RationalWiki:2017 board of trustees election/Campaigning

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2 trustees will be elected to serve 2017-2019.

"Campaigning" is for candidate promises & arguments in favor of their trustee-ship.

"Question time" is to ask candidates about their scandalous, hypocritical, and generally shitty behavior -- or anything at all you'd like to know their thoughts on.

"Endorsement sheet" is to endorse candidates.



If re-elected, I will continue to perform my duties as a Board member with the responsibility, diligence, and professionalism I feel is expected. ħumanUser talk:Human 18:53, 30 July 2017 (UTC)


I am honoured to have been nominated for this position. I have been quietly mopping away here for nearly six years without seeking to cause any drama. I don't seem or have rubbed too many people up the wrong way either, apart from a few notorious arseholes. I promise to take my duties seriously and to approach them coolly and calmly. Spud (talk) 11:02, 31 July 2017 (UTC)


This has been a productive session for the rationalwiki board, as we've managed to make the board a better standalone entity, since our permanent member, and director, Trent, has been quite busy with his career. To that end, we've sorted through a number of boring and legal hurdles that I'd rather not air in a public space. My own contributions to that work has been relatively minor, but I will take credit for setting up a board mailing list to keep more formal records and simplifying communications a little.

I'm confident I could be replaced with any individual who wants to put in a moderate effort, and can show up on time for a skype meeting, so my campaign promise is this: I'll keep doing that for my next term, and if anything bigger is required, I'll do my best. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 19:36, 31 July 2017 (UTC)

Colonel Sanders[edit]

I am thankful to have been nominated for this position. As a longtime semi-active user (since 2010) I would be delighted and honored to serve the overall goals of this site through the Foundation. Outside perspectives are always of utmost importance, and I strongly believe that I would be able to provide them. --Taylor Swift lover (talk) 01:30, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

Campaigning by people who can't run[edit]

The White Wing Dove[edit]

If this site wishes to be takrn seriously, it needs to act serious. I'm sorry if this hurts anyone's feelings, but most of the users here act like high school freshman, and the policies are as if they were written by high school freshman, and the only way that is going to change is by adding mature outsiders to the board. I am currently a business administration student with a GPA above 3.0, but I am also over the age of 21. I have experience at various Wikimedia Foundation wikis and Wikia. I have served on the board of directors for a local LLC, where I served as the secretary. Proof of all of this will be submitted to the other board members upon my election, and I agree to making my election contingent upon everything stated being true. I hope to serve this wiki soon. The White Wing Dove (talk) 12:51, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

If you want to serve the wiki, perhaps you can help write and/or improve the content here or help out with various tasks. If you truly are experienced with wikis, you'll know that no one could ever possibly hope to show up on a website, not contribute to it in any notable way and expect to be elected to a board. ShabiDOO 14:08, 21 August 2017 (UTC)

Question time[edit]

Ask any or all candidates any question you want. (Make sure to {{ping}} them!)

Just add a Header 3 (===) below with your query.

Part-time IT staffer[edit]

As some users may have noticed, this last years' fundraiser had a higher target than usual, as we wished to hire a part-time IT staffer to do critically needed maintenance and upgrades to our wiki software. As luck would have it we got an unexpected volunteer who got us past the immediate issues and found the security intrusion you've all seen reported this year.

My questions to the candidates: If elected to the board, would you want to make a permanent, but part time, role to pay for such work, either compensating the volunteer for his time, or hiring a new employee to keep us up to date, knowing that we'd be asking more from our users every year to do so. — Unsigned, by: Ikanreed / talk / contribs

  • ikanreed

As this is my question, I'd propose the answer is yes, as the security breach, in particular, highlighted the risk of doing things ad-hoc, and we'd be doing a bigger disservice to our users letting things slide than by asking for more each funding cycle. It's really not fun to decide what to do with other peoples' money, but merely paying for a physical server alone may not be tenable in the long run, even if it is cheaper. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 19:48, 31 July 2017 (UTC)

  • Spud

I'd say that we got lucky in getting a volunteer to help us out last time. We cannot expect that to happen again. Yes, we need to employ a part-time IT staffer and yes we need to ask for more money in our fundraisers in order to do that. Spud (talk) 08:33, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

  • The White Wing Dove (ineligible to run)

I've hired employees, and while I agree this is a good idea if feasible, you better be prepared going in. Probably the best way to handle it if the foundation hires someone to hire them as an independent contractor rather than an employee so the foundation doesn't have to deal with things like worker's compensation or withholding their income tax. Regardless, there's a lot of paper work. A better option would be to hire an outsourcing company to handle it, because either way will be expensive. The White Wing Dove (talk) 13:07, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

