Thoughts on the Executive Committee
You should get a job in the US presidential election campaigns Minhaaj :) You certainly don't hold back. When I read your post here, I had to work hard to remove the personal insults and the like so that I can see what you are saying. I need to do this for my own sensibilities, which I am sure Randy and Wayne would be dealing with in reading this post too. No doubt it will be hard for many people not to take your posts personally as you certainly write and no doubt feel personally about it. But their is valuable commentary underneath it all. Me and my "western values" I suppose, try to keep it objective and non personal - but I can do that for you when I read you. One way I do this is to imagine myself as the one you are writing about. I also have a job that is paid substantially more than people are paid elsewhere. It is still a far cry from what others that do my work get, but it is certainly in the wealthy class bracket globally speaking. What I mean is, you cause me to reflect on how I go about my work in this very international project we have, and how others may perceive that work. Where as before Wikied, my contact with people online was exclusively with people like me. The Wikieducator project has put me in touch with people of vastly different background and thinking to me, and your post (if I work a bit to read it) helps me see that. I write this in the hope that Wayne and Randy will pause and not let the insult they would no doubt be feeling, affect them too much.
To think of Wayne's take on Democracy as a product of "Western" thought, is, I think, to ignore it's relation to Democratic Centralism (See The Bolsheviks and Workers Control by Maurice Brinton. Wayne's has given a very persuasive argument for accepting that his personal judgement is a better guide to action than formal collective consideration. I think has considerable talents at presenting persuasive arguments, which if he can share with WE by acting as an ambassador, and helping us gain funding. However, WE should not let his talents divert ourselves from our responsibility to facilitate precisely the sort of formal collective consideration which can provide. There are formal points I would like raise concerning Wayne's points:
- I find the term 'fiduciary as involving legal language a little at odds with his generally chatty style. It is certainly an element of company law in the UK. However, Wayne's use of the term is at odds with how that law functions in practice here. Draft policy is not a fiduciary responsibility until its has been formally adopted, i.e. is no longer draft policy, but formal policy. Of course there might be other judicial zones which handle this matter quite differently, and if anyone can cite some examples it would be interesting.
- Wayne also uses a status quo argument which I think is similarly flawed. When considering amendments to a policy which has already been adopted, the status quo argument is that things should stay as they are until an amendment is agreed. However as there only exists a draft policy at the moment, then the status quo is actually that there should be no nominated members except as provided for in any policy which has actually been adopted.
- Wayne also seems to want to privilege those of us who choose to organise on a national basis. Perhaps he could expand on this.
By creating informal groups, whereby Council Members can work with the WE community to practically address the key issues that WE face, progress can be made
- in creating a shared approach for dealing with problems which can be refined into draft policy before being passed onto the formal Council for amendment and adoption.
- in creating shared working processes which constitute an arena in which the participatory democracy Wayne also advocates can be realised.
from these experiences a broader range of people will be able to understand the practical consequences of any policy innovations which are proposed. Then, I would argue, we would have a larger and better informed turn out in future voting processes. It may well be that we find that lots of people are really keen on Wayne's approach . . . or we may find that there is another preferred option.
What I would really to see is how the Council can set up such informal working groups to help cope the problems which WE is currently experiencing. Taking an example form my own personal experience joining 10th Online L4C Workshop. 62 participants from 23 countries. However only 15 participants signed their learning contract, and it appears that only 10 actually developed user pages. The goal of the course was to gain WikiMaster/WikiBuddy recognition. Of those 10, only 2 did so, 3 getting WikiMaster/WikiApprentice Level 2, 4 getting WikiMaster/WikiApprentice Level 1. I found the two people supporting us through the process very friendly and helpful. And it may well be that they are checking to see whether they can upgrade anyone's course work. However I think it is at a structural level that the high drop out level needs to be addressed. I have tried to encourage other people to join WE, but as they have less experience of dealing with wikis than I have, they are finding it impenetrable and are on the point of giving up. Furthermore there are many instances of generic pages being created - take Booklist as a recent example - which simply create more confusion. At various times I have encouraged editors to think more about the titles of the pages they start, whether it is something specific to them or their organisation, or something that is open to the whole community.
So I suppose what I am asking for is that the Council creates a Usability Working Group to start dealing with these issues. I think this would involve a smaller group of council members to self-select to participate in this working group to draft good practice guidelines which can then be discussed, adapted and adopted if acceptable by WE as a whole. If there are WE editors, particularly Council members who would like to discuss this proposal in greater detail, please feel free to contribute to the Usability Working Group proposal for first Community Council Meeting section of User:Leutha/Guidance for the Perplexed. Leutha 13:22, 9 October 2008 (UTC)