Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2006-08-28/Board candidates

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The Wikipedia Signpost


Interviews with Board of Trustees candidates

By Flcelloguy, August 28, 2006

The elections for the Board of Trustees continued this week as the registration of candidates closed on Monday, August 28. There were six new candidates this week: AaronSw, alex756, Arnomane, Evrik, Kim Bruning, and Zuirdj. However, two candidates, Cartman02au and Hadraj, also withdrew from the race, and two additional candidates, Cerejota and NicholasTurnbull, were stricken by interim executive director Brad Patrick because they had not yet been confirmed, bringing the final number of candidates to 17. Cartman02au cited that there were "people more deserving of the position than myself" and that he could serve the Foundation better in other capacities in his withdrawal statement.

Voting will start Friday, September 1; in order to have suffrage, a user must have 400 edits on one Wikimedia Foundation project before August 1, 2006, and have started contributing at least 90 days prior to that same date. Approval voting will be used, meaning that a voter may choose to either approve or not approve each of the 17 candidates. The winner will be the candidate with the most votes.

This week, the Signpost also conducted interviews with each of the candidates. As of press time, 16 of the 17 candidates had responded. The other candidate — Linuxbeak — is in the process of preparing a response. Once his response is received, this article will be updated, so we encourage you to place this page on your watchlist so that you will be informed of additional candidate replies.


AaronSw

Candidate profile
Real name: Aaron Swartz
Other usernames: N/A
Age: 19
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Major Projects: English Wikipedia
Local Rights: None
Global Rights: None
Questions? here

When did you first start contributing to Wikimedia projects? Why and how did you initially join?

I started actively contributing in mid-2003 when I begun studying Internet and US constitutional law and wanted to write down all the things I was learning for others. I quickly got addicted and began contributing on more and more subjects and reorganizing other pages. I made Special:Random my homepage and tried to improve things whenever I saw an opportunity.

Briefly describe your career ("real-life"). How do you think this will help you be a successful Board member?

About six years ago, I built my first web application. I called it theinfo.org, but it was basically the same idea as Wikipedia. Not surprisingly, it didn't take off, but I never stopped thinking about the problem. Since then, I co-authored the RSS 1.0 spec, worked on the specifications for the Semantic Web, and was an early employee at Creative Commons. Most recently, I co-founded Reddit, which, after one year, is already in the top 1500 sites on the Internet (according to Alexa).

Throughout this I've learned about web technologies, building and managing democratic online communities, scaling a rapidly-growing website, the laws and politics of free culture, how to work in formal organizations, and the technologies appropriate for building free knowledge.

Of all the candidates right now, why do you stand out from the field? What makes you the best candidate?

I think I have a clear, broad vision of the core values that have made Wikimedia successful and the long-term direction in which they head. I've described this briefly in my candidate's statement and plan to say more in a series of essays over the coming weeks.

A knowledge of several languages has been cited as a key requirement for a Board member. Do you speak any other languages other than English? Why do you think language is or isn't critical to the Board?

It's essential that the community representative to the Board represent the entire community, across all languages. As a Board member, I would not only try to write up the details of what was going on inside the Board for the public, I would work to make sure these notes were translated into as many different languages as possible, so that everyone has a chance to follow what the Board is doing and provide their input.

What do you expect to do while serving on the Board? What are your expectations?

Primarily, I hope to represent the community. That means telling the community about what's going on inside the Board, pushing the Board to delegate power to the community whenever possible, and working with the community to solicit input and direction for what they want from the Board. I want to make sure that things like Wikipedia remain community projects, with the Board's job limited to helping them achieve their goals.

Secondarily, I hope that my experience in organizations and technology can help the Board build the infrastructure necessary to do just that: ensure the projects survive, thrive, and grow.

What can you bring to the Board? What can you contribute to the Wikimedia Foundation?

I believe I answer this in the questions above.

Describe the one issue that you think is most pressing and pertinent to the Foundation right now, and how you would approach the situation.

A key issue is that the Foundation needs to move from a small group of people to a lasting organization that will be able to sustain and support the projects for the long term and do so in such a way that continues to respect the community's primacy. This is a fairly unique task -- few other organizations need to both last and not be in control -- but an essential one.

What is your vision of the Board in the Foundation hierarchy? How do you feel about the current leadership?

The Board's job is to set the scope and direction of the Foundation. Neither its members nor its structure is well-suited to having it run day-to-day operations. But this is nothing special -- few organizations are run directly by their boards.

As a Board member, you will be serving as a representative of the communities. Do you think you can represent the community and understand its concerns? Why?

The size of the community is enormous -- it goes beyond the community of admins, beyond the community that goes to meetups, beyond English, beyond Wikipedia -- and it would be absurd to think that any single person could single-handedly represent all their varied views and perspectives. Instead, the job requires facilitating communication between the Board and the community -- telling the community what the Board is doing, telling the Board what the community wants.

If I bring any special experience to that task, it's as someone whose experience of Wikipedia is more along the lines of an average editor, rather than someone deeply involved in the politics of the project. Quiet editors make up the core of our community, but precisely because they are quiet, their voices on most issues are rarely heard. As their representative, I will do my best to represent them as well, not just the active voices who dominate most current policy discussion.

What do you think of the Wikimedia Foundation and its mission in general? If you could change one thing about the running of the Foundation, what would you change?

It's hard to imagine a grander or more noble goal than giving every single person is free access to the sum of all human knowledge. Having spent time hanging out with many different parts of the Internet community, I can honestly say that I've rarely seen a group as far-sighted or as generous as the community around Wikimedia. The people involved in the projects are tackling the big issues; the Foundation's job is to get the obstacles out of the way and let them do it.

If elected, can and will you devote the appropriate time and other resources needed to serve on the Board?

Definitely. My current job gives me enormous flexibility to devote time to Wikipedia and I think the next few weeks will demonstrate that I've been taking full advantage of it. In my past work as a representative to the World Wide Web Consortium, I was able to take the time necessary to participate in Working Group discussions and pay my way to fly to all the meetings; I expect to be even more involved as a member of the Board.

Have you ever attended Wikimania or any other meetup? What role do you think these meetups play?

I've attended Wikimania and other Boston-area Wikipedia meetups and events. It's been wonderful meeting other Wikipedians and feeling the energy that we share for the project. But obviously it's a small subset of the community who attends such things, so I'd be careful about extrapolating too far.

What would you say to a potential voter who is undecided right now?

Wait to see how the next few weeks unfold. We should take this election as a real opportunity to discuss the future of the project as a community, not just vote for someone to do that work for us. I hope to share my thoughts over the next couple of weeks; I hope you'll also share yours.

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

Perhaps it's just my background as a programmer talking, but I think that one thing I think we should discuss more is the power of the software. Code is law, as Lessig says, and more than any policy decision or Foundation decree, what the code that runs Wikipedia does has a profound impact on the site, in everything from who can easily contribute to the kinds of things the software makes it easy to say. When we're discussing big issues like these, I think that aspect needs to be considered.


Alex756

Candidate profile
Real name: Alex T. Roshuk
Other usernames: Alexei756
Age: 50
Location: Brooklyn, New York City
Major Projects: English Wikipedia
Meta-Wiki
Local Rights: Sysop, English Wikipedia
Sysop, Meta-Wiki
Mediator, English Wikipedia
Founder, English Wikipedia AMA
Global Rights: Member, Wikimedia Legal Team
Pro bono legal counsel to Foundation
Foundation-Wiki access
Questions? here

When did you first start contributing to Wikimedia projects? Why and how did you initially join?

In the spring of 2003. I thought the idea of contributing to an online encyclopedia was an incredible opportunity, it still is. My first recorded edits were disambiguations of the towns of Brest in France and Brest in Belarus (also known as Brest-Litovsk). I was also fascinated by the open source nature of Wikipedia and the viral licensing scheme that Jimmy had chosen and that the decision was taken to make Wikimedia a non-profit organization and not another commercial venture as most of the dot coms have been to date.

Briefly describe your career ("real-life"). How do you think this will help you be a successful Board member?

I am a lawyer, artist (film and video), writer, and volunteer. I have dealt with NPOs (non-profit organizations) in the past as a board member, staff member and volunteer both in the United States and Canada and I am knowledgeable about fund raising, issues of organizational management and governance. I have posted a very detailed biography of myself on my meta user page (Malheursement c'est seulement en anglaise).

Of all the candidates right now, why do you stand out from the field? What makes you the best candidate?

Not really believing in "best" (is that NPOV?) my answer will have to be more multi-dimensional. Why did I decide to run? Because I see that the organization is in need of people who know something of the mechanics of NPO governance and management and can help the other board members in the decision making process that will help make the organization stronger and more stable while being sensitive to the needs of the various Wikimedia communities. Also, I think I am the only canadidate that is an armiger (joke, but true).

A knowledge of several languages has been cited as a key requirement for a Board member. Do you speak any other languages other than English?

Yes, French, I read and speak it quite well, I took many courses at McGill University Faculty of Law in Montréal in French such as Canadian Constitutional Law and Business Associations. I did quite well in all French courses that I took. I have some spoken Russian skill (from childhood and travels throughout eastern Europe in the last ten years) and can read cyrillic texts. I can also read some Spanish and Italian. Having studied history and law in French I am familiar with the differences between many of the legal systems in the world, common law, civil law and socialist legal systems -- this jurilinguistic knowledge is a definite plus.

Why do you think language is or isn't critical to the Board?

I think that the Board is an American legal entity, it needs to operate in English, but obviously its projects are international in scope and for that a knowledge of other languages, and perhaps, sensitivity to other cultures is even more important. I am a dual citizen having lived both in the United States and Canada, so I understand differences in culture and even how people who speak the same language can have very different cultural and historical reference points; I very much try to be sensitive to these differences even when they are relatively subtle as they are often very important to the individuals or groups involved.

What do you expect to do while serving on the Board? What are your expectations?

Go to or attend meetings; have discussions with other board members; find out what the staff is doing; assist with committee work. Being on the board of an NPO is hard work, but I am ready, willing and able to volunteer at that level of commitment; I have the time to contribute.

