WikiEducator talk:Policy for Community Governance

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Thread titleRepliesLast modified
2010 Amendments004:12, 11 May 2012
Links to Archived discussions022:06, 1 October 2009
Questioning Nominated Members311:42, 6 October 2008
Executive Committee411:31, 6 October 2008
A few points205:30, 27 June 2008
Open Community Governance208:04, 26 June 2008
Open Community Governance006:39, 24 June 2008
Feedback on the policy for Community Governance008:14, 23 June 2008

2010 Amendments

Should the 2010 amended version be here? - Kim Tucker 15:12, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

KTucker (talk)04:12, 11 May 2012

Links to Archived discussions

The first drafts of the policy were discussed under "Governance policy" before being renamed and moved to "Community Governance Policy"

For the purposes of tracking and refering to early discussions -- here are the links:

Mackiwg (talk)22:06, 1 October 2009

Questioning Nominated Members

Originally expressed in the Council email list, then copied to the Council's first meeting agenda discussion page, but perhaps this question is best placed here, in the context of what it is questioning. It is my hope that this Policy being a draft and all, and that the first Council Meeting is yet to happen, and that Nominated Members are not yet present in the Council, that the first meeting be the best time to review this part of the Policy, or that the first meeting be the best time to review the DRAFT Policy and develop it further into a final Policy for the first term...

I just reread the policy. Things mean more when they have meaning in the present for me. Back when it was being formulated, I had neither experience of perspective on what was relevant and what was not. I guess, I am task orientated a lot of the time, and my task this time was to find out the history and rational behind "Nominated Members".
The notion of nominating members other than elected members from the community, who will hold a position in the Council (equal I assume to elected members) for 1 year, and/or consecutive years indefinitely, strikes me as entirely odd. The only other Council I have experience with is local City Council's in the towns I have lived. They have Elected Councilors, and then Public Servants. Public Servants do not participate in voting, debating, and deciding on proposals etc. (Although, truth be told, Public Servants carry a lot of behind the scenes power over elected representatives). So it is this experience and perspective that I bring to the experience of the Wikied Council.
It seems to me that the intention behind Nominated Members is part Public Servant, part consultant. I can't see why consultancy is not just called on when needed, and I think the skills of the elected members covers most of the administration needs normally covered by Servants.
I see a risk in the Nominated Members aspect of the Policy, and I'm surprised/concerned that I appear to be the only one seeing it. An influential Elected Member could effectively stack the Council with Nominated Members. This might happen either intentionally, or more likely unintentionally. For example, the Policy referred to as "developed openly and transparently by the community" was in fact developed openly and transparently by Wayne, with some input from Steve and 1 minor edit from Randy. This is on the one hand testament to Wayne's hard work and forward thinking, but on the other hand a concern as to the influence Wayne has over the Council. If I were Wayne, I would be the first to acknowledge this, and me being me, I would be the first to acknowledge that some Council members will need to now start taking more responsibility for such developments and take some of the load off Wayne.
So I hope my message comes through clearly. It is that we must be watchful for UNINTENTIONAL stacking of the Council in favor of the more influential Elected Member at any given time. We must work hard at insuring that all the Elected Council Members have a equal sense of ownership and responsibility to the role, BEFORE we start appointing Nominated Members, if at all. This message comes from my own confusion as to the reasons we need nominated members beyond consultants when needed, and concern that the Policy (due largely to necessity at the time) has been developed up until now by one Elected Member.
Leighblackall (talk)09:43, 5 October 2008

I agree and support your point Leigh. Just want to add more facts. 5 edits from steve out of last 500 is just not good enough to call it a 'community driven' policy. It needs to be repealed and redesigned.

Minhaaj (talk)11:15, 5 October 2008

Tracking that community consultation record is difficult. Right here on the Policy there is evidently little. Wayne has uploaded a PDF to the Council email group that seems to have been generated from these LQTs. No doubt there is other discussion on the Wikied email forum as well. In that record that Wayne has loaded, there appears to be around 4 more contributions to the discussion behind the Draft Policy, but again that consultation period is dominated by the authors.

