[OSGeo-Conf] [Board] MOTION : Conference Committee - Updating Membership Policies and Process

Cameron Shorter cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Mon Sep 19 13:21:57 PDT 2016

  It is worth noting that the vast majority of decisions made within a 
project typically are non-contentious and need not be slowed down by 
waiting for a majority vote.

OSGeo-Live has developed similar guidelines to MapServer PSC to 
efficiently achieve rough consensus:


For most decisions, a motion is raised within one of the OSGeo-Live open 
forums (IRC, email list, etc) and those present vote and decide. Should 
there be contention in deciding, and after discussion at least one 
member is still strongly against the motion, by continuing to vote -1, 
the motion should be referred to the PSC.

For motions presented to the PSC, a motion is considered passed when 
there are more PSC +1 votes than -1 votes, and either all PSC members 
have voted, or 4 days have passed. In the case of a tie, the PSC chair 
shall have 1.5 votes.



On 20/09/2016 3:41 AM, Daniel Morissette wrote:
> BTW, as a complement of information, some committees such as the 
> MapServer PSC [1] and others who used the same template have addressed 
> the question of being unable to reach consensus due to vetos as follows:
> """
> If a proposal 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 eligible voters indicating +1 is sufficient to pass 
> it. Note that this is a majority of all committee members, not just 
> those who actively vote.
> """
> Maybe our generic OSGeo committee guidelines [2] could be revised to 
> include such an override vote concept?
> Daniel
> [1] 
> http://mapserver.org/fr/development/rfc/ms-rfc-23.html#detailed-process
> [2] https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Committee_Guidelines
> On 2016-09-19 1:29 PM, Steven Feldman wrote:
>> Thanks Arnulf, I did not realise that a -1 could be a veto.
>> Could Venka and Maria please confirm whether their -1 was intended to 
>> be a veto? If either of you intended your -1 to be a veto could you 
>> propose an alternative that would be acceptable to you and we will 
>> re-vote on an amended motion.
>> I also note that the guidelines say "As long as the motions collect 
>> at least two +1's, and no -1 vetos over a period of two business 
>> days, they will be considered passed, subject to the judgement of the 
>> chair…” Given the discussion about what would constitute an 
>> acceptable quorum, that may need to be changed across the whole 
>> organisation as well.
>> If we are going to continue to allow a veto vote then I suggest that 
>> it should be declared as a veto rather than a -1 so that there is 
>> clarity. Having a veto vote does suggest that a smaller committee 
>> size would help to reach decisions.
>> Does the veto vote apply to a selection type vote e.g for a 
>> committee/board member or the choice of a FOSS4G?
>> I would be in favour of a switch to a majority voting system as the 
>> aspiration to achieve consensus will become more difficult as we grow 
>> and will certainly slow us down (I accept that may be a ‘good’ thing 
>> when taking momentous decisions).
>> You learn something every day :)
>> ______
>> Steven
>>> On 19 Sep 2016, at 17:58, Seven (aka Arnulf) <seven at arnulf.us> wrote:
>>> Steven,
>>> so far we actually always counted a -1 as a veto.
>>> https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Committee_Guidelines
>>> But this strong vote probably has to be communicated to the voting
>>> members every now and then because new people come in who don't know 
>>> the
>>> power of this vote and may use it to show their disagreement without
>>> knowing that they will actually completely block the process. It is 
>>> also
>>> important to note that a -1 veto will only be valid if the voter
>>> explains the rationale of his or her vote and also proposes a viable
>>> alternative solution.
>>> That said, maybe OSGeo as an organization is also moving out of the
>>> phase where this type of consensus and compromise-finding is a
>>> realistically achievable goal. In that case we may want to change the
>>> general voting system to a majority vote as is typical for democratic
>>> systems. This is something for the board or maybe even the charter
>>> members to decide.
>>> Personally I would prefer to stick with the -1 is-a-veto voting system
>>> because it is the only way to make sure that nobody feels left out. But
>>> as said, maybe we have grown too big to be able to afford this 
>>> leniency.
>>> Have fun,
>>> Arnulf
>>> On 19.09.2016 17:01, Steven Feldman wrote:
>>>> I was not aware that the CC had a consensus voting system with -1 
>>>> being
>>>> a veto. I can’t recall any mention of a veto vote in any past CC
>>>> decisions, it would make it very unlikely (if not impossible) to reach
>>>> decisions in a timely manner.
>>>> I thought we already had simple majority voting within the CC (what
>>>> David described as a Parliamentary system) with +1 being in favour and
>>>> -1 being against and +0 being an abstention and a majority decision.
>>>> That was my intention for the motion.
>>>> The discussion about a quorum was to determine the minimum number 
