[Board] OSGeo Membership (was Re: motions from June 18 meeting - making OSGeo Charter membership more exclusive)

Seven (aka Arnulf) seven at arnulf.us
Wed Jun 24 10:28:37 PDT 2015

Hash: SHA1

On 22.06.2015 21:49, Jorge Sanz wrote:
> 2015-06-22 21:14 GMT+02:00 Vasile Craciunescu <vasile at geo-spatial.org>:
>> Sure, actually I was about to ask the board if such a survey make sense
>> before the elections and then to shape up the questions together.
> Looking at recent discussions, it makes a lot of sense and it's great
> that we finally start using this to get our CMs opinions in an
> organized manner. Thanks Vasile for putting the wheel on moving.

now things are starting to make sense. What we really need is a regular
OSGeo membership that can be polled and asked and that can vote. It
should not be tied to an annual election and certainly should not be
tied to a self pollinating "Charter Membership".

If you go to the roots of the term "Charter Member" [1] it means "those
who were there when things started". The founders [2]. We misused this
term in the past years to emulate something completely different, namely
the representation of a vibrant and growing and caring community of
spatially interested IT people. Instead of trying to implement rules and
conducts and election thresholds and fearing a hostile take over we
should strive to at last put a regular membership in place. It will
require us to ask people for some personal information (which we have to
keep private) to be able to authenticate them. OSGeo was never really
set up to do this kind of adminstrivia which is why we shied away and
tried to misuse the Charter Member role for this purpose. To create
something that might resemble a somewhat democratic election. They are
not ever. We are self pollinating from an arbitrary initial group. With
the number of Charter Members growing there will be more and more people
who don't know each other and will likely never meet in person. "Charter
Member" is simply the wrong tool for what we are really trying to achieve.

Once we have regular membership these issues go away. Then OSGeo will be
really open for anybody. Any time, not just once a year and not for a
limited number of people only. Then we can have real elections and polls
that make sense. People who excel through their commitment, knowledge
and initiative will be elected into the board [3]. Those who care about
their membership will elect the board, not some dreary old Charter
Members from a decade ago (no offense meant, haha).

While we are at it we could even ask for a low annual membership fee
(remember Paul suggesting the Burger Index to find a somewhat fair
global price tag?). This would make authentication a lot easier and
demonstrate some kind of commitment from the new member. Can you picture
hundreds of people becoming regular members, giving personal information
and transfer (even some small amount of) money just to "take over"
OSGeo? Come off it.

Apart from this there is a Charter. It is the DNA of OSGeo and I see no
reason why it should be fundamentally changed.

There will be more amendments and bylaws and in dog's name even a CoCk.
But there will be no fundamental changing of the Charter (support Open
Source Geospatial, bla, bla). This is why it is a charter. It has been
written down on paper to be there for everybody to read. Not to change it.

Oh, by the way - where is our Charter? My guess is we don't even have
one. All we have is this: http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/OSGeo_Bylaws

Have fun,

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charter
[2] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Charter_Members
[3] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Do-ocracy

- -- 
Exploring Boredom

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