Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees/Call for feedback: Community Board seats/Reports/2021-02-17 Weekly

Call for feedback: Community Board seats
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This is a weekly 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.

With the help of a team of community facilitators, we are organizing conversations and gathering feedback. During this call for feedback we publish weekly reports and we draft the final report that will be delivered to the Board. This report covers new activity February 8-14.

If you think anything relevant is missing, let us know in the Talk page and we will consider its inclusion in the next weekly report.

Join the conversation.


  • 2021-02-09: The Facilitation team posted a 2015–2021 Timeline of events related to the Board's governance.
  • 2021-02-10: The Facilitation team posted reports about the first round of office hours, including videos, notes, transcripts and chats.

Ideas from the Board


Ranked voting system



Note: Other participants including members of the Wikimedia LGBT+ user group complained, saying that 50/50 gender concepts were binary and implicitly biased against non-binary, trans or genderqueer people. The Facilitation team acknowledged this problem and rectified the related mentions in their reports. Here this phrasing was updated to reflect the feedback in a non-biased manner.’’ JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 20:24, 29 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Call for types of skills and experiences


Vetting of candidates


Board-delegated selection committee


Community-elected selection committee


Election of confirmed candidates

  • One person posed some questions prompted by previous situations (Arnon Geshuri)
    • It is unclear what will happen if a candidate is not confirmed.
    • Will a second-choice candidate be submitted for a new community vote?
    • Will there be a new call for candidates?
    • Will the seat remain vacant?
  • One person said this does not have the ability to accomplish the community’s goals and should be withdrawn and reworded to be more clear.
  • One person suggested a parallel with Iranian elections and suggested the people should overthrow such a regime.
  • Three people from Indonesia do not recommend Election of confirmed candidates.
  • Three people from Open Foundation West Africa group meeting were in support of the election of confirmed candidates.

Direct appointment of confirmed candidates


Ideas from the Community


Regional seats

  • One person suggested having a fully elected body with some quotas for gender, language, continent, developer-background, etc.) as a solution to representativeness for communities not aligned with a Regional body.
  • One person said to keep the system as simple as possible:
    • Hold a single election for all Board seats. If the quota is not met, replace the lowest ranking winning candidates with the highest ranking unsuccessful candidates from underrepresented regions.
    • Include all of americas outside of Canada and the US in the underrepresented regions. Include Japan and Korea as well.
    • Don’t tie eligibility to regional alignments. Communities should be free to join whichever body is most convenient to them without it affecting their members’ ability to run.
  • Everyone at a French Sub-Saharan community conversation said they agree with geographical quotas. One person said regional quotas should be proportional to the level of contributions from each region.
  • A former board member at a French Sub-Saharan community conversation said the candidates should represent the movement globally and not be viewed as a regional representation battle.
  • One person from Indonesia said, “Every regional seat should take turns every year. For example, 2021 ESEAP, 2022 Wiki Indaba, 2023 SAARC,and so on’
  • A person in the Spanish Telegram chat said the problem with this idea is continental needs are not homogenous with local needs. People from the Wikimedia Bangladesh community agreed: super-groups like emerging Wikimedia communities and Asia won’t solve the problem of representation.
  • People from Punjabi Wikimedians User Group suggested regional representatives instead of regional seats. Example; “South Asian Representative to the Board.” They also felt that voting for these regional representatives should be done within that region only.
  • A person in the Spanish Telegram chat said the capacity needed for the Board should be considered when discussing this regional proposal.
  • People from Wikimedia Bangladesh felt that there needs to be clear criteria and metrics to mark some region/community as “underrepresented”.
  • In a French Sub-Saharan community conversation one person said Africa should be represented as it is the future of the movement.
  • One person from a Wikimedia Uganda User Group meeting is concerned that affiliates or regions might nominate candidates for the sake of just wanting representation on the Board.
  • People at a Turkic WikiCommunity meeting said regional and local affiliations should be given the opportunity to be present on the Board and vote for candidates.
  • People at a Kurdish community meeting said this was the most popular idea. People at a North Africa Wikimedia community meeting agreed. They went on to say:
    • Each region would have a chance to be represented: candidates elected from hubs could be directly elected and candidates elected from the hubs could run with candidates from other hubs in a final election.
  • A person from the anonymous feedback form said: African Wikipedians should be given a permanent seat on the Board so conscious measures can be put in place to get the right person who meets the criteria.
  • Everyone at the Open Foundation West Africa group meeting supports regional seats. One person suggested there be one male and one female for each region.

Specialization seats


This proposal was suggested by Csisc to increase specialists on the Board (legal, economist, linguist, GLAM) by replacing some appointed seats with elected specialist seats saying having such people on the Board is key for the development of Wikimedia Governance.

