On my motivation, WMF and brutal reality
I am a candidate for Wikimedia Foundation Board. Inside of this and a couple of next posts, I’ll describe my reasons for becoming a candidate, as well as points about what would I do if elected.
To be clear, I want to be a Board member just if Wikimedians express the same wish on elections. From one point of view, it sounds tautologically: How can I become a Board member if I wouldn’t pass elections? But, that quasi-tautology is deeply connected to my motivation.
Being a Wikimedia Board member is not as hard as being a miner, let’s say. Obviously, I wouldn’t stand for elections to become a miner. However, there is a set of disadvantages which makes me personally ambivalent toward taking that position.
Most notably, it is about one new big responsibility on my neck. I don’t like to make decisions for others or in the name of others. I don’t like to find myself in the middle of confronting interests, even one of the sides is my own.
But, my own life choices often lead me to such situations. That’s one of my important disagreements with the world around me. If I want to do something, I have to do that. If I want to do something with others, I have to do that with them! Otherwise, it won’t work. It would be so good to see things done when I want them to be done; or, if I am so crazy to really want to do something and it is by accident something which I have to do with others, to be able to do that alone. But reality is so brutal…
Because of that, I’ve learned to ask myself a couple of questions whenever I am close to one of such situations: May I expect to make significant contribution or I have nothing important to add there? Is there someone else who would be able to do that instead of me? How bad it would affect much more pleasant parts of my life, like spending time with people who I care about?
A few years ago I thought that there is limited number of my ideas for improvement Wikimedia and that the end of my significant input is near. I still think that there is limited number of my ideas. My brain has limits. (Yes, it has, don’t ask me why! I was so upset when I realized that even LDAP documentation and Latin texts from 16th century are beyond my awareness capacity!) But, I’ve learned that the end of my significant input is not so near. So, yes, I think that I may expect to make significant contribution to Wikimedia as a Board member.
When I take a look into, let’s say, 2005, I can say that Wikimedia movement has made great advance. The most responsible persons for that are in the present and past Boards, as well as in the present and past WMF staff. Yes, inputs of others — chapters, volunteers — are very significant. Yes, WMF could do better. But comparing a bunch of good will without sensible organization with more mature community and, obviously, an organization which pretends to be a global one, leaves me an impression that WMF has done a good job. Take a look into other organizations and movements from our milieu. Nothing comparable to Wikimedia movement. Why? Obviously, because no central organization has made what WMF has.
But, there is always more. There are things which haven’t been done. Maybe because I wasn’t so patient to explain them properly, as it was not my responsibility. Maybe because I simply have to do that because no other won’t. So, I don’t have definite answer on the question is there someone else who would do some things for Wikimedia movement instead of me.
Finally, there is the most important question for me personally: How bad it would affect much more pleasant parts of my life, like spending time with people who I care about? — I don’t have a lot of tolerance in relation to that issue.
During the past couple of years I’ve realized something which is both sad and delighted. I’ve realized that I have friends around me, in Belgrade, but that I don’t have my own community. My friends have their own communities, I passed a number of communities, but I don’t feel any of them as my own.
My community is somewhere else. It is nowhere and everywhere. A lot of people who I care about, maybe thousands of them, are all over the world. I am Wikimedian.