[foundation-board] Request for board approval to start working towards OKF Austria

Jo Walsh metazool at gmail.com
Fri Nov 12 09:58:22 UTC 2010

On 11/11/2010 18:27, Jordan S Hatcher wrote:
> -- need to ensure that there is a community *before granting a legal
> entity / formal chapter

"Chapter" doesn't necessarily imply legal entity, or am I missing 
something? OSGeo has a lot of chapters, a few have legal entities, most 
don't. All have quite different flavours, according to local culture.
Some are language chapters, others are more spatial.
The UK one was very quiet for years, but was a hand in the air, a place 
for people to turn up as they became interested.

If we applied the reservations below to Working Groups, then most of 
them would never have started. The de facto policy that Rufus and Jonny 
have been following is it's okay to spawn a WG as soon as there's a 
sense of potential future interest - so people have a place to go - and 
if the WG lies dormant for a year while energy/interest builds up around 
the topic, that's acceptable.

I would be *very* wary of putting people off by telling them "No, hold 
on, you can't have a local chapter until [...]". One bit of feedback I 
had from the Germans was how much they were inspired by the "Just Do It" 
ethos coming from the Open Knowledge Foundation, that too much upfront 
formalism in their approach to building Open Data Network meant they 
felt impeded from working openly and collaboratively - ironic, huh?

> we need to separate the wheat from the chaff here
> the people involved are the "right" people

I don't really know what to say.

> I also think we need to digest
> the budding german chapter and learn some lessons on how to improve
> the process before jumping on a whole bunch more (italians included)

Cultural differences mean we'd be unwise to make general conclusions 
based on one set of experiences.

> there are more reasons that need to be distilled and paula and i to
> discuss.

OSGeo has some guidelines that have been worked out over the course of a 
fair amount of experience. Not addressing legal issues of liability, 
it's all been a bit laissez-faire with an emphasis on trusting people to 
self-organise (Which seems to have worked out well)
There's still a formal board approval stage at the end.
Note, that this is done in public, and the discussion about approval is 
also done in public.

> bottom line -- i suggest telling them to chill for a bit and
> establish a mailing list and regular meetups first.

Presumably this is already going on. It would be kind if we could offer 
lists.okfn.org hosting for a mailing list, as we do for working groups.

"chill for a bit" isn't very encouraging unless we're prepared to 
articulate what the criteria to stop chilling are...

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