The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees election is logically run by the
Wikimedia Foundation, just as elections for other movement entities are
logically run by those specific entities.

The Board of Trustees is responsible for monitoring the election and for
the tasking of and appointment of the Election Committee.  (Similarly,
other movement entities do exactly the same thing.) There are some
constricts built into the bylaws of the organization that identify certain
qualifications for candidates for elected seats.  The WMF staff member(s)
involved in the election are there primarily as facilitators to ensure that
the decisions made by the committee are enacted in a timely way.  They're
there to make sure stuff gets done, in other words.  They're not there to
make the decisions; that responsibility is squarely in the purview of the

I confess I am disappointed that the existing Election Committee did not
complete its assigned tasks of reviewing different types of voting, leading
community discussions, and identifying a specific preference.  Given that
the final result of the election will need to be released later than
mid-May 2020, and there is a minimum 10-week period before the polls close
to identify, qualify, and allow questioning of candidates, there is not
sufficient time to carry out much more than preliminary research on
alternate voting methods.  The recent experience with the movement-entity
board member selection process - in which some organizations clearly did
not understand the rules of engagement and had to ask for a "new" ballot -
illustrate the problem with not having sufficient time to really understand
and implement a different voting system.  Bluntly put, the Election
Commission should have completed its work in this regard by now if there
was any chance of changing  voting systems. It's been on the table as
something that needed to be done for at least 4 years, and is in fact the
reason that the Board created a "permanent" Election Commission instead of
one that gets appointed just to run a particular election.

The reality is that people who are good at actually running elections are
usually not the same people who are good at analysing and recommending
election processes.  Thus, it's really hard to find the right mix of
membership for a permanent Election Committee.  Comparatively speaking,
there are a lot more people who are proficient at the mechanics of
organizing and running elections; the only significant difference between
running a board election and running an Enwiki Arbitration Committee
election is scale (and perhaps better familiarity with Meta).

It's also essential that everyone on the committee pulls their weight.  In
the past, Election Committees have suffered from having people on board who
simply disappear after their appointment and don't do anything (or show up
so sporadically that they're more a hindrance than a help), leaving it to
an even smaller subgroup of the committee to make decisions and do the
work.  This is really a problem, and it's almost impossible to fix once the
work of the election has started.  The work for the 2020 election should be
starting....well, it probably already should have started.


On Sun, 12 Jan 2020 at 19:44, Pine W <> wrote:

> Hello,
> As far as I know, there has been no functioning Elections Committee in
> awhile. I think that there should be one, and I am glad to see the interest
> in reviving it. So, thanks for the message, Joe.
> In the long term, similar to my opinion about separating the Ombudsman
> Commission from WMF, I would like to have the Elections Committee be
> independent from WMF. However, as far as I know, there is no other
> organization that is able and willing to host community authorities which
> would not be under WMF's control or substantial influence. (WMF can
> exercise significant influence over Wikimedia affiliates by restricting
> their use of Wikimedia trademarks and/or their grant funding.) I hope that
> the possibility of having one or more such legally and financially
> independent organizations is being considered as a part of the 2030
> strategy process.
> Pine
> ( )
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