Great work, Pete, all very interesting and useful. Thanks for dedicating
your time to do this.

On Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 11:29 PM, Pete Forsyth <> wrote:

> As many of you are aware, it's always been difficult to navigate
> information about the proceedings of the Board of Trustees: minutes,
> agendas, specific resolutions, notes, and commentary are split across Meta
> Wiki, WMF Wiki, various mailing lists, etc.
> So, I spent the last few days building a set of navigation templates on
> Meta, tidying up page names, summarizing the Board's activities in recent
> years, etc. I hope you will take a look at the before[1] and after[2] pages
> on Meta. (There's still work to be done -- any help appreciated! Speaking
> of which, thank you to MZMcBride and Rillke for helping get a useful gadget
> up and running.)
> == The most useful part ==
> In addition to the navigation boxes (which I hope are helpful in themselves
> to Trustees, staff, and any volunteers interested in governance issues), I
> think perhaps the most useful pieces are the Annual Summary pages I put
> together for 2014 [3] and 2015.[4] These aim to capture every resolution
> passed in each year, separated according to those focused on Board
> governance and more general votes. I have also included brief narratives
> about issues that have been widely discussed (e.g., the absence of any
> Advisory Board-related votes in 2015, and the implications of that). I have
> tried to keep this very factual, to keep it short and useful for for
> anybody interested in tracking the information. It could use additional
> eyes, and probably additional links (to significant email messages, etc.)
> == Curious observations ==
> This is the deepest dive I've taken into Board proceedings, and as such, a
> few interesting points struck me:
> * Yesterday, for the first time, minutes and resolutions from the two
> December 2015 Board meetings were published. As far as I know there was no
> announcement of this; I wonder if in these tumultuous times, this has
> slipped through the cracks. As you will see, there are several significant
> pieces of information in there, and three months is a long time to wait for
> it.
> * December 2015: For the first time, we learn that Guy Kawasaki was
> appointed to the Board Governance Committee (BGC). Ordinarily, a committee
> appointment might not be of great interest; however, in this case, the
> appointment came during the same meeting as the one where the BGC nominated
> Arnnon Geshuri and Kelly Battles. If I'm not mistaken, those were the only
> two candidates presented to the full board for a formal vote, meaning that
> the members of the BGC had tremendous influence in appointing those two
> seats. I think it would be worthwhile to hear from the Board whether or not
> Guy had a role in deciding what candidates were presented to the Board. Was
> this appointment fully forward-looking, or was it recognizing work that he
> had already done with the BGC? Did Guy have a role in the formal decision
> of who to present to the full Board?
> * December 2015: The resolution establishing the Endowment Fund, which was
> announced in a press release in January, is now referred to on the WMF
> Wiki. However, the text of the resolution has not been published. I suspect
> this is a mere oversight and will be corrected shortly; but this is a
> significant development, and it will be good to see what was actually
> decided.
> * December 2015: As we knew, the Board approved the FDC's recommendation.
> But the text in the Minutes and in the Resolution are interesting: (a) Many
> staff and volunteers have praised the FDC's diligence in identifying the
> WMF's performance in relation to the Annual Plan Grant standards. It would
> be interesting to hear from the Board how it takes those comments, but
> there is no mention of that in the Board resolution. (b) There are,
> however, comments about the FDC's take on Wikimedia Germany's request for
> restricted funds for Wikidata. I'm not as familiar with this issue, but it
> appears there is a bit of a power struggle going on between the FDC, WMF,
> and perhaps WMDE over this issue. This is something I hope we can all hear
> more about, as it seems significant to the future of an important Wikimedia
> project.
> * January 2016: (No big surprise) Kelly Battles has been added to the Audit
> Committee, and Jaime Villagomez has been appointed Board Treasurer.
> * Going way back to August 2014, I noticed an interesting detail. Many who
> follow the Board are aware that Alice Wiegand, who had previously been a
> Chapters-nominated Trustee, lost her bid that year for a new nomination.
> Frieda Brioschi was nominated in her place, and was appointed; Frieda had
> previously been a Trustee some years before. And the Board immediately
> appointed Alice anyway, succeeding Ana Toni, who resigned mid-term. Now,
> for the part I had not noticed before: In the same meeting where she was
> herself appointed, Frieda cast the sole dissenting vote for both of the
> resolutions to reappoint Alice. (One to fill out the 2014 term, and another
> for a new term starting in 2015.) This strikes me as highly significant:
> Frieda surely knew that the vote would be successful, and that she would
> then be faced with serving alongside a colleague who she had publicly
> opposed. I do not know Frieda at all, but this strikes me as an action few
> people would take unless there was a strong reason. I am curious what the
> rift was between the two, and especially whether it is over an issue or
> philosophical difference related to the Wikimedia movement.
> == Closing thoughts ==
> Overall, I hope these navigation templates, and especially the annual
> summaries, can facilitate various parties in navigating complex
> information, and help us all develop a better understanding of how the
> Board has been supporting the Wikimedia vision. Perhaps there are further
> improvements that I haven't thought of -- so of course I welcome others'
> contributions to how the information is presented.
> Please let me know (on- or off-list) if you have any feedback for me.
> Happy editing,
> -Pete
> [[User:Peteforsyth]]
> == Footnotes ==
> [1] Before the new templates:
> [2] Current version:
> [3]
> [4]
> [5]
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