  • Human

One thing we have been working towards is making future tech efforts (MW upgrades, security concerns, etc.) less dependent on individual knowledge of how things were set up. We have been very lucky (and sometimes unlucky) over the years - well, over more than a decade - to have had people who know what they are doing and have the time to keep the infrastructure creaking forward. If and when the only option is to hire someone, we will find a good fit and pay them to do what we need as and when we need it done. Volunteers are wonderful, but not always there when we need them. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:08, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

  • Colonel Sanders

Short answer: yes. In fact, I personally know someone who has qualifications in IT who is currently looking for work. For the purpose of creating a totally legitimate and secure Foundation, I would recommend him or someone like him with similar qualifications. --Taylor Swift lover (talk) 01:36, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

Long-term financial stability[edit]

Do you have any proposals for long-term financial stability of RW? Do you think it's feasible get grant money? Bongolian (talk) 03:22, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

  • Spud

Looking at the possibility of getting grant money is something that I would be interested in. I wouldn't bank on it happening, though. As far as I am aware, we have survived well enough on donations so far, although I would certainly be interested in looking at other potential sources of income. Spud (talk) 08:33, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

  • ikanreed

I'm not sure it's tenable to get grant money. We definitely can't count on it. Most skeptic organizations run on just enough cash to get by, and I'm not aware of any that provide grants for merely running a website. I'd say the best chance RW has of expanding its income sources is to expand its userbase. Relatedly I'm 100% in favor of keeping rationalwiki ad free, and will vote against any proposition to bring revenue in through ads. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 13:51, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

  • Sidenote (current boardmember)

Just a note: infidels.org, with Alexa rank in the 200,000s, raised $40k. RationalWiki, with Alexa rank above 20,000, raised $5k. Take from that what you will. Fuzzy. Cat. Potato! (talk/stalk) 19:05, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

Interesting — it might be worth exploring some of the ways that infidels (or other sites) is able to increase funding, just on a technical basis. E.g., subscription buttons, Amazon Smile program, a better looking donate button on our own page. Also, the Amazon Associates program, which after joining could just be changed on this page, where ISBN links currently redirect. Bongolian (talk) 03:09, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Percy (current boardmember)

No problemo — I'll just need a sack, and something sharp. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 03:21, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

  • The White Wing Dove (ineligible to run)

The reason donations are so low is because the site mainly attracts teenagers and immature college students, neither of which have any money. More mature users are turned off by the childish approach to debunking, which often involves taking cheap shots at the enemy, and the constant trolling, edit-warring, HCM, and bickering. Until the mentality of the wiki changes, the wiki will always be as a starving student. As for grant money, forget about it. The government won't because of this site's active position on religious issues and lack of any service apart from attacking religion, ditto for any faith-based organizations that issue grants. Academia won't help you because any professor would respect this site even less than Wikipedia due to its lower standards. There's no money to be made for a corporate grant unless the wiki advertises the company, and even then a lot of companies are getting away from controversial sponsorships due to organizations like Media Matters. So unless you get a grant from American Atheists or the Soros fund, good luck. The White Wing Dove (talk) 13:25, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

*Whom ħumanUser talk:Human 00:14, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Human

No, I don't. I don't even have any long-term plans for my own long-term financial stability. That said, I consider any ideas that come along with both a skeptical and open-minded ear. Perhaps we should sell RW-branded marijuana? I am totally against advertisements, and "swag" is a very hard way to actually add revenue. The best hope that ever arises is to increase the user base - which is (very) slowly and steadily happening. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:14, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

  • Colonel Sanders

As a staunch libertarian, I believe that the key to long-term stability is seeking funding from likeminded persons and groups in the private sector. I believe that it can be done, and that there are supporters of science and freethought who would be willing to invest in a project like this: it fills a gap that Wikipedia cannot fill due to the nature of Wikipedia's tone and general presentation. --Taylor Swift lover (talk) 01:39, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

Deeply important question to all candidates[edit]

If you take one goat and you subtract by two goats...do you get a negative-goat? How can you identify a negative-goat? What do negative-goats eat? As a member of the board...what would you do to bring about greater awareness of negative-goats? Do you support a greater inclusivity for negative-goats on this website? Perhaps we could reserve one spot on the board for any qualifying candidates who are negative-goats? Feel free to answer some or all of these questions. ShabiDOO 04:31, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

See Fun:Not goat. Bongolian (talk) 07:15, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
First, to understand negative goats, any such situation must have a goater, a person who is giving the goats. Their real-world reserves of goats may be overtaxed by any given transaction with the goatee. Such overages could be devastating to the goatconomy, and I suggest we prevent the overleveraging of goats by creating a strategic goat reserve that can provide goat liquidity in emergencies.Structural goat shortages, however, are an increasing problem as we approach Peak Goat, and nothing but serious investment in renewable goats will help. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 16:22, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Well slap me silly and call me Bill O´Reilly! You had me at goatee. You got this users endorsement!!! ShabiDOO 00:27, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
The correct answer is long-eared jerboa. Next question? Spud (talk) 09:17, 10 August 2017 (UTC)

