On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 10:37 AM, Gregory Varnum

> While AffCom will likely be making an official statement later, I am having
> a hard time not chiming in and I do think it is worth pointing out that
> AffCom was not consulted in a manner I think most of us would have imagined
> occurring. I have noticed it mentioned a few times that our feedback was
> taken into consideration, but that may give the wrong idea of what
> happened.
> While it is true we provided feedback before the decision was made, I would
> not consider it consulting with us or even communicating with AffCom in a
> way that allowed us to provide the level of feedback I think the community
> has come to expect. Frankly we got a lot of our information second-hand,
> and am still not sure personally we know the full story. My personal
> expectation would have involved a lot more communication before the
> decision was made, and most importantly, some two-way dialogue. At the very
> least I think the chairs of FDC and AffCom should have been looped into
> parts of the conversation during the meeting

Hi Greg and all,

This is not a direct reply to your points, but I think it might be helpful
in removing the cloak of mystery from all this.

Here is what happened during the board meeting, from my perspective.*

Background context:

* The board has been discussing movement roles for literally years (as have
many of the folks commenting!)
* The board started discussing the topic again specifically in October;
many trustees are interested in broad movement roles questions and it was
brought to the table as a broad topic the board should take up.
* Various contexts to the discussion include: the need to review new
affiliates more thoroughly than we historically have done (as recommended
by our legal team, and as indicated by the history of some chapters not
staying active); the new trademark and user group policies which make
different models for volunteers both possible and easier; and various
trustee concerns over our increasing focus movement-wide on incorporation
and administration.

For these two specific decisions:

* The board first discussed the ideas of usergroups-first & capping the
budgets in October. This was without any specific proposals or wording.
* Later on, before the November meeting, a recommendation to take these
decisions was presented in a packet by the WMF Executive Director to the
board, along with some context. The packet included a summary
recommendation, some arguments pro and con, and emails from Affcom and the
FDC, with the proposal as presented by staff to these committees and the
committee replies.
* we (board members) discussed the recommendations first on our email list
for a week or so before our meeting, and then over two sessions in our
meeting, over the course of two+ days. On the list and in the meeting, we
discussed the arguments as presented as well as arguments that emerged over
the course of discussion from our own individual viewpoints, as well as the
overall milleux of movement roles.

* Important note that perhaps wasn't emphasized enough in the FAQ: the set
of decisions was not meant or presented as major strategy but as a
temporary set of decisions, to buy us all some time while we hire a new ED
and reconsider movement roles strategy. The new ED point is important; we
wanted to try to decide these issues before they start, since they will
have plenty of other stuff on their plate to figure out.

* In the meeting, we (the board) wrote and re-wrote the text of the
decisions to match our emerging consensus about what we wanted to do.
* When we seemed to have reached a stable version of the text, and also to
have exhausted our ability to reach further consensus, we voted on these
two decisions. I motioned for the vote because I happened to be
facilitating the discussion at the time, and it seemed to me that as a
group we were ready to vote.

* The no consensus thing: of course we discussed this as well. Like all
boards in our movement, I expect, we always have a question of whether we
should work towards unanimous consensus or whether we should accept split
votes. Personally I think it depends on the context and topic. in general,
I think, agreed to accept a split vote on this topic though it was somewhat
contentious to do so. Why was the vote split? Each trustee should speak for
themselves, but there was a range of arguments and feeling. I can tell you
that similar questions to those raised on the list so far were raised.

* After voting and recording the text, we then sent the text of the
decisions to Affcom and the FDC, via the Board liaisons.
* Then we (board members) wrote the FAQ over the course of several weeks
following, trying to answer the questions that Affcom & the FDC raised
emails back to us after we shared the published decision with them, and
also trying to answer additional questions we thought might arise.
* In the course of writing the FAQ and pondering the committee responses,
we debated some additional questions, including whether we should
reconsider the decisions in the light of AffCom's response. We did not get
consensus on the latter question, but considered it serious enough to bring
up again in our next in-person meeting, where a majority felt that the
decisions should stand (this was not a formal vote, but in the context of a
discussion to resolve outstanding issues).

* We finished the FAQ, resolving our last issues and trying to make the
wording as clear as possible, asked for it to be published, I sent the
letter announcing it to wikimedia-l, and here we are.

I hope this gives some insight. I may have missed something in the above
summary and other trustees may have a different take, too.

-- phoebe

* again, this is just my perspective, not a board statement.
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