[OSGeo-Conf] [Board] Amended MOTION (items 1-5): Conference Committee - Updating Membership Policies and Process

Gert-Jan van der Weijden - Stichting OSGeo.nl gert-jan at osgeo.nl
Sun Oct 9 14:15:40 PDT 2016

Apart from the serious concern of many (almost all, including myself) of us
whether this is the way to run an organisation like OSGeo, I notice some
fuzz on the more technical aspects of the decision making, especially when
it comes to the difference between "a motion" and "an amendment to a


Therefore an attempt to clarify this (with my comments between parentheses):

On September 9th Steven proposed the 1st version of his MOTION [1]

- This proposal received a mixture of votes, opinions and suggestions for


On September 14 Steven put an adjusted version of his MOTION [2] to the

- this received votes, as well as some additional comments for improvement
(by Maxi and Maria). Steven explained we are now in the voting stage, and
therefore no changes to the MOTION [2] can be made at this stage


On September 19th the voting result on the MOTION [2] are:

+1=12, +0=1, -1=2 (not voted=3)

- Steven declares the MOTION [2] approved, not realizing the "-1" votes are
meant as vetoes


On September 20th Steven corrects his announcement and declares that the
MOTION is NOT approved


On September 27th Steven puts an AMENDMENT [3] (as suggested by Maria,
proposing a 50% quorum) to the vote.

(please note this is a vote on the AMENDMENT [3] itself, not yet on an
amended motion!)


On September 29th the results of the vote on the AMENDMENT [3] are:

+1=5, +0=1, -1=1 (not voted). Steven explains his "-1" is not to be regarded
as a veto but as a strong opposition

- Steven concludes the AMENDMENT [3] is approved

- Steven applies the AMENDMENT [3] to the text of the MOTION [2], thus
creating an AMENDED MOTION [4]

- Steven asks Maria and Venka to check if the text of the AMENDED MOTION [4]
is correct.


On September 29th Maria states the MOTION did not pass.

(this is confusing, since at that time there was no voting on a motion.
Probably Maria meant the AMENDMENT [3] did not pass. However, under the
voting rules of that moment the AMENDMENT [3] did pass)


Technically spoken, we now have an AMENDED MOTION [4] which either 

a) can be put to the vote of the conf. committee

b) can be further adjusted with 4 more proposals (on size and composition of
the CC) made by Maria. After that the further amended motion can be put to
the vote.  Even more theoretically/technically: these 4 proposals can either
be combined in 1 amendment, or can be split in 4 separate amendments.



(my conclusions:

After overseeing this discussing, it seems that improvement can be made by
making clear in what stage an motion is:

a) is it a proposal, and thus asking for reactions and improvements or,

b) is it a (formal) motion, 100% ready to be voted on. In that case the
replies can only be +1, +0, -0 or -1

Amendments are merely an indication that the process of shaping the formal
motion did not work as it should have.)


Apart from that, the fact that the discussion and voting is cross-posted to
2 mailing lists doesn't help as well.


Boring process stuff, isn't it? On the other hand, deciding on FOSS4G is
deciding on an event with a turnover which soon will hit the 1 million US
dollar bar. And that's a decision that requires in all stages a clear




Have a nice working week! 













Van: Conference_dev [mailto:conference_dev-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] Namens
Maria Antonia Brovelli
Verzonden: zondag 9 oktober 2016 21:54
Aan: Paul Ramsey; conference
Onderwerp: Re: [OSGeo-Conf] [Board] Amended MOTION (items 1-5): Conference
Committee - Updating Membership Policies and Process


Of course I'm not enthusiastic, I'm not enthusiastic at all. In fact, as I
wrote when I was not part of the Board and a as logic consequence of the
situation (the message from many people was: the CC decides about
conferences, the Board about governance), we asked the Board to discuss and
to decide about the governance. And in order not to slow down the
activities, we (now I'm part of the Board) have a Board meeting very soon. 

Therefore, as you can see, I'm promptly moving toward searching a solution.

Thanks a lot  for your detailed suggestions and comments (all of you).

Have a lovely week.




