Mailing List Archive

Floating a notion: permanent Wikimania committee?
Hi folks,

For several years now, people have occasionally floated the notion
that there should be a permanent Wikimania oversight committee –
basically, a group of people responsible for giving some coaching and
guidance and oversight to the local planning team each year. Over the
years, support has been offered each year by people like Phoebe, James
Forrester, Delphine (Delphine both in her staff role and as a
volunteer) and SJ … but there has never (AFAIK) been a formal
oversight committee. I think there probably should be.

I've been talking about this idea with a few people over the past
several months. Based on those conversations, I'd propose a mixed
committee of volunteers and staff, with a small membership – let's
say, five or so people. Ideally the people would remain on the
committee for several years, and would have experience with past
Wikimanias. The role of the committee would be to provide coaching
and guidance for the local planning team (“here is how we've done it
in past years, here's what usually works, here are some problems you
should watch out for”) … and also to provide oversight to the local
team, and help them course-correct if they're having problems.
Essentially, the committee would be responsible for helping to ensure,
in partnership with the local team, that every Wikimania is a success.

I want to reiterate that I (and I think we all) see Wikimania as a
volunteer-led event. The Wikimedia Foundation plays a fairly small
role --- it is its biggest sponsor, and it supports it in various
ways. But Wikimania is a community event, which I don't think should
change.

I'd like to throw this out for discussion, and also ask people to
self-nominate if they're interested in being on such a committee. If
everyone interested will be at Gdansk, the best next step may be to
arrange a face-to-face meeting there to figure out how best to do
this. And I warn Phoebe via this note (although I'm sure she can
anticipate it), I will be aiming to pull her in to help think it
through, since she has been one of the most consistently-active
planners/organizers, at pretty much every Wikimania so far.

I'm interested in everyone's views on this, and I'd be particularly
interested in hearing from the people who've been involved in past
Wikimanias, and also from the Haifa people, to hear if this'd be
useful for them for 2011.

Thanks,
Sue

--
Sue Gardner
Executive Director
Wikimedia Foundation

415 839 6885 office
415 816 9967 cell

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge. Help us make it a reality!

http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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Re: Floating a notion: permanent Wikimania committee? [ In reply to ]
On Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 3:06 PM, Sue Gardner <sgardner@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> The role of the committee would be to provide coaching
> and guidance for the local planning team (“here is how we've done it
> in past years, here's what usually works, here are some problems you
> should watch out for”) … and also to provide oversight to the local
> team, and help them course-correct if they're having problems.
> Essentially, the committee would be responsible for helping to ensure,
> in partnership with the local team, that every Wikimania is a success.

We actually have tried to do a lot of this informally for a while, but
the informality has caused it to sorta fall apart recently. :-)

Some things we've done are:
* try to make sure that most planning discussion happens on
wikimania-planning-l so that past and present organizers can
communicate effectively

* have work occur on the official public (wikimania20XX.wikimedia.org)
and private (wikimaniateam.wikimedia.org) wikis so everyone can help
and see what's been done in the past

* get some help docs/pages together, here's two on the private
planning wiki: http://wikimaniateam.wikimedia.org/wiki/The_Ideal_Team
/ http://wikimaniateam.wikimedia.org/wiki/The_Ideal_Timeline

A formal committee and a real, detailed set of tips (or "Wikimania
Book" as Sj called it) would definitely be an improvement, but it's
important to stress that other people would definitely still be
welcome to provide feedback on different topics.

> I'm interested in everyone's views on this, and I'd be particularly
> interested in hearing from the people who've been involved in past
> Wikimanias, and also from the Haifa people, to hear if this'd be
> useful for them for 2011.

I know that the Haifa team is definitely interested in this. Last I
heard, they were actively reaching out to previous organizers so that
they could meet them in Gdansk and get feedback/tips. (They've also
been setting up planning information on the existing
wikimaniateamwiki.)

