Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Why I am not running for the Board

One of my little groupies (yes, you know who you are) recently asked me if I intended to declare for the Wikimedia Board elections. Obviously, I have no intentions of doing so. Here's why.

First and foremost, I would have absolutely no chance of winning. I am widely disliked at the English Wikipedia, which is the largest voting constituency in the Board elections. I would be lucky to get 20% support out of the English Wikipedia, and with such poor support there I would need to sweep another large project such as the German Wikipedia, and that's simply not going to happen. Given this, any candidacy would be a Pyrrhic gesture at best, much as my ArbCom run last December was. And unlike then, there's no benefit to be had by the gesture. While declaring my candidacy would certainly draw a great deal of attention (that is, drama), it is unlikely that it would have any useful benefit. It's not like Geogre is running for the Board; none of the current candidates share his inability to control himself. (Things might be different if Florence's seat were up for election....) I can make my points just as easily by asking questions and making comment as I could by running.

Second, I have absolutely no desire to be a part of the Board at this time. Quite frankly, I have grave doubts that the Foundation will survive to the end of the year, and it's really not my desire to be one of the people in charge of a sinking ship. That's pretty close to taping a "kick me" sign to your ass -- or "sue me", in this case. I don't want to be caught in that crossfire. On top of that, I quite simply have better things to do than argue with Florence and Erik (assuming he's reelected, which I rather expect he will). I argue with them from time to time as it is, and it's really annoying. I can't imagine structuring my free time such that even more of it is spent in such an unenjoyable endeavor.

Third, I don't think I'd be all that good at it. I lack patience, diplomacy, and tact. An absence of any of these is not a good characteristic in a member of a deliberative entity, and especially not one in a great deal of distress as the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees is at the moment. I couldn't in good faith make the claim that voting for me would be better than voting for any of a number of the current candidates.

In short, running would create a great deal of drama, and very little else. It's simply not worth it.

Now, that doesn't mean I'm not paying attention. I do hope to find the time to blog some comments on the individual candidates and the election in general, and hope to do so over the next few days. I still need to go through the current slate (I understand a few more have popped up since the last time I swept through) and see if there's any more questions to be asked before I go analyze the candidates. Stay tuned.