What can you bring to the Board? What can you contribute to the Wikimedia Foundation?

Legal expertise with NPOs, familiarity with trademark and copyright law, fund raising expertise, knowing the difference between governance and management; knowledge of various legal systems and cultural differences between management styles and cultural expectations of governance roles. I expect to contribute to the board by communicating with anyone involved in Wikimedia projects, Wikimedia chapters and bringing issues and concerns to the board when it is relevant to the issues at hand. The most important thing is communication because no board member can act in a vacuum and board members do the best job when they listen to each other and try to discover the real issues and respond to them appropriately as a group.

Describe the one issue that you think is most pressing and pertinent to the Foundation right now, and how you would approach the situation.

Continued interaction between the Board and the developing committee structure and other volunteer activities that can help expand the strength of our communities and projects. Wikimedians are an incredible resource that can help WMF and my feeling is that their raw energy can always be better utilized. While WMF has some financial resources for a minimal paid staff, work by volunteers is the way Wikipedia has exploded -- perhaps more of that collaborative work ethic can be harnessed on an organizational level as well (maybe the development of more volunteer coordination). It needs to be studied more and considered more over time.

What is your vision of the Board in the Foundation hierarchy?

The board is legally the body that is empowered to "steer" the organization like a ship (in Québec some organizations call the board the "steering commmittee" in English as a preferred translation from the French "conseil d'administration") and not really to "run" the organization. Staff should deal with a lot of day-to-day issues and bring whatever is necessary to the board or executive committee's attention; the projects should really run themselves -- as far as content is concerned, I don't think the board should get involved except in legal circumstances and then in the most circumspect way possible. Obviously board members do not fire the engines, nor do they hoist the sails, but board members must make sure that the engines are strong enough to run the ship and the sails have people to maintain them so they don't get ripped up in the strong winds that will no doubt be encountered. Individuals and other entities donate to WMF because they believe in Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, therefore being a member of the board is a position of trust to make sure that the organization charts a good course to get to its intended destination making sure that staff and volunteers keeps to that course over time.

How do you feel about the current leadership?

We all owe a great debt to Jimbo, after all he has contributed a lot to Wikipedia and I think we all see that he is genuinely concerned with the stable growth and credibility of the base of encyclopedic knowledge that is emerging. I don't see the board as micro-managing any projects. It should be there to develop the public trust that has been placed in it already by the large base that is supporting the work that it is doing. The board should look at all issues in a careful, thoughtful manner to make sure that the aims of the Foundation are further developed and continued in the most free and yet responsible ways possible.

As a Board member, you will be serving as a representative of the communities. Do you think you can represent the community and understand its concerns? Why?

Having been a very active Wikipedian in the past (I think I was in the top 500 English Wikipedia editors for while) and having been to meetups and Wikimania 2006 has been a plus. What is incredible about WMF is that we can all communicate with each other. I don't think this has ever happened in any organization on this scale in the history of humanity, and my hope is that the future is only open to more collaboration on a mass scale that transcends international borders, languages and cultures. Of course we can't all be on the board of an NPO, by necessity it must be governed by a limited number of people, and it is doubtful that most people would really want the position, but those of us willing to do so need to be responsive to anyone who can provide useful input to the board as an gropu of decision makers. Being on the board is not about pushing an agenda, in my opinion, it is about giving the board, the staff and organizational volunteers the needed information, expertise, input and support so that decisions can be taken as a group that are sensitive to the real needs of the many communities that the WMF serves.

What do you think of the Wikimedia Foundation and its mission in general? If you could change one thing about the running of the Foundation, what would you change?

Generally WMF has been extremely successful in fulfilling its mission so far. Legally the foundation was founded in June 2003. I know of few organizations that have achieved international prominence or such a donor base in the span of three years. In the future there might be more of a focus on offline fund raising and eventually it might be a good idea for WMF to have a permanent home (and not just only one dedicated server farm) and even several international branch facilities that insure the continued existence of all the databases (in case of any catastrophes) and provide places (perhaps decentralized and run or funded by other the other international Wikimedia entities) where staff and volunteers could continue the work of the Foundation and meet on occasion when necessary.

If elected, can and will you devote the appropriate time and other resources needed to serve on the Board?

As I am in private practice I manage my own time and can set time off from my schedule to attend meetings, IRC chats, etc. I do not foresee any problem along this line. I have volunteered on many NPO boards and I take such obligations seriously.

Have you ever attended Wikimania or any other meetup? What role do you think these meetups play?

As stated above, yes, I attended Wikimania 2006 and started a meetup group here in NYC. It has been great to meet many Wikimedians from all over the world. Organizing a meetup in New York was good and hopefully in the future we can have more meetups. It is a useful way for people to get to know each other and also to do more local activities and do things like sponsor local events.

What would you say to a potential voter who is undecided right now?

Read all the candidates statements, ask questions and try to make the most infomed choice you can make, and above all vote.

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

Wikipedia is an phenomenon that is unique and has become a mass collaboration unequalled in the history of the peoples of the world. Everyone who contributes (be it money, editing, or various associational activities like editing the Signpost) is what is making Wiki[p~m]edia so incredible. Don't forget that!


ArnoLagrange

Candidate profile
Real name: Arno Lagrange
Other usernames: N/A
Age: 50
Location: Carcassonne, Aude, France
Major Projects: Esperanto Wikipedia
French Wikipedia
German Wikipedia
English Wikipedia
Esperanto Wiktionary
Wikimedia Commons
Meta-Wiki
Local Rights: Bureaucrat and sysop, Esperanto projects
Bureaucrat and sysop, Meta-Wiki
Global Rights: Formerly a steward
Questions? here

When did you first start contributing to Wikimedia projects? Why and how did you initially join?

2002, after I found a wikipedia article as answer of a google request. I wondered to find an edit button and then I became a wikipedian geek.

Briefly describe your career ("real-life"). How do you think this will help you be a successful Board member?

Very different experiences : agriculture, massonery, maths teaching, theater actor, computing, non-profit activities. The most useful experience for the Board is (but computing) teh experiences as an actor and a theater director where I learned to manage human relations.

Of all the candidates right now, why do you stand out from the field? What makes you the best candidate?

I don't think i'm the best candidate. I read with attention the other candidates' statement (I translattted all of them to esperanto !) and I think there are some more valuable candidates than I am. I stand out because I emfase the linguistic problems in a multilingual community where english takes a disproprotionate place. I think it's very important WMF evolves its linguistic policy so that every wikipedian in every country with every mother tongue can really participate in the projects' direction.

A knowledge of several languages has been cited as a key requirement for a Board member. Do you speak any other languages other than English? Why do you think language is or isn't critical to the Board?

I speak 4 languages and understand a ten of others. It can help to communicatre with different members of the community. A trustie has to be an ambassador of the vlunteers in the Board and when he/she speaks and understands only english it's difficult to communicate with people which can't english (yes they do exist, english speaking people don't hear them and use to believe that everybody in the world can easily communicate with english, but it's not true at all)


Arnomane

Candidate profile
Real name: Daniel Arnold
Other usernames: N/A
Age: 25
Location: Nürnberg, Germany
Major Projects: Wikimedia Commons
German Wikipedia
Local Rights: CheckUser, Wikimedia Commons
Bureaucrat and sysop, Wikimedia Commons
Sysop, German Wikipedia
Global Rights: None
Questions? here

When did you first start contributing to Wikimedia projects? Why and how did you initially join?

I joined during the big de.wikipedia boost in March 2004. I got inspired by two press articles: One on Spiegel-Online (online offspring a popular German political magazine) and an article on heise.de (online news of a popular German IT magazine). I probably sat down at my computer after returning from university, did browse the news and inmediatly got addicted to Wikipedia (That time I was lurking around for quite some time searching for "my" inspiring free software project and had been in loose contact with people from various free software projects). You can see as well the effect of these two press articles in the Wikipedia statistics.

My very first edit was probably that minor one as an IP: http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gammaastronomie&diff=840114&oldid=839166. Some ours later on 16. March 2004 at 0:01 CET I made my first edit with my user name in http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gammablitz&diff=843667&oldid=843626. Up to now I am still around in astronomy articles beside many other things.

Briefly describe your career ("real-life"). How do you think this will help you be a successful Board member?

I was born in Magdeburg in the former GDR in september 1980. I finished school in 2000 with Abitur (qualifies for university studies) at Siebold-Gymnasium Würzburg. After one year of civil service in a social institution for blind people I started in 2001 my studies in Erlangen with physics and changed later to mechanical engineering. I have always been active in communities in real life, like school newspaper, choir, orchestra (violin, did sadly had not much time for it for some years), later in lower university boards ("Fachschaft"). I think that I have learned out of these experiences reasoning, patience and persistence among many other things that certainly will be a help for me.

Of all the candidates right now, why do you stand out from the field? What makes you the best candidate?

I was searching for a candidate that did represent my concerns but didn't find anyone (perhaps also due to the fact that I only know a fraction of the other candidates). One of my concerns is that we have quite some visions but sadly some important of them were hyped too early while there was nothing ready yet. So my main whish for all of us including myself is "Just do things and promote them later - not the other way round."

A knowledge of several languages has been cited as a key requirement for a Board member. Do you speak any other languages other than English? Why do you think language is or isn't critical to the Board?

I'm a German so my mother language is German. I speak English at an advanced level and sadly only some French (did not pay too much attention in school although I have been in France several times, shame on me ;-). I think as long as a person is open-minded towards other language communities, language skills are not a must have but a nice to have. Language skills beside English are very helpful in order to understand a certain culture, habits and common mind - but most important is the ability to realize the own cultural bias.

What do you expect to do while serving on the Board? What are your expectations?

Currently many things get solved independently over and over again in our diverse wiki communities. I met quite some people who created nice stuff that just works in one community. Thatfor I want to increase cross-project communication so that the communities benefit from each other. My self-conception is that I want to be a community board member. I want to communicate problems and solutions out of our diverse communities to the board. Of course I can also contribute quite some own experience, like for example on "printed Wikipedia" - one of our main goals. So I don't want to be there in order to make "big politics" as I believe in division of work among board members and in open-minded (not group-think) meritocracy in online projects.

