My experience from following the board of WMSE several years, and where we now have two years terms is

First year is a learning phase where you more listen then participate

Second year most get more involved and find it very stimulated to be in the Board

Third year some get very active, while others are active on the lower level as in year two

Fourth year, some continue being active, while others get more passive, and also less stimulated

This experience support your proposal to go for a three year term


Den 2016-11-05 kl. 14:11, skrev Lodewijk:
Hi Nataliia,

It would have been nice if you could have shared this a bit earlier, given
that apparently the board meeting is next week. This gives little time for
discussion of your proposal, on a topic that has received wide interest
previously. Perhaps that could be considered a point for improvement,
especially on these non-urgent reform topics. That gives you more time to
incorporate the feedback into your proposal.

I destilled a few different topics from your email:
1) Better onboarding processes
- sounds great to me. Please feel free to invite community members in
setting up such processes as well. I understood that something like that
was aimed to happen at past Wikimania, and that sounds like a good move!
Getting a clear 'synopsis' would probably also help, something that can
serve as a reference point to make sure that nothing is missing. I would
also advise the method I have seen some WMF employees use (but this may be
more time consuming), and that is to have the new board members do some
'interviews' or in general structured conversations with community members,
staff members and other stakeholders during their first months. Wikimania
is a great opportunity for that.

2) Changing the 'entry point' for appointed board members from January to
- May be sensible or not. The upside is that more things happen at once,
which means less repetition. The downside is that everything happens.. at
once. You'll have potentially a board meeting where 40% is brand new.
That's a lot. I don't have a strong preference either way, but whatever you
choose, I think it'd be good to introduce an observer status for upcoming
board members in the months leading up to their formal appointment - if
that doesn't exist yet - especially for people with less of a Wikimedia
background. You could use the January-Wikimania gap for that.

3) you propose longer terms
- 3 year terms are already quite long in my opinion. Continuity can happen
in two ways: because you force it to happen (i.e. by longer terms), or
because people get re-appointed/re-selected. In the past years there was a
lot of turnover in the community and chapter seats because the latter did
not happen: board members were not re-selected. There is probably some
relationship with how the board performance was appreciated by the
electorate. And one could argue that in such a case, it might maybe be
better to not force more continuity - because it also results in less
opportunity to improve the board when there's an observed need for that. In
this light, I would definitely not be in favour for lengthening the term
lengths other that the occasional 6 months to make entry points fit
together better.

I hope this caught the changes you're proposing? Please correct me if I
missed something.

Thanks for sharing though, and I hope that you'll engage in a constructive
discussion despite the short time left before the board meeting :)


2016-11-05 13:07 GMT+01:00 Nataliia Tymkiv <>:

Hi all,

I am forking a discussion on Wikimedia Foundation Board of trustees vacant
appointed seat(s) and turnover at this point.

== The Board members start and end terms (Turnover) ==
I have drafted here three charts indicating the starting and ending of the
terms of the Board members:

The first chart shows how it will go now, if nothing is changed.

As you can see we have a lot of onboarding / offboarding even without
anything extraordinary happening, and it means that the Board has scarcely
any time to work as a team and concentrate on things beyond looking for new
people and onboarding them.

The picture is "darkened" by the fact that the onboarding process is not
formalized enough and I would rather concentrate on working on improving
the onboarding process, so we have it in place when new members join,
rather then rush to appoint new Trustees.

We had a discussion about it in the Board Governanace Committee (BGC), and
it seems that having less on- and off-boardings-points per year (f.ex., at
Wikimania) should be something to plan for. And less people joining per

The second and third charts illustrate this idea: every year three new
trustees join the Board, with the community-, affiliates- and appointed
seats joining in different years (well, one appointed seat join together
with the affiliates).

Of course the transition period will be a challenge. But it should improve
the workflow.

== Continuity ==
The second and third charts also suggests that the terms are extended. WMF
had a really turbulent last two years, this Board (from my perspective)
needs some time to work together as a group, so (again, my perspective) I
would really love if the terms can be extended, so we can concentrate on
improving how we work and creating / formalizing the processes.

But in case this extension is too much to ask from the current trustees,
I'd rather leave the seats vacant.

== Onboarding and Pool of candidates ==
Just so it is clear to everyone, it is a real challenge if a new trustee
joins. It should not be so. We have started collecting things for a new
Board member to have a smoother onboarding process.

There is also an idea about having Advisory Board working: to not lose the
knowledge we had with every trustee who leaves the Board, but maybe we can
also use this group as a pool of excellent possible candidates to "optimize
the hiring process" [1]. And joining the Advisory Board can also be used to
onboard people gently. Without too much time commitment, working rather on
separate tasks, but already being included in the discussions to some

== Discussion ==
I hope it is clear from things I said above, but in case it is not, the
discussion is not finalized yet and I plan to have it decided one way or
another at the Board meeting in a week. It should be decided, so the BGC
can move on with hiring new Board members or concentrate on the improvement
of the hiring and onboarding processes; so the Standing Elections committee
can plan the timeline; so the Chair of the Board can plan the dates for the
Board meetings for the next year etc.

