The 2021 Board elections are scheduled to take place in the next few months. I would like to flag the voting eligibility criteria for “Developers” previously and should be reconsidered. In 2017, the criteria were
- Are Wikimedia server administrators with shell access;
- Or have commit access and have made at least one merged commits in git to Wikimedia Foundation utilized repos between 1 October 2016 and 1 April 2017.
The wording used is not commonly used in the MediaWiki and Wikitech communities. Issues with the above criteria are:
- The group of “Wikimedia server administrators with shell access” nearly completely overlaps with Wikimedia staffers.
- There is no hard-defined category as “Wikimedia Foundation utilized repos” (there is some work in progress: T190891: Develop canonical/single record of origin, machine readable list of all repos deployed to WMF sites. , but nothing concrete as of now)
- "commit access" has an unclear meaning nowadays. It made sense in SVN days but we use Git and Gerrit nowadays. Now anyone can create a Developer Account and "commit" a change to Gerrit as a proposed code change, but whether the change will also get merged ("+2'ed", means: included and made available by default to everyone pulling that codebase) depends on someone else first reviewing that proposed code change in Gerrit.
A significant number of folks do not necessarily make edits to mediawiki.org but are still developing tools, gadgets etc. A good number of them work on Wikitech and/or Gerrit/Git. That requires using an LDAP account (aka 'Developer account'). An LDAP account is separate from the SUL (Single User Login) account used for mediawiki.org and also used by SecurePoll. There are several people who develop and run bots, user-scripts, building tools for deployment on Toolforge (or anywhere else), but don’t necessarily make edits on mediawiki.org or contribute to MediaWiki core - they are being excluded as well.
It seems like these criteria were developed long ago and have not been updated with the changes in practices of MediaWiki and Wikitech contributors. I don’t have a perfect solution as of now but would like to raise this issue with the Elections Committee. It would be helpful if other developers can share their thoughts and what can be good criteria. This will affect not only the upcoming elections but others such as the Steward elections.
Also posted on the talk page of 2021’s election page on Meta-Wiki: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/2021#Reconsideration_of_eligibility_criteria_for_technical_contributions_in_election