Board of Trustees elections: Voting begins, candidate interviews
Elections for three seats on the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees are scheduled to begin on Tuesday, 28 July. The board's current structure consists of ten seats, including three community-elected seats and two seats chosen by the Wikimedia chapters, plus four board-appointed "specific expertise" seats (two of which are currently vacant), and one "Community Founder" seat appointed yearly by the board and assumed to be reserved indefinitely for Jimmy Wales.
The field of eighteen candidates includes Wikimedians with a wide range of experience in the projects. Three are current members of the board, several others have run unsuccessfully in previous elections. Most candidates joined the Wikimedia community between 2003 and 2005, although a few joined as late as 2008. The original cutoff for declaring candidacy was 20 July; it was extended to 27 July because of concerns that technical problems with sitenotice had hampered efforts to attract candidates, and six of the current candidates joined the race during this extension period.
All three incumbents who currently hold community-elected seats—Kat Walsh, Ting Chen, and Domas Mituzas—are candidates in the 2009 election. Walsh has served on the board since the 2006 election and was reelected in 2007, Chen joined the board in July 2008 after winning the only seat available in the 2008 election, and Mituzas was appointed to a chapter-selected seat in February 2008 and was moved to a nominally elected seat, which had been vacated mid-term by Frieda Brioschi, as part of the May 2009 board reshuffling that put Arne Klempert in a chapter-selected seat.
Voting will run from 28 July until 10 August. Voting will be conducted through the SecurePoll page; the voting process—a secret ballot on servers controlled by Software in the Public Interest—will use the Schulze method to determine the winners, based on each voter's ranked preference of candidates.
To qualify to vote, there are a few restrictions. According to the elections page: "You may vote from any one registered account you own on a Wikimedia wiki (you may only vote once, regardless of how many accounts you own). To qualify, this one account must: not be blocked; and not be a bot; and have made at least 600 edits before 01 June 2009 across Wikimedia wikis (edits on several wikis can be combined if your accounts are unified into a global account); and have made at least 50 edits between 01 January and 01 July 2009."
The Signpost put a series of questions to each of the candidates to help voters efficiently assess the candidates and their platforms. This is a counterpart to the candidate questions on Meta, which in 2008 generated nearly sixty questions and a potentially overwhelming amount of reading material for voters.
The questions from the Signpost are intended to give the candidates a chance to introduce themselves and then to address some of the significant issues faced by the Wikimedia community and English Wikipedia. The candidates differ significantly on such issues as whether the Board should play a role in reforming the governance of English Wikipedia and other projects and what Wikimedia's strategic planning priorities should be. Readers are encouraged to pose additional questions to the candidates on Meta.
Links to each candidate's answers are listed below:
Check back for the next Signpost