Talk:Agenda 19Nov11

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Pre Work[edit source]

Mermbership retention[edit source]

  • Sue volunteered to talk about member retention which fitted in with our membership theme for this meeting. This is a big subject on en:wikipedia and will be a problem on other wikis. I'm told Norway lost a lot of editors. Victuallers 16:10, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
    • Is there confusion here between 'member' (of WMUK) and 'editor' (of the Wikimedia projects)? We aren't doing badly with retaining members once they've joined, and our number of members is growing at a stable rate - so I suspect that 'editor' is meant here. It would certainly be good to discuss ways to ramp up WMUK's activities to engage with more people, and draw them into becoming active editors. That's probably Wikimedia's biggest problem right now. Mike Peel 18:26, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
      • Yes, that seems the confusion, we have no problem with member retention. In terms of editor retention, the statics we are all familiar with show drop-off and this may be a symptom of natural evolution of the encyclopaedia.
      • Quick rant warning: I remain concerned about how increasing the numbers of editors is assumed to be a problem by the majority of pundits, yet the deeper understanding of how one might expect Wikipedia as a project to naturally mature and change its audience appears hardly ever discussed. If Sue's presentation is to be entirely based on this assumption then, to me at least, any resulting strategic approach is built on dodgy foundations. Spending a fortune in money and key volunteer time to grab 10% more editors if the new capacity is spent using the project as a Facebook alternative or a mobile phone friendly chatroom seems pointless. -- 08:43, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Media[edit source]

I also asked her to talk about working with media because
  • Its what she used to be a journalist (Canadian Newspaper I was told)
  • Its a skill that the board members need to improve?
  • We are in the middle of media interest with the fundraiser and imminent charity approval?
  • We are a big brand and silly and scandalous stories come our way (Andrew told me his babysitter was given a court summons last year) Victuallers 16:10, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
    • Sue's last job prior to joining the Foundation was 'director of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's website and online news outlets', which is a distinct role from being a reporter, although she was trained and worked as a journalist. I'm sure that she can tell us a lot about working with the media, but that's not the most beneficial thing we can discuss. There's plenty of skill and knowledge on the board, and we can involve others as consultants to gain more understanding of this topic - the limiting factor here is person-time to implement things (we're very much focused on doing, rather than talking, right now).
    • Court summons are a completely separate issue, and are related to misunderstandings where people think that WMUK is responsible for Wikipedia's content (whereas it clearly isn't). Talking about the legal issues surrounding Wikimedia and UK law would be a more useful discussion topic, but still not the optimal one.Mike Peel 18:26, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
    • I think youve wondered off the subject a bit. Assuming we are to discuss communications then Sue still asked for questions we might address. I've copied Mikes comments below so we can keep this for what it was intended for.

Other subjects we should put on the agenda[edit source]

    • Please see Fæ's email for discussion topics that would be more useful. Thanks. Mike Peel 18:26, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Length of meeting[edit source]

If we are gathering to talk in-person for a weekend, I would like to see us meeting for longer than 6.5 hours on the first day and 2.5 hours on the next day - or just 9 hours in total. That's less than the average working day for me, but is spread over 2 days. I know that informal discussion is invaluable, but at this point in time we need to spend more time talking as a group rather than talking in smaller groups. I would also note that the Board's discussion time is being reduced by having 50% of the attendees not being board members.

I don't want to seem like a slave-driver, but please could we start these meetings sooner and finish them later? I also really think that we need to make use of the Sunday afternoon if we're asking people to travel up to 200 miles to attend these meetings - if we're not going to do that, then it would be more time-efficient to have one long day rather than two separate short days. Mike Peel 18:33, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Please defer pushing this point for a bit longer... At Jon's instigation I am discussing a possible facilitated short workshop on governance/charity transition to fit into the weekend. This is at the concept stage (a bit early to clog everyone's email, particularly at such a busy time) until I have a more detailed call with a potential experienced facilitator on Tuesday (8/11). This would mean asking trustees to stay on for longer on Sunday but I cannot make a more detailed recommendation for the board until I have had my call. Obviously there is a significant benefit to be had if the outcome is that the board has a stronger common view on the changes and support we need to become a well governed charity. -- 22:04, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