--
Casey Brown
Cbrown1023

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Re: Floating a notion: permanent Wikimania committee? [ In reply to ]
On Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 12:06 PM, Sue Gardner <sgardner@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> Hi folks,
>
> For several years now, people have occasionally floated the notion
> that there should be a permanent Wikimania oversight committee –
> basically, a group of people responsible for giving some coaching and
> guidance and oversight to the local planning team each year.  Over the
> years, support has been offered each year by people like Phoebe, James
> Forrester, Delphine (Delphine both in her staff role and as a
> volunteer) and SJ … but there has never (AFAIK) been a formal
> oversight committee.  I think there probably should be.

Hello Sue and all,

Good timing -- we just had a long conversation about this in the
#wikimedia open meeting this afternoon. There were quite a few
participants, including several past wikimania organizers.

Quick summary of that discussion:
* there is definite interest in an ongoing Wikimania (oversight,
governance, guidance) (body, committee, group) (we talked for quite a
while about those various names and their different connotations)

* there are a few potential roles that people see for such a group:
** 1) collecting and writing better documentation about the
conference, including best practices for organization and what has
happened in the past
** 2) answering questions from Wikimania organizers about past
practices, helping coordinate who to ask about various aspects
** 3) providing oversight to the overall wikimania process -- for
instance making sure that a bid jury is called and the bids are
submitted in time (like elections)
** 4) providing oversight/governance as the conference progresses --
for instance, getting regular reports about the conference. Along with
this, the org team would have someone to report to if, say, a venue
burns down or some other catastrophe happens.

These ideas are roughly in order of how much controversy they
generated among discussion participants. I think we all pretty much
agreed that we need better conference documentation, and a loose
community group of past organizers and interested participants can
provide such documentation. Here's a start:

Conference handbook: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania/Handbook
-- let's write the big book of Wikimania
Conference checklist:
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania/checklist -- make sure you
have everything you need
Conference community:
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania/community -- a start at a
community group, w/ interested participants.

We discussed however that for any oversight/governance functions we
might need a more formalized structure and perhaps a formal mandate.
This seemed like a Board-level issue to several people (including me).
We also discussed that there's not a good process for proposing and
forming community committees that would interact with the Foundation
on various issues.

What do you all think?

best,
Phoebe

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Re: Floating a notion: permanent Wikimania committee? [ In reply to ]
Hello,

I had the pleasure of spending this past Monday in Tel Aviv, speaking
at the Israeli Wikipedia Academy. (More about that in a bit -- the
support for Wikipedia and wikis in general among universities there
remains extremely strong.) We talked about next year's Wikimania
over dinner.

On Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 3:47 PM, Casey Brown <lists@caseybrown.org> wrote:
>> I'm interested in everyone's views on this, and I'd be particularly
>> interested in hearing from the people who've been involved in past
>> Wikimanias, and also from the Haifa people, to hear if this'd be
>> useful for them for 2011.
>
> I know that the Haifa team is definitely interested in this. Last I
> heard, they were actively reaching out to previous organizers so that
> they could meet them in Gdansk and get feedback/tips. (They've also
> been setting up planning information on the existing
> wikimaniateamwiki.)

It is always good to see an org team still flush with the energy of
organizing a bid, trying to reach out and connect with all of the
right groups with knowledge from previous years.

And it's always a bit of a letdown if that energy doesn't find anyone
from outside the team with similar energy, reaching back. Happily,
there are a lot of past organizers - both people who were on bid teams
and people who were part of other institutions - who have spoken up in
recent days to ask how they can help.

If we start a Wikimania Primer now, while a new team has that
honeymoon energy, we can have a detailed discussion in Gdansk about
how to set up a group to support future org teams from yeear to
year. As Casey mentioned earlier, there is a lot of good "how-to"
material on the wikimaniateam wiki which is unnecessarily hidden, and
should simply be converted into that sort of public document.*

SJ

* a problem shared with most private wikis...
--
meta.sj@gmail.com w:user:sj identi.ca:sj

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Re: Floating a notion: permanent Wikimania committee? [ In reply to ]
A couple of fast thoughts:

* I think it's debatable whether it's board-level or not. It's board-level in the sense that it's "not staff-level" -- meaning it's mainly a community responsibility rather than a staff responsibility. But to the extent that part of the role of the committee would be to ask the staff for help if Wikimania is floundering, that is probably not a board-level issue. For example, I can't imagine the board making a resolution asking me to intervene to offer more support if one year Wikimania were floundering. That just doesn't feel like a governance issue.

