Excellent set of questions

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I will try to respond to the original Composition and Elections questions. My portfolio at COL is governance and gender (the latter is shared with another colleague) . Regarding both, this is really new territory as wikieducator is a new community and also represents and has participation from people of all religions and cultures around the world.

Because of the importance of incorporating culture into governance frameworks, I think that we are already on the right track by attempting to fully discuss these issues before hastily introducing formal mechansims. We need to both incorporate the wiki culture and be sensitive to other cultures from everywhere that make up our wiki community. (Transparency, as usual, will be very important in whatever is decided upon and the wiki is already so useful in promoting that.)

Composition: I agree with Steve that nine people is a reasonable number for board members - and also support his recommendation of an Executive Director, who is responsible to the Board and the wiki community.

Regarding the terms of office, the staggering of elections is a good idea because it allows for continuity of movement even with some leaving and new members coming. Likely 3 years is a good idea, but because of wiki movement developing so rapidly, I had considered the idea of a 2-year term, but think there are too many negative issues attached to that. Instead, decisions, discussion on direction of wiki and other decision-making will need to be not only transparent, but as participatory as possible.

The issue of gender really should be opened up to consider diversity in general, now and for the next many years as the wiki community evolves. We should be concerned with not only gender but poor and extremely poor populations, minority religions, indigenous peoples, rural versus urban, handicapped, etc. It may be that the first elected Board does not totally capture all diversity representation, as there may be few or no extremely poor people able to access and use the wiki, however, as the wiki focuses on development needs and priorities, it will be important to try to focus on these populations when making decisions and moving forward.

As a little more than half of adults are female (in most countries), it is important to engage in further discussion with wiki women to further discuss the issue of enforcement where 50% of board members MUST be women, versus other avenues, such as appointing a gender officer on the board, weighting votes somehow (?) or some other mechanism.

Additionally, regional representation is important (including Europe & North America, as you mentioned, Wayne).

I think that a balance between board members with professional skills and community representatives will be important, but that all board members should also be active wiki users, not just account holders.


The question of minimum age is a good one. I think there should be some sort of lower limit (for instance, I don't know that a 6-year old should be on the board), but I also highly value the spontenaity of youth and believe that we (adults) could often benefits from perspectives youth could bring to the table, whether as board members or some advisory group. If there were to be a youth advisory group, it would be important to have a maximum age for membership (not 35 years old, for instance). (My bias would be something more along the lines of maximum age of 19 or 20 years old.)

I am hesitant to say that voters must be active users to vote. I think that many wiki account holders are genuinely interested in becoming involved, but may be intimidated, may find it difficult to get on to use their account just now as they are so busy with other work, may have difficulty getting on line, and may just be watching from time to time. They could be big supporters of wiki, in fact. I think that elections to the board could be an opportunity to encourage these people to become more involved.


Govtan (talk)14:19, 30 October 2007
Edited by author.
Last edit: 14:19, 30 October 2007

Hi Tanyss,

We really appreciate your thoughts and contributions. Speaking for myself - I can assure you that I'm a beginner insofar as governance for development is concerned. So we're doing this the best way we know how in the wiki world - and that is to discuss things openly. So I take consolation in your reflection that "we are already on the right track by attempting to fully discuss these issues before hastily introducing formal mechanisms".

That's good advice to consult wiki women and I will get in touch with groupings like WikiChix and Linuxchix. WikiEducator has the advantage of hindsight and I think that our planning and deliberations will benefit from their insights.

I share your sentiments and concerns relating to the issue of voters being active users. That said, I'm also concerned about the negative side of folk who do not understand the wiki way in determining our future paths. For example, its very easy for new comers to the collaborative models of the wiki approach to raise material concerns about quality when we know that the wiki model produces high quality outputs. There is also the question of "right-of-passage". We cannot deny experience for the sake of inclusiveness.

Wiki's, for the most part, are value driven communities. People who donate hours of their free time because the believe in what we are trying to do. Do we accord the same voting rights to someone who "is too busy" to care, when compared with someone who has take the time and effort to figure out how this all works?

These are tough questions - but wiki communities aggregate around the will to do something. Our wiki community values freedom - the freedom to join our community, but we also respect the freedoms of people who choose other avenues in widening access to education. Do folk who choose not to work in the wiki - have the same voting rights as those that do?

Chat to you soon.

Mackiwg (talk)14:19, 30 October 2007