[Board] Membership tracking: some radical changes

Michael Gerlek mpg at flaxen.com
Mon Sep 16 11:05:20 PDT 2013

Dearest Board:

I'm in the midst of updating our membership records.

As Arnulf will attest, it is extraordinarily difficult to keep track of the
email addresses of so many people from so many different parts of the world.
In past years, I have also tried valiantly to track people's mail addresses,
affiliations, phone numbers, nationalities, and more. It may have been a
good idea back in The Olden Days when we were looking to be a more formal
organization; today, I don't see the point. (To my knowledge, in the history
of OSGeo no one has ever actually needed in to use the contact info we've
strived to maintain.)

Therefore, I'm going to just record the following:
  - member ID
  - full name
  - email address 1
  - email address 2 (optional)
  - nationality
  - date joined
  - date removed (optional)
  - voting record


* "Full name" is your full, complete, legal name expressed, e.g. as it
appears on your passport. We do not track nicks or handles, nor do we
differentiate first/last/family/surname distinctions. When alphabetized, the
first letter of your legal name string is used. For example, I am "Michael
P. Gerlek" and am therefore filed under "M". (Yes. Really. If you think you
want to change this policy, Arnulf and I will laugh at your innocence and
naiveté :-)

* Yes, I have removed "affiliation": while demographically interesting,
there's no business need to try to keep track of this (esp. as we define the
Foundation to be made up of individuals only, no corporate or other
organization entities).

* "Voting record" means "did you vote or not?" ‹ no, we do not keep a
permanent record who you voted for! This information is used to track
members who are becoming inactive.

* I'm also not recording "country of residence" anymore. A number of us
think no more of crossing borders than we do of crossing the street. (Yes,
I'm looking at you, Europe...) Again, this data is certainly demographically
interesting, but passport-nationality is more straightforward to track.

I'm unilaterally making this changes, as Secretary Pro Tem. The board is
free to change this policy when a new Secretary is put in place; we have the
old data, so someone could pick up from before I made this change.

Finally, I'll note that we should maintain contact records for the board
members. I consider that a separate issue, though, and won't address it as
part of this project.


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