WikiEducator talk:Community Council/Meetings/First/Finalise the Policy

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Thread titleRepliesLast modified
Seconding the motion518:10, 24 October 2008
Tentative thoughts about nominated members010:55, 22 October 2008
===Debate this issue===019:25, 21 October 2008

Seconding the motion

I support most of the motion from Leigh but with modification: "I move that the Draft Policy be reopened for consultation and developed into a final version by Users and Elected Members before any further action is taken in forming a Council beyond elected members. Leighblackall 22:56, 20 October 2008 (UTC)"

My preference is for elected members only and perhaps four members with the highest votes who were not elected to be nominated to council in the first instance, to discuss the draft policy before putting it out again to the Wikied users in the community. I believe that people have made a fair point when saying that the initial consultation process on the draft policy only attracted a small number of users. Clearly there is more at stake now due to the unease of some of the council members re nomination of "outsiders" and a move to accept the draft policy without further consultation. However, I think it is important that elected and non-elected (nominated) council members discuss the policy before it is put out to the users of wikied for further consultation.

I would like to move the following: However, I would like some debate on it before countering Leigh's motion. "I move that four non-elected council members with the highest votes be nominated to council to help formulate the Draft Policy so it can be reopened for consultation and developed into a final version by Users and Council Members - elected and nominated - prior to further nominations to Council."

what are people's thoughts on this?

Bronwynh (talk)10:36, 22 October 2008

I would second this alternative motion Bron. Given the velocity of concern I have expressed, and that has been supported by others, your motion strikes me as a worthy compromise. The minimum of 4 nominated members only from those that ran for the election, and preferably those that won the next highest votes. This would allay my concerns and move us towards an acceptable final policy (provided no one then insists we form an executive committee before finalising the policy). Thanks for proposing it.

Leighblackall (talk)11:19, 22 October 2008

Clearly there is divided opinion on nominated members. There are advantages and disadvantages on both sides of the table.

We are faced with a challenging situation -- the elected members contested an election based on the Draft policy under which we were elected. While levels of engagement in the policy were disappointing low -- this was nonetheless developed as an open policy with considerable time for comment and inputs from the community.

Reopening the policy for consultation before the Council is duly constituted in accordance with the procedures of the policy which elected us creates a precedent which undermines democratic process -- namely, that elected members can change policy without adhering to the requirements for changing the policy. Moreover, opening the policy for consultation creates reasonable grounds for any elected member to challenge the election results. This could potentially mean declaring the elections null and void -- which I don't think is in the best interests of the WikiEducator project.

The best way to move forward in this scenario is to get a clear mandate from the Community by means of a referendum on the issue of nominated members before the first meeting of the full Council and then action the constituted Council to implement the mandate of the Community.

A tough challenge to be sure -- but think that its important for democratic process to honour the basis and foundations on which we were elected.


Mackiwg (talk)11:21, 22 October 2008

Wayne, I don't see what you see. Bronwyn's motion is to implement the Draft Policy - but to implement it as a bare minimum and in a way so that people like me can't scream about non elected and even non Users coming onto the Council. By Nominating 4 people, we achieve the minimum members. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that IS a constituted Council right? Or do we still have to select an Executive Committee? If the EC is required, then the concern that Bron's motion attempts to address is less of a concern because the EC would only be made up of Wikieducator Users, mostly Elected Members, and probably Nominated Members who (if we go with Bron's Motion) are close to Elected Members anyway. So we have a compromise.. we achieve a constituted Council, we avoid the issues and concerns I have raised, and we are now able to address the problems in the Draft Policy.

Leighblackall (talk)18:35, 22 October 2008

With regards to your concerns about the Executive Committee, a few points:

  • The draft policy does not require the establishment of an EC -- it merely provides the authority for Council to establish an EC should it decide this is necessary as well as the minimum requirements to prevent against "stacking" of the EC. So the decision to establish (or not establish) an EC is by normal resolution of the Council, and no amendment to the draft policy is required should council decide against an EC.
  • In the event that Council decides that an EC is required -- the draft policy has a number of clauses to prevent the Council from "stacking" the EC, including for example:
    • A requirement for the full council to pass a resolution detailing the authorities ceded to the EC. This means the Council decides what the EC is allowed to do and what it is not allowed to do;
    • The Council decides on the requirements for being eligible to serve on the EC -- therefore your concerns are addressed because Council can specify by resolution that only Elected Members may serve on the EC. In fact Council could apply additional and more stringent criteria for serving on EC (in the event that an EC is established). The draft policy makes a very clear statement that: "Members [of EC] must have demonstrated real and sustained contribution to WikiEducator to serve on the Executive Committee."
    • There is a further protection in the draft policy in the unlikely event that the Council attempts to stack EC with non-elected members by specifying a minimum standard that requires a majority of elected members on the EC.

