Is it a written rule that one needs to know English to participate in
Wikimedia's governance?

If it isn't, then the word "need" must not be used about it. If it is, it
must be changed (and that would be a topic for a different thread).

English is an important practicality, but demanding it goes again the
Internationalism guiding principle. Most people in the world don't know

Nat points out an important problem correctly. Rejecting it outright is

Whether her proposed solution is right? - I'm not sure, because the
resources are limited, and we do try to stick to volunteers whenever
possible. Also, from experience, paid translation of Wikimedia materials
tends to be bad - professional translators who aren't Wikimedians are
remarkably bad at understanding our jargon (and I don't blame them!)

A reasonable compromise, which doesn't require a lot of discussion, for the
current case is to find a list of eligible voters who don't know English
and to proritize their languages somehow. Also, I'd imagine that a
potential board member should be able to find somebody to translate at
least her or his page ;)

The Foundation could think of a better way to accommodate this better in
the future; at the very least, prepare the lists of required languages
בתאריך 6 במרץ 2016 09:45,‏ "Gerard Meijssen" <>

> Hoi,
> I am the last one to say that multi-linguality is not important. However,
> given that the affiliates board is selected by an organisation that NEEDS
> to communicate in English, I disagree.
> It is vital for people of the affiliates to have a reasonable understanding
> of English and when they do not, this is not the place to start remedying
> it.
> Thanks,
>       GerardM
> On 6 March 2016 at 08:36, attolippip <> wrote:
> > 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’
> >
> >
> > 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]
> >
> > [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]
> > [7]
> >
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