Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees/Call for feedback: Community Board seats/Reports/2021-03-07 Gujarati community


Conversational Report
Gujarati community - 7 March 2021

Attendees Edit

Objective Edit

This is the second round of discussions with the Gujarati community, wherein the call for feedback was explained to community members in English and Gujarati, with the help of volunteers from the first round of discussions. The aim was to introduce the call for feedback to community members and capture their suggestions/comments and questions.

Topics and Notes Edit

The community members were first introduced to the structure of Board of Trustees, their roles and responsibilities, along with the previous round of changes to the by-laws, in which the number of board seats were increased from 10 to 16, and the trustee evaluation form was approved. This was followed by the problem statement for the call for feedback, and why it is important for them and the larger community to be involved.

Feedback on specific ideas Edit

Quotas
  • Quotas might not be the best way always, but when it comes to improving representation it can definitely be of help. Quotas based on geographies sound good.
Call for types of skills and experiences
  • Some volunteers felt that as the conversation is about community seats, there should not be any mandatory skills. They suggested that if the Board has a skillset that they require, then training and development support can be provided to elected candidates to acquire the required skills.
  • Some felt that it is not possible to train someone on all the skills and also practically, since the Board term is for three year only, a year should not be wasted on training and only then the person will be able to contribute to the Board proceedings. People felt that it is a bit hard to discuss without any base on what the Board exactly means by skills as there can be both basic team working skills and also professional skills. There is also a risk that the outcome of a training is zero.
  • A volunteer suggested imparting any required skills during the election process itself. A standard training program needs to be designed to fill the gaps, if anyone has, and later on evaluated. The training curriculum can be optional, but the results from the evaluation should be considered in the election process, either publicly or privately.
Board-deleted / Community-elected selection committee
  • If we have to agree to one of these, then a selection committee (irrespective of how it is formed) should be only shortlisting the candidates for a final election by the community. Even in that case, it is better to have a community-driven selection committee.
Regional seats
  • For continents like Asia, there have been multiple regional seats and within that, there have to be subdivisions. For example, if there are two seats for Asia, then one seat can be allocated for large languages in that region, for example, Chinese and Hindi, and one for smaller language communities. This will help to improve the representation even better.
Candidate resources
  • While the idea sounds good in principle, it should be made sure it should “over-support” candidates. While support can be extended for logistical aspects, but not too much that candidates who are not skilled enough or fit for the Board get unnecessary advantages.