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Community Assembly

Geoffrey Plourde
The Wikimedia Community Assembly is a proposed leadership body for the Wikimedia Community. This proposal is is designed to be significantly more straightforward, inclusive, and less bureaucratic than the Wikicouncil or Community of the Wikimedian Projects. The impetus for this proposal is the void that currently exists in community governance. This gap is prohibitive to the full realization of the potential of the community as an asset to the Foundation. To address this gap, its most important task would providing a unified community voice to the Board and the world. 
In accordance with the principles of the open source movement, membership in the Assembly would be granted to any Wikimedian who requests it. By doing so, this would prevent this body from becoming a elitist cabal, by insuring that all are heard, not just a privileged few. To prevent this body from being dragged down by size, which does not allow for business to be conducted in an orderly and efficent fashion, subgroups (Committees/Commissions/Working Groups/Task Forces) specializing in specific issues would be created. Any 5 members with a specific issue or topic would be able to create a subgroup to work on that issue or topic. Membership in these issue specific subgroups would be open to all, but if necessary due to size, another group might be formed. 
The Assembly would run according to a community written charter, that would be revised at least once every calendar year. Decisions of the Assembly would be made by consensus, as with most other Wikimedian projects.

Can I get some thoughts on this?


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Re: Community Assembly

Dan Rosenthal
We have trouble gaining consensus when less than a dozen people are  
involved. What makes you think a massive organization like this will  
work? What job will it perform? What authority and power does it have?  
What makes it any different than any current list or page? What about  
it addresses the problems with the Wikicouncil?

-Dan
On May 11, 2008, at 9:11 PM, Geoffrey Plourde wrote:

> The Wikimedia Community Assembly is a proposed leadership body for  
> the Wikimedia Community. This proposal is is designed to be  
> significantly more straightforward, inclusive, and less bureaucratic  
> than the Wikicouncil or Community of the Wikimedian Projects. The  
> impetus for this proposal is the void that currently exists in  
> community governance. This gap is prohibitive to the full  
> realization of the potential of the community as an asset to the  
> Foundation. To address this gap, its most important task would  
> providing a unified community voice to the Board and the world.
> In accordance with the principles of the open source movement,  
> membership in the Assembly would be granted to any Wikimedian who  
> requests it. By doing so, this would prevent this body from becoming  
> a elitist cabal, by insuring that all are heard, not just a  
> privileged few. To prevent this body from being dragged down by  
> size, which does not allow for business to be conducted in an  
> orderly and efficent fashion, subgroups (Committees/Commissions/
> Working Groups/Task Forces) specializing in specific issues would be  
> created. Any 5 members with a specific issue or topic would be able  
> to create a subgroup to work on that issue or topic. Membership in  
> these issue specific subgroups would be open to all, but if  
> necessary due to size, another group might be formed.
> The Assembly would run according to a community written charter,  
> that would be revised at least once every calendar year. Decisions  
> of the Assembly would be made by consensus, as with most other  
> Wikimedian projects.
>
> Can I get some thoughts on this?
>
>
>      
> ____________________________________________________________________________________
> Be a better friend, newshound, and
> know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile.  Try it now.  http://mobile.yahoo.com/;_ylt=Ahu06i62sR8HDtDypao8Wcj9tAcJ
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> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l


