[OSGeo-Discuss] My feelings about board elections

Cameron Shorter cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Tue Oct 31 15:23:03 PDT 2017

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.
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Cameron Shorter
Technology Demystifier, Learnosity
Open Technologies Consultant

M +61 (0) 419 142 254

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