Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/Community Questions

The election ended 31 August 2021. No more votes will be accepted.
The results were announced on 7 September 2021. Please consider submitting any feedback regarding the 2021 election on the elections' post analysis page.

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Community questionsEdit

See Talk:Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A for the context.

  1. What do candidates think about increasing the number of volunteers in Wikimedia Foundation projects and how to make it happen?
  2. Where do you personally wish to see the Board in relation to other entities of the Wikiverse (communities, affiliates, etc.) in the future (cf. e.g. Ensure Equity in Decision-making)?
  3. How will candidates connect with the community once on the Board?
  4. Explain your thoughts on transparency and communication.
    1. Endorse. --Yair rand (talk) 23:57, 29 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  5. What are your thoughts on emerging Wikimedia communities?
  6. Why do you think you would be a good candidate for a seat on the board?
    1. Endorse. --Yair rand (talk) 23:57, 29 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  7. Is there a connection between your professional or financial interests and the Board? If so, please describe how you can ensure this does not interfere.
  8. How should the Foundation treat foundation-run projects that incur a high amount of on-wiki opposition?
    1. Endorse. I believe this is, by far, the most serious issue the Foundation needs to resolve. Alsee (talk) 20:38, 27 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    2. Endorse in the strongest possible terms. Seraphimblade (talk) 02:44, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    3. Endorse absolutely, "on-Wiki oppositions" and/or "over-all community disagreement"... -- টিটো দত্ত (কথা) 07:53, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    4. Endorse strongly. An important and sensitive issue. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 14:42, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    5. Endorse. --Yair rand (talk) 21:09, 29 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  9. Do you believe that there are limits to the scope of the Wikimedia Foundation, and if so, what are those limits?
  10. How do you envision wikis shaping the future of the internet, and how can the Wikimedia Foundation support wiki communities in order to make that vision a reality?
  11. How can we engage more experts (researchers, academia, practitioners) to join our movement?
    1. Endorse but might add "while maintaining the ability of non-experts to contribute." Smallbones (talk) 01:34, 22 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    2. Endorse -- Llywrch (talk) 07:00, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  12. What is your opinion on the claim of autonomy by the different Wikipedia communities and the attempts that Wikimedia wants to regulate a lot now centrally?
    1. Conditional Endorse. This is a good question in itself, but I consider #8 + #41 better. If those others are included then this question may have too much overlap. Alsee (talk) 20:38, 27 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  13. What is your opinion on the rebranding from Wikimedia to Wikipedia, which is blurring the difference?
    1. Endorse --Andreas JN466 20:21, 25 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    2. Endorse -- টিটো দত্ত (কথা) 15:37, 27 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    3. Endorse Alsee (talk) 20:38, 27 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    4. Endorse -Killarnee (CTU) 20:44, 27 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    5. Suggest removing "which is blurring the difference" -- that part makes this a leading question. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 00:51, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    6. Endorse with ProcrastinatingReader's suggested modification. Seraphimblade (talk) 02:44, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    7. Endorse this question in either format. -- Llywrch (talk) 07:00, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    8. EndorseAmmarpad (talk) 08:27, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    9. Endorse strongly. EpicPupper (talk) 17:29, 29 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  14. Do you feel the current structure of rules and processes of Wikipedia effectively prevents bias? As a community leader, what, if anything, do you think could be done to improve combatting bias?
  15. What do you think about the growing questioning that Wikimedia projects have globally and what would you do about it?
  16. There are several movement out there (especially that is founded by expert community) that have the same exact vision as we are (disseminating free knowledge on the Internet). But they decided to make their own platform (or using other platform) other than Wikipedia to reach their vision. What's your opinion about this? Should we try to "integrate" them to join Wikimedia, or just let them have their own independence.
  17. What are your thoughts on how the Wikimedia Foundation should engage more effectively with the Global South WikiCommunities in the near future (next 2 to 3 years)?
    1. Endorse, global south and/or "emerging communities". -- টিটো দত্ত (কথা) 15:41, 27 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  18. Should the Wikimedia Projects be more involved with the UN Decade of Action (for Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement, Biodiversity Convention Targets, etc...)? And what intermediary role can or should the Wikimedia Foundation play in this regard?
  19. What are your thoughts on the future of WikiSpecies, WikiNews, Wikiversity and other smaller Wikiprojects? And how can the Wikimedia Foundation support them?
    1. Endorse, absolutely, yes please. I'll add Wikisource, Wikivoyage also. These projects often do not get the required support, and I find this question very important. -- টিটো দত্ত (কথা) 07:57, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    2. Endorse (but fix the capitalization please). --Yair rand (talk) 21:09, 29 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  20. Do you have any specific goals or outcomes you want to achieve during your tenure as a board member?
  21. What does diversity in the Wikimedia Community mean to you? And do you have a plan on how can it be tangibly or quantifiably be achieved? (Example: Reduction in Data Gaps)
  22. There has been a steady growth of Wikimedia Foundation expenses over the years. What are your thoughts on this matter? Should there be 5 year caps on spending?
    1. Something like this would be good, but I don't think the question should specifically ask about caps. --Yair rand (talk) 23:57, 29 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  23. When it comes to allocating foundation resources, how would you want to prioritize funds between paying down technical debt and working on new strategic initiatives?
    1. Endorse this question. Probably the single one I would choose if only one question was asked. MarioGom (talk) 15:59, 19 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    2. Endorse the concept but prefer wording/formulation of #50. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 00:47, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  24. What do you think about the WMF using funds for purposes not related to Wikimedia projects?
    1. Endorse. --Yair rand (talk) 21:09, 29 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    2. Endorse - I should note that this should be interpreted as "clearly and directly", as our inherent nature means everything could be claimed to be vaguely related Nosebagbear (talk) 21:12, 29 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  25. Do you think the WMF should take any active role in relation to undisclosed paid editing?
  26. What do you think about Wikimedia_Enterprise? Do you think its criticsm is justfied?
    1. Endorse -Killarnee (CTU) 20:44, 27 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  27. Given recent comments by ex-staffers, should the new Board conduct an investigation about management misconduct at the WMF, including but not limited to bullying, union busting and discrimination based on sex, race or disabilities?
    1. Endorse. Especially given that multiple individuals raised such complaints, this needs to be investigated and resolved. Seraphimblade (talk) 02:59, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    2. Endorse -- Llywrch (talk) 07:00, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    3. (I recommend excluding the "including" part, to keep if brief.) --Yair rand (talk) 21:09, 29 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  28. How should the 4 community board seats due to be selected in 2022 be filled?
  29. Have you, or any members of your immediate family, received any financial benefits from the WMF or a WMF affiliate in the past 5 years?
  30. How did you contribute to the Movement Strategy process, the Movement Brands Project, the UCOC process, the proposed Bylaws amendments, and the call for feeback on community board selections?
  31. Under what (if any) circumstances should the board extend the term of community-selected trustees?
  32. When should Foundation projects require explicit approval by the community and how should that approval be assessed?
    1. Conditional Endorse. This is a good question in itself, but I consider #8 + #41 better. If those others are included then this question may have too much overlap. Alsee (talk) 20:38, 27 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  33. If you had been a Board member in 2019, would you have supported the Board's statement on the ban of Fram from the English Wikipedia? Would you have proposed any changes or additions to this statement?
  34. Allegations of a hostile workplace environment at WMF have been made by former employees here and here. What is your reaction to this and is there anything that you would do as a board member to change this?
  35. Katherine Maher recently floated the idea of paying contributors. Should the Foundation start discussions on what a model of compensation would look like?
    1. Endorse -Killarnee (CTU) 20:44, 27 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  36. Given the amount of work stewards do, do you think stewards should be paid? Why (not)? If yes, how much?
  37. Should there be a waiting period between the time a Board member leaves the Board, and they take on an employee, consultant, or other paid role with the Foundation?
    1. Endorse. Chico Venancio (talk) 19:44, 24 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    2. Endorse --Andreas JN466 20:21, 25 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    3. Endorse -Killarnee (CTU) 20:44, 27 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    4. Endorse. Seraphimblade (talk) 02:50, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    5. Endorse -- Llywrch (talk) 07:00, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    6. Endorse --RaiderAspect (talk) 12:57, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    7. Endorse -- though I'd prefer How long should be the waiting period... rather than Should there be a waiting period.... AllyD (talk) 06:07, 29 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    8. Endorse -- B25es (talk) 16:57, 29 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  38. To reduce the possibility of conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflict of interest do you commit to not accept any employed or remunerated position with the Foundation for at least the duration of your stay on the board and 6 months until after leaving the board?
    1. Endorse --Andreas JN466 20:21, 25 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    2. Endorse. Seraphimblade (talk) 02:50, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    3. Endorse -- Llywrch (talk) 07:00, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    4. Endorse -- AllyD (talk) 06:07, 29 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    5. Endorse -- B25es (talk) 16:57, 29 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  39. Non-affiliated volunteers (i.e. volunteers who are not members of any Wikimedia affiliate) do most of the work on the wikis, yet elect only a quarter of board seats. Do you think this is right?
  40. How can WMF deal with proposed or established intermediary liability rules in different countries and safeguard the local Wikimedia volunteers from prosecution by government agencies?
  41. The Foundation rejected repeated calls to make the Movement Strategy a consensus process. I believe none of the resulting projects have an established consensus, including the Code of Conduct. Rebranding was 92% opposed,[1] and an item to undermine our core content quality policies appears to have 100% opposition.[2] I believe those running the process clearly advanced their own agenda, disregarding all opposition. Do you consider the Strategy process legitimate? Do staff have a valid mandate to impose these Strategy projects on us? (Please to not get sidetracked on the merits of any particular project, this is a process question.)
  42. Would you be in favor of hiring an outside firm to do an independent audit of board actions over the preceding two years?
  43. As a board member, would you encourage the board to evaluate the wisdom of close relationships with specific outside groups such as the Tides Foundation?
  44. What are your thoughts on how to handle the competing representation issues between giving "seats in the room" for smaller/medium projects at the expense of reducing the "per-editor" vote of large projects, such as may be a question for the Global Council? An example of a proposal along these lines can be seen here, with issues raised on the talk page.
  45. What do you think about the problem that there are arbitration committees in a few wikis, but not in all, and so the parties can transfer their conflict to other wikis in order not to be punished there, or if the conflict was already on the other wiki, there is no independent dispute resolution body at all? What do you think of a single point of contact for all wikis? Otherwise there would often only be a) abandoning the project to avoid the bullying or b) a civil lawsuit.
  46. How important is privacy for you? Are you in favor of anonymous editors not automatically publishing their IP address, or should Wikipedia continue to lag behind in terms of privacy?
  47. Several severe communication issues have been reported with the iOS and Android mobile apps and the web client, all currently in production. Do you agree with the WMF's response to these? More generally, how can the community ensure the difficulties they experience with the software are prioritised in development resource allocations?
    1. Endorse - Nosebagbear (talk) 10:01, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    2. Endorse MarioGom (talk) 16:19, 29 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  48. Do you feel the current spending and available personnel on development issues (both on building new features and fixing bugs in existing ones) is too low, too high, or about right?
    1. Endorse but I would favor wording of #23. MarioGom (talk) 16:19, 29 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  49. Which past Board resolutions or other actions would you vote to overturn, if any?
  50. What percentage of the WMF's annual budget should be allocated among the following categories: (1) maintaining server uptime now and in the foreseeable future, (2) clearing the phabricator backlog, (3) recruiting new participants, and (4) everything else?
    1. Conditional Endorse. Another category should be added: "Improving and modernizing the interfaces for readers and editors" not limited to the current phabricator backlog. DGG (talk) 01:56, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  51. A number of board members, as well as C-level Foundation employees, have been brought onboard who never provide any clue what their opinions or thoughts about Wikimedia's mission is or should be -- neither at the beginning of their tenure nor at any time afterwards. What thoughts do you have about requiring them to provide some statement to the volunteers on this matter? -- Llywrch (talk) 07:00, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
  52. Do you believe that communication with individual editors as a Trustee is important? What are you views on how quickly, and in how much detail, Trustees should be expected to reply to individual queries by editors with regards to issues and their role (as an average across the year/term)?
  53. Do you think a community member can be an effective CEO of the WMF? Should the WMF look within the communities, rather than outside, to fill that vacancy?
  54. Do you think that a larger portion of the board seats should be directly elected by the community?
  55. Wikimedia Foundation has no dedicated accessibility team, do you think we should be doing more given both legal (Americans with Disabilities Act etc.) and ethical ramifications? Should web accessibility be a commitment by the Board of Trustees itself, like with, say, BLP policy?
  56. Name three elephants in the room. How do you propose to deal with them?
  57. From the 8 prioritized Movement Strategy initiatives (letterd A to H on Movement_Strategy), the top priority is creating a Movement Charter whereby a Global Council will be created, and resposibilities will be transfered from the (Board of Trustees) of the Wikimedia Foundation to the Global Council. Please elaborate on this top priority.
  58. Should the Board wait until after the elections to choose the next CEO?
  59. What skills and qualities would you look for in the next CEO?
  60. Should the WMF fundraise in impoverished countries?
  61. Who is ultimately responsible for the Board of Trustees collective ability to follow its own procedures, policies and code of conduct?

Answers by candidatesEdit

Create a H3 header with your name and the answer for the questions you wish to answer, identifying the question number in the process. An example is given below.

Mike PeelEdit

I am open to answering more questions here or at User talk:Mike Peel. Please ping me if you want any clarifications to my answers so far. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 12:44, 11 July 2021 (UTC)[]

  1. Please see my answer at Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question1.
  2. Please see my answer at Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question2.
  3. Please see my answer at Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question3.
  4. Improving the WMF’s transparency and communication are both vital, and the absence of these has needlessly caused friction between WMF and the community in the past. For the WMF Board, I would aim to increase the transparency of how it operates - particularly through the public Board minutes and other communication. I would also do my best to persuade the WMF staff to communicate more frequently and to involve community members in discussions as early as possible, through the appropriate channels within the WMF.
  5. Please see my answer at Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question6.
  6. Please see my candidate statement. ;-) In brief: I think I would bring an excellent understanding of the community, and experience with being on the WMUK Board and the FDC, to the WMF board, which is particularly important during a time of transition (new ED and implementing movement strategy).
  7. I am a radio astronomer by profession, which does not have any obvious professional or financial connection to WMF activities. I do list my WIkimedia activities on my professional CV, particularly those that connect to astronomy outreach activities. I also publicly document the financial compensation I’ve received from Wikimedia at User:Mike Peel/Wikimedia compensation - mostly scholarships and travel/activities related to the FDC and WMUK.
  8. Very carefully! The activities that WMF have been doing are important, and shouldn’t stop completely, but the opposition that is raised on-wiki is normally well justified. Ideally the conflicts should not happen in the first place - there should be community involvement in the activities at every stage, and the projects should continuously incorporate community feedback. Where a conflict does arise, though, the activities should pause until the conflict has been understood and resolved. The WMF Board can’t stop conflicts from happening, since the work is driven by WMF staff, but it can provide input and guidance on how to avoid or resolve them when they happen through the appropriate internal WMF channels.
  9. There are obviously limits to what WMF can do (it’s not infinite!). I think there are also clear divisions on what the WMF can do well, and what is better done by the Wikimedia affiliates and communities - in particular with activities in different countries around the world. There are many other limits, but the question is rather vague.
  10. Please see my answer at Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question4.
  11. As a researcher myself, the main barrier I see to other researchers participating is a lack of time. Researchers are often very busy with teaching, administration, experiments, and research. When they are assessed, part of it is on outreach (which writing Wikipedia articles matches well with - caveat COI when it’s the research topic they work on!), but that only counts for <10%, with publications (papers/books/etc.) and other research outputs rated much more highly. So in order to get them to spend time contributing to Wikimedia, you need to provide ways that they can quantify their contributions (e.g., a user contributions dashboard) and take credit for them (e.g., automatic lists of articles they’ve significantly contributed to) within their day jobs, or you need to convince them that the work is so important it should take priority over other things (e.g., talk about page views, how they can save time with teaching if the related Wikipedia article is good enough, etc.). That said, many academics do contribute already as Wikimedians - whether named or anonymous. :-)
  12. Please see my answer at Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question8.
  13. Please see my answer at Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question5.
  14. Please see my answer at Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question9.
  15. I don’t understand this question - what ‘growing questioning’?
  16. I think it depends on why they have made their own platform. If it’s within their own organisation then it may have been required for funding/organisational reasons - and at least we can use it for references. If it’s because they are doing something different to Wikipedia or another Wikimedia project (e.g., Wikivoyage), then it’s worth having a conversation about whether they could merge in - and if it makes sense, if there are direct benefits (accessing the wider community/linking with Wikidata/etc.), then I think that’s a good thing. Similar with if they didn’t consider participating in a Wikimedia project that already exists - in which case, it needs a conversation to see if they could merge in. Also more generally, it’s worth talking with them about adopting a suitable Creative Commons license if they haven’t already. All of this involves conversations, which I think are mostly best driven by the community and the affiliates, rather than WMF directly - but WMF should have a clear process for starting new projects, or way to discuss importing existing ones, as needed.
  17. Please see my answer at Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question6.
  18. To some extent, yes, where there is clear overlap with the Wikimedia activities - primarily with distributing knowledge (under ‘Quality Education’. The Sustainable Development Goals were used during Wikimania 2019, and you can sort of shoe-horn Wikimedia activities to match those, but often they don’t fit (‘Clean water and sanitation’ is good, but off-topic for Wikimedia, except for covering them on-wiki).
  19. Please see my answer at Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question10.
  20. The main task will be onboarding the new ED, and making sure that WMF is moving in the right direction. Related to that is implementing the movement strategy, Global Council, new funding committees, and more changes that will be happening over the next few years. I also want to see much more transparency from the WMF Board and the WMF more generally, and more support for affiliates to sustainably grow globally.
  21. Please see my answer at Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question7.
  22. I would like to see much more information publicly provided on the WMF’s annual plan. While I was on the FDC, I was pushing for it to review the WMF’s budget as well, but there was never enough information published to enable a detailed review, and the feedback provided to WMF wasn’t necessarily taken on-board (there was no ‘stick’ like there was for the affiliates, where funding reductions could be applied, just the ‘carrot’ of listening to feedback - which wasn’t quite enough). I hope the information provided to the Board is more detailed, and I would push for more information to be made public, as well as reviewing any significant increases in budget or continuation of high-cost budget items to make sure they are justified. (Update: WMF has published Wikimedia Foundation Medium-term plan 2019/Annual Plan 2021-2022 - which is abysmal in its lack of detail, timing (coming after the start of the financial year), and lack of any opportunity for community input. This really needs to change.)
  23. I would listen to the developers here, but would lean towards reducing technical debt. New initiatives are shiny, but reducing technical debt on existing software (and also reducing existing bugs through phabricator) is really important. New initiatives can potentially get external funding (as has been seen through Structured Data on Commons and the like), while reducing technical debt can typically only be done with core funding, and keeping this low is part of good developer/organisational practice.
  24. Please see my answer at Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question11.
  25. WMF should uphold the Terms of Use, which includes a section on paid contributions without disclosure. It is up to Legal how to do that, though, so I would defer to them about this - but would hope that reports of undisclosed paid editing would at least be investigated and, if appropriate, acted on.
  26. I was one of the community members that Wikimedia Enterprise consulted during the initial development stages. I have concerns about it, particularly that it may disenfranchise smaller organisations who can’t sign up for it, but on the other hand it really doesn’t make sense to use Wikimedia donor funds to cover the cost of supplying information to Google and other big organisations, so on the whole I think it makes sense.
  27. I’m not sure if this is the same or different from question #34? Any allegations of misconduct should be investigated appropriately, although I’m not sure if the WMF Board would be involved or not (it depends on the level of severity/seniority).
  28. I’m not sure what the current plans are here. There is definite benefit from having multiple different approaches to recruiting trustees, and having a mix of community, affiliate, and direct appointments is good. Perhaps having the affiliates recommend 4 trustees is a bit too much, though, and I generally think there should be more community-selected trustees.
  29. Only those reported at User:Mike Peel/Wikimedia compensation. In particular, I received an eScholarship Wikicite grant last year, and various scholarships and travel reimbursement in the past. None of my immediate family is active with Wikimedia to my knowledge.
  30. I was involved with the Movement Strategy in its early days, including attending the Wikimedia strategy meeting in 2017. However, from around 2018 onwards I became less active, when participation became more restricted to selected volunteers, and I also took a break from Wikimedia organisational activities to focus on other things (particularly Wikimedia content, learning Wikidata, and pywikibot programming). I have participated a bit with the Movement Brands project, I was interviewed about it at a Wikimania (I think 2016?), and I have participated in the surveys and the online RfC. I haven’t contributed to the UCOC process (it seemed to be going well without my intervention. ;-) ). You can see my comments on the bylaws change at Talk:Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_noticeboard/October_2020_-_Proposed_Bylaws_changes. I did not participate in the call for feedback about community board seats (I wasn’t sure if I would be standing, and wanted to avoid any perceived COI).
  31. I think such extensions should be very rare - but that a global pandemic is a sufficiently important circumstance! It has been important to keep stability during such a significant event. It is difficult to think of other exceptions though.
  32. The obvious answer is ‘when they will be controversial’. However, my preference would be to see community consultation embedded in projects from the start, so that controversies don’t happen in the first place. For particularly significant projects/changes, it’s good to run RfCs or polls to make sure that the community is OK with them, ideally evaluated the same way as any other RfC would be (but probably time-boxed to make sure it doesn’t end up pending forever!).
  33. I would have recused as I have (negatively) interacted with Fram.
  34. See my answer to #27 above. Any allegations of misconduct should be investigated appropriately, although I’m not sure if the WMF Board would be involved or not (it depends on the level of severity/seniority).
  35. I think this would be really difficult, and would need a very wide discussion before anything happened. In general I don’t think that staff should do things that volunteers can do. However, there may be specific areas where it is possible - for example, we pay most tech developers, even though there are also volunteer developers, to ensure that the sites keep working. Things like per diems to photograph events would be a lot less controversial than paying to write articles.
  36. In the first instance, the stewards should be asked if they would want such a change to happen! Then if so, the wider community consulted. Given that it is a highly specific role, it might be possible, providing it would just be the technical action and not decision-making. I’m not sure about the liability implications though. If it did happen, then any pay should be set by standard rates, and it should be publicly advertised - not just given to existing stewards.
  37. Yes, definitely. The Wikimedia UK wmuk:Trustee Conflict of Interest Policy sets out reasonable rules here, and I would like to see the WMF adopt something similar (or perhaps a bit stricter) to provide a clear line between being a trustee and in a staff/contractor/other paid role. This should apply not just within the WMF, but also within the Wikimedia movement (i.e., including affiliates).
  38. Yes, I commit to not accept any employed or remunerated position with the Foundation for at least the duration of my stay on the board and 6 months until after leaving the board (if elected!).
  39. I think you’re drawing lines here that aren’t real - we’re all part of the Wikimedia community. As I said above, I think having different methods to select WMF Board members is a good thing, although I would have preferred to see more community-selected trustees and fewer appointed trustees.
  40. I don’t know, this is a question for WMF Legal!
  41. I consider the strategy process to be legitimate, since it was highly community-driven (although I would also have liked to see it more consensus-driven and open on-wiki), and for work to implement it to take place. However, it’s always worth confirming things as they are implemented, since consensus can change.
  42. Why? Having regular board reviews is good, but this seems oddly specific (last 2 years) and vague (an audit asking about what?) at the same time.
  43. I think close relationships with like-thinking organisations is a good thing, although it’s always important to check things and make sure that they are the best thing for the WMF, or if things should be diversified. Is there a reason why Tides Foundation was mentioned specifically here?
  44. This is a difficult question, since you don’t want a single wiki to dominate the vote, but you also don’t want to disenfranchise voters. I don’t think you can easily split things up directly by language/project, since people are often active over multiple projects. I don’t know the answer here.
  45. I think this is a question for Trust and Safety if it’s happening globally, and for individual wikis that don’t have conflict resolution systems in place if needed. It’s worth remembering that contributors that have had problems on one wiki can contribute positively on other wikis.
  46. I think the level privacy is up to the contributor themselves - personally I am comfortable editing under my real name, others prefer pseudonyms. I do think it’s odd that IP addresses are published automatically, without the editor being given a choice about it (although they could just register an account to continue being anonymous, they probably only learn that later on!), and it’s good that this will change in the future.
  47. Personally, in general I think apps should add more features, not remove them, compared to the standard view, so I would like to see the apps improved. It’s good to see staff communicating with the community about this issue, although more of a conversation and less of a ‘this is how it will be’ would be good. However, this is a staff decision, not a WMF board one.
  48. I’m not sure, I would want to look into the details here (which aren’t publicly available to my knowledge). In general, I would like to see more community-linked development work taking place, though, particularly through the Community Wishlist (so many issues raised, so few that get resolved!)
  49. I can’t think of any specifically, did you have any in mind?
  50. I don’t have a numerical answer for you: this is a difficult balancing act that is done when deciding on the budget, and depends on costs and existing and upcoming person and technical capacity. See my answer to #23 above about technical debt/phabricator. Improving and modernising the interface is also important, and in my mind is somewhat linked to technical debt, although it requires a lot more community consensus. :-)
  51. I think this is something that should be covered in the introductions that are sent around for the new people. I’m sore it’s something that is evaluated during their selection, or if not, it’s definitely something that should be considered during the onboarding process.
  52. I think it’s important for trustees to hear and interact with the community at large. Exactly how that will happen depends on the individual trustee to decide, I don’t think that direct interactions can be insisted on, although I personally think that is good. How quickly and how much detail will heavily depend on the topics and individuals.
  53. A CEO could come from either internally or externally, it’s really important to look at both, and to make the best possible decision at the end of the day.
  54. Technically, none of the seats are directly elected (candidates are selected by election, who are then appointed by the Board). I would have liked to have seen more community-selected seats, though.
  55. Accessibility is important. I’m not sure if a dedicated team is needed or not, though. From what I’ve seen, the tools to make things accessible exist (please correct me if I’m wrong!), and the Wikimedia communities are generally good at adopting them, they just need to be used more widely - but that’s a community issue more than a WMF issue.
  56. Bob, Ishmael and Jennifer. They seem quite happy, but I might arrange for more food for them. (I might come back and answer this question more seriously later. ;-) )
  57. I think this is generally a good step forward, and look forward to seeing these roles more clearly separated.
  58. Ideally, yes, but I’m not sure how well the timelines match up. Regardless, I would look forward to helping onboard them and working with them.
  59. There’s a whole webpage for this, in general I would look for the ability to effectively lead in a complex, community-orientated movement - which is a difficult balancing act as you need to simultaneously provide leadership and listen to a wide-ranging set of stakeholders.
  60. Yes, both because impoverished countries are not uniformly impoverished (you typically get a wide range of haves and have-nots), and because donating to Wikimedia is one of the ways you can support the movement and feel like you are part of it. I think we should make it a lot easier to donate time rather than money where possible, though.
  61. Ultimately, those that elect it - i.e., you - as well as the collective responsibility that the WMF Board of Trustees itself holds.

