The Signpost

In focus

Wikimedia affiliate organizations seek community participation in 2019 board election

Contribute  —  
Share this
By Lane Rasberry

2019 election announcement

Get out the vote!

The Wikimedia Affiliates Election Committee invites readers of The Signpost, their colleagues, the broader Wikimedia community, and humanity at large to participate in the 2019 Affiliate Selected Board Seats Election. The stakes are 2 of 10 seats on the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. Persons in these positions will approve or reject each US$100,000,000+ planned annual budget of the Wikimedia Foundation and oversee the activities of Wikimedia Foundation director and CEO, Katherine Maher.

As with all things wiki, everyone is invited to participate in any aspect of the election. In this particular election, the appointment of these seats is at the recommendation of affiliates based on the established consensus that the best way to advance the Wikimedia mission is with the direction of representatives from Wikimedia community organizations. Consequently, this election proceeds at the behest of Wikimedia affiliates, who choose to use this general community outreach process as their candidate selection method. Nominations open soon. Develop the schedule of the election in anticipation of having all outcomes reported far enough in advance for the newly appointed trustees to convene with the board on 14 August 2019 at the Wikimania 2019 conference in Sweden. The expectation is that the ideal candidates shall advocate for the growth and success of Wikimedia affiliates to the benefit of the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia Movement.

About the Wikimedia Foundation board

WMF Board of Trustees in 2018

The Wikimedia Movement is unique for its reliance on community participation even at the level of governance of the Wikimedia Foundation as steward of the Wikimedia projects and administrative support of the Wikimedia Movement. All trustees have an equal term and stand for regular reelection. For beginners to understand the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, think "1, 2, 3, 4" to remember the allocation of seats on the Board of Trustees. There is 1 Founder's seat for Jimbo Wales whom the board itself has the option to confirm each term. There are 2 seats for Wikimedia movement affiliates which are the subject of this Affiliate-selected Board seats election. 3 seats are for election for Community Seats of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, which is the general election by persons who have a Wikimedia account and actively use it. Famously, that is the most important election on the Internet. The remaining 4 seats are at the appointment of the Wikimedia Foundation Board Governance Committee and typically go to professionals who provide necessary expertise to achieve the goals of the board and time.

Anyone may read about historical elections in the Wikimedia archives. Anyone can draft commentary, policy, outreach materials, or any other election materials in the meta:Meta-Wiki space to encourage global participation in the elections and Wikimedia community governance.

About this election

The ~140 Wikimedia movement affiliates which are registered Wikimedia community organizations can each cast one vote in this election.

Please note that only Wikimedia affiliate organizations can vote. Each organization gets one vote. This means that there will be about 140 possible votes in this election, as the Affiliations Committee recognizes that many Wikimedia community organizations. Of these, there about about 40 Wikimedia chapters which represent geographic regions. All chapters have had the opportunity to vote in multiple previous elections. There are about 100 Wikimedia user groups, each of which has passed a less strict level of organization than the chapters and which represent either a geographic or thematic group of Wikimedia editors. All user groups are having their first opportunity to vote in this election. User group voting is a recent development coming from a December 2018 by-laws proposal from the board of trustees and its 19 February 2019 adoption by the board.

The election will use single transferable vote so that organizations can rank their preferred candidates. To stand for nomination, a candidate must have the recommendation of a current Wikimedia affiliate organization.

Wikimedia organizations govern this election! Anyone seeking changes to the nature of the election should publish their ideas and assist the Wikimedia affiliate organizations of their choice in establishing consensus for change. Many details about this election are undefined. Any individual may make election proposals. The consensus of organizations and discussion on the talk page will confirm election procedure. The Affiliate-selected Board seats election FAQ answers some questions, but it also requires an update for 2019.

How to participate

The United Nations General Assembly is one of the models for this election and process.

