[foundation-board] personal note (Re: URGENT: Problems with a specific individual and OKF projects)

Jo Walsh metazool at gmail.com
Tue Nov 16 21:31:37 UTC 2010

On 16/11/2010 09:23, James Casbon wrote:
> Do you think, as her friend, you could ask her to
> tell you the fraud she thinks has taken place?

FWIW, the friendship is not going to withstand this kind of mess, at 
least not for the near future...

A personal note. Paola was the first real friend I made in Edinburgh.
She supported me a lot at a time when my personal life was in a real 
mess, I was able to retreat to her place when my home environment was 
insufferable (and actually took over her lease when she bought a flat, 
just at the time i needed to move out). I haven't seen much of her since 
then, she's gone to ground working on her thesis, which also seems to be 
a cause of stress to her, EPSRC grant ends next year and nowhere near to 

Paola has a lot of organising energy - did a TedEX, VoCamp, started the 
Scottish Linked Data regular meetups. Her initial analysis of OKF rang 
true to me. Of course, given what has subsequently happened, I *deeply* 
regret involving Paola in the OKF Coord Group. It was a calamitous error 
of judgement on my part. I stood down as Coord chair a couple of months 
ago. Don't think I haven't considered resigning as a Director too. But 
to do that *right now* really would be making a mountain out of a 
molehill. I likely will stand down when it comes to "renew one's 
commitment time" next year.

My concerns about OKF operations are grounded in my concerns for Rufus.
When he visited for OK Scotland, and when I visited Cambridge for the 
board meeting with Archer in the summer, I saw Rufus on the phone from 
8am to 8pm, dealing with several different layers of problems, 
constantly being interrupted by new ones, often sounding stressed out.

I've been here since pretty near the beginning, Rufus listened to me and 
supported me to do community-building work when no-one else thought open 
geodata was winnable. I don't want to see the intensity of Rufus' vision 
occluded; I don't want to see Rufus at risk of burning out.

Given the Shuttleworth fellowship, and new hires for project management 
work, I think the situation must be improving - OKF is getting past the 
point where "Rufus doesn't scale" looks like a critical problem.

Perhaps I push it too far on the transparency front, but it really does 
look to me like a solution to the tension between community/contracted; 
many eyes make shallow bugs. Not an easy path, but a clear one, that can 
also save the reporting / coordination burden in the longer term.
Mark MacGillivray made related points to Paola's when I talked to him 
about his interests in project management for distributed organisations.

Beyond this point I'm rambling, no desire to prolong the discussion, 
only to *attempt* to make it clear that I've been acting in good faith
(at least, that is how it seems to me).

More information about the foundation-board mailing list