06, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
@Doc James: Whoops, sorry, I meant North America. (I cannot believe I made that mistake. I think I need to hand in my Canadian citizenship.) --Yair rand (talk) 17:38, 6 August 2020 (UTC)