Concerns over Nominated Members

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I just reread the policy. Things mean more when they have meaning in the present for me. Back when it was being formulated, I had neither experience of perspective on what was relevant and what was not. I guess, I am task orientated a lot of the time, and my task this time was to find out the history and rational behind "Nominated Members".

The notion of nominating members other than elected members from the community, who will hold a position in the Council (equal I assume to elected members) for 1 year, and/or consecutive years indefinitely, strikes me as entirely odd. The only other Council I have experience with is local City Council's in the towns I have lived. They have Elected Councilors, and then Public Servants. Public Servants do not participate in voting, debating, and deciding on proposals etc. (Although, truth be told, Public Servants carry a lot of behind the scenes power over elected representatives). So it is this experience and perspective that I bring to the experience of the Wikied Council.

It seems to me that the intention behind Nominated Members is part Public Servant, part consultant. I can't see why consultancy is not just called on when needed, and I think the skills of the elected members covers most of the administration needs normally covered by Servants.

I see a risk in the Nominated Members aspect of the Policy, and I'm surprised/concerned that I appear to be the only one seeing it. An influential Elected Member could effectively stack the Council with Nominated Members. This might happen either intentionally, or more likely unintentionally. For example, the Policy referred to as "developed openly and transparently by the community" was in fact developed openly and transparently by Wayne, with some input from Steve and 1 minor edit from Randy. This is on the one hand testament to Wayne's hard work and forward thinking, but on the other hand a concern as to the influence Wayne has over the Council. If I were Wayne, I would be the first to acknowledge this, and me being me, I would be the first to acknowledge that some Council members will need to now start taking more responsibility for such developments and take some of the load off Wayne.

So I hope my message comes through clearly. It is that we must be watchful for UNINTENTIONAL stacking of the Council in favor of the more influential Elected Member at any given time. We must work hard at insuring that all the Elected Council Members have a equal sense of ownership and responsibility to the role, BEFORE we start appointing Nominated Members, if at all. This message comes from my own confusion as to the reasons we need nominated members beyond consultants when needed, and concern that the Policy (due largely to necessity at the time) has been developed up until now by one Elected Member.

Regards --Leighblackall 10:32, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Leighblackall (talk)22:32, 2 October 2008


Given that that (a) you have been one of the more active and prolific members contributing to the WikiEducator project (since at least February 2007); and (b) the time period that the draft policy was initially posted (June 23, 2007) and the public notification inviting further comments was posted (June 22, 2008), how are you able to explain that did not have an opportunity to fully review and provide input to the draft policy? --Randy Fisher 00:03, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Wikirandy (talk)12:03, 5 October 2008


I am waiting for your response here -

I would like to make one other point at this time ~ my concern about precedent. Like it or not, the draft policy was developed on the wiki in a very open environment.

Changing it at this point - because well, you don't like it now; or you've had a change of heart now that you've reviewed it from a different perspective; or Minhaaj doesn't like Wayne, Richard Stallman or Jimmy Wales - (see his very disrespectful, hurtful and possibly illegal Oct. 1, 2008 blog post "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing". The fact that Minhaaj wrote this disgusting piece AFTER he was elected, is very, very disconcerting.)

What if you or Minhaaj or anyone else doesn't like some other policy or decision that was made before we were elected? Do you just sweep it aside because you don't like it?

As newly-elected Council Members, we have a duty and obligation to work for the best interests of the WikiEducator project. Dividing and polarising each other, in my view, just doesn't cut it, nor represents the best interests of the people we were elected to serve.

- Randy

Wikirandy (talk)02:11, 6 October 2008

It is not me who is dividing or polarising. I highlighted an issue, proposed an alternative, and wanted to discuss and vote on it, but you say it is not open to discussion. It is you that is polarising and dividing here. My request was reasonable. See below for the rest.

Leighblackall (talk)12:46, 6 October 2008

Thats not as disrespectful as people profiteering in the name of open source initiative. This is exactly the democratic way to question the hideous things in the name of education and ICT. Its not about liking the policy, its about the nature and consequences of this 'already' polarized and divisive policy that is in no way democratic and even respectful. Disgusting piece of content was the email you sent me with 'abusive' language which primarily had no constructive purpose unlike this blog post which you shouldn't have mentioned because of its irrelevance to wikieducator project and its personal opinion thats none of your business.

Minhaaj (talk)06:21, 7 October 2008

Even if Leigh was the part of community at that time and didn't speak against policy or possibly couldn't find time to look on it, its not a crime to bring it to books at any point in time in history. Unlike your yes-man attitude to Wayne, he has used his brain and spoken up against unfair clauses. Just because you don't like it?

