[OSGeo-Conf] Analysing the downfall of FOSS4G 2011

David William Bitner bitner at dbspatial.com
Thu Aug 16 14:07:01 PDT 2012


I don't see the ultimate decision being with the Board as watering down the
Conference Committee at all. I still think that it is the responsibility of
the Conference Committee to do the leg work, to review in detail, to work
with any proposing groups and to make recommendations to the Board (and
possibly even to seek input from the membership). The Board always has the
option to disagree with the Committee, to ask them questions, or to throw
things back to the Committee for further work. In most cases, I would
expect the Board to concur and sign off on the Conf Comm's decisions, but
the ultimate authority needs to stop with the Board.

Incidentally, I would really like to see clarification on the role of the
Conference Committee with respect to support of events other than the main
FOSS4G event. I have to say that it was not clear at all (nor is to this
day) what role I should expect the Conference Committee to play in support
or review of the activities that we are working on for the NA event in 2013.


On Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 3:59 PM, Cameron Shorter
<cameron.shorter at gmail.com>wrote:

>  Dave,
> I think you are spot on regarding the importance of conferences (and
> FOSS4G in particular) to OSGeo, and as such I think you are right that the
> board does need to give conferences much of its attention.
> However, I think that it would be better to suggest a slightly different
> management structure.
> Rather than moving conference activities to the board, I'd suggest that
> board members should take a more active role in the conference committee.
> There are a few people who are not on the board now, but who I would
> strongly welcome participating in a conference committee, due to their
> depth of experience with foss4g conferences and wise advise. (Hello PaulR).
> By watering down the importance of the conference committee, I'd expect to
> see less activity on its lists, and then less volunteers stepping up to
> help. And of all places, I think the conference committee is the place we
> most need more volunteers.
> This should be matched by documenting the key decision criteria that we
> think is important for a foss4g conference, and following through on these
> criteria. (In particular, documenting such criteria as under what
> conditions should the conference committee 1. award a conference 2. act as
> a financial backstop 3. cancel a conference)
> The documentation should be the start of a FOSS4G Cookbook, and I intend
> to give it some of my attention in the near future.
> On 17/08/12 06:13, Andrew Ross wrote:
> Jeff,
> For what it's worth - historically FOSS4G has been a source of revenue *
> and* outreach, hasn't it? There's considerable evidence that a well run
> event drawing many people and excellent sponsors tends to be successful on
> both counts.
> A major conference like FOSS4G is a significant financial activity. One
> that carries considerable risk. One sentiment I've heard many times on
> lists and in person is that people are comfortable trusting the board to
> make the right decision for such matters. They elected them to do so.
> Andrew
> On 08/16/2012 03:59 PM, Jeff McKenna wrote:
> Hi Paul,
> It all comes down to the basic purpose of the FOSS4G event.  Is it a
> revenue generator that in fact is the major source of revenue for OSGeo?
>  Then for sure, I can see your points.  Is it to promote Open Source
> geospatial around the world?  Then there is no doubt in my mind Charter
> members should be involved in this decision.
> -jeff
> On 12-08-16 4:45 PM, Paul Ramsey wrote:
>  Jeff,
> Your suggestion moves in the opposite direction Dave is proposing.
> Dave says the problem is that the conf. committee is relatively
> removed from the strategic concerns of the foundation (like financial
> issues) and that the board should take a stronger hand. Handing the
> decision to the charter membership moves the decision to a population
> even further removed from those issues than the conf. committee.
> P.
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> --
> Cameron Shorter
> Geospatial Solutions Manager
> Tel: +61 (0)2 8570 5050
> Mob: +61 (0)419 142 254
> Think Globally, Fix Locally
> Geospatial Solutions enhanced with Open Standards and Open Sourcehttp://www.lisasoft.com
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David William Bitner
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