Clarification requests (Mike Peel)Edit

Thanks, Mike. I hope other candidates will follow your example. I for one won't vote for anyone who doesn't.

Re Question #60 ("fundraising in impoverished countries"), did you think the banners shown last summer to all readers in India, as depicted in this Signpost piece, were appropriate? Apart from issues around whether or not banner wording reflected the WMF's true financial status, I would also like you to share your thoughts about the amount requested from readers, bearing in mind that—

  • the median per capita income in India is $616
  • the suggested amount on the banners was 150 Rupees, i.e. $2, which represents about 1/300 of people's median annual income
  • annual WMF CEO compensation most recently topped $400,000, almost 700 times the median annual income in India. --Andreas JN466 12:48, 12 July 2021 (UTC)[]
@Jayen466: In general I've had issues with fundraising for a long time (basically ever since the chapters were stopped from doing it!). On the whole I do tend to think that banners are too aggressive, and can easily not be suitable for local areas (like your India example) - I would like to see things devolved more locally here as well, at least confirming messages with local communities before running them. I do really like how the fundraising team does A/B quantitative testing though (although I don't think the results are public anywhere...). However, in practice fundraising is an WMF operational issue, so being on the WMF board I'm not sure how much it could be impacted. (but I could try...) Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 14:57, 12 July 2021 (UTC)[]
Thanks, Mike. When I asked a few weeks ago who in the WMF decides to continue fundraising well after year goals have been achieved (in the 2020/2021 fiscal year completed two weeks ago, the WMF took around $50 million more in revenue than its originally published year goal), the answer I was given on Talk:Endowment was that these decisions are taken by the "WMF leadership and board". So, if selected, you may well find that your peers on the board will expect you to fall in line with their practices. (The fundraising banners currently displayed in Japan sound as desperate as ever.)
Re Question #26, on the Wikimedia Enterprise API service, firstly let me say that I share your concerns about "disenfranchising smaller organisations who can't sign up for it". As it is, the new for-profit company will primarily serve trillion-dollar companies whose wealth is in part based on the fact that they go to quite extraordinary lengths to avoid paying taxes in the countries in which they operate. By depriving less wealthy countries of billions in tax income, these companies directly contribute to the underfunding of education systems in these countries – a business strategy yielding results that are diametrically opposed to the "knowledge equity" the WMF purports to serve. Are you sure it is ethical for the WMF to enter into long-term business relationships with these companies? --Andreas JN466 11:44, 14 July 2021 (UTC)[]
@Jayen466: On fundraising, it will at least be an interesting discussion to participate in. ;-) On #26, I'm not sure there's a choice - those organisations are already using a lot of bandwidth and resources, and a lot of that will be paid for by donor funds (unless the organisation choses to donate to essentially cover what it's already costing). So one way of looking at it is that making sure that they have to pay their way by having the Enterprise API is the least-bad option. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 15:58, 14 July 2021 (UTC)[]
Well, the alternative would be to not lift a finger for them and, if it really comes to that (I doubt it would), do without the occasional million they throw the WMF's way. But I take your point. Thanks, Mike. --Andreas JN466 09:39, 15 July 2021 (UTC)[]

Dariusz Jemielniak ("pundit")Edit

Please, feel free to ping me for any clarifications needed. Pundit (talk) 18:58, 16 July 2021 (UTC)[]

