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

Alex Mandel tech_dev at wildintellect.com
Mon Jun 23 12:00:58 PDT 2014

On 06/19/2014 11:58 AM, Peter Baumann wrote:
> 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".

Well it's somewhat conjecture without public confirmation that someone
walked away from OSGeo because they didn't get picked.

> - yes, democracy is expensive, but generally it is considered worth the
> effort.
> - is "lifelong membership" compatible with community participation?

Nope and we've actually have discussed in the past what the rules should
be to weed out charter members who no longer particpate in the community.

> - "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?
> cheers,
> Peter

I think the discussion of membership fees is timely this year now that
we officially have our IRS 501c4 status. Why, well when we were aiming
for 501c3 that would have given us donations as tax write offs for US
members. Without that incentive to donate, membership now seems like it
might be the way to push individuals to donate.

The amount should be researched quite a bit though, factoring in how to
reach maximum membership, with lowest overhead (collecting and tracking
membership will incur a cost).

Since we don't maintain a huge office, an in print journal, a lobbyist
or things like that we should be able to be much lower that other
professional societies. I agree it should be relative to country of
members, and there probably should be some sharing in places where local
chapters exist - or the local chapters trust us to split the money back
to them for things they need.

I'd suggest something in the $20-$30 US, students $5-$10. Maybe with a
sliding scale like PBS or Kickstarter, where if you voluntarily pay more
in a given year you get swag of some sort.

I'm trying to avoid the syndrome (I'm guilty of this) where one pays for
membership only in a year when it will get you a discount worth more
than the membership for the conference.

I agree with Arnulf that these decisions should probably go to e-vote of
all the current charter members, the boards responsibility is to put
forward a coherent plan for the vote. Obviously if the board all hates
the ideas it should stop there for now.


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