* Which leads me to point two, which is that from my perspective, I actually do want someone to flag to me if Wikimania is floundering, and to ask me officially to have the staff get involved. Wikimania in Gdansk this year has had some problems, and I have felt awkward about how to best resolve them, given that (again) it's a community-led event, not a staff-led event. But I don't think the board should need to involve itself in that, because again, I think it's not a governance issue.

* Those aren't super-significant issues from my perspective though. Upshot from my perspective: I think that there's lots of good energy and thinking happening on this, and it feels like people are pretty aligned in feeling we want some form of oversight/guidance/something, in place supporting excellent Wikimanias every year. Which is great. Does someone want to organize a meeting about this for Gdansk? I'm hoping Phoebe will attend, and Casey and SJ, and whoever else is interested. I will be happy to put it in my schedule, and I think James would probably be interested too. (James Owen, not Forrester. I actually don't know if James Forrester is coming this year, although now that I think of it, maybe he is one of the train-travelling people?)

Thanks,
Sue
-----Original Message-----
From: phoebe ayers <phoebe.wiki@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 2010 13:28:37
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List<foundation-l@lists.wikimedia.org>
Cc: Wikimania general list \(open subscription\)<wikimania-l@lists.wikimedia.org>
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Floating a notion: permanent Wikimania committee?

On Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 12:06 PM, Sue Gardner <sgardner@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> Hi folks,
>
> For several years now, people have occasionally floated the notion
> that there should be a permanent Wikimania oversight committee –
> basically, a group of people responsible for giving some coaching and
> guidance and oversight to the local planning team each year.  Over the
> years, support has been offered each year by people like Phoebe, James
> Forrester, Delphine (Delphine both in her staff role and as a
> volunteer) and SJ … but there has never (AFAIK) been a formal
> oversight committee.  I think there probably should be.

Hello Sue and all,

Good timing -- we just had a long conversation about this in the
#wikimedia open meeting this afternoon. There were quite a few
participants, including several past wikimania organizers.

Quick summary of that discussion:
* there is definite interest in an ongoing Wikimania (oversight,
governance, guidance) (body, committee, group) (we talked for quite a
while about those various names and their different connotations)

* there are a few potential roles that people see for such a group:
** 1) collecting and writing better documentation about the
conference, including best practices for organization and what has
happened in the past
** 2) answering questions from Wikimania organizers about past
practices, helping coordinate who to ask about various aspects
** 3) providing oversight to the overall wikimania process -- for
instance making sure that a bid jury is called and the bids are
submitted in time (like elections)
** 4) providing oversight/governance as the conference progresses --
for instance, getting regular reports about the conference. Along with
this, the org team would have someone to report to if, say, a venue
burns down or some other catastrophe happens.

These ideas are roughly in order of how much controversy they
generated among discussion participants. I think we all pretty much
agreed that we need better conference documentation, and a loose
community group of past organizers and interested participants can
provide such documentation. Here's a start:

Conference handbook: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania/Handbook
-- let's write the big book of Wikimania
Conference checklist:
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania/checklist -- make sure you
have everything you need
Conference community:
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania/community -- a start at a
community group, w/ interested participants.

We discussed however that for any oversight/governance functions we
might need a more formalized structure and perhaps a formal mandate.
This seemed like a Board-level issue to several people (including me).
We also discussed that there's not a good process for proposing and
forming community committees that would interact with the Foundation
on various issues.

What do you all think?

best,
Phoebe

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Re: Floating a notion: permanent Wikimania committee? [ In reply to ]
On 17 June 2010 23:48, <susanpgardner@gmail.com> wrote:
> (James Owen, not Forrester. I actually don't know if James Forrester is coming this year,
> although now that I think of it, maybe he is one of the train-travelling people?)

