[foundation-board] Chapters

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Sun Sep 16 17:45:34 UTC 2012

Dear Ben,

I, for one, really appreciate these points -- it is precisely this kind of
prior experience that is valuable in helping us decide what we do in this
area going forward.

It should be clear also from the Local Groups and Chapters - Review and
I set before the board at the June board meeting that we think
much more than simple adherence to the Open Definition is needed, as stated
in the recommendations there (inlined below).

I would note that many of these recommendations were somewhat process
oriented and leave open the question of ensuring ongoing alignment on core
issues  and the avoidance of "bad communities" developing.





   - MoU should, at the very least, have an upgrade provision (from
   Foundation central end)
   - Add more detail to MoU. See below.
   - Make the road to chapterhood a bit longer. In general, be a local
   office first (and becoming a Chapter may not be necessary). Set some clear
   targets and goals. See below.
   - Develop a local office MoU (versus a Chapter MoU) - see below.

   - But what happens if people want to incorporate (e.g. Belgium) -- for
   them to incorporate as Open Knowledge Foundation X need to be Chapter? But
   if they don't incorporate as OKF X we have a problem later (e.g.

   - Involve local office leads / chapter leads / coordinators in bi-annual
   summits we have planned starting with the summit post OK Festival
   - ...

MoU alterations - Chapter Structure

   - Must have a coordination (executive) group as well as Board (may well
   be same as Board).
   - One board member and one executive group member (may be same)
   designated as contact person. Must be available for contact and respond to
   enquiries within 4 working days (can obviously delegate if on holiday etc)


   - Attendance of one Board member and one coordination member at
   bi-annual summits (maybe same person)
   - Mandate (or strongly recommend) involvement in at least

   - One cross-network (central Foundation) project e.g. OpenSpending /
   - One working group


   - Local office / chapter must provide a monthly update on activity in
   the form of a public post in a forum designated by the Foundation such as a
   blog, mailing list or wiki (may provide an optional non-public report)
   - Central Foundation may examine chapter's accounts

Road to Chapterhood (or Local Office-hood)

   - Minimum 1-2 year in existence as a group
   - One project or significant contribution to an existing Open Knowledge
   Foundation project
   - Attendance of core members (Board / coordination group) at at least 2
   major Open Knowledge Foundation events (e.g. OK Festival)
   - Run at least 6 meetups with total attendees over all events of more
   than 200
   - At least (10*size of population in millions) community members -
   community members are measured as sum(distinct(mailing list members,
   okfn.org/members, members listed on your website


On 14 September 2012 17:44, Ben Laurie <ben at links.org> wrote:
> I just wanted to clarify a little why I keep harping on about the
> purpose of chapters. It is because they remind me very much of
> projects in the Apache Software Foundation.
> When we were starting out, we thought that the fact a project used the
> Apache Licence was good enough to ensure that the Right Thing would
> happen. This turned out to be very far from the truth, and is why we
> ended up with the Incubator and mentors (who must be ASF members) and
> a lengthy process whereby a project proves it is conforming to "The
> Apache Way".
> Likewise, right now it seems that OKFN thinks that "conforms to the
> Open Knowledge Definition" is sufficient to ensure that a chapter will
> behave as we expect, and I think this will turn out to be as untrue as
> it was in the ASF. I would really rather avoid going through all the
> pain of fixing that after the fact!
> The kinds of things that went wrong at Apache include, but are not
> limited to, projects that were really a vehicle for a company to
> promote its products, projects that were a way to promote patented
> technologies, projects that were run by petty dictators and the kinds
> of problems that led Fitz (an early member) to give this talk many
> times:
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-board mailing list
> foundation-board at lists.okfn.org
> http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-board

Co-Founder, Open Knowledge Foundation
Promoting Open Knowledge in a Digital Age
http://www.okfn.org/ - http://blog.okfn.org/
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