Today, the results of the 2015 Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) board of trustees election were announced. 5,167 people voted, making this the highest turnout in any Wikimedia election to date.
The winners — Dariusz Jemielniak, James Heilman, and Denny Vrandečić — were three of the top four I endorsed.
As stated in the Wikipedia Signpost’s coverage, “The relationship between the WMF and the community has been strained in recent times,” and “voting in this election is one of the primary outlets by which Wikipedians can shape the strategic direction of the WMF.” When the WMF declined to acknowledge or address a letter from more than 1,000 people, the main avenue that remained to dissatisfied Wikimedians was to replace the three community-elected board members; and today, they did.
The departing incumbents — and each of the candidates — have made many substantial contributions to the Wikimedia vision over the years, in spite of their divergent positions on Superprotect and related issues. On the most general Wikimedia email list (Wikimedia-L), longtime Wikipedian David Gerard recently expressed his admiration for the group of candidates as a whole. I would like to echo this sentiment; as I reviewed the answers from 20 candidates, to the 40 questions community members put to them, I was continually impressed with the passion and thoughtful consideration from all candidates. Although I had important philosophical differences with a number of them, I deeply respect the dedication each has brought to their work in the Wikimedia world. This is especially true of SJ Klein and Phoebe Ayers, two departing incumbents I have considered friends and allies for a number of years; I appreciate their many contributions to the Wikimedia vision, and their years of service on the Board.
The election results also listed me. Although my name was listed as a withdrawn candidate, a number of people cast votes. The results were not favorable — 108 people supported my candidacy, and 439 opposed. I suppose this validates my decision to withdraw; although I believe my perspectives on what the organization needs to do are important, I was likely not the right person to move them forward as a Trustee.
But Dariusz, James, and Denny are surely well qualified to work on the important issues. As I said at the outset of the election, they have an important opportunity to help the organization realign its approach to the 100,000 volunteers who have built, and continue to build, Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects. I offer the newly-elected trustees my hearty congratulations, and I have high hopes for their influence at this critical time for the organization and for the Wikimedia projects.