Community Council/Meetings/Third/Determining procedures for nominating nominated members

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The background for the motion is posted in this section with relevant links to any background papers, wiki pages or notifications on the main WikiEducator lists.
  1. The Open Community Governance Policy makes provision for nominated members
  2. The intention of nominated members is to bring a diverse set of skills ensuring equity, regional representation, promoting an equal voice for developing countries, gender equality, etc.
  3. The term of office for nominated members is 1 year as determined by the effective date of the relevant Council meeting.
  4. The current term of office for nominated members will expire on 23 September 2010.
  5. The term of office for nominated members can be renewed.
  6. Council shall determine the procedures for nominating nominated members taking the need for continuity into account.
  7. I recommend that we use the meeting to collect advice and guidance from Council and consider establishing a Council appointed Community Workgroup to prepare the procedures taking the guidelines into account for approval at the by special meeting, or the 4th Council meeting if scheduled in time.

Pre meeting discussion on background issues prior to drafting motions

Pre-meeting discussions are posted in this area. Once the page for preparing a motion is uploaded to the wiki, this signifies that pre meeting discussions can commence. The page will be added to the "Under development" section of the homepage for the meeting. All discussions points should be duly signed. Once the meeting commences, the chair will call for a draft concept of the motion to be be presented below.

In your view, what are the guiding principles we should consider when developing procedures for nominating nominated members?

  • I believe the set of procedures for nominating the nominated needs to be aligned with assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the council in relation to WE current and near term issues and tasks. We need to first ask ourselves what skills and knowledge we need as a council and then fill those skills with the nominated. -- Peter Rawsthorne 03:38, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
Hi Peter, that's a good suggestion -- It would be great is Council can suggest practical ways in which to assess our needs for the foreseeable future. While not perfect, we have attempted to address some of these needs by posting short Résumés of Council members, asked proposers for nominated members to motivate their nominations etc. Sure, there is always room for improvement and all suggestions are gladly received :-) --Wayne Mackintosh 01:24, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
  • I also believe we need policy / procedures that encourage diversity in the council. I believe we "somewhat" have that, I do see that some critical views are too easily challenged and dismissed. And *sometimes* the people who expressed their critical views have ended their engagement with WE. I believe that is a huge loss for our community and we need to find a way where a diverse set of views is further encouraged... See related discussion thread Best to just read the later items in this thread as it starts a little off track -- Peter Rawsthorne 04:12, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. Diversity is a core value of the WikiEducator and we are one of the few organisations who practice radical transparency, have articulated guidelines in our open governance policy to promote diversity etc. As a community of association we support the freedom to engage and participate in accordance with our project values. Similarly we support and respect the freedom to disengage. This is what is great about open projects. I hope that folk who have been part of our community have learned from their experience which they can apply to other projects. Sometimes a loss for our community is a win for the free culture because these skills can be applied in other environments. That must be a good thing. Similarly, WE benefit from the vast array of experiences from contributors who work in other projects and choose to gift some of their time to help us achieve our objectives. Sounds like a win win situation to me :-). No system of governance is perfect -- there are pros and cons to each system. Our approach has been to try and strike the right balance for a community where plus 70% of our users are teachers, lecturers or trainers working in the formal education sector - -aligned with the core values underpinning the inception of WikiEducator. This cultural milieu helps determine what is likely to work in this environment as a small contribution to the larger aim of OER as a global phenomenon. --Wayne Mackintosh 01:24, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

What are the practical steps Council members recommend for the nomination process?

  • Prospective nominee should confirm their willingness to be nominated, before the proposer can publicly announce the nomination in the wiki. (This is to respect individual rights and to advise nominees that their names will be listed publicly, and if so decided by Council, an open ballot voting process) --Wayne Mackintosh 00:33, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
  1. A GAP analysis to identify the gaps in the WE knowledge base. (As an example I believe we have a gap in people with a strong interest and skills in educational quality. Don't get me wrong I think the quality of WE materials are very good. From previous experiences with WE when we started the Quality Framework and saw very little participation from others, so far.) -- Peter Rawsthorne 15:06, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree on both the the GAP analysis idea as well as Quality expertise as an identified gap. (However I don't agree that the quality of all WE materials are good -- I can point to some pretty shabby resources ;-) ). Good idea -- we should also remember that many council members have expertise in more than one area. So some kind of mapping of list of needs against the range of skills Council bring to the table would be useful as well ... Thoughts?
  1. Once gap(s) have been identified we contact WE members who could fill the gaps and would be willing to act as nominated committee members and apply effort in closing the gap.-- Peter Rawsthorne 15:06, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
Agreed with the understanding that more than one member may have expertise in the identified Gap -- so one step would be to ask existing and prospective members to identify their skills and experience in relation to our identified gaps. --Wayne Mackintosh 02:24, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

