Steward elections

Steward elections begin

Voting in the second steward election of this year began on Saturday, 25 November. Stewards, people who are granted global rights to promote and demote other users in Wikimedia Foundation wikis, are considered at the top of the user rights hierarchy; because of the global nature of their role, multi-lingual skills are often considered necessary for the positions.

Several changes have been made from the elections in January. First, candidates are now required to confirm themselves with the Wikimedia Foundation, meaning that all candidates must be over the age of 18 (the legal age in Florida, where the Wikimedia Foundation offices are located) and provide a proof of identity with the Foundation, although candidates are not required to reveal their real names to the general public. This change, made by general counsel and interim executive director Brad Patrick, stems from potential legal issues with steward rights; although Patrick did not specify what type of legal issue led to the change, stewards have the potential for CheckUser and Oversight rights and can assign those rights to anyone. The second major change from the earlier election is that current stewards are not included as part of the voting; instead, current stewards are being confirmed on a separate page, giving users a chance to note any problems, issues, or inactivity with the current stewards.

As of press time, there were 15 candidates in the race, with all but two confirmed by the Foundation office already. Users can still join the race any time during the voting, which will last until 15 December. In order to have suffrage, users must have a valid Meta account with a link to another Wikimedia Foundation project where the user has been active for three or more months.

At the end of the voting, the Foundation will select a number of candidates with at least a 80% support ratio and 30 support votes to be promoted to Steward; this number is expected to be between 10 and 20 candidates.

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