Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees/Call for feedback: Community Board seats/Conversations/2021-02-20 - Second Office Hours

Call for feedback: Community Board seats
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This is an office hours report of the Call for Feedback about Community Board seats selection processes between February 1 and March 14. This report contains ideas and opinions that are new or relevant in the context of the Call for Feedback.

Summary edit

The office hours took place at 4 different times on February 20, 2021 using Google Meet. The office hours lasted nearly 90 minutes each. The first hour of each office hour session was recorded. Additional resources to accompany this summary include videos, transcriptions, chat logs, and notes taken by the Board Governance facilitator team.

There were 93 total attendees. There were members of the Board of Trustees in attendance during the 4 sessions.

The report summarizes feedback received from participants during the office hours. Statements in this report are connected back to the office hours. The number of the office hour session follow each comment in parentheses, like (1).

Ideas discussed within the Board edit

Ranked voting system edit

  • But to be clear “popularity” is not necessarily a dirty word - there may be very valid merit based reasons for name recognition within the community (1)
  • What if the community wants to continue with the popularity contest? (4)

Quotas edit

  • Diversity should come naturally and not be forced. No one should get more of a chance at the cost of others who would be elected if there were no quotas. (3)

Call for types of skills and experiences edit

  • What does the Board do? (1)
  • Why don’t we have a system of nurturing Board members with the right expertise then, drawn from the community? (1)
  • If the goal is to have a more professionalized Board then the Board should say so clearly and explicitly (1)
  • Community seats are more about community representation than skills. Even basic requirements exclude people. (2)
  • Knowledge transfer from experienced members to newcomers should be considered. Young adults and older adults could bring perspective.(2)
  • Consider picking up advisory competencies in a committee to assist the board in stressful situations especially with communities. (2)

Vetting of candidates edit

  • A person asked about the Trustee Evaluation Form saying it's not clear how the form is to be used, what metrics are to be employed and what thresholds are relevant for each of the criteria. (The whole process is under development.) (1)
  • A participant shared an example of a form used to complete a board assessment and self-assessment to determine skills possessed and skills needed on non-profit boards. (1)

Ideas from the Community edit

Regional seats edit

  • Geography-wise there has been under representation on the Board. If there are board members from communities such as Africa and Asia it would be good. (3)
  • Three seats could be regional seats and three seats could be elected by vote. (3)
  • There are people who are great candidates but are not well-known so people will not vote for them. The voting for regional representatives should be limited to the region only. (3)
  • Is the board considering to use appointed seats to bring people from Asia and Africa, and keep open elections for community seats? (3)
  • There were almost 15 candidates from Africa and none of them made it. With the current mechanisms, there is very little chance to get elected. (3)

Miscellaneous feedback edit

  • The fiduciary responsibility of a Board member is narrow, and perhaps very different from what the community understands it to be. “The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees oversees the foundation and its work, as its ultimate corporate authority.” A board member disagrees: “the board has this fiduciary responsibility and to oversee the interests of the movement.” The community doesn’t understand this distinction and it should be communicated. (1)
  • How can smaller linguistic communities be represented? (2)
  • What are the incentives to participate on the Board? (4)
  • How is accountability measured for Board members? (4)

Meeting reports edit

Every report includes video, notes, transcript, and chat.

  1. First session
  2. Second session
  3. Third session
  4. Fourth session

Invitation edit

The team facilitating the Call for feedback about Community Board seats invites you to a second round of office hours. You can check the report of the first round.

All participants agree to abide by the Friendly space policy for Wikimedia events.

Agenda edit

  • Office hour logistics (explained below)
  • Short status update about the call for feedback
  • Questions & answers (participants can express their interests below)
  • After the official hour, we will keep the room open for casual chat.

Sessions edit

All meetings welcome any topics related to the Call for Feedback. Participants can express their interests beforehand to help us prioritize. Pick one of the topics in the navigation bar or a short alternative.

The participation of Board members is expected in all meetings.

First session edit

Participants and interests edit

  • <Your signature here (~~~) and optionally one topic of interest.>

Second session edit

Participants and interests edit

Third session edit

Participants and interests edit

Fourth session edit

Participants and interests edit

Logistics edit

How to join edit

  • We will use Google Meet. Logged in and anonymous guests are accepted.
  • We will share the link 15 minutes before the official start. If you can, join early.

During the meeting edit

  • Please mute yourself when you are not speaking.
  • If you want to ask a question, raise your hand and wait until your turn arrives.
  • Keep your questions short and on the topic of the call for feedback.
  • You can use the chat, just be mindful about side conversations becoming distracting.
  • Don’t worry about notifications of late arrivals requesting access. The organizers will approve them.
  • The meetings will be recorded.
  • Automatic captions will be enabled.
  • Expect basic moderation for the turn of questions and muting noise.
  • Expect quick moderation if anyone disrupts the room (the link is public, anyone can join anonymously)
  • If there is interest, at the end of the office hour the team will stay and keep the room open for casual conversation.
  • Due to technical limitations, we cannot offer live-streaming (we had to choose between automatic captions or live-streaming).

After the meeting edit

  • The organizers will not publish anything during the same day, aiming to offer a fresh experience to the participants of the second and third meetings.
  • On the next day (or so), expect
    • Video recordings available on Commons and YouTube
    • A report
    • Full automatic transcript
  • We may release short video capsules about specific topics covered during the meeting.