Forum:Transparency of the Board of Directors

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This thread was archived on 5 January 2020 by IsobelJ.

Now that the board elections are concluded; I think it's a great time to figure out how we want the board to function. In this thread I would like to focus on transparency specifically and will be making proposals based around that.

There are three main reasons why I think it's crucial to have a transparent ruling body:

  • While the board is ultimately responsible for any decision made, it is a good idea to have as many eyes as possible on discussions, decisions and plans to avoid errors.
  • Community trust in the board will be hard to achieve in the long-term without transparency. If something goes wrong, people need to know the why and the how beforehand; we do not want to turn into another Wikia.
  • As all the entities under the umbrella of Weird Gloop Ltd. are focused around the respective communities, I think the average user has a right to know what is going on behind the scenes as much as anyone else.

Proposals[edit source]

1. Official Documents[edit source]

  • Any contractual, financial, legal or otherwise official document should be published on the Meta Wiki as soon as possible.
  • An exception to this is when terms of a contract or another form of legal agreement prevents the documents from being public.
  • A second exception is when such a document being public would be a breach of privacy. This would be any document involving involving personal details that do not have the consent of the relevant person.
  • Clauses involving privacy of documents should be avoided as much as possible. The board should have a responsibility to actively negotiate for contracts and other documents with no such privacy clause. If not possible, the board should negotiate to have the documents published with the sensible parts redacted.
  • For any document involving personal details, the board should again negotiate to have the important parts published with the rest redacted. What qualifies as important would need to be decided by the board members on a case-by-case basis but ideally things like monetary values, contract lengths etc. would be published with other things like real life names and addresses not being necessary to publish.
  • The value of making documents publics should generally be considered to not outweigh the value of improving the company in some manner when negotiating.
  • In order to be able to more effectively convince third parties to the above requests, a Values/Vision/Mission page should be created where we state transparency as a core value of the organization with striving for public documents as a core tenet. In the long term, this will help it become the norm in our contracts and not something unexpected and scary.

2. Meetings[edit source]

  • After every board meeting - voice comms, text, or otherwise - the board should be responsible for publishing meeting minutes.
  • It should include the topics discussed, decisions made, and other relevant notes.
  • In some cases, it might not be possible to publish the above due to sensitive information. What qualifies as sensitive should be determined by the board. However, the board should be responsible to default to publishing information and have a good justification for hiding information.
  • Such information should still be stored with dates and the reasoning for keeping it private somewhere to be published further down the line when the information is not sensitive anymore. The board should be responsible for figuring out the technical details of this.

3. Plans[edit source]

  • The board should prepare short-term and long-term plans and publish them on the Meta Wiki. It should involve technical, community-based, financial, legal and other plans the board has.
  • As before, any sensitive information need not be published. However, the board should have a good justification for not publishing things and be prepared to publish it in the future when it is not sensitive anymore; along with the justification and dates.
  • The difference to meeting minutes would be that these should be a conglemeration of all the plans the board has in one place, rather than having it scattered around in multiple different meeting minutes. The board should be responsible to maintain the plans.

4. Reports[edit source]

  • Akin to the plans, the board should be responsible to prepare short-term and long-term reports and publish them on the Meta Wiki.
  • The reports should have qualitative and quantitative data on the overall status of the Wikis and Weird Gloop Ltd.
  • They should also contain information on current project/plan statuses, any financial and legal information possible to publish etc.
  • The board can decide the frequency of the reports as well as the exact contents. I would suggest monthly and bi-yearly reports for short-term and long-term respectively.

Discussion[edit source]

Support all - As nominator. bad_fetusTalk 13:36, 2 January 2019 (UTC)

Comment - With respect to the publication of official documents, I think that if the decision is made that the document should not be published, a notice of the document existing should be added somewhere. Otherwise, I think we run the risk of subsequent directors not being aware of documents that may affect their role. I don't have an opinion on where such documentation would exist - it could be on meta or somewhere else directors can easily access. cqm talk 15:32, 2 January 2019 (UTC)

Support all - This seems good overall to me. Have to agree with cqm that there needs to be some kind of directory for the documents, both the public and private types. Perhaps a Document: namespace for the fully released ones, linked to in the sidebar, with a page listing all documents in the namespace in an organized manner. Individual pages in the namespace would have a summary of the specific document it's describing. For the private, sensitive things, I don't have a solution.

One question I do have, though, is this line: "Such information should still be stored.... somewhere to be published further down the line.... The board should be responsible for figuring out the technical details of this." In this case, does "the board" include the server admins? It seems to me like it would most likely need to include them, as they'd probably be the ones responsible for implementing it. -- F-Lambda (talk) 22:45, 2 January 2019 (UTC)

The board can direct the sysadmins to implement something if necessary, at which point the technical implementation becomes the responsibility of the sysadmins. The two are not the same, so perhaps a clarification is needed. cqm talk 17:51, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Support all - Agreed with Cqm, and F-Lambda. TylerJarret (Talketh) 16:15, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Closed - I have closed this as having no formal closure because there has been little discussion of the proposals raised, though at this point the thread has been open for nearly a year. While there was support for the proposals, in the course of the year we have learnt about the function of the board and a more sophisticated proposal is currently open in Forum:Weird Gloop constitution. Therefore I would encourage editors to make any updated suggestions for practices to promote transparency in board activities via that thread. IsobelJ (talk) 22:14, 5 January 2020 (UTC)