  1. What do candidates think about increasing the number of volunteers in Wikimedia Foundation projects and how to make it happen?
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question1.
  2. Where do you personally wish to see the Board in relation to other entities of the Wikiverse (communities, affiliates, etc.) in the future (cf. e.g. Ensure Equity in Decision-making)?
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question2 and in my candidate statement.Also, I believe in distributing decision-making powers, as well as funds distribution. I'm very supportive of regional, community-driven funds dissemination (like the FDC, but local). I am also supportive of the Global Council. Ultimately, the Board should focus on the WMF, but only after the aforementioned goals are reached.
  3. How will candidates connect with the community once on the Board?
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question3. In short: by being available to questions and responding whenever there is a need for clarification. One thing worth remembering is that trustees are required to not make any promises on behalf of the board before the Board makes a decision, as well as not to reply on contentious topics if it can be read as the Board statement, which is super difficult. During our major crises I tried to balance the need for reaching out with the need of the Board to wait.
  4. Explain your thoughts on transparency and communication.
    Transparency and communication are very important, especially at times of crises. I'd add that one thing that this board is not really good at is communicating early, and communicating often - including the intent, ideas, etc. Quite a number of major crises stemmed from the fact that the communication was just too late to bring everyone aboard for a constructive discussion. I'm very supportive of increasing the transparency and communication, and I'm hopeful a critical mass on the board will be reached.
  5. What are your thoughts on emerging Wikimedia communities?
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question6.
  6. Why do you think you would be a good candidate for a seat on the board?
    I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career... No, seriously :) I've been a Wikimedian for a long time, like every other candidate, and I accumulated experience from various functions in the movement (admin, bureaucrat, checkuser, steward, ombudsperson, chair of the FDC). On top of that I also have indispensable experience of having served as the WMF Board Trustee, which will be vital for onboarding three new trustees, as well as the new CEO - it cannot be done by someone who joins now. Outside of Wikimedia world, I am a relatively accomplished professor of management (with appointments at Cornell, Berkeley, MIT, and currently serving as faculty associate at Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard; with several books with top publishers and dozens of articles analyzing open collaboration). But I also have some real experience from some real other boards - of a public traded company, Escola S.A., and of the largest science center in CEE. I developed and sold startups, including the largest online dictionary in Poland. I also bring a useful perspective of someone from a non-Western country, who lived in real censorship for 20 USD per month, and visited a Western country for the first time already as an adult. Apart from that, I have over 20 years of executive/oversight experience from the non-profit educational sector: I was an ED of Collegium Invisibile association for 6 years (a Soros network organization for gifted students), and I've been on the board of English Teaching Program for nearly 20 years (a program focused on improving skills of English teachers from small Polish villages).
  7. Is there a connection between your professional or financial interests and the Board? If so, please describe how you can ensure this does not interfere.
    I have no connection between my professional or financial interests and the Board.
  8. How should the Foundation treat foundation-run projects that incur a high amount of on-wiki opposition?
    Tensions with the community use up the most important resource we have: volunteers' time. This is why even when the WMF is technically right, it should not force it on the communities. We just don't need this, anyone! One thing we need to do much better though is gathering feedback from the communities, so that the loudest voices do not obscure the community's voice as a whole. In my candidate statement I postulate developing tools and methods to improve that.
  9. Do you believe that there are limits to the scope of the Wikimedia Foundation, and if so, what are those limits?
    In my candidate statement I postulate regionalization, letting all organizations in the movement grow at a similar pace, and overall I believe that the role of the WMF should be supportive, but not directorial. The Foundation should support the communities in finding reasonable solutions to the problems they have. Often time the Foundation is right about identifying the problems, but jumps the gun prior to finding remedies in a dialog.
  10. How do you envision wikis shaping the future of the internet, and how can the Wikimedia Foundation support wiki communities in order to make that vision a reality?
    As I mention in the candidate statement, I believe that AR revolution is coming and wikis will have to undergo a major change to adapt. I also answer part of this question here. Additionally, I believe that video and audio interfaces are already here and we are a bit behind (for various valid reasons, but still). I have huge hopes for Abstract Wikipedia, I believe it can become the next big thing since Wikidata. Wikis have still lots of knowledge niches to fill, and one avenue I'm particularly passionate about is tightening the links with Academia - more on that in the next question. All these big challenges call for the Foundation to serve as an enabler and a strong supporter of the communities - as the Foundation can try to do any of these things, but will not do all of them well. Collaborating with and supporting the communities provides the necessary leverage/multiplier.
  11. How can we engage more experts (researchers, academia, practitioners) to join our movement?
    I extensively wrote about this here, or here, or here, and spoke at our meetups, as well as in some other venues. In short, we need to help academics understand that (a) Wikipedia is the go-to knowledge resource, (b) they can make the world a better place by contributing to it (c) it will make their life easier if they just bear to reach the threshold of learning how to edit. I am also a proponent of starting partnerships with large universities and, in a longer perspective, counting Wikipedia editing towards tenure reviews. Experts will never replace the non-expert contributors, but they can help us in fighting the disinformation.
  12. What is your opinion on the claim of autonomy by the different Wikipedia communities and the attempts that Wikimedia wants to regulate a lot now centrally?
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question8.
  13. What is your opinion on the rebranding from Wikimedia to Wikipedia, which is blurring the difference?
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question5.
  14. Do you feel the current structure of rules and processes of Wikipedia effectively prevents bias? As a community leader, what, if anything, do you think could be done to improve combatting bias?
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question9.
  15. What do you think about the growing questioning that Wikimedia projects have globally and what would you do about it?
    If the question is about the growing feeling that Wikimedia projects are less and less important, I'd basically disagree. In my very own research I've discovered a huge increase of interest in editing and reading Wikipedia recently :) but honestly, I'm not sure what the question is.
  16. There are several movement out there (especially that is founded by expert community) that have the same exact vision as we are (disseminating free knowledge on the Internet). But they decided to make their own platform (or using other platform) other than Wikipedia to reach their vision. What's your opinion about this? Should we try to "integrate" them to join Wikimedia, or just let them have their own independence.
    I wish them good luck. If their goals are aligned with ours, I will be happy for their success. I definitely hope that they will understand that instead of aking their own platform they could join forces with the best one in the known multiverse :) I think we should invite our friends to join us, but of course also let them have their independence though, as the ability to make a platform for yourself is something people just want. Many forks have started on a whim of just doing things in a different way, and that's ok.
  17. What are your thoughts on how the Wikimedia Foundation should engage more effectively with the Global South WikiCommunities in the near future (next 2 to 3 years)?
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question6.
  18. Should the Wikimedia Projects be more involved with the UN Decade of Action (for Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement, Biodiversity Convention Targets, etc...)? And what intermediary role can or should the Wikimedia Foundation play in this regard?
    The focus on climate is something that is important to me personally. I've even received funding for a large research grant, which I'm a Principal Investigator of, to focus on climate change denialism online. I believe that the WMF can start useful partnerships (like the one with the WHO regarding C19), and quite a lot of our content can be repurposed for sustainability education. However, I am not sure if there is anything else major that we can/do, besides meeting our existing committments on sustainable development.
  19. What are your thoughts on the future of WikiSpecies, WikiNews, Wikiversity and other smaller Wikiprojects? And how can the Wikimedia Foundation support them?
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question10.
  20. Do you have any specific goals or outcomes you want to achieve during your tenure as a board member?
    Please, see my candidate statement. In short, I will be best positioned to onboard the new ED (this task cannot be, obviously, done by people who will be just joining the Board, as it is crucial to understand how the board works, how the WMF works, and finally how the community works). I also hope to advance regionalization of power/resources, as well as internal leadership trainings.
  21. What does diversity in the Wikimedia Community mean to you? And do you have a plan on how can it be tangibly or quantifiably be achieved? (Example: Reduction in Data Gaps)
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question7.
  22. There has been a steady growth of Wikimedia Foundation expenses over the years. What are your thoughts on this matter? Should there be 5 year caps on spending?
    Good question! As I write in my statement, I don't like the growth for the sake of growth in itself. It is also dangerous to grow more than 20% per year and I generally advice conservative rather than rapid expansion, unless there are extraordinary circumstances. However, I also believe we need to provide for our affiliates and grow in the new regions - thus I would be against a 5 year moratorium on spending increases (if this is what you mean). BTW, when I was the chair of the FDC, we were able to introduce reviewing the WMF budget by the FDC, although on a general level. I believe that the community's oversight is important and the FDC provided that, I regret that it was effectively frozen.
  23. When it comes to allocating foundation resources, how would you want to prioritize funds between paying down technical debt and working on new strategic initiatives?
    This is something that happens in many organizations. IMHO the only solution is having separate budgets and working on separate fronts. Technical debt is crucial, but defending our projects against becoming socially obsolete is crucial, too. We also need new editors. It cannot be a matter of either/or. Btw, there is quite a lot of simple fixes that we have been waiting for years...
  24. What do you think about the WMF using funds for purposes not related to Wikimedia projects?
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question11.
  25. Do you think the WMF should take any active role in relation to undisclosed paid editing?
    The problem of PR disinformation, as well as other forms of malicious paid editing is growing. I believe the WMF has to address it and there are some tools (including ML ones) that we need to develop, as well as editor oversight support tools.
  26. What do you think about Wikimedia_Enterprise? Do you think its criticsm is justfied?
    I think that as long as we provide high quality access to everyone for free, there is absolutely no harm in letting giants like Google pay back - even if they do, it is going to be a fraction of value they get from us. In practical terms, it is MUCH easier to invoice corporations than get a donation - donations have really small budgets, while invoices are a normal part of the costs of running their business.
  27. Given recent comments by ex-staffers, should the new Board conduct an investigation about management misconduct at the WMF, including but not limited to bullying, union busting and discrimination based on sex, race or disabilities?
    All allegiations of misconduct deserve an investigation, and according to my knowledge the WMF treats such allegiations super seriously. If there are concerns about systemic biases, even an external investigation is merited on some occassions.
  28. How should the 4 community board seats due to be selected in 2022 be filled?
    I'm not sure - we are experimenting with the current elections. All in all I see value in diversity of approaches, but also we need to make sure that we recruit the most competent people fit for the role from our community. Ultimately, if we are able to attract experts from within the community, I would be supportive of reducing the number of externally-sourced seats, but we are far from there.
  29. Have you, or any members of your immediate family, received any financial benefits from the WMF or a WMF affiliate in the past 5 years?
    No, although as a trustee I had my travel/accommodation covered for Wikimanias and in-person board meetings.
  30. How did you contribute to the Movement Strategy process, the Movement Brands Project, the UCOC process, the proposed Bylaws amendments, and the call for feeback on community board selections?
    I took part in these initiatives from the board side - so in many respects I was not able to participate simultaneously as a community member. In the strategy process, I took part in Capacity Building group.
  31. Under what (if any) circumstances should the board extend the term of community-selected trustees?
    Only if there are extraneous circumstances - such as a global pandemic, putting an enormous strain on our volunteers and staff. Democracy is important and healthy.
  32. When should Foundation projects require explicit approval by the community and how should that approval be assessed?
    There is some overlap with this answer: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question8.In general, it is easy to evaluate in retrospect, but difficult ahead of time. Any major controversies need to be avoided. That's why I've strongly supported a community council since the beginning (I was even advocating for a "community senate" before it was cool! :) - it is much easier when we have more direct channels and feedback from legitimized members of the community.
  33. If you had been a Board member in 2019, would you have supported the Board's statement on the ban of Fram from the English Wikipedia? Would you have proposed any changes or additions to this statement?
    Yes, and I did. Which is not to say that the situation was dealt with gracefully or well. I think that there were many community steps that could have been taken prior, and weren't. Ultimately, ArbCom review of the ban was the optimal solution in the circumstances, IMHO.
  34. Allegations of a hostile workplace environment at WMF have been made by former employees here and here. What is your reaction to this and is there anything that you would do as a board member to change this?
    Please, see my answer to #27 above. I can also add that I did reach out to help investigate the situation mentioned.
  35. Katherine Maher recently floated the idea of paying contributors. Should the Foundation start discussions on what a model of compensation would look like?
    In some limited scope we do that - when people are paid in residence to e.g. scan old photos. However, I think that the large scale beauty of our projects is that they are done for fun, curiosity, and my concern is that a payscale could do more harm than good. Paying for writing articles is something I somewhat frown upon... well, I'd be much more open to developing better protocols with Academia, and having students write articles as academic assignments (as I postulated on a number of occassions).
  36. Given the amount of work stewards do, do you think stewards should be paid? Why (not)? If yes, how much?
    As a former (although not very active) steward, I have to say - no. Paying is not a good motivation to be a steward, or an admin, or any other functionary. However, what we should do (and what I postulate in my candidacy statement) is organizing free leadership programs for our key volunteers and functionaries. With time, when we have structure of these courses well established, the fact of finishing a Wikimedia training program will actually have some value even in our day jobs - move, Harvard MBA!
  37. Should there be a waiting period between the time a Board member leaves the Board, and they take on an employee, consultant, or other paid role with the Foundation?
    Yes. Given the amount of controversy and perceived COI it creates, definitely. Even in cases where it is a reasonable organizational solution or temporary quick fix, it creates an atmosphere that is overall more destructive than constructive.
  38. To reduce the possibility of conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflict of interest do you commit to not accept any employed or remunerated position with the Foundation for at least the duration of your stay on the board and 6 months until after leaving the board?
    Yes, absolutely: I commit to not accept any employed or remunerated position with the Foundation for at least the duration of my stay on the board and 6 months until after leaving the board, if elected.
  39. Non-affiliated volunteers (i.e. volunteers who are not members of any Wikimedia affiliate) do most of the work on the wikis, yet elect only a quarter of board seats. Do you think this is right?
    As a person not coming from the affiliate world, I have to say that I've always seen this as a wall - it is difficult to get recognized if you're not an activist. All in all, the whole composition of the board is changing - but to be fair, I also believe that most affiliate representatives are also active volunteers.
  40. How can WMF deal with proposed or established intermediary liability rules in different countries and safeguard the local Wikimedia volunteers from prosecution by government agencies?
    I honestly do not feel competent to answer that, but the WMF legal team is really doing amazing things, so they would know!
  41. The Foundation rejected repeated calls to make the Movement Strategy a consensus process. I believe none of the resulting projects have an established consensus, including the Code of Conduct. Rebranding was 92% opposed,[3] and an item to undermine our core content quality policies appears to have 100% opposition.[4] I believe those running the process clearly advanced their own agenda, disregarding all opposition. Do you consider the Strategy process legitimate? Do staff have a valid mandate to impose these Strategy projects on us? (Please to not get sidetracked on the merits of any particular project, this is a process question.)
    Well, this has been the most collaborative strategy/vision drafting exercise in humankind history. The problem is that establishing a consensus globally, in a truly informative way (including, e.g. those who do not speak English or come from smaller communities) is really difficult. Also, consensus can change. I don't think the strategy process was a failure and I believe it is legitimate in the cicrumstances. However, in my candidacy statement I postulate developing more tools for meanigful feedback gathering and consensus establishment. The technologies already exist, we just need to make them our own and prioritize it.
  42. Would you be in favor of hiring an outside firm to do an independent audit of board actions over the preceding two years?
    Board audits and reviews are a good principle, but I would not be particularly supportive of spending tens of thousands of dollars on external audits, unless there are allegiations of misconduct. If there are, then sure - procedures need to account for watching the watchmen/women.
  43. As a board member, would you encourage the board to evaluate the wisdom of close relationships with specific outside groups such as the Tides Foundation?
    All partnerships with like-minded organizations can be useful. They should also have a clearly defined scope and rules, which to my understanding is the case of the Tides Foundation.
  44. What are your thoughts on how to handle the competing representation issues between giving "seats in the room" for smaller/medium projects at the expense of reducing the "per-editor" vote of large projects, such as may be a question for the Global Council? An example of a proposal along these lines can be seen here, with issues raised on the talk page.
    This is tough. Another question: editors-photographers-developers-activists?... Veterans vs. fresh eyes? I think we should be avoiding large projects dominance. In the WMF board elections, the dominant language groups (English, German, Spanish, French) historically have had a huge overrepresentation, so the risk is real and perhaps we need some structural solution to reserve a small number of seats for those who are not electable because of coming from the small projects.
  45. What do you think about the problem that there are arbitration committees in a few wikis, but not in all, and so the parties can transfer their conflict to other wikis in order not to be punished there, or if the conflict was already on the other wiki, there is no independent dispute resolution body at all? What do you think of a single point of contact for all wikis? Otherwise there would often only be a) abandoning the project to avoid the bullying or b) a civil lawsuit.
    This is a very real problem - I think that we should train and foster local arbitration/moderation, but maybe in some cases a body similar to stewards could intervene? This is definitely something the global council should tackle. For now, T&S team is there to help.
  46. How important is privacy for you? Are you in favor of anonymous editors not automatically publishing their IP address, or should Wikipedia continue to lag behind in terms of privacy?
    Setting up an account is the best form of protecting privacy. I think we need to have some practical handles, and patrollers/admins should also be able to see edits from the same IP under a unified handle, but I am not against making these handles separe from IPs.
  47. Several severe communication issues have been reported with the iOS and Android mobile apps and the web client, all currently in production. Do you agree with the WMF's response to these? More generally, how can the community ensure the difficulties they experience with the software are prioritised in development resource allocations?
    I am happy that the app is developing, but not happy about the difficulties and resource allocation. It is herding cats - we are juggling priorities, and sure, mobile apps are an important one (in fact, a lot of our traffic is mobile and likely will be even more when the pandemic is over). I would also like our app to have Tor by design.
  48. Do you feel the current spending and available personnel on development issues (both on building new features and fixing bugs in existing ones) is too low, too high, or about right?
    I know for a fact that you can burn through any budget. So on the one hand I see our needs and underruns, and on the other I don't want to grow too fast to be mindful of our donors' contributions. I'd say that our spending is about right, but I'm glad that the new budget increases our development budget noticeably and I was supportive of that.
  49. Which past Board resolutions or other actions would you vote to overturn, if any?
    I can't possibly comment - trustees are required to stick to the collective decisions made. From publicly known ones, I was the only person voting against James Heilman removal, and I still think what I did was right.
  50. What percentage of the WMF's annual budget should be allocated among the following categories: (1) maintaining server uptime now and in the foreseeable future, (2) clearing the phabricator backlog, (3) recruiting new participants, and (4) everything else?
    The endowment is made to make sure that basic maintenance/servers are covered. Everything else (4) is a very wide category, it includes the affiliates, partnerships, legal, etc., so it is really difficult to comment.
  51. A number of board members, as well as C-level Foundation employees, have been brought onboard who never provide any clue what their opinions or thoughts about Wikimedia's mission is or should be -- neither at the beginning of their tenure nor at any time afterwards. What thoughts do you have about requiring them to provide some statement to the volunteers on this matter? -- Llywrch (talk) 07:00, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    If it is a formal process that everyone undergoes, I would be ok with it - it would provide a useful checkpoint for them to reflect on the community.
  52. Do you believe that communication with individual editors as a Trustee is important? What are you views on how quickly, and in how much detail, Trustees should be expected to reply to individual queries by editors with regards to issues and their role (as an average across the year/term)?
    I reply to individual editors and I think it is important. However, there should be no expectation on responding immediately (we're all volunteers), and also an understanding that trustees cannot comment on issues that are only going to be decided and everyone knows that.
  53. Do you think a community member can be an effective CEO of the WMF? Should the WMF look within the communities, rather than outside, to fill that vacancy?
    Someone who has all the necessary qualifications, experience, etc. and ADDITIONALLY is a community member - that'd be fantastic! However, the experience of running a team of 500+ people and a budget of 100M+ is crucial, as we cannot afford that someone learns leadership by doing, as they can basically also do irreversible harm.
  54. Do you think that a larger portion of the board seats should be directly elected by the community?
    Yes, I actually proposed this a while back. One condition: we need people with skills, expertise and experience, this is crucial. That's why in my statement I postulate developing leadership training programs. Ultimately, I'd love to see all or nearly all trustees to have community background, as it is super useful. However, it cannot be at the cost of their professional background.
  55. Wikimedia Foundation has no dedicated accessibility team, do you think we should be doing more given both legal (Americans with Disabilities Act etc.) and ethical ramifications? Should web accessibility be a commitment by the Board of Trustees itself, like with, say, BLP policy?
    My understanding is that there are already tools that are used for accessibility, with a much wider scope of use than just Wikimedia projects. However, I do not know American law to comment on the act.
  56. Name three elephants in the room. How do you propose to deal with them?
    Being overly focused on our internal little controversies, when the world keeps running forward. Being a global movement with an overly American governance. Being oblivious to the technological revolutions ahead. Please, note that I do not mention low diversity and gender gap, as even though the situation is bad, there already are ongoing initiatives to address it, so it is not an elephant anymore.
  57. From the 8 prioritized Movement Strategy initiaves (letterd A to H on Movement_Strategy), the top priority is creating a Movement Charter whereby a Global Council will be created, and resposibilities will be transfered from the (Board of Trustees) of the Wikimedia Foundation to the Global Council. Please elaborate on this top priority.
    It is crucial that we have sensible representation from the communities - to advice, decide, help with the heavy-lifting in all things related to the community. It is actually a good idea that the council will take over responsibilities from the Board, as the Board will have more room for routine organizational oversight. Additionally, as I postulate, we need tools for massive feedback/consensus gathering. While the solutions are available, we have not prioritized this.
  58. Should the Board wait until after the elections to choose the next CEO?
    Absolutely not, why? The search has been undergoing for half a year, interregnum is never good. If we delayed, we'd have to also wait for the new trustees to be onboarded, learn how the board works, so realistically that would take us back at least a year, which we cannot afford.
  59. What skills and qualities would you look for in the next CEO?
    The ability to lead by listening. The ability to solve problems and help the team work effectively. The ability to be transparent and open to comments and constructive dialogue. The will to be open about failure. The conviction that there is wisdom in the crowds, even if we don't see it immediately. Being able to shine only when needed. Apart from these general directions, there are also specifics.
  60. Should the WMF fundraise in impoverished countries?
    Absolutely, there are rich people willing to contribute in all countries, and we don't force anyone to contribute.
  61. Who is ultimately responsible for the Board of Trustees collective ability to follow its own procedures, policies and code of conduct?
    The Board has internal mechanisms of control. Additionally, the community electing trustees can support or unsupport trustees re-running for the election. Ultimately, there is not much oversight over the board (but it is actually super standard in organizational world).

Clarification requests (Dariusz Jemielniak)Edit

Thanks for answering, Dariusz.   Again, I have some follow-ups on #26 and #60.

  • Regarding #26 (Wikimedia Enterprise), you say "as long as we provide high quality access to everyone for free, there is absolutely no harm in letting giants like Google pay back - even if they do, it is going to be a fraction of value they get from us. In practical terms, it is MUCH easier to invoice corporations than get a donation - donations have really small budgets, while invoices are a normal part of the costs of running their business." I agree that whatever they pay – even if it is tens of millions – is a fraction of the value they get from us. But this is about more than getting giants like Google to pay back, as you put it – Wikimedia, LLC will actually go into business with these companies, providing them with a better, more sophisticated product than everybody else will be getting for free. How will you make sure that less powerful companies and start-ups, which don't have Google's 30% profit margin, can afford this more advanced product as well? And, as I asked Mike above, you are aware that the big tech companies stand accused of being tax dodgers, depriving developing economies of billions of dollars in tax funds that are sorely needed to build up local education and health systems. What are your thoughts about supporting and enabling such business practices, given that "knowledge equity" is one of the WMF's key goals?
It is my clear understanding that this exactly the plan (to only charge for services that only giants need). WMF is a non profit, and it is within our mission. Also, it is the Board's role to provide oversight. Regarding tax dodging, I despise it. It is robbing everyone. However, I don't think that providing API to internet giants is enabling them in these practices. We're just getting back a bit of what they owe us ethically. Pundit (talk) 17:13, 17 July 2021 (UTC)[]
  • Regarding #60 (fundraising in impoverished countries), did you think it was right to ask everyone in India for $2, bearing in mind that—
    • the median per capita income in India is $616
    • annual WMF CEO compensation most recently topped $400,000, about 650 times the median annual income in India?
India has the third largest number of billionaires. Obviously, we don't expect people who are struggling with financial hardship to contribute. I think it is fair to ask "support us if you can afford it", and messaging is key. Pundit (talk) 17:13, 17 July 2021 (UTC)[]
  • And did you think it was right to start fundraising in Latin America in April with messages saying you needed readers to make a donation today to be able to continue to protect Wikipedia's independence, when the WMF had already taken $50 million more than the revenue year goals it had published at the beginning of the fiscal year, and when countries like Uruguay, Colombia, Argentina and Peru – all far less wealthy than the US – were the global epicentre of the pandemic, experiencing tremendous economic suffering? Regards, --Andreas JN466 11:54, 17 July 2021 (UTC)[]
    It does sound a little dodgy. For many years I was poor by current standards (20$ per month). I think that campaigns in low income countries should be careful in messaging. Pundit (talk) 17:13, 17 July 2021 (UTC)[]
    One other thing occured to me: deciding about whether someone should be asked about a donation or not is also a power move. It shows that you decide someone is not your equal. Given that we're asking for voluntary contributions, and if the messaging is non-dramatic but just explaining that we're a non-profit, I think it is paradoxically more fair not to decide for people if they should be even approached. Pundit (talk) 06:01, 18 July 2021 (UTC)[]
  • Andreas, thank you for your clarification requests, I replied above. Pundit (talk) 18:07, 17 July 2021 (UTC)[]
    • Thank you for your answers, Dariusz. Re #26, "To only charge for services that only giants need" to my mind still seems likely to entrench those companies' dominant position, unless any smaller company that would like access to the same service is offered significantly reduced rates. I am glad you agree on big tech's tax dodging – which is part of an economic pattern that keeps developing nations dependent on "philanthropic" handouts by the same people who are, as you say, "robbing everyone". It would be nice for the WMF, which has a long history of vocal and enthusiastic support for sundry Google policy positions, to address that as part of its public communications as well.
    • As for #60, as a longstanding board member you can hardly have failed to notice that the messaging has been widely perceived as anything but non-dramatic. Phrases like "this Wednesday Wikipedia really needs you ... We ask you, humbly, please don't scroll away" or "Please take a minute to help us keep Wikipedia online and growing" caused fears in India that Wikipedia was "dying" or about to raise a paywall. See also this Twitter thread, which has close to 1,000 retweets, commenting that "this isn't normal fundraising. It's predatory, misleading, malicious and downright evil. They are preying on poorer folks from less well-off countries to give them money they absolutely don't need." This happened on your watch. Regards, --Andreas JN466 07:12, 19 July 2021 (UTC)[]
      • Andreas While I understand the financial effectiveness of dramatic messaging, I personally do not believe we should be using it in such contexts. In fact, I believe we definitely should not. I do not think that we should be blaming anyone here for the past, but rather reflect, learn, and readjust for the future. I definitely intend to raise this issue during our discussions about the fundraiser. I hope this clarifies my views on the matter - and apologies if I wasn't sufficiently explicit the last time. Pundit (talk) 10:16, 20 July 2021 (UTC)[]

Lorenzo LosaEdit

Please find below the answers to the full list of questions. When relevant, I have linked to the questions selected by the Election Committee, since I have already answered there. I have given more space to two specific questions (on waiting periods for board members and projects facing on-wiki opposition), because those are the questions that have been most endorsed, while in the other answers I have been more concise. I remain available for questions and clarifications. - Laurentius (talk) 19:24, 16 July 2021 (UTC)[]

How should the Foundation treat foundation-run projects that incur a high amount of on-wiki opposition?Edit

First of all, most of those situation should be handled in advance, checking for community support (or at least non-opposition) before starting the project. I think at this point we have a long enough history to be able to do this. The basic principle should always be to work in collaboration with all the parties involved.

Clearly, there will always be unexpected problems from time to time. The key is to talk with all the involved parties and integrate their perspective as much as possible. It is also important to try to assess how much opposition is actually there: you may have a widespread discontent that is not voiced clearly, or conversely a small number of people making a lot of noise. You should listen to both, and consider what they are saying in any case, but they carry different weight.

One thing that has to be avoided is to try to cover up opposition and mistakes. So you've made a mistake and it's public... is a nice essay on this topic.

Should there be a waiting period between the time a Board member leaves the Board, and they take on an employee, consultant, or other paid role with the Foundation?Edit

It is a good governance practice, and quite a standard one, to have such a waiting period (usually between 6 and 12 months).

Conflict of interest policies are meant to ensure that the decisions are taken in the interest of the organization, and not of any specific individual. In principle, it is possible that hiring board members just after the end of their term is the best thing to do, but designing a process to evaluate this decision without incurring in conflicts of interests is very hard. The most difficult part is not to avoid not direct influences of the affected board members, but to avoid exagerating the value of retain into the organization a person that has been very valuable in the past.

Still, it is possible to manage the conflict of interest and design a good process to take such a decision. However, it is very hard to also prove to the outside world that it is really the best choice, and that the conflict of interest was managed properly. Both the organization and the board members risk being accused of mismanagement; and it is just not worth it. Therefore, I believe that it is a sensible policy to avoid that former board members take paid positions shortly after the end of their term.

In 2018, when I was president of Wikimedia Italia, I brought to the General Assembly a proposal to amend the association's conflict of interest policy to add a similar («Board member, ombudspersons and national coordinators cannot be hired by the association during their term and for 180 days afterwards»). The proposal was unanimously approved.