Yes, you are correct that nominating 4 people will achieve the minimum numbers for constituting the Council. That said, the intent of the draft policy was to constitute a Council of 25 members. The minimum requirement of 4 was designed as a mechanism to avoid a majority of nominated members in the event that the election only achieved 7 elected members (the minimum number of elected members required on Council). Doing a little math -- lets assume that we only achieved 7 elected members and council appointed 4 nominated members -- that would have resulted in a 57% majority for elected members. Now that we have achieved 15 elected members, the maximum number of nominated members is 10 which results in a two-thirds majority of elected members on the full council. There are a number of elected members who are in favour of nominating 10 members -- so we also need to consider their views as part of our democratic process in the constitution of our Council.

A closing thought -- looking at the folk that have been nominated so far, I see that many of the nominees in fact have significantly more edits in WE than a number of our elected members. So I would argue that our nominated members will in fact strengthen Council rather than dilute it.

Mackiwg (talk)05:17, 23 October 2008

I am not going to say much, except that The draft policy based on which the present elections were held, due to which we claim to be elected also allows for nominations without specifying that the person should have stood for elections. If we feel we are legally elected let us also legally nominate people as provided for in the draft. The body so formed can re-examine all issues.

Let us close the matter on that. savi 06:10, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

Savi.odl (talk)18:10, 24 October 2008

Tentative thoughts about nominated members

Randy has suggested we need to nominate people who can fill a perceived gap for the ninth item on the list, however, I can confidently say on behalf of myself and Leigh that we already have this expertise - curriculum development. I am sure there are others on Council who can fulfil this goal as well. So it seems to me that this item is redundant unless you are looking for people in specific disciplines in which council members do not have expertise. Do we need to explore this a bit further? --bron 22:53, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

"9. Consider candidates who have significant expertise in managing / operating / navigating within educational institutions (this is critical, since one of WE's goals is to obtain 1 or 2 FTEs within institutions to develop curricula --Randy Fisher 18:20, 2 October 2008 (UTC)"

Bronwynh (talk)10:53, 22 October 2008

===Debate this issue===

Wayne Mackintosh 06:55, 5 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

It is possible and indeed appropriate to debate refinements of the policy for the future -- once the full Council is constituted. The inaugural council was elected and will be constituted by this policy. Consequently elected members have a fiduciary responsibility to the community to carry out their duties under the publicised policy on which they were elected. --Wayne Mackintosh 06:55, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Minhaaj ur Rehman Wed, 1 Oct 2008 13:03:29 -0700 (PDT)[edit]

You missed the whole point. We aren't discussing the procedure of election of 10 new members. We are questioning the need and reason for their very existence where i believe 15 elected members completely represent active community members and totally capable of running the processes in WE. I seriously believe in their abilities and see no need for 10 more members and that should be the topic of discussion in first council meeting instead of the procedures of their election which is a secondary and less important thing when their very existence can not be justified.

Leighblackall 07:49, 5 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

None of this addresses the concern I raised Wayne? From the beginning I have acknowledged the process you mention above, even though the level of engagement in the process was evidently low. The process is not in question, nor the policy per say, simply the part in the policy regarding Nominated Members that appears to open a possibility for the Council to be non responsive to the wishes of the voting community. If the risk I raise is recognised by the Elected Members as real, then we should adjust the Policy before we have Nominated Members. If the risk is not real, please address my concerns and allay my fears. Driving through the Draft Policy as The Policy based on a responsibility over another does not make sense to me. If we now recognise a flaw in Draft Policy we have a responsibility to correct it before it becomes more difficult to do so. --Leighblackall 07:49, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Wayne Mackintosh 19:58, 5 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