What guidelines do you propose to address continuity while encouraging "new blood" to add value?

?? can we consider making the term for a nominated member two years - since we have only about two meetings in a year? Savithri Singh 05:58, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

  • Obviously contributions. Feedback from elected members could form the basis.Savithri Singh 05:58, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
Hi Savithri -- from a policy perspective it is possible for Council to renew the term of a nominated members. At the same time taking the rationales and concerns expressed by members of our Council pertaining to nominated members -- I think the term of 1 year strikes a good balance to foster diversity while providing Council with a majority of elected members. Hindsight is a more accurate science and I think that trialling the system as it stands for a term or two, while provide insights into whether further refinements may be necessary in the future. Thoughts? --Wayne Mackintosh 02:14, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Add guidelines here

Other questions?

Lazy consensus question

Question: Should the term for nominated committee members be extended to two years? Yes (Vote = +1), No (Vote = -1), No, unsure (Vote = 0).

Being a nominated member can I even pose (and vote on) such a question? ;) -- Peter Rawsthorne 15:11, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

Every member of Council has the right to pose and vote on questions. I admire your open approach and making it clear that you are posting the question as a nominated member. From the chair, I don't see any procedural problems in you raising a consensus poll on this question. --Wayne Mackintosh 02:17, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
  • +1 (Yes) -- Peter Rawsthorne 15:10, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
  • -1 (No) --Christine Geith 13:34, 7 May 2010 (UTC) I am an appointed member and think that a 1 year term, with an option to be reappointed by the Council serves the purpose intended by having nominated members.
  • -1 No Randy Fisher 20:49, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
  • -1 No Rob Kruhlak 00:47, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
  • -1 No Ahrash Bissell 04:38, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
  • +1 Yes Kim Tucker 06:14, 8 May 2010 (UTC) (nominated member). Nominated members should be treated the same as elected members.
    • Would it make sense to have elections/nominations every year in which half (or some proportion) of the membership may change (some new perspectives may be introduced every year)? Now is an opportunity to stagger the two year terms of a portion of Council - i.e. elections every year replacing or re-electing/re-nominating those whose term ends or filling available positions.
  • -1 (No) Ioana Chan Mow 11:58 May 11 2010 (UTC)
  • Add lazy consensus vote here

Draft concept for motion

The draft concept for a motion is entered here drawing on the pre-meeting discussions. Due to the asynchronous nature of our meeting, it is standard practice to allow a reasonable period of time (usually 24 to 36 hours) from the time when the draft concept is posted in the wiki to when the motion is formerly tabled. This drafting phase is needed for the wiki format of the meeting. In this way, we avoid unnecessary motions to amend the tabled motions resulting from ambiguity or lack of clarity in the wording of the original tabled motion.

I would like to entertain a motion for Council to appoint a Community Workgroup to draft and propose the procedures for nominating nominated members of Council in accordance with our Policy for Community Workgroups and Open Community Governance Policy (V2). The Workgroup shall consider the advice and guidelines provided by Council during this meeting and prepare a submission for Council to consider for approval by special resolution or general meeting. The procedures must be approved and in place to facilitate the nomination of nominated members for the next term of office commencing on 24 September 2010. --Wayne Mackintosh 03:07, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

Discussion on draft motion

The discussion of the draft motion is intended to refine the text for a tabled motion to avoid ambiguity and to improve clarity of the motion before requesting the assembly to consider tabling the motion.


