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Talk: 2010-2011 AGM/Candidates/Andrew Owens

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Revision as of 11:45, 13 September 2010 by Andrew Owens (talk | contribs) (→‎Clarification regarding newsletters: +)

Hello Andrew - I'm assuming you will accept questions and have posted them here but if you want me to put them on the candidature page please let me know.

Firstly, well done posting your statement with as much time as possible for all financial members to consider your intentions etc. I am hopeful that every candidate, whether a vote or not is required puts their position up clearly for all to see.

I have two questions - they may be related.

  • Question 1 - I (and I'd say others) were fully expecting to see you apply for a more senior position on the committee than a general member - can you tell us why you have decided not to put your application in for those positions?
  • Question 2 - which may be related to an answer to question 1 - During this current year of committee work you were at times inundated by real life commitments and you found this to impact to varying degrees upon your achievement of goals which you had set. Given that your stated goals this year are perhaps even more ambitious, what can you tell us about your ability to remain with your 'hands on the wheel' so to speak?

I look forward to all financial members being able to read your answers.VirtualSteve 18:19, 13 September 2010 (EST)

Hi Steve, and thank you for your questions.
In answer to (1), I had intended to run for a more senior position, and others had encouraged me to do so. It came down to - others beat me to the nomination, and it seemed senseless to try and knock one of them off simply to get into a position myself and present members with an "either/or" choice, especially when there's such a shortage of candidates. (I would have run for such had the constitutional amendment currently on the table been passed.) John, Adam and Craig all bring things to the table from entirely different fields that I think we desperately need on board, and I particularly like the idea that we can break out of this "Australia is NSW/VIC" mindset that has pervaded the chapter since its foundation. A committee member in every state - now that's something I could never have imagined just 10 months ago.
I think that (2) is based on a misconception that time and real life commitments were the only factors which limited my effectiveness and ability to contribute during the term, particularly with getting the information pack moving. The entire committee has seen the plans and the first few completed components but I am yet to receive a single comment or serious offer of help on it. As for the last part of your question, I have both the time and the ability to see through the commitments I have laid out in this statement.
Our term was not noted for its activity or level of success, and it's worth noting the decision by more than half of the team including its leader (our second during the term) not to renominate, along with the general feeling inspired by a look across our published minutes over the term (both of which have attracted comment from members and former members) and the general state of the public mailing lists. Almost none of the decisions taken at our planning meeting in January, for which a variety of committee members were responsible, were put into effect either. The culture I have just described is not one that an Ordinary Member gets to have much say in - indeed, most of my candidate statement is not news to anyone on the last committee. I do not see any advantage in revisiting the past, however, so I will simply say that I am confident that a new leadership team and a new executive, as has been confirmed unopposed, will bring cultural change and offer new talents, skills and ideas to our chapter. Should I be elected, I will be doing everything I can to help them succeed. Orderinchaos 19:24, 13 September 2010 (EST)
Thank you Andrew - that is an interesting answer. I did not realise that you were of the feeling that an Ordinary Member did not have the same rights as executive members - I did not think that was the case. However I appreciate your expressing this belief at this time.
I must take some issue with your statement that none of the decisions taken at our planning meeting in January were put into effect. I can actually think of quite a few that were achieved. I also recall many comments that were provided to you in regards to the information booklet - however that was not the focus of my questions, and as you say we should not delve into the issues of the past too much. My question was more focused on three other issues being your continued education, seeking of work and political life - all of which had impacted upon you; and so my question was simply do you think that these (and other) issues will impact upon you in the same way this term?
I also note that you have often expressed your personal concern that WMAU is NSW/VIC based - I guess if you are re-elected that concern will be overcome?
In any event I wish you good luck with your nomination.VirtualSteve 19:51, 13 September 2010 (EST)
Thanks for your best wishes. As I think everyone has some sort of study and work commitments and as my "political life" was mainly confined to work related to the election just gone in assisting a candidate and party, I don't think that I am any more impacted by my circumstances than any other potential member of a volunteer committee.
Re the info pack issue - I did check my email prior to making that statement and stand by it.
I believe my election last time proved that the membership is quite happy to support regional participation. The first committee consisted of 4 members from VIC and 2 from NSW (with 2 WA financial members brought in as observers). The second consisted of 3 members from VIC, 2 from NSW and 1 from WA (myself). The new one will consist of 1 each from NSW, VIC, QLD and SA, and two more selected from WA, VIC or TAS. It goes without saying that a board with this makeup cannot help but be regional and local in focus - which can only be a good thing. Orderinchaos 20:32, 13 September 2010 (EST)

Clarification regarding newsletters

I just wanted to clarify for members and other readers your reference to the newsletter. My idea to start a journal/newsletter came out of my meetings and discussions with the Wikimedia De communications staff in Berlin and I was inspired by a range of material I brought back from other chapters at the 2010 WMF chapters meeting in Germany. It's got nothing to do with the committee or the secretary role and I don't want to see a perception given to the community (or the committee, for that matter!) that it is a committee job or the secretary's responsibility. The secretary position already has a ton of work and I don't want future secretary candidates to be frightened off, thinking that they are going to have to write a newsletter if they take on the role. It's not a committee project and and it's definitely not a job or responsibility of the secretary. It will be sent to members with their membership packs but it is really just a personal project and it could just as easily be edited/written by a chapter member who is not on the committee. It is very different to the information pack which originated as a committee project and was proposed and developed at the committee's retreat in January. I just wanted to clarify this in case people reading got the mistaken perception that the newsletter was a committee project or secretary job or an idea that was developed by the committee as a group, like the info pack. Sarah 20:57, 13 September 2010 (EST)

Thanks Sarah - pretty much my thoughts exactly! I raised it in my statement only because it was evidence that WMAU is working harder to communicate with members constructively. Wikimedia Australia in its essence celebrates collectivity, we were born of a collective project, and I hope that once the first newsletter goes out then it will elicit contributions and suggestions from our membership who can contribute columns and such in future editions. For example we might have a column on current government goings-on (Gov 2.0 and its follow-ons), education, media, a member's experience of getting a project going, etc, meaning whoever takes on the newsletter position would basically be an editor and compiler.
With the info pack - I wish it was a committee project! It was certainly allocated by the committee but has not been allocated the resources necessary to ensure its success. My own ingenuity may well be enough to get it over the line - when I uploaded the parts I had completed three months ago, one person said it looked good - but I'm hoping that the new committee who are coming in with "fresh eyes" will be able to offer more concrete feedback and assistance. Orderinchaos 21:45, 13 September 2010 (EST)