[Board] [OSGeo-Conf] Conference Committee Review, WAS: Proposal: Invite Andrea Ross, from LocationTech to join the OSGeo Conference Committee

Dave McIlhagga dmcilhagga at mapsherpa.com
Tue May 31 05:21:20 PDT 2016


Hi Cameron and Maxi,

Thanks for the quick feedback on this.

The decision (ie who makes it) I think here is less of the issue than the actual process itself.

Does anyone else feel that we could do a better job here if we scrapped this competitive LOC process and instead worked to compare potential cities/countries and make a decision this way?

FOSS4G-NA has worked this way for several years, and it seems like a much more collaborative approach to making a decision, instead of the bureaucratic RFP-like process we’ve put in place that really locks us in to a pre-set path.

Dave




> On May 31, 2016, at 1:44 AM, Massimiliano Cannata <massimiliano.cannata at supsi.ch> wrote:
> 
> Dear all
> Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
> 
> I see the current process quite fine with conf com evaluating the proposal and the board confirm or eventually override the rank given.
> 
> The only thing i can suggest is to have a transparent process of evaluation in the sense of having well defined evaluation criteria justified by voting members. 
> E.g.: Not only my vote for A but for A-prices: 7 out of 10 with short motivation.
> 
> In this way results are transparent and easier to be understood.
> 
> Cameron, i think that saying that if you didn't run a big conference you are not eligible for voting is deeply wrong.
> It is like excluding users from PSC because are not developers. Diversity of visions and ideas and point of view brings often innovation and improve the processes.
> 
> Maxi
> Il 30/Mag/2016 23:52, "Cameron Shorter" <cameron.shorter at gmail.com <mailto:cameron.shorter at gmail.com>> ha scritto:
> Dave,
> 
> I like where you are going with this email thread.
> 
> I'll expand to say that making an informed decision about FOSS4G city selection involves:
> 
> 1. A significant time studying proposals
> 
> 2. Significant experience understanding the complexities running a conference (as experienced by prior foss4g committees)
> 
> Unless board members have been involved in running a conference they would likely need to defer to expertise of others in making a FOSS4G decision. 
> Volunteer effort is thin in both the conference committee and the board committee (to the level required to understand a FOSS4G proposal). I agree with Dave about outsourcing this work. 
> As it stands, I think the conference committee is better qualified to make a better decision on FOSS4G selection. But board input should be welcomed.
> 
> Warm regards, Cameron
> 
> On 31/05/2016 1:11 am, Dirk Frigne wrote:
>> Dave,
>> 
>> Thank you for your mail.
>> It is very informative, and I will put a topic on the next board meeting
>> on June, 9. I think the points we should discuss at the board level are:
>> 
>> 1. What does the board expect from the conference committee, so it can
>> make a right decision.
>> 2. What is the vision of the board concerning the most important event
>> of OSGeo.
>> 
>> It is clear FOSS4G (main and side events) become more and more important
>> to outreach to new potential members, and to connect and 'energise' the
>> current members. Almost every week there is a FOSS4G event somewhere on
>> this planet. It should be great to have an overview list of all the
>> FOSS4G events taken place in the last 10 years. I've seen a slide by
>> Till about the global FOSS4G events with the number of attendees, but an
>> overview of all the events would give a good insight in the importance
>> of the movement.
>> 
>> I will be in Bonn and open for a face2face meeting with other members of
>> the committee to discuss these topics.
>> 
>> Dirk.
>> 
>> On 30-05-16 16:07, Dave McIlhagga wrote:
>>> Steven,
>>> 
>>> First of all - I think this committee has done a lot of really good and
>>> very important work over the years, so for everyone here please don’t
>>> take any of this as a criticism of the work that’s been done in the
>>> past. I think we’ve done the best we can with what we’ve had to work
>>> with and the mandate of the committee.
>>> 
>>> Note: I’ve cc’d the board here as some of this needs to be discussed at
>>> the board level not just within this committee.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> I have a few areas of concern that I think are worth a discussion here:
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 1. *Who Decides?*
>>> 
>>> I believe we need to separate out the “Doing” from “Decisions” —
>>> Committee’s are put in place to handle the _/workload/_ that would be
>>> too onerous for the board, and to make decisions that individually have
>>> _/relatively low impact on the organization as a whole/_. The Board is
>>> responsible for making the _/decisions that will have significant impact