A motion is formally tabled by a member of the meeting once rough consensus is achieved through discussion of the draft concept for the motion above. The mover should table the text for the motion below, for example "I move that ....." Remember to sign the motion.

I move that Council should appoint a Community Workgroup to draft and propose the procedures for nominating nominated members of Council in accordance with our Policy for Community Workgroups and Open Community Governance Policy (V2). The Workgroup shall consider the advice and guidelines provided by Council during this meeting and prepare a submission for Council to consider for approval by special resolution or general meeting. The procedures must be approved and in place to facilitate the nomination of nominated members for the next term of office commencing on 24 September 2010. (Logs indicate Savithri Singh proposed - 02:50, 8 May 2010 (UTC))


A second is required to indicate that the motion should come before the meeting. The second should sign below. Seconding a motion does not necessarily indicate support of the motion, it is an agreement that the motion should come before the assemble. Voting can commences once a motion is before the meeting. At this point the chair will place the motion under the "Active: Please discuss and vote" section of the home page for the meeting.

Discussion on tabled motion

This is the area where points, clarifications and discussions on the motion take place once the motion is formerly tabled and seconded above. This discussion is not restricted to Council members --any WikiEducator may add their views.
  • A cursory observation -- The commentaries posted with the votes are very valuable -- thank you. Depending on the outcome of the voting on this motion, these comments must definitely be taken into account, when for example, determining priorities for nominated members -- assuming the motion is approved which is not clear yet. For example giving preference to active WE community members when filling vacancies (assuming that the motion is approved.) An off-the-cuff observation (and no value judgment intended) but all members disapproving the motion (so far) reside in the industrialised world where connectivity to the Internet is less of an issue. It is conceivable, therefore, that democratic elections using the Internet can bias the composition of WCC and one mechanism to ensure, for example, a voice for the developing world is through nominated members. I'm sure that every member of WCC cares about the issues in the developing world -- but you can see how this might impact on perception of outsiders --Wayne Mackintosh 04:43, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
An interesting observation, but a leap that it has something to do with access or connectivity. It could be just as much to do with political and cultural norms - going by Savithri's comments. I think I can see the point you are making though - that the nominated members process is a way to reach out and include people in WE governance who are without connectivity. It seems a stretch to me, but I don't want to dismiss the idea. I think it could be just as feasible for those those same people to make contributions via an agent making edits on their behalf.. the same way I did for illiterate teachers at Otago Polytechnic, thereby building up a contribution history and a position for election to Council. Looking at the nominated members as they stand now, it seems however, that the "industrialised" are represented even further! Leighblackall 10:13, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Leigh that's a valid point re current nominated members -- but the process did increase the representation for the developing world considerably. Also the process for nominated members is also subjected to voting by elected members which in a sense relates to your amazing work as an agent for the illiterate teachers at OP -- the elected members get to decide who they think will be the best agents. The term is shorter so we can fix "mistakes" resulting from decisions made in "good faith". Reflecting back on my own history, I grew up under the apartheid regime in South Africa :-( -- something which I spent a large chunk of my life fighting against. That regime was touted as "democracy" by the government of the day -- lots of "democratic" elections for one segment of society, but the majority of the population couldn't vote. During the transformation years, I grew to understand the importance and need for an affirmative voice in governance. No governance system will be perfect. But I do think that a clear commitment to achieve some form of equitable distribution -- however difficult that is to achieve is worth the effort. At the same time, I duly note the concerns raised by the members voting. Where it comes to advice there is a strong argument to be made for co-opting members. When it comes to promoting diversity, equity, regional representation etc it is harder to achieve. What if a democratic election results in a male bias on Council -- do we as an open system try to address this? Specifying quotas for democratic elections is about as easy as nailing jelly to a tree. Nominated members gives us a chance to address this, with all its challenges. That said, I think that the workgroup must take all the concerns raised very seriously and design procedures that minimise the risks as best we can. --Wayne Mackintosh 10:51, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
  • In almost all boards and in issues of corporate governance, the element of diversity and the intellectual richness of a board/council lies in its ability to be "sustainable" as a knowledge bank. For one, if all council members are to be elected, it may (on probabilities) mean that ALL members can also be voted out (or leave office) almost at the same time. Nominated members can serve to fill some of these gaps on boards/councils. To be self sustaining further, nominating people to boards/councils can be honoring as well as "encouraging/persuading" strong community members to become active on governance issues. Without this "encouragement/persuasion" many capable community members will simply shy away from participating in Governance of the organisation/community.
Since in appointing our current nominated council members we used a rather adhoc approach to determining the "procedure", i believe it is now appropriate to formalise this arrangement. In any case, doing away completely with the concept of nominated members is simply not in the power of this council to decide. Attempts in this regard may be ultra vires and perhaps void ab initio. Although i do not (personally) consider this motion as overly important at this particular stage in relation to other motions under discussion, i will be voting in favour. --Victor P. K. Mensah 09:55, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Hi Victor -- your point about sustainable knowledge futures is a powerful perspective. We have a huge global challenge to foster the development of sustainable OER ecosystems. Good thought. I also think we have the advantage of hindsight in the sense that we can only improve on the processes we adopted during the first iteration of Council. Cycles of continuous improvement -- that must be good for OER :-) --Wayne Mackintosh 11:19, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks Wayne. Several strong points have been raised above in the discussions which should be strongly considered if the task team is activated. One issue raised above by Leigh may bother on the "representativeness" principle we attempted to achieve in the first set of appointments of nominated council members. Representation should be key but the task-team should DEFINE this so that, the council can negotiate this reality when the time comes. The definition should "outline" the elements of representativeness we want to achieve - gender, geography, technical expertise, etc., as well as elements representativeness we may have to avoid. The system cannot be perfect at all time, but we can surely keep refining it to have the best workable balance at all times. Lets wish ourselves all the best in this regard. --Victor P. K. Mensah 12:18, 10 May 2010 (UTC)