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Re: Community Assembly

Ryan Lomonaco
In reply to this post by Geoffrey Plourde
On Sun, May 11, 2008 at 9:11 PM, Geoffrey Plourde <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> The Wikimedia Community Assembly is a proposed leadership body for the
> Wikimedia Community. This proposal is is designed to be significantly more
> straightforward, inclusive, and less bureaucratic than the Wikicouncil or
> Community of the Wikimedian Projects. The impetus for this proposal is the
> void that currently exists in community governance. This gap is prohibitive
> to the full realization of the potential of the community as an asset to the
> Foundation. To address this gap, its most important task would providing a
> unified community voice to the Board and the world.
> In accordance with the principles of the open source movement, membership
> in the Assembly would be granted to any Wikimedian who requests it. By doing
> so, this would prevent this body from becoming a elitist cabal, by insuring
> that all are heard, not just a privileged few. To prevent this body from
> being dragged down by size, which does not allow for business to be
> conducted in an orderly and efficent fashion, subgroups
> (Committees/Commissions/Working Groups/Task Forces) specializing in specific
> issues would be created. Any 5 members with a specific issue or topic would
> be able to create a subgroup to work on that issue or topic. Membership in
> these issue specific subgroups would be open to all, but if necessary due to
> size, another group might be formed.
> The Assembly would run according to a community written charter, that would
> be revised at least once every calendar year. Decisions of the Assembly
> would be made by consensus, as with most other Wikimedian projects.
>
> Can I get some thoughts on this?
>

Frankly, it sounds like yet another idea that is much more bureaucratic than
it's worth, and one that doesn't solve any problem currently before us.
You've already created more rules for this assembly than it could possibly
make for itself.

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Re: Community Assembly

Geoffrey Plourde
In reply to this post by Geoffrey Plourde
See comments in blue


----- Original Message ----
From: Dan Rosenthal <[hidden email]>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2008 7:20:57 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Community Assembly

We have trouble gaining consensus when less than a dozen people are 
involved.
What makes you think a massive organization like this will 
work?
The British House of Lords at its peak had over 1200 members. The US House of Representatives has 435. Bills are still passed.  As is done in other legislative bodies, the lions share of the work of the C.A. will occur in smaller subgroups.
What job will it perform? What authority and power does it have? 
The Community Assembly will the unified voice of the Wikimedia Community. It would set community policy on a global scale and administer community processes. The exact powers given to it shall be determined by the community in its Charter. 
   
What makes it any different than any current list or page?
As of this point the Community has no leadership body. This would step in and fill the void without disenfranchising the collective voice of the community.
 
What about it addresses the problems with the Wikicouncil?

The Wikicouncil was too exclusive. The VC would have given power to a select few, not the many diverse members of the Community. Also no agreement could be reached for selecting members. This issue is rendered moot by the structure of the C.A.

-Dan

On May 11, 2008, at 9:11 PM, Geoffrey Plourde wrote:

> The Wikimedia Community Assembly is a proposed leadership body for 
> the Wikimedia Community. This proposal is is designed to be 
> significantly more straightforward, inclusive, and less bureaucratic 
> than the Wikicouncil or Community of the Wikimedian Projects. The 
> impetus for this proposal is the void that currently exists in 
> community governance. This gap is prohibitive to the full 
> realization of the potential of the community as an asset to the 
> Foundation. To address this gap, its most important task would 
> providing a unified community voice to the Board and the world.
> In accordance with the principles of the open source movement, 
> membership in the Assembly would be granted to any Wikimedian who 
> requests it. By doing so, this would prevent this body from becoming 
> a elitist cabal, by insuring that all are heard, not just a 
> privileged few. To prevent this body from being dragged down by 
> size, which does not allow for business to be conducted in an 
> orderly and efficent fashion, subgroups (Committees/Commissions/
> Working Groups/Task Forces) specializing in specific issues would be 
> created. Any 5 members with a specific issue or topic would be able 
> to create a subgroup to work on that issue or topic. Membership in 
> these issue specific subgroups would be open to all, but if 
> necessary due to size, another group might be formed.
> The Assembly would run according to a community written charter, 
> that would be revised at least once every calendar year. Decisions 
> of the Assembly would be made by consensus, as with most other 
> Wikimedian projects.
>
> Can I get some thoughts on this?
>
>
>     
> ____________________________________________________________________________________
> Be a better friend, newshound, and
> know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile.  Try it now.  http://mobile.yahoo.com/;_ylt=Ahu06i62sR8HDtDypao8Wcj9tAcJ
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> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l


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Re: Community Assembly

Geoffrey Plourde
In reply to this post by Geoffrey Plourde
This idea is fairly straightforward. Could you point to specific issues and how it is bureaucratic?