Participate in the election with the activities that will promote the democratic process, a positive experience for all involved, and productive outcomes for all. Here are the most common ways to participate based on trends from previous elections:

Encourage the nomination of candidates

Probable candidates are experienced Wikimedia contributors who have a history of Wikimedia community organization in the Wikimedia affiliate organization system. Possible candidates are non-fictional and have a pulse, although this is wiki and consensus could change even that. This election is serious and Wikipedia is your favorite media channel for sharing general reference and educational content. Please respect the integrity of the election, and at the same time, participate in the election in the spirit of wiki. A modest organizer of any small Wikimedia community can seek a nomination and change the direction of the election discussion, perhaps by making election promises which other candidates will mirror. WP:Be bold both in encouraging your wiki colleagues to stand for election and in accepting nominations yourself if you think you can fill an essential need in the Wikimedia Movement at the level of administrative governance. Past trustees in this role have been talented and many of them modest.

Discuss the election on-wiki

Start and join conversation about the election by inviting all interested stakeholders to discuss on or off-wiki.

The Wikimedia community is vast and the majority of stakeholders in this election underappreciate the opportunity that this election process offers. Anyone can start a conversation on wiki, and anyone can write and direct messaging and invitations to participate to individual organizations which might vote. Localization of discussion about the election is important for diversity and inclusion in the voting process. Global participation makes for a robust election. Anyone who identifies challenges and shortcomings should publish what they see for the betterment of this and all subsequent elections.

For this election it is especially helpful for anyone who can teach Wikimedia community governance and election participation to contact Wikimedia user groups who might have membership which is unaware of this election!

Discuss the election off-wiki

Wiki is in the Wikimedia platforms and it is also in the conversations you have offline with Wikimedia editors and non-editing users. If you can present the fact or details of the election to any community of Wikimedia users then consider documenting and reporting your outreach. Wikimedia projects have 500 million / 50 crore users every month, and over the past 20 years probably have distributed content to 2 billion people or 25% of humanity. If you are reading this article then probably there is no one in your social circle who is outside the Wikimedia knowledge sphere. Tell them about the election over tea and coffee! Invite everyone to register a wiki account and do wiki participation!

Conduct the usual wiki oversight

Beware the Illuminati et al. Also note that wiki transparency is the best protection against fake news.

Draft policy, scrutinize the voting system, research and report on the candidates, and seek to root out any secret society or hidden cabal that might be puppeteering the election committee. Please only engage in conspiracy theories which avoid WP:Original research and cite WP:Reliable sources. If you are aware of anyone who develops wiki election madness then either direct them to publish their criticisms into the Wikimedia permanent and public record or refer them to the relevant Wikipedia:Dispute resolution process as needed.


Please direct questions about the election to the Wikimedia discussion forum of your choice or as a last resort to the talk page for the election itself or international organization catch-all, the Wikimedia-l email list. On behalf of the Wikimedia Affiliates Election Committee, which incidentally does not exist and which you can join and establish, Blue Rasberry .

In this issue
+ Add a comment

Discuss this story

@Bluerasberry: This write-up is just the latest reminder that you are among the most consistently engaged, alert, and insightful members of the Wikimedia community when it comes to matters concerning the Wikimedia community. I don't know if I could think of anyone I'd trust more in such a position, so while I wouldn't put you on the spot and ask directly here if you'd accept a nomination, I'll just float the idea that I think you should consider it. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 16:14, 28 February 2019 (UTC)[reply]

@Rhododendrites: Thank you for your kind words. I am committed to participating in running the 2019 election and will not accept a nomination. I wrote this article because of the many positive experiences I have had with you and others in Wikimedia New York City. My wish is for this election to develop other Wikimedia community organizations to Wiki NYC's level of success in consistently creating the circumstances for people to make good friends and personally experience changing the world for the better through wiki. We will talk more soon. Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:52, 28 February 2019 (UTC

@Bluerasberry: Thank you for writing this. Benjamin (talk) 12:18, 21 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]


The Signpost · written by many · served by Sinepost V0.9 · 🄯 CC-BY-SA 4.0