Some lessons from WMF - how about a layered model of governance?

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Edited by author.
Last edit: 01:58, 31 October 2007

Hi Erik,

I like this proposal of a WikiEducator Council. You've been with Wikipedia virtually since its inception and your experience with management and governance of the Wikimedia Foundation is invaluable.

This model conflates the strengths of community representation with the ability to appoint professional skills needed to help steer the project. This also combines the advantages of the Advisory Board model used by WMF but will result in better coherence between the executive committee, community members and advisory professionals.

Very smart.

This model will also provide the flexibility for COL to overcome the Commonwealth Citizenship dilemma of an international project in a digital world. We will also be able to promote regional representation.

Lets see what folk on the list think about the Council proposal. I suspect that it will receive strong support and then we can move pretty quickly in getting the first election for a council underway.

I also support your proposal that the first council should only serve for a one year term so we can smooth out and refine processes and get this right using a learn by doing model. (See my post later on - I've been rethinking this)


Mackiwg (talk)17:35, 31 October 2007

I like the idea of having a layered model as well. Given that the WikiEd strategy is, for the next 2 years anyways, based on yearly milestones I'd also suggest considering limiting the membership initially to 1 year then perhaps reviewing this in 2009.

BrentSimpson (talk)17:35, 31 October 2007

Brent -

Good idea to link the terms of office (initially) to the WikiEd strategy.

COL has started some work in building a monitoring and evaluation plan to help us gauge progress as we proceed with the strategy.

Still needs some work - but logic model is pretty much done. (Off to add a link to the M & E plan from the strategy page.)


Mackiwg (talk)17:35, 31 October 2007

On 2nd thoughts - at some point WikiEducator will need to "bite the bullet" in a manner of speaking to kick start the continuation model. It's not wise to elect a full council with each election. I'm wondering whether we shouldn't agree that the top 8 candidates in the first election serve for 2 years and the remaining 7 serve for one year.

Thereafter the normal term is 2 years for all elected members. This way we plan for continuity of the Council.

Mackiwg (talk)17:35, 31 October 2007

It's hard to overestimate the importance of having new blood on a board...often, it only takes a single person to change the introduce new ideas, and revitalize the other members... We're certainly not at that stage yet, but it's important to think of the future: 2015 is still a ways off...

So...I'm in favour of staggered terms, and I think that should start's hard to change once the thing is in motion.

As well, I'd like to raise another issue that hasn't been brought up yet ~ at least what I can tell. As far as governance goes, what happens when WikiEd reaches its goal by, or before 2015? What are the responsibilities of Board Members to help us get there, and when we do, exit stage left...?

--wikirandy 03:46, 31 October 2007 (CET)

Wikirandy (talk)17:35, 31 October 2007
Edited by author.
Last edit: 17:35, 31 October 2007

Thanks WikiRandy,

When we reach our 2015 goals - we tackle the resolution of global hunger. 2015 is a way off and I'm sure that we will find new targets.

Cheers Wayne

Mackiwg (talk)17:35, 31 October 2007


I didn't say this to be facetious - I said it to be in line with our messaging...

An organization (or community effort) that reaches its goal, has to plan for some closure activity - and this in turn is reflected in the strategy and the governance model it chooses - because different skill sets, resources, etc. are involved.

I recall a recent talk I heard about the folks involved in the 2010 Olympics here in Vancouver, and they noted that they had a particular challenge to recruit folks who knew that the actual organization would be winding down shortly after the Main Event. Moreover, the kinds of activities after the 'wind-down' are a bit different than the 'wind-up', and you still want some key people in place.

- Randy

Wikirandy (talk)14:37, 31 October 2007
Edited by author.
Last edit: 04:44, 31 October 2007

I didn't read your comment as being facetious.

In the information society I think that its dangerous to to assume a static target. Technological advances may be such that we achieve a free curriculum by 2010.

I cannot predict what the educational challenges will be in 2015 nor can I assume what technologies will be out there to support education. I do know that the landscape will change and the knowledge is VERY dynamic:

  • What about the maintenance and updating of the free knowledge curriculum?
  • What about the implications of a free curriculum for assessment methodologies assuming the de-institutionalisatoin of education?

There was a time in history of society before the existence of institutionalised education (schools, universities etc.) Therefore it plausible to assume that we will see new organisational and institutional arrangements in education.

Sure, I take your point that winding-down is different from winding-up - but it's dangerous to speculate about what may or may not be in 2015.

Its about managing a difficult balance:

  • If the future was 100% predictable - there would be no need for strategic planning
  • If the future was fundamentally un-kown - no planning possible.

We operate somewhere in between these poles. Technology compresses the time frames and the position on the continuum.

Personally I'm reluctant to speculate about post 2015.

Cheers Wayne

Mackiwg (talk)14:37, 31 October 2007


I am in agreement with you - interestingly, in my Master's OD program, the topic I'm working on is about Creativity through Controversy.

This thread is an excellent example about how we can be creative and controversial at the same time! I really like the examples you give, to prove your point, and at the same time, it provides further information to ponder.

Yes, one of the great challenges in the Wiki environment is that it is SO dynamic as compared to other technologies. But as you rightly point out, the rest of the world is moving too - maybe not at the same pace - but moving in how it focuses on particular challenges.

I've sent a shot across the bow about 2015....and you've responded in a way that is neither defensive nor offensive ~ it is merely thought-provoking, and focused on your current goal.



Wikirandy (talk)14:37, 31 October 2007

Thanks Randy -

It's a wiki - so open candid reflection and participation is what we're about. That said sometime, in that passion of an edit war, folk can become defensive and evey quite offensive. That said - as long as the community is committed to talking - we can go a long way!

Cheers Wayne

Mackiwg (talk)14:37, 31 October 2007