  • One person said appointed seats should be used to fill skill needs and think this might reduce the pool of candidates.
  • Some people said qualifications are not an issue for community-elected Board members as all previous ones have been well-qualified.
  • Everyone at a North Africa Wikimedia community meeting disagrees with this idea. They said there could be an advisory committee with experts instead.
  • One person in the Spanish Telegram chat said this idea will only work with training since access to education is different globally. Another in the chat said this proposal is less inclusive because of this.

Miscellaneous feedback


This section is organized by themes to help with the digestion of information. Some comments might fit more than one theme, but were placed with a judgement of best fit.

Increase participation

  • One person mentioned gave the following feedback:
    • Some research into why people don’t vote might be worthwhile.
    • The Wikimedia Foundation should improve outreach to communities to encourage participation: banners, messages in advance to call for candidates.
    • Encourage individuals to ask questions and notify members in different languages. (Translation of candidate information, a discussion on the village pump, and personal voting invitations increased participation in voting from the Ukrainian Wikipedia community with 25% of eligible voters voting).
  • A person from the Punjabi Wikimedians User Group mentioned more effort should be made to increase the voter turnout so that the results are not skewed in favour of a region.

Better communication and connection is needed

Inclusion and diversity

  • One person said the community is eager to embrace diversity in candidates, if those candidates are otherwise acceptable.
  • One person from the Spanish Telegram chat said the Board must ensure the inclusion of all people; i.e., remove barriers to entry, languages.
  • One person from the Spanish Telegram chat said people are often chosen based on popularity and it’s hard for new diverse voices to compete with people who have been in the movement for 20 years. This forms an inequality of origin. Enabling and expanding the space in a conscious and consistent manner is the solution.
  • A person from Punjabi community said to “anonymize” the candidates into certain profiles.

Comments not sorted into a theme

  • From the anonymous feedback form:
    • I believe the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees are really looking to be inclusive.
    • The community should organize it, not the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • One person from Open Foundation West Africa group meeting suggested that Wikimedians of the year should be offered a seat on the board.
  • One person said, “The proposals here threaten to badly escalate an already bad relationship” referring to the relationship between the community and the Wikimedia Foundation.

CfF process feedback

  • Former board member Alice Wiegand criticized communication and timing of the Board’s expansion. She stated that the expansion might cause a less creative and more sluggish board, eventually causing a loss of its power.
  • One person said they feel the community’s vote will only count if it coincides with what the Board wants.
  • Remaining concerns from a Wikimedia Uganda User Group meeting:
    • Are Africans going to have a positive outcome from these discussions, considering Wikimedians from Europe and America are more than Wikimedians in underrepresented communities?
    • What happens when more Wikimedians from Europe and America participate in the discussions and they support different ideas than the few Wikimedians from Africa who are able to participate in the discussions?
    • Will the Board implement the ideas supported by the majority?
      • Does it mean our participation in the discussions has been in vain?
  • Several people shared feedback about the first weekly report:
    • Be more clear about who said what and where.
    • Be careful to use proper English in communication.
    • Include linking to places where things were said.

Note from the team of facilitators: we will be more explicit about who said what where. We will provide links where we are able to do so. Proofreading will be done, but please do excuse grammatical errors. These things happen, especially when efficiency is key to producing a report each week. We will aim to capture what was said and present content from conversations across the entire community.

What is happening next


The second Call for Feedback Community Board seats Office Hours will be held on February 20.

Next week we start the second half of the Call for feedback. We will start identifying specific topics that welcome more attention and further discussion.



The Conversations page has an up-to-date list of conversations happening around the Call for Feedback. This includes future scheduled and proposed conversations. Reports from these conversations can be found on Meta.

  • 2021-02-08

Round 1 with Punjabi Wikimedians User Group

  • 2021-02-09

Round 1 with French Sub Saharan wikimedia communities Round 1 with Wikimedia Bangladesh Round 1 with Telugu community Round 1 with Urdu community / Dehlavi Wikimedia User Group

  • 2021-02-10

Round 2 with French Sub Saharan wikimedia communities Meeting with Wikimedia Uganda User Group members

  • 2021-02-11

Round 3 with French Sub Saharan wikimedia communities

  • 2021-02-12

Meeting with North Africa wikimedia communities Round 1 with Kannada Wikimedians

  • 2021-02-13

Round 2 with Punjabi Wikimedians User Group Round 1 with Wikipedians of Goa User Group Meeting with Open Foundation West Africa User Group members



The facilitator team thanks the following volunteers for:

  • @Csisc: continuous translational work of all Cff-pages into Italian. Wow!
  • @Sänger: for translational work to German.
  • @Manavpreet Kaur and Satpal Dandiwal: for organizing a meeting with Punjabi community, in Punjabi!
  • @NickK: and @Nosebagbear: for engaging in conversation and solution-focused discussion.