I appreciate you sharing this information - it fills in a few gaps.  I am
still concerned that there was not more opportunity for input prior to the
decision - and that everyone was clearly not on the same page about what
was going to be discussed exactly.

Regarding your earlier comments on the funding. I recognize that there are
options beyond FDC - however it seems to send mixed messages. Also, did the
board discuss capping the other WMF funding options? I still think there is
confusion over the incorporated user group concerns - but I will keep that
conversation on Meta. Finally, can you speak to any changes the board may
be making in future processes and if the community or at least committees
will have more input on these types of decisions?

-greg aka varnent
PS. Nothing said from any official AffCom or WM related roles.

On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 5:16 PM, phoebe ayers <> wrote:

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