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

Michael Terner mgt at appgeo.com
Fri Sep 30 05:05:25 PDT 2016

As an non-committee member who has a strong, vested interest in the outcome
of this discussion through our development/management/production of FOSS4G
2017, I have to observe that this thread has been a bit baffling. It
started strongly and now has become a bit circular and very time consuming.
Indeed, this has been one of the most visible and, from our point of view,
successful committees within FOSS4G. A committee - that has run a
successful selection process for years; and has overseen the production of
excellent events for over a decade; and a committee that has provided us
incredibly helpful startup support - does indeed seem a bit stuck in the
mud of process. While we have opinions on the details (i.e., quorum,
consensus/veto, number of members, retirement, etc.) it's not our place to
comment. But, I will say that from our vantage this committee *is *fueled
by the volunteers who - for whatever reason - are active at any moment in
time. For the last year, there has been no lack of opinion or guidance from
the committee and it appears to have worked. Even if the voices change,
there has been a nucleus of interest, action and opinion. It is also clear
that Steven is one of the volunteers who is putting in the time and sweat
equity at this moment and that he has a good sense of what it takes to put
on a FOSS4G conference. He has done what was asked at the F2F meeting in
Bonn (which we attended) and he has put a reasonable proposal on the table
for codifying how the committee is currently operating. Can't we give some
form of that proposal a chance? And if it doesn't work, there are always
amendments to be made.

Can't this round of discussion be brought to closure so that people can
re-focus on the 2018 process, and in time on continuing to support the 2017

Good luck, and a happy new year to Steven...


On Fri, Sep 30, 2016 at 5:35 AM, Steven Feldman <shfeldman at gmail.com> wrote:

> I am combining Maria’s mail and Venka’s (copied below) and responding to
> both
> 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 original
> motion they should be obliged to stand down for the committee.
> 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 penetrating 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 committee
> 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 weeks
> 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 reasonable
> 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 unacceptable,
> 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 the 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 online.
> Shanah tovah u’metukah (may you have a good and sweet year)
> ______
> Steven
> On 30 Sep 2016, at 07:43, Maria Antonia Brovelli <maria.brovelli at polimi.it>
> wrote:
> Steven
> I'm also confused and demoralised as well. The main problem in my opinion
> is the inactivity of this commission (it could be also of other
> commissions, but I'm not part of other commissions). I'm surprised about
> how the main problem is to find an easy solution when the problem is why 9
> people didn't find the time (= interest) of voting.
> Even if volunteers and, in my opinion, more as volunteers we have to be
> reliable people committed with our community.
> Unfortunately I'm not able to notice that attitude in the last voting.
> If I have to tell you the truth, I'm, above all, sad and surprise that for
> the most of people this is a normal situation at which we have simply to
> put a patch.
> Sorry for being so direct, obviously I'm 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.
> Maria
> Inviato dal mio dispositivo Samsung
> -------- Messaggio originale --------
> Da: Steven Feldman <shfeldman at gmail.com>
> Data: 30/09/2016 00:48 (GMT+01:00)
> A: Maria Antonia Brovelli <maria.brovelli at polimi.it>, Conference Dev <
> conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org>
> Oggetto: Re: R: [OSGeo-Conf] [Board] Amended MOTION (items 1-5):
> Conference Committee - Updating Membership Policies and Process
> Maria
> 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 original motion.
> Can you clarify?
> Venka could you advise whether your veto still stands following this vote
> on Maria's amendment?
> This example of our decision making process cannot be appropriate for a
> voluntary community. Please let's bring this to a conclusion
> Steven
> On 29 Sep 2016, at 22:46, Maria Antonia Brovelli <maria.brovelli at polimi.it>
> wrote:
> Dear Steven
> The motion didn't pass.
> Therefore we will vote as in the past for the other items.
> Many thanks.
> Best regards.
> Maria
> 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.
> Best
> Venka
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*Michael Terner*
*Executive Vice President*
617-447-2468 Direct | 617-447-2400 Main
Applied Geographics, Inc.
24 School Street, Suite 500
Boston, MA 02108
*Celebrating our 25th Anniversary *

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