Regardless, I would like to hear a response to the concerns we have over Nominated Members. If they are legitimate concerns then we should address them. Just because there has been a consultation period should not mean we proceed if the Draft Policy has cause for legitimate concern. It seems to me that rather than pointing out the evidence of a consultation period, addressing the concerns directly would be more productive. I have already admitted to not participating in the original consultation period for reasons I can't rightly remember. Now that I have reluctantly (as you know Minhaaj) taken on the responsibility of Elected Council Member, I just want to know that the Policy (that increasingly appears to be our constitution) is fair and right and one that gives me confidence to work on this Council. If it is, it really shouldn't take too long to explain. At least half the time of collating the discussion threads of a consultation period.

I can't be sure what the issue is. I think the main one is that the election has already taken place based on the Draft Policy and editing it after that election would somehow be a corruption. I struggle to see this point to be honest, as the concerns we raise are potentially more of a corruption - not to mention that the Policy we worked with was always a draft which would imply further changes. Another point against editing the Draft Policy that I have not heard but suspect to be partly the case is because it would potentially delay the formation of the Council. But if all that is proposed it to take out Nominated Members and replace with a process of bringing in consultants when needed, then that should be relatively quick. I guess there is a chance for it to become a prolonged debate, especially when contenders do not directly address the issues raised.

Thanks for your expression of support Minhaaj. I hate to be the one to be causing a problem so soon in the Council, especially as a result of my own apathy toward the Policy when it was being written at the time, but now I have perspective on it, this issue strikes me as important to the future of Wikieducator.

Leighblackall (talk)17:38, 5 October 2008

I was aware of the possibility of nominated members prior to the election, and although personally I do not have a problem with this process I realise that others do. The issues which have been voiced are real and need to be discussed.

Should nominated members have a vote, should they be nominated on to council or contracted as a need arises? I do have a problem with going ahead with this aspect of the draft policy if any of the elected council members feel uncomfortable with a process of nomination. Surely we do need to reach agreement on this as an elected council before inviting non-elected members to the council. I am also not in favour of breaking off into a smaller executive committee.

Bronwynh (talk)11:42, 6 October 2008

Executive Committee

I didn't think it was clear where the Council stops and the Executive Committee begins, so I took the liberty of moving all of the material about the latter into its own section. Do people agree with that, or will it be a race to see who reverts it first?

SteveFoerster (talk)14:01, 1 July 2008

By executive, do you mean Nominated Members Steve? I have concerns over Nominated Members, expressed here:

Leighblackall (talk)23:46, 2 October 2008

I just now understand executive committee as being different to Nominated Members, sorry. This will have to be another area I would question, in relation to my questioning of the Nominated Members. I don't see why in such a small Council that we need an executive with dicision making powers beyond the elected members. If for example, one or two elected members manage to single handedly nominate 4 Nominated Members each, and then those two Elected Members and their 8 Nominated Members were to become an executive committee, we would see a rather strong and impenetrable power base established if and when other elected members became aware of the stack. I realise Executive Committees are common on Councils, but I fail to see their need in our case. --Leighblackall 20:39, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Leighblackall (talk)09:39, 5 October 2008

Agreed again. Elected Council is the only legitimate body that i recognize and totally condemn all other de facto or de jure entities.

Minhaaj (talk)11:17, 5 October 2008

I am also questioning the need for an executive committee separate to the elected council. And who will decide the membership of the executive committee? I would not like to see a clustering of people who have similar viewpoints making all the important decisions - we need dissenting opinions to keep us honest.

Along with Leigh and others I would like to see the first meeting used to discuss the draft governance policy with the aim of ratifying a policy that all the elected council members are comfortable with, discussion around the need for an executive committee, and also agreement on the policy regarding secondment of nominated non-elected members of the council - even if one or two people are not happy with this I feel we must reach consensus before making this a firm policy.

I would like to see all decisions being reached by consensus rather than majority vote. Philosophically I would hate to see the methods of the minority world dominate our council in the same way as they have dominated and damaged the majority world. I am afraid that if we cannot agree on these basics then the whole scenario becomes a farce!