Leigh, I do not share your concerns with regards to Nominated Members and in my professional opinion this is not a real risk. I do agree that our Council must establish the protocols and communication channels between community and it's governance structures. This will be an important task for the fully constituted council to address. Nominated members are an effective mechanism to add value and skills to our work -- particularly during this early phase of our evolution. I don't see nominated members as a risk because:
  • The wiki model is based on the principle that many eyes contribute to the quality of a resource. Similarly, nominated members bring added value and added perspective to the table which will ultimately improve the quality of our governance work as our project develops. There are more educators working outside the WikiEducator project than within -- I believe that it's sound management practice to have a broad strategic view -- rather than being trapped by our own naval gazing.
    • I don't see any risks of "unintentional stacking" of Council --- elected members all have an equal vote and all voting on resolutions will be made public. Therefore, if the community suspects stacking of the Council -- those responsible will be accountable to the Community because we will have a public audit trail.
    • In accordance with our existing policy, nominated members are a minority. Moreover, elected members are tasked to exercise their good judgement and experience when appointing nominated members. The risk of nominated members not looking after the interests of the WikiEducator project are very low. All members of Council are required to work within the values and processes of the WikiEducator project. That said -- I do take your point that in the event that a nominated (or elected council) member does not carry out their responsibilities within the mission, scope and values of the project -- we must have effective mechanisms and processes to remove Council members. In terms of our policy -- "Any officer or agent elected or appointed by the Council may be removed by the Council, whenever in its judgement, the best interests of the Council would be served thereby." I think it will be far more productive for Council to spend their energies on effective and transparent removal procedures, because the benefits of nominated members far outweigh the risks.
    • The most compelling argument for nominated members, is that this is the most effective way widen the professional skills base of Council. The alternative approach of using an Advisory Board is itself problematic -- 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 in a transparent way. --Wayne Mackintosh 19:58, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Leighblackall 22:02, 5 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

Thankyou for addressing the concern Wayne. Could you share your opinion as to why the Elected Council cannot simply bring people in on a consultancy basis as issues, proposals, or discussion points arrise. For example, this very issue of the Policy and processes we use, those of us who have something to content on the issue could bring in a person to the meeting to share their perspective. They would still be offering their expertise, but we would have the flexibility of bringing people in on a case by case basis. I think this would help keep Council meetings fresh and interesting, and achieve what you are outlining here. They would not have voting responsibilities, but have a high status of consultant on a particular issue at the time, level us in the Elected Council to them decide based on the best information we could optain at the time. --Leighblackall 22:02, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Wayne Mackintosh 02:11, 6 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

My reading of the policy is that Council can still constitute sub-committees and working groups to bring consultant advice on board, so the council still has the flexibility to bring particular expertise/consultants to meetings. The issue at hand is that the role of consultant is very different to a nominated member who is accountable for advice through transparent decision-making. During these early phases of the development of our governance processes -- some level of continuity is required. People need to know the history, understand the dynamic and have an intimate knowledge of our needs during this phase of our development. We won't be able to achieve this through the route of the advisory / consultant model. Our policy has attempted to get the best of both worlds, i.e. continuity plus the advantage of using consultants. Going back into the history of nominated members, personally I was originally opposed to the approach -- I envisaged a simple elected council of 9 members. However, after listening carefully to the advice and submissions from Erik who has extensive experience in the governance of large wiki projects combined with my own dissolutions with the Advisory Board model used by WMF, the nominated member solution was imminently sensible. WE has been able to take the strengths of the WMF governance model but at the same time provide a workable solution for those aspects of the WMF governance model that weren't working too well.
For better or worse, we are obligated to work with the policy we have. It's a catch 22 scenario -- we have no mechanism to approve policy but need a governance structure to approve policy. It becomes a circular argument -- we've got to take the plunge and put a little trust into the process. You are right to express your concerns and we are now in much stronger position to mitigate against the risks you have articulated, for example:
Ideas for risk mananagement
  • Considering nominations from experienced WikiEducators who can fill gaps we have on Council;
  • Developing "job descriptions" for all Council members on roles, responsibilities and authorities;
  • Instituting more robust protocols and procedures for the communication channels between the Community and Council;
  • Clearly defining the parameters and process for removing Council members etc.
  • Requiring that only elected members can serve on the Executive Committee
We should also analyse the risks to which you refer within the bigger realities of our community and project, for example:
  • The Council has very restricted powers, and certainly very little power over the community -- stated bluntly, the Council is essentially a clearing house for policy development by the Community. Council does not have the authority to develop unilateral policy --- they merely have the authority to approve policy provided it has met the requirements of transparent development and open consultation. The expertise we have on Council is there to take a look at whether we've left out any substantive issues etc -- if so then the draft must go back to the community for further refinement. We can't do this with the Community Governance Policy because there is no policy to approve policy if you know what mean -- we made our best shot at finding our workable solution at this time.
  • We are not a representative democracy in the sense that elected members are representing the community that elected them on all WE matters -- Council doesn't have that authority -- WikiEducator is a participative democracy and our Community leads the project.
  • We shouldn't think that as elected members we carry or represent the views of the community. At best, we can only represent our own views. The voting turnout was a little over 100 members. Furthermore, Council members have no mandate from the community other than ensuring due process with the development of policy.
Leigh -- I think that we have the risks you have articulated within reasonable management parameters -- and now that we're more attuned to this through your reflections, we can implement appropriate risk management ideas. Do you have any further ideas for risk management? --Wayne Mackintosh 02:11, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Leighblackall 02:48, 6 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