WikiEducator Council uses an open ballot where members of Council are required to cast their votes or abstentions publicly in the wiki. Voting can commence once a formal tabled motion has been seconded. The votes of Council members in attendance are counted to determine the outcome in accordance with the majority provisions for the particular motion.


  • Ahrash Bissell 04:37, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Rob Kruhlak 04:45, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Kim Tucker 06:17, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Vincent Kizza 06:38, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Sanjaya Mishra 09:03, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Randy Fisher 09:24, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Savithri Singh 11:05, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Ken Udas 13:30, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Günther Osswald 06:52, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Anil Prasad 03:35, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Victor P. K. Mensah 12:07, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Christine Geith 16:22, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Pankaj 18:08, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Erik Moeller 02:45, 11 May 2010 (UTC) (On the general issue of nominated members: Based on my experience with the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees and its Advisory Board, I believe supplementing a governing body with nominated appointees can be a useful way to bake external expertise, life experiences and values into decision-making processes. The conversation "What do we not have, what are we missing" is an important conversation for any community to have, and when this conversation happens in a context where the outcome matters, I suspect it's going to be a more diligent and thoughtful one. It certainly was for us: The Wikimedia Foundation Board search which resulted in Bishaka Datta being appointed to the Board was a very long, thoughtful and careful process, and I'm personally very happy that it took place. My experience suggests that treating such voices only as advisors reduces their involvement and the generally positive impact that carefully considered appointments can have. That said, I sense that the larger question of whether nominated members are desirable is still not fully resolved among the WE community, and deserves continuing reflection and thought, and there's clearly important tension with a commitment to fully democratic principles.)
  • List votes for approval here and sign


  • Leighblackall 06:49, 8 May 2010 (UTC) As noted in the first Council Meeting, I object to the nomination of unelected members to the Council. We should invite specialists on an as-needed basis, to advise on issues and help the elected Council make better decisions. Unelected members being nominated, and then an Executive Committee clearly being a persistent threat, undoes almost all notions of democratic process at WE, setting up for an unelected 'elite'. Not the sort of Governance system I want to be a part of.
(Comment.gif: Leigh, I have been part of a democratically elected body for several years - the Delhi University Teachers Association - a very important body in DU - where we have an executive consisting of 15 elected representatives and 5 co-opted with full voting rights. This body has people with diverse political affiliation yet it functions perfectly well with coopted members included. Its not fair to "invite specialists on an as-needed basis, to advise on issues and help the elected Council make better decisions" if they are not to have final say in our decisions. Why would they contribute their expertise and time if we do not give them any say? Also they do not have greater rights that the elected representatives. I know of many such bodies and have seen them functioning perfectly well!!

