Talk:Advisory Board

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Alternative approaches[edit source]

Fæ is advocating that WMUK should have Fellows and Associates. WMUK has thus far appointed Martin Poulter as an associate (see [1]). There are concerns that this approach may result in a hierarchy of volunteers, since it may be perceived to sit between volunteers and the staff/board. The advisory board proposal seeks to avoid that by being distinct from the staff/board and member relationship. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mike Peel (talkcontribs)

As well as the ability to have as many Associates as we wish to act as expert (pro bono) advisers and then independent (paid and pro bono) experts to advise on specific issues (such as Peter Williams and the lawyers Stone King), we currently have active committees of volunteers (including ex-board members) on GLAM, Education, Wikimania, Conferences and the "Executive". Having another advisory committee without portfolio, would seem excessive unless these current alternatives were mostly abandoned. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

The advisory board would replace neither the paid professional advice that WMUK receives, nor the committee structures that are being set up - rather, it would complement them by having an extra body that can provide expert, general advice to the board (and potentially also the professionals and committees on request). As such, no existing structures would need to be abandoned.
(Note on the committees: we don't have a 'Wikimania' committee, that comes under 'Conferences', and the Executive is a sub-committee of the board and Jon rather than a typical 'committee'. All of those committees have specific portfolios, rather than being without portfolio.)
Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 23:19, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I just fail to see the pragmatic benefit of having a vague, and apparently large, committee without portfolio in addition to all of the above. In practice this starts to look like any wiki meet of members who can call the board to account by having an EGM or any involved members that want to come to the open board meetings and give presentations and advice as they see fit - plus such members would have the benefit of not being cherry-picked by the trustees, a situation that would always leave the Advisory Board open to accusations of cronyism (which by definition would have to be true under the terms of this proposed unelected shadow board). An advisory committee/board/talking shop seems a tangent compared to the governance mechanism of Fellows which would be lightweight in comparison and restricted in its authority.
Mind you, if the intention is to keep the noisiest and most disruptive members busy in their own committee so they can feel important and valued, while in practice they can be safely ignored by the elected trustees, then I guess that is a benefit. -- (talk) 01:09, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Size[edit source]

My original preference for the size of the advisory board was for it to be unlimited, such that it would be capable of hosting a very broad range of expertise. Tango is "suggesting limited size (so there is an opportunity cost associated with each appointment so they aren't made on a whim)". That makes sense to me, but I would argue that seven would be rather too small to cover a sufficient range of expertise. Perhaps 14 would be a better number? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 23:32, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

I think 14 is essentially unlimited. You'll have to set the bar pretty low to find 14 people. --Tango (talk) 09:51, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
We should ask Andreas if he would be interested in chairing it. That might attract other interesting members of Wikimedia UK to take part...
You can see where I'm going with this, right? So, let's skip to the end game. This discussion should be deferred until after the report into Wikimedia UK governance is complete [Jan 2013], this will mean we can have a sensible discussion about improving the governance framework that would be underpinned by solid recommendations. We can then put forward a range of improvement proposals, seek independent advice and maybe even have a 1 day workshop just to get this bit right. -- (talk) 10:20, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Why an Advisory Board?[edit source]

Here are some links on the main page....

What strikes me is that these are about businesses, not about charities, with phrases like scout the marketplace. Yes, there is a commercial aspect to registered charities. And Wikimedia UK has staff. But an advisory board cannot really take part in staff matters, since that is the business of the Chief Executive, who answers to the Board of Trustees (the Directors of the Company).

The fact that the Wikimedia Foundation has an advisory board may be misleading, given that the Foundation is an American not for profit company.

The Board of Trustees and the Advisory Board should be one and the same. The membership votes at AGM for the people who have the skills and experience. Scrutiny can happen within that framework (e.g. internal audit). But a formal advisory board would be a paper tiger. Gordo (talk) 19:39, 24 October 2012 (UTC)