>>>> of CC
>>>> members required to vote for a vote to be valid and of those voters a
>>>> majority would decide the outcome.
>>>> For the record, the modus operandi of the CC is to discuss topics 
>>>> in an
>>>> open forum on the mailing list and after discussing to move to a vote.
>>>> We have not in the past held regular meetings and I was not 
>>>> proposing to
>>>> change that practice. The one exception was the CC meeting on IRC to
>>>> discuss the proposals for the 2017 FOSS4G selection before we moved 
>>>> to a
>>>> vote, I have incorporated such a meeting in the RfP for 2018.
>>>> ______
>>>> Steven
>>>>> On 19 Sep 2016, at 15:32, David William Bitner <bitner at dbspatial.com
>>>>> <mailto:bitner at dbspatial.com>> wrote:
>>>>> In general for a consensus +1/-1 system, -1 is considered a veto. 
>>>>> This
>>>>> is why I chose to vote +0 to indicate that I do not fully approve but
>>>>> did not want to stop the vote. By the consensus system, the two -1
>>>>> votes should act as vetos. This committee has typically used +1/-1 
>>>>> but
>>>>> on a much more straight vote system, perhaps in the future to avoid
>>>>> confusion we should not use the +1/-1 nomenclature if this is not our
>>>>> intended outcome, but rather a more parliamentary yes/no so as to
>>>>> avoid confusion between the intention of both systems.
>>>>> If we run our votes in a consensus manner, I would support a quorum
>>>>> rule for a vote as having an affirmative +0/+1 vote from greater than
>>>>> 50% of members with no dissenting votes. Under a parliamentary 
>>>>> system,
>>>>> it would make more sense to have a quorum of 50% and a motion passing
>>>>> with a majority of those /who voted/ supporting the vote.
>>>>> On Mon, Sep 19, 2016 at 7:57 AM, Venkatesh Raghavan
>>>>> <venka.osgeo at gmail.com <mailto:venka.osgeo at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>>>>    I think quorum denotes the minimum members that
>>>>>    must be present in a meeting for the proceedings
>>>>>    to be valid. I my opinion, this should be more
>>>>>    that 50% of the total number in the committee.
>>>>>    The number of votes required for a motion to
>>>>>    pass (this is different from quorum) would
>>>>>    also be more than 50% of the total members
>>>>>    in the committee.
>>>>>    Does the members of CC have the power of veto?
>>>>>    In my understanding -1 indicates a veto.
>>>>>    Best
>>>>>    Venka
>>>>>    On 9/19/2016 6:07 PM, Steven Feldman wrote:
>>>>>        The voting results are:
>>>>>        +1 = 12
>>>>>        +0 = 1
>>>>>        -1 = 2
>>>>>        Not voted = 3
>>>>>        The motion is carried.
>>>>>        I know that the 2 -1 voters wanted to raise the quorum for a
>>>>>        vote, I support that. Would someone like to start a new thread
>>>>>        and propose a higher quorum for a vote.
>>>>>        I will start a new thread to discuss how we reduce our
>>>>>        membership numbers to the level that we have just approved.
>>>>>        Cheers
>>>>>        ______
>>>>>        Steven
>>>>>            On 9 Sep 2016, at 15:41, Steven Feldman
>>>>>            <shfeldman at gmail.com <mailto:shfeldman at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>>>>            This mail is aimed at the current members of the
>>>>>            Conference Committee (we do not have a private list).
>>>>>            Only committee members can vote on these proposals, others
>>>>>            on this list are welcome to comment and committee members
>>>>>            will hopefully take note of those opinions when voting on
>>>>>            the matters proposed.
>>>>>            The current membership of the conference committee is
>>>>>            listed at
>>>>> https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Conference_Committee#Current_Members
>>>>> <https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Conference_Committee#Current_Members>
>>>>> <https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Conference_Committee#Current_Members
>>>>> <https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Conference_Committee#Current_Members>>.
>>>>>            We have 19 members after Dave McIlhagga resigned and after
>>>>>            we co-opted Till Adams as the chair of FOSS4G2016. There
>>>>>            is currently no policy or rule for eligibility nor for
>>>>>            requiring a member to retire after a period of time.
>>>>>            I have suggested in the past that we needed to have an
>>>>>            open and fair process for selecting members and limiting
>>>>>            the maximum number of committee members. At the face to
>>>>>            face it was agreed that I should propose a policy.
>>>>>            I propose the following:
>>>>>            Goals
>>>>>            =====
>>>>>            The conference committee have the responsibility to run
>>>>>            the selection process and voting for the global FOSS4G, to
>>>>>            vote on other proposals submitted to the committee and to
>>>>>            advise the board on other matters relating to FOSS4G 
>>>>> events.
>>>>>            Role of the Committee and the broader community on the
