Before I chose to run for a seat on the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, I spoke with several trusted colleagues. I had not planned on running; but as I watched candidates release their opening statements, I was dismayed to see how few of them mentioned community dynamics and good governance. As the author of an open letter to the Wikimedia Foundation that drew 1,000 signatures, but then went utterly disregarded by the Trustees, I felt a responsibility to bring those issues into prominent view in the election.
Today, as the opening of voting approaches, I have answered all the questions posed (see this archive of my answers), and have read most of the responses of my fellow candidates. I am very happy to report that these issues have indeed received strong and thoughtful attention from many candidates. I see some echoes of my own words — most notably, my insistence that even absent a formal reply, the Wikimedia Foundation has been egregious in neglecting to address the conditions for using the controversial Superprotect feature. But I am also convinced that some of these candidates have held laudable views on these issues from some time, and done excellent related work; and it simply took some time for it to become visible.
With that in mind, the question my friend Eugene Eric Kim initially asked rings strongly in my ears: “Do you want to be on the Board?” He was adamant about that question, and urged me to keep my deliberation simple and focused. I told him that I did want to, but we both knew my desire wasn’t 100%. After all, I have been able to do a lot of work I take pride in, without any involvement with the Wikimedia Foundation; and joining the Board of Trustees would inevitably impact my ability to continue some of that work.
And so, as the voting period approaches, I have made up my mind: I am stepping aside from the election.
I remain convinced that the incumbent community-elected trustees (Phoebe Ayers, Samuel Klein, and María Sefidari) should be replaced. I am highly confident in two of my fellow candidates, and strongly endorse them: Denny Vrandečić and Dariusz Jemielniak. I plan to elaborate on my reasons in coming blog posts, before voting closes at the end of the month; and I expect to endorse additional candidates, as well.
For further context, please see my other blog posts about this election, in this blog category.