Sunday, July 01, 2007

Wikimedia Board Elections: America vs. Europe

A theme that has run through my comments in recent days has been the America vs. Europe angle, which some commentators have tried to discredit. Interestingly enough, early numbers show turnout from the English Wikipedia (which is almost 50% American) to be very poor. While both the German and Italian projects are holding direct voter turnout drives (there is even the statement on the German Wikipedia's mailing list that the English Wikipedia has too much influence and so German Wikipedians must be certain to all vote to eliminate this), other people are actively working to ensure that English participants aren't even aware that there is an election going on.

It seems likely that, unless something is done, the Europeans will win this one, due mainly to lassitude on the part of American participants. Americans are a plurality of participants in Wikimedia projects (27% based on statistics gathered last year), and I'd be willing to wager a majority (by monetary value) of donors. It seems quite inappropriate for Americans to be so heavily outweighed by Europeans.

Then again, when the supposedly impartial election committee spews forth nonsense about how two-thirds of voters don't speak English when 45% of last election's voters voted from the English Wikipedia, what can you expect?