----- Original Message ----
From: Ryan <[hidden email]>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2008 7:21:12 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Community Assembly

On Sun, May 11, 2008 at 9:11 PM, Geoffrey Plourde <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> The Wikimedia Community Assembly is a proposed leadership body for the
> Wikimedia Community. This proposal is is designed to be significantly more
> straightforward, inclusive, and less bureaucratic than the Wikicouncil or
> Community of the Wikimedian Projects. The impetus for this proposal is the
> void that currently exists in community governance. This gap is prohibitive
> to the full realization of the potential of the community as an asset to the
> Foundation. To address this gap, its most important task would providing a
> unified community voice to the Board and the world.
> In accordance with the principles of the open source movement, membership
> in the Assembly would be granted to any Wikimedian who requests it. By doing
> so, this would prevent this body from becoming a elitist cabal, by insuring
> that all are heard, not just a privileged few. To prevent this body from
> being dragged down by size, which does not allow for business to be
> conducted in an orderly and efficent fashion, subgroups
> (Committees/Commissions/Working Groups/Task Forces) specializing in specific
> issues would be created. Any 5 members with a specific issue or topic would
> be able to create a subgroup to work on that issue or topic. Membership in
> these issue specific subgroups would be open to all, but if necessary due to
> size, another group might be formed.
> The Assembly would run according to a community written charter, that would
> be revised at least once every calendar year. Decisions of the Assembly
> would be made by consensus, as with most other Wikimedian projects.
>
> Can I get some thoughts on this?
>

Frankly, it sounds like yet another idea that is much more bureaucratic than
it's worth, and one that doesn't solve any problem currently before us.
You've already created more rules for this assembly than it could possibly
make for itself.

--
[[User:Ral315]]
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Re: Community Assembly

Pharos-3
In reply to this post by Geoffrey Plourde
> From: Dan Rosenthal <[hidden email]>
> What makes it any different than any current list or page?
On Sun, May 11, 2008 at 10:56 PM, Geoffrey Plourde <[hidden email]> wrote:
> As of this point the Community has no leadership body. This would step in and fill the void without disenfranchising the collective voice of the community.

This sounds to me very much like meta.wikimedia.org.

Thanks,
Pharos

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Re: Community Assembly

Geoffrey Plourde
In reply to this post by Geoffrey Plourde
Unlike the Assembly, Meta is not an structured body. The Assembly will serve as a unified community voice, not the meta aspects of projects.


----- Original Message ----
From: Pharos <[hidden email]>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2008 8:15:08 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Community Assembly

> From: Dan Rosenthal <[hidden email]>
> What makes it any different than any current list or page?
On Sun, May 11, 2008 at 10:56 PM, Geoffrey Plourde <[hidden email]> wrote:
> As of this point the Community has no leadership body. This would step in and fill the void without disenfranchising the collective voice of the community.

This sounds to me very much like meta.wikimedia.org.

Thanks,
Pharos

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Re: Community Assembly

Dan Rosenthal
What will make it unified? A mythical idea of consensus? What is  
consensus, as determined by the assembly? And what makes you think it  
would have any authority, after the board rejected the idea of giving  
the significantly better planned out Wikicouncil idea any authority?

-Dan
On May 12, 2008, at 12:01 AM, Geoffrey Plourde wrote:

> Unlike the Assembly, Meta is not an structured body. The Assembly  
> will serve as a unified community voice, not the meta aspects of  
> projects.
>
>
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Pharos <[hidden email]>
> To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]
> >
> Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2008 8:15:08 PM
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Community Assembly
>
>> From: Dan Rosenthal <[hidden email]>
>> What makes it any different than any current list or page?
> On Sun, May 11, 2008 at 10:56 PM, Geoffrey Plourde  
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> As of this point the Community has no leadership body. This would  
>> step in and fill the void without disenfranchising the collective  
>> voice of the community.
>
> This sounds to me very much like meta.wikimedia.org.
>
> Thanks,
> Pharos
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
>
>
>      
> ____________________________________________________________________________________
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Re: Community Assembly

Geoffrey Plourde
In reply to this post by Geoffrey Plourde
The Board simply said that any proposal in this area would come from the community. Power over the community comes from the community. If it would make you happier, the consensus provision can be changed to a 60% majority.



