Dear all,

As you are (probably) aware, the 2016 affiliate-selected Board seats
process has started already. And I do think that the process is broken
somewhere [1]. The democracy principles even in my country, though it is
far from being a role model for transparency and governance, state that
people are equal and they have rights and responsibilities. But the process
at the moment is not fair and equal footing is not provided for. It is
great to have dedicated friends across the Movement that can translate your
statement into German or Chinese, but as long as not all statements are
translated into the languages used in all affiliates eligible to vote, I
deem the process broken.

Thus I formally request that WMF spend enough resources to have all
nominations pages translated into all languages requested by the affiliates
eligible to vote [2] [3] and all languages used already by the nominees. I
am sure that the three facilitators cannot provide it. And there are limits
to what volunteers can do [4] or how fast. If WMF refuses, I am going to
use my own money [5], it costs 150 UAH (around 6 USD) to have a page
translated into Swedish, for example :) I can manage 7 pages translated
into as many languages as my personal budget will allow, but I shall do it
fairly at least, so we won’t have Susanna’s statement only in English and
Spanish, while Osmar’s is also in German, Catalan and French. WMF spends
considerable resources (mostly in staff time) on supporting the three
"community-elected" seats, but these two seats are not lesser board seats
than the three "community" ones.

The nominees write their statement in English. Nothing wrong with that, of
course. But for a tiny little (and big) thing: not everybody understands it
well enough to make an informed choice. But even among seven board members
of Wikimedia Ukraine, two DO NOT SPEAK English, so they can read the
statements only if they [the statements] are translated into Ukrainian.
They have no choice, actually. In discussing whether to endorse my
candidacy, they either have to believe the rest of the Board members that I
am the most wonderful candidate and the others are just not as wonderful
and that’s it, or they are to ignore the Board meeting where this decision
is to be made. They can spend time editing Wikipedia or reading instead.

And beyond the language issue, there is the informing and participation
issue: I am not sure how this process is organised in other affiliates, and
how you make your decisions to vote for this or that possibility (in terms
of this, I believe that there are seven possibilities presented at the
moment, by us, as nominees. So you can accept or decline what we seven
offer). You (actually) do not know us and if we are going to be great or
poor as Board members of WMF, and if we are the right-for-the-moment
choice, but you are going to choose. Are you really going to choose just
based on your personal contacts? Remember, in most cases administrators are
chosen more objectively, as it is almost impossible to get to know them
first personally. They are ‘judged’ by their deeds before, during and
after… Were you going to ask your communities what they think about the
candidates? And the members of your affiliate? If not, please consider this
option. We do have a sad example of an appointed Board member being not
accepted by us, as the Community.

I am sorry for the long letter. I do believe I have a right to request (and
suggest) this. I was a part of a team that made sure that the Ukrainian
community REALLY knows about the elections so the eligible users on UKWP
have voted [6] [7] And we really worked to make that happen. As you can
see, Board elections may be of great importance to the whole community. So
(at least) informing your own members is important, I believe.

Best regards,

antanana / Nataliia Tymkiv

Wikimedia Ukraine

[1] There is a question about the ‘turnout in this selection process’
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Affiliate-selected_Board_seats/2016/Questions#Turnout_in_this_selection_process
so you’d think that people care. But do they? Really?
[2] I think that contacting each affiliate eligible to vote and asking them
if they need help to translate the statements and if yes, what languages
are required by memberships/affiliates’ leadership to read the statements.
By doing this we also make sure that they are aware of the upcoming
elections and are engaged

[3] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters

[4] Because they just may be not willing to do it

[5] well, I was going to translate into Ukrainian all statement anyway,
translating is the best way to read the statement thoughtfully :)
[6] https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2015-May/077966.html
[7]
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_elections_2015/Stats
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