Talk:Membership Rules

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Democratic Problems

First I want to say that there needs to be a section on exclusion of charter members.

Secondly abit flamey, but please bear with me: I base these thoughts on a dislike of what is called do-acracy in the FAQ. Since there are 45 charter members of OSGeo at the moment, the organization is already large enough to have problems. OR not, perhaps you will always get along fine and dandy.

One problem is that the charter members are the only ones that can elect board members and new charter members. The reason:

it would be technically possible for a group of self-interested Members to "hijack" the Board[..]turning it away from our basic goals and principles

What you protect here are the founding/charter members economic rights, not the foundations principles. It's a democratic right to be able to hijack, and it's the job of the constitution to protect the principles. The principles should no be upheld by a friendship club.

The criteria for being a charter member are good but very vague. How can one decide all those things, it will make the application process very beaurocratic, or biased for people that already know charter members.

Emj 12:59, 22 June 2006 (CEST)

I'm not sure you can talk about charter member's economic rights, but the arrangement does protect the charter members control of the foundations direction and focus. You mention it is a democratic right to hijack, but the proposal has OSGeo being a democracy with a very limited citizenship. It purposefully sets out to limit the ability to "highjack" to a group trusted to only do so for the right reasons. In the context of an organization like OSGeo I don't have huge faith in the ability of the constitution to protect the principles. One could claim that the constitution of the original Open GRASS Foundation (later OGC) did not prevent it from wandering far from it's original mandate (though one can argue it was for the best).

Note that the criteria for charter membership are intended as guidelines for charter members to consider when voting in new members. They are not applied mechanically as some sort of point system. Ultimately existing charter members vote on whatever basis they see fit. The process is certainly biased in favor of folks who are known to the existing charter members, but I would claim that isn't such a bad thing. And we have already seen a significant effort to reach out to gain a broader charter membership (in the second round of charter members added).

I will conceed that the proposed approach is less broadly inclusive and democratic than I had originally envisaged, but I think the approach has strengths in terms of keeping the organization focused.

--Warmerda 16:04, 22 June 2006 (CEST)

Nomination possible by anybody

If I remember correctly we came to the conclusion that anybody can nominate charter members? This would open up the elsewise somewhat incestuous process.

-Arnulf (I think)

I don't recall what we decided, I was just going by my notes (which could have been wrong)...

Personally, I think that since becoming a Member is free and self-selecting, it is very close to letting "anyone" nominate (remember, we're talking Members here, not Charter Members).

(Is there some value in "anonymous" nominations that I'm maybe missing?)

--mpg 22:59, 22 June 2006 (CEST)