Minhaaj (talk)06:23, 7 October 2008

Hi Leigh,

You have been a leading pioneer in WikiEducator since its early days. There was a long open process in the development of the Governance policy, with numerous invitations to the community for comment. For whatever reason you chose not take the time to comment on the policy formulation process :-(.

However, this is the policy that has afforded you an elected seat on WikiEducator's Council. Now it is our collective responsibility to exercise our fiduciary responsibilities to the Community in accordance with the policies that were developed openly and transparently.

The notion of nominated members was discussed during the development of the policy. Speaking candidly -- I think this is a very smart solution on the part of WikiEducator:

  • The wiki model is based on the notion that more eyes actually contribute to the quality of a resource -- why wouldn't more eyes on council contribute to the quality of governance -- especially if they can provide an "outsiders" perspective -- Is denying the validity of informed opinion beyond our own naval gazing a contradiction in terms? Are we scared of open governance?
  • I've served on numerous advisory boards. In my experience they don't work. Very often Advisory boards are established as a political show to say we have these important people advising us. The reality is boards don't listen to advice and the advisers don't pay too much attention to the advice they're giving because they're not accountable. In the case of WikiEducator -- we're pretty smart because we can hold nominated members accountable for their decisions as voting members of council.
  • Elected members have a majority on our Council -- if we end up with poor nominated members, its our own fault for not taking the right decisions.

I'm not sure that I agree with your arguments -- you can hardly compare a municipal council with the dynamic of an open wiki :-).


Mackiwg (talk)19:51, 5 October 2008

Thanks Wayne, and I ackowlege all your hard work in getting the Wikieducator to where it is also. But I ask that you acknowlege this issue, and accept that it be debated at the first meeting and if the Elected Members agree that it is a vulnerability as I fear it to be, that we modify the Draft Policy. See further response below.

Leighblackall (talk)12:49, 6 October 2008

As i have mentioned before, just because Leigh didn't participate in discussion before, that doesn't deprive him of the right, that he can't bring it up again ever.

As far as your wiki model's more eyes are concerned, if you need more eyes why not make whole community council members, this way you'll have more eyes and participation? Why create this good-for-nothing, powerless council in first place? Keep bossing around.

You being serving on numerous boards is fabulous and your point about politics is exactly right. And thats exactly why we don't need nominated members to be accountable to us where the best pratice would be to make council "MEMBERS" accountable for project's scope and success.

Its not about majority or minority of elected members. its about the principal that elected members have done all the hard work in the process of making their candidate pages and answering the questions. They are fully equipped and adept at what they do in community. nobody needs new honorary guests for doing something that we can already do. There is NO need for nominated members.

I see the relevance of municipal council with open wiki and i am sorry you can't see the analogy. Just don't let community suffer for your inability to see the logic.


Minhaaj (talk)06:29, 7 October 2008

"....I think we should approach this head on at our first meeting, and reach consensus if possible, or, failing that, vote on whatever proposed changes are offered and then move forward together from there whatever the outcome."

I fully endorse this, at least we have a document before us on which we can discuss further. I think it is the responsibility of the elected members to first constitute the full council by nominations and then refine the draft policy. As on date, the Council not really constituted and draft policy cannot be amended by the part Council. Moreover, the elected members have agreed to the draft Policy before commencement of the elections and thus we are abide by the draft till we are in a position to modify it.

--Pankaj 05:16, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Pankaj (talk)17:16, 8 October 2008

I was not comfortable at first with the language and tone of the discussion. I also did not appreciate a comment which stated that I came in only once on the discussion of our draft. For one, it is not true, and another, it is not necessary for everybody to comment on everything. Also it is not necessary to make our presence felt by making repetitious comments. No argument becomes stronger just by being repeated by the same person/s again and again. I have been following the discussion and have been quietly waiting to see where the discussion was going. As I see it only two people have questioned the 'nomination process'. I also cannot see how minhaaj makes a statement Now that we have enough support on this, we should remove the policy where it states that we need nominated members. - where is his support - how many of the members (elected including)agree with him??

The draft constitution based on which we were elected provides for nominated members. Let us nominate members as provided for the in the same draft. Why should one be scared of nominations - we were working with a nominated Advisory Board till now - were there any problems? The will to collaborate and work together should provide the space to welcome nominated members as equal members with equal voting rights. Remember these members are being 'nominated' - somebody responsible is nominating them, seconding them - they are not thrusting themselves on the council. Why can't we be graceful and work within the current provisions of the draft and later take up this and other issues over time in a democratic way.

I have worked in several elected bodies where there is a provision of nominations, with nominees having equal rights - it is not unusual at all. The provision of nominations are usually made to adjust for any bias or imbalances in the elcted body, or to ensure certain expertise is available.

savi 18:50, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Savi.odl (talk)06:50, 23 October 2008