>>> on the organization/_.
>>> 
>>> With that in mind — my suggestion here is that regardless of the process
>>> we go through to decide on locations for future events, organizing
>>> committees, timing etc.., (more on this below) the board should be
>>> making the ultimate decision on the annual event, if for no other reason
>>> than it’s financial impact on the organization. Any event could have +/-
>>> $100,000 impact on the organization, and this today is the primary
>>> source of funding for OSGeo. By definition, that makes this decision the
>>> most important decision OSGeo makes every year.
>>> 
>>> Having said that — as we all know here, there is a ton of leg work that
>>> precedes making this decision — and that’s where the work of this
>>> committee should be focused. If this group can be in the business of
>>> _running and managing_ the process of putting on the conference each
>>> year, and _advising_ the board on options, pros/cons, etc.. ie. helping
>>> the board to make an informed decision, then we’re doing our job as a
>>> committee. Then the board can make this key decision based on the
>>> direction the board is taking the organization. Is fundraising
>>> important? Is hosting the event in places OSGeo is strong important? Or
>>> maybe in places it’s weak and wants to grow? Depending on budget plans
>>> and many other factors — the answers to these questions can be quite
>>> different.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 2. *Selection Process*
>>> 
>>> I feel that the competitive process we’ve established that was arguably
>>> well suited for the early days of OSGeo (it was definitely a step
>>> forward from yours truly choosing - which was the process pre-OSGeo) —
>>> has run it’s course. With the amount of experience we have under our
>>> collective belts, and the size of the events we’re dealing with, why do
>>> we every year need to more or less start from scratch, and waste
>>> valuable community volunteer time in competition rather than doing
>>> something collaboratively?
>>> 
>>> A very simple example of where the current process fails to meet OSGeo’s
>>> needs is the proposed dates from the most recent selection process.
>>> Every proposal suggested an August date for the event … why? Because it
>>> was the cheapest period to rent venues, and could as a result drive the
>>> most profit for OSGeo, increasing every LOCs chance of being selected.
>>> That’s possibly the right way to do things … but it also means
>>> overlapping with many peoples vacation periods, meaning many attendees
>>> that would typically come, won’t. Was that a good thing? The competitive
>>> process meant right or wrong, we were more or less “stuck” with an
>>> August date.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> What if instead we did something along the following (this is just to
>>> get the brain juices flowing, not definitive):
>>> 
>>> 1. Find a PCO we can work with year-after-year … this would make life
>>> simpler for the committee, and cheaper for OSGeo as there’s no
>>> year-after-year re-learning. It also means we can much more effectively
>>> learn from our mistakes and have consistent relationships to work with
>>> to put on a better show every year.
>>> 
>>> 2. We come up with a predictable date/schedule so that attendees and
>>> critically sponsors can plan around it year-after-year.
>>> 
>>> 3. Committee looks into optional cities/countries to host through a lens
>>> of a combination of availability, cost, transport access, and access to
>>> locals who could help form a LOC. If this sounds like a lot of work …
>>> well that’s why you have a PCO you work with year after year, who can do
>>> the leg work on this for you efficiently and far better than any of us
>>> can. This also gives you *negotiating* position with the various
>>> venues/hotels/cities. With a conference the size of FOSS4g, most cities
>>> have one venue that can support it … not much bargaining room when
>>> you’re the LOC. But when you’re OSGeo that go to any city .. you can
>>> negotiate.
>>> 
>>> 4. All of this combined allows us to consult the board on options we’re
>>> finding, fine tune based on the board’s needs — and ultimately work in
>>> collaboration with the board to come up with a selected city, that has a
>>> high chance of success given we’re putting our collective knowledge and
>>> the PCOs together without having to pick “one proposal vs. another”.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> I’m not sure if this is all making sense — sometimes email isn’t the
>>> best communicator, but I guess my point is, I think we can do a lot
>>> better than the current process, and arguably with far less cumulative
>>> volunteer time when you combine the efforts of the committee and X
>>> bidding LOCs.
>>> 
>>> Worth a discussion at least I’d suggest?
