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

Peter Baumann p.baumann at jacobs-university.de
Thu Jun 19 11:58:41 PDT 2014

Hi all,

good - and important! - discussion!
Being Charter Member I am somewhat concerned:

- I am surprised that the common democratic procedure of election is perceived 
as creating "dissent".
- yes, democracy is expensive, but generally it is considered worth the effort.
- is "lifelong membership" compatible with community participation?
- "Recognised OSGeo Community Leaders" seem to get determined in a very special, 
selective way (as compared to standard election procedures).

Altogether, the criteria seem to make OSGeo a self-sustaining group:
insiders will remain insiders for a lifetime, outsiders will...well, face a hurdle.

So the contrary of "open".

Just an idea: what about applying the OSGeo incubation checklist to OSGeo itself 
to determine feasible procedures?


On 06/19/2014 07:28 PM, Dimitris Kotzinos wrote:
> Dear all,
> some thoughts on the proposed changes on the Charter Member election process.
> 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 decisions.
> 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 decision.
> 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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Dr. Peter Baumann
  - Professor of Computer Science, Jacobs University Bremen
    mail: p.baumann at jacobs-university.de
    tel: +49-421-200-3178, fax: +49-421-200-493178
  - Executive Director, rasdaman GmbH Bremen (HRB 26793)
    www.rasdaman.com, mail: baumann at rasdaman.com
    tel: 0800-rasdaman, fax: 0800-rasdafax, mobile: +49-173-5837882
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