I am, to both counts, and you can rely on me turning up to anything to
do with Wikimania organisation. :-)

J.
--
James D. Forrester
jdforrester@wikimedia.org | jdforrester@gmail.com
[[Wikipedia:User:Jdforrester|James F.]]

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Re: Floating a notion: permanent Wikimania committee? [ In reply to ]
Today's meeting was definitely progressive and the idea of compiling a
handbook (or guide, or whatever) to Wikimania is fruitful..but, I just
thought:
Enthusiasm and good intentions could turn into a problem (or a crisis) if
they are not accompanied by experience, or at least know-how. All teams want
a conference, but they don't necessairly understand what does that take.

From my limited experience in 2008; Delphine was an imporant factor
(catalyst) in making things go on track, poking volunteers, and reporting to
the foundation. She knew what a conference is...and what wikimedians want.

If someone could take the role of Delphine back, maybe on part time or per
task basis, then I think that could help.

A book is good; but how do we make sure the content is practically
implemented?

Moushira


On Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 1:48 AM, <susanpgardner@gmail.com> wrote:

> A couple of fast thoughts:
>
> * I think it's debatable whether it's board-level or not. It's board-level
> in the sense that it's "not staff-level" -- meaning it's mainly a community
> responsibility rather than a staff responsibility. But to the extent that
> part of the role of the committee would be to ask the staff for help if
> Wikimania is floundering, that is probably not a board-level issue. For
> example, I can't imagine the board making a resolution asking me to
> intervene to offer more support if one year Wikimania were floundering.
> That just doesn't feel like a governance issue.
>
> * Which leads me to point two, which is that from my perspective, I
> actually do want someone to flag to me if Wikimania is floundering, and to
> ask me officially to have the staff get involved. Wikimania in Gdansk this
> year has had some problems, and I have felt awkward about how to best
> resolve them, given that (again) it's a community-led event, not a staff-led
> event. But I don't think the board should need to involve itself in that,
> because again, I think it's not a governance issue.
>
> * Those aren't super-significant issues from my perspective though. Upshot
> from my perspective: I think that there's lots of good energy and thinking
> happening on this, and it feels like people are pretty aligned in feeling we
> want some form of oversight/guidance/something, in place supporting
> excellent Wikimanias every year. Which is great. Does someone want to
> organize a meeting about this for Gdansk? I'm hoping Phoebe will attend,
> and Casey and SJ, and whoever else is interested. I will be happy to put it
> in my schedule, and I think James would probably be interested too. (James
> Owen, not Forrester. I actually don't know if James Forrester is coming this
> year, although now that I think of it, maybe he is one of the
> train-travelling people?)
>
> Thanks,
> Sue
> -----Original Message-----
> From: phoebe ayers <phoebe.wiki@gmail.com>
> Date: Thu, 17 Jun 2010 13:28:37
> To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List<foundation-l@lists.wikimedia.org>
> Cc: Wikimania general list \(open subscription\)<
> wikimania-l@lists.wikimedia.org>
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Floating a notion: permanent Wikimania
> committee?
>
> On Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 12:06 PM, Sue Gardner <sgardner@wikimedia.org>
> wrote:
> > Hi folks,
> >
> > For several years now, people have occasionally floated the notion
> > that there should be a permanent Wikimania oversight committee –
> > basically, a group of people responsible for giving some coaching and
> > guidance and oversight to the local planning team each year. Over the
> > years, support has been offered each year by people like Phoebe, James
> > Forrester, Delphine (Delphine both in her staff role and as a
> > volunteer) and SJ … but there has never (AFAIK) been a formal
> > oversight committee. I think there probably should be.
>
> Hello Sue and all,
>
> Good timing -- we just had a long conversation about this in the
> #wikimedia open meeting this afternoon. There were quite a few
> participants, including several past wikimania organizers.
>
> Quick summary of that discussion:
> * there is definite interest in an ongoing Wikimania (oversight,
> governance, guidance) (body, committee, group) (we talked for quite a
> while about those various names and their different connotations)
>
> * there are a few potential roles that people see for such a group:
> ** 1) collecting and writing better documentation about the
> conference, including best practices for organization and what has
> happened in the past
> ** 2) answering questions from Wikimania organizers about past
> practices, helping coordinate who to ask about various aspects
> ** 3) providing oversight to the overall wikimania process -- for
> instance making sure that a bid jury is called and the bids are
> submitted in time (like elections)
> ** 4) providing oversight/governance as the conference progresses --
> for instance, getting regular reports about the conference. Along with
> this, the org team would have someone to report to if, say, a venue
> burns down or some other catastrophe happens.
>
> These ideas are roughly in order of how much controversy they
> generated among discussion participants. I think we all pretty much
> agreed that we need better conference documentation, and a loose
> community group of past organizers and interested participants can
> provide such documentation. Here's a start:
>
> Conference handbook: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania/Handbook
> -- let's write the big book of Wikimania
> Conference checklist:
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania/checklist -- make sure you
> have everything you need
> Conference community:
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania/community -- a start at a
> community group, w/ interested participants.
>
> We discussed however that for any oversight/governance functions we
> might need a more formalized structure and perhaps a formal mandate.
> This seemed like a Board-level issue to several people (including me).
> We also discussed that there's not a good process for proposing and
> forming community committees that would interact with the Foundation
> on various issues.
>
> What do you all think?
>
> best,
> Phoebe
>
> _______________________________________________
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Re: Floating a notion: permanent Wikimania committee? [ In reply to ]
OK, so I guess my question is (and we talked about this on IRC too) --
who has the power or the ability -- or who *should*, in a perfect
world -- create such a committee? We don't have much precedent for
this. There were concerns over who or what body can create
governance/oversight structures, particularly if this isn't really
just a Foundation issue.