Prof. Maria Antonia Brovelli

Vice Rector for Como Campus and GIS Professor
Politecnico di Milano


ISPRS WG IV/4"Collaborative crowdsourced cloud mapping (C3M)"; OSGeo;
ICA-OSGeo-ISPRS Advisory Board; NASA WorldWind Europa Challenge; SIFET 

Sol Katz Award 2015


Via Natta, 12/14 - 22100 COMO (ITALY)

Tel. +39-031-3327336 - Mob. +39-328-0023867 - fax. +39-031-3327321

e-mail1: maria.brovelli at polimi.it

e-mail2: prorettrice at como.polimi.it






Da: Conference_dev <conference_dev-bounces at lists.osgeo.org> per conto di
Paul Ramsey <pramsey at cleverelephant.ca>
Inviato: domenica 9 ottobre 2016 16.59
A: conference
Oggetto: Re: [OSGeo-Conf] [Board] Amended MOTION (items 1-5): Conference
Committee - Updating Membership Policies and Process 


If most members of this committee despair at this fiasco, I can only imagine
the enthusiasm with which the board will take it up. Except maybe they'll be
very enthusiastic, since it is the board members on this committee that have
stuck sticks in the spokes of Steven's motion. 


I see recent conference chairs and prospective chairs in support of Steven's
changes, and Board members opposed. I supported them myself, even though
that meant superannuating myself from the committee. Well and good: it's
been a decade since my conference, and a smaller committee might actually be
able to move a little more nimbly and do more than just winnow a couple RPF
responses every 12 months.


Venka and Maria, you seem surprisingly willing to destroy the village in
order to save it. I dunno what to think.






On Sun, Oct 9, 2016 at 5:41 AM, Venkatesh Raghavan <venka.osgeo at gmail.com>

Dear All,

Firstly, the amended motion [1] on quorum can be re-proposed
since it did not pass due to lack of sufficient votes.

I had voted on the amended [1] and original [2] motions
taking into consideration the present guidelines [3]
which has been in use by our foundation for the last
10 years.

I standby my -1 vote (which represents a veto as per our current
guidelines [3]) for the original motion [2]. I also stand by my
+1 vote for the amended motion [1] on quorum requirement.

I think that the contents of the original motion [2] calls for consultation
with the board since it reflects a major change in the existing committee
guidelines [3] which it is not a matter to be discussed and decided on the
conference mailing list alone.

Also, I think that once the voting on the motions are completed and
the results are declared, it is inappropriate to ask members to change
their votes.

As mentioned in the beginning of this mail, the amended motion [1] could
be re-tabled with the appropriate voting deadline (1 week, 10 days?).

[3] https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Committee_Guidelines



On 10/9/2016 7:49 PM, till.adams at fossgis.de wrote:

Dear all,

following Peter, Steven and Cameron, I'd propose that Venka and Maria
make alternative proposals on which we can go on to vote within a
certain period of time (don't mind, if 5 days or 10 days). If they do
not deliver an alternative proposal, I'd encourage Steven (who is still
our chair and also put this motion initially on the board) to
re-proposes the originally proposal for a majority vote.

With this we at least continue our work and come to a solution.
Everything else would be just a preservation of a not cleared condition
and I assume (and hope), that this is not what Venka and Maria intended.


As Peter said, we can

Am 2016-10-09 02:45, schrieb Michael Terner:

Please count another STRONG +1 to Camerons observations and

>From our vantage of needing strong, stable support from Conference Dev
(for FOSS4G 17 in Boston), there is a need to bring these discussions
to closure, and without losing some of the braintrust. Again, from our
perspective less bureaucracy, and more agility will be good things.
And, while the pool of people who are "most interested and involved"
may go through some cycles, there has always seemed to be a strong
critical mass, and thats fine. Would love to see an outcome where
Stevens proposals can come into some form of being, and for Stevens
hand to return to the tiller...

Respectfully, MT

On Sat, Oct 8, 2016 at 1:04 PM, Peter Batty <peter at ebatty.com [37]>

+1 to Camerons email.