---Can I reinforce that - we need to get the governance sorted and be seen to be getting the governance sorted. An hour or so of your time when you are all together will give us a real boost and if you are happy can lead to the joint and several approach to training ove the next year. Jon Davies

Getting back to timing - I agree that we could do with more time. The limiting factors on the Saturday are giving time for Andrew and Steve to travel down and getting the room after staff have gone. Working on to six can be done I guess. As for communications, I think this weekend has shown that we have a lot to learn or at least remember Victuallers 01:58, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

" I would also note that the Board's discussion time is being reduced by having 50% of the attendees not being board members" - at the board's request, I might point out. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 11:57, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

That's right, thanks Andy. Expect some trustees to groan in agony at some points over the weekend, but you can safely put that down to the pain of having such a lot to get through in just a day and a half. Personally I'm delighted we have external involvement as part of our openness as a board, though I recognize that keeping the presentations and discussion focused on key issues and decisions rather than reporting status can be a real challenge for all of us. Cheers -- 13:51, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Saturday evening meal[edit source]

Do we have timings for the meal on Saturday evening? I'm booked on a train at ~8.20pm. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 11:55, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

No yet, you might have to skip the port and cigars. -- 13:51, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Trustees - recruitment, skills and expectations[edit source]

I've asked Roger if I could have 30 minutes to start discussions about these three linked topics. Note there is also cross over with the discussion on governance on Sunday afternoon.

a Recruitment

First, I would like to propose that we run another Board Interest Day, along similar lines to the one last year, in January/February 2012. Please suggest any changes to the previous format.

Second, I think the growth and development of Wikimedia UK means that it would now benefit from looking outside the normal pool of Wikimedians for trustees. There are many experienced charity trustees, who are currently or have been trustees of other charities, and would be willing to serve Wikimedia UK. I propose that we seek to find such people by using an agency such as prospectus. Note that no change to the constitution is proposed: people we find this way would still have to go through the normal procedure of election.

b Skills

The current board of Trustees has many skills between them, but the position is going to become more demanding as the chapter grows and develops over the next few years. The chapter may benefit from a process that seeks to address the gaps more systematically. I would like to suggest we initiate a process to:

  1. Identify the skills and knowledge that are likely to be required by trustees, given planned growth in the next three years
  2. Assess (or self-assess) existing and new trustees for gaps they have in their skills
  3. Plan for a systematic way to close these gaps through trustee training and induction
c Expectations

As the chapter develops, it would be useful if we more firmly established the minimum expectations we have of individual trustees. This would help ensure that trustees are aware of what they are committing to when they stand for the board and means that people who rely on trustees can have reasonable expectations of them. I would see this covering things like attendance at board meetings, participation in decisions in between board meetings, appropriate behaviour and exercise of authority and disclosure of circumstances where necessary. I also propose that routine credit checks are brought in for all trustees and senior staff, with the process managed in a way that takes appropriate care with the privacy and data protection rights of the individual in question.

If you have any questions beforehand, please let me know or ask a question here. AndrewRT 23:41, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

I'm unsure of the value of paying an agent. This may be relevant if we want a board associate <work out alternative title here> with special skills, such as alternative large charity experience or representation from our main partners, but this is not the same thing as I would expect for a Wikimedia trustee. I agree with identifying our skill gaps, but there is no reason to think that the role of trustee will be more demanding next year compared to this (very challenging) year, if it is then we have a serious problem with future burn-out, we should be able to take the burden of detail off trustees by getting the operational balance right.
I would find it interesting to have a 5 minute brainstorm on some key trustee candidates from amongst our community. With a few real names on a list, we would have something solid to think about what that means for future board structure. This seems rather in-camera stuff to me, we might do it at the end of the day (unfortunately when we I, at least, am tired and grumpy).
During this discussion, would you like to talk about what we intend to do to encourage and influence WMF board community representation? -- 00:01, 18 November 2011 (UTC)