[Board] Charter members and directors elections

Tyler Mitchell tmitchell at osgeo.org
Mon Jul 18 07:23:29 PDT 2011

On 2011-07-17, at 2:37 PM, Seven (aka Arnulf) wrote:
> On 07/15/2011 03:25 PM, Jeff McKenna wrote:
>>> How many new charter members do we want to add this year? Stick with 10%
>>> (11 new members) or go for more?
>> I like sticking to the 10% number.

I agree with Jeff.  I think that changing the goals every year only makes more work and more confusion.  

> As last year I would like to suggest to extend this number and allow for
> more new charter members. I can not see the danger of any 'evil force'
> taking over OSGeo and it means a lot to people to be part of the game
> right at the heart of things.

Charter membership only means something because it is a privilege, not universally accessible.  So I think there is something to fear in opening too far without any justification.

> At the same time we are expanding globally
> and we would be well advised to get more people on board who are not
> necessarily all white, north American / European male middle agers as
> us. Now, if all the board is of that same group it will be harder to get
> diversified.

Charter members nominate, and elect, based on their perception of merit of the individual and are free to add in their other factors too.  Unless you are going to tell the membership what demographics they should think are important, I believe the board should not be aiming for any kind of specific demographic representation in membership or in the board.  Once you do, then you have to come up with ways to manipulate voting and that's always insulting.

Naturally as local chapters continue to develop, demographics will change to reflect the broader community, but it does not happen overnight.  Our current group is not so horrible right now anyway!  I think we have a great set of charter members representing a diverse group of individuals - already much more diverse than the original founders only 5 years ago.

> I suggest to elect up to 35 new members (one third). If
> there are less than those let them all in.

This does not seem like a good idea to me, because then really anyone can become a charter member.  Lowering the bar this far makes the whole status of charter membership meaningless.   If you "let them all in" - then the charter membership has no way to exercise one of their only privileges and wouldn't even be allowed to vote.  Instead the board would be entirely responsible, and I don't think that's what the membership or the board really wants.
I believe we want the most engaged and respected people to keep joining as charter members, potentially making their way to the board of directors.  Changing our election parameters, talking about demographics, lowering the bar to let too many in... doesn't help us (the charter membership) encourage contribution or engagement.  I argue it does the opposite.

>> Many community members are talking about elections.  I think it would be
>> good to get this started now (no objections here to the timeline in the
>> wiki).

I agree we should do it now, some new charter membership will make good directors, but can't be this year unless they get elected as charter members first.


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