For what its worth, it was mentioned somewhere along the way that
the board voting procedure, which I think is what we are supposed to
be following in terms of these vetoes etc, says that "If a motion is
vetoed, and it cannot be revised to satisfy all parties, then it can
be resubmitted for an override vote, in which a majority of all
Board members indicating +1 is required to pass it."

https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Board_Voting_Procedure [33]

So if someone wants to re-propose the original motion which had
strong majority support at the time, we can re-vote on that, if
enough people are still watching. I dont especially want to
re-propose it myself as I dont have a strong interest in this
procedural stuff, and I have lost track of whether there were any
amendments to the original motion proposed by Steven that should be
incorporated in a re-submitted motion.

On Fri, Oct 7, 2016 at 3:27 PM, Cameron Shorter
<cameron.shorter at gmail.com [34]> wrote:

Hi Maria,

I fear that you are not appreciating that by applying a veto, and
then not stepping up to "do whatever it takes to get resolution",
you are breaking one of the core principles of successful open
source communities.

It breaks the motivation and enthusiasm of volunteers. Note
Stephens initial drive, motivation and enthusiasm changing to his
submitting his resignation.

Stephens Return-On-Effort for his contribution has been
significantly impacted by the amount of red-tape imposed upon him.
It has impacted one of our key human driving motivators - our
desire for autonomy and ability to set our own direction. (Refer
to Daniel Pinks "Drive" [1] which summarises research on

Likewise we have seen the rest of the conference committee suffer
email fatigue and drop out of the conversation. Silently dropping
out of the volunteer community.

Please ask yourself:

* Is OSGeo better without Stephen being involved in it?

* Is OSGeo better without Stephen taking on the significant
amount of work he has been doing cleaning up FOSS4G processes?

* Am I prepared to take on all the work that Stephen is doing if
he is to leave?

* Am I prepared to lead a new proposal through a voting process
all the way to conclusion? (Noting how hard it has been so far)

If your answer is "No" to any of the above, please re-consider
your veto vote. I suspect you really would like to back our
enthusiastic OSGeo volunteers. Usually it is better to get a "good
enough" solution than "no solution at all". It can always be
improved in a later iteration. And I suspect you would want to
attract and encourage our volunteers to participate?

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc [29]

Warm regards, Cameron

On 8/10/2016 1:33 AM, Even Rouault wrote:


Im not sure what is the exact scope you intend with
"Committees", and in
particular if that would apply to the voting rules of the PSC
of projects, but
as far as Im concerned, Im rather satisfied with what we have
currently (for
the GDAL project). I would fear that requirements for a minimum
quorum could
cause issues since it is not uncommon to have very few people
taking part to
the vote of some decisions.
Eli Adam pointed in




several examples of different projects with low vote
participation in some
votes. That is a bit sad of course, wed like to have 100%
participation, but
thats the reality.



Dear Steven,

I dont withdraw my vetoe. As said,  Ill ask  the Board to
decide about
the governance of the Committees.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Cheers to everybody.


Prof. Maria Antonia Brovelli
Vice Rector for Como Campus and GIS Professor
Politecnico di Milano

ISPRS WG IV/4"Collaborative crowdsourced cloud mapping
(C3M)"; OSGeo;
ICA-OSGeo-ISPRS Advisory Board; NASA WorldWind Europa
Challenge; SIFET Sol
Katz Award 2015

Via Natta, 12/14 - 22100 COMO (ITALY)
Tel. +39-031-3327336 <tel:%2B39-031-3327336>  [1] - Mob. +39-328-0023867
<tel:%2B39-328-0023867>  [2] - fax.
+39-031-3327321 <tel:%2B39-031-3327321>  [3]
e-mail1: <mailto:maria.brovelli at polimi.it [4]>
maria.brovelli at polimi.it [5]
e-mail2: prorettrice at como.polimi.it [6]

Da: Conference_dev <conference_dev-bounces at lists.osgeo.org
[7]> per conto di
Steven Feldman <shfeldman at gmail.com [8]> Inviato: martedì 4
ottobre 2016 20.18
A: Conference Dev
Oggetto: Re: [OSGeo-Conf] [Board] Amended MOTION (items 1-5):
Committee - Updating Membership Policies and Process

It isn’t clear to me whether Venka and Maria withdrew their

My reading is that the committee whilst voting by a majority
for the
original motion does not feel strongly about the matter and
there is no
appetite to extend the discussion. I do not wish to take a
initiative to force the motion through and then attempt to
impose its
consequences, I think that should be up to the next chair of

It is my intention to stand down as chair of the conference
committee at
the end of the 2018 selection process.

