Towards a Unified VisCom-WebCom HiveMind

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The following are discussion points only, based on recent Board mails and IRC chatter. This not a formal proposal!

Current Situation

mpg and Jason are the newly appointed as chairs of, respectively, VisCom and WebCom. Both have expressed some concern over their charters -- what is in, what is out, what overlaps, etc.

mpg, in particular, sees VisCom to date as being largely a "reactive" group, rather than "proactive" -- we're very much in the mode of "hey, event X is next week, can we do a booth!?". Note I am not blaming anyone here; we're dealing with the resources and experiences we have at hand and are making the best of it. But I think we all agree that, going forward, that is not how we want to operate.

Ultimate Goal

The ultimate goal of both VisCom and WebCom is, as I (mpg) see it, to create, coordinate, and publish all out-going messaging about OSGeo.

This includes our own website content, our booths and presentations at event, magazine articles we product, press coverage we receive, etc. The recipients / targets of our messaging efforts may be corporate bodies, individual developers, press, etc. The messaging may be specific to a project or general to OSGeo.

This messaging needs to coordinate with FunCom, so as to stay on-message, etc.

A Modest Proposal

I propose that VisCom be reorg'd to become the committee that oversees the following "working groups" (or Subcoms or what-have-you, naming tbd):

  • EventCom
    • make sure OSGeo look/feel consistent across events
    • need to make sure we have one "owner" on site per actual event
    • logistics coordination
  • MarCom (marketing services committee)
    • provides marketing "services"
    • owns publishing of flyers, printing shirts, etc
    • generally a "provider" of content, not a "producer"
  • WebCom
    • owns responsibility for getting our message to people who come to our site(s) looking for help
    • owns the website/wiki/plone/etc
    • owns website organization AND the content thereof
    • target is messaging for "incoming" people
    • (I think this is what Jason is interested in contributing)
    • has to put up with the current CN platform for now, but should not be tied to it
    • actual "sysadmin" role de-emphasized here, would prefer SAC-like thing?
  • OutCom (outreach committee)
    • owns responsibility for getting our message out to people
    • generally responsible for communications OTHER THAN events and website (obviously some overlap)
    • examples: special presentations at meetings, pitches to companies, case studies, white papers, etc
    • may work with FunCom on slides, messaging, etc
    • can provide a "available speakers list" sort of function
    • talks to press
    • may be project-specific or foundation-general
    • all OutCom material gets put onto website eventually, of course

Note that I've tried to define WebCom and OutCom as two sides of the same coin: the former is "reactive" (interested people coming in to us) and the latter is "proactive" (we going out to people who might be interested).

How it Works

VisCom continues to meeting biweekly, but meetings become more for coordination of underlying groups. VisCom members will be expected to work across multiple of these groups, but one person is assigned responsible for each group and to report out.

Underlying groups may or may not need their own mailing lists, etc. The above sounds pretty formal and over-organized, but in practice I honestly don't want to establish N different committees -- I just want to make each functional area of our mission is covered, with clarity and without overlap, and that there is one designated person with ownership and authority for each area.

mpg willing to chair this uber-VisCom thing, but suggests the putative Executive Director eventually take on this role.


  • is my idea for "OutCom" well-defined?
  • is the Newsletter an OutCom or WebCom thing?