I totally agree that part of such a body's role could be to help
coordinate between the permanent staff whose work might touch on
Wikimania, and the rotating local organization team.

-- phoebe


On Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 3:48 PM, <susanpgardner@gmail.com> wrote:
> A couple of fast thoughts:
>
> * I think it's debatable whether it's board-level or not.  It's board-level in the sense that it's "not staff-level" -- meaning it's mainly a community responsibility rather than a staff responsibility.  But to the extent that part of the role of the committee would be to ask the staff for help if Wikimania is floundering, that is probably not a board-level issue. For example, I can't imagine the board making a resolution asking me to intervene to offer more support if one year Wikimania were floundering.   That just doesn't feel like a governance issue.
>
> * Which leads me to point two, which is that from my perspective, I actually do want someone to flag to me if Wikimania is floundering, and to ask me officially to have the staff get involved.  Wikimania in Gdansk this year has had some problems, and I have felt awkward about how to best resolve them, given that (again) it's a community-led event, not a staff-led event.  But I don't think the board should need to involve itself in that, because again, I think it's not a governance issue.
>
> * Those aren't super-significant issues from my perspective though. Upshot from my perspective: I think that there's lots of good energy and thinking happening on this, and it feels like people are pretty aligned in feeling we want some form of oversight/guidance/something, in place supporting excellent Wikimanias every year.  Which is great.  Does someone want to organize a meeting about this for Gdansk?  I'm hoping Phoebe will attend, and Casey and SJ, and whoever else is interested.  I will be happy to put it in my schedule, and I think James would probably be interested too. (James Owen, not Forrester. I actually don't know if James Forrester is coming this year, although now that I think of it, maybe he is one of the train-travelling people?)
>
> Thanks,
> Sue
> -----Original Message-----
> From: phoebe ayers <phoebe.wiki@gmail.com>
> Date: Thu, 17 Jun 2010 13:28:37
> To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List<foundation-l@lists.wikimedia.org>
> Cc: Wikimania general list \(open subscription\)<wikimania-l@lists.wikimedia.org>
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Floating a notion: permanent Wikimania committee?
>
> On Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 12:06 PM, Sue Gardner <sgardner@wikimedia.org> wrote:
>> Hi folks,
>>
>> For several years now, people have occasionally floated the notion
>> that there should be a permanent Wikimania oversight committee –
>> basically, a group of people responsible for giving some coaching and
>> guidance and oversight to the local planning team each year.  Over the
>> years, support has been offered each year by people like Phoebe, James
>> Forrester, Delphine (Delphine both in her staff role and as a
>> volunteer) and SJ … but there has never (AFAIK) been a formal
>> oversight committee.  I think there probably should be.
>
> Hello Sue and all,
>
> Good timing -- we just had a long conversation about this in the
> #wikimedia open meeting this afternoon. There were quite a few
> participants, including several past wikimania organizers.
>
> Quick summary of that discussion:
> * there is definite interest in an ongoing Wikimania (oversight,
> governance, guidance) (body, committee, group) (we talked for quite a
> while about those various names and their different connotations)
>
> * there are a few potential roles that people see for such a group:
> ** 1) collecting and writing better documentation about the
> conference, including best practices for organization and what has
> happened in the past
> ** 2) answering questions from Wikimania organizers about past
> practices, helping coordinate who to ask about various aspects
> ** 3) providing oversight to the overall wikimania process -- for
> instance making sure that a bid jury is called and the bids are
> submitted in time (like elections)
> ** 4) providing oversight/governance as the conference progresses --
> for instance, getting regular reports about the conference. Along with
> this, the org team would have someone to report to if, say, a venue
> burns down or some other catastrophe happens.
>
> These ideas are roughly in order of how much controversy they
> generated among discussion participants. I think we all pretty much
> agreed that we need better conference documentation, and a loose
> community group of past organizers and interested participants can
> provide such documentation. Here's a start:
>
> Conference handbook: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania/Handbook
> -- let's write the big book of Wikimania
> Conference checklist:
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania/checklist -- make sure you
> have everything you need
> Conference community:
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania/community -- a start at a
> community group, w/ interested participants.
>
> We discussed however that for any oversight/governance functions we
> might need a more formalized structure and perhaps a formal mandate.
> This seemed like a Board-level issue to several people (including me).
> We also discussed that there's not a good process for proposing and
> forming community committees that would interact with the Foundation
> on various issues.
>
> What do you all think?
>
> best,
> Phoebe
>

