[OSGeo-Discuss] Proposed process for selecting OSGeo charter members

Dimitris Kotzinos kotzino at csd.uoc.gr
Thu Jun 19 10:28:58 PDT 2014

Dear all,

some thoughts on the proposed changes on the Charter Member election 
I will divide my comments into two parts, first some issues about the 
process itself and then some comments on the proposed changes.

(A) the process per se:
1/ I think that whatever change in the election process should be 
validated by the Charter Members themselves, so I fully agree with 
Arnulf that we need to vote on that and not just the Board. And of 
course this contains no offense for the Board; it is just that I think 
that it is fair that the body who is affected by the changes to take the 
Moreover the charter members are the ones who elect the Board so it 
seems quite awkward to me that the smaller governing body will take such 
2/ I think that whatever decision taken should be enforced in next 
year's elections; members need some time to evaluate that. So it is good 
to conclude this process now but enforce it from next year.

(B) the proposed changes:
Before discussing the proposed changes I think that we should understand 
where the current system has failed. Do we have cases where recognized 
community leaders failed to be elected? If so please bring them forward. 
I doubt so though since if I recall correctly the last two years all 
charter member nominations were accepted without voting! Moreover the 
notion of a "recognized community leader" that cannot be elected as a 
charter member is a contradiction by itself. So why change?
I am not against the idea of having some people becoming OSGEO Charter 
Members ex officio but for one I do not like the idea of having members 
of different categories and secondly I need to have a look at the data: 
how many of the committee chairs, PSC members, official Chapter chairs 
are not already OSGEO Charter members (and they wanted to be and 
failed)? Why are they not nominated to become ones and to be voted?
And I don't see how the problem described here:
"In previous years the Charter Member selection process has been a little
contentious. We typically receive numerous nominations from high caliber
members of our community, and insufficient positions to accept them all.
This typically results in unnecessary disappointment and dissent."
will be resolved: again we will have some people not becoming Charter 
Members if the seats are not enough. So some of us will still be 
disappointed, etc. So if the numbers are the same the only difference I 
see is that now we choose beforehand whom to disappoint and people 
working in the community but in not "official" positions will have less 
chances to be elected.
If we want to open up the numbers, this is OK, more seats are offered 
every year anyway. But what else?
And of course the first come first served approach if the recognized 
community leaders are more than the seats is a bit odd: to lighten up 
the discussion I cannot imagine people with the finger on the mouse 
waiting for the process to open in order to submit there nominations.
Finally, for the voting process I completely disagree with the ability 
of a member to vote multiple times for the same person. This removes 
from the process the requirement of someone to be widely recognized 
within the community and potentially allows "a couple of friends" to 
elect whoever they want.

I think that the discussion is interesting and thanks to the board and 
Arnulf :) for initiating it!
I think that other solutions could also be considered if we feel that we 
need to differentiate on how charter members get elected, e.g. agree on 
a bonus percentage that a "community leader" gets when he goes through 
the standard process, so he still has to be voted by many...

I apologize for the length of the e-mail and thanks for listening,

Best regards,

Dimitris Kotzinos

> Within 2 weeks we intend to start our annual process for selecting new
> OSGeo charter members.
> In previous years the Charter Member selection process has been a little
> contentious. We typically receive numerous nominations from high caliber
> members of our community, and insufficient positions to accept them all.
> This typically results in unnecessary disappointment and dissent.
> In response, the OSGeo board has agreed to trial tweaking the voting
> process. The aim is to automatically accept recognised OSGeo community
> leaders, while continuing with our existing process which attracts the
> many valuable community members who contribute in other ways. Community
> comments are encouraged, and will be considered over the next week.
> *Design guidelines:*
> * We want a process which is simple to understand and implement.
> * We want a process which encourages recognised OSGeo community leaders
> to become OSGeo charter members, while continuing to accept members from
> the many other valuable OSGeo roles.
> * We want a process which is difficult to abuse.
> * For the first iteration, we should err on being more selective in our
> criteria, with potential widening of selection criteria in future years.
> *Recognised OSGeo Community Leaders**
> *
> OSGeo aims to provide OSGeo Charter Membership to all recognised OSGeo
> community leaders who are nominated. Hopefully, sufficient positions are
> available. If there are more candidates than available, then membership
> will be allocated to the first to be nominated. Remaining nominees will
> be automatically offered to go through the standard voting process.
> Recognised OSGeo Community Leaders are defined as people who have been
> *voted* into a position of authority within official OSGeo projects and
> committees, where the voting community includes at least 3 OSGeo charter
> members.
> Acceptable roles are currently limited to:
> * Project Steering Committee member of a Graduated OSGeo Project
> * Chair of Official Local Chapter
> * Chair of an OSGeo committee
> The application process for recognised OSGeo Community Leaders is the
> same as for other nominees.
> Full text of our processes are at:
> * http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Membership_Process_2014
> * http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Election_2014

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