So let’s leave the motion undecided and focus on the
selection for 2018
until the end of the year.

In that regard, I will be travelling between October 13th and
November 7th,
internet may be limited for some of the time. Is there anyone
willing to
stand in to push things along (facilitate questions on LoIs,
trigger the
vote and notify the results) whilst I am away? I will be back
to pick
things up before the final proposals come in.


On 30 Sep 2016, at 13:45, Cameron Shorter
<cameron.shorter at gmail.com
[9]<mailto:cameron.shorter at gmail.com [10]>> wrote:

Steven, others,

The conference committee is ineffective if it cant make
decisions. Usually, any decision is better than no decision,
and is
certainly the case for this motion. Im in favour of Steven,
as chair,
using his best judgement to finalise this vote and move
forward to being
effective again.

Steven, I trust your judgement, and you have my vote.

Warm regards, Cameron

On 30/09/2016 7:35 PM, Steven Feldman wrote:
I am combining Maria’s mail and Venka’s (copied below)
and responding to

Several people have expressed concern that a lot of committee
members have
not voted on the recent amendment and have suggested that if
they do not
vote in a further round of voting on the amendment and/or the
motion they should be obliged to stand down for the

It has been suggested that not voting indicates a lack of
commitment. I
disagree, we have a committee whose expertise is in the
delivery of FOSS4G
events, particularly the global events. I would not be
surprised or
concerned if several of them are not interested in the
procedural details
of what quorum we should require on the odd occasion that we
vote. As long
as they commit their time and experience to carefully
considering the
LoI’s and Proposals in the FOSS4G selection process, asking
and insightful questions and then voting to select our
recommendation to
the board I am grateful for their participation.

Not withstanding what I have just said, I do believe that the
size should be limited to 11 and should have a defined
retirement process
as I proposed in the original motion.

I don’t see the lack of votes for Maria’s amendment as a
dereliction of
duty, I see it as a sign of exhaustion with this seemingly
never ending
debate. The mail trail now exceeds 120! After extensive
discussion, the
original motion which incorporated the standard Committee
Guidelines on
voting was voted for by a strong majority of the committee
(+1 = 12, +0 =
1, -1 = 2, no votes = 3 of which one verbally supported the
motion but did
not place a formal vote). We have now spent nearly 2 working
discussing  amendments and have voted on one (there are
potentially 4 more
amendments to discuss and vote on, one of which potentially
reverses the
intention of the original motion by seeking to increase
rather than reduce
the size of the committee). In my opinion, this is not the
pursuit of consensus it is bordering on an abuse of process.

The voting rules that were proposed in the original motion
are based on the
Committee Guidelines which are in use in several of our
committees and
PSCs. If these guidelines represent a ‘benevolent
dictatorship’ (what
others may describe as a do-ocracy) that is now considered
then it is for the Board to initiate a discussion (and
presumably a vote
amongst the charter membership) that changes these guidelines
for all
committees not just for the Conference Committee.

It is up to Venka and Maria if they wish to insist on a
further vote. If we
are to vote again, we need to be clear whether we are voting
on the
original motion or the amended motion or a further amended
motion which
also includes some or all of the further amendments (2-5)
which have yet
to be fully discussed.

I recognise that as the proposer of the original motion who
has strong
views on this topic, I may be struggling to maintain the
balance and
objectivity necessary to act as chair on this matter. If
anyone feels that
the committee would be better served by me standing aside for
remainder of the discussion and voting on this matter, please
say so and I
will temporarily stand down. When the committee reaches a
conclusion on
the motion and we have been through the cycle of retirements
and elections
(presumably early 2017 after the FOSS4G 2018 selection is
completed), I
suggest that the new committee selects its chairman.

