Wikimedia Foundation Board noticeboard
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February Board meeting updateEdit
Hi all, in the last week of February, the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees had our regular meeting for Q3 (January – March) of the Foundation’s fiscal year. We will have more detail about what transpired at the meeting once the minutes have been prepared and we have approved them, but we wanted to quickly release this brief update on some key topics and decisions:
- We have created a new Board committee, the Community Affairs Committee, to dedicate resources to providing greater and more sustained strategic support for the Foundation’s community-facing work. For more detail, you can review the Community Affairs Committee Charter. Among other things, we hope that the Community Affairs Committee will help focus the Board's involvement in the movement strategy implementation discussions as well as other aspects of community-facing work.
- We discussed the movement brand project, which of Brand Development Work we decided to pause development on in September. We did not make any brand-related decisions at the meeting, but the ad hoc Brand Committee continues its work. We do not currently have a date for the project to “unpause”. The Committee will keep updating the community as it progresses.
- We had previously set a deadline of July 2021 for the completion of the second phase of the Universal Code of Conduct implementation. We have heard from many community members that they feel overwhelmed by the number of concurrent ongoing movement-wide conversations. To help ease the pressure, we have extended the deadline to December 2021.
- As part of the CEO/Executive Director transition process, we have created a Board Transition Committee and an executive Transition Team. The Transition Committee will oversee the transition process and focus on the search for the next CEO. The Transition Team will support the Transition Committee and steward the management of the Foundation during the CEO/ED transition period.
- We approved some amendments to the Foundation's gift policy. These amendments were proposed by the Special Projects Committee and approved by the Audit Committee.
- We also approved minutes from recent Board meetings, which have been published on Foundation Wiki.
I'm glad to see the addition:
The Foundation shall also provide the Board of Trustees with notice for information only, on a quarterly basis, for any donations (or cumulative donations from an individual donor or entities controlled by an individual donor-controlled) that exceed $100,000 USD or equivalent value.
I very much hope the anti-harassment article never needs to be invoked... How could an employee ever feel forced to inappropriate interactions with a donor? The sentence «The Wikimedia Foundation employees, contractors, and interns have the right to refuse to interact with any donor, potential donor, or supporter» goes much beyond the scope of a "gift policy", though.
While the general direction here seems good, it's probably necessary to reverse some other damage performed around 2016, going back to earlier versions. The amounts can be changed, of course, but the previous structure was superior in that:
- it was clear who was responsible for what, while now we're completely clueless every time there's (rumor of) a gift (is it real, is it fake? is it going to be reported, but maybe in a few years from now when the minutes of a meeting are finally published? or was it approved by one of hundreds of employees? how to find out, other than by asking every single person?);
- there was an obvious path to transparency for the biggest gifts, in that they at least were supposed to end up being mentioned in the minutes of a board meeting, which used to be published regularly;
- and both the preceding points joined to make it possible to have decent feedback and conversations when useful, without burdening anyone with reams of bureaucracy.
And no, "doing the absolute minimum required by law" is not an option for a Foundation which supposedly exists to promote free knowledge by means of open collaboration. Nemo 23:06, 30 March 2021 (UTC)
Open Letter from Arbcoms to the Board of TrusteesEdit
- Hello ArbComs,
- The Board’s Community Affairs Committee (CAC in short) highly appreciates your letter, which is a great example of global collaboration. Composing the text, encouraging the creation of basic rules of conduct for all wikis, and recognizing that users should be protected from discrimination and hounding, is an excellent step towards the upcoming global functionary meeting.The Board is naturally following on all UCoC developments, and more specifically, the CAC is very interested in the coming meeting and following more closely.
- The committee will carefully study both your letter, with its three constructive proposals, and any additional outcomes from the coming functionary meeting, in advance of our own next meeting, so we can discuss it at our first opportunity. We hope to respond more substantively after that next meeting, which takes place the week after yours. On behalf of the CAC, Shani (WMF) (talk) 22:50, 30 March 2021 (UTC)
- Adding to Shani's excellent response, with a more personal touch: It is refreshing and really great to receive a constructive, thoughtful letter, with a sensible proposed path. Thank you. The analysis and the overall proposed direction make perfect sense to me, and both CAC and the Board will definitely look into details. Pundit (talk) 06:47, 31 March 2021 (UTC)