[OSGeo-Discuss] 2015 Charter Member elections

Arnulf Christl (OSGeo) arnulf at osgeo.org
Tue Jun 30 05:39:16 PDT 2015

Hash: SHA1

thanks from here too for this very useful recap. I posted it more or
less verbatim to the discussion page of the Charter Members article in
the Wiki:

on the OSGeo Wiki we currently have 605 "self categorized" OSGeo members:

This is the best we can currently do for anybody who is interested in
becoming an OSGeo member apart from subscribing to the Discuss mailing
list or being nominated as a "Charter Member" to be then elected by an
eclectic group of geospatial whizzes.

Just to reiterate: "Charter Members" are usually those who set up the
charter of an organization:
"A charter member of an organization is an original member; that is, one
who became a member when the organization received its charter."
- From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charter

After signing the Charter they can continue to participate actively in
the organization, go away or even die - without any of this actually
changing the Charter.

What is OSGeo's Charter? My guess is that the section "About the Open
Source Geospatial Foundation" contains what we would consider our Charter.

As a legal body incorporated in Delaware, USA we needed to implement how
the newly founded organization should support this charter. This has
been written into the bylaws:

In "ARTICLE VII Members" of our bylaws we specify how we plan to manage
membership. There is no talk of "Charter Members", just "members".
Looking at what we did almost 10 years ago it was probably the right
thing to do at that time. But it may be good for an update. My
suggestion is to change this section into regular membership and remove
the self-pollinating aspect. At the same time we could update our
"About" section into a proper Charter and then go ahead and operate as
any regular member association.

On a personal note: I do not see any danger of a hostile take-over. This
was an important catch we put into the DNA of OSGeo when we founded it.
There never was a hostile take-over and I cannot really see it coming.
We are big enough to not need to fear this anymore. And we would make
OSGeo a much more open and welcoming organization if we moved away from
this somewhat strange self pollinating system.

I am not really passionate about this and only consider it an overdue
maintenance patch to how OSGeo functions. If there is no broad interest
I am happy to drop the ball, otherwise I am as happy to help build a
more appropriate member mechanism.

Best regards,

- -- 
Arnulf Christl (OSGeo)
OSGeo President Emeritus
OSGeo Founding and Charter Member