All questionsEdit

  1. What do candidates think about increasing the number of volunteers in Wikimedia Foundation projects and how to make it happen?
    See Question 1.
  2. Where do you personally wish to see the Board in relation to other entities of the Wikiverse (communities, affiliates, etc.) in the future (cf. e.g. Ensure Equity in Decision-making)?
    See Question 2.
  3. How will candidates connect with the community once on the Board?
    See Question 3.
  4. Explain your thoughts on transparency and communication.
    There are many things to say about transparency and communication, but one think I'd like to highlight is that transparency is an enabler for participation. Making the information available is important but it is not enough. What is really important is to share information that can be acted upon.
    If you publicly describe in detail what you have decided, is that transparent? Technically, yes. But the decision is still taken in advance. The approach to transparency that is really useful is to provide the information in advance, before the decisions are taken. This information then allows other people to make proposal, point out issues, or coordinate with other initiatives.
    We should strive to be participative - not just to be transparent.
  5. What are your thoughts on emerging Wikimedia communities?
    See Question 6.
  6. Why do you think you would be a good candidate for a seat on the board?
    • I have a long experience as a wikimedian. I know the community and the projects, from many different point of views.
    • I have a long experience in governance. I've been chair and board members of different associations.
    • I'm strong in analytical thinking and tackling complex problems (a background in mathematics is helpful sometimes!).
  7. Is there a connection between your professional or financial interests and the Board? If so, please describe how you can ensure this does not interfere.
    No. My job is unrelated to the activities of the WMF.
  8. How should the Foundation treat foundation-run projects that incur a high amount of on-wiki opposition?
    See answer above.
  9. Do you believe that there are limits to the scope of the Wikimedia Foundation, and if so, what are those limits?
    There are lots of limits! First of all, the WMF has a specific vision and mission. Its task is to support the Wikimedia projects and community (see also Question 11 on this topic).
    Second, the WMF exists in an ecosystem together with other Wikimedia entities (chapters, thematic organizations, user groups) and the community. These have different roles. For instance, doing GLAM projects is the job of the chapters, but not of the WMF.
    Third, among the many things that the WMF could reasonably do, it should limit itself to a few, according to a strategy. Trying to do everything does not work.
    It is nice and gratifying to think that we can do everything, but it is wrong, and it is not effective. Scope creep is always a risk.
  10. How do you envision wikis shaping the future of the internet, and how can the Wikimedia Foundation support wiki communities in order to make that vision a reality?
    See Question 4.
  11. How can we engage more experts (researchers, academia, practitioners) to join our movement? (while maintaining the ability of non-experts to contribute)
    There are a number of things that can be done, and chapters have some experience in it. We also already have a number of experts in our community - even though it is often not advertised.
    As for the obstacles, I think there are mainly two. One is the incentive to contribute: for instance, usually researchers are evaluated based on the research they do (not surprisingly!), which is very different from wiki activity. That does not prevent experts from contributing (after all, the same applies to almost all of us), but doesn't incentivize them either.
    The second obstacle is that in this movement we do not believe in experts. We believe in reliable sources. If you didn't provide sources, you cannot say that you know because you are an expert. Even if I know nothing of you field of study, you still have to prove to me that what you wrote is verifiable. This is what makes our project great, but it is annoying if you are not used to it. It is peer review, but where the whole world is you peer! We should not change this, but it is important to be aware of it.
  12. What is your opinion on the claim of autonomy by the different Wikipedia communities and the attempts that Wikimedia wants to regulate a lot now centrally?
    See Question 8.
  13. What is your opinion on the rebranding from Wikimedia to Wikipedia?
    See Question 5.
  14. Do you feel the current structure of rules and processes of Wikipedia effectively prevents bias? As a community leader, what, if anything, do you think could be done to improve combatting bias?
    See Question 9.
  15. What do you think about the growing questioning that Wikimedia projects have globally and what would you do about it?
    The question is unclear. What growing questioning is it referring to?
  16. There are several movement out there (especially that is founded by expert community) that have the same exact vision as we are (disseminating free knowledge on the Internet). But they decided to make their own platform (or using other platform) other than Wikipedia to reach their vision. What's your opinion about this? Should we try to "integrate" them to join Wikimedia, or just let them have their own independence.
    It depends. If they have the same vision, but the approach they take differs, it will probably be better not to seek integration.
    One example is OpenStreetMap. OpenStreetMap, both in term of project and community, is very similar to Wikimedia. There is actually a significant overlap in the communities. A few years ago we decided to have Wikimedia Italia act both as a Wikimedia chapter and an OpenStreetMap chapter, and it's working great. However, I would not recommend integrating the OpenStreetMap Foundation into the Wikimedia Foundation, because they both have their peculiarities, and I think the OpenStreetMap Foundation is better off as an indipendent organization.
  17. What are your thoughts on how the Wikimedia Foundation should engage more effectively with the Global South WikiCommunities in the near future (next 2 to 3 years)?
    See Question 6.
  18. Should the Wikimedia Projects be more involved with the UN Decade of Action (for Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement, Biodiversity Convention Targets, etc...)? And what intermediary role can or should the Wikimedia Foundation play in this regard?
    It is good to take that into consideration when framing our own goals, as we are part of the world, but I don't think the Wikimedia Foundation should have a prominent role in promoting those goals and themes. At the same time, there is space for community members to bring attention to those topics; for instance, it is part of the goals of the Wikimedians for Sustainable Development user group.
  19. What are your thoughts on the future of WikiSpecies, WikiNews, Wikiversity and other smaller Wikiprojects? And how can the Wikimedia Foundation support them?
    See Question 10.
  20. Do you have any specific goals or outcomes you want to achieve during your tenure as a board member?
    I have listed some of them as my priorities in my statement.
  21. What does diversity in the Wikimedia Community mean to you? And do you have a plan on how can it be tangibly or quantifiably be achieved? (Example: Reduction in Data Gaps)
    See Question 7.
  22. There has been a steady growth of Wikimedia Foundation expenses over the years. What are your thoughts on this matter? Should there be 5 year caps on spending?
    Budget growth is not per se an indicator of success, and we should not aim at growth in itself. That said, having more resources is generally good, as gives us more tools to pursue our mission; at the same time, we must be careful not to ask too much from our donors. Putting a cap on spending is no more useful that aiming at exponential growth: whether we should grow (or even decrease our budget) should not be a decision taken a priori. It is however odd that the WMF has set for itself a policy of growth, while asking many affiliates the opposite.
  23. When it comes to allocating foundation resources, how would you want to prioritize funds between paying down technical debt and working on new strategic initiatives?
    While my impression is that the current level of technical debt is higher than what it should be, answering with a percentage would be making up numbers. I don't think a total number for the whole WMF is even available: specific decisions are made at the level of each project or team. In general, resources should be allocated in a way to keep the amount of technical debt more or less stable in the long term; technical debt cannot be avoided, and in many cases it makes sense to have some, but should be contained, especially in the most widely used pieces of software, or in those who are expected to stay for a long time.
  24. What do you think about the WMF using funds for purposes not related to Wikimedia projects?
    See Question 11.
  25. Do you think the WMF should take any active role in relation to undisclosed paid editing?
    How? It seems like something that should be kept at the community level.
  26. What do you think about Wikimedia_Enterprise? Do you think its criticsm is justfied?
    Many big companies use Wikipedia. They will do it in any case, and, since we use free licences everywhere, this is fine. This actually helps us further our mission, because increases the people who can benefit from our content - although it poses many challenges, because we don't have any control on that, and if those people do not directly access Wikipedia are unlikely to become contributors and join our movement.
    I think that, since these uses are going to happen anyway, it's better if that happens with us than without us. Wikimedia Enterprise is a reasonable attempt to do that, and in addition I expect positive side effects, as the technology built for that project will also be available for other uses in the movement. I do not expect it to have a huge impact on our financials, but of course having an additional source of income is not bad.
    I also think that Wikimedia Enterprise poses some important questions, for instance in terms of transparency, and we need to avoid the risk of appearing less independent. We need to carefully monitor it.
    As for the linked article, if I'm not mistaken mentions Wikimedia Enterprise only in two paragraphs and only to say that makes some volunteers uneasy. As it is a totally new concept, I would expect to see some people more confortable and some less confortable with the idea. It is important to listen to all voices and let the community develop an opinion on this idea.
  27. Given recent comments by ex-staffers, should the new Board conduct an investigation about management misconduct at the WMF, including but not limited to bullying, union busting and discrimination based on sex, race or disabilities?
    I have no way to tell whether such claims are justified, but in general I think that WMF employees should have a clear way to voice concerns about misconduct, and that any credible claim of discrimination should be investigated. I would expect that polices for this already exist in the WMF (but, since I'm neither an employee or a board member, I don't know if they actually are).
  28. How should the 4 community board seats due to be selected in 2022 be filled?
    I don't see a strong reason to change the processes that we already have in place. In any case, it should be some sort of election (in contrast to an appointment process).
  29. Have you, or any members of your immediate family, received any financial benefits from the WMF or a WMF affiliate in the past 5 years?
    No. I just had some expenses reimbursed.
  30. How did you contribute to the Movement Strategy process, the Movement Brands Project, the UCOC process, the proposed Bylaws amendments, and the call for feeback on community board selections?
    • Movement Strategy: yes, in different phases, but since from 2016 for most of the time I was president of Wikimedia Italia, I gave priority to that. In particular, I did not nominate for any working group, because I was not confident to be able to do commit enough time on top my other Wikimedia commitments.
    • Movement brand project: I was consulted a few times (including at Iberocoop and at the Wikimedia Summit). I took part in the Italian community discussion, and signed the Community open letter on renaming on behalf of Wikimedia Italia. I gave a presentation on this topic at the Italian WikiCon.
    • Universal Code of Conduct: no.
    • Proposed Bylaws amendments: yes, and you can find multiple comments made by me. That includes one of the few proposals accepted by the board: ensuring that the appointed members are never more than the community members (note that this was also proposed by Mike Peel, another board candidate. There was no coordination among us, but I see he didn't mention it, so I think I should point it out). I also made a comparison between the old and new text, in order to make it easier to understand what was actually changing.
    • call for feeback on community board selections: no.
  31. Under what (if any) circumstances should the board extend the term of community-selected trustees?
    Do you mean beyond three terms of three years? I think that is long enough and I wouldn't extend it.
  32. When should Foundation projects require explicit approval by the community and how should that approval be assessed?
    Different levels of endorsement or approval can be required for different types of decisions. I have written on a specific casee on Question 5, and some relevant thoughts are also in Question 8
  33. If you had been a Board member in 2019, would you have supported the Board's statement on the ban of Fram from the English Wikipedia? Would you have proposed any changes or additions to this statement?
    Honestly, as I was not on the board back then, I don't know.
  34. Allegations of a hostile workplace environment at WMF have been made by former employees here and here. What is your reaction to this and is there anything that you would do as a board member to change this?
    See question 27 above.
  35. Katherine Maher recently floated the idea of paying contributors. Should the Foundation start discussions on what a model of compensation would look like?
    I doubt that paying contributors is a solution; and it would open many new problems, including how to manage the coexistence of paid and unpaid contributors.
    Paid contributors already exists, but are limited to certain areas (like GLAM partnerships) and specific projects. That model could be expanded, but I think we should keep basing our work on volunteers, and in any case there should be a clear distinction between volunteer and paid work (i.e., small payments to incentivize "volunteers" are not a good idea).
  36. Given the amount of work stewards do, do you think stewards should be paid? Why (not)? If yes, how much?
    I think that such roles should be kept as volunteer roles, and, as I said in the previous answer, I think there should always be a clear distinction between volunteer and paid work. Volunteer work is not compensated, while paid work should be compensated fairly (at market value). Turning the stewards into paid position would have many issues, I think.
  37. Should there be a waiting period between the time a Board member leaves the Board, and they take on an employee, consultant, or other paid role with the Foundation?
    See my answer above. Since this is one of the most endorsed questions, I have answered in more detail.
  38. To reduce the possibility of conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflict of interest do you commit to not accept any employed or remunerated position with the Foundation for at least the duration of your stay on the board and 6 months until after leaving the board?
    I have no interest in a paid position in the WMF. If you want to know how I would behave, you can look at how I behaved in the past: in particular, in Wikimedia Italy, I launched the creation of a conflict of interest policy just days after I become president; and, after an update that I brought to the General Assembly in 2018, that policy forbids to hire former board members (and ombudspersons and "national coordinators") for 180 days after the end of their term.
  39. Non-affiliated volunteers (i.e. volunteers who are not members of any Wikimedia affiliate) do most of the work on the wikis, yet elect only a quarter of board seats. Do you think this is right?
    This is a leading question. Anyway, I think that:
    • The community should select the majority of the board (but having a minority of appointed seats is fine);
    • Both on-wiki elections and affiliate selections are valid ways to do that. They complement each other and it is good to have both.
    • We should have more affiliates, and, in particular, more countries should have a chapter.
  40. How can WMF deal with proposed or established intermediary liability rules in different countries and safeguard the local Wikimedia volunteers from prosecution by government agencies?
    There are a few things that can be done (and, partially, are being done):
    • Limit the amount of information available on volunteers. This means both not collecting unneeded information; not giving incentives to publish it; and, if you have information, not storing it in risky countries.
    • Defend the volunteers that are being prosecuted. The WMF already has a fund for this.
    • Advocate against intermediary liability rules that are harmful for our volunteers. There is already some work here, especially done by chapters (e.g., the EU Policy initiative).
  41. The Foundation rejected repeated calls to make the Movement Strategy a consensus process. I believe none of the resulting projects have an established consensus, including the Code of Conduct. Rebranding was 92% opposed,[5] and an item to undermine our core content quality policies appears to have 100% opposition.[6] I believe those running the process clearly advanced their own agenda, disregarding all opposition. Do you consider the Strategy process legitimate? Do staff have a valid mandate to impose these Strategy projects on us? (Please to not get sidetracked on the merits of any particular project, this is a process question.)
    Overall, the movement strategy process has a wide participation; it is hard to find a similarly participated process in the history of our movement. While I think there has been many shortcomings, I don't think it can be labeled as illegitimate.
  42. Would you be in favor of hiring an outside firm to do an independent audit of board actions over the preceding two years?
    It depends on the goal. Would it be a periodic effort to improve the work of the board? Yes, why not, having a review every now and then is good (but I think the board still has to finish implementing the results of the last one). Would it be to blame the previous board members? No, I don't think that would be helpful.
  43. As a board member, would you encourage the board to evaluate the wisdom of close relationships with specific outside groups such as the Tides Foundation?
    This seems more a question on the Tides Foundation than a general one. If you have concerns about the Tides Foundation, please voice them.
  44. What are your thoughts on how to handle the competing representation issues between giving "seats in the room" for smaller/medium projects at the expense of reducing the "per-editor" vote of large projects, such as may be a question for the Global Council? An example of a proposal along these lines can be seen here, with issues raised on the talk page.
    As a general principle, I agree that we should at the same time strive to represent also smaller project while not forgetting that bigger project have more people and those people deserve an appropriate representation. An approach of degressive proportionality make sense, but it is not the only way. Personally, I think that rigidly allocating a fixed number of seats per project is not the best approach. At least, I would group some of them together.
  45. What do you think about the problem that there are arbitration committees in a few wikis, but not in all, and so the parties can transfer their conflict to other wikis in order not to be punished there, or if the conflict was already on the other wiki, there is no independent dispute resolution body at all? What do you think of a single point of contact for all wikis? Otherwise there would often only be a) abandoning the project to avoid the bullying or b) a civil lawsuit.
    First, arbitration committees are not the only way of solving conflicts. I come from a wiki that has no arbitration committee, and I do not feel the need of creating one there.
    Second, I doubt that one can move a conflict to another wiki... for a conflict you need at least two parties, why should they want to move in a coordinated way?
    There is of course a problem of conflicts or problematic behaviours across different wikis, and it is more challenging than a problem in a specific wiki, but we already have global bans and similar tools.
  46. How important is privacy for you? Are you in favor of anonymous editors not automatically publishing their IP address, or should Wikipedia continue to lag behind in terms of privacy?
    Privacy is indeed important for me. I think that we are generally doing a fairly good job on the wikis, but we can do more especially in other areas (e.g., less reliance on privacy-risky third party tools like google forms or zoom).
    I do not have a strong position on the issue of publishing the IP addresses. I understand the concerns, but at the same time knowing the IP addresses is very important for patrolling, and we need to ensure that the patrolling work is not harmed. At any rate, I see that for the fiscal year 2021-2022 it is planned to move away from publishing IP addresses.
  47. Several severe communication issues have been reported with the iOS and Android mobile apps and the web client, all currently in production. Do you agree with the WMF's response to these? More generally, how can the community ensure the difficulties they experience with the software are prioritised in development resource allocations?
    In general, the differences between desktop, mobile and app user experience are a big issue. Our wikis have been built for desktop use, but most of our readers access them from a smartphone, and there is still much work to do to adapt.
    It is important to point out problems and needs. I don't know if the board can help with this, though, since these are technical decisions - it would not be a good idea to have the board entering in these decisions. But maybe the [[product committee] can help?
  48. Do you feel the current spending and available personnel on development issues (both on building new features and fixing bugs in existing ones) is too low, too high, or about right?
    It is difficult to assess it, without clear information about the WMF spending (while some high-level information is available, it is not segmented in a way that allows to evaluate this). The current annual plan highlights a significant growth in spendin on "Platform Evolution", but it does not correspond exactly to development.
  49. Which past Board resolutions or other actions would you vote to overturn, if any?
    I think it is more productive to focus on better future decisions, than on overturning past decisions.
  50. What percentage of the WMF's annual budget should be allocated among the following categories: (1) maintaining server uptime now and in the foreseeable future, (2) clearing the phabricator backlog, (3) recruiting new participants, and (4) everything else?
    Like I said in similar questions above, I can't give precise numbers. However, note that an allocation is not purely based on percentages: in particular, mantaining server uptime is a must-have, and is more a fixed cost than a proportional cost. If the total budget of WMF doubled (or halved), server expenses would still be more or less the same, and certainly not double or halve.
  51. A number of board members, as well as C-level Foundation employees, have been brought onboard who never provide any clue what their opinions or thoughts about Wikimedia's mission is or should be -- neither at the beginning of their tenure nor at any time afterwards. What thoughts do you have about requiring them to provide some statement to the volunteers on this matter? -- Llywrch (talk) 07:00, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    I believe that it is important both for board members and employees to understand our mission. For board members it is somewhat easier, but for employees we can not limit ourselves to hire only people that are already part of the movement. I don't think that providing a statement would be an effective mean to solve this problem, but other ways can be found. For instance, when I was president of Wikimedia Italia, we approved a resolution saying that employees should do at least a certain amount of contributions on the wiki projects in their first year; in this way, even if they did not know the projects before being hired, they learn at least the basics.
  52. Do you believe that communication with individual editors as a Trustee is important? What are you views on how quickly, and in how much detail, Trustees should be expected to reply to individual queries by editors with regards to issues and their role (as an average across the year/term)?
    For a trustee, communication with individual editors is very important! It is essential to understand the different points of view. However, this does not mean that every individual editor is entitled to unlimited attention from every board member, because there is not such thing as unlimited time. I can't give you numbers; what I can say is that when I was president of Wikimedia Italia, I was generally able to talk to any member that wanted to talk (but I was sometimes slow in answering emails because I received a lot of them), with few exceptions. I don't know how this scales to the level of the WMF.
  53. Do you think a community member can be an effective CEO of the WMF? Should the WMF look within the communities, rather than outside, to fill that vacancy?
    Having community experience would of course be valuable for a CEO. I encourage any community member that has the skills to lead a global foundation with a budget of more than 100 million dollars and hundreds of employees to apply for the job. However, there are not many people with those skills, either inside our community or outside it. Considering all the requirements, we are therefore more likely to find a CEO outside the community than inside it - it is just a matter of numbers.
  54. Do you think that a larger portion of the board seats should be directly elected by the community?
    Yes.
  55. Wikimedia Foundation has no dedicated accessibility team, do you think we should be doing more given both legal (Americans with Disabilities Act etc.) and ethical ramifications? Should web accessibility be a commitment by the Board of Trustees itself, like with, say, BLP policy?
    We certainly can do more, but my feeling is that the problem is not only technical, but mostly in the way in which we produce content. For instance, when writing Wikipedia articles, we look at how images, tables and templates looks on the (desktop) computer we are using for editing; but usually without considering how they will be displayed on other devices and without considering accessibility issues.
  56. Name three elephants in the room. How do you propose to deal with them?
    Uhm, currently in my room there are mostly mosquitos... maybe big ones, but I wouldn't call them elephants!
    Seriously: this is not a question, is a request for a whole program!
  57. From the 8 prioritized Movement Strategy initiaves (letterd A to H on Movement_Strategy), the top priority is creating a Movement Charter whereby a Global Council will be created, and resposibilities will be transfered from the (Board of Trustees) of the Wikimedia Foundation to the Global Council. Please elaborate on this top priority.
    This is actually the central point of my statement and my video statement.
  58. Should the Board wait until after the elections to choose the next CEO?
    The CEO is likely to be chosen after the elections anyway, just because it is a process that needs time. But if the board is able to choose it before the elections, then I think there is no reason to wait.
  59. What skills and qualities would you look for in the next CEO?
    It may be obvious, but the first ones are management skills. She will have to run a growing global organization with a budget of more than 100 million dollars and nearly 500 employees.
    Apart from that, the biggest quality that come to my mind is the ability to work in an environment where she will have relatively little control, while being under close scrutiny. The success of the WMF relies more on the community than on the WMF employees, but the CEO has little control over it. At the same time, the community will potentially comment and criticize every action of the WMF and its CEO. This is unusual and most CEOs would have problems in living in this environment.
  60. Should the WMF fundraise in impoverished countries?
    From a practical, economical perspective, probably it is not an especially important decision, because impoverished countries will provide little income. It may well be that it is economically not worth.
    From an ethical point of view, considering that the access to our project is always free, and that donors would likely be locally high-income individuals (otherwise they would probably not even have the technical means to donate, like a credit card), I do not see a blocking issue. Moreover, I don't like the fact that such a large part of our income comes from the big English fundraising campaign; I think it creates a bias.
  61. Who is ultimately responsible for the Board of Trustees collective ability to follow its own procedures, policies and code of conduct?
    I think the legal answer is... the board itself (and the law). This is how foundations work. Apart from that, morally, the community is above any single board.

