Protocol for requesting letter of support

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Adopted during this board meeting:

This document proposes a set of guidelines than can be used by the OSGeo community to request explicit support, in the form of a letter of support, for a proposed activity. This represents some initial ideas to be used as a starting point with the expectation that changes will be made. The intent is to have a standard set of guidelines that are easy to implement.

Given the likelihood that multiple members of the OSGeo community will request support for a single solicitation a balance should be reached between providing sufficient information so an informed decision to support or not support the proposed work can be made and to maintain sufficient confidentiality so that a competitive edge can be maintained by the requestor.

All letters of support should be archived on the OSGeo web site for access by the OSGeo community.

The process involves 4 steps: submission, comment, decision, and notification.

  1. To start the process, a request for support should be submitted to the OSGeo discuss mailing list. In the request sufficient information should be provided about the proposal’s goals and deliverables with explicit reference to why OSGeo support is being requested.
  2. During a period of 3 days (72 hours) the OSGeo community will have an opportunity to respond with comments indicating why OSGeo should or should not explicitly support the project. If more information is required that should be stated during this review period.
  3. After this 3-day review period the OSGeo board will discuss the request at their next scheduled meeting. If no meeting is scheduled by the time the letter of support is due then one should let the board know and they can vote over email or potentially meet sooner. One board member should be assigned the task of organizing the initial request and all replies concerning that request so this information can be distributed to board members in advance of the meeting. After discussing feedback received from the discuss mailing list the board will make one of the following decisions:
    1. Request additional information
    2. Approve the request
    3. Deny the request
  4. The requestor will be notified of the board’s decision within 24 hours of the start of the board meeting. If the request is approved the board will write the letter and deliver it. If additional information is requested the board will notify the requestor and the OSGeo community via the discuss mailing list and the review process begins again. If the request is denied a notice of denial will be sent to the requestor via-email. This notice will include the justification for denying the request.

Question: Should it be mentioned that board members wishing to comment should do so via the discuss mailing list or is it okay for them to have the option of limiting their feedback to the board meeting?

Draft Suggestions For Expedited Letters

Following is for discussion purposes and not approved...

Where an organization is requesting a letter of support, a more streamlined approach is available. If an organization has a Memorandum of Understanding in place with OSGeo, then requests for Letters of Support can be expediated under the following conditions:

  1. The proposed work to be supported must fall within the scope of existing agreements
  2. All parties of the existing agreements must be included in the request for the Letter as well as OSGeo's Board of Directors
  3. It must not commit OSGeo resources beyond current agreements
  4. It may not be used to negatively impact or comment upon work down by other parties, thereby keeping OSGeo from supporting contentious projects
  5. A clear statement about how quickly the Letter must be confirmed in order to be effective

If the above is shown to be true then:

  • Requests for letters may be sent to where does it go?
  • Confirmation and follow up of the request may be completed by an OSGeo Officer working with at least one Board member (just a thought to keep accountability, yet not requiring all of the board?)
  • The Board must be made aware of such Letters being confirmed and has the right to cancel the Support Letter if they deem it is unsuitable for any of the above reasons
  • Approved Letters get uploaded to and catalogued on the OSGeo wiki Letters of Support page