What can you bring to the Board? What can you contribute to the Wikimedia Foundation?

An independent perspective from the grounds of de.wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and hopefully many more other wikis as well. So I want to lower the gap between the board and especially the non English language communities, which has caused quite some friction in the past, so that the Foundation can priorize it's higly limited time better between the concerns of all communities. See also my previous answer.

Describe the one issue that you think is most pressing and pertinent to the Foundation right now, and how you would approach the situation.

I believe that equality among our diverse language communities can only be reached by active participation and with the right free software tools. For me all languages and cultures are equally welcome but we cannot achieve working equality by board declarations. So IMHO the current main task of WMF towards equality of communities is (beside local chapters) to ensure that future MediaWiki versions take an even greater emphasis on features that enable people getting more easier in touch across communities and languages.

What is your vision of the Board in the Foundation hierarchy? How do you feel about the current leadership?

The board has done a huge amount of work and always manged it to solve emgerency cases, which can't be taken for granted given the breath-taking size of our projects. My vision for the future is that we don't spend so much time on defining procedures on formal issues where it is not legally or financially required. So for me the top of a hierarchy is where the most work is being done and this is in constant flux.

As a Board member, you will be serving as a representative of the communities. Do you think you can represent the community and understand its concerns? Why?

Of course yes :o The "why" has been answered above.

What do you think of the Wikimedia Foundation and its mission in general? If you could change one thing about the running of the Foundation, what would you change?

I am addicted to Free software and Free content much like all of us. SoI like the mission. ;-) Other parts see above. :-)

If elected, can and will you devote the appropriate time and other resources needed to serve on the Board?

That was the hardest question for myself. Of course I hope so and will do my very best.

Have you ever attended Wikimania or any other meetup? What role do you think these meetups play?

I was at Wikimania '05 and quite some other local German meetups (21C3, Berlin '05, a documentary about Wikipedia and local informal meetings). At Wikimania and Berlin '05 I was staff (but not in the front row) during the documentary I was an interview partner (ok my interview had been cut out ;-( ), and on the other ones I was just participating and enyoing the atmosphere. :-)

What would you say to a potential voter who is undecided right now?

Just sit back think one more time go outside and take a break. If you really want to get influenced ask me. ;-)

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

Puh probably a lot of things will come into my mind later but not now. ;)


Charles Matthews

Candidate profile
Real name: Charles Matthews
Other usernames: N/A
Age: 52
Location: Cambridge, UK
Major Projects: English Wikipedia
Local Rights: Arbitrator, English Wikipedia
Sysop, English Wikipedia
Global Rights: None
Questions? here

When did you first start contributing to Wikimedia projects? Why and how did you initially join?

2003. Drawn in via Meatball Wiki. I was already very active on the go wiki, Sensei's Library.

Briefly describe your career ("real-life"). How do you think this will help you be a successful Board member?

Academic mathematician to 1989, since then volunteer, writer, househusband, parent.

Of all the candidates right now, why do you stand out from the field? What makes you the best candidate?

If one thing, it would be breadth of background. I also think I'm an effective communicator, as writer and public speaker.

A knowledge of several languages has been cited as a key requirement for a Board member. Do you speak any other languages other than English? Why do you think language is or isn't critical to the Board?

I speak decent French, studied Russian (a little rusty, but I understand spoken Russian OK). Bits of Japanese, several European languages (can read some technical German). Monoglot doesn't mean lacking in cultural sympathy, necessarily, but when cultural issues come up languages are going to be in play.

What do you expect to do while serving on the Board? What are your expectations?

I would be expect to be busy learning, but there are a few things (see Anthere's questions to me User:Charles Matthews/WMF Board Election 2006#Anthere's questions).

What can you bring to the Board? What can you contribute to the Wikimedia Foundation?

I have wiki and world experience, time, ability to communicate.

Describe the one issue that you think is most pressing and pertinent to the Foundation right now, and how you would approach the situation.

We have to get on top of the 'biographies of the living', and defend the whole project from defamation litigation. Some attention has to be paid on the software side for tools to do that.

What is your vision of the Board in the Foundation hierarchy? How do you feel about the current leadership?

So far, things have been handled fine. 'Leadership' in such a broad, even diffuse voluntary project has to take account of atmosphere and intangibles, as well as the obvious pragmatic issues.

As a Board member, you will be serving as a representative of the communities. Do you think you can represent the community and understand its concerns? Why?

I'm an old-school Wikipedian, with wiki roots going back further than that. No mystery about the 'community'.

What do you think of the Wikimedia Foundation and its mission in general? If you could change one thing about the running of the Foundation, what would you change?

I have said that internal communications need a review. Maybe we need more focus on things other than mailing lists, and in any case we might need clearer routing (complaints this way, general policy discussion over there, that kind of thing).

If elected, can and will you devote the appropriate time and other resources needed to serve on the Board?

Yes, though that would cut into editing time.

Have you ever attended Wikimania or any other meetup? What role do you think these meetups play?

Unforunately not: bad timing this year.

What would you say to a potential voter who is undecided right now?

I'm not a tech person, I'm a 'human factors' person.

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

My efforts in Uganda to raise the profile of WP.


Cimon Avaro

Candidate profile
Real name: Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
Other usernames: N/A
Age: 40
Location: Merihaka, Helsinki, Finland
Major Projects: English Wikipedia
Finnish Wikipedia
Local Rights: Mediator, English Wikipedia
Bureaucrat and sysop, English Wikipedia
Global Rights: None
Questions? here

When did you first start contributing to Wikimedia projects? Why and how did you initially join?

April 2003, found site by accident, noticed something I could improve, and stayed.

Briefly describe your career ("real-life"). How do you think this will help you be a successful Board member?

Skipping school, I would go to read Encyclopaedia Britannica in the library, having already read the paltry Finnish encyclopaedia at home cover to cover. After studying translation into english and simultaneus interpretation for a year and math and physics for another year in university, I delivered newspapers for fifteen years, which gave me access to daily editions of newspapers accross the political spread, and while waiting for the newspapers, the people in our work group would argue everything under the sun, from current affairs to politics and deep philosophical questions. Personally I mostly argued for the middle ground. I would say that I learned more about Neutral Point of View there than on wikipedia. Last winter I "herded cats" in a Sciences oriented "magnet school" library with the patrons being 16-19 year old hyper-intelligent nerds, very similar to the current wikipedian demographic.

Of all the candidates right now, why do you stand out from the field? What makes you the best candidate?

I have a record of never getting embroiled in controversy, but always acting constructively to the best of my ability even in difficult situations, and walking away instead of edit warring, if that proved impossible. I would like to think where ever I have been involved, I have been a moderating influence. Characteristic of my involvement is the en:Wikipedia:Do not bite the newcomers page, which I started.

A knowledge of several languages has been cited as a key requirement for a Board member. Do you speak any other languages other than English? Why do you think language is or isn't critical to the Board?

While I don't think language skills beyond being able to communicate with the other board members is essential, I do speak at a useful level in Finnish, Swedish and English, and studied German for four years in school, including private lessons, and if elected, would certainly brush up on my language skills, having a good natural linguistic ability. I would say that experience from the full evolution of a virtually non-existent to a middle sized wikipedia (Finnish) is a useful perspective I can bring to the board.

What do you expect to do while serving on the Board? What are your expectations?

Be a trustworthy custodian of wikimedian assets, and through active communication, make the foundation relevant for the communities, and participate in the setting up of a functional organizational structure for the foundation.

What can you bring to the Board? What can you contribute to the Wikimedia Foundation?

A moderating influence, and unflinching integrity (all false modesty aside).

Describe the one issue that you think is most pressing and pertinent to the Foundation right now, and how you would approach the situation.

Scaling up the organization to match the enormous workload. Delegate, delegate, delegate, and stand back.

What is your vision of the Board in the Foundation hierarchy? How do you feel about the current leadership?

Oversee, act in a legal capacity, and delegate. I have an abiding faith wikimedia will always continue to have leadership that is competent and of high integrity.

As a Board member, you will be serving as a representative of the communities. Do you think you can represent the community and understand its concerns? Why?

Yes. With humility and a listening approach, everything is possible.

What do you think of the Wikimedia Foundation and its mission in general? If you could change one thing about the running of the Foundation, what would you change?

The board itself is now the bottleneck now, and this aperture must be opened up both in terms of accountability through transparency, and by expansion.

If elected, can and will you devote the appropriate time and other resources needed to serve on the Board?

Naturally.

Have you ever attended Wikimania or any other meetup? What role do you think these meetups play?

Both Wikimanias (2005 and 2006) and a couple of smaller meetups. Putting faces to usernames is vital for creating trust, and the Wikimanias taught me more about the backround of the projects and the foundation than I have learned in toto elsewhere. Meetings should be about education, not backroom dealing.

What would you say to a potential voter who is undecided right now?

If you want integrity and a moderating influence on the board, I doubt you can do better than voting for me.

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

Information wants to be free.


Eloquence

Candidate profile
Real name: Erik Möller
Other usernames: N/A
Age: 27
Location: Berlin, Germany
Major Projects: English Wikipedia
English Wikinews
Wikimedia Commons
Meta-Wiki
German Wikipedia
Local Rights: Bureaucrat and sysop, English Wikinews
Sysop, English Wikipedia
Sysop, German Wikipedia
Sysop, Wikimedia Commons
Sysop, Meta-Wiki
Sysop, MediaWiki.org
Global Rights: Developer
Questions? here

When did you first start contributing to Wikimedia projects? Why and how did you initially join?

I joined the English Wikipedia as a registered user in December 2001; the other projects followed.

Briefly describe your career ("real-life"). How do you think this will help you be a successful Board member?