Clarification requests (Lorenzo Losa)Edit

Thanks for answering, Lorenzo. Again, a quick follow-up on Questions #26 (Wikimedia Enterprise) and #60 (fundraising in impoverished countries).

  • 26: I am concerned that there is a risk of entrenching existing monopolies, by offering big tech companies (many of which refuse to pay taxes in poorer countries, thus compounding existing knowledge inequity) a more high-quality service (vandalism-vetted etc.) that smaller or up-and-coming players (think someone like DuckDuckGo, e.g.) won't be able to afford. What are your thoughts on this?
  • 60: Do you think it was the right decision for the WMF to start fundraising in Latin America this spring, claiming money was urgently needed, at a time when the WMF had already taken $50M more than its revenue year goals posted at the beginning of the fiscal year, and countries like Uruguay, Peru, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia were the epicentre of the global pandemic? Regards, --Andreas JN466 10:43, 19 July 2021 (UTC)[]
Hello Andreas!
On question 26: I agree that it is important to avoid favouring the largest incumbents over smaller or newer players, and I think this risk should be carefully considered. There are multiple ways in which Wikimedia Enterprise can have an impact on this, both positive and negative ones.
Regarding your concerns about higher-quality service, it does not necessarily mean higher-quality content. The content is the same of the projects, always available for free, and potential features like detecting vandalism could be made available to everyone (actually we already have something like that, with ORES). Things like service level agreements, on the other hand, while not impacting the content, have a huge value for a large corporation, and only make sense with a paid service. Offering service level agreements is unlikely to significantly harm small players.
Most importantly, Wikimedia Enterprise has the potential to be a level playing field. The big players already have the resources to build these things in-house: if Google wants to do build a vandalism-detection system to support its services, it is well capable of doing that; while probably DuckDuckGo isn't. If we provide that service in Wikimedia Enterprise, then both Google and DuckDuckGo will be able to use the same service.
On question 60: In difficult times, and a global pandemic certanly qualifies, it is sensible to rethink the existing plans, including whether it is appropriate to run a fundraising campaign, and whether the messages should be modified. Indeed, from what I can see, this is what happened. The campaign you see is not an increase in WMF fundraising requests in Latin America: on the contrary, it is a campaign that was initially planned for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, and was postponed just because of the pandemic. The WMF fundraising department, apparently, did take into consideration the epidemic and decided to temporarily suspend the fundraising.
About the fundraising messages, I've often been puzzled both by their tone and by localization issues (for years we have seen in Italy banners asking for 3 €, "the cost of a coffee"... but in Italy a coffee costs 1 €!). However, I understand that it is difficult to pass the message that fundraising is a continuous effort, and an organization that systematically risks running out of money would not be a well-managed organization. - Laurentius (talk) 20:14, 19 July 2021 (UTC)[]
Thanks again, Lorenzo. On #26, I am glad you agree that it is important to avoid favouring the largest incumbents. You then say, if Google wants to do build a vandalism-detection system to support its services, it is well capable of doing that; while probably DuckDuckGo isn't. If we provide that service in Wikimedia Enterprise, then both Google and DuckDuckGo will be able to use the same service. This surely only applies if DuckDuckGo can afford to pay for it, right? And surely a service-level agreement does imply a competitive advantage likely to significantly harm small players; otherwise it is not worth paying for. I am not entirely reassured that you will forcefully argue for a pricing structure that will allow smaller players to come on board. Do you wish to make any further comment?
On #60, you appear to say that the 2021 Latin American fundraisier was justified because the 2020 fundraiser in that region was deferred. But the Covid situation in Latin America was far, far worse in 2021 than it was in 2020. I will give you just two examples (for data see [7]):
  • By 30 April 2020, 15 people had been reported to have died of Covid in Uruguay; over the following week, 2 were added, for a national total of 17.
  • By 30 April 2020, 5,901 people had been reported to have died of Covid in Brazil; over the following week, 3,153 were added, for a national total of 9,054.
Now compare this to the situation in spring 2021:
  • By 30 April 2021, a total of 2,563 people had been reported to have died in Uruguay; over the following week, 409 more were added, for a national total of 2,972. Uruguay is a small country of 3.5 million; adjusted for population size, this is equivalent to 1,000 people in Italy dying of Covid every day, as happened during the height of the pandemic, or 5,500 people dying daily in the United States.
  • By 30 April 2021, a total of 401,186 people had been reported to have died of Covid in Brazil; over the following week, 15,763 more were added, for a national total of 416,949. This was five times more deaths than from 30 April to 7 May in 2020.
Moreover, the WMF third-quarter Advancement tuning session reported that with revenue year goals of $108M and $5M for the Foundation and the Endowment posted at the beginning of the fiscal year (July 2020), the WMF had taken $142M for the Foundation and $18.6M for the Endowment by 31 March 2021, after the first nine months of the fiscal year, which means it had already surpassed its own revenue year goals by $47.6M on 31 March 2021. Yet weeks later, readers in Latin America were still told, "We need you to make a donation this Wednesday so that we can continue to protect Wikipedia's independence". You may not have been aware of all these figures before. Do they alter your judgment as to how ethically justified the 2021 Latin American fundraising campaign was? If you were to join the board (I have been told that WMF fundraising strategy reflects the decision making of "the WMF leadership and board"), would you strongly argue against a repeat of such a fundraiser under similar conditions? --Andreas JN466 08:35, 20 July 2021 (UTC)[]
On #26: sure, that only applies if DuckDuckGo can afford to pay for it; the point is that they are more likely to be able to afford using Wikimedia Enterprise than to be able to afford doing the same work internally. Overall, more people will be able to afford the same service that Google will have, hence reducing the disparity a bit.
On #60, I'm saying a different thing: that the fundraising in Latin America is not something new, and that actually the WMF has decided to reduce, not increase, its fundraising activities in Latin America due to COVID-19. - Laurentius (talk) 19:38, 20 July 2021 (UTC)[]
Thanks, Lorenzo, though I am puzzled by your further response to #60. No one said anything about fundraising activities in Latin America being new, or having increased. The question was about the ethics of claiming to urgently need money from countries suffering through an acute humanitarian crisis when the WMF had already surpassed its own revenue year goals by over 40 percent and set a new annual fundraising record with three months to spare. I am disappointed that you have offered no comment on this specific aspect. Regards, --Andreas JN466 05:27, 21 July 2021 (UTC)[]
  • Hi Lorenzo - thanks for giving the full set a go. Could I ask for a clarification on #41. You seem to note that it had significant community participation (which is certainly true) and you state it was therefore unfair to call it illegitimate. But does this not exclude other reasons for something being illegitimate. There are several, but the big one is where the majority of community representation (in the examples given, nearly the entire participating group) opposed. To me that seems more than a flaw and would make (at least) those recommendations illegitimate - could you clarify this point, as currently you go A->C, and this feels like a key B (as it is, the only way to oppose would have been not to participate). Nosebagbear (talk) 16:59, 23 August 2021 (UTC)[]
    @Nosebagbear: Yes, there could be other reasons, but any discussion of this issue has to take into consideration the wide partecipation that the process had - although there is the clear problem that so far we haven't had many occasions to directly oppose the current direction (the first real ratification point should be with the movement charter). You are talking of a majority opposition from community: are you referring to the rebranding process? That was not part of movement strategy. Sometimes it has been claimed differently, but I see no meaningful connection between the two. I've also not understood what you mean with A->C and B, could you explain? - Laurentius (talk) 13:32, 24 August 2021 (UTC)[]
    @Laurentius: - to give a nicely clear-cut example of clear community dissent that still made made it into the "recommendations" I'd point out "knowledge equity". That was nothing but opposed, and still made it in. To give an example of why the MC ratification is too late a point, MC Drafting Committee members have "comply with strategy recommendations" as a criterion for standing. Regarding the A->C bit. A was that of "significant community participation", and C "a legitimate process". Your answer appeared to indicate that so long as you had A, you would have C. But I was asking if that could be justified without the presence of B "The consensus of that participation was gathered and correctly assessed". Nosebagbear (talk) 17:33, 26 August 2021 (UTC)[]
    @Nosebagbear: oh, I see. Yes, your point is correct. - Laurentius (talk) 08:44, 28 August 2021 (UTC)[]
    Hi @Laurentius:, does that affect your answer to Q41? As in, since that step is missing, do you still feel it was legitimate, or that the strategy recommendations lack legitimacy? Nosebagbear (talk) 15:52, 30 August 2021 (UTC)[]
    @Nosebagbear: not addressing those concerns does indeed undermine legitimacy. That single event does not automatically makes the whole recommendations illegitimate, as the whole process has to be taken in consideration, but it is indeed a valid argument against their legitimacy (so I can't tell you now that they are completely legitimate or completely illegitimate). More generally, I'm perplexed by the fact that there are sometimes community consultations that receive no answers or limited answers and, more importantly, does not result in actual changes on the drafts (another case was for instance with the bylaws changes - there were some answers and some minor adjustments, but most comments didn't get anywhere). - Laurentius (talk) 08:33, 31 August 2021 (UTC)[]

Ashwin Baindur ("AshLin")Edit

Namaste (Greetings) to all Wikimedians, coming to you from India. Please find my answers entered here progressively till all questions are responded to. Please feel welcome to address any questions directly to me as well. AshLin (talk) 11:21, 20 July 2021 (UTC)[]

Disclaimer: I use British English spellings.

  1. What do candidates think about increasing the number of volunteers in Wikimedia Foundation projects and how to make it happen?
    Answer. Volunteer recruitment is a great challenge, especially for the majority of non-English language Wikimedia projects, and is an important function that requires more attention by both Community and the WMF, and its the once essential without which the Movement would decline or even fail. Please find my detailed answer on this aspect here here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question1.
  2. Where do you personally wish to see the Board in relation to other entities of the Wikiverse (communities, affiliates, etc.) in the future (cf. e.g. Ensure Equity in Decision-making)?
    Answer. Please see my detailed answer here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question2.
  3. How will candidates connect with the community once on the Board?
    Answer. Please see my detailed answer here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question3.
  4. Explain your thoughts on transparency and communication.
    Answer. Transparency is very necessary to enable constructive feedback, and for corrective action to be possible. When the Community sees the the Board and WMF considering feedback and taking corrective action, and vice versa, then trust is developed. Transparency encourages participation, especially of those communities which are subject to harassment or abuse, because such actions can be pointed out and action taken against the wrong-doers.

    Alongwith transparency, communication is just as necessary, because the Wikimedia Movement is the most global, multi-lingual and multi-cultural, and challenges in translation, understanding and context take place every day. There is increased need for communication in all directions, especially, Board to Community, Community to Board, WMF to Community, and Communities with each other.
    If elected, I will work on increasing the scope of communication and forms of communication. Please read here about my views on the topic in detail: Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question3.
  5. What are your thoughts on emerging Wikimedia communities?
    Answer. I place very large importance to emerging communities because all my nation's Wikimedia communities, comprising 27 languages and 97 projects, qualify as emerging communities. Please see my detailed answer here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question6 & also my answers here and here.
  6. Why do you think you would be a good candidate for a seat on the board?
    Answer. At present, the Board, WMF and Community are all facing major change in the form of hiring a new CEO, establishing of Global Council, finalising and implementing Universal Code of Conduct, establishing of hubs, etc. There would be need for a variety of honest points of view. My background is unusual that I am a retired armed forces officer with 32 years of military service, actual practical experience in running GLAM Institutions in real life, and adequate online and offline Wikimedia expertise in a the complex multi-cultural, multi-lingual, and diverse Indian community. I encourage you to read my candidacy details here. Because of this, I feel that I would be able to provide a fresh, different and honest point of view which will help the Board in its quest for making the best and right decisions.

    Just as important, I have been an editor and volunteer activist without any kind of previous linkage to the WMF or any of its affiliates. I have never been in employ of or received a grant from WMF or its affiliate. I consider this an important attribute for being able to put the viewpoint of the Community across to the Board, without fear or favour, if selected. For these reasons I consider myself a suitable candidate for one of the four seats on the board up for election this time.
  7. Is there a connection between your professional or financial interests and the Board? If so, please describe how you can ensure this does not interfere.
    Answer. I have no professional or financial interest of any kind whatsoever with the Board.
  8. How should the Foundation treat foundation-run projects that incur a high amount of on-wiki opposition?
    Answer. In the first place, WMF should not put itself in a position where its self-run project should face strong on-wiki opposition. Any project initiated by the WMF without community consensus, especially where it impacts community interests substantially would naturally face opposition. In such cases, it is very hard to get post-facto agreement from the Community which feels excluded. Such projects which are not vital should be paused for incorporating community input however late. Vital projects would need full scale engagement to come to a compromise which addresses at least the most important concerns of the Community.

    Any project, that is important, requires ideating, planning, approval, hiring, getting resources and deploying. This process is complex and time-consuming. There is adequate opportunity for community consensus to be taken before committing large resources or hiring staff. This kind of fait accompli informing of major initiatives to the Wikimedia Community is one of the main reasons why Community is unhappy with the WMF. If elected, I will work towards ensuring that Community is taken before implementation by the WMF.

    Community understands that WMF cannot put each and every decision for formal consensus, however, major initiatives must be discussed with Community, and these projects carried out with consensus and collaboration. The more projects are collaborated by Community and WMF, the heathier will be the overall Wikimedia movement.
  9. Do you believe that there are limits to the scope of the Wikimedia Foundation, and if so, what are those limits?
    Answer. Yes, there are limits that the Wikimedia Foundation must not transgress, and the transgressions of which the Community must resist to preserve their freedom.

    Firstly, the WMF must be faithful to the principles of the Wikimedia Movement in general and their vision, core values and mission statement in particular. Under no circumstance must these be violated.

    Secondly, the WMF must not infringe and over-ride anything the Community has opposed for any reason. WMF must take consensus from Community for any major initiative, and even for smaller ones that involve the Community. Reasons such as "Movement Charter", "customary" etc are not legitimate to do away with the need of consensus previous to the initiative being put into action. Specific consensus must be taken for all aspects of major proposals; line items that don't have consensus should be dropped altogether.

    Thirdly, the WMF must not bring in provisions into proposals that may turn them into trojans - long term initiatives such as Global Council, Universal Code of Code, Hubs, Movement Charter, etc., should not result in mechanisms of indirect control of WMF over the Community.

    Lastly, in discussions regarding serious issues, WMF staff should not be the Code of Conduct gatekeepers; it should be community members who do that.

    On the other hand, the WMF should not limit itself in vision and research and development to the safe, tried and trusted status quo; it must go beyond these limits to push for new ideas and technology, but to take community consensus while it goes along. It should expand its initiatives in healthy way, into the Open Knowledge Movement as they have envisaged, but partner the Community in this by taking consensus.
  10. How do you envision wikis shaping the future of the internet, and how can the Wikimedia Foundation support wiki communities in order to make that vision a reality?
    Answer. Please see Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question4 for my views on the issue.
  11. How can we engage more experts (researchers, academia, practitioners) to join our movement?
    Answer. Our endeavour to provide the sum of human knowledge to all the people on Earth requires that researchers, academia, and practitioners form just as much part of our community as regular editors. We need these experts on Wikipedia because their views are informed and they are able to provide the citations and context to support their views. Emerging communities language Wikimedia projects which don't have research happening their language medium face a great scarcity and poverty of expertise.

    While Wikipedia is user-friendly, it is not always so for academics and experts. Academics are hard pressed for time, so when they get edit-warred by non-expert editors over interpretations and views, or find their of their contributions subsequently mutated or deleted, some academics get discouraged.

    However, academic experts who understand the Wikimedia culture soon realise that they can make valuable contributions, and we find a number of such highly qualified editors editing every day in many fields. However, for a multi-language, multi-dimensional endeavour as Wikimedia Movement, we need many more of these experts to help us reach our goal.

    Recruitment of such experts needs to become a priority for the Community and for those involved in WMF initiatives where academia and education are concerned. The benefits of participating in a Wikimedia movement should be informed to them—right from direct participation via Wikipedia editing so as to increase the quantum of the knowledge of their in libre public online resources, to how they can improve education outcomes by having their students learn about encyclopedic writing, citation, reliable sources, neutral point of view and so on, to indirectly helping the quality of knowledge online by helping editors get access to knowledge resources and insights. Domain experts would need guidance, just as in the case of newbies, to learning about the rules and culture of Wikipedia. Once they become part of the social network within Wikipedia, they could play a very positive role in the Movement.

    All this while I have been speaking of Wikipedia only, but I would like to point out that projects such as Wikibooks, Wikiversity and Wikidata in all languages, even English, need domain experts to much greater extent, and recruiting academic talent to these projects is even more vital for them. I believe that the Wikimedians involved with libraries and education have shown us the path forward by bringing together academic library workers and academic disciplinary faculty (including in LIS), and Wikimedia volunteers; they have collaborated in publishing a collection of their experiences in a forthcoming book—Wikipedia and Academic Libraries—A Global Project.

    I would like to highlight two means of contribution that experts can do, which aren’t highlighted very much. In a sense, Wikipedia articles are a form of academic reviews of state of knowledge on a particular topic—the contribution of domain experts in reviewing articles for completeness, errors and improvements, as regards content, would be invaluable. In English Wikipedia, a mechanism called A-class review exists in many WikiProjects which would immensely benefit from such academics. Another initiative, WikiJournal on English Wikiversity would also benefit from this just as much.

    Academic experts would need recognition of their efforts to make it worthwhile for the time they spend, so the evolution of verifiable mechanisms that quantify, judge and present their contributions in a manner that is acceptable for academic recognition. Such mechanisms would bring in many academics especially those still on their path to academic distinction.
  12. What is your opinion on the claim of autonomy by the different Wikipedia communities and the attempts that Wikimedia wants to regulate a lot now centrally?
    Answer. Please see my answer to this question, along with my answers to questions 2, 8 and 9.

    Wikimedia communities seek regional autonomy for deciding the direction of their community and Wikimedia project development themselves, for decision-making and adjudication of disputes, and deployment of resources earmarked for them. This is a legitimate aspiration. Unfortunately, in the present environment, the WMF has demonstrated by unilateral actions, such as the Fram incident, that they are not averse to interference without community acquiescence and engagement. Emerging communities, and "lesser" Wikimedia projects have problems in that they are unable to get priority, attention, resources and so on, which adds to the unhappiness of the communities. Certain initiatives such as Wikimedia Charter, Universal Code of Conduct give the appearance of WMF trying to prevail their agenda over that of the community, despite engagement. Yet other initiatives like Rebranding were pushed or propagated without Community consultation.

    In this backdrop, it is high time that the WMF give up this trend of unilateral action. Along with Community, WMF needs to define the boundaries and the rules of the engagement process, and respect them.
  13. What is your opinion on the rebranding from Wikimedia to Wikipedia, which is blurring the difference?
    Answer. I have given detailed views on this question here: Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question10.
  14. Do you feel the current structure of rules and processes of Wikipedia effectively prevents bias? As a community leader, what, if anything, do you think could be done to improve combatting bias?
    Answer. It is obvious by the fact that there is an article Criticism of Wikipedia in which systemic bias is mentioned as a very important criticism of Wikipedia, and by extension, of all Wikimedia projects, that the current rules and processes of language Wikipedias do not prevent bias. In this regard, bias being part of a human nature, will always be present to a more or less extent. Our aims should be to get adequate data, consider the question from all angles, both collectively, and with regard to the different communities, and come up with a plan for engagement of this issue.

    All of us are unhappy with the very slow progress against bias. We must realise that removing bias belongs to a special class of problem called as Wicked problem. These problems cannot be solved once and for all, they have to be engaged adaptively repeatedly, so that bias is managed. In my humble opinion, if we treat bias as a "wicked problem", we are likely to come up with more effective means of tacking this issue.