Thanks Wayne, we seem to be making progress :) Could you please add a link in where you say "However, after listening carefully to the advice and submissions from Erik..." I think I need to see again the rational behind Nominated Members at the source, and I think a link will help others reading this in future. I struggle to agree that continuity would be lost by using consultants and think the flexibility and objectivity we gain through consultancy outweighs that idea of continuity. It may well turn out that we use the same consultants as we might have had as Nominated Members in this instance of Council, and that the same consultants are used more often than not - and so continuity is there still - but only the Elected Members vote in the end, and the consultants (especially those from outside the User base) maintain a professional distance. The discussion on issues etc up to that point would still be available and open, including the advice from the consultants, as would the way the elected members voted in the end.
Suggestions for risk management. Well above is my main suggestion. The only other way I think is for any nominations to be open for debate (very difficult to do given the privacy issues you point out, and personal issues many of us would have in debating a nomination - which now only adds to the risk). So it seems to me that a nomination can only be made, seconded, and then voted on, as per the Draft Policy. Very high risk I think. So to manage this very unsatisfactory situation, unanimous agreement would be needed, including from those absent from the meeting where the nomination was made.
Looking forward to seeing something from Erik that led us into this arrangement. Perhaps it will enlighten me on something I am missing, or help us properly debate the issue. --Leighblackall 02:48, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Wayne Mackintosh 03:22, 6 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

Hi Leigh, here is the link to the page where Erik suggested nominated members.
At this stage nominated members will have voting rights on Council --- we can't change that now :-(. Notwithstanding your concerns -- there are also advantages to this approach and I personally think that its better for nominated members to have voting rights. What we need to do now is implement the risk management strategies we have talked about to manage the process.
When I mentioned privacy issues, what I'm referring to is the fact that we cannot discuss a nomination without prior consent of the nominee because our meetings will be open and all decisions and votes will be recorded for public scrutiny. The policy does not require consensus decision making or unanimous vote on nominated members -- yes something we need to improve on in later versions of the policy. Here I'd recommend that we follow Steve's advice in publicising potential nominees that have agreed to be nominated to WCC on the page for the agenda of the first meeting. This should include the proposer, second and rationale for the nomination. Because of the normal resolution process -- only elected members will be able to propose nominees. This way nominations are made public prior to the meeting and the community will have the opportunity to respond or add their views. Unfortunately -- at this stage we don't have a mechanism for the Community to nominate members -- another area for improvement in the revised policy. That said, I don't see why a Community member can't contact an Elected Council member with a proposal for nomination. Let's acknowledge the mistakes we have made in the first policy --- but at the same time honour our commitments in terms of what we have said we will be doing. --Wayne Mackintosh 03:22, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Leighblackall 04:07, 6 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