As I have mentioned before, please comment / suggest. I have listed the
problems I myself see from the inside. And my thoughts about that. You can
raise questions and concerns from your points of views. The more issues
discussed, the more informed our decision will be.

If you prefer posting on Meta, please comment / suggest on the relevant
talk pages:
- The Board members start and end terms
- Appointing someone to the vacant appointed seat
- Onboarding for new members

And (just in case) please understand that all mentioned above is my
understanding of how things stand and my conclusions on how to move forward
better, based on things I heard from the BGC members and other people I had
talks with. It does not represent the position the BGC is going to
recommend, or the Board will approve. So I would welcome negative and
positive comments equally well.


Best regards,
antanana / Nataliia Tymkiv

*NOTICE: You may have received this message outside of your normal working
hours/days, as I usually can work more as a volunteer during weekend. You
should not feel obligated to answer it during your days off. Thank you in

On Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 1:38 AM, Pete Forsyth <>

In case my blanket "I disagree" left doubt, let me state very clearly --
I'm not seeking anybody's resignation here. (Just reread Dan's message
realized it's possible the beginning of my response could be read that
though I think I'm pretty clear further down.)

On Wed, Nov 2, 2016 at 4:32 PM, Pete Forsyth <>

Dan, I disagree. Three points:

1. Rogol explicitly said they *hesitate* to suggest that anybody
nobody on this list has asked her to resign. Best not to exaggerate.

2. It is true that there is a higher level of scrutiny of the board
there has been in the past. We should not forget that in the last year,
board or its members:
* Ousted a community-selected member, for reasons generally regarded as
frivolous and insufficient;
* Defamed that same person following his ouster
* Appointed a new member with insufficient vetting, who subsequently
to resign under pressure
* Lost another community-selected member, who cited reasons he had been
explicitly aware of during his candidacy
* Appointed a member to a community-selected seat who had not, in fact,
been selected by the community (I don't think this was actually a bad
given the circumstances, but it's worth noting nonetheless)
* Lost an executive director (amid scandal) it had hailed as a perfect
"unicorn" just two years ago

It therefore stands to reason that people will be more critical than
of the board's activities. I would argue this is healthy. The board
has a
great deal of work to do in regaining the trust it has lost as an
institution. (I'll note that I published some suggestions about actions
board could take; I have seen no indication that the board even read
op-ed, much less considered implementing its suggestions.
2016-03-16/Op-ed )

3. On the specifics mentioned here: Without suggesting that Ms. Battles
anybody has done anything wrong, it is indeed prudent, as Rogol
to consider whether this might constitute a COI that directly impedes
important work on Wikimedia's behalf. I'm personally not as worried
it as Rogol; I take it as a good sign that she has proactively
here, and I trust it will be noted in a more visible location as well.
not sure that her area of specialization (finance) is something that
really suffer from this particular COI. But as important as legal
may be, it remains important that somebody pay attention to the fit of
board members with the general mission of the organization -- and I
wouldn't expect WMF staff lawyers to fill that role. Ordinarily, I
would be the board's role to pay attention to that -- but for the
stated above, I think it's worthwhile if others in the movement pay
attention too.


On Wed, Nov 2, 2016 at 3:48 PM, Dan Garry <>
The mere potential that a conflict of interest may arise in the future
not necessarily a reason to resign from the board. This is why we have
legal counsel such as Stephen and Michelle to determine whether such
conflicts are serious enough to be inappropriate. We should all be
satisfied with their opinions that this situation is fine in light of
reputation, experience, and credentials; I know I am.

Minor conflicts of interest sometimes arise. That is normal, and as
said, such conflicts can be managed. For example, when it happens, the
relevant party can do things like recusing themselves from that
and stepping out of the room until the discussion is complete. This is
standard procedure adopted by boards of other organisations, and also
parts of our movement such as the Arbitration Committees or Funds
Dissemination Committee.

Additionally, I am disturbed by the recent trend of seemingly all
involving members of the Board of Trustees inevitably having someone
a trustee to resign. I hope this absurdity does not continue.


On 2 November 2016 at 22:34, Rogol Domedonfors <

Congratuations to Kelly Battles on her new job at Quora.  I believe
correct in saying that this is a company whose business is to make a
by pursuing its "mission is to share and grow the world’s
Surely that means that in general the more and better the Wikimedia
projects pursue their mission, the more they will undercut Quora's
business?  In particular, would not the Knowledge Engine, at least
originally conceived, be very much in direct competition with
question-and-answer model?  It seems to me that Kelly's duty to her
employer is likely to come very clearly into conflict with her duty
Foundation, and while it is posible that this can be managed, will
seriously diminish her ability to work with the Board on the
thinking they are just about to start?  I hestiate to suggest that
best course of action is to step down from the Board but I do
needs serious consideration by herself and her fellow Trustees -- it
clear whether it is better for the Board to have another vacancy,
or a
Trustee who is unable to engage in the strategy-setting which is so
needed.  Indeed, with two vacancies already, and no clear indication
when or how they will be filled, I suggest that the Board is in a
awkward position now.

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