    My views on combatting bias are given in : Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question9
  15. What do you think about the growing questioning that Wikimedia projects have globally and what would you do about it?
    Answer. I have not understood the context of this question, and would require clarification before I can answer it.
  16. There are several movement out there (especially that is founded by expert community) that have the same exact vision as we are (disseminating free knowledge on the Internet). But they decided to make their own platform (or using other platform) other than Wikipedia to reach their vision. What's your opinion about this? Should we try to "integrate" them to join Wikimedia, or just let them have their own independence?
    Answer. Diversity in approach is just as important as a common purpose and synergistic actions. Since, most of these projects have approaches which differ substantially from Wikimedia projects, both in implementation and their culture, integration is not the way to go. Integration of small projects run by volunteer enthusiasm into such asymmetrically large Wikimedia projects would possibly lead to neglect and demise of these external projects. A better approach is to have engagement with multiple projects which have the common goal of Open Knowledge, and look for ways that they can collaborate effectively and achieve benefits for both projects. A good example of this is InternetArchiveBot which provides remedies for many broken links on Wikimedia projects, while increasing the utility of the Internet Archive's resources as well.

    Most external projects working in the same mission as WMF usually have shoestring budgets and find it difficult to obtain funding to help them accomplish their potential. The WMF Knowledge Equity Fund is model of what must be provided. Here, I would like to mention that this fund is meant to address racial equity, and not support the global "Open and Libre Knowledge" movement, hence a similar fund would be needed meant to support organisations that have the same vision as Wikimedia Foundation.

    My answer to Question 11 of Selected Questions is also relevant: Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question11
  17. What are your thoughts on how the Wikimedia Foundation should engage more effectively with the Global South WikiCommunities in the near future (next 2 to 3 years)?
    Answer. Please find my answer to this question Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question6, here and here.

    In the Selected Questions, the phrase "Global South" has been replaced by the phrase "emerging communities".
  18. Should the Wikimedia Projects be more involved with the UN Decade of Action (for Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement, Biodiversity Convention Targets, etc...)? And what intermediary role can or should the Wikimedia Foundation play in this regard?
    Answer. The UN Decade of Action (for Sustainable Development Goals), the Paris Agreement, the Biodiversity Convention Targets, etc., are large global scale suggestions and agendas that provide guidance to nations, organisations and people of the world on what is necessary to save our world from climate disruption (I believe that this is now a more appropriate term) and how to have a more just and equitable world.

    On the face of it, the WMF in conjunction with the Wikimedia Community and the Charter have their own aims and programs that are analogous to sustainability goals, inequality programs, gender equality and women’s empowerment, and other programs as the Seventeen Sustainable Goals of the UN Decade of Action. These WMF initiatives should be carried out with due sincerity and purpose, keeping in mind the global context.

    However, just as importantly, the Wikimedia Movement’s role is to facilitate the access of all knowledge to humanity. These initiatives need to make their details and related information available to all the people in the World, however, they are only available online in major languages. The various Wikimedia projects, and the communities that grow them, can help this by providing this information on their language Wikipedias, Wikibooks, Wikiversity, Commons, and so on.

    Many of these global agendas have resulted in initiatives in many countries addressing some specific aspect. These organisations and communities need information which they need made available to the people they serve, and Wikimedia language communities can support them by acquiring information, as per the norms of the projects, and deploying this information on the projects. For example, CIS-A2K and the Marathi, Hindi and Indian English-language Wikimedia communities are involved in the "Jal Bodh" project to deploy information resources regarding water conservation in Marathi and Hindi in support of NGOs working towards Goal Six - Water and Sanitation of UN Decade of Action (Sustainable Development Goals).
  19. What are your thoughts on the future of Wikispecies, Wikinews, Wikiversity and other smaller Wikiprojects? And how can the Wikimedia Foundation support them?
    Answer. Please see my answer at: Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question10.
  20. Do you have any specific goals or outcomes you want to achieve during your tenure as a board member?
    Answer. As required during the process of application, I have listed my top three Board priorities and my top three Movement Charter priorities at my candidacy page. However, on an overall level, as I am from India, which has a complex, diverse, emerging community from a Global South nation, in addition to those, the specific outcomes I seek are:
    • Give a voice to the emerging communities of the Global South, and ensure that they are considered in the activities of the Board and WMF.
    • Ensure that the needs of the emerging communities from the Global South are met, in terms of participation, attention, resources, opportunity, and vision.
    • Ensure that all parts of the Global Wikimedia Community,regardless of gender, ability, sexual orientation, class, caste, or religion get safe space, equal rights, fair treatment, and due consideration.
  21. What does diversity in the Wikimedia Community mean to you? And do you have a plan on how can it be tangibly or quantifiably be achieved? (Example: Reduction in Data Gaps)
    Answer. Please see my answer here Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question7.
  22. There has been a steady growth of Wikimedia Foundation expenses over the years. What are your thoughts on this matter? Should there be 5 year caps on spending?
    Answer. Increase in spending by itself is not bad; what is important is how the money is being spent. If growth results in more money going towards community needs, and less on administrative overheads, I am all for it. The present process of WMF is definitely not adequate in its engagement with the community. Secondly, I am not aware of any instance where they have taken feedback from Community and then changed a funding decision. So, there needs to be greater interaction, but more importantly, greater say in how and where the money is to be spent. There is also a long-standing feeling in community of depravation of funds to certain communities, concerns and Wikimedia projects. This, in my opinion, represents a fundamental defect in the methodology of processes. Community produces the output of the movement, not the WMF, and the present dispensation prevents communities from getting satisfaction from its needs being met timely.
  23. When it comes to allocating foundation resources, how would you want to prioritize funds between paying down technical debt and working on new strategic initiatives?
    Answer. I am not a technical expert on software engineering so I can answer in a general manner. MediaWiki software has been written many years ago and patched to continue use. Technical debt will only increase, a point will come, where this will be a major impediment in keeping the Wikimedia projects running. Beyond that point, only a freshly engineered solution made from more appropriate languages and software frameworks will be needed. Since development of such complex software implies a fresh opportunity for redesign, it is high time that the WMF initiates the construction of a new software to carry them another quarter century or more into the future. The funds are there, there is no time pressure at present, so that there is time to make this new software with a smooth and uneventful transition can happen a few years in the future, without the need for any crisis management. Other strategic initiatives such as use of unicode in urls, domain numbers etc., for example should also be supported, if it is in the Wikimedia movement's best interest to do so.
  24. What do you think about the WMF using funds for purposes not related to Wikimedia projects?
    Answer. Please see my answer here: Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question11.
  25. Do you think the WMF should take any active role in relation to undisclosed paid editing?
    Answer. The WMF should stay away from policy decisions on this, as it is a community issue, and violation of the "no paid editing" issue will violate the culture of the Movement beyond repair. Please also see my answer to Question number 45.
  26. What do you think about Wikimedia_Enterprise? Do you think its criticism is justified?
    Answer. Yes. In the capitalist system that governs the USA, the country that the WMF is incorporated in, the examples of influencing policy through controlled donations in their society and government gives adequate reason for users to feel unease. Organisations like Google and Amazon are multi-billion dollar behemoths owned by multi-billionaires. They have adequate resources to do for themselves what the WMF LLC plans to do for them. WMF should provide a minimal but adequate handoff of data in a secure manner, that does not infringe privacy rights, and beyond that these companies can do it for themselves.

    In this context, in my opinion, accepting multi-million dollar investments to the Tides Endowment itself from Google and Amazon that aren't reported appropriately on the WMF balance sheet is a conflict of interest in case WMF LLC comes to be.
  27. Given recent comments by ex-staffers, should the new Board conduct an investigation about management misconduct at the WMF, including but not limited to bullying, union busting and discrimination based on sex, race or disabilities?
    Answer. Yes, Otherwise, if this isn't addressed opportunely, larger incidents or scandals may emerge in future which will affect not just credibility of the WMF but also of the Board and Movement as a whole. WMF must live to the same standards it expects its affiliates and Community to observe.
  28. How should the 4 community board seats due to be selected in 2022 be filled?
    Answer. Based upon the pattern of selection of community representations by the global community at large in this election, the WMF should consider how the diversity they aim for should be achieved. Generally, it can be seen that Global North candidates have more candidates, better visibility, more opportunities, better internet access, more tolerant societies and governments, etc., that gives them better chances of election into the Board. If the choices of the community in this election do not meet the Board's requirements of diversity, domain expertise etc, it should adopt a model which ensure that representation in 2022. How and whether that happens is an issue for after this elections.
  29. Have you, or any members of your immediate family, received any financial benefits from the WMF or a WMF affiliate in the past 5 years?
    Answer. No.
  30. How did you contribute to the Movement Strategy process, the Movement Brands Project, the UCOC process, the proposed Bylaws amendments, and the call for feedback on community board selections?
    Answer. I do not have notable contribution to these issues.
  31. Under what (if any) circumstances should the board extend the term of community-selected trustees?
    Answer. I am against extension of the term of community-selected trustees, as a matter of routine or convenience. While such extension may be forced due to highly abnormal circumstances, such as major part of the Board is incapacitated by pandemic-causing disease, it should only till such time as the election can be held, which should be at the earliest opportunity.
  32. When should Foundation projects require explicit approval by the community and how should that approval be assessed?
    Answer. Naturally, Foundation projects that directly affect the Community and projects that have long term effects on the future of the Movement should have explicit approval. However, projects which bring impactful change, either beneficial or disruptive to the culture and ideals of the Movement, even if they don't directly involve the Community, such projects should require explicit approval. For example, Wikimedia LLC brings in scope of undue influence of donors over the WMF and indirectly, the Community. Other such cases are Wikimedia rebranding and placing endowments with Tides Foundation with the Fund not directly under Board control. If there is no consensus, then the matter should be dropped or deferred till some understanding or compromise can be reached.

    Please find more thoughts of mine on the relations between WMF and affiliates in my answers to Question 2, Question 8, and Question 11 of the Selected Questions.
  33. If you had been a Board member in 2019, would you have supported the Board's statement on the ban of Fram from the English Wikipedia? Would you have proposed any changes or additions to this statement?
    Answer. It's Boardspeak saying that they realised that the Foundation was wrong to do this, but no clear cut censure or concrete steps of correction are mentioned. Since it's a past event, I would prefer to focus on how to prevent such incidents in the future.
  34. Allegations of a hostile workplace environment at WMF have been made by former employees here and here. What is your reaction to this and is there anything that you would do as a board member to change this?
    Answer. There must be good faith enquiry over such allegations, with corrective action where necessary. Otherwise, if this isn't addressed opportunely, larger incidents or scandals may emerge in future which will affect not just affect the functioning and credibility of the WMF but also of the Board and Movement as a whole. WMF must live to the same standards it expects its affiliates and Community to observe, as also the laws of the land.
  35. Katherine Maher recently floated the idea of paying contributors. Should the Foundation start discussions on what a model of compensation would look like?
    Answer. No. The solution in a volunteer-driven citizen participation project such as the Wikimedia movement can not lie in paid contribution. Violation of this principle for no matter which good intentions would only reult in open the door for purposeful manipulation of information by external agencies. Other solutions should be found to address the diversity gaps.

    In this regard, WMF employees' editing work on main WikiProjects should also stay clear of being construed as paid contribution.
  36. Given the amount of work stewards do, do you think stewards should be paid? Why (not)? If yes, how much?
    Answer. No. Stewards can be facilitated and encouraged by providing them training suitable for their role, recognition and resources such as Wikipedia Library. However, there should be no paid roles in Community; paid work should be only in WMF and their non-Community affiliates, such as CIS-A2K.
  37. Should there be a waiting period between the time a Board member leaves the Board, and they take on an employee, consultant, or other paid role with the Foundation?
    Answer. The recent incident has only shown how such incidents are not only objected to by the Community, but also violate Conflict of Interest guidelines, and ethics. Accordingly, I not only advocate a minimum one year cooling off period, but also that such appointment should happen only through resolutions made by the Board, at least six months after the outgoing trustee has already left the Board.
  38. To reduce the possibility of conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflict of interest do you commit to not accept any employed or remunerated position with the Foundation for at least the duration of your stay on the board and 6 months until after leaving the board?
    Answer. Yes, I commit to not undertaking any kind of employed or remunerated position with the Foundation for the duration of your stay on the board and one year after leaving the board, if elected (in line with my recommendations with the previous answer).

    As such, I have been an editor and volunteer activist since 2006, without any kind of linkage to the WMF or any of its affiliates. I have never been in employ of or received a grant from WMF or its affiliate. I consider this an important attribute for being able to put the viewpoint of the Community across to the Board without fear or favour. I am resolved to continue this during and after my Board tenure, if elected.
  39. Non-affiliated volunteers (i.e. volunteers who are not members of any Wikimedia affiliate) do most of the work on the wikis, yet elect only a quarter of board seats. Do you think this is right?
    Answer. The WMF track record on getting consensus of the Community where warranted, before proceeding on their chosen initiatives, isn't good. Hence, it is necessary that Community have majority Board members to ensure that the WMF isn't an autocrat in its dealing with the Community.
  40. How can WMF deal with proposed or established intermediary liability rules in different countries and safeguard the local Wikimedia volunteers from prosecution by government agencies?
    Answer. This is a complex question, because of the differences of intermediary liability rules in different countries and implications of such rules on different parts of the Movement, especially volunteers. Examination of the legislation is necessary in each case, and each country's case would have to be engaged differently, based on the issues raised by the legislation. There must be maximum effort made for protection of volunteers, as without the freedom of volunteers to contribute without being singled and targetted by hostile government agencies, the Movement will wither away.
  41. The Foundation rejected repeated calls to make the Movement Strategy a consensus process. I believe none of the resulting projects have an established consensus, including the Code of Conduct. Rebranding was 92% opposed,[8] and an item to undermine our core content quality policies appears to have 100% opposition.[9] I believe those running the process clearly advanced their own agenda, disregarding all opposition. Do you consider the Strategy process legitimate? Do staff have a valid mandate to impose these Strategy projects on us? (Please to not get sidetracked on the merits of any particular project, this is a process question.)
    Answer. Since I had not participated deeply in the Movement strategy, I cannot speak from personal knowledge. However, from the public record, to me it appears that WMF has not sought consensus as much as it should or made much efforts to get it. Hopefully, that is changing with role of WMF, the Movement Charter, Global Council, and hubs coming forth. Whether the WMF, despite the rhetoric, actually seeks consensus timely and appropriately from community is something that only time will tell.
  42. Would you be in favor of hiring an outside firm to do an independent audit of board actions over the preceding two years?
    Answer. In principle, I favour audit, transparency and accountability. I have two observations. Firstly, such an exercise would cost a lot of money, take up a lot of time of the Board and WMF and would adversely affect the working of the Movement during the process. Secondly, such external auditors would not be aware of the values, culture and practices of such a globally participatory movement, and there could be errors of interpretation and emphasis in the findings of the auditors. So, unless there is a very good grounds for requiring such an audit, I do not favour such an audit personally.
  43. As a board member, would you encourage the board to evaluate the wisdom of close relationships with specific outside groups such as the Tides Foundation?
    Answer. In principle, I am opposed to parking a hundred million dollars in a manner where it is not under the control of the Board. I am opposed to relations with outside groups that will allow outside interests to exert influence over the WMF. However, it is difficult to generalise because there could be positive and beneficial relations that meet this description.
  44. What are your thoughts on how to handle the competing representation issues between giving "seats in the room" for smaller/medium projects at the expense of reducing the "per-editor" vote of large projects, such as may be a question for the Global Council? An example of a proposal along these lines can be seen here, with issues raised on the talk page.
    Answer. I am for giving seats in the room to smaller and medium projects, because they are under-represented and dwarfed by the Wikipedias. I do not support the per-editor argument because due to demographics, it supports bias and discrimination due to community size, and because this line of thinking would never allow the Global South to improve in their situation vs the Global South, or small communities to get their voice heard, or for other Wikimedia projects other than English Wikipedia (and Commons and Wikidata) to get their fair share. Giving a seat to smaller and medium projects would not threaten the development of Wikipedia, however, the per-editor metric would reduce them to subordinate status in perpetuity.
  45. What do you think about the problem that there are arbitration committees in a few wikis, but not in all, and so the parties can transfer their conflict to other wikis in order not to be punished there, or if the conflict was already on the other wiki, there is no independent dispute resolution body at all? What do you think of a single point of contact for all wikis? Otherwise there would often only be a) abandoning the project to avoid the bullying or b) a civil lawsuit.
    Answer. Every language community project must have a dispute resolution policy and a committee, with a specific noticeboard where disputes can be raised. Disputes that cannot be resolved within the project need to be referred to an external global disputes resolution board of the Community for resolution. In the rare case, where certain legal, practical, or other constraints prevent resolution within Community, provision should exist for putting the issue up to WMF who would decide on the issue. The Foundation Board of Trustees should provide oversight of this so that only rarest of rare cases are referred to the WMF for resolution, example being hostile takeover of communities by representatives of authoritarian states. On no account should WMF interfere directly and unilaterally. Wherever WMF has concerns on discipline-related community issues, it can engage with global community to explore solutions to the issue with consensus and mutual agreement.
  46. How important is privacy for you? Are you in favor of anonymous editors not automatically publishing their IP address, or should Wikipedia continue to lag behind in terms of privacy?
    Answer. My first concern will always be personal privacy and safety over efficiency and convenience. In this regard, I support editing through registered accounts only with IP masking. Hand in hand, tools will need to develop which will use fresh strategies to deal with sock-puppeting and other forms of disruptive editing. the tackling of which are made harder by banning anonymous editing.
  47. Several severe communication issues have been reported with the iOS and Android mobile apps and the web client, all currently in production. Do you agree with the WMF's response to these? More generally, how can the community ensure the difficulties they experience with the software are prioritised in development resource allocations?
    Answer. I feel that this is an important issue, and getting robust, well-designed, bug-free phone apps for various projects including Commons is important. We need phone apps for other Wikimedia projects and other languages as well.
  48. Do you feel the current spending and available personnel on development issues (both on building new features and fixing bugs in existing ones) is too low, too high, or about right?
    Answer. I do not have the experience or knowledge to make this assessment. In addition, please see my views in answers to questions 23 and 50.
  49. Which past Board resolutions or other actions would you vote to overturn, if any?
    Answer. I advocate looking to the future and have no agenda to overturn any past Board resolutions. However, if some past resolution needs to be deprecated for any reason, I think that is a legitimate course of business of the Board and I would participate in it, making the decision, as per my best understanding and conscience.
  50. What percentage of the WMF's annual budget should be allocated among the following categories: (1) maintaining server uptime now and in the foreseeable future, (2) clearing the phabricator backlog, (3) recruiting new participants, and (4) everything else?
    Answer. This is far too specific a question to answer with my current level of knowledge. However, my general view is that WMF budget should primarily spent on keeping the projects technically going at all times as first priority, and then projects that support the core values and mission of the WMF as second priority, and others, last of all. In this, I support the creation of a new initiative to replace the old MediaWiki platform with a robust freshly-engineered software that will be designed to meet the future needs of the Wikimedia Movement including Abstract Wikimedia, and such developments, side-by-side with keeping the present server-software infrastructure going till its ready to take over.
  51. A number of board members, as well as C-level Foundation employees, have been brought onboard who never provide any clue what their opinions or thoughts about Wikimedia's mission is or should be -- neither at the beginning of their tenure nor at any time afterwards. What thoughts do you have about requiring them to provide some statement to the volunteers on this matter?
    Answer. I have long been of the opinion that WMF employees who are not part of the movement begin their jobs without adequate knowledge and participation of the Movement. During the hiring process, they need to be screened for their views about the movement, with knowledge about and empathy with the Movement being a positive attribute which gives them preference in selection.