Thanks Wayne, it is the link I thought it would be and does not shed any more light on the rationale I am looking for. I personally did not make a commitment to honour the Draft Policy as you state, and see it as merely a guiding document in draft form requiring refinements after the first election. Given the chicken egg situation, the low participation in its development, the risks I point out, and the fact that we have Elected Members now who could have a hand in developing a more satisfactory Policy, we should review the Draft Policy. I appreciate Steve's suggestions, but in reality they do not mitigate the risks. I believe that nothing other than paper is compromised if we review the Policy now, and in the absence of a constitution, precedent or Nominated Members, this is the time to make adjustments. I expect that the Elected Council will hear and consider this debate, take into consideration the risks, and vote to either accept the Draft Policy as Final with management strategies that can really do little to mitigate those risks; or to make amendments that remove those risks entirely before proceeding. I believe the Wikieducator Users will understand this and see it as the responsible thing to do. --Leighblackall 04:07, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Wayne Mackintosh 04:58, 6 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

Hi Leigh I commend your commitment to make a strong stand for your beliefs, and we respect that you have not made a commitment to honour the draft policy. The dilemma is that in terms of the policy we have, we cannot amend the policy until we have a fully constituted council which includes nominated members. It's not only paper that will be compromised -- its the very foundation on which elected members were elected to Council. No doubt the first meeting will result in healthy debate. I'm hoping that other elected members will wage into this discussion on the wiki to express their views. --Wayne Mackintosh 04:59, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Brent Simpson 03:15, 7 October 2008[edit]

I'm now starting to question the nominated members option as well. Strikes me as similar to the same awful situation you have in the US where the administration appoints judges to high courts that reflect their political leanings without any sort of process involved, then these judges remain until retirement/death - "stacking the court" I think they call it. I'm sure that as there was so very little input into the policy from the community, there was also even less understanding of it in respect to the voting so I doubt very much that the "foundations" are going to be rocked as has been suggested if we debate this clause of the policy before nominating or not nominating members. We could hold a referendum style vote/discussion on this I suppose and do as others have suggested let the community weight in on this part of policy. It doesn't strike me so far as having 'consensus' which is preferably the wiki-way rather than locked pages and strict adherence to policy created by so few editors.

Leutha 02:51, 7 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

I am not a Council member, but have been trying to follow this discussion. I did vote in the Council elections, but feel that I have wasted my time if the Council is now going to have "nominated" members. I am concerned when council members dismiss the role of the council because little over 100 members voted, and then propose appointing unelected nominations, creating a larger (and more unwieldy Council), while divesting power to a smaller executive committee.
From outside the Council I would suggest that - as a matter of urgency - you set up a series of sub-committees to deal with specific areas of work and accept nominated members to help committee members work in these specific areas, developing policy and initiatives which then get referred back to the Council for ratification once all the details have been worked out and any salient differences of opinion identified.
I have raised issues with candidates concerning how impenetrable wikedukator is. I have tried to get other people involved with it, but quite frankly, unless I am there physically with them, they find it very hard to deal with. I would be happy to devote some of my time to helping with this if there was a suitable sub-committee/page. set up. I do not think this has to be a bureaucratic process, simply that some Council members agree to take on responsibility for the area, engage with interested members of the community who contribute to the page and ensure that the discussion remains focussed, taking finalised proposals to the Council when they have been further developed. (Please see User:Leutha/Guidance for the Perplexed more specific issues that I raised with all candidates in the elections.)
I also agree that LQT doesn't work!Leutha 02:51, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Wayne Mackintosh 19:22, 7 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

Hi Leutha -- Yip, you're right -- there is much room for improvement in how WE operates, particularly regarding the issues you raised (Taxonomies, Style guides, sysops etc.). Part of the answer lies in the developmental phase of the project and the challenges we're experiencing with growth. Until the establishment of a governance model -- there has been no mechanism to develop guidelines and policies. This is clearly a high priority for the project and community involvement from interested members is always welcome :-) --Wayne Mackintosh 19:22, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Leighblackall 01:16, 9 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