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Re: Floating a notion: permanent Wikimania committee? [ In reply to ]
On 6/17/2010 5:35 PM, phoebe ayers wrote:
> OK, so I guess my question is (and we talked about this on IRC too) --
> who has the power or the ability -- or who *should*, in a perfect
> world -- create such a committee? We don't have much precedent for
> this. There were concerns over who or what body can create
> governance/oversight structures, particularly if this isn't really
> just a Foundation issue.
>
I suppose the board could create the committee, if it's not clear who
else might have the authority. Or perhaps better, the board could
authorize its creation. I think the board is a bit reluctant to jump in,
partly for the reason Sue mentioned that overseeing Wikimania is not
really a board-level issue (it's primarily operational rather than
strategic), but also because the board is not well placed to fill and
maintain committees like this. When it becomes a situation of appointing
people none of us really knows, or feeling that there are probably
people we're not aware who ought to be recruited to a committee like
this, it's pretty uncomfortable to have that responsibility. But if we
authorized the committee and then let the staff and experienced
Wikimania volunteers review applications or expressions of interest to
join the committee, that might work out. That's kind of the direction
things have moved in any case. Some of the early committees that still
function have evolved to a place outside the board's immediate activity,
and the current work of the governance committee is focused more on
structures needed to organize the board's own functions.

--Michael Snow

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Re: Floating a notion: permanent Wikimania committee? [ In reply to ]
On Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 10:58 PM, Michael Snow <wikipedia@verizon.net> wrote:
> On 6/17/2010 5:35 PM, phoebe ayers wrote:
>> OK, so I guess my question is (and we talked about this on IRC too) --
>> who has the power or the ability -- or who *should*, in a perfect
>> world -- create such a committee? We don't have much precedent for
>> this. There were concerns over who or what body can create
>> governance/oversight structures, particularly if this isn't really
>> just a Foundation issue.
>>
> I suppose the board could create the committee, if it's not clear who
> else might have the authority. Or perhaps better, the board could
> authorize its creation. I think the board is a bit reluctant to jump in,
> partly for the reason Sue mentioned that overseeing Wikimania is not
> really a board-level issue (it's primarily operational rather than
> strategic), but also because the board is not well placed to fill and
> maintain committees like this. When it becomes a situation of appointing
> people none of us really knows, or feeling that there are probably
> people we're not aware who ought to be recruited to a committee like
> this, it's pretty uncomfortable to have that responsibility. But if we
> authorized the committee and then let the staff and experienced
> Wikimania volunteers review applications or expressions of interest to
> join the committee, that might work out. That's kind of the direction
> things have moved in any case. Some of the early committees that still
> function have evolved to a place outside the board's immediate activity,
> and the current work of the governance committee is focused more on
> structures needed to organize the board's own functions.
>
> --Michael Snow

