Excellent set of questions
As neat as a Board by public acclamation would be, I expect that there will be more people interesting in serving than there will be seats, and while at first expanding the Board to accommodate them all might be practical, ultimately the community will have to choose who should represent their interests.
And I do think we need a Board. Prospective donors need to know who's going to be responsible for overseeing the disposition of their largess. Similarly, I don't think that the appointment of an Executive Director would stop others from acting unilaterally under extraordinary circumstances, it would simply make it clear who the point of contact would normally be. (Besides, how else will such things as the Licensing Policy be decided?)
Having said all that, one thing I'd definitely support is a list of things that the Board and its appointees do not oversee -- i.e., that are up to community members to decide spontaneously. It may be best if this is a strongly delineated list, a sort of "WikiEducator Charter of Rights and Freedoms", that details things that the Board, Executive Director, CoL, etc., are prohibited from deciding on behalf of the community.
There is another important aspect to all this that we haven't discussed, and that's how this Governance Policy gets amended once it's been implemented. One way could be that the Board suggests an amendment to be sent as a referendum to the community. I also believe, however, that amendments to the Governance Policy should be able to be originated by community members, such that with some threshold of support a referendum must take place.
My gut feel is that WikiEducator will generate more willing people interested in serving than we have have seats to serve. It is of course and entirely different matter whether we will generate sufficient interest among the potential voting community to cast their ballots!
In the absence of a legitimate board - from experience I know that fund raising would be an order of magnitude more difficult. Clearly these discussions should lead to some declaration of what we as a community mean by governance and a clear statement of authorities and responsibilities of the Board. Similarly, I believe we should generate an environment that is open and flexible. For example, we should not constrain the ability for countries or communities to initiate their own nodes and clusters in furthering the objectives of WikiEducator. Local clusters should have the freedom to initiative their own projects including the ability to raise donor funding independently. My personal view is that the Board should be the custodian of the values that underpin our community and what we are trying to achieve. Without these - we will find it difficult to achieve and maintain a sustainable project.
Good point - we need to be clear on what the amendment protocols are regarding our Governance Policy.
Just a few quick points.
I mentioned public acclaim as an extreme case scenario. I DO Agree that we need a board that is legitimized by the users. I just think that FIRST we need to decide what that board we be like, then choose the best way to have it appointed (read: electoral system).
The problem of Executive Director is more in appearance than in essence. But in a community where many people have never met (and probably never will) face to face, appearances matter.
Lastly I think that this should not be a GOVERNING board, but an advisory/supervisory board. It should be distinct from the Governance Policy which should remain the domain of the community as a whole. Of course the issues are tightly related as the Board will act upon that policy, but this board should neither be a board of directors nor a parliament, more of an spokes-person-group.
Hi Philip -
Looks like this group has heeded your advice. There has been reasonable discussion on think first what the board would be like. The current consensus emerging is to establish a WikiEducator Council - see Erik's proposal
We still need to work on an appropriate electoral system - but we do have a few guidelines and suggestions being submitted in this forum.
I agree - the concept "Governing" board is misleading in terms of role and function - but this stems from the notion of "community governance". Your suggestion to keep Governance Policy distinct from the advisory board is a good one and I was hoping that this would be the case fro WikiEducator.
The next step will be to draft a page outlining and describing the WikiEducator Council - its purpose, roles, accountability. electoral system etc. based on all the contributions we've received so far. (I'm happy to do this - but it will need to wait a week or so as I'll be away on a short international mission.)
We will then need to take a careful look at the draft to see if it is in fact what we have been saying and how best to refine it.