>>>>>            Conference_Dev list
>>>>> ============================================================
>>>>>            1) Everyday topics will be decided upon by an open vote of
>>>>>            all list participants in a clearly designated separate
>>>>>            mail thread (+1/-1) over a minimum of two business days
>>>>>            with a minimum participation of 3 votes. Ideally we aim
>>>>>            for consensus falling back on simple majority vote where
>>>>>            necessary. The result will be clearly declared afterwards
>>>>>            (or whatever is decided).
>>>>>            2) Election of conference committee is by secret vote and
>>>>>            restricted to the remaining conference committee members
>>>>>            and board members who are not members of the conference
>>>>>            committee.
>>>>>            3) FOSS4G Selection - All Letters of Intent and subsequent
>>>>>            proposals will be posted to the list for open comment by
>>>>>            all participants. The selection of the winning proposal is
>>>>>            by secret vote of conference committee members only. Any
>>>>>            committee member who has a potential conflict of interest
>>>>>            is expected to withdraw from vote. In the event of a
>>>>>            disagreement the committee chair will decide.
>>>>>            Votes in 2 and 3 are to an online voting service or by
>>>>>            email to an independent teller appointed by CC Chair
>>>>>            Conference Committee membership policy and process
>>>>>            ==========================================
>>>>>            1) The conference committee aims to retain up to 11 active
>>>>>            members, preferably an odd number
>>>>>            2) The committee aims for half of these members to be
>>>>>            chairs (or vice chairs) of the most recent FOSS4G global
>>>>>            events. The chair of the most recent FOSS4G event will
>>>>>            automatically be invited to become a member
>>>>>            3) The remaining membership is open, ideally attracting
>>>>>            people from earlier past chairs or active LOC members from
>>>>>            past Global, Regional FOSS4G or related conferences
>>>>>            4) Each year (after FOSS4G) the 3 committee members should
>>>>>            stand down:
>>>>>            a) The longest standing past FOSS4G chair
>>>>>            b) The longest standing 2 committee members remaining
>>>>>            5) Each year, prior to putting out the Global FOSS4G RfP,
>>>>>            the old committee should vote for their replacement
>>>>>            committee, using the above criteria as voting guidelines.
>>>>>            OSGeo Board members who are not on the conference
>>>>>            committee will also be invited to vote.
>>>>>            6) Past committee members including those who have stood
>>>>>            down due to length of service may stand for re-election
>>>>>            7) Votes will be secret either using an online voting
>>>>>            system or by email to a designated teller who is not a
>>>>>            voter. The mechanism will be selected by the committee 
>>>>> chair.
>>>>>            I would ask committee members (and list participants) to
>>>>>            comment on this proposal by 18.00 GMT Wednesday 14th
>>>>>            September. I will then call for a vote amongst committee
>>>>>            members only, the vote will close at 18.00 GMT on Sunday
>>>>>            18th September.
>>>>>            Once the membership policy has been agreed we will then
>>>>>            need to apply the policy to the existing membership. I
>>>>>            suggest that we ask all current members to confirm whether
>>>>>            they wish to remain committee members and then hold an
>>>>>            election (if needed). To this end it would be helpful if
>>>>>            each committee member could update their record on the
>>>>>            wiki page to show when they joined the conference
>>>>>            committee (see my example).
>>>>>            The intention is that a 2016-7 committee of 11 will have
>>>>>            been selected before we vote on the LoI’s for 2018, which
>>>>>            is likely to be before the end of October.
>>>>>            ______
>>>>>            Steven
>>>>>        _______________________________________________
>>>>>        Conference_dev mailing list
>>>>>        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>
>>>>>    _______________________________________________
>>>>>    Conference_dev mailing list
>>>>>    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>
>>>>> -- 
>>>>> ************************************
>>>>> David William Bitner
>>>>> dbSpatial LLC
>>>>> 612-424-9932
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> Conference_dev mailing list
>>>>> Conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org 
>>>>> <mailto:Conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org>
>>>>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev
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Cameron Shorter
M +61 419 142 254

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