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Thanks,
>>> 
>>> Dave
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Dave McIlhagga
>>> dmcilhagga at mapsherpa.com <mailto:dmcilhagga at mapsherpa.com> <mailto:dmcilhagga at mapsherpa.com> <mailto:dmcilhagga at mapsherpa.com>
>>> 
>>> /Maps at your fingertips/
>>> /
>>> /
>>> www.mapsherpa.com <http://www.mapsherpa.com/> <http://www.mapsherpa.com> <http://www.mapsherpa.com/>
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>>> On May 27, 2016, at 1:25 AM, Steven Feldman <shfeldman at gmail.com <mailto:shfeldman at gmail.com>
>>>> <mailto:shfeldman at gmail.com> <mailto:shfeldman at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> Dave
>>>> 
>>>> Surely the board should delegate important tasks to its committees not
>>>> take on more work?
>>>> 
>>>> It sounds like you think something has gone wrong with the selection
>>>> process, can you explain?
>>>> 
>>>> Steven 
>>>> 
>>>>> On 26 May 2016, at 19:28, Dave McIlhagga <dmcilhagga at mapsherpa.com <mailto:dmcilhagga at mapsherpa.com>
>>>>> <mailto:dmcilhagga at mapsherpa.com> <mailto:dmcilhagga at mapsherpa.com>> wrote:
>>>>> 
>>>>> Steven,
>>>>> 
>>>>> I couldn’t agree more — this committee has probably the single
>>>>> biggest impact of any OSGeo activities on the Foundation,
>>>>> particularly from a financial perspective.
>>>>> 
>>>>> If we’re going to look at this — I think we should look at the whole
>>>>> picture of how we do things here. It has long been a concern of mine
>>>>> that the most important decision that OSGeo makes every year is
>>>>> effectively delegated away by the board who is the elected group in
>>>>> fact charged with representing the interests of the membership.
>>>>> 
>>>>> The number 1 change I would recommend is that this committee provide
>>>>> all of the logistical services to review conference options, help
>>>>> local organizing committees, and all of the other leg work a
>>>>> committee exists to handle. But the over-riding guidance of what the
>>>>> international FOSS4G annual conference should be all about, how OSGeo
>>>>> decides where/how conference is hosted and run each year, should
>>>>> really be in the domain of the Board.
>>>>> 
>>>>> This group can help that process out extensively given the breadth of
>>>>> experience of the members. If it makes sense to continue the RFP
>>>>> process as we have in the past (which I’m not convinced of) - then
>>>>> this committee can manage that whole process, but I don’t believe we
>>>>> should be casting the votes. It’s too important a decision for the
>>>>> Foundation. Providing experience, perspective, and commentary on
>>>>> proposals to the board is reasonable — but I feel it’s time that the
>>>>> board take back this decision making authority.
>>>>> 
>>>>> Technically, the board does approve the decision of the committee —
>>>>> but this has never been overturned, and in my opinion, the year we
>>>>> failed in China was a direct outcome of this process - I don’t think
>>>>> we’ve really learned our lesson from that yet.
>>>>> 
>>>>> Dave
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>>> On May 26, 2016, at 12:40 PM, Steven Feldman <shfeldman at gmail.com <mailto:shfeldman at gmail.com>
>>>>>> <mailto:shfeldman at gmail.com> <mailto:shfeldman at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Andrea
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Definitely not my intention to indicate support no process. 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Conference Committee is imho second most important committee of
>>>>>> OSGeo, my view is it should have process for selection, clear bounds
>>>>>> of authority and expectations on members. 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Would be good to hear views from a broad cross section of current
>>>>>> and past members
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Steven
>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> On 25 May 2016, at 22:01, Andrea Ross <andrea.ross at eclipse.org <mailto:andrea.ross at eclipse.org>
>>>>>>> <mailto:andrea.ross at eclipse.org> <mailto:andrea.ross at eclipse.org>> wrote:
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> Steven, All
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> Are you stating no process or criteria because you believe that's
>>>>>>> best, or to draw attention to it being a very bad idea? I can't
>>>>>>> tell through email. :-)
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> Andrea
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> On 25/05/16 13:08, Steven Feldman wrote:
>>>>>>>> I thought that had been agreed by nearly everyone who commented
>>>>>>>> although there may have been one or two objections including mine.
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> It seems that if you want to join conference committee there is no