Notice that Leutha's concern that his vote was wasted if we nominate members is ignored here Wayne? Here we have a person in the Wikieducator User base who is concerned enough to express himself here, and who also questions the Nominated Members and did not realise its significance at the time he placed a vote. I wonder, if I was to bring this debate to the attention of Wikieducator mailing list and simply asked those with a view on this issue to post their comments here, if we saw more than 4 comments sharing Leutha's concern and none supporting the idea of following the Draft Policy at this stage, would that be enough for us to accept the concern as real? That would be more people than actually had a hand in drafting the Draft Policy! --Leighblackall 01:16, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Wayne Mackintosh 01:48, 9 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

Hi Leigh. I too am concerned about the communitys' views and interpretation on voting rights of nominated members. At the same time I am also concerned about the views of the community who may support this notion. We conducted the election under the current draft policy and I think that the best way to deal with this is to conduct a referendum after the resolution of nominated members but before the first meeting of the fully constituted Council. The dilemma is that only once the Council is constituted (including nominated members) are we allowed to make amendments to the draft policy. Consequently -- after the referendum we will have a clear mandate on the communitys' views on this matter -- and as Council we will be obligated to honour this during the amendment process. I don't think that we can argue that 4 comments against the voting rights of nominated members is sufficient mandate to amend the draft policy. I agree, its an awkward situation --- but we were always going to face a chicken and egg scenario with the first elections. We don't have an approved mechanism to approve policy -- but in the absence of a draft policy to approve policy we're back to where we started. I think that a community referendum before the first meeting of the fully constituted Council is the best solution that meets the concerns on both sides of the table. --Wayne Mackintosh 01:48, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Leighblackall 03:29, 7 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

Hello Leutha/Fabian!
Very nice to meet a new face in Wikied (new to me at least), and many thanks for helping us out with a suggestion. I like this suggestion a lot. It addresses the possible need for consultants, giving a key role to Wikieducator Users, with final responsibility to the Elected Members. I hope then that we can open a space to amend the Policy, and I think your suggestion gives us something that we can add in the place of the Nominated Members section.
I'm also enthusiastic about your ideas on your User page. Yet again I have missed an opportunity to participate - this time in your topic, but I will happily offer assistance to the 4 candidates who did respond at the time, to progress your ideas.

Wayne Mackintosh 03:52, 7 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

Avoiding a potential deadlock at the first gathering of the elected members of Council -- We have a policy with all its strengths and weaknesses. We followed an open and transparent development approach -- sadly community participation was low -- however, there was a process nonetheless and elected members have an obligation to constitute the Council in accordance with the policy under which they were elected. Clearly there is a need for a community referendum on key issues of the policy to establish the mandate and work towards consensus on these matters. We do not have a duly constituted council in the absence of the nominated members -- for better or worse. What I propose is that the first duly constituted Council immediately institute a referendum on the question of voting rights of nominated members and any other key issues raised. The policy as it stands does cater for amendments which must be duly discussed with the Community. This seems like the best approach to meet the concerns of all gathered around this table. --Wayne Mackintosh 03:53, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Leighblackall 04:14, 7 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

That proposal leads us to a dead lock Wayne! The original proposal was to discuss and vote on the point in question in the Policy. Having Nominated Members without voting rights is not a good situation to be in either! The proposal that Fabian makes strikes me as a strong model we should consider and possibly work with. Sticking with a process of instigating a Council based on a Draft Policy before first finalising that Policy, "For better or for worse" is a dogmatic adherence to a process that is not really necessary. The Draft Policy is in Draft! and the credibility of the democratic process of the Wikieducator elections is not at stake if we work towards first Finalising that Draft. Adhering to a Draft Policy when we know or think there to be flaws, would be a a true compromise to that credibility. Basically my proposal could be looked at in this way: We extend the consultation period on the Policy for a short period of time, get it to a finished state, and then the Elected Members implement the Final Policy and establish Council? --Leighblackall 04:14, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Wayne Mackintosh 04:39, 7 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

Hi Leigh, I am aware of at least one country that collaborated on a national level with each other to decide on who they would propose as a candidate for the elections. This decision was based on cultural norms and practices prevalent in the country concerned -- their decision was informed by the policy on which the elections were actioned. I have a fiduciary responsibility to honour these decisions as well as the folk who put their trust in me and all the other elected officials. I'm not suggesting that the policy is final -- but that we follow due process in achieving consensus under the constraints we have. If the community decides that nominated members without voting rights is the way we go - then that's what the community wants. If the community decides that we shouldn't have nominated members, then that is the way we go. WikiEducator is a participative democracy -- not a representative democracy -- we will be guided by community decisions. At the time the elections were constituted, the community didn't object. So we have to go with the existing policy to constitute council. Now that members of the community on Council are objecting and one member of the Community has posted to this discussion page --- we can proceed in a way that results in a win-win scenario for all involved. Consensus is about give and take by all involved :-) --Wayne Mackintosh 04:40, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Leighblackall 02:30, 9 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