I have a computer science degree and attended a two-year school of economics. I've worked as a freelance writer for various magazines and newspapers since I was 17 years old, and I have written a book about weblogs, wikis, and open source software (see my German homepage for details). I currently work as a project manager and developer on the WiktionaryZ project. I also run a small wiki hosting company. I'm an international speaker and workshop moderator. Google me, but note that there are quite a few Scandinavians with the same name, including a popular Swedish recording artist. ;-)

I think in fully formed sentences, which means that it's relatively easy for me to write long texts or to communicate freely. These communication skills are useful for a Board member, as they help me to represent the organization at conferences, in discussions or in other venues, and to prepare detailed activity reports. As a technologist and former Chief Research Officer of the Foundation (just a title, no salary ;-), I believe I can lead the effort of preparing a roadmap for future innovation.

Of all the candidates right now, why do you stand out from the field? What makes you the best candidate?

I should let other people answer this question. Angela, whose resignation has opened up the Board seat which is contested in this election, has endorsed my candidacy with the following words: "I strongly support Erik's platform in this election and I believe he is the best candidate to represent the community in the development of the Wikimedia Foundation over the coming year. Erik has shown a continued commitment, not only to Wikipedia but to the Wikimedia Foundation as a whole. Erik's commitment to the sort of openness that will ensure the community will have an influence in ensuring the Foundation meets its goals makes me happy to endorse him as the person to replace me on the Board." Please also see the other endorsements I have received.

A knowledge of several languages has been cited as a key requirement for a Board member. Do you speak any other languages other than English? Why do you think language is or isn't critical to the Board?

I speak German natively and English as a second language. I believe that our processes need to facilitate multilingual interaction, but any individual person is only ever going to speak a tiny subset of languages present in the Wikimedia communities. I think awareness of the issues of internationalization, localization and translation is more important than specific language abilities. Through my work on WiktionaryZ, I have become very familiar with these issues, and have spent considerable time thinking about ways to make communication processes multilingual.

What do you expect to do while serving on the Board? What are your expectations?

The term only lasts until July 2007. Given that the Board has only held two meetings this year, we're talking about a small time window to make a difference. The most important upcoming event is the Board retreat in October, which is where I hope to raise some of the issues described in my platform. I will seek dialogue with the other Board members and organizational staff beyond scheduled meetings, and try to promote certain initiatives, such as open community meetings for individual projects and a Foundation roadmap.

Describe the one issue that you think is most pressing and pertinent to the Foundation right now, and how you would approach the situation.

The Foundation is in a critical phase of transition. It was entirely governed by its Board of Trustees for 2 years and has only recently launched formal committees and hired an Executive Director, Brad Patrick. I believe it is crucial that, in this organizational transition, we establish a high level of transparency and low barriers to entry. Committees need to allow new volunteers to participate, and only confidential information should be kept secret. The Board has also stated its desire to add more members (our Board has 4 active members, while the average non-profit Board in the United States has 17 members). I strongly believe that the majority of the Board should be elected by the community, and that Board appointments should target experts from particular fields (e.g. developing nations) rather than "big names" or wealthy donors. The question whether the organization should have legal membership remains undecided, and I want us to carefully weigh the pros and cons of that proposition.

What is your vision of the Board in the Foundation hierarchy?

The Board sets the mission of the Foundation and the long term planning, rather than being responsible for day to day operational activity. It ensures that the organization operates in line with its stated mission and in compliance with law and ethics. In the context of Wikimedia, I think the Board has a special role to guarantee a harmonious relationship between paid staff and volunteers.

How do you feel about the current leadership?

I have met them all personally, and I can testify that they are, without exception, good people who have the best interest of the Foundation at heart. :-)

As a Board member, you will be serving as a representative of the communities. Do you think you can represent the community and understand its concerns? Why?

I regard myself as an international candidate. Much of my involvement has been with projects that are not language-specific, such as Wikimedia Commons, which I proposed in March 2004, or the MediaWiki software. I believe I can represent all languages and all project communities. As a candidate, I have a strong commitment to make the projects beyond Wikipedia succeed through partnerships and constant innovation -- see my platform for many ideas in that area.

What do you think of the Wikimedia Foundation and its mission in general? If you could change one thing about the running of the Foundation, what would you change?

I identify strongly with the charitable goal of giving all human beings free access to human knowledge. I think we need to clearly define the organization's scope beyond this. We are not the Internet Archive, for example -- Wikimedia is about practical collaborations around knowledge. I also strongly feel that there is a fantastic untapped potential for partnering with academia, non-profits, governments, and other organizations in the development of our projects, our technology, and our communities.

If elected, can and will you devote the appropriate time and other resources needed to serve on the Board?

Of course. :-) I will reserve a minimum of 6-8 hours per week for Board responsibilities.

Have you ever attended Wikimania or any other meetup? What role do you think these meetups play?

I've been a speaker at both Wikimanias and was on the program committee of the first one. Beyond that, I've been to meetups in Germany, England, Austria, the Netherlands, and South Africa. I love meeting people in person, and believe it is an extremely important part of comunity interaction, not to mention that face-to-face meetings have a lot more bandwidth than text on a screen. ;-)

What would you say to a potential voter who is undecided right now?

Please carefully review the platforms of all candidates, and also the Wikimedia Foundation website and its history. This election is about the future of an organization that operates many projects in many languages (a point cleverly made by Delphine Ménard in her anti-platform), not just the English Wikipedia. Don't just pick the person you like the most or know the best -- vote for the candidate who you think brings the best ideas and abilities to the table, who has the strongest commitment to our values, and the deepest understanding of the organization and the communities.

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

I've been passionate about making a difference in the lives of others since I was a child. With the Wikimedia Foundation and its projects, I have found a group of peers who believe in changing the world through knowledge, and who have built some of the most amazing resources in the history of humankind. I could not imagine a better group of people to work with, and would be deeply honored to represent our community in facing the challenges we have set for ourselves. I want the Wikimedia Foundation to be a model of openness and integrity. I'm asking for your support, and promise that I will do my best not to disappoint you. Even and especially if you do not want to support my candidacy, please tell me what you think about my platform and my ideas. And thanks for reading so far! :-)


Evrik

Candidate profile
Real name: Bruce Andersen
Other usernames: N/A
Age: 42
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Major Projects: Wikimedia Commons
English Wikipedia
Local Rights: None
Global Rights: None
Questions? here

When did you first start contributing to Wikimedia projects? Why and how did you initially join?

July, 21 2005 with first recorded edit John Doe. First anon edit (Urbanization) on January 21, 2004. I joined because after editing anonymously for a while I thought I would be get more from editing by registering.

Briefly describe your career ("real-life"). How do you think this will help you be a successful Board member?

In my real life, I am an Investigator for the federal government. Outside my work, I have served on volunteer boards and worked in community agencies since 1990. I have been creating web content for more than 10 years.

Of all the candidates right now, why do you stand out from the field? What makes you the best candidate?

I have been working with computers for 30 years, and on the Internet since the early 90's when I used to surf using Mosaic. I have a historical perspective on the development of online information services.

A knowledge of several languages has been cited as a key requirement for a Board member. Do you speak any other languages other than English? Why do you think language is or isn't critical to the Board?

I am fluent in Spanish. I believe that language is important, and that more work needs to be done to make interlingual work easier. Operations of the board require that everyone be able to understand each other, but more important than language is a multi-cultural perspective that being multilingual brings.

What do you expect to do while serving on the Board? What are your expectations?

I think that the wikimedia work is profound, and that I want to be able to contribute to that work. This is a great opportunity and I want to involve myself because I think I'm qualified, but also think it's a great learning experience.

What can you bring to the Board? What can you contribute to the Wikimedia Foundation?

An inquisitive mind, negotiating skills and an ability to problem solve difficult situations.

Describe the one issue that you think is most pressing and pertinent to the Foundation right now, and how you would approach the situation.

Creating a financial foundation that supports its work, and the work of its volunteers, and allows it to continue to grow and meet new challenges. A firm financial footing is the basis of growth, success and survival.

What is your vision of the Board in the Foundation hierarchy? How do you feel about the current leadership?

I think that the Board sets the direction that the Foundation should go, and creates the environment that lets the volunteers succeed at making the goals of the foundation work. I feel that the current leadership has done a good job, and see this election at a chance to add new blood – which is always good!

As a Board member, you will be serving as a representative of the communities. Do you think you can represent the community and understand its concerns? Why?

After having worked at creating pages, WikiProjects and Portals; after having been involved at trying to save pages from deletion; after having contributed time and money - I think i understand the concerns of the communities.

What do you think of the Wikimedia Foundation and its mission in general? If you could change one thing about the running of the Foundation, what would you change?

I think the Foundation has done a great job of creating a community to benefit all of humankind

If elected, can and will you devote the appropriate time and other resources needed to serve on the Board?

Yes.

Have you ever attended Wikimania or any other meetup? What role do you think these meetups play?

No. I think that it is important for people to meet face to face as it improves the workings of the foundation. A lot of misunderstandings occur in the virtual world that don’t when people meet face to face. The more we get to know our fellow editors, the better we work together. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, 39°56′56″N 75°12′35″W / 39.94885°N 75.20973°W / 39.94885; -75.20973 look me up!

What would you say to a potential voter who is undecided right now?

I hope to continue my involvement for a long-time to come. I would appreciate your support.

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

I see the wikis as a great example of the possibilities of the Internet to disseminate knowledge and to build civil society.


Improv

Candidate profile
Real name: Pat Gunn
Other usernames: Pgunn
Age: 28
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Major Projects: English Wikipedia
Local Rights: Sysop, English Wikipedia
Global Rights: None
Questions? here

When did you first start contributing to Wikimedia projects? Why and how did you initially join?

I started contributing in late 2002, first anonymously. I got an account in late 2002 because I was becoming interested in keeping track of my edits.

Briefly describe your career ("real-life"). How do you think this will help you be a successful Board member?

My career is not all that relevant. I am a systems administrator/programmer and a psychology researcher. It is possible that my extensive computer experience may be of use in understanding technical issues, and it is possible that dealing with the paperwork tied to universities and serving on some university committees over the years has prepared me for effective ways to communicate over a variety of forii.

Of all the candidates right now, why do you stand out from the field? What makes you the best candidate?

I won't claim to be the best -- there are many types of members who might contribute productively to the board in different ways. As for me, I'm culturally from the opensource community and the academic world, I'm skeptical of corporate ways of doing things and want to sacrifice as little of the open/informal as possible while still meeting our ends. I also care about getting input, on appropriate topics, from people from any project and language.