----- Original Message ----
From: Dan Rosenthal <[hidden email]>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2008 9:25:57 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Community Assembly

What will make it unified? A mythical idea of consensus? What is 
consensus, as determined by the assembly? And what makes you think it 
would have any authority, after the board rejected the idea of giving 
the significantly better planned out Wikicouncil idea any authority?

-Dan
On May 12, 2008, at 12:01 AM, Geoffrey Plourde wrote:

> Unlike the Assembly, Meta is not an structured body. The Assembly 
> will serve as a unified community voice, not the meta aspects of 
> projects.
>
>
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Pharos <[hidden email]>
> To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]
> >
> Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2008 8:15:08 PM
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Community Assembly
>
>> From: Dan Rosenthal <[hidden email]>
>> What makes it any different than any current list or page?
> On Sun, May 11, 2008 at 10:56 PM, Geoffrey Plourde 
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> As of this point the Community has no leadership body. This would 
>> step in and fill the void without disenfranchising the collective 
>> voice of the community.
>
> This sounds to me very much like meta.wikimedia.org.
>
> Thanks,
> Pharos
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
>
>
>     
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Re: Community Assembly

Jesse (Pathoschild)
Geoffrey Plourde <[hidden email]> wrote:
If it would make you happier, the consensus provision can be changed
to a 60% majority.

We can rarely achieve a 60% majority consensus for most issues on this
list, and its membership is smaller than that of an all-inclusive
assembly. Depending on voting also makes numerical superiority more
important than meaningful debate, so that a cultural or
special-interest minority (likely including en-Wikipedia) would
dominate the community through the assembly using numerical
superiority. Reaching many bad decisions due to poor representation is
worse than reaching few good decisions.

--
Yours cordially,
Jesse Plamondon-Willard (Pathoschild)

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Re: Community Assembly

Ben Yates-2
It'll work best if it incorporates video chat.  There are all sorts of
problems with purely text-based communication; people work together
best when they can see each other.

(I know, I know, there's no open source video chat, right?  There's no
open source monitor manufacturer either; that doesn't mean I use a
dotmatrix printout to see what the output is.)

On Mon, May 12, 2008 at 1:07 AM, Jesse Plamondon-Willard
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Geoffrey Plourde <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> If it would make you happier, the consensus provision can be changed
>  to a 60% majority.
>
>  We can rarely achieve a 60% majority consensus for most issues on this
>  list, and its membership is smaller than that of an all-inclusive
>  assembly. Depending on voting also makes numerical superiority more
>  important than meaningful debate, so that a cultural or
>  special-interest minority (likely including en-Wikipedia) would
>  dominate the community through the assembly using numerical
>  superiority. Reaching many bad decisions due to poor representation is
>  worse than reaching few good decisions.
>
>  --
>  Yours cordially,
>  Jesse Plamondon-Willard (Pathoschild)
>
>
>
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--
Ben Yates
Wikipedia blog - http://wikip.blogspot.com