I will be going off line from the end of business today until
Wednesday to
celebrate the Jewish New Year. If there is to be further
discussion or
voting initiated I hope that the vote extends until I am back

Shanah tovah u’metukah (may you have a good and sweet year)


On 30 Sep 2016, at 07:43, Maria Antonia Brovelli
<maria.brovelli at polimi.it
[11]<mailto:maria.brovelli at polimi.it [12]>> wrote:

Im also confused and demoralised as well. The main problem in
my opinion
is the inactivity of this commission (it could be also of
commissions, but Im not part of other commissions). Im
surprised about
how the main problem is to find an easy solution when the
problem is why 9
people didnt find the time (= interest) of voting. Even if
and, in my opinion, more as volunteers we have to be reliable
committed with our community. Unfortunately Im not able to
notice that
attitude in the last voting. If I have to tell you the truth,
Im, above
all, sad and surprise that for the most of people this is a
situation at which we have simply to put a patch. Sorry for
being so
direct, obviously Im not thinking of you, who have been doing
so much for
this Committee ( thanks again) or other people, but the
situation is
really and definitely different with respect of that I
thought to find in
an OSGeo Committee. Good day to everybody.

Inviato dal mio dispositivo Samsung

-------- Messaggio originale --------
Da: Steven Feldman <shfeldman at gmail.com
[13]<mailto:shfeldman at gmail.com [14]>>
Data: 30/09/2016 00:48 (GMT+01:00)
A: Maria Antonia Brovelli
<maria.brovelli at polimi.it
[15]<mailto:maria.brovelli at polimi.it [16]>>, Conference
<conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org
[17]<mailto:conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org [18]>>
Oggetto: Re: R: [OSGeo-Conf] [Board] Amended MOTION (items
Conference Committee - Updating Membership Policies and


I am confused. I think you mean that the amendment did not
pass? Are you
withdrawing your veto of the original motion (which had
support from a
substantial majority of the committee)?

What do you mean by "Therefore we will vote as in the past
for the other
items."?  What other items? The only voting rules we had in
the past were
the Committee Guidelines, which were incorporated into the
motion. Can you clarify?

Venka could you advise whether your veto still stands
following this vote
on Marias amendment?

This example of our decision making process cannot be
appropriate for a
voluntary community. Please lets bring this to a conclusion


On 29 Sep 2016, at 22:46, Maria Antonia Brovelli
<maria.brovelli at polimi.it
[19]<mailto:maria.brovelli at polimi.it [20]>> wrote:

Dear Steven
The motion didnt pass.
Therefore we will vote as in the past for the other items.
Many thanks.
Best regards.

Inviato dal mio dispositivo Samsung

Venka said:

Dear All,

Sorry if this mail sounds a little mixed-up as
I am trying to answer multiple points raised
after the voting status on the amended motion
was declared.

The way I look at the 25% quorum threshold, suggested by Eli,
is that it is close to the "benevolent dictatorship"
decision model. One of our projects in incubation
was asked to retire since the lead developer proposed
to adopt such a model for the project PSC.

Our Charter Member rules allow for retiring
members who have not voted over a continuous period
of two years. Since charter members vote only for
the board election, this means that they are retired
if they do not cast their one vote (for Board election)
in consecutive years.

Considering the above, I suggest that the Amended Motion
for quorum be tabled for one last time with a specific
indication that members who have not voted for
the motion in two (or three) consecutive rounds of voting
will be considered as retired and the votes by the
members who participate in the third round of voting
would be considered valid.

If we still have only 7 members voting for the third round
of voting, the majority votes among the 7 could be
used if the motion has passed or not.

Regarding the query from Steve whether some of us would
like reconsider our votes in the initial round of voting,
I think, that since the voting results were already
declared, it would be better to decide with the third
and final round of voting.



Conference_dev mailing list
Conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org
[21]<mailto:Conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org [22]>
http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev [23]

Cameron Shorter
M +61 419 142 254 [24]

Conference_dev mailing list
Conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org
[25]<mailto:Conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org [26]>
http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev [27]

Cameron Shorter
M +61 419 142 254 [30]


Board mailing list
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http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board [32]

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http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board [36]


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