[okfn-coord] Some thoughts about mailing list access

Becky Hogge becky.hogge at gmail.com
Wed Jun 10 16:13:33 UTC 2009

2009/6/10 paula le dieu <paula at ledieu.org>:
> I would certainly support opening the more general conversations for public
> access.
> I wonder also, if it is the right time (ie. early in the Boards more formal
> instantiation) to build in Board membership review periods. This ensures
> that you are not burdened with a board that no longer fits the
> organisation's needs but also builds in regular opportunities for public
> engagement in the Board's membership?

I think it's a good idea that Board membership be for a set time
period, with the possibility of renewal. So, since we've taken in (no
pun intended) Jordan, James and Paula in the past month, we might say
(retrospectively, or among ourselves) that this was for a fixed term
of say, two years, or three years, or whatever, at which point we
would invite them to consider committing to the organisation for a
further term, or otherwise leaving to make space for someone else. At
this point we could also put out a call to the community to nominate
other potential Board members, who could then be considered by the

For continuity, it would be useful if our "terms" didn't end all at
the same time. And for efficiency (in terms of any recruitment process
they spawn), it would be useful if they didn't end at several
different times, so there is obviously a balance to be struck there.

As for electing the Board, I'm deeply sceptical, and would await a
sustained call from the community that this sort of governance
excercise is what they'd like to see the Board spend time doing. I
note from http://www.okfn.org/about that the okfn values centre upon
"open discussion, meritocracy and tolerance", and therefore suggest we
continue to openly tolerate MJ Ray without automatically ceding to his
calls for democracy ;)

As to Jo's point about taking the conversation about designers to the
-discuss list, I think that's a great idea. I think I'm just a bit shy
because I haven't posted there and I don't know who's on it. But I'll
gladly take the plunge...



> p
> 2009/6/10 Jo Walsh <jo at frot.org>
>> dear all,
>> The critical feedback on http://www.pledgebank.com/support-okfn
>> has got me thinking about organisation models a lot.
>> One feature of OSGeo's Board is that its mailing list is public
>> (open archives, anyone can join subject to moderation).
>> There is a private alias which is only used for discussions
>> which involve uncertain money/contracts or may impact
>> peoples' jobs or reputations, and it's almost never used.
>> OKFN has historically had a discuss list per project/effort
>> with a coord list reserved for "sensitive" matters, partly
>> on the grounds that the more is talked about in public,
>> the more people feel inspired to get involved/ that they
>> have a stake.
>> Right now the okfn-discuss list is "too public" for matters
>> that don't *need* to be private (such as my loose talk about
>> JISC funding calls where there are several JISC people
>> listening on the discuss list). It has too large and disparate
>> a subscriber base to discuss detail of running the Foundation.
>> I realise it's also not viable to open up archive access
>> to this coord list as there is sensitive stuff in the archives.
>> I don't want to create or be on another list, so i would
>> suggest that we try to move more to the existing okfn-help list
>> (topics like Becky's effort to get us free designer time,
>> and where it would be used).
>> I turned up this piece of writing by Chris Holmes about
>> the early days of OSGeo, and i found it quite relevant
>> to the organisational "growing pains" that OKFN is having now.
>> I wonder what others think,
>> jo
>> --
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>> okfn-coord at lists.okfn.org
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