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Re: Community Assembly

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by Geoffrey Plourde
Geoffrey Plourde wrote:
> From: Dan Rosenthal <[hidden email]>
>
> We have trouble gaining consensus when less than a dozen people are  
> involved.
> What makes you think a massive organization like this will  
> work?
> The British House of Lords at its peak had over 1200 members. The US House of Representatives has 435. Bills are still passed.  As is done in other legislative bodies, the lions share of the work of the C.A. will occur in smaller subgroups.
>  
Neither of these legislative bodies came into being without a lot of
history.  Their procedural rules took years to develop.
> What job will it perform? What authority and power does it have?
> The Community Assembly will the unified voice of the Wikimedia Community. It would set community policy on a global scale and administer community processes. The exact powers given to it shall be determined by the community in its Charter.
>  
Any such group becomes suspect when it begins by phrasing its mission in
terms of authority and power.  It's all very romantic to speak of a
unified voice, but the unification has to happen first.  Who drafts the
community charter that is the basis for these powers?
> What makes it any different than any current list or page?
> As of this point the Community has no leadership body. This would step in and fill the void without disenfranchising the collective voice of the community.
>  
I agree that existing community leadership is somewhat nebulous.  Still,
there is more to leadership than just setting up an Assembly or Council;
the community needs to develop a feeling of trust for that body.
> What about it addresses the problems with the Wikicouncil?
>
> The Wikicouncil was too exclusive. The VC would have given power to a select few, not the many diverse members of the Community. Also no agreement could be reached for selecting members. This issue is rendered moot by the structure of the C.A.
>  
There was no question of power with the Wikicouncil.  If it sought to
impose its will without due consideration of community opinions it would
accomplish nothing
.
I find the proposal to be naïve.

Ec

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Re: Community Assembly

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by Geoffrey Plourde
Geoffrey Plourde wrote:
> The Board simply said that any proposal in this area would come from the community. Power over the community comes from the community. If it would make you happier, the consensus provision can be changed to a 60% majority.
>
> From: Dan Rosenthal <[hidden email]>
>
> What will make it unified? A mythical idea of consensus? What is  
> consensus, as determined by the assembly? And what makes you think it  
> would have any authority, after the board rejected the idea of giving  
> the significantly better planned out Wikicouncil idea any authority?
Deciding on consensus or a 60% majority is not about making any one
person happy.  The best governance systems require the active
participation of the governed.  In reality the vast majority prefer to
avoid anything that sounds like politics no matter how much their
involvement is solicited.

 Ec

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Re: Community Assembly

Tim Landscheidt
In reply to this post by Ray Saintonge
Ray Saintonge <[hidden email]> wrote:

> [...]
>> What job will it perform? What authority and power does it have?
>> The Community Assembly will the unified voice of the Wikimedia Community. It would set community policy on a global scale and administer community processes. The exact powers given to it shall be determined by the community in its Charter.

> Any such group becomes suspect when it begins by phrasing its mission in
> terms of authority and power.  It's all very romantic to speak of a
> unified voice, but the unification has to happen first.  Who drafts the
> community charter that is the basis for these powers?
> [...]

To me, the "unified voice" is not romantic, but frightening.
I sincerely dislike the idea that some body might exist that
will pass resolutions "in the name of the community": If
there is a consensus in the community, there is no need to
pass a resolution. If there is no consensus, there should
not be a resolution at all.

  To repeat my two questions I have posted some time ago
with no answer yet:

1. How will any council, assembly or whatever further the
   foundation's mission?
2. What are the non-meta issues that the board has handled
   not as well as the council-, assembly- or whatever-to-be?

Tim

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Re: Community Assembly

Chad
In reply to this post by Geoffrey Plourde
You ask for some thoughts, and I am eerily reminded of your former
expeditions into policy making on Enwiki. Arbitration cabals,
Justice Courts, and the "Statistical Collection and Analysis Group"
(lead by a chancellor, among other bureaucratic roles). I'm sure
Ryan remembers this as well.

