Excellent set of questions

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You suggest regional sub-elections as a way of satisfying COL's preference for at least one Board member from each of Africa, Asia, The West Indies, and the Pacific. Alternatively, we could simply specify that there must be at least one Board member from each of those regions, and that should election results not facilitate that, then the winner whose vote total is the least is skipped over in favor of the qualifying nominee with the most votes. For example, if the only seat held by an African is becoming vacant, and the top three vote getters are not African but the fourth place nominee is, then the first, second, and fourth place nominees could be seated.

A similar system could be used for gender parity. If we say that either gender must have at least a certain number of seats, then should the results of the election not meet those requirements, those who won by the least margin could be skipped over in favour of the nominee of underrepresented gender whose vote total is highest.

One issue would be if those two ideals were in conflict, i.e., if only three seats were being filled it's possible that the possible successors wouldn't be able to meet both the Board's requirement for geographic distribution and for gender parity.

The reason I suggest this as opposed to sub-elections is that the latter suggests that only voters from those regions would be eligible, and that strikes me as something difficult to verify.

You also mention possible representation for Europe (i.e., UK, Malta, and Cyprus) as well as Canada. With nine positions, if four are for CoL areas, and two more are for Canada and the European Commonwealth countries, only three remain. Also, in this case are Australia and New Zealand part of the Pacific group? Are Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei considered Asian or Pacific in this context?

Unless CoL can't be dissuaded, I am not in favour of a blanket requirement for Commonealth citizenship. We now have versions in French, Spanish, and (IIRC) Polish, and it seems disingenuous to encourage participation from people who are then not eligible to take on an oversight role. Besides, any requirement that shuts Erik out makes no sense to me. For similar reasons I'd even support keeping regional guaranteed seats to a minimum, especially on a Board with only nine seats.

SteveFoerster (talk)17:16, 29 October 2007
Edited by author.
Last edit: 17:16, 29 October 2007

Hi Steve

As a WikiEducator - I don't have any particular preference for the actual mechanisms we use to ensure the spread of regional representation. We certainly would not be able to insist that votes are restricted to any regional base. We don't have a reliable mechanism to enforce this and I don't think it makes much sense to restrict voters to a regional base.

For example, as a potential voter, I hold dual citizenship in two Commonwealth Countries and I am working in a third Commonwealth country without residency status. If we were to require that voters cast their votes based according to their regional location or citizenship - we have a problem <smile>. In my case, due I cast my votes for Africa, the Pacific or North America?

Personally I think that we should encourage voters to think about which nominees would be best positioned to represent the different regions. During the election campaign - nominees can articulate how they will represent the interests of a specific region.

From COL's perspective - WikiEducator was set up to serve the needs of the developing world. This differentiates us from projects like Wikiversity. This is not to say that the industrialised countries are restricted from participation - but is to communicate that we prioritise the needs of developing countries in our work.

To clarify your question on regions. NZ and Australia are seen as Pacific, While Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei are deemed Asian in our operations.

COL needs to think carefully about what it means to be hosting an international free content project in a digitally connected world, while at the same time thinking about our responsibilities to those who fund us.

The WikiEducator server is based in Germany - personally I don't think it makes any difference where the technology is hosted. I invited Erik (a non-commonwealth citizen) to serve on our Interim board because in my view, he was the best technical and free culture person on the planet to help COL achieve its objectives in the Commonwealth for a new wiki project in the free knowledge community. My hunch has paid huge dividends taking into account our collective success thus far. Thanks Erik <smile>.

Steve - thanks for your candid reflections. The CW is built on the values of democracy, human rights, good governance and good citizenship. We are putting these values into practice.


Mackiwg (talk)17:16, 29 October 2007