[OSGeo-Conf] [Board] Conference Committee Guidelines

Cameron Shorter cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Tue Dec 6 12:27:41 PST 2016

Hi Angelos,

I'm sorry my email comes across as offensive. On re-reading what I said, 
I can see that it sounds patronising. I'm sorry for my rudeness. I do 
believe that process helps communities work more efficiently and it 
helps with transparency. So the goal is admirable.

The process for putting guidelines in place for the conference committee 
have been tainted by an ineffective attempt of the community to create 
such a process.

To summarise, Steven volunteered to create such a process, based on a 
mandate from a face-to-face meeting of some of the conference committee 
members. He put the process forward, tweaked it based on feedback, 
obtained a vote of approval from the majority of members. This is 
everything you'd want from a volunteer. Two committee members (who also 
happen to be on the board) applied veto votes to the proposed conference 
committee process. Resolution stagnated and a significant amount of time 
was wasted. This has resulted in no mandate. I'd argue that next steps 
in obtaining a conference committee process is for the people who 
provided veto to step up to the task creating an alternative process 
which the majority of the conference committee prefer over the existing 
proposal. Based our recent experience, this will be a lot of effort. 
Alternatively, these people can withdraw their veto vote and accept the 
currently proposed voting process.

Warm regards, Cameron

On 7/12/2016 12:28 AM, Marc Vloemans wrote:
> +1
> Perhaps it is possible that the board gives some back ground on the 'why' of the request.....? Hopefully taking away the current impression of being directive....
> As stated in earlier mails; given recent discussions on the above lists, it seems the focus is still on other things than where we (as a community) want to go.
> Reiterating, I still miss a process in which internal stakeholders/participants/members are solicited for their input. Strategising is a process: continuous, participatory, focussed, conscious.
>  From a Marketing perspective; we are currently working on a marketing strategy. Including, which present and future stakeholders does OSGeo need to reach out to, where are they, by which means/channels and with what appropriate messages/products/services?
> I rather work on that than on guidelines
> Kind regards,
> Marc Vloemans

On 6/12/2016 11:48 PM, Angelos Tzotsos wrote:
> Dear Cameron,
> The following are my own views, not an official response from the board:
> If such policy never existed and things worked well for the conference 
> committee, then why did the committee tried to apply a new policy? And 
> why did this new policy got blocked? Perhaps because it was not clear 
> how the committee should work in the first place?
> The board is asking for a document to actually avoid this situation. 
> Having some (even minimal) document of how things work (and incubation 
> committee documents are an excellent example, thanks Jody), would 
> avoid such problems in the future.
> I don't believe that the board is trying to lead by directing or 
> micro-managing the committees. We actually were all against that in 
> the video conference we had. But in order to get some consensus, a 
> minimal set of rules has to be somehow be expressed.
> Please have in mind that volunteers don't only loose their interest 
> when formalities/bureaucracy take over, but also when things are not 
> transparent or when major conflicts happen. I am guessing that Steven 
> did not step down as a chair just because the new policy didn't go 
> through, but also by being involved in a conflict with long e-mail 
> threads etc. The board discussion was towards making things more 
> transparent and open. It was also clear that the "committee 
> guidelines" on our wiki are not a formal document but just an example, 
> and that committees are free to do their own thing.
> Regarding your reference to the Eric Raymond document, personally I 
> find it offensive that you question us being aware of it, or having 
> read it.
> In any case, thank you for your input.
> Regards,
> Angelos
> On 12/06/2016 12:48 PM, Cameron Shorter wrote:
>> OSGeo board,
>> I suspect you'll get a minimal response to a call for membership 
>> policies.
>> The reasons are relatively subtle. Volunteers step up to scratch an 
>> itch if they feel there is a need. If such policies are not in place 
>> yet, then communities probably don't feel the need for them.
>> Having the board direct communities to produce documents, in a 
>> command-and-control type request is typically not how open source 
>> communities work effectively.
>> I think you will find OSGeo communities work effectively, whether 
>> their processes are written down or not.
>> If you haven't already read it, I suggest having a look at The 
>> Cathedral and the Bazaar, by Eric Raymond. In particular, this chapter:
>> http://www.catb.org/esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/cathedral-bazaar/ar01s11.html 
>> I suggest that leading by example and amplifying initiatives of 
>> others will be more effective for you than leading by directing. It 
>> will help you as a board be more effective during your term in office.
>> Warm regards, Cameron
>> On 6/12/2016 4:17 AM, Angelos Tzotsos wrote:
>>> Dear Conference Committee,
>>> Following up on your recent motion to update your membership 
>>> policies and process, and the issues raised by this motion, the 
>>> board has held a video meeting to discuss the issue of committee 
>>> guidelines.
>>> As a result, the board is asking everyone to write down "committee 
>>> guidelines" on how each functions.  The idea is to make sure our 
>>> committees are transparent in their decision making, and open to 
>>> participation.
>>> There is a wiki page here 
>>> https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Committee_Guidelines that provides more 
>>> information (and helpfully provides guidance for committee chairs). 
>>> There are some examples of different committees doing their thing 
>>> here (https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Committee_Guidelines#Examples).
>>> Best regards,
>>> Angelos

Cameron Shorter
M +61 419 142 254

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