It’s that time again: Every two years, the community (or the many communities) of the various Wikimedia projects select three members of the 10-member Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation. A privilege that is not used by too many Wikipedians and Wikimedians. In recent years there was a lot and sometimes quite justified criticism of the Foundation and the Board of Trustees. Of course you can carry on complaining and fancy youself as victim of evil forces, but you can also play a part in changing the composition and dynamics of the Board with the selection of suitable persons.
Why to vote is better than not to vote vote:
- More perspectives on the Board of Trustees for better decisions
Diversity means most of all that in consideration of various options and their consequences as many perspectives as possible are to be considered. The Wikimedia Foundation and its Board of Trustees needs members from the community, because the community is what keeps our projects alive. The community is sensitive, vulnerable, self-confident and sometimes simultaneously jumpy and biased, but in the Board of Trustees by no means voiceless or without influence. Who is able to convey and express the community’s needs and suggestions — not for the sake of the respective individual interest but with the big picture in mind — has all possibilities to have this perspective included in decisions. This does not guarantee a majority, of course not, but it helps the entire Board and the Foundation office, to gain a better picture.
- The Community-election is not an alibi event
Really. We do not only need Trustees from the community, we want them. They are the specialists in the area which is essential for the Foundation. We want and need other specialists also, if we can not get them from the community. That’s part of the diversity we are looking for. But who, if not the community itself, is best placed to determine suitable candidates from its own ranks. This only works in the way it should if you vote.
- Every vote counts!
In fact eminently. Yes – No – abstention, for each candidate. Dirk Franke explains in his blog post ‚How to vote for the Wikimedia Foundation board – be negative‚ what that implies.
What should a potential board member from the community bring along? It should be a little more than only to be a valuable author. Experience in working in governance bodies – also outside of the Wikiverse, opinionated but willing to compromise, more interested in solutions than on problems – that would be my favorite cast.
This year 20 candidates run for election. 20 people who have not only presented themselves, but also respond to more than 30 questions from the community. A lot of reading, but worth it. And it’s about something important for the community.
Voting is open until next Sunday. This way, please!