On Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 12:32 AM, Pine W <wiki.p...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I am curious to hear your thoughts about the proposed Technology Committee.
> That idea has some community support and had been discussed at some length
> on the WMF Board Noticeboard.

I think it has merits if it's mostly used as a dispute resolution
body. I think we need to have conflict resolution and escalation
protocols for technology issues. Ideally WMF and a group of community
members (whether in all cases truly representative or not) who are in
conflict about a certain issue or outcome should be able to come to a
consensus _between each other_. But when that's not possible, a group
that is designed to be accountable to both WMF's mission and the
community's consensus may need to be called upon to make a final call
that is binding. In the current governance structure, that could be a
group like the stewards. But it could be something new created for
that purpose, if the community supports it.

This all presupposes that we collectively sign up for this whole
"shared power" idea. It's a Board creation, a guiding principle, and
all that. But that doesn't mean the community of people who've spent
much of their lives building Wikimedia's projects as volunteers do
believe in it. Maybe we should ask them, as a group, offering the pros
and cons of that approach. It's very different futures -- a WMF that
exists purely to do what communities ask it to, or a WMF that exists -
in part - to look forward, close gaps, and help anticipate where we
want to be 3, 5, 10 years from now. Irrespective of what my own take
might be, both approaches do truly have their merits.

If we sign up collectively for "shared power", then today, we lack the
mechanisms to implement that principle effectively, which is why we
have conflicts over power which is not shared.  And a community
elected committee (perhaps with some additional representation of
external expertise) might be one such mechanism, but if we don't have
agreement on the basic idea, no mechanism will work. If we do agree on
the principle, we can try and play with different implementations.

Erik

-- 
Erik Möller
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

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