Yes, authorization seems right. I wouldn't really expect that the
Board actually fill such a committee or even necessarily ask for
direct reports. The question that came up in IRC though was where
would such a committee derive its authority from (assuming it had any
particular authority). Perhaps the answer for this is "it doesn't" and
simply fills a communication and reporting role that is currently
lacking. Or perhaps (my ideal scenario) we come up with a way where
the interested community grants it authority by building the
structure, filling the seats, etc., and that is generally recognized.

I'm interested in this case specifically of course, but I also am
wondering more generally what the current state of affairs is for
forming any sort of operational, community-driven committee. Of course
we're good at forming wikiprojects to do things that need doing, but
for areas that also require overlap with things that the office works
on, it seems tricky.

Re: scheduling a time at wikimania for discussing this potential
glorious wikimania committee: yes, let's. I wanted to have a reprise
of the Future of Wikimania discussion from last year, anyway. How
about Sunday? I'll volunteer to check with the 2011 team and other
interested parties and schedule a time. This overlaps with Manuel's
panel, too, but I think we need a dedicated time maybe. Stay tuned!

-- phoebe

p.s. if we get both James Owen AND James Forrester involved it will be
unstoppable. Powered by James^2.

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Re: Floating a notion: permanent Wikimania committee? [ In reply to ]
On Fri, 18 Jun 2010 00:00:27 -0700, phoebe ayers <phoebe.wiki@gmail.com>
wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 10:58 PM, Michael Snow <wikipedia@verizon.net>
> wrote:
>> --Michael Snow
>
> I'm interested in this case specifically of course, but I also am
> wondering more generally what the current state of affairs is for
> forming any sort of operational, community-driven committee. Of course
> we're good at forming wikiprojects to do things that need doing, but
> for areas that also require overlap with things that the office works
> on, it seems tricky.

Well, I would start with approaching the past organizers asking how they
got their teams and who actually in the end did their job properly (and who
did not).

You would like to have people actually doing smth, not just talking,
right?

Cheers
Yaroslav

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Re: Floating a notion: permanent Wikimania committee? [ In reply to ]
On Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 12:28 AM, Yaroslav M. Blanter <putevod@mccme.ru> wrote:
>
> On Fri, 18 Jun 2010 00:00:27 -0700, phoebe ayers <phoebe.wiki@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> On Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 10:58 PM, Michael Snow <wikipedia@verizon.net>
>> wrote:
>>> --Michael Snow
>>
>> I'm interested in this case specifically of course, but I also am
>> wondering more generally what the current state of affairs is for
>> forming any sort of operational, community-driven committee. Of course
>> we're good at forming wikiprojects to do things that need doing, but
>> for areas that also require overlap with things that the office works
>> on, it seems tricky.
>
> Well, I would start with approaching the past organizers asking how they
> got their teams and who actually in the end did their job properly (and who
> did not).
>
> You would like to have people actually doing smth, not just talking,
> right?
>
> Cheers
> Yaroslav

Something... even if that something is mostly just being a
reporting/communication facilitator, I think. I don't imagine a
committee or group that would actually organize the conference; that
should be the job of the local team.

For those following along at home, this conversation seems to have
migrated to wikimania-l, where it probably belongs:
http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimania-l/2010-June/001922.html

-- phoebe

--
* I use this address for lists; send personal messages to phoebe.ayers
<at> gmail.com *

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