On 30.06.2015 13:24, Gert-Jan van der Weijden - Stichting OSGeo.nl wrote:
> Vasile: thanks for this very useful recap. 
> A few remarks from a relative newbie as I am ;-)  
> - the name of the wiki page with the charter members is already called
> "voting members" ;-)
> - the charter member list grows and grows. Over the year only 1 person
> retired from the charter member list
> - charter membership seems to drift towards a title of honour, instead of a
> mechanism for proper board elections and prevent a hostile take-over
> - the voting participant rate for the board elections is low over the years:
> 70% - 85%. I would expect 100%!
> Therefore, I'd suggest a voting membership with:
> - a fixed number of seats (e.g. 72)
> - with a certain numbers of seats reserved for each region [51], (e.g. 6*6,
> and thus 36 remaining "wildcard"-seats).
> - in case of not enough candidates, or note enough votes for a candidate
> from a certain region, seats can remain empty
> - a 3 term (instead of a lifetime membership, re-election possible)
> - and a mechanism in which not all seats are elected every year, but
> one-third every year, and thus all seats once every three years
> Just my 2 eurocents,
> Gert-Jan
> [51] http://bl.ocks.org/jsanz/raw/779f9b9954b92461fa50/
> -----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
> Van: discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org
> [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] Namens Vasile Craciunescu
> Verzonden: maandag 29 juni 2015 15:08
> Aan: OSGeo Discussions
> Onderwerp: [OSGeo-Discuss] 2015 Charter Member elections
> Dear all,
> First of all, please accept my apologies for the delay in sending this
> message to you and, again, apologies for the length of the message.
> Let's start with some basic information about the charter member elections
> followed by a little bit of history. I know that many of you already know
> the details but the community is quite large now and I find this recap
> useful.
> OSGeo charter members [1] are the blood of our foundation. They are voted
> into this category by the other charter members. They have the right to vote
> in elections for other charter members and for board members. They are
> required to act in accordance with the goals and bylaws [2] of the
> Foundation and have the following responsibilities: 
> (1) annually vote for OSGeo Board members; (2) annually vote for new OSGeo
> Charter members and (3) be aware of and protect against a hostile takeover
> of OSGeo.
> Each year new charter members are nominated (nomination process is open for
> the entire community, not only to the existing charter members) and elected
> by existing OSGeo charter members, in a process supervised by the board [3]
> and operated by the Chief Returning Officer (CRO) [4]. 
> Non-active members can retire or be removed by board decision. An updated
> list with all the current and past charter members is available on OSGEo
> website [5]. During the years the charter members selection procedure
> suffered minor and major changes as you can see bellow.
> OSGeo was created in early 2006 [7]. One of the main outcomes of the first
> OSGeo meeting (held in Chicago) [7] was a list of 21 foundation voting
> members (most of them high profile figures of the existing FOSS4G
> projects) and 5 interim directors [8]. Later that month, the first real
> elections started with a public nomination call [9] followed by a vote [10]
> and the election of new 24 voting members [11]. This was followed by a new
> nomination call [12] for the remaining four open seats in the board. After a
> tight vote, the first four candidates [13] from a list of eight [14] join
> the board.
> In June, after a f2f meeting, the new board redefined the OSGeo membership
> categories as we know today [15]. The voting members are now called "Charter
> Members" and they have the right to vote in elections for other charter
> members, and for board members. The other member categories (participant &
> members) have the right to nominate charter board members but they cannot
> cast votes. In March 2007, with the approach of the new charter members
> elections, discussion started about the ned for a CRO position, the number
> of new seats (and by who/how the number is decided) and the voting procedure
> (e.g. nomination and voting period extend, right to designate a proxy, the
> number of votes each charter member can submit) [16]. In June 2007 the
> nomination process [17] started with the aim to elect 15 charter members
> (the number was arbitrarily selected by the board). During the vote [18],
> each charter member was entitled to cast votes up to 15 names from the
> nomination list. It was possible to cast more than one vote to the same
> nominee (even all 15 votes).
> The same voting procedure was used for the 2008 charter member elections
> (including the number of seats, 15) [19]. However, the nomination list
> included 18 great names [20] and people start asking to accept all the
> names. Again, the method to pick the number of open seats was questioned
> again. Some people ask not to change the rules during the game and to select
> only 15 names. And 15th it was. Ironically, "there was a four-way tie for
> last place. So, the 15th person on the list was selected by a random
> process." [21].
> In 2009 the elections [22] followed the same rules but the number of seats
> was raised to 30. Though, as before, the charter members were able to cast
> only 15 votes. All nominated members [23] were elected as the number was
> bellow 30.
> 2010 [24], brought an important change. Due to lack of time for proper
> organization, it was decided to switch the election order and elect the
> charter members after the board elections. This way, the new charter members
> were not able to vote in the same year were elected. Also, the board
> decided, in a f2f meeting, to "add 10% of existing members each year - 10
> new members this year." [25]. The charter member were able to cast a maximum
> of 10 votes using the same rules as before. However, a number of voices
> noted that the list of nominee [26] had many great names and it was a pity
> to cut down to only 10. Some suggested that is time to make some changes in
> the charter member selection procedure (e.g. [27]).
> In 2011 [28] the elections order remain the same as in 2010. The board
> agreed on opening 20 seats (20% - [29]). Each member were able to cast a
> maximum of 20 votes using the same rules as before. In the end, 21 members
> were elected (all nominees [30]) as it was a tie for the 20th slot and that
> still fits within the limits of 20% new charter members set by the board.
> The voting participating rate was 65% and some voices ask about the charter
> member retirement procedure.
> In 2012 [31] the election schedule return to the initial order: first
> charter member and then board. 20 seats were open and the board decided to
> accept all 22 nominations [32] as it was inline with OSGeo bylaws (is
> possible to add between 10% and one third of the existing charter
> membership).
> 2013 [33] elections followed the 2012 scenario. 30 seats open. 37
> nominations received [34]. The board decided to accept all the nominations.
> 2014 [35], the year of the change for OSGeo charter member elections. 
> First big change was the implementation of an electronic voting system [36]
> to replace the e-mail voting. The selection process itself was also revised
> from the bottom. Each charter member received an email with a personalized
