WE need to clarify the wording a bit more, re: "local chapter", "local interest group", etc.
- Local Chapter
- Group of users, interested people;
- same overall goal as OSGeo;
- acting on behalf of OSGeo;
- Acting within a limited, specified geographical (and/or language) outreach;
- Generating good PR, media coverage;
- Local Interest Group
- adapts the work of the comittees to local realities or
- acts on behalf of comittees
- Acts together to solve local issues that don't need OSGeo supervision
(my ideas on LIGs are not much useful, aren't they? ;) Pmarc 02:05, 21 June 2006 (CEST))
discussion on Local Chapters of 2007-02-08
Yesterday evening (GMT), on #osgeo irc channel, we had an interesting discussion about what OSGeo Local Chapters mean.
Here my own opinion:
We agreed that it seem not clear at all what Local Chapters mean and they are supposed to do. Before Local Chapters become a wide reality it would be nice to discuss what Local Chapters are and how they would stick to Mother Osgeo. It is natural to me that so many different approaches will just create a chaos and a very bad returning image.
the discussion is available on irc log: http://logs.qgis.org/osgeo/#osgeo.2007-02-07.log
search for "12:26:22" in the text, is more or less where the discussion on local chapters starts.
I see a keypoint on this: 13:36:32 FrankW: ominoverde: I do get the point that we may need to revisit what rules we expect a local chapter to abide by to avoid future problems. But I'm not *leading* any action on that front.
I understand that Frank cannot have time to moderate every discussion. It would be nice if a good support will come from us, local chapters interested people, and if we can define some more clear rules on how Local Chapters should be.
My point wasn't so much that I don't have time, but rather that I think someone with a firmer idea of what they think we ought to do should be leading such an effort.
Based on the discussion we had yesterday I can more clearly see some dangers of a relatively loose approach to how local chapters are administered. However, I'm still quite worried that a fairly restrictive policy will have negative ramifications.
For me, I'm especially worried about folks forming an OSGeo chapter in regions that already have a strong open source geospatial group and this leading to a sort of community split of some sort. Even if the groups are cooperative there will be a dilution of efforts, and it is very easy for such a situation to lead to bad feelings that would be damaging to all our goals.
What I could imagine is OSGeo having fairly strict rules for what constitutes an official local chapter, but also have a looser concept of affiliated organizations. So, for instance, in Germany the GAV e.V. has existed for some time, and has essentially the same goals as OSGeo. Rather than have a "competing" OSGeo chapter start there, we might instead treat GAV e.V. as an affiliated group and refer folks interested in local action and support to them.
So in this scenario the local chapters page might instead become the "local organizations" page, and list both official OSGeo chapters and other affiliated organizations. The chapters would be subject to fairly strict rules, while we would just need to ensure that the affiliated groups share closely related goals.
In this scenario I'd feel more comfortable adding some additional rules for local chapters. They might include things like:
- local chapter members are automatically general members of OSGeo which implies we register them properly with contact info, etc.
- local chapters would need to follow some sort of code of conduct with regard to handling of chapter funds.
- local chapters who wish to have corporate sponsors would need to do so under a "standardized local chapter program", perhaps a bit like the OSGeo Project Sponsorship program (except that the money presumably would not be routed through the main foundation).
In places where groups don't feel comfortable with such outside interference interested individuals could just launch a local GFOSS type group that doesn't use the OSGeo name for itself, and seek affiliation with OSGeo rather than being a formal local chapter.
All the above said, I'm still somewhat ambivalent about the whole matter. If something is to happen someone who feels more strongly about it than I will need to lead the effort.
PS. I can't help but wonder if this discussion should be on discuss since it is of wide interest. Having it here, while appropriate to the purpose of the list, will tend to limit involvement in the discussion to the few who knew to join this list. I would have no objection to my email being taken to the main discuss list if folks want to move the discussion there.
PPS. I'm bcc'ing fundraising and board since these discussion relate closely to nacent discussions on the fundraising list about local sponsorship, and because ultimately it will be the board that would have to put in rules. But I *hate* cross posting storms so hopefully the bcc will keep the actual discussion in one place.