A knowledge of several languages has been cited as a key requirement for a Board member. Do you speak any other languages other than English? Why do you think language is or isn't critical to the Board?

I am a native speaker of (American) English. I can speak German and Spanish (much better at reading them) to the extent of making myself understood, although I'm a bit clumsy in both and often need a dictionary. I can speak a bit of Japanese as well (can read Hiragana/Katakana), can read Cyrillic (but speak very little Russian), and can say a few odd phrases in Hebrew. I can often understand written Italian and French based off of my understanding of Spanish. I think language is a nice bonus in an otherwise qualified candidate.

What do you expect to do while serving on the Board? What are your expectations?

I expect to serve on some committees and do a lot of uninteresting but necessary work as well as participate in some of the larger steering issues.

What can you bring to the Board? What can you contribute to the Wikimedia Foundation?

I can provide my judgement, my effort, and my time.

Describe the one issue that you think is most pressing and pertinent to the Foundation right now, and how you would approach the situation.

I think defining the goals and form of the Foundation is the most challenging issue. I'd approach it by entering a discussion on it, listening and contributing as needed.

What is your vision of the Board in the Foundation hierarchy? How do you feel about the current leadership?

The board governs the foundation. It is the source of the committees that do most of the work, and is the final authority on what happens. I don't know enough of the private details of the foundation to judge the present leadership.

As a Board member, you will be serving as a representative of the communities. Do you think you can represent the community and understand its concerns? Why?

I disagree - to come from the community as a long-term user gives the board someone who understands the culture and shares certain concerns with the experienced community at large. Any representativeness comes from the selection process, and is not a duty to represent as a delegate. I've been in the community for a very long time, but my judgement and words are my own. If the community likes me, it should be for what I say and the judgements I have made, not because I will be a delegate in some way.

What do you think of the Wikimedia Foundation and its mission in general? If you could change one thing about the running of the Foundation, what would you change?

I think the foundation manages projects that are one part of a larger cultural renaissance (in openness and collective action) brought about by enabling technologies and increased educational levels. I believe we should have foundation "ambassadors" for each sufficiently large wiki to translate concerns and iron out legal issues.

If elected, can and will you devote the appropriate time and other resources needed to serve on the Board?

I believe so.

Have you ever attended Wikimania or any other meetup? What role do you think these meetups play?

I went to Wikimania 2006 as well as an east coast meetup. I feel these are helpful in building community and providing ways to more rapidly and deeply share ideas.

What would you say to a potential voter who is undecided right now?

It will be difficult for you to find enough information to vote sensibly. No offense meant to younger candidates, but I suggest you focus on people who are older and have had life experiences that are helpful in managing the business and large-scale direction of the foundation in ways that maximally preserve integrity without leading to a failed process. Good judgement is not an easy thing to estimate without a lot of work, and it, more than anything any of us have said in our candidate statements, is what the foundation needs.

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

In case any of my statements have been trimmed for length, please check my talkpage for meta for the full versions.


Kelly Martin

Candidate profile
Real name: Kelly Martin
Other usernames: None
Age: Late 30s
Location: Niles, Illinois, USA
Major Projects: English Wikipedia
Wikimedia Commons
Local Rights: Oversight, English Wikipedia
Checkuser, English Wikipedia
Sysop, English Wikipedia
Former Arbitrator, English Wikipedia
Temp. checkuser, English Wiktionary
Global Rights: None
Questions? here

When did you first start contributing to Wikimedia projects? Why and how did you initially join?

I started contributing (anonymously) to the English Wikipedia in October of 2004. I first started using Wikipedia as a resource more or less by accident because results from Wikipedia would come up occasionally on Google searches. A professor friend of mine mentioned Wikipedia to me in the spring or summer of 2004 and I started using it more often, mainly to read up on mathematics concepts that I find fascinating. Eventually I came across an article that was just so atrocious that I had no choice but to edit it. I don't remember what article it was, but the problem was almost certainly either a spelling error or an apostrophic catastrophe. What started out as typo correction slowly grew into a whole lot of other stuff, and before long (mid-March 2005) I was addicted.

Briefly describe your career ("real-life"). How do you think this will help you be a successful Board member?

I am currently a network administrator for a financial organization; in this role I do a lot of project management, as well as both evaluating proposals from others for business merit and preparing proposals for review by my superiors. These are all skills that are likely to be useful on the Board. I also have experience with non-profits large and small; my previous employer was a non-profit advocacy organization with a membership of several million, and several years ago I volunteered in the office of a small soup kitchen where I worked as an assistant to the Executive Director and got a lot of exposure to the details of running a nonprofit organization (including dealing with the Board). I've also run small businesses (with mixed success).

Of all the candidates right now, why do you stand out from the field? What makes you the best candidate?

I am not going to tell people that I'm the best candidate. I think they can make that judgment for themselves. I would rather say that I believe that I am a good candidate, without trying to claim that I'm better than any of the others. One of the advantages of multiple approval voting is that voters can choose to approve of more than one candidate. I encourage all voters to make their approval decisions on each candidate independently, rather than to choose to support only one candidate as the "single best" candidate.

A knowledge of several languages has been cited as a key requirement for a Board member. Do you speak any other languages other than English? Why do you think language is or isn't critical to the Board?

I have an extremely poor knowledge of German, bad enough that it would be impolite of me to inflict it on someone else. I do not believe that this is a critical consideration for the Board, however. The "lingua franca" for the Board is and will remain English for the indefinite future. There are too many languages represented in the vast diversity of Wikimedia for us to reasonably hope to find five, or even ten or fifteen people, who can represent all of them. Finally, the Foundation, through the Translation subcommittee of the Communications Committee, has managed to mass a sizable corps of translators who can help out in the event that some communication is received or needs to be made in a language nobody on the Board speaks. I see a belief in multiculturalism as being far more important than a belief in multilingualism; but one can be multicultural without being multilingual. The only reason I am not polylingual is that my parents saw no value to expose me to other languages as a child (a side effect of growing up in the American midwest, I fear). It is simply too hard for most people to learn additional languages as an adult. I suspect that putting too much weight on this factor will result in a less-than-ideal Board. I simply don't see a close nexus between being a polyglot and being a good Board member.

What do you expect to do while serving on the Board? What are your expectations?

I expect that I would be extremely busy dealing with the endless issues that parade through the Foundation on a regular basis. I have made good friends with Danny and a number of other people of importance in the Foundation and talk with them daily; I therefore have some small clue as to what goes on at the Board level. I'm sure that what I've seen is only a tiny bit of the full picture. However, I believe that the commitments are within my capability to make. I think it is important that the Board develop more structure within the Foundation to be able to better delegate work outward so that it doesn't have to do as much work itself, and I would imagine that this would consume much of the Board's attention for at least the next several months. I'm quite familiar with business process review concepts (business process management is becoming a major issue for IT people, since IT resources are invariably used to implement business process changes), and would probably play a significant role in any such review and restructuring.

What can you bring to the Board? What can you contribute to the Wikimedia Foundation?

I bring, more than anything, my willingness to make difficult decisions when they need to be made. I am known in the English Wikipedia for my boldness. This boldness has irritated people on many occasions, but I believe that in almost every case where I have acted boldly, my actions have been proven out to have been the right thing to do in the situation. There are times that we need to act boldly, and I am willing to do so in the right situation.

Describe the one issue that you think is most pressing and pertinent to the Foundation right now, and how you would approach the situation.

Organizational communication. We are bad at talking to one another internally. There are too many "silos" within the organization. This isn't really a turf war issue, because people don't really seem to be staking out turf; rather, there just isn't a culture of communication within the organization. Nobody is proactively working to ensure that everyone has the knowledge they need to make the decisions they need to make, and as a result things don't get done in a timely manner or at all. As a member of the internal communications subcommittee of the Communications Committee, I hope to be involved in developing some methodologies for this, but it's going to require commitment from people at all levels, from the Board on down.

What is your vision of the Board in the Foundation hierarchy? How do you feel about the current leadership?

There has been a lot of discussion on how to restructure the Foundation. I have seen several proposals and all of them have both positive and negatives. I haven't decided which approach is the best one yet. I have nothing but respect for the current Board; while I have disagreements with all of them on various issues all of them have struck me as reasonable people with whom I am sure I could continue to work collegially.

As a Board member, you will be serving as a representative of the communities. Do you think you can represent the community and understand its concerns? Why?

As a member of the English Wikipedia Arbitration Committee, I was a representative of the community, so I think I understand that. Representing other communities, especially one with which I have relatively little contact, is harder, since I know that different projects have different cultures and interests. I made a point at Wikimania 2006 to try to meet with people from other projects and find out about their cultures. The time I've spent recently as a guest checkuser at the English Wiktionary has been interesting; their culture is different in many ways that have occasionally surprised me.

What do you think of the Wikimedia Foundation and its mission in general? If you could change one thing about the running of the Foundation, what would you change?

I think the Foundation needs to adopt a more professional approach. The wild and loose way that it has run for the past few years is no longer appropriate for an organization that has an annual budget in the millions and a net worth that may very well exceed one billion dollars. The Board needs to, relatively quickly, recruit skilled people to take care of the very important organizational tasks that have been largely handled by well-meaning but basically underskilled volunteers, or by the Board itself. That worked when Wikimedia was relatively small; it cannot continue to do so now that it's not.

If elected, can and will you devote the appropriate time and other resources needed to serve on the Board?

I believe so, although it may be difficult at times. I think one of the consequences of professionalization will be to reduce the time commitment of Board members to an amount more in keeping with the usual expectations of the member of the board of a nonprofit organization, but it may take us a while to get there.

Have you ever attended Wikimania or any other meetup? What role do you think these meetups play?

I was able to attend Wikimania 2006 thanks to the generosity of a couple of anonymous contributors. I have also arranged one meetup in Chicago and am trying to arrange another one (hopefully for sometime in mid-September). I think these gatherings are extremely important and would like to see them happen on a more frequent basis. I would especially like to see more regional gatherings to complement the annual international gathering, so that people who are unable (due to expense or time) to travel to the Wikimania site can nonetheless get together and meet others.