Candidate endorsement sheet[edit]

1.Human (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · block user · vandal log · block log)

  1. Endorsements
    1. Human has been a reliable and sensible board member, and has the longest tenure there of anyone currently serving. If he gets your vote, you can be confident you're getting someone who will treat the goal of the rational media foundation with the respect it deserves. Other positives: always shows up to meetings and gives very sensible views on the questions before the board. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 19:50, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
    2. Human has been on the board for a while and we're all still here. Means she's done a good job, as far as I'm concerned. RoninMacbeth (talk) 00:29, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
    3. Above reasons.-ᎠᎥamᎧndᎠᎥᎦᏣ1(talk) 00:34, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
    4. Long-standing user who is a safe pair of hands on the board. BicyclewheelToxic mowse.gif 18:20, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
    5. Mature, experienced, and really the kind of person that belongs on the board. The White Wing Dove (talk) 13:41, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
    6. (((CheeseburgerFace))) Spinning-Burger.gif (talkstalk) 04:36, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
    7. +1 for Human ShabiDOO
    8. Above reasons. Christopher (talk) 13:30, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
    9. Because promoting rights for Human means promoting human rights. In a sense. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 14:23, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
    1. A long term board member who has presided over a period when the wiki was consistently warned about security vulnerabilities. Along with fellow board members of the time, Human ignored those warnings; ultimately resulting in a data breach.
Human is part of a board that has not published meeting minutes since 2010/11 (?).
His board also failed to submit required documentation that almost lead to the wiki losing its non-profit status.
Although I suspect Human may not agree with it, Human has been part of a board that has increasingly exercised editorial control over the wiki, despite being founded explicitly as a non-editorial entity.
Human was a member of the 2015-16 (?) board that did not hold a single meeting for at least a year.
With all of these board failings we can't determine what level of culpability Human has, perhaps he was blameless. Regardless he has been a board member over a period of time where it would be kind to say the board failed spectacularly. Throwaway123 (talk) 07:14, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
These are fairly specific policy concerns. Would you like to pose them as questions to us current candidates above? ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 19:41, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
I would like to address some points here, since it would seem appropriate.
I did not "preside" over anything.
It has never been "my" Board; I worked with another Board member to update much neglected documentation with the State of NM.
Not sure what editorial control is implied, besides addressing content that might be defamatory.
On the 15/16 Board, we were all guilty as charged. This is partly why I spearheaded the move to staggered terms, to promote institutional memory.
That is all, thank you for your interest. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:29, 17 August 2017 (UTC)

2.ikanreed (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · block user · vandal log · block log)

  1. Endorsements
    1. The wiki's still here!-ᎠᎥamᎧndᎠᎥᎦᏣ1(talk) 00:35, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
    2. DD1 and I have similar thought processes. RoninMacbeth (talk) 01:08, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
    3. (((CheeseburgerFace))) Spinning-Burger.gif (talkstalk) 04:36, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
    4. I wasn't going to endorse anyone, but that goat joke really got me. 32℉uzzy; 0℃atPotato (talk/stalk) 22:04, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
    5. Structural goat shortages...amongst other reasons. ShabiDOO
    6. Has proven himself a perfectly cromulent board member. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 14:23, 21 August 2017 (UTC)

3.Spud (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · block user · vandal log · block log)

  1. Endorsements
    1. Doesn't have an endorsement yet, so why not?-ᎠᎥamᎧndᎠᎥᎦᏣ1(talk) 03:09, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
    2. Wormed his way out of giving me ten thousand dollars, so obviously a tight-fisted bastard financially capable. BicyclewheelToxic mowse.gif 18:20, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
    3. (((CheeseburgerFace))) Spinning-Burger.gif (talkstalk) 04:36, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
    4. The 'Pedro' to my 'Napoleon'. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 14:23, 21 August 2017 (UTC)

4.Colonel Sanders (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · block user · vandal log · block log)

  1. Endorsements
    1. Balancing out the below anti-endorsement.-ᎠᎥamᎧndᎠᎥᎦᏣ1(talk) 03:07, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
    2. (((CheeseburgerFace))) Spinning-Burger.gif (talkstalk) 04:36, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
    3. Seems nice. RoninMacbeth (talk) 13:24, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
    1. Lusts after the flesh of Taylor Swift, a direct violation of Matthew 5:28.— Unsigned, by: Elvis is King / talk / contribs