[Board] Membership tracking: some radical changes

Michael Gerlek mpg at flaxen.com
Mon Sep 16 15:25:40 PDT 2013

After some quick feedback, I'm making this change:

"Nationality" will now just be "country". The meaning of this field is
entirely at the member's discretion: it could be where you live, where your
employer is located, what your passport says, or to whom you pay taxes.
This information is only used for demographic purposes, e.g. "we have 73
members from Liechtenstein".

We prefer that your country corresponds to the name of a generally
recognized sovereign territory. OSGeo strives to be apolitical, however, and
so if you associate yourself with a territory whose sovereign status is in
question, feel free to put in whatever string you feel best represents your
situation. Please limit yourself to 255 characters, though. And no fair
making stuff up: Sealand, Islandia, and Null Island don't count.


From:  Michael Gerlek <mpg at flaxen.com>
Date:  Monday, September 16, 2013 12:05 PM
To:  OSGeo Board <board at lists.osgeo.org>
Subject:  Membership tracking: some radical changes

> 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
> Notes:
> * "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.
> -mpg

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