What would you say to a potential voter who is undecided right now?

You still have a couple of weeks.

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

Not really. :)


Kim Bruning

Candidate profile
Real name: Kim Bruning
Other usernames: N/A
Age: 28
Location: Netherlands
Major Projects: English Wikipedia
Local Rights: Retired Sysop, English Wikipedia
Global Rights: None
Questions? here

When did you first start contributing to Wikimedia projects? Why and how did you initially join?

My first contribution was 7 Nov 2001. Regular contributions since 7 Nov 2003. This one developer kept telling me how he'd written this cool LaTeX engine for wikipedia... in Ocaml! LaTeX I know, but what the heck was wikipedia? I ended up not ever contributing a single line of code to wikipedia, though I've occasionally gotten people to write things, or release their code under GPL.

Briefly describe your career ("real-life"). How do you think this will help you be a successful Board member?

I have a very messed up career in the real world. I am a biologist and a professional software developer. My knowlege of ethology helps me understand the strange and fascinating behaviour of the strange animals known as Homo Sapiens. In general, biology is a very broad field of study, and a decent biologist can study up and become sufficiently skilled in any particular field to be effectivewithin weeks. So I'm able to deal with all kinds of different people, which is a very important requirement, and I'm very flexible in dealing with novel and unexpected situations, which with wikimedia seems to be something that occurs at least once a week. ;-)

Of all the candidates right now, why do you stand out from the field? What makes you the best candidate?

Remember that this term is going to be very short! Just 'till july 2007. My ambitious but still realistic plan is to try to use my position on the board to achieve 3 objectives before that deadline:

    1. Increased transparency of the foundation.
    2. The establishment of an endowment fund to maintain continuity.
    3. Improved internal communications.

A knowledge of several languages has been cited as a key requirement for a Board member. Do you speak any other languages other than English? Why do you think language is or isn't critical to the Board?

I speak English, Dutch and German. I also studied French and Latin in high school.

What do you expect to do while serving on the Board? What are your expectations?

I expect to be doing a lot more reading up on all the different details on what's happening in all the different parts of the wikimedia foundation, more than I'm doing now. What are we doing, how can it be improved, who needs to really be talking to who else, and why haven't they ever met yet? I'll also probably end up mediating all kinds of disputes when different projects clash.

What can you bring to the Board? What can you contribute to the Wikimedia Foundation?

Plenty of time, my skills in mediation, commitment, a strong motivation to work in the open content field, an inquisitive mind for finding interesting issues to work on, and a notorious helping of practical creativity when solving problematic problems or making new things work. My language skills allow me to connect to many different people and cultures within wikimedia.

Describe the one issue that you think is most pressing and pertinent to the Foundation right now, and how you would approach the situation.

I think we need to ensure future continuity by starting on an endowment fund , even if it's only very small right now. Starting an endowment fund is a bit like planting a tree, in that it takes foresight. You need to start very early, because it's going to take many years before the endowment fund has built up to a point that it's actually going to be useful.

What is your vision of the Board in the Foundation heirarchy? How do you feel about the current leadership?

I think the current people running the foundation are all very intelligent and idealistic, and it's great fun working with them, most of the time. The only time when it's not so fun is when trying to deal with the actual organisation structure to get the right information from the right person. It's not always obvious where you need to go, and sometimes there's quite formidable and arbitrary roadblocks. This gordian knot is going to take some untangeling, to allow for better communication within the foundation.

As a Board member, you will be serving as a representative of the communities. Do you think you can represent the community and understand its concerns? Why?

I have contacts and friends in the many different wikimedia communities, who can help me understand what's happening and what kinds of things need to be said or done.

What do you think of the Wikimedia Foundation and its mission in general? If you could change one thing about the running of the Foundation, what would you change?

I have been committed to creating free (as in speech) content for quite some time. I joined because the foundation is committed to the same mission. Not so much a change, but I thing I'd like to stress is longetivity. A project like this really needs to continue operating for something like 100 years to be really effective. If there's one thing I'd like to achieve, is that people will start looking at the long term.

If elected, can and will you devote the appropriate time and other resources needed to serve on the Board?

I would be happy to do so.

Have you ever attended Wikimania or any other meetup? What role do you think these meetups play?

Yes, I've attended both wikimanias, and several other meetups in the Netherlands and the USA. It's much easier to assume good faith of people once you've actually met them in person. It's also much easier to mediate a dispute on whether to cross the 't' first or dot the 'i' first, if you're sitting relaxed at a bar drinking a pint of beer (or cup of tea, as preferred).

What would you say to a potential voter who is undecided right now?

Remember that this is an election for the foundation, not your local wikipedia. You don't have to vote for me per se, but do vote for someone who is able to think about how to deal with all the projects, not just your own.

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

People would look at me oddly if I didn't find someplace to say something about how to use the voting system to best effect. We're using (Approval voting) today, so that makes descisions a little easier. You can vote for everyone you think will be able to do a good job. You can find this list either by selecting every candidate who would work, or alternately, just start out selecting everyone, and then eliminate anyone who would definitely not be suitable. You don't need to vote for me specifically. There's many great candidates out there, including Oscar, Mindspillage and Improv, to name a few.


Mindspillage

Candidate profile
Real name: Kat Walsh
Other usernames: None
Age: 23
Location: Herndon, Virginia, USA
Major Projects: English Wikipedia
Meta-Wiki
English Wikinews
Local Rights: Arbitrator, English Wikipedia
Sysop, English Wikipedia
Sysop, Meta-Wiki
Sysop, English Wikinews
Global Rights: Foundation press contact
Member, Foundation OTRS subcommittee
Questions? here

When did you first start contributing to Wikimedia projects? Why and how did you initially join?

June 2004. I joined after searching for information on the contrabassoon, which I was learning to play at the time, and found a fairly short article in the search results. After reading a few dozen information pages to be sure I really could "edit this page", I made an edit. It's still there, and I was hooked.

Briefly describe your career ("real-life"). How do you think this will help you be a successful Board member?

I was recently employed by Wikia, Inc. as community staff, in which I both brainstormed and implemented ideas for making the Wikia user experience a better one, assisted users with the projects, and did general maintenance. I am currently a law student at George Mason University, where I am focusing on technology law.

My Wikia experience gave me insight into the workings of wiki communities other than the English Wikipedia, where most of my wiki experience had previously been, particularly new and growing wiki communities. Interacting with users of many different types (and in many different languages) all trying to get new projects off of the ground, with varying degrees of success, was a valuable source of information on the possible challenges faced by Wikimedia projects. My legal education will, I hope, give me a framework for understanding the legal issues faced by the Foundation and how to best assure that we can continue going forward.

Of all the candidates right now, why do you stand out from the field? What makes you the best candidate?

One of my key strengths is my skill at communication and dispute resolution, and there are few areas of the project I am not at least acquainted with. I have given presentations and spoken to representatives from other organizations about Wikimedia and our goals, practices, and needs. Also, I am familiar with many of the Foundation-level activities, both from my experience handling the mail and talking to the press, and from talking to other Wikimedians about their activities and projects.

A knowledge of several languages has been cited as a key requirement for a Board member. Do you speak any other languages other than English? Why do you think language is or isn't critical to the Board?

I am only fluent in English; I know basic Spanish but do not write well in it. (I wish someone had told me when I was younger that I would be putting all my free time into a large international project and I would really want to know more languages, but alas, no one did!) This is unfortunate, and the ideal candidate would be multilingual. However, it seems that the vast majority of the Foundation's business and activities is conducted in English, and so it is not critical for a candidate to be fluent in another language. I do have contact with many editors from other languages, particularly people from local chapters and admins on their projects, whom I trust to ask for information when I would like to know about something happening in a language I cannot read. No one can speak all of the languages with communities Wikimedia serves, and so the ability to communicate with others from different projects and cultures is critical.

What do you expect to do while serving on the Board? What are your expectations?

My expectations are first of all to do a lot of reading on the internal details of Wikimedia, and of similar organizations to compare ourselves to: what are they doing, what should we be doing better? I also expect to make contact with a lot of people, from many different places, both asking for help and spreading information about us. We're a young organization, and rapidly changing, so any expectations I have may well sound ridiculous in six months; I expect and hope that we will move toward becoming more professional and organized in our operations.

What can you bring to the Board? What can you contribute to the Wikimedia Foundation?

Primarily, my time, my skills, my commitment. No one can stick around doing this without believing that it's important work... and without having a lot of patience and understanding. I am not the ideal candidate but I believe my skills complement those of the current members; I do not have Michael Davis's financial expertise, Anthere's understanding of other cultures and communities, Jimbo's charisma, vision, and connections. What I do have is the ability to learn quickly, to resolve conflict, to make considered decisions, to connect to many different people, and to bring in my current familiarity with the day-to-day workings of the projects.

Describe the one issue that you think is most pressing and pertinent to the Foundation right now, and how you would approach the situation.

Right now it seems that one of the most pressing issues is communication. Though it has improved with the creation of the Communications Committee there is still a great deal that needs to be done to see that everyone knows what they need to know, that no one is surprised by something that they should have known, that information which should remain private stays so and that which shouldn't remain private is spread around more effectively. We are a project built around information; we can't function without making sure everyone has the information they need. We need to be able to know who is doing what, who is responsible for certain areas and what has been accomplished, to keep people from spreading misinformation or feeling as though things have been hidden from them when it was simply a problem of communication.

What is your vision of the Board in the Foundation hierarchy? How do you feel about the current leadership?

My vision of the board is that it gives direction and oversees the functioning of the projects, making sure that we are adhering to our mission, and using our resources wisely. (And has very little input into the day-to-day policy issues and contribution to individual projects; this is something I will miss if elected!) I believe the current leadership is a mixed bag; part of the reason for Angela's resignation was that she no longer felt that the environment was one she wanted to work in, and Tim will be leaving soon as he has not been active; I would hope that the new members brought in will revitalize the functioning of the Board.