Ok, well assuming the elected members agree to endorse and implement the Draft Policy, I strongly think, and appeal to the Elected Members to only nominate people who campaigned for Council. (I think this was originally Steve's suggestion early on in this debate when it started on the email forum). If Nellie could let us know who the next 4 candidates were in the election results, then we should nominate those 4 people (4 being the minimum number of Nominated Members needed to constitute a Council) and then set to work bringing the Draft Policy to its Final and stable version. I'm not sure a referendum is needed, considering the Policy itself is still in Draft, we simply need to reopen the consultation period so that those of us who are now cognisant of the concerns can negotiate a better Policy through normal wiki editing. Or it could be that we implement Leutha's recommendation ask for volunteers from the Wikieducator User base to form a working party on the Draft Policy and develop it further to a Final version that Council can approve. The date at which that Final Version takes affect though, when would that be? 2 years from now? If so, this is all the more reason we should be conservative with the number and who the Nominated Members are. If they come from the original Campaign, then Leutha will be satisfied that they are in the Council based on election results. --Leighblackall 02:30, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
Wayne Mackintosh 06:52, 9 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]
Hi Leigh, clearly the issue of voting rights of nominated members on Council is a contentious issue --- one of the most passionately argued discussions in the history of our Community! As you rightly pointed out in earlier discussions -- this is our founding document. Unless we get a clear mandate on this issue from the community it is likely to be challenged in the future as well. The smart thing for us to do is to ask direction from the community. You are right -- the minimum number of nominated members is 4, other elected members may argue for nominating the full quota of 10. This is for us to decide at our first gathering of elected members. My reading of the policy is that once duly constituted changes would not have to be 2 years and could be enacted and implemented pretty quickly -- thinking practically within a month taking notice periods into account. However, I would recommend that we provide enough time for proper community consultation. The work group approach would be the best way to work on policy formulation. Our council does not have the "authority" to develop policy -- the community develops policy. The role of Council is to approve policy -- we need to check that policy was developed transparently, that there was enough time for consultation, that the policy is fair and reasonable etc. We do not have the authority to make amendments to policy on our own. If as Council we feel an amendment is required -- we have an obligation to go back to the community for consultation. While I can see the rationale for only nominating individuals who contested the election, I can also see the rationale for nominating members who did not contest the election, as in the case of countries who collaborated on a national level to decide on the election candidates they wanted to put forward. In this scenario -- very capable WikiEducators did not put up their names for the election because this was a national decision. I don't think the election officials have the authority to release the rankings of those who did not make the cut. The purpose of our policy regarding nominated members is for us to collectively apply our expertise in putting the best possible team together that will serve the needs of the WikiEducator community. Sometimes the numbers don't get it right --- I recall your reservations about posting a resume -- because you rightly said this doesn't reveal the real person. Similarly election stat's don't necessarily provide the WE council with the optimal composition on Council. This is an opportunity for us to balance the quantitative with the qualitative in the best interests of WE's future. I think their are risks in being too mechanistic about this process -- we need to put some trust in human judgement and experience :-). --Wayne Mackintosh 06:52, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Leighblackall 21:57, 9 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