-Chad

On Sun, May 11, 2008 at 9:11 PM, Geoffrey Plourde <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The Wikimedia Community Assembly is a proposed leadership body for the Wikimedia Community. This proposal is is designed to be significantly more straightforward, inclusive, and less bureaucratic than the Wikicouncil or Community of the Wikimedian Projects. The impetus for this proposal is the void that currently exists in community governance. This gap is prohibitive to the full realization of the potential of the community as an asset to the Foundation. To address this gap, its most important task would providing a unified community voice to the Board and the world.
>  In accordance with the principles of the open source movement, membership in the Assembly would be granted to any Wikimedian who requests it. By doing so, this would prevent this body from becoming a elitist cabal, by insuring that all are heard, not just a privileged few. To prevent this body from being dragged down by size, which does not allow for business to be conducted in an orderly and efficent fashion, subgroups (Committees/Commissions/Working Groups/Task Forces) specializing in specific issues would be created. Any 5 members with a specific issue or topic would be able to create a subgroup to work on that issue or topic. Membership in these issue specific subgroups would be open to all, but if necessary due to size, another group might be formed.
>  The Assembly would run according to a community written charter, that would be revised at least once every calendar year. Decisions of the Assembly would be made by consensus, as with most other Wikimedian projects.
>
>  Can I get some thoughts on this?
>
>
>
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Re: Community Assembly

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Geoffrey Plourde
>  In accordance with the principles of the open source movement, membership in the Assembly would be granted to any Wikimedian who requests it.

Then why have it as a distinct group? You're talking about "The
Wikimedia Community", so call it "The Wikimedia Community", there's no
need for an assembly. Once you realise that, it also becomes clear
that these "subgroups" are, in fact, just the naturally forming groups
of people interested in a particular policy (or whatever) that discuss
it on that policy page.

You've just invented meta. It's a good idea, but it's so good it's
already been done.

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Re: Community Assembly

Geoffrey Plourde
In reply to this post by Geoffrey Plourde
Just because a body is large does not mean that decisions will be bad. Are you saying that the community is too stupid to govern itself?  


----- Original Message ----
From: Jesse Plamondon-Willard <[hidden email]>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2008 10:07:35 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Community Assembly

Geoffrey Plourde <[hidden email]> wrote:
If it would make you happier, the consensus provision can be changed
to a 60% majority.

We can rarely achieve a 60% majority consensus for most issues on this
list, and its membership is smaller than that of an all-inclusive
assembly. Depending on voting also makes numerical superiority more
important than meaningful debate, so that a cultural or
special-interest minority (likely including en-Wikipedia) would
dominate the community through the assembly using numerical
superiority. Reaching many bad decisions due to poor representation is
worse than reaching few good decisions.

--
Yours cordially,
Jesse Plamondon-Willard (Pathoschild)

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Re: Community Assembly

Geoffrey Plourde
In reply to this post by Geoffrey Plourde
And on the Wikieth day, God invited Skype/Teamspeak.



----- Original Message ----
From: Ben Yates <[hidden email]>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2008 11:57:59 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Community Assembly

It'll work best if it incorporates video chat.  There are all sorts of
problems with purely text-based communication; people work together
best when they can see each other.

(I know, I know, there's no open source video chat, right?  There's no
open source monitor manufacturer either; that doesn't mean I use a
dotmatrix printout to see what the output is.)

On Mon, May 12, 2008 at 1:07 AM, Jesse Plamondon-Willard
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Geoffrey Plourde <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> If it would make you happier, the consensus provision can be changed
>  to a 60% majority.
>
>  We can rarely achieve a 60% majority consensus for most issues on this
>  list, and its membership is smaller than that of an all-inclusive
>  assembly. Depending on voting also makes numerical superiority more
>  important than meaningful debate, so that a cultural or
>  special-interest minority (likely including en-Wikipedia) would
>  dominate the community through the assembly using numerical
>  superiority. Reaching many bad decisions due to poor representation is
>  worse than reaching few good decisions.
>
>  --
>  Yours cordially,
>  Jesse Plamondon-Willard (Pathoschild)
>
>
>
>  _______________________________________________
>  foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
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>



--
Ben Yates
Wikipedia blog - http://wikip.blogspot.com

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Re: Community Assembly

Geoffrey Plourde
In reply to this post by Geoffrey Plourde
The community charter would be written by the community.