As a Board member, you will be serving as a representative of the communities. Do you think you can represent the community and understand its concerns? Why?

I hope so. I have tried to be approachable and keep up with what is going on around Wikimedia, and to talk to people who agree and who disagree with me on various points. I think one of my skills is understanding the positions of those I don't agree with, and my mind has been changed by solid arguments in the past.

What do you think of the Wikimedia Foundation and its mission in general? If you could change one thing about the running of the Foundation, what would you change?

If I weren't convinced that the mission were a great thing that needed to be done, I wouldn't be doing this! This is an important mission and becomes more important as more media is created and locked up where no one can access it, as more people rely on the internet as their first stop for reference material, as it becomes more of a reality that people are able to actually get materials out to the poor areas where traditional commercial reference materials are too expensive to purchase. One thing I would change is the organization. It's currently not functioning as well as it should; quite often it's difficult to find out who is supposed to be doing something, or who to tell when something needs to be done.

If elected, can and will you devote the appropriate time and other resources needed to serve on the Board?

Yes, I can do that. Though school does take up a fair bit of my time, it's no worse than if I were holding a full-time job; I'm not currently employed outside of that and had planned to spend most of my free time working on Wikimedia. (I should mention that I will, if elected, resign from the Arbitration Committee; in addition to the time commitment, it would not be appropriate for me to continue to hold the position.)

Have you ever attended Wikimania or any other meetup? What role do you think these meetups play?

I attended this past Wikimania and have been to meetups in Florida and Delaware (and have an open offer to let traveling Wikimedians crash on my couch!) It's nice to communicate face-to-face, in real time, without typos; communication is often quicker and better in person, and for group meetings to accomplish something I'd prefer to meet in person whenever it is practical. Additionally, the people I interact with here for the most part are also people I would want to spend time with socially; I've had a great time just sitting around in restaurants chatting with other editors. It's a dual bonus of seeing a more human and social side of people and conducting business more efficently; I'd encourage anyone who can do so to hold or attend a local meetup.

Please list (and link) any other pages where you have gotten questions and comments pertaining to the Board elections; we are compiling all of the questions and would appreciate this.

All comments on my candidacy should go to my Meta subpage for it at m:User talk:Mindspillage/Board candidacy.

What would you say to a potential voter who is undecided right now?

I'd advise any voter to research all of the candidates thoroughly before making a decision. In particular, don't just vote for the people you know, and look into people who participate outside your home wiki; consider how people would fit into a Foundation role and not just how they do as admins on an individual project; the roles are very different.

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

Not at this particular time.


Oscar

Candidate profile
Real name: Oscar Van Dillen
Other usernames: None
Age: 48
Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Major Projects: Dutch Wikipedia
Dutch Wikimedia
Meta-Wiki
Local Rights: Bureaucrat, Dutch Wikipedia
Admin, Dutch Wikipedia
Bureaucrat, Dutch Wikimedia
Admin, Meta-Wiki
Bureaucrat, Dutch Wikibooks
Admin, Dutch Wiktionary
Global Rights: Steward (elected June 2005)
Questions? here

When did you first start contributing to Wikimedia projects? Why and how did you initially join?

See my very first edit, on nl.wikipedia and an early contribution to en.wikipedia (the added paragraph is still there). A friend of mine said to me I should check this out "you are going to love it", I did, I still do and stuck around ;-)

Briefly describe your career ("real-life"). How do you think this will help you be a successful Board member?

I believe I indicated this already in my candidates' statement (see #5). I am used to always think professionally about whatever I undertake and have quite some professional experience in dealing efficiently with pending difficult decisions and developing long-term policies.

Of all the candidates right now, why do you stand out from the field? What makes you the best candidate?

Well, let me try to list some things about myself. I am a very serious candidate, but I don't think of myself in terms like "the best candidate" ;-)

    1. I am a professional artist (composer) and a creative person in general
    2. Although a specialist in certain musical fields, i am an open-minded person with a broad knowledge in general
    3. I have some years experience as a professional manager - I am used to working hard and getting things done
    4. I have a good working knowledge of several languages

A knowledge of several languages has been cited as a key requirement for a Board member. Do you speak any other languages other than English? Why do you think language is or isn't critical to the Board?

This too I addressed in my candidates' statement ("I am a native speaker of the Dutch language, but a near native in English and German, fluent in French and some working knowledge of Spanish, Swedish and Italian. Basic knowledge of Turkish, spoken Cantonese and written Egyptian hieroglyphs"). In learning different languages one basically acquires an ability to more easily become familiar with different cultures and ways of thinking.

What do you expect to do while serving on the Board? What are your expectations?

I expect to be allowed to contribute to improving the board's ability to act, especially where nasty or unpopular decisions have to be made. I hope to have the board meetup for at least 4 times a year irl, somewhere on this planet, with other meetups or small conferences in its wake.

What can you bring to the Board? What can you contribute to the Wikimedia Foundation?

Next to my expertise and professional experience, I hope especially to bring in my knowledge of and experience with other projects than in the english language.

Describe the one issue that you think is most pressing and pertinent to the Foundation right now, and how you would approach the situation.

How to maintain growth and remain true to the key mission of the projects without losing their typical character, as an organization as well as financially. the wikimedia foundation should always be and remain independent of its (potential) business partners.

What is your vision of the Board in the Foundation heirarchy? How do you feel about the current leadership?

Too few people are being burdened with too many tasks: but we are all learning. As for now, too many things are left unclear or undecided, a more clear structure of organization is needed, with a larger number of professional people. I blame no one in particular, but things must change if we are to survive I am afraid.

As a Board member, you will be serving as a representative of the communities. Do you think you can represent the community and understand its concerns? Why?

I trust I can because of my gift to bridge differences without compromises as well as because of my international network of connections.

What do you think of the Wikimedia Foundation and its mission in general? If you could change one thing about the running of the Foundation, what would you change? In my candidates' statement I have been rather particular about how important I consider the foundation's mission. I would furthermore propose to organize an additional elected body representing the projects (though different from the "parliament" and "wikicouncel" as proposed by others), see for my proposal from June this year my email to foundation-l.

If elected, can and will you devote the appropriate time and other resources needed to serve on the Board?

I would be more than happy to, of course.

Have you ever attended Wikimania or any other meetup? What role do you think these meetups play?

Yes, here again I refer to my candidates' statement, see #6. I was also at Wikimania in Boston, but couldn't make it to Frankfurt in 2005 due to family circumstances.

Please list (and link) any other pages where you have gotten questions and comments pertaining to the Board elections; we are compiling all of the questions and would appreciate this.

My meta and Dutch Wikipedia talk page should be the main pages where I can be reached.

What would you say to a potential voter who is undecided right now?

Know what you vote for: knowledge is power only if you are well-informed.

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

I apologize for the delay with these answers because of my holidays and my computercrash :-(


Ross.Hedvicek

Candidate profile
Real name: Ross Hedvicek
Other usernames: Rosta
Age: Over 50
Location: Florida, USA
Major Projects: English Wikipedia
Czech Wikipedia
Local Rights: None
Global Rights: None
Questions? here

Briefly describe your career ("real-life"). How do you think this will help you be a successful Board member?

Briefly: 30+ years of management experience.

Of all the candidates right now, why do you stand out from the field? What makes you the best candidate?

Experience and multi-language and multi-cultural knowledge.

A knowledge of several languages has been cited as a key requirement for a Board member. Do you speak any other languages other than English? Why do you think language is or isn't critical to the Board?

Language is critical. Actually Board needs somebody who speaks Mandarin, but is not living in China.

What do you expect to do while serving on the Board? What are your expectations?

I will help with whatever I will be asked to. I will do my share.

What can you bring to the Board? What can you contribute to the Wikimedia Foundation?

Soberness.

Describe the one issue that you think is most pressing and pertinent to the Foundation right now, and how you would approach the situation.

Complete anarchy on Wiki language branches in Eastern Europe and inability of Board to do anything about it (due mostly to language barrier).

What is your vision of the Board in the Foundation hierarchy? How do you feel about the current leadership?

I have no suggestions for change as of now.

As a Board member, you will be serving as a representative of the communities. Do you think you can represent the community and understand its concerns? Why?

Experience.

What do you think of the Wikimedia Foundation and its mission in general? If you could change one thing about the running of the Foundation, what would you change?

I would crack on abuse of power by admins and sysops.

If elected, can and will you devote the appropriate time and other resources needed to serve on the Board?

Yes, otherwise I would not be submitting my candidacy.

Have you ever attended Wikimania or any other meetup? What role do you think these meetups play?

No.

What would you say to a potential voter who is undecided right now?

My election slogan is: The crap has to stop - vote for me - it is your chance for change. I have a reputation to uphold!

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

No.


UninvitedCompany

Candidate profile
Real name: Steve Dunlop
Other usernames: None
Age: 40
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Major Projects: English Wikipedia
Meta-Wiki
Wikimedia Commons
Local Rights: Oversight, English Wikipedia
Checkuser, English Wikipedia
Bureaucrat and sysop, English Wikipedia
Former arbitrator, English Wikipedia
Global Rights: None
Questions? here

When did you first start contributing to Wikimedia projects? Why and how did you initially join?

In March 2003, I was introduced to Wikipedia by a coworker who used it as an example of how our internal corporate Wiki could work. I became intrigued and have remained involved both because of my interest in online communities in general and because of the value I see in the content we are producing.

Briefly describe your career ("real-life"). How do you think this will help you be a successful Board member?

I've worked as a software developer and in various related management and IT roles for approximately 20 years. One recent employer was a small startup firm made up of four individuals, where I was involved in organizational matters and fundraising in addition to writing software and building a larger technical team. The software work I have done gives me a good deal of insight into the technical side of the Foundation's projects. I believe that the management and organizational work I've done in my career gives me some insight into the funding, organizational, financial, and legal issues that the Foundation faces now and will face in the coming years.

Of all the candidates right now, why do you stand out from the field? What makes you the best candidate?

Like several other excellent candidates, I have long involvement with Wikipedia and the Foundation and also have the real-world expertise to make a strong contribution to the board.

