Board of Trustees election choices

All right, I don’t have any time, so let’s make this quick, shall we?

We need to choose three community members for board of trustees, so which three?

The first obvious choice is Dariusz Jemielniak. He got rid of the onerous Superprotect and he backed James Heilman in the 2015 board fiasco. This is significant because only board members were able to see what was said privately about Heilman, so we cannot make independent judgments. It is all too easy to throw someone under the bus in these lynch mob scenarios, and Dariusz has proved himself to be pure gold by resisting that without betraying the confidential nature of board deliberations.

The other obvious choice is María Sefidari. Sure, she was appointed in the aftermath of the Heilman business, and not elected, as some say should have been done, but a special election? I think not. She was already elected once, and this was the minimally disruptive way of handling the empty board seat. It’s time to confirm her again with an election.

So, let’s rule out a few people. Milos Rancic with the green hair and blue beard promises red eyebrows for the future. Abbad Diraneyya brings exactly the type of nuance on women’s participation that you would expect of an Arab male. Peter Gallert is running on “transparency” and “competence” without being very specific, a big “citation needed” here. Abel Lifaefi Mbula s running on being from a black African country, this is not enough. All of these have some limited local experience with the movement that makes them interesting and valuable somewhere, but they are not board material.

So that leaves Chris Keating, James Heilman, and Yuri Astrakhan for the third choice. Their answers to specific questions are on this page.

Chris Keating is a Wikimedia UK insider, familiar with chapters etc, he has written a long rambling discussion of metrics here, complete with kitten and shoe images, but he does seem to get it.  (endorsing Heilman)

James Heilman may attract a protest vote, since his conflict with Jimbo and the board over the goofy Knowledge Engine fiasco was extraordinarily public. Some may want to reinstate him, as a protest against his original removal and in order to affirm the rights of the community to representation on the board without what turned out to be unjustified WMF interference. But in my humble opinion, Lila is gone, the knowledge engine is gone, and the appointed board members who tried to steer the foundation in a disastrous direction are (mostly) gone. So Doc James came to power at exactly the right time that he was needed in the movement, and now that the movement has stabilized, his voice has already been heard and he has already made the desired impact. While it is tempting to reward his past courage with a vote, the future challenges of the movement lie elsewhere, probably with artificial intelligence and community culture. (have decided to endorse) we need someone who can stand up to Jimbo and the rest of the board, and keep a reality check on the movement.

So that is why I am leaning to Yuri Astrakhan, a techie guy and former WMF employee who seems to have some verbal and administrative skills, with Chris Keating as second choice, as I do think choosing him would give too much power to WMUK, which already has a history of too much influence, too much exclusion of women (and inability to moderate the Manchester crowd), and too much paid editing. (no sorry, Heilman is the only possible choice)

The candidates’ statements are here , the questions for the candidates are here, the landing page to vote is here.

UPDATE: Okay here are some links. Election stats from previous years. And you can see a list of who has voted here. So far, 1,738 voters have voted and staff are eligible to vote, although most are doing so under their individual accounts and not their staff accounts.

Oh, and I hereby endorse James Heilman (Doc James). Just remembered he said in his statement, “If elected to the board of the WMF, the position of chair at Wiki Project Med Foundation (WPMF) will most likely be taken on by Shani Evanstein.” From what I hear, that project is in dire need of a woman’s touch, the coverage of women’s health issues is said to be pitiful, and the ability of the male doctors to listen is zero.

So let’s kick him upstairs where he can keep an eagle eye on Jimbo, as he likes to do. Not that Jimbo is Wikipedia’s biggest problem, he is not by a long shot, in fact he is a huge net positive. We still need that type of wild creativity, but it needs to be balanced out with a reality check, and Heilman has certainly proved he knows how to stand up to Jimmy and the rest of the board.


Again, the voting system is hidden on a back page, but this election has the usual WMF formula voting where you can leverage your vote by voting against the candidates you do not want.  Those who are in the know can use this to double the value of their vote. See here:

Voters submit votes using a Support/Neutral/Oppose system. The votes will be tallied and the candidates will be ranked by percentage of support, defined as the number of votes cast in support of the candidate divided by the total number of votes cast for the candidate (“neutral” preferences are not counted, so this is the sum of support and oppose votes) – Support/Support+Oppose. The candidates with support from at least 10% of voters and with the highest percentage of support will be recommended to the Board of Trustees for appointment, which occurs once additional verification of requirements is completed.

Neutral votes are not counted; this is a sucker vote. Americans please pay attention, this is not the type of voting we are used to, and gives undue influence to Europeans, who are used to esoteric vote-counting systems. Your vote for each candidate should be either support or oppose. If you already voted, you can go back and change your vote.

My support votes will go to:

Dariusz Jemielniak (pundit)
James Heilman (Doc James)
María Sefidari (Raystorm)


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