Wayne said:
one of the most passionately argued discussions in the history of our Community!
Other equally passionate issues debated by the Wikieducator Users:
  1. Liquid Threads
  2. FCK editor
  3. Embedding 3rd Party Media
  4. Support for Public Domain and CC By (implemented, but debated to the bitter end)
  5. I seem to recall one about the lack of ability for individuals to make a dump or backup of their work, but can't be sure if this turned "passionate".
Support for Chinese Mandarin version of Wikieducator
Even when these issues had a clear majority preference for a certain approach, no change was implemented for a variety of usually obtuse reasons. This debate feels much the same. The outcome is predetermined regardless of the number of expressions. If the concerns about the Nominated Members and an Executive Committee are well founded (reflecting on the past), then I can see little prospect for change in Wikieducator. --Leighblackall 21:57, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
Wayne Mackintosh 23:04, 9 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]
Hi Leigh, I'm not sure whether this is a productive way to achieve consensus on the issues at hand. You are right, there have been other passionate debates and there are substantive reasons underpinning the historical decision path on these matters. Yes -- our community has been vocal on a number of issues, but when it comes to doing the work or carrying the responsibility for decision-making the number of volunteers dissipates drastically :-(. With regards to the points you list:
  • Liquid Threads -- WE took a decision to experiment with LQT in Feb 2007 when we had about 490 users (Only 8% of our current registered users). The technology was developed in response to community requests to improve the discussion functionality of Mediawiki after the pilot offering of our Newbie Tuotrials in the same month. Due to staff shortages and financial implications -- we have not been in a position to properly assess the implications for moving forward.
  • There are still technical challenges with regards to the FCK editor which are still under development. Our current hosting set up does not enable us to have a prototype environment for testing of new technologies. I'm hoping that once we move over to our Phase 2 hosting solution that we will be able to prioritise a solution -- but at the same, I have been overly conservative in exposing ourselves to future migration path challenges or creating future dependencies in the absence of a reliable income stream for the future.
  • The embedding of 3rd party media is not a trivial issue. However, the most compelling reason to delay the implementation of 3rd Party Media pertained to the long term sustainability of the WE project. COL is the sole funder of the WE infrastructure -- in the event that COL were to cease funding the infrastructure --- we would need to have alternative migration paths for our content. The embedding of 3rd party media would have restricted the number of viable migration paths.
  • Public Domain and CC Licensing: On 7 July 2007 Steve started work on a licensing policy page -- to date no one other than Steve has made entries on this page -- in other words, there has been very little community support in getting the things done that are needed. To be fair -- we don't have mechanism to approve policy -- which is why the institution of a Community Governance structure has taken precedence over other policy development work.
  • Yes, I recall that you had concerns about dumping data or making a backup of the work (We do have a backup stragegy in place.) In response to your request I provided you with details of how Otago Poly could make its own backups -- were you able to get this implemented?
  • In terms of Commonwealth Funding rules -- we are not able to support a Chinese localisation for WE. Behind the scenes I have been in touch with other international agencies in an attempt to get funding. I've been in touch with donor agencies -- to date without success. In desperation -- on 9 July 2008 I offered to pledge an amount to help support a Chinese localisation from personal funds -- Unfortunately uptake from others to help raise money has been slow so far.
  • Leigh -- its a tough job taking decisions when you also carry the responsibility for those decisions. I'm really looking forward to having our Council operational, because then they can have a bash at taking decisions and start thinking about future sustainability, security of the servers etc -- really looking forward to this -- I'm going to take a long vacation :-). --Wayne Mackintosh 23:05, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Leighblackall 21:29, 9 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

Well, I've just discovered that as of October 6, the [process was proceeding] regardless of the insecurity a number of us were feeling over the process. The title for the page does read "Proposals for Nominated members (if any) to council" which gives me a small measure of hope that we still have a chance to pull back from this process. I've added a comment on that page's discussion, so am just making a note here for the benefit of anyone else trying to follow this debate, and who like me may have missed this other development.
Also, for the benefit of others now and in the future who may be trying to access all the arenas this discussion has taken place to date:

Leighblackall 05:34, 6 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

 :) on a side note, I think the L4 headings with author name and date stamp works very well for threading discussions through traditional wiki edting hey. An alternative to LQT perhaps? Ok ok, save that idea for another day. --Leighblackall 05:34, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

--Randy Fisher 14:06, 6 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

I agree that these headings do work quite well ~ how about the discussions that take place on the Discussions page ~ why are there discussions happening on this (front) page and also on the Discussions page ~ can they be aggregated somehow? --Randy Fisher 14:06, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Leighblackall 19:20, 6 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

Because LQT doesn't work. Amongst many issues with it, perhaps the post urgent is it needs to send alerts on updated threads. --Leighblackall 19:20, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
Pankaj (talk)19:25, 21 October 2008