[OSGeo-Discuss] My feelings about board elections

Jim Klassen klassen.js at gmail.com
Wed Nov 1 08:50:47 PDT 2017

I agree with Cameron that there are many ways to contribute to and be an
important part of OSGeo without being on the board.  From some of what I
am reading it appears some people are in a situation where it would
significantly help them participate if there was a more formal
recognition of their role and contributions.

I would like to point out something that is probably obvious but seems
to be missed in the discussion.  We are lucky to have many more people
doing good work with respect to OSGeo: software, data, documentation,
outreach, promotion, education, etc. that come from many backgrounds,
have different interests, speak different languages, etc. than we have
board positions.

How many board positions are available?

How many people in the community are active and passionate about OSGeo?

How many of those people have time to volunteer to fulfill board duties?

How many different sub-groups/regions/languages/interests/etc. are there
in OSGeo?

It is impossible for every slice of the OSGeo membership to be directly
represented on any board of reasonable size.  However, I do trust
whoever is elected to the board to do their best to listen, understand,
and be fair to all members.  I expect the composition of the board will
naturally change over time, bringing new perspectives into the
spotlight.  I am sure that every candidate this year would have done a
fine job.  Someone not being elected to the board doesn't mean we as a
community don't value them or their contributions.

I am part of several other volunteer organizations where even getting
enough candidates to even fill the legally required board positions, not
to mention various committee positions.  Everyone just wants to enjoy
the benefits of the organization and let someone else do the hard work. 
OSGeo is fortunate to not in that situation.  I urge us not to take for
granted our vibrant community and people's eagerness to be involved.

On 10/31/2017 05:23 PM, Cameron Shorter wrote:
> Extending on Maria's comments (and others),
> I think we are over-emphasising the relative importance of the OSGeo
> board. Reducing the importance of the board will increase the
> importance and influence of our OSGeo committees.
> If OSGeo is a Do-ocracy and Meritocracy, and the influencers in OSGeo
> comes from the Do-ers in our community, then questions like board
> diversity almost becomes a non-issue.
> Warm regards, Cameron
> On 31/10/17 6:14 pm, María Arias de Reyna wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> Sorry for the late response. I was busy going back from different
>> timezones and that is a killer for me (travelling, being sleepy, etc...).
>> I agree with Sanghee that we have gone one step backwards. We have
>> lost Asia in the board. That's a step backwards we shouldn't have
>> had. And I agree with 90% of opinions posted here that are sad about
>> the European-NAmerica board. So I will just highlight what I don't
>> agree with. And this is an optimistic email, I don't share the
>> general pessimism. Wait for the end of it.
>> I don't agree that Venka has been punished somehow despite his good
>> work. Do you really think that if someone is doing a good work that
>> should warrantee his position on the board? I don't think so. I think
>> the reward of doing a good job comes somewhere else: recognition,
>> ¿fame?, trust, acknowledgement, even free beers! But even if you
>> think a position on the board is a reward, then, maybe other people
>> have been also rewarded with that for work outside the presidency of
>> OSGeo but inside the community. Or maybe people just wanted a fresh
>> view, not necessarily that meaning that his work (or your work!) was
>> bad. There is a lot of reasons for voting someone and I personally
>> think that a "reward" vote shouldn't be one. Having other candidates
>> with more votes doesn't mean you did a bad job at all. 
>> Do I think that you both should be on the board? Yes, of course! But
>> this has also been (at least for me) a very difficult voting. It was
>> very hard to choose between the candidates. All had good reasons to
>> be there, all had good work done inside the community. So, how to
>> choose? I know what you have been doing because I have done an
>> explicit effort to know about that. I have gone to international
>> events, I have followed the mailing lists, I have followed many
>> threads on twitter. Most people only know what people around them do.
>> So it is possible (and very likely, in my opinion) that a lot of
>> people just see OSGeo as an organization, but don't see the work of
>> individuals. So for them, Venka is that person who does the "history
>> of OSGeo" talk, but nothing special around him that other active
>> members don't have. If we ask members who has been behind the new
>> website, how many of them would know? And that is something that has
>> had a lot of publicity recently. What about all the rest of work that
>> has less exposure?
>> So when it comes to voting, they see candidates who are active in
>> trying to show their views and other candidates that are not present.
>> Not being present on the election process, that is what have drained
>> votes, I would say. Not your fault, maybe, but how do we explain that
>> to people who don't see individuals because they are already busy
>> with local and regional stuff?
>> And now the optimistic part:On the other hand, we have gone two steps
>> forward. Wait, what? Let me explain:
>> We are finally half male half female. Although this may not look like
>> a step forward to some of you, to me it is a huge win. And we did
>> that without the need for quotas. That't a double win. And it is a
>> tendency that has been stable so I am optimistic here.
>> And the other step, but still an important step forward, we have
>> recovered the long lost Iberoamerican community in the board. Since
>> Jorge Sanz, we haven't had a spanish-speaking board member. I know I
>> count as European, but I am as European as I am part of the large
>> (huge!) community that culturally spreads also on north, central and
>> south America. So yes, Vicky may have been a better representative of
>> this community because she is not european, but still, I plan to work
>> hard on getting latin americans closer to OSGeo. Remember that this
>> community is the ¿largest? community in OSGeo and they are very
>> silent because many reasons (low English level, no international
>> FOSS4G being done close, middle income economy that can't afford to
>> travel far or even organizing codesprints properly!,... etc...). Most
>> of them work hard towards OSGeo and don't even know there is such a
>> thing as a membership! They just work aligned with our goals and
>> inside the community, but they see so far away the OSGeo "official"
>> community that they don't even bother to get closer. To get what?
>> What would be their motivation to get closer to a community that
>> largely ignores them?
>> If you think OSGeo has less importance in South America, check the
>> GeoInquietos. Different branding, same work. On the FOSS4G-BA, after
>> María Brovelli's talk about OSGeo, many of them were surprised. They
>> knew about FOSS4G just because the geoinquietos from Argentina placed
>> it on their doorstep. But, OSGeo? What's that? Aaah, the same thing
>> they have been doing but on an English-speaking community. 
>> We have lost Asia, but we have a window to South America. And that's
>> very important.
>> And, wait, have we lost Asia? Does it mean that if there is no board
>> member from Asia, Asia is going to disappear or something? 
>> If you think it will help, we can have something like one
>> representative for each chapter as advisor or watcher of the board.
>> Why not? Let each chapter decide who to "send", like embassadors. I
>> think that would be a good approach to get closer to different
>> communities.
>> _______________________________________________
>> Discuss mailing list
>> Discuss at lists.osgeo.org
>> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
> -- 
> Cameron Shorter
> Technology Demystifier, Learnosity
> Open Technologies Consultant
> M +61 (0) 419 142 254
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at lists.osgeo.org
> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

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