>>>>>>>> process or criteria, you say you want to join and then you can.
>>>>>>>> Quite what happens when you go silent I don't know? Membership
>>>>>>>> allows vote for location of FOSS4G which raises question about
>>>>>>>> potential "packing" of vote but so far we've not had a problem so
>>>>>>>> maybe not an issue.
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> If Maxi wants to be a member, I guess he is one. @Maxi, feel free
>>>>>>>> to add yourself to the current members list
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> Steven
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>> On 24 May 2016, at 15:19, Venkatesh Raghavan
>>>>>>>>>> <venka.osgeo at gmail.com <mailto:venka.osgeo at gmail.com> <mailto:venka.osgeo at gmail.com> <mailto:venka.osgeo at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>> On 2016/05/24 20:13, Cameron Shorter wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> Conference Committee,
>>>>>>>>>> I'd like to propose that we invite Andrea Ross to join the OSGeo
>>>>>>>>>> Conference Committee.
>>>>>>>>> Firstly, we need to decide on the request from Maxi to join
>>>>>>>>> the conference committee which was seconded by me.
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> Venka
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>> +1 from me, Cameron Shorter.
>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>> My reasoning is that Andrea has a lot of experience running
>>>>>>>>>> conferences,
>>>>>>>>>> especially through his involvement with LocationTech, and there are
>>>>>>>>>> synergies that could be gained by aligning OSGeo and LocationTech
>>>>>>>>>> effectively.
>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>> I note that there have been concerns aired previously about
>>>>>>>>>> LocationTech
>>>>>>>>>> competing to take over OSGeo's flagship FOSS4G event. I'm of the
>>>>>>>>>> opinion
>>>>>>>>>> that we should be mindful of this, but we should discuss the options
>>>>>>>>>> openly and I believe we can find a solution favourable for all. An
>>>>>>>>>> effective way to support this conversation is to invite Andrea
>>>>>>>>>> to be one
>>>>>>>>>> vote among our conference committee.
>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>> Warm regards, Cameron
>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>>> On 24/05/2016 6:31 am, Andrea Ross wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>> Dear Steven, & Everyone
>>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>>> I've not been invited to the conference committee, but I will be in
>>>>>>>>>>> Bonn, and I'm always glad to chat/meet.
>>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>>> Kind regards,
>>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>>> Andrea
>>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>>> On May 22, 2016 3:04:03 AM EDT, Steven Feldman
>>>>>>>>>>> <shfeldman at gmail.com <mailto:shfeldman at gmail.com> <mailto:shfeldman at gmail.com> <mailto:shfeldman at gmail.com>>
>>>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>>> Who is going to be in Bonn for FOSS4G?
>>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>>> It's an opportunity for the Conference Committee and interested
>>>>>>>>>>> people to meet face to face, we could discuss some of the topics on
>>>>>>>>>>> the 'outstanding
>>>>>>>>>>> list'http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Conference_Committee_2016_Priorities <http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Conference_Committee_2016_Priorities>
>>>>>>>>>>> <http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Conference_Committee_2016_Priorities> <http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Conference_Committee_2016_Priorities>
>>>>>>>>>>> and we could start preparing the call for 2018
>>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>>> Anyone interested?
>>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>>> Steven
>>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>>> Conference_dev mailing list
>>>>>>>>>>> Conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org <mailto:Conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org>
>>>>>>>>>>> <mailto:Conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org> <mailto:Conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org>
>>>>>>>>>>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev <http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev>
>>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
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>>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>>> 
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> 
> -- 
> Cameron Shorter,
> Software and Data Solutions Manager
> LISAsoft
> Suite 112, Jones Bay Wharf,
> 26 - 32 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont NSW 2009
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