Oakland Wiki: This Messy Thing Called Governance

After immersing myself in the community for the last two months, I cannot figure out if the organization is governed by a benevolent dictatorship or if its by consensus. However, I asked about a conflict last last week, and what I’ve figured out thus far based on my conversations with the other volunteers within the Oakland Wiki Google group is: Oakland Wiki comes to a consensus either within the Google group, or during the group’s regular Thursday meetings in downtown Oakland. With this being said, the group could be considered a benevolent dictatorship because these in-person meetings eliminate other people who are contributing to the project remotely.

I’ve emailed the group, based on my last posting, this question:

“Thanks, Julio! I understand where you coming from, for sure.

However, you bring up the issue of discussing at a Thursday in-person meeting. Is this the typical form of governance? Do issues get decided upon based off these meetings? Or, is there another governance model so everyone who cannot attend still has the ability to voice an opinion? Or, is the discussion on the Google group where things often are decided? Just curious, in case I cannot make it on Thursdays.”

I have not received a response yet, but from what I understand, a woman named Marina Kukso, managing director, is one of the those who are heading the group because she is involved with LocalWiki, the grass roots organization working to collect, share and open the world’s local knowledge. LocalWiki provides the platform for each city or town’s local wiki.

I do not think this is the best form of governance, though I think there’s a good basis. I think it should involve people based within the local community. However, it seems as though the people contributing to the project cannot be heard unless they join the Google group or attend the meetings. I think a poll page should be implemented based on issues so other people working remotely can include their votes on proposed issues. Otherwise, it feels very messy and not streamlined.

Right now, it seems a little out of sorts. And I substantiate this observation with the fact that there’s no policy documents on the site! I think I could propose writing up a page on how governance works within the organization, otherwise, again the volunteers have to continually ask questions on the Google group or be present at a physical meeting.

added Comments Thomas 11/6/2013 (see commit description)