> url to access the electronic voting system. Each charter member can vote
> with Yes/No/Abstain for all nominated charter members. 
> Each candidate with more YES votes than NO votes, and greater than 5% of
> voting charter members voting YES for them, were included as new charter
> members. The result was that all 64 nominations [37] were accepted as
> Charter members. For the first time, the board decided to publish the
> elections results on the internet with detail numbers of YES/NO/ABSTAIN for
> each nominee [38]. Some concerns were raised about the low threshold of
> voting charter members voting YES for a nominee.
> Now we are getting to the current year. In 2015 [39], the elections will
> follow the same pattern: charter members and then board members. For the
> charter members elections, the OSGeo president, Jeff McKenna, propose to
> change the the above mentioned threshold from 5% to 50% [40]. Jeff did a
> simulation on the last year votes with the new threshold and discovered that
> 45 nominations would be accepted, versus all 64 nominations. The item was
> briefly introduced during the board meeting held in June [41]. 
> Due to the lack of time, no detailed discussions or vote follow [42]. 
> However, a motion on the item was introduced to the board via e-mail [43].
> The board was not able to reach an consensus with six votes to approve, one
> abstain and two to reject the motion. Some other charter members join the
> discussion but also with split opinions. Some are pro for a more exclusive
> charter membership and some are for a easy way to join. A consultation with
> the entire community was demanded. For more details see thread "[Board]
> motions from June 18 meeting - making OSGeo Charter membership more
> exclusive" on the board mailing list [44]. The thread expanded on the
> OSGeo-discuss mailing list and more concerns were raised. Like: the
> YES/NO/Abstain options should be better explained to the charter members;
> ask the charter members to vote on the threshold; the algorithm to measure
> the support for a nominee should be modified as Abstain votes are counted
> right now as No votes. The "YES / (NO + YES) = percentage support" [45] and
> "(YES-NO) / (YES+NO+ABSTAIN) = percentage support" [46] formulas were
> suggested; Arnulf suggested that "charter member" term was misused by OSGeo
> in the past and the foundation should embrace a regular membership mechanism
> and even ask for a low annual membership fee [47].
> I hope I did not make any mistakes and also did not left important
> information outside this recap. I so, please correct/add points. Charter
> member elections process is vital to OSGeo, therefore we should proceed
> further with great care. The time is also not on our side as we need to do
> this before the board elections. Until now we have the following options:
> a. Go with the unmodified 2014 selection process; b. Change the threshold
> percent; c. Change the algorithm that measure the support for a nominee; d.
> Change both b and c; e. Change the selection process from the ground (e.g.
> move to regular membership); e. Other options not expressed until now.
> Please take some time, think about the existing voting system and if/how
> should be improved, and express your opinion here. Thanks to the electronic
> voting system we can put your options into a survey and all vote for the
> best solution.
> Warm regards from sunny Bucharest,
> Vasile
> (your 2015 CRO)
> P.S. Two personal notes after I did some research about the selection/voting
> process in other open source software organizations: 1) all of them seem to
> have difficulties in finding the best solution (apparently such solution
> does not exist); 2) OSGeo is a very transparent organization.
> [1] http://www.osgeo.org/Membership
> [2] http://www.osgeo.org/content/foundation/incorporation/bylaws.html
> [3] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Membership_Process
> [4] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Chief_Returning_Officer
> [5] http://www.osgeo.org/content/foundation/members/voting_members.html
> [6]
> http://www.osgeo.org/content/news/news_archive/open_source_geospatial_founda
> tion_initial_press_release.html.html
> [7] http://www.osgeo.org/content/foundation/meetings/2006_02_04/meeting.html
> [8] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Charter_Members
> [9] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/2006-February/000008.html
> [10] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/2006-February/000073.html
> [11] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/2006-March/000132.html
> [12] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/2006-March/000167.html
> [13] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/2006-March/000314.html
> [14] http://www.osgeo.org/content/news/news_archive/board_nom_20060314.html
> [15] http://www.osgeo.org/Membership
> [16] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/2007-March/001558.html
> [17] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/2007-May/001964.html
> [18] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/2007-June/002003.html
> [19] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Election_2008
> [20] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/New_Member_Nominations_2008
> [21] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/2008-June/003789.html
> [22] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Election_2009
> [23] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/New_Member_Nominations_2009
> [24] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Election_2010
> [25]
> http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Face_to_Face_Meeting_Barcelona_2010#Meeting_Minut
> es
> [26] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/New_Member_Nominations_2010
> [27] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/2010-November/008312.html
> [28] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Election_2011
> [29] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Face_to_Face_Meeting_Denver_2011#Minutes
> [30] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/New_Member_Nominations_2011
> [31] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Election_2012
> [32] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/New_Member_Nominations_2012
> [33] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Election_2013
> [34] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/New_Member_Nominations_2013
> [35] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Election_2014
> [36] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Electronic_Voting
> [37] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/New_Member_Nominations_2014
> [38] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Election_2014_detailed_results
> [39] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Election_2015
> [40] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/board/2015-May/012863.html
> [41] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Election_2015
> [42] http://irclogs.geoapt.com/osgeo/%23osgeo.2014-09-13.log
> [43] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/board/2015-June/012912.html
> [44] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/board/2015-June/thread.html
> [45] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/board/2015-June/012945.html
> [46] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/board/2015-June/012946.html
> [47] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/2015-June/014374.html
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