    In addition, the HR Deportment must include this in the onboarding process, and we should require WMF employees to be part of a project, make edits, participate in the processes, and give a presentation about their contribution or views so that they don't begin functioning without an adequate knowledge of our Wikimedia environment and culture.
  52. Do you believe that communication with individual editors as a Trustee is important? What are you views on how quickly, and in how much detail, Trustees should be expected to reply to individual queries by editors with regards to issues and their role (as an average across the year/term)?
    Answer. It is important that trustees should be accessible by community members, for both trustees and community. Community must have access to the trustees it elects and trustees need to understand the different points of view of the Community members. However, as Trustees are volunteer editors with time constraints, it may not be possible for them to reply to every email or post immediately, nor is it fair to have that expectation. I, for one, will do my best to reply emails timely and appropriately.
  53. Do you think a community member can be an effective CEO of the WMF? Should the WMF look within the communities, rather than outside, to fill that vacancy?
    Answer. WMF is a large global, multi-lingual, multi-cultural organisation with communities all over the world. It has a very unique set of values and culture, so its really valuable if the CEO is from our Wikimedia Movement, however running a 100 million dollar+ budget non-profit with hundreds of employees, in a challenging environment requires that it is more important that a prospective CEO have the experience and expertise to do so.
  54. Do you think that a larger portion of the board seats should be directly elected by the community?
    Answer. Yes, but not all. The long term health of the movement requires that diversity of opinion requires points of view from beyond the community as well, so half the seats plus one or two is what I recommend.
  55. Wikimedia Foundation has no dedicated accessibility team, do you think we should be doing more given both legal (Americans with Disabilities Act etc.) and ethical ramifications? Should web accessibility be a commitment by the Board of Trustees itself, like with, say, BLP policy?
    Answer. Yes. In fact, accessibility should be a major objective of the work of the WMF, not just pretty words in manifesto, At present accessibility has no corresponding vision, staff, budgetary election, and those who have accessibility issues aren't being given their due. As a trustee, if elected, it will be an important objective of mine to work for this goal.
  56. Name three elephants in the room. How do you propose to deal with them?
    Answer. This is a subjective view and the "elephants" that are being ignored are:
    (a) Unwillingness of WMF to give Community its due, and to dominate the direction of how things proceed, especially in matters primarily involving the community.
    (b) Being Global North centric, but not really willing to giving due equity to Global South and emerging communities through systemic changes.
    (c) Unwillingness to look honestly at every point of view, and rapid dismissal of dissenting points of view by banning participants based on supposed Code of Conduct violations, to avoid engage them.
  57. From the 8 prioritized Movement Strategy initiatives (lettered A to H on Movement_Strategy), the top priority is creating a Movement Charter whereby a Global Council will be created, and responsibilities will be transferred from the (Board of Trustees) of the Wikimedia Foundation to the Global Council. Please elaborate on this top priority.
    Answer. I consider Movement Strategy and Movement Charters as very useful constructs for systematic and progressive development of the Movement. However, I do not consider them as vital or critical as the question implies. Wikimedia Movement has been going on without Charter/Strategy for so long, and will continue to do so even if they are not provided. While I do consider these as important, I don't give them over-arching importance.

    I consider these as guidelines that have been mutually agreed to by WMF and the Community, and these must not be constraints which should affect the normal course of things. For example, in my opinion, separate consensus of Community must be taken for every important change proposed to be put into action by WMF. The presence of mention of an event or course of action in Movement Strategy/Movement Charter does not represent consensus; it only represents broad agreement in the directions of things to be done. In addition, Community has many misgivings about how WMF has pushed these projects ahead without bothering for real consensus, and has paid heed to opposition by the Community based on valid objections.
  58. Should the Board wait until after the elections to choose the next CEO?
    Answer. Yes.
  59. What skills and qualities would you look for in the next CEO?
    Answer. The essential attributes of a good CEO are:
    (a) Expertise and experience in running a large budget non-profit with hundreds of employees, in a challenging environment.
    (b) Highest standards of integrity and ethics.
    (c) Empathy and understanding of the multi-lingual, multi-cultural organisation and of the challenges ahead.
    (d) Values and gives due consideration of the extremely large global volunteer community that has made the movement possible.
    (e) The vision and boldness to make the Wikimedia Movement the knowledge organisation that meets the needs of humanity in the 21st Century and exploits technology in conjunction with the huge volunteer community in order to do so.
  60. Should the WMF fundraise in impoverished countries?
    Answer. Yes. True equity and participation requires that impoverished countries be permitted to do so.
  61. Who is ultimately responsible for the Board of Trustees collective ability to follow its own procedures, policies and code of conduct?
    Answer. No other agency other than the Board of Trustees can be held as ultimately responsible to follow its own procedures, policies and code of conduct.

Clarification requests (Ashwin Baindur)Edit

Please ask your questions addressed specifically to me here. AshLin (talk) 11:33, 20 July 2021 (UTC)[]

Victoria DoroninaEdit

I will answer questions that don’t repeat the “official CandidateQ&A”

4. Explain your thoughts on transparency and communication.

Transparency and communication are critical for the efficient work of any organisation, especially a volunteers-led movement. If there’s no transparency, it builds mistrust and prevents feedback. Unfortunately, both are lacking in the dealings of the WMF and The Board. If elected, one of my goals would be to improve the transparency of the decision-making by the Board and WMF.

6. Why do you think you would be a good candidate for a seat on the board?

I think that I’ll bring a different perspective to the Board. I remember USSR - a totalitarian state with almost total information control. I am a Belarusian citizen, and Belarus remains the last dictatorship in Europe. My home project is Russian Wikipedia, which is struggling against Russian state attempts to control, subvert or replace Wikipedia as the main source of information for the general population.

I have scientific training - PhD in Molecular biology and 10+ years of working as a postdoc. This allows me to analyse and summarise a large amount of information, which should be an asset on the Board.

And last but not least I am a woman, which is an underrepresented group across all Wikimedia projects. It’s a known fact that increasing diversity improves the resilience and agility of organisations.--Victoria (talk) 08:01, 25 July 2021 (UTC)[]

7. Is there a connection between your professional or financial interests and the Board?

No.--Victoria (talk) 08:01, 25 July 2021 (UTC)[]

8. How should the Foundation treat foundation-run projects that incur a high amount of on-wiki opposition?

The projects should be carefully analyzed and paused before it becomes clear who and why opposes them. The “high amount” may be caused by a small but very vocal minority that pursues the interests of a certain group but is not supported by the wider community. But the same volume of protest may be caused by many people being unhappy about the project.

9. Do you believe that there are limits to the scope of the Wikimedia Foundation, and if so, what are those limits?

Of course, there are limits. Wikimedia Foundation (WF) has a limited number of people working limited number of hours, so inevitably the ability so solve the arising problems is limited. WF should support and develop the infrastructure that allows wikiprojects to function. Also they should help wikimedian communities but not meedle.

11. How can we engage more experts (researchers, academia, practitioners) to join our movement?

The experts are already here. As an example, I have a PhD in Molecular biology, and I know many people with advanced degrees who edit Wikipedia. If you look at the biomedical articles, they are written by the experts.

Paradoxically, often the experts write on the topic different from their specialisation. In Rissuan Wikipedia a physicist who is a senior lecturer in one of the best Russian Universities have been creating hundreds of articles about English Medieval aristocracy. I don’t see this as a problem. If somebody knows how to read, analyse and synthesise scientific literature in one area, they will be well prepared to do it in other topics.

Of course, we always need more people. But I think if we continue promoting Wikipedia to the general public, the experts are part of this audience.

12. What is your opinion on the claim of autonomy by the different Wikipedia communities and the attempts that Wikimedia wants to regulate a lot now centrally?

It depends on what the communities mean by autonomy. If it means self-governanace, there’s no problem. If it means that they want to enforce some local rules that diverge or oppose the fundamental principles of Wikimedia Movement, such as NPOW, these are no longer Wikimedia communities and they should fork outside Wikimedia space, as it’s been dome before. I don’t see any increase in the central regulation by Wikimedia in my local projects (Russian, Belarusian wikis, wiktionaries) but I’m happy to discuss the examples.

Clarification requests (Victoria Doronina)Edit

Please ask your questions addressed specifically to me here.--Victoria (talk) 08:01, 25 July 2021 (UTC)[]

Hi Victoria! You are one of the most valuable contributors to the Russian-language edition of Wikipedia. Will you be able to reconcile your work there with your role as a trustee? I am asking this because your work in the LGBT+ mediation committee is very important, especially now when it's in great crisis. M0d3M (talk) 22:25, 26 July 2021 (UTC)[]
  • Hi @Victoria. I would be interested by your analysis on question #26 (Wikimedia Enterprise). Best, — Jules* Talk 09:33, 18 August 2021 (UTC)[]
  • Вітаю, Victoria. Напишіть, будь ласка, вашу думку на запитання - чий Кримський півострів? User:Chasiv_Yar

Adam WightEdit

I'll go through these incrementally, I'm not sure I can finish the entire list. Thank you for posing such a broad range of thought-provoking questions. —Adamw (talk) 19:54, 9 August 2021 (UTC)[]

  1. What do candidates think about increasing the number of volunteers in Wikimedia Foundation projects and how to make it happen?
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question1. I think the best way to get more volunteers is to eliminate the biggest known obstacle: by preventing online abuse.
  2. Where do you personally wish to see the Board in relation to other entities of the Wikiverse (communities, affiliates, etc.) in the future (cf. e.g. Ensure Equity in Decision-making)?
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question2.
  3. How will candidates connect with the community once on the Board?
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question3. I would prefer talking in public, on talk pages or during IRC office hours.
  4. Explain your thoughts on transparency and communication.
    I think I see where this is coming from. I would like the Board's meetings to be recorded and the transcripts made public. This would create some transparency and accountability, and would make it easier for Signpost journalists and others to popularize the Board's activities. Meanwhile, WMF initiatives should always appear as a wiki page early in the ideation phase, as a focal point for community discussion and distribution. Ideally we'll be using participatory design so communities are helping decide what they really need in the first place.
  5. What are your thoughts on emerging Wikimedia communities?
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question6.
  6. tbd
  7. Is there a connection between your professional or financial interests and the Board? If so, please describe how you can ensure this does not interfere.
    I'm currently an employee of Wikimedia Germany, but if appointed to the Board I will have to resign within two weeks. This would take two months from the date of notice to finalize, during which time I would recuse myself from any vote that might overlap with my work at WMDE (though I believe I can still voice non-voting opinions).
  8. How should the Foundation treat foundation-run projects that incur a high amount of on-wiki opposition?
    I would like to avoid this happening, using strategies touched on above (4), by having the communities involved earlier in the lifecycle of projects. When on-wiki opposition does arise, I would like the Foundation to be less quick to drop the project entirely, by working to internalize the concerns and evolve the project into something more appropriate.
  9. tbd
  10. How do you envision wikis shaping the future of the internet, and how can the Wikimedia Foundation support wiki communities in order to make that vision a reality?
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question4. Wikis have already brought crowdsourcing to the Internet. Now we are modeling bot and AI governance, algorithmic transparency, and still at the frontier of multilingualism. I would love to see us pioneering the diversity of knowledge, which means reaching beyond the bounds of our well-known projects and supporting new spaces for co-creation.
  11. tbd
  12. What is your opinion on the claim of autonomy by the different Wikipedia communities and the attempts that Wikimedia wants to regulate a lot now centrally?
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question8. I support the Universal Code of Conduct, but future regulation must be done by a Global Council of communities and not by the Foundation.
  13. What is your opinion on the rebranding from Wikimedia to Wikipedia, which is blurring the difference?
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question5. We aren't a "foundation" because not primarily a grantmaking organization (maybe we should have been?), but we certainly aren't the same as Wikipedia, so I oppose such an appropriation. Personally, I would love to see a new name which is less related to Wikipedia and broadens the scope of our mission, along the lines of "Collaborative Knowledge Infrastructure".
  14. Do you feel the current structure of rules and processes of Wikipedia effectively prevents bias? As a community leader, what, if anything, do you think could be done to improve combatting bias?
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question9.
  15. tbd
  16. There are several movement out there (especially that is founded by expert community) that have the same exact vision as we are (disseminating free knowledge on the Internet). But they decided to make their own platform (or using other platform) other than Wikipedia to reach their vision. What's your opinion about this? Should we try to "integrate" them to join Wikimedia, or just let them have their own independence.
    Another option is to ally with them, rather than the big fish eating the little fish. We could offer grants and expertise, and can in turn learn from these other organizations. As examples, Whose Knowledge? could help us center the knowledge of marginalized communities, and Miraheze and other wiki farms could share their experience of actually putting other types of knowledge online.
  17. What are your thoughts on how the Wikimedia Foundation should engage more effectively with the Global South WikiCommunities in the near future (next 2 to 3 years)?
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question6.
  18. tbd
  19. tbd
  20. tbd
  21. What does diversity in the Wikimedia Community mean to you? And do you have a plan on how can it be tangibly or quantifiably be achieved? (Example: Reduction in Data Gaps)
    Replied here: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question7.
  22. tbd
  23. tbd
  24. tbd
  25. Do you think the WMF should take any active role in relation to undisclosed paid editing?
    Yes, but ideally as a "detective" and not the judge. We can provide machine learning and other assistance in identifying potential undisclosed paid editing, and then the community can decide whether the terms of service and community policies are being honored.
  26. What do you think about Wikimedia_Enterprise? Do you think its criticsm is justfied?
    I have many reservations about this and some other current initiatives, but would like to talk with staff and the Board before coming to conclusions. Andreas Kolbe's criticisms are always welcome, but the linked article is mostly about donations and doesn't go into depth about the issues with an "Enterprise" service. What I can say is that any significant revenue above our bare costs is likely to be a corrupting influence, and sets up perverse incentives. For example, it might be much more efficient for our customers to store wiki content on their own servers and import only a small trickle of data to stay updated, but if they have the money they would prefer to repeatedly run expensive queries against us because it's simpler in the short term. If we are getting paid, we become complicit in the wasteful practice and are deincentivized from improving efficiency.
  27. Given recent comments by ex-staffers, should the new Board conduct an investigation about management misconduct at the WMF, including but not limited to bullying, union busting and discrimination based on sex, race or disabilities?
    As one of the ex-staff who provided my own story, and as a friend to many staff who have gone through hard times at WMF: yes. But this should be an independent investigation not run by the Board. Their mandate should include structural questions, for example whether the deep management hierarchy itself could be a source of miscommunication and intrigue, and cultural questions, whatever might prevent abuses of power like those reported from happening again.
  28. How should the 4 community board seats due to be selected in 2022 be filled?
    An election is a good choice. If we want to better represent parts of the world without as many editors (we do!), then we need to evaluate our voter eligibility (I am in favor of lowering the requirements), do lots of voter outreach, and find candidates from those regions. This question is worth its own investigation, I think the Election Committee is on the right path so far but popular elections are inherently limited by our existing population.
  29. Have you, or any members of your immediate family, received any financial benefits from the WMF or a WMF affiliate in the past 5 years?
    Discussed above: yes, I'm an employee of Wikimedia Germany but would resign if appointed to the Board.
  30. How did you contribute to the Movement Strategy process, the Movement Brands Project, the UCOC process, the proposed Bylaws amendments, and the call for feeback on community board selections?
    I haven't participated. In the past, my only related participation was to write an analysis of the 2015 Board election "support-oppose" voting system, to demonstrate why it was undemocratic and failed to achieve the effect that was intended for. I have proposed other Bylaws amendments such as switching back to a formal membership organization, see some more history here.
  31. Under what (if any) circumstances should the board extend the term of community-selected trustees?
    I would prefer that this never happen, it defeats the purpose of having (s)elections. But our Bylaws should explain exactly what circumstances warrant this extension, for example to avoid having a non-elected majority.
  32. tbd
  33. tbd
  34. Allegations of a hostile workplace environment at WMF have been made by former employees here and here. What is your reaction to this and is there anything that you would do as a board member to change this?
    Addressed above. We may need culture change and possibly reform of the management structure.
  35. tbd
  36. tbd
  37. Should there be a waiting period between the time a Board member leaves the Board, and they take on an employee, consultant, or other paid role with the Foundation?
    Same as below.
  38. To reduce the possibility of conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflict of interest do you commit to not accept any employed or remunerated position with the Foundation for at least the duration of your stay on the board and 6 months until after leaving the board?
    I can commit to that and would suggest that we add it to the Bylaws. However, as a current Wikimedia Germany employee I think our concerns here are misguided. The really concerning conflicts of interest are more like, if one of our Board members were to have a major stake in another media company whose dividends could be affected by actions taken by the WMF. My personal employment is ridiculously far from such a concern, I earn a fraction of other programmers make at for-profit firms, WMDE doesn't receive money from WMF (they *give* to the Foundation), so it's not like I could create some power broker scenario where I will be sipping champagne as the grants roll in. The only impact my job seems to have is that it's a reason that I care and am somewhat informed of what's happening in our movement. We want more people in my position, not less. And it's honestly a personal tragedy that I would have to quit this job—I moved my family with two small children between continents to do this work. Let's take a hard look at conflict of interest policy and see if we can get a broader perspective than "working for affiliates could be corrupting".
  39. tbd
  40. tbd
  41. tbd
  42. tbd
  43. tbd
  44. What are your thoughts on how to handle the competing representation issues between giving "seats in the room" for smaller/medium projects at the expense of reducing the "per-editor" vote of large projects, such as may be a question for the Global Council? An example of a proposal along these lines can be seen here, with issues raised on the talk page.
    This will be a core question in the next few years, thank you for bringing it up. My first thought is that we should make the Global Council maximally inclusive, it should include representatives from every user group and affiliate, plus thematic members to be determined. Working committees would be made of smaller groups of members, because this is an easier size for accomplishing concrete tasks. The full assembly would include voices who need to be heard from directly, who would not have been included in something like an elected Board for the reasons given above.
  45. tbd
  46. How important is privacy for you? Are you in favor of anonymous editors not automatically publishing their IP address, or should Wikipedia continue to lag behind in terms of privacy?
    Exposing IP addresses has really become a scandal, with this many years of everyone being aware of what a bad idea it is. There is work happening now, and I consider it closely related to the very high priority anti-abuse debt we have to pay down. Just to be explicit, the problem is that any anonymous editor, and any logged-in editor whose browser glitches even once, can be traced to an Internet address that literally gives away their approximate home address. This is unacceptable.
  47. tbd
  48. tbd
  49. tbd
  50. tbd
  51. A number of board members, as well as C-level Foundation employees, have been brought onboard who never provide any clue what their opinions or thoughts about Wikimedia's mission is or should be -- neither at the beginning of their tenure nor at any time afterwards. What thoughts do you have about requiring them to provide some statement to the volunteers on this matter? -- Llywrch (talk) 07:00, 28 June 2021 (UTC)[]
    I've always encouraged staff to attend Wikimania, because I think that editors are the best group to enculturate new hires. It's their creativity and quirks that staff will be grappling with during their stay. This should be made into a formal part of onboarding, that Board members and staff attend workshops on wiki editing and etiquette, I know I would benefit from this myself! Forcing anyone to make a statement is an odd idea, I think that Board members and C-levels should be working mostly under public scrutiny, but they are free to make whatever statements they feel are appropriate. Perhaps what we can do is give them regular opportunities to say something outside of moments of crisis, such as town hall appearances.
  52. Do you believe that communication with individual editors as a Trustee is important? What are you views on how quickly, and in how much detail, Trustees should be expected to reply to individual queries by editors with regards to issues and their role (as an average across the year/term)?
    This is difficult to do sustainably, since there are a small number of Trustees and a large number of editors. It seems best if there were a forum for discussing with the Board, and any editors and Trustees can participate, but unfortunately the wikimedia-l mailing list which is supposed to serve this function is known to be an unhealthy environment and many people I know have unsubscribed. My proposed format that I would like to use personally would be: weekly office hours in a rotating time slot. People who are new to the forum would have first priority, and the overall time would be limited.
  53. Do you think a community member can be an effective CEO of the WMF? Should the WMF look within the communities, rather than outside, to fill that vacancy?
    Sure, Wikimedians understand some of our unique issues better than anyone. But I'm not a fan of having a C-level hierarchy in the first place, I would rather have a level organization (or multiple organizations) with a size below Dunbar's number, around 150 or the number of people that you can actually know and interact with. High-level functions can be performed by overlapping, self-organized circles of interested people (like sociocracy or holocracy), and if we found a way to avoid taking advantage of volunteers' time, could include contributors.
  54. Do you think that a larger portion of the board seats should be directly elected by the community?
    Yes, all seats or at least a majority. It's also critical that the election has a legal basis and is not at the discretion of future Boards. I would like the contributors to own WMF.
  55. Wikimedia Foundation has no dedicated accessibility team, do you think we should be doing more given both legal (Americans with Disabilities Act etc.) and ethical ramifications? Should web accessibility be a commitment by the Board of Trustees itself, like with, say, BLP policy?
    Thank you for asking! As a developer, I often see accessibility work postponed until the end of a project, when it needs to be considered as part of the original designs. We need to invest in this, and empower our staff who already have experience in accessibility to build it into engineering workflows.
  56. tbd
  57. tbd
  58. tbd
  59. tbd
  60. Should the WMF fundraise in impoverished countries?
    Yes, but with more empathy. It's patronizing to say that everyone in a country cannot afford to donate because the median income is low. Our donors can make up their own mind about whether or not they have spare cash, and we give them an opportunity to support a site they value. But our messaging should be very clear: we are not about to shut our door for a lack of funding. The best thing to do to support us is probably to join a local user group, not send $1. Having worked on the Fundraising Technology team, I want to add that payment processor fees are a major cost (this can be seen on the public financial reports), and the overhead becomes a higher percentage as the donations get smaller. We should do something about these small donations, pooling them or directing them towards local groups so that we aren't wasting people's money on foreign exchange and fees. And we should experiment more with banners that offer other ways to get involved, as long as we do this in cooperation with local groups.
  61. Who is ultimately responsible for the Board of Trustees collective ability to follow its own procedures, policies and code of conduct?
    That would be the Board itself. But there's a catch!—I'm proposing that the contributors gain ownership over the Foundation, in which case there would be a general assembly that can hold Trustees accountable and replace them as needed.