----- Original Message ----
From: Ray Saintonge <[hidden email]>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Sent: Monday, May 12, 2008 12:16:27 AM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Community Assembly

Geoffrey Plourde wrote:
> From: Dan Rosenthal <[hidden email]>
>
> We have trouble gaining consensus when less than a dozen people are 
> involved.
> What makes you think a massive organization like this will 
> work?
> The British House of Lords at its peak had over 1200 members. The US House of Representatives has 435. Bills are still passed.  As is done in other legislative bodies, the lions share of the work of the C.A. will occur in smaller subgroups.

Neither of these legislative bodies came into being without a lot of
history.  Their procedural rules took years to develop.
> What job will it perform? What authority and power does it have?
> The Community Assembly will the unified voice of the Wikimedia Community. It would set community policy on a global scale and administer community processes. The exact powers given to it shall be determined by the community in its Charter.

Any such group becomes suspect when it begins by phrasing its mission in
terms of authority and power.  It's all very romantic to speak of a
unified voice, but the unification has to happen first.  Who drafts the
community charter that is the basis for these powers?
> What makes it any different than any current list or page?
> As of this point the Community has no leadership body. This would step in and fill the void without disenfranchising the collective voice of the community.

I agree that existing community leadership is somewhat nebulous.  Still,
there is more to leadership than just setting up an Assembly or Council;
the community needs to develop a feeling of trust for that body.
> What about it addresses the problems with the Wikicouncil?
>
> The Wikicouncil was too exclusive. The VC would have given power to a select few, not the many diverse members of the Community. Also no agreement could be reached for selecting members. This issue is rendered moot by the structure of the C.A.

There was no question of power with the Wikicouncil.  If it sought to
impose its will without due consideration of community opinions it would
accomplish nothing
.
I find the proposal to be naïve.

Ec

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Re: Community Assembly

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by Tim Landscheidt
Tim Landscheidt wrote:

> Ray Saintonge wrote:
>  
>>> What job will it perform? What authority and power does it have?
>>> The Community Assembly will the unified voice of the Wikimedia Community. It would set community policy on a global scale and administer community processes. The exact powers given to it shall be determined by the community in its Charter.
>>>      
>> Any such group becomes suspect when it begins by phrasing its mission in
>> terms of authority and power.  It's all very romantic to speak of a
>> unified voice, but the unification has to happen first.  Who drafts the
>> community charter that is the basis for these powers?
>>    
> To me, the "unified voice" is not romantic, but frightening.
> I sincerely dislike the idea that some body might exist that
> will pass resolutions "in the name of the community": If
> there is a consensus in the community, there is no need to
> pass a resolution. If there is no consensus, there should
> not be a resolution at all.
>  
"Unified voice" can be either, depending on the way it's implemented.  
The kind of unified voice that prevails around some of the current en:wp
processes is indeed frightening.  It is romantic when a person believes
that his solution alone will be the magic bullet that solves all these
problems.  The fallacious excluded middle in your syllogism relates to
not knowing whether there is a consensus.  It is impossible to know
about the consensus before you know the resolution.

I can't speak for Geoffrey's assembly, but there has been no statement
from the Council that it will pass resolutions "in the name of the
community".  It could pass resolutions in its own name, but unless it
can garner wider community support those resolutions will go no further.
> To repeat my two questions I have posted some time ago
> with no answer yet:
>
> 1. How will any council, assembly or whatever further the
>    foundation's mission?
>  
This trick question depends on how you interpret the foundation's
mission.  As long as the foundation's mission is based on dominant
paternalism it can't further such a mission.
> 2. What are the non-meta issues that the board has handled
>    not as well as the council-, assembly- or whatever-to-be?
>  
What do YOU mean by "non-meta issues"?  Clearly, a statement about what
the Board has handled "not as well", is completely speculative in the
absence of a council or other body.  It is nevertheless clear the the
Trustees are limited in number, and are thus limited in the tasks they
can undertake.  The risk is also that a deep involvement in community
editing processes could compromise the protections and defences that it
can claim as an ISP.

Ec

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