A knowledge of several languages has been cited as a key requirement for a Board member. Do you speak any other languages other than English? Why do you think language is or isn't critical to the Board?

I do speak some Spanish, having grown up bilingual and travelled in Spanish-speaking countries, although I don't attempt to contribute in that language.

No candidate for the Board is fluent in all the languages used by the Foundation's constituent projects, something that would be nearly impossible for anyone to achieve due to the fact that we have projects in substantially all of the world's languages. I believe that the Foundation has to be structured in a way that makes up for this, and I have suggested designation of two "Foundation contacts" for each project as one way to do this.

What do you expect to do while serving on the Board? What are your expectations?

I expect to participate in scheduled meetings, where I will come prepared. I believe that the board should be active in fundraising and selection of officers and would hope to spend a good deal of time in those areas. I hope to have the opportunity to provide informal advice to others involved in the Foundation's leadership. I am prepared to speak publicly about the Foundation's work if requested, and plan if elected to attend Wikimania as well as any meetups that coincide with my itenerary. I want to be accessible and involved and to that end plan on maintaining as much involvement on the Wikis as counsel will consider prudent.

What can you bring to the Board? What can you contribute to the Wikimedia Foundation?

I have addressed this in earlier questions.

Describe the one issue that you think is most pressing and pertinent to the Foundation right now, and how you would approach the situation.

I think that Foundation decisionmaking is widely peceived to be slow and unresponsive to the community. Part of this is due to the board being involved in too many areas that would be better delegated to other individuals or groups, and part of it is due to the board lacking effective communication with each project. I also think there's a lack of clarity as to the boundaries between Foundation matters and Project matters. I've mentioned above the need for "Foundation contacts" for each project to try to address some of this, and some of it is best addressed through structural changes which I'll address in the next question.

What is your vision of the Board in the Foundation hierarchy?

I think that the board should set up a decisionmaking structure rather than make individual decisions itself. The proper role of the board is to select officers and review financial, legal, and personnel matters on an ongoing basis. There is also a fundraising role and an advisory role. The board should respect the independence of each project and language, and refrain from major changes that could jeopardize the success we've achieved already.

More specifically, I believe that the subcommittees on things like special projects should be moved out from the board and instead be responsible to the executive director. I think there should be greater use of specific positions in the Foundation that have well-defined responsibilities, that can be staffed on a paid or volunteer basis.

How do you feel about the current leadership?

I have worked with Anthere, Angela, and Jimbo for a long time and have a great deal of respect for each of them. I've exchanged emails with Brad Patrick and Danny Wool a few times and find them to be knowledgable and easy to work with.

As a Board member, you will be serving as a representative of the communities. Do you think you can represent the community and understand its concerns? Why?

I've been involved at ENWP for a long time, and have been involved in community issues here as long as I've been around. I don't think there's any serious question as to whether I can represent ENWP to the Foundation. The other communities differ and I know that, and I'm willing to listen to them and understand their concerns. And unlike some candidates, I've been involved in smaller projects outside the Foundation, like MeatBall, and I was at ENWP while it was still fairly small. Therefore, I understand the differences that have to do with scale.

What do you think of the Wikimedia Foundation and its mission in general? If you could change one thing about the running of the Foundation, what would you change?

I support the mission as it exists today. If it were completely up to me, I think that I might make a very slight change in emphasis away from creating new projects and toward caring for the core of successful, established projects.

If elected, can and will you devote the appropriate time and other resources needed to serve on the Board?

While I cannot allow the Foundation to become my full-time job, I have enough flexibility in my various other commitments to participate at an appropriate level.

Have you ever attended Wikimania or any other meetup? What role do you think these meetups play?

I've attended a meetup in the Minneapolis area. Such meetups are valuable in that they humanize the interaction in a way that text can not. On the other hand, they favor Wikipedians who have the ability to travel and who have the necessary spoken language skills. The Foundation's projects are really about web collaboration and there is a very real risk of alienating contributors if much decisionmaking occurs at meetups where there are practical barriers for many participants.

What would you say to a potential voter who is undecided right now?

Vote for someone who you can work with, who understands how corporations work, and who is serious about the Foundation and its projects -- even if it's not me.

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

The Foundation isn't structured like its constituent projects and it's important to keep the differences in mind when considering candidates. The Foundation is a corporation that has nontrivial legal and financial obligations, and it is structured accordingly. There is paid staff, and a great deal of interaction with people outside of Wikipedia, who as a rule are unfamiliar with the "way we do things." The decisionmaking model is different, and the best candidates are the ones who can deal with that well.


Zuirdj

Candidate profile
Real name: Juan David Ruiz
Other usernames: None
Age: 30
Location: Santiago, Chile
Major Projects: Spanish Wikipedia
Local Rights: Bureaucrat and sysop, Spanish Wikipedia
Global Rights: None
Questions? here

When did you first start contributing to Wikimedia projects? Why and how did you initially join?

March 27, 2003, at spanish wikipedia. I don't remember exactly how I knowed about Wikipedia, but I think that I did read about Wikipedia and Enciclopedia Libre at Barrapunto, a slashdot-like website in spanish.

Briefly describe your career ("real-life"). How do you think this will help you be a successful Board member?

I studied law between 1999-2004. Since 1997, I'm developing online contents projects. I was the founder, chief editor, and technical contact of hardware-technology website 'Mapocho Valley', well-known in usenet chilean groups and gamers bulletin boards, developing a hardware price guide that offered information that powered purchase options of many hardware enthusiasts who created the website ChileHardware.cl. I am a GNU/Linux user since 2002, being beta and development tester, and documentation translator of Redhat and Fedora distributions. Since May 2005 I've participated in several conferences in Chile and Argentina, giving keynotes and leading workshops and BoFs about open content and the use of wikipedia and mediwiki content. I've contributed in free software and open content educational projects Gleducar (Argentina) and Educalibre (Chile), like sysop in their wikis, and as consultant about wikimedia project contents.

Of all the candidates right now, why do you stand out from the field? What makes you the best candidate?

With my candidacy, I want to express the new age that is upon us, concius of my coming from a diverse project, with language barriers that cannot be disputed and with a geographical gap that could be seen as a hardship, but that it's also an advantage because it lets me see the project from a different perspective.

A knowledge of several languages has been cited as a key requirement for a Board member. Do you speak any other languages other than English? Why do you think language is or isn't critical to the Board?

I'm native in spanish and have intermediate level of english, especially written; intermediate level of portuguese, especially spoken and I can read with no problems; I can understand some italian and french. Although english is the de facto language in meta and in other comunications between contributors from diferents projects, it's necessary that good ideas and projects from users who cannot learn English or another auxiliary language, doesn't forget by that cause. In my case, for example, I don't have a very advanced level of English, but my interest and my vision on the free knowledge and the projects that Foundation can develop, makes me participate trying to save that language barrier. Improving my english is already a high-priority task for me, specially spoken.

What do you expect to do while serving on the Board? What are your expectations?

The term for this position is not very long and we can't avoid high-priority tasks and that must be defined before the bureaucracy and the lack of communication begin to penetrate our organization. One of those tasks is to hire a staff person to be in charge of the finances of the Foundation, because by its sensitivity it is not a task to fill by a volunteer. The second task is to support the community and mediawiki developers to improve tools and procedures to solve the problem of communication in the Board, between the Board and the committees, and of all these with the community. Only one part of this problem is that communications are preferred in english, being the rest make a clear agenda of tasks and recurrent discussions, so different groups can solve them.

What can you bring to the Board? What can you contribute to the Wikimedia Foundation?

See question number 9. I'm also concerned that there isn't much diversity that must represent us: almost all of the candidates come from the anglo-saxon or european world. If our ideal is to create content that can benefit all the corners of the world, then, is it too far away to dream with representing a community from one of these corners?

Describe the one issue that you think is most pressing and pertinent to the Foundation right now, and how you would approach the situation.

See question number 11. I hope to be able to solve the problems and expectations of the Foundation, that also must be my expectations.

What is your vision of the Board in the Foundation heirarchy? How do you feel about the current leadership?

Jimbo's leadership is unquestionable and I believe that this situation is not going to be different in the medium term. I believe that the idea of an advisory board is necessary for bring new ideas that can be decided in executive form by the Board. I believe that other companies or foundations can be taken like organizational examples that have been much successful in the scope of free software, including the clear boundaries between the contributions of the staff and the community. WMF must be who will support innovative ideas of the community. Without our community, WMF would be called Numedia Foundation : -)

As a Board member, you will be serving as a representative of the communities. Do you think you can represent the community and understand its concerns? Why?

I come from a great community with a project of medium size and whose history has been of much effort to grow and to have quality contents. I have seen the development of the projects since 2003 and I think that I know which are the main bottlenecks and the things that participants of different projects can offer to the community.

What do you think of the Wikimedia Foundation and its mission in general? If you could change one thing about the running of the Foundation, what would you change?

I believe that the mission of the Foundation and the vision that had Jimbo when conceiving Wikipedia, is clear. I believe that we can think about many projects or missions that could have the Foundation. But if we did not fulfill the mission and the original intention, we will not be being faithful to those who contribute day to day in our projects.

If elected, can and will you devote the appropriate time and other resources needed to serve on the Board?

I believe that the future of the Foundation is so promissory and important for the education and the knowledge in the world, that to serve the time that the Foundation and the community requires will be an honor :-)

Have you ever attended Wikimania or any other meetup? What role do you think these meetups play?

Yes. I attended Wikimania 05 in Frankfurt and Wikimania 06 in Boston, both occasions receiving a scholarship from Open Society Institute. In addition I organized the second meetup of "wikipedistas" in Rosario, Argentina. In addition I have participated in different conferences and workshops, spreading the projects of the Wikimedia Foundation and recruiting new contributors.

What would you say to a potential voter who is undecided right now?

That she/he reads the statements of all the canditates and that she/he vote by who has the most global proposals and who made a statemnet that involves all the projects.

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

Wikilove for all!


Also this week: From the editor

Board candidatesCFO resignsM.A.N.I.A.Spanish WikipediaNews and notesPress coverageFeatures and admins

Arbitration report