Also if you believe differently there is no need for you to walk out. This body is democratically elected - and in any democracy majority decision holds sway. I am sure you should be able to go along with this decision since you so believe in 'democracy'. Savithri Singh 11:34, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
Savithri, I can think of quite a few States, groups and classes of people that use the rhetoric of democracy to justify their existence, but are far removed from it.. I'm at a loss however as to how I might explain my concern better, your response does little to reassure me sorry.
The words I've used before are "stacked council" whereby an individual or group of individuals with influence, nominate members with similar concerns, bringing with them a shared cultural capital, combining to amplify the latent bias of the dominant elected members. This amplified bias may be achieved simply under the guise of "needed expertise", and may be as innocent as it is ignorant.
How could a Council know in advance what "diversity" it might need for coming events? The issue we have with embedding third party media might be a case in point, as might this very issue. Had I thought strategically, I would have nominated political researchers to help us devise "better governance policies". But those people would turn out to represent a certain type of 'governance', lets say - anarchic, individualistic, and cooperative (notions I might want to grow in Wikieducator). They could influence our discourse to the point where you are alienated, where your concerns are dismissed, and your notions of politics are deemed inappropriate. Now imagine that vulnerability when Wikieducator grows to the point where it absorbs a percentage of a few State education department budgets... Leighblackall 10:49, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Valid concern raised with reference to substantive funding coming from any specific source / sector in society and the impact that might have on a project. In this regard there is some protection for WikiEducator in that the OER Foundation as an independent entity is responsible for raising and administering funding. The articles of association of the OER FOundation state that the OERF must "maintain the technical and operational infrastructure of the WikiEducator community in accordance with the policies approved by the WikiEducator Community Council". So there is separation between the source of funding and governance of WE. No governance system is ideal -- but there are solid checks and balances in our emerging systems to mitigate, as best we can, against the risks you have articulated. Ultimately, governance is a good as the people you get to help out combined with a maturing culture of open dialogue and radical transparency which we have set as a benchmark for our meetings --Wayne Mackintosh 21:29, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Nellie Deutsch 15:45, 8 May 2010 (UTC) I never understood the need for nominated members. I think the council should decide on whether to have nominated members or not and not appoint a work group to do the job for them.
  • SteveFoerster 15:51, 8 May 2010 (UTC) While I understand that this is a lost cause, I too object to unelected voting members of Council. And I do not agree that it is unfair to ask experts to advise us without a vote, since the whole point is that if their advice is compelling it will be made policy.
Even though I am one, I never understood why WE has nominated council members. The current size of the elected council is large enough to make all the decisions and the smaller size (without nominated council) may allow for faster decision making. Therefore avoiding the working group whenever possible. I support the idea of bringing in (or hiring) expertise when a gap is identified within the elected council. If it is decided to keep nominated members the term IMO should be extended to two years for this creates greater commitment and reduces the administration of council membership.
  • brent simpson 01:50, 10 May 2010 (UTC) I think that there is too much risk of abuse in this system whereby council is undemocratically reinforced by people that agree with certain decisions or ideologies of the people appointing them. We're on the internet people! Expertise and advice is everywhere for the asking. If we needed help on decision making its not hard to imagine either the community stepping in (poll or referendum) or even consultation amongst similar projects.
  • Valerie Taylor 03:53, 10 May 2010 (UTC) The WCC start-up was a special case, and nominated members have been very important to the formative process. However, now WE should revert to the process of electing all WCC members.


  • Any abstentions must be listed here


The outcome of the vote is posted by the Chair in accordance with the majority requirements of the motion being tabled. Once a motion is approved, not approved or put on hold, this is updated on the home page of the meeting.

A majority of the Council has voted to approve this motion. This motion has been approved with a presumptive note from the Chair that the workgroup must consider nomination procedures that aim to address the substantive concerns raised by voting members. --Wayne Mackintosh 21:08, 10 May 2010 (UTC)