Lionel ScheepmansEdit

  1. What do candidates think about increasing the number of volunteers in Wikimedia Foundation projects and how to make it happen?
    See : Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question1.
  2. Where do you personally wish to see the Board in relation to other entities of the Wikiverse (communities, affiliates, etc.) in the future (cf. e.g. Ensure Equity in Decision-making)?
    See: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question2
  3. How will candidates connect with the community once on the Board?
    See : Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question3. In short: by being available to questions and responding whenever there is a need for clarification. One thing worth remembering is that trustees are required to not make any promises on behalf of the board before the Board makes a decision, as well as not to reply on contentious topics if it can be read as the Board statement, which is super difficult. During our major crises I tried to balance the need for reaching out with the need of the Board to wait.
  4. Explain your thoughts on transparency and communication.
    Transparency is the DNA is part of wikimedia projects. For me it was the principal cause of the success of Wikipedia projects and other sister projects. The MediaWiki engine is particulary powerfull in terme of transparency. In the frame of his duty considering privacy and states laws, the fondation should inspired by this successful story and never restart again mistake as the w:knowledge engine (Wikimedia Foundation) affaire.
  5. What are your thoughts on emerging Wikimedia communities?
    See : Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question6.
  6. Why do you think you would be a good candidate for a seat on the board?
    It's should be more interesting for me to wonder if actif board members are goods or not. One of the principal vices of electoral system is to focus on candidate and forget after to contrôl the activity of elected one. It's possible to be a good candidate but a bad board member. For the rest, I don't like to sell things and even less my own person. Moreover, I find it a bit inappropriate to tell the voters what they should think of me.
  7. Is there a connection between your professional or financial interests and the Board? If so, please describe how you can ensure this does not interfere.
    No risk, I don't like money that perverts our vision of the world, nor work as an employee that imprisons us in contracts that deprive us of freedom.
  8. How should the Foundation treat foundation-run projects that incur a high amount of on-wiki opposition?
    This should not happen, and it would not happen if the foundation were run by a direct democracy system aimed at reaching consensus. It does happen in Wikimedia projects with thousands of users and all kinds of conflicts of interest. Why not at the Wikimedia Foundation level? My vision would be to transform the foundation into an international cooperative in which the shares of the cooperators would be calculated according to the investment. I'm talking about an investment in time of course, otherwise we'd be back to the usual situation where the richest people make the decisions.
  9. Do you believe that there are limits to the scope of the Wikimedia Foundation, and if so, what are those limits?
    As far as employees are concerned, I think that the limits have already been reached if not exceeded. As far as money is concerned, I would set a limit of only collecting donations so as not to slip further into the commercial paradigm and out of the knowledge production spaces (projects) because this is detrimental to participation in my opinion. As far as duration, number of online projects and offline organization are concerned, I don't see any necessary limit within the movement as long as we don't exceed 500 employees and that each entity remains independent and united to a common mission developed together.
  10. How do you envision wikis shaping the future of the internet, and how can the Wikimedia Foundation support wiki communities in order to make that vision a reality?
    Within the Web space, Wiki projects, the only sites not managed by commercial companies in the top 50 most visited sites, are the future of a digital society that escapes the commodification of the world. This is my main motivation as a Wikimedia actor. And that is why I oppose any form of commodification within the movement. The Wikimedia Enterprise (.com) project is in this sense a very dangerous initiative.
  11. How can we engage more experts (researchers, academia, practitioners) to join our movement?
    For me, this is a problem that looks outside our movement, which must be kept non-elitist and disinterested in money. The most important skill for those who join our movement is altruism. Other technical, scientific and other skills will be misused if altruism is absent. Gradually, the success of the altruism of the Wikimedia movement should give the outside world pause. And I emphasize that we should not set our mission adrift in order to attract skills. They will come on their own with success.
  12. What is your opinion on the claim of autonomy by the different Wikipedia communities and the attempts that Wikimedia wants to regulate a lot now centrally?
    See : Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question8.
  13. What is your opinion on the rebranding from Wikimedia to Wikipedia, which is blurring the difference?
    See : Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question5.
  14. Do you feel the current structure of rules and processes of Wikipedia effectively prevents bias? As a community leader, what, if anything, do you think could be done to improve combatting bias?
    See:: Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question9.
  15. What do you think about the growing questioning that Wikimedia projects have globally and what would you do about it?
    According to my own observations, it is rather the opposite that takes place. At least on the level of Wikipedia, the media is talking about it better and better. On the level of the foundation and the fundraising it is not so clear.
  16. There are several movement out there (especially that is founded by expert community) that have the same exact vision as we are (disseminating free knowledge on the Internet). But they decided to make their own platform (or using other platform) other than Wikipedia to reach their vision. What's your opinion about this? Should we try to "integrate" them to join Wikimedia, or just let them have their own independence.
    I would not want the wikimedia movement to become a monopoly in the diffusion of human knowledge. A kind of Big Tech of free knowledge. The richness of a world lies in its diversity and there is no diversity without autonomy. And as I've told to Katherin before she stepp down the sentence : " By 2030, Wikimedia will become the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge, and anyone who shares our vision will be able to join us. " is not a good one and in my opinion didn't reflect the thinking of the community but well the ambitions of a foundation that should be more moderate in its words.
  17. What are your thoughts on how the Wikimedia Foundation should engage more effectively with the Global South WikiCommunities in the near future (next 2 to 3 years)?
    See : Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question6.
  18. Should the Wikimedia Projects be more involved with the UN Decade of Action (for Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement, Biodiversity Convention Targets, etc...)? And what intermediary role can or should the Wikimedia Foundation play in this regard?
    As an intermediary and in accordance with its mission, the Foundation must defend the interests of every human being in relation to the sharing of knowledge. Collaboration with other supra-state bodies as mentioned above is therefore normal and even desired.
  19. What are your thoughts on the future of WikiSpecies, WikiNews, Wikiversity and other smaller Wikiprojects? And how can the Wikimedia Foundation support them?
    See : Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question10.
  20. Do you have any specific goals or outcomes you want to achieve during your tenure as a board member?
    To have fun in a voluntary work and with colleagues that I hope are friendly. To continue my participation in the improvement of the human condition as best I can.
  21. What does diversity in the Wikimedia Community mean to you? And do you have a plan on how can it be tangibly or quantifiably be achieved? (Example: Reduction in Data Gaps)
    See : Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question7.
  22. There has been a steady growth of Wikimedia Foundation expenses over the years. What are your thoughts on this matter? Should there be 5 year caps on spending?
    Spending should indeed be capped for ease of management, control and to limit the risk of corruption. In order to limit expenses, it is sufficient to limit the number of entries by stabilizing them in relation to the personnel already present. Donation collection should not be limited, but it should be done only outside of editorial projects so as not to compete with time donations by offering cash donations. If donations continue to increase, they should benefit other organizations affiliated with the movement that will need them to achieve optimal development.
  23. When it comes to allocating foundation resources, how would you want to prioritize funds between paying down technical debt and working on new strategic initiatives?
    I will refer to it as technical backlog rather than debt in order to be more understandable. The technical priority should be determined based on the opinions of the technical team, project contributors and users. This already works in this sense with the collection of annual wishes organized by the technical team. This could also be developed at the level of the readership if it is not already done.
  24. What do you think about the WMF using funds for purposes not related to Wikimedia projects?
    See : Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question11.
  25. Do you think the WMF should take any active role in relation to undisclosed paid editing?
    It has already done so by publishing clauses in the terms of use. These can always be improved. It is then the communities of editors who manage the detection and management of disputes. In this sense, technical and financial assistance can always be provided by the foundation if required.
  26. What do you think about Wikimedia_Enterprise? Do you think its criticsm is justfied?
    Waw ! Thank you for this very well sourced article. It sums up the cognitive dissonance present within the movement very well. When it comes to the messages calling for donations that this article reveals, they simply disgusted me. What I think of the Wikimedia Enterprise project is described in a request for comments that I put out without knowing that it would hurt my application and that my application would hurt the call for comments.
  27. Given recent comments by ex-staffers, should the new Board conduct an investigation about management misconduct at the WMF, including but not limited to bullying, union busting and discrimination based on sex, race or disabilities?
    These are serious accusations on which I would like to express myself. Unfortunately, and as a good Wikipedian, without any source or reference, this is impossible for me.
  28. How should the 4 community board seats due to be selected in 2022 be filled?
    Sorry, but I don't understand the meaning of this question.
  29. Have you, or any members of your immediate family, received any financial benefits from the WMF or a WMF affiliate in the past 5 years?
    I think it came down to €100 that I advanced in a workshop and had to wait over a year to receive it. And some other euros received to cover only partially the connection costs related to my participation in the global conversations.
  30. How did you contribute to the Movement Strategy process, the Movement Brands Project, the UCOC process, the proposed Bylaws amendments, and the call for feeback on community board selections?
    I am currently in the process of completing my doctoral thesis on the Wikimedia movement. It doesn't give me a lot of time to participate in all of this. But I participated moderately in terms of the strategy and the universal code of conduct. As part of Wikimania Stockolhm and in video conference.
  31. Under what (if any) circumstances should the board extend the term of community-selected trustees?
    In no case in my opinion. I am in favor of rather short and non-renewable mandates to preserve diversity and to increase the possibilities of participation of members of the community.
  32. When should Foundation projects require explicit approval by the community and how should that approval be assessed?
    I am a fan of direct democracy. For me projects should always be approved by the community in a coercive manner. And ideally, initiatives should also come from members of the community as has been done in Switzerland for a long time and more recently at European level.
  33. If you had been a Board member in 2019, would you have supported the Board's statement on the ban of Fram from the English Wikipedia? Would you have proposed any changes or additions to this statement?
    I need to know what's appen to answer this question and it seems too big task for me to do at this time. Maybe later.
  34. Allegations of a hostile workplace environment at WMF have been made by former employees here and here. What is your reaction to this and is there anything that you would do as a board member to change this?
    This is interesting information comming from the English sphere of the movement. One more time, I need to inverstigate the situation before to be able to answer. Reading these links will certainly reinforce what little attraction I have for the status of an employee.
  35. Katherine Maher recently floated the idea of paying contributors. Should the Foundation start discussions on what a model of compensation would look like?
    Paying the contribution on project is legaly not an valid option but help people to have access to Internet in relation with their activity on ours project is some thing discutable.
  36. Given the amount of work stewards do, do you think stewards should be paid? Why (not)? If yes, how much?
    If the foundation start to pays the stewards it shoud be the end of the project autonomy. I'm not in favor of this option. Especially since this will create two types of status within the projects and a lot of jealousy. Really a bad idea.
  37. Should there be a waiting period between the time a Board member leaves the Board, and they take on an employee, consultant, or other paid role with the Foundation?
    I find it unhealthy for a member of the board to become an employee of the foundation.
  38. To reduce the possibility of conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflict of interest do you commit to not accept any employed or remunerated position with the Foundation for at least the duration of your stay on the board and 6 months until after leaving the board?
    See the previous answer.
  39. Non-affiliated volunteers (i.e. volunteers who are not members of any Wikimedia affiliate) do most of the work on the wikis, yet elect only a quarter of board seats. Do you think this is right?
    No this is totally unfair, and that should change. I previously expressed the idea of thinking of things a bit like in a cooperative in which the shares would be distributed according to the investigation. But it remains to think about how to manage the identity of the cooperators if some want to remain anonymous, because there is then a risk of conflict of interest although they are drowned in the mass.
  40. How can WMF deal with proposed or established intermediary liability rules in different countries and safeguard the local Wikimedia volunteers from prosecution by government agencies?
    We had a serious case on the French-speaking side with legal threats made against the president of Wikimedia France. Ultimately, it was the state that found itself deprived of leverage. Let us not forget that in the rule of law, the state must also be accountable to justice which is an independent power. Providing legal aid is therefore a way to protect members of our community.
  41. The Foundation rejected repeated calls to make the Movement Strategy a consensus process. I believe none of the resulting projects have an established consensus, including the Code of Conduct. Rebranding was 92% opposed,[10] and an item to undermine our core content quality policies appears to have 100% opposition.[11] I believe those running the process clearly advanced their own agenda, disregarding all opposition. Do you consider the Strategy process legitimate? Do staff have a valid mandate to impose these Strategy projects on us? (Please to not get sidetracked on the merits of any particular project, this is a process question.)
    For me, a well-conducted call for comments within projects in a distributed manner across all languages and with the aim of seeking awareness is the only form of legitimacy. This is what ensures the political stability of our editorial projects, it is what allowed the Internet to emerge in an intelligent and independent way. This should be the inspiration for the foundation and therefore the board of directors. One-off meetings make sense for non-editors active in the movement, to brainstorm and create a sense of belonging within the movement, but are not effective in achieving legitimacy.
  42. Would you be in favor of hiring an outside firm to do an independent audit of board actions over the preceding two years?
    Yes, and not only the board but also the rest. But the problem is that from a audit company to an other the result could be totaly different. The audit could be made time after time by members of the comunity who want to be kind of blow wislers after incresing transparency. We are coming back the 4 th question and the DNA of the online movement.
  43. As a board member, would you encourage the board to evaluate the wisdom of close relationships with specific outside groups such as the Tides Foundation?
    One more time, transparency is the remedy for a lot of drift. And as it was seen in question 26 with transparency, journalists and researchers can help the movement a lot to prevent these abuses.
  44. What are your thoughts on how to handle the competing representation issues between giving "seats in the room" for smaller/medium projects at the expense of reducing the "per-editor" vote of large projects, such as may be a question for the Global Council? An example of a proposal along these lines can be seen here, with issues raised on the talk page.
    I am for diversity and independence. Each language version of each project should have the chance to develop safely and according to the wishes of their own communities. In my opinion, the Global Council should not interfere with this. As a result, its role will be more to take care of establishing consistency between all the projects and in this sense the presence of a representative of each community of publishers would be relevant with, for example, a system of drawing lots among the different candidates and short term mandates.
  45. What do you think about the problem that there are arbitration committees in a few wikis, but not in all, and so the parties can transfer their conflict to other wikis in order not to be punished there, or if the conflict was already on the other wiki, there is no independent dispute resolution body at all? What do you think of a single point of contact for all wikis? Otherwise there would often only be a) abandoning the project to avoid the bullying or b) a civil lawsuit.
    The issue of harassment is already much debated within the movement and I think that the threat of a shift in the management of the conflict to the level of civil society is something that often calms the mind. As a movement we should let justice settle serious issues and focus on mediating resolvable issues. The departure of a contributor will always be a failure for the movement.
  46. How important is privacy for you? Are you in favor of anonymous editors not automatically publishing their IP address, or should Wikipedia continue to lag behind in terms of privacy?
     
    Wikistat
    We should study the case of Wikipedia in Portuguese where they stopped the modification of pages by unregistered people. The result is visible in the graphic here. Less IP contributions encrease user one. And the comment are very interesting in term of peacfull in the project. Regarding confidentiality, I am in favor of hiding the IP addresses in the conversation spaces for example by random numbers which make it possible to locate the messages coming from the same connection, but also to make it possible to see which user uses which random number that can be the same as that of an unconnected comment.
  47. Several severe communication issues have been reported with the iOS and Android mobile apps and the web client, all currently in production. Do you agree with the WMF's response to these? More generally, how can the community ensure the difficulties they experience with the software are prioritised in development resource allocations?
    Here I put my joker to breathe a little ...
  48. Do you feel the current spending and available personnel on development issues (both on building new features and fixing bugs in existing ones) is too low, too high, or about right?
    I need to consult the statistic and the documentation to reply to this kind of technical questions.
  49. Which past Board resolutions or other actions would you vote to overturn, if any?
    I would like to ban the use of fundraising banners in editorial projects because I am convinced that it harms participation and in addition it brings more and more criticism from the media. I think it was a big mistake of the past that cost us the decline in participation in 2007. I argue this in detail in my doctoral thesis.
  50. What percentage of the WMF's annual budget should be allocated among the following categories: (1) maintaining server uptime now and in the foreseeable future, (2) clearing the phabricator backlog, (3) recruiting new participants, and (4) everything else?
    It would have to be discussed with the whole movement. What I can bring to the debate for my part is this graphic opposite that I produced at the start of the financial statements.
  51. A number of board members, as well as C-level Foundation employees, have been brought onboard who never provide any clue what their opinions or thoughts about Wikimedia's mission is or should be -- neither at the beginning of their tenure nor at any time afterwards. What thoughts do you have about requiring them to provide some statement to the volunteers on this matter?
    Sorry, I didn't understand the question even after automatic translation.
  52. Do you believe that communication with individual editors as a Trustee is important? What are you views on how quickly, and in how much detail, Trustees should be expected to reply to individual queries by editors with regards to issues and their role (as an average across the year/term)?
    Board members as editors are volunteers. So, The important thing for everyone is to give the best of yourself with the best possible intention. The reciprocal demands of one on the other must not create an unpleasant atmosphere. We have everything to gain from doing things in a cool and relaxed way.
  53. Do you think a community member can be an effective CEO of the WMF? Should the WMF look within the communities, rather than outside, to fill that vacancy?
    Certainly, people employed by CEOs in any chapter who don't know enough about the movement can negatively influence things by pulling the movement towards what they feel comfortable with. This is one of the major risks concerning the drift of our mission and the loss of our values.
  54. Do you think that a larger portion of the board seats should be directly elected by the community?
    Yes
  55. Wikimedia Foundation has no dedicated accessibility team, do you think we should be doing more given both legal (Americans with Disabilities Act etc.) and ethical ramifications? Should web accessibility be a commitment by the Board of Trustees itself, like with, say, BLP policy?
    Again I don't like elections. I am part of a direct decentralized and participatory governance as can be observed within the projects. Elections should be reserved for administrative and technical functions such as admin and bureaucrat in projects and I think that we should rather call it recruitment to avoid any confusion. The movement already works with a whole set of committees that take care of a lot of decision-making and that's what I like. I would like these committees to be more open and the mandates to be shorter and not reproducible to increase the chances of community members wishing to participate in these experiments.
  56. Name three elephants in the room. How do you propose to deal with them?
    By laughing, as I do when reading this question.
  57. From the 8 prioritized Movement Strategy initiaves (letterd A to H on Movement_Strategy), the top priority is creating a Movement Charter whereby a Global Council will be created, and resposibilities will be transfered from the (Board of Trustees) of the Wikimedia Foundation to the Global Council. Please elaborate on this top priority.
    I'm not a big fan of what standardizes the movement and I believe that this is not the desire of the editors either, but rather, on the one hand, of the very active community outside the projects. The richness of our world lies in diversity. Our common point should be the desire to share this diversity and not to seek uniformity. We should focus on how to share this diversity by developing cross-cultural means of communication. The charter and the board should work in this direction in my opinion.
  58. Should the Board wait until after the elections to choose the next CEO?
    Yes of course !
  59. What skills and qualities would you look for in the next CEO?
    A good knowlege of the philosophy of our mouvement and a background in the sharing paradigm and not from buiseness affaire. And some one who accept to be volunteer as board members ! No, I'm joking, but we have to found some one who is more interested by the movement than his or her wage.
  60. Should the WMF fundraise in impoverished countries?
    The foundation must collect donations in a targeted manner and from people who can afford it. We must stop with the alarming and guilty messages sent to all visitors to editorial projects. This way of raising money is very harmful to the movement and the reputation of the foundation.
  61. Who is ultimately responsible for the Board of Trustees collective ability to follow its own procedures, policies and code of conduct?
    The Wikimedia community which must continue to keep things participatory, transparent, in order to intervene as soon as things go wrong folowing the example of the end of the benevolent dictatorship, superprotect, etc. Ouch, what a big jod to be candidate ! But who will read this page until here ? Lionel Scheepmans Contact French native speaker, sorry for my dysorthography 21:10, 18 August 2021 (UTC)[]