Bronwynh (talk)11:31, 6 October 2008

A few points

Edited by 2 users.
Last edit: 11:40, 25 June 2008

Looks great, Wayne -- thanks for all your hard work! A few points:

In the Policy for Community Governance

  • In section 4.4.2 the Patron of WikiEducator is offered an ex officio seat on the Council, taking one of the positions for nominated members. I don't object to that. However, given that this means that the position of Patron will be more than honourary, and that it isn't explained at all in the Governance Policy other than that ex officio mention, perhaps a few paragraphs of detail about that position and its role would be helpful.
In the preliminary discussions there were two perspectives. One which said the patron should assume executive directorship of the council and another emphasizing the honorary capacity of the Patron. So I took the liberty in proposing a compromise -- namely an ex officio membership as part of the nominated officials - rather than elected members. Do you have any thoughts on the role of Patron -- I agree, this would be a valuable addition to the documentation. --Wayne Mackintosh 00:55, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
I'd always thought that if the Patron should have any authority, it should be to reform things should they go terribly awry. I suppose I see the Patron as a sort of head of state, and the Chair of the Council as a sort of head of government. In other words, should for some reason there not be a functioning Council, the Patron would be able to step in a take steps to revive things. Similarly, the Patron would be a welcome advisor for any meeting the Council or ExCom might hold. I do think we should err on the side of the Patron's role being honorary and advisory, though, since we're talking about a position that's essentially a lifetime appointment. (That said, I also think there shouldn't be anything restricting the Patron from also being an elected or appointed member of the Council, and were Sir John so inclined he'd certainly have my vote.) --SteveFoerster 02:09, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
The head of state versus head of government is a useful distinction. Do you want to have a bash at formulating a few descriptors on the role of Patron? --Wayne Mackintosh 22:40, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Section 4.9 states that "Any Council member may be removed by a majority vote of the full membership of the Council." What, just like that an elected member may be removed by majority vote? I have to take exception to that; it seems like an opportunity for a majority to stifle opposing points of view. I can see there being a procedure to removing a member who's truly damaging the project, but it shouldn't be an easy one.
The thinking here about removal was more about misconduct, conflict of interest, actions which bring WikiEducator into disrepute etc. I do take your point though -- perhaps we should task the first council to develop a policy for the circumstances that would constitute a proposal for removal. This could be one of the first tasks of the elected council. We shouldn't stifle, but encourage opposing points of view. --Wayne Mackintosh 00:55, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
That sounds good; let's let the first Council set this policy. --SteveFoerster 02:09, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

In the Election Procesdures

  • In section 6, the Nomination requirements section, it says that "Nominations must be confirmed by two WikiEducators other than the candidate. The candidate is responsible for seeking the confirmations" and that "At least one confirmation for nomination must be from one of the top 50 active contributors on WikiEducator as of 8 June 2008". I don't object to that. However, it would be helpful to have a list of the Nifty Fifty available -- and also to allow those of them who are disinclined to receive entreaties from would-be nominees to have the chance to opt out.
Here is the list -- I figured that the nominee could always approach another nifty fifty in this scenario. The thinking is to have at least one committed WikiEducator confirm that the nominee would be worthy to stand for election -- without being too onerous or prescriptive on the nomination requirements. As a wiki community, I personally place a high priority on the web-of-trust and if someone wants to opt out from confirming a nomination, they are free to do so.--Wayne Mackintosh 00:55, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Very good, that all makes a lot of sense. --SteveFoerster 02:09, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
SteveFoerster (talk)10:40, 23 June 2008

I've added a section describing the role of the Patron. Have at.

SteveFoerster (talk)05:20, 27 June 2008

Since no one's objected to the idea, I've updated section 4.9 to reflect that the first elected Council will amend this policy to include a procedure to remove Council members.

SteveFoerster (talk)05:30, 27 June 2008

Open Community Governance

WikiEducator is distinct from traditional community and other forms of organisations in that it is "open". Other rules and experiences may or may not apply - but it is different.

Thus, I propose that this Policy be called "Open Community Governance".

--Randy Fisher 17:37, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikirandy (talk)06:37, 24 June 2008


That's a good suggestion -- I vote that we change the name of the Policy to Open Community Governance.

Mackiwg (talk)11:43, 25 June 2008

No objection. --SteveFoerster 19:04, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

SteveFoerster (talk)08:04, 26 June 2008

Open Community Governance

WikiEducator is distinct from traditional community and other forms of organisations in that it is "open". Other rules and experiences may or may not apply - but it is different.

Thus, I propose that this Policy be called "Open Community Governance".

- Randy

Wikirandy (talk)06:37, 24 June 2008

Feedback on the policy for Community Governance

We welcome feedback on the Draft Policy for Community Governance.

WE aim to achieve consensus on this document by 7 Juky 2008.

Mackiwg (talk)08:14, 23 June 2008