[ok-scotland] Fwd: first board meeting?

Andres Guadamuz a.guadamuz at ed.ac.uk
Wed Jun 30 16:11:08 UTC 2010

Can I go on record and state that I find Paola's attitude towards OKFN 
completely counter-productive? Is it normal for you to antagonise people 
when you want them to do something for you?

There is no such thing as OK-Scotland, as Robin stated, this is just a 
mailing list of people in a common geographical area who might want to 
organise events together.

Paola seems intent in turning a mailing list into an organisation to 
serve her personal needs, there is a lot of confusion of "I" and "we" in 
her emails. If you have some funding available, and you need some legal 
structure to obtain more funding, the solution is not to hijack an 
existing organisation with an excellent track record and a very high 
international reputation to do your biding.

Best Regards,


On 30/06/2010 16:52, Paola Di Maio wrote:
> Jonathan
> thanks a lot for your replies
> we are all spread thin, and constantly have fragmentary conversations,
> and what happens between all these cracks that
> is the subject of my research
> I am sorry if what I wrote sounds unfair, but probably is the lack of
> information that
> contributes to the confusion, (your confusion, my confusion etc)
> as not everyone seems to agree on what ok scotland is, what it should
> be, etc and
> i dont think this should be a private conversation between you jo and I,
> but anyone
> who wants to contribute to forming OKS for whatever reason, including
> getting funded work for example, should be
> able to do so
> I am suggesting that anyone interested in the future of OKS should get
> together and decide what
> are our respective needs/desires to maximise involvement
> In more detail, to your third point :
>     (i) here is OKF governance document, which I have pointed out to you
>     before: http://okfn.org/governance
> In our call, you provided many links, including to the governance page,
> after our skype call
> I sent some comments, which I pasted at the bottom of this thread, and
> that I have now linked
> to a pad here
> http://okfnpad.org/AQrWuO9B28
> In that email I shared my questions and comments about the governance
>   page you sent me,  about the board etcetera but I never received any
> reply!
> In that email, I asked you to let me have the details of the forthcoming
> call you had referred to in our conversation
> but I never knew what call it was, when , where , what time, how to take
> part etc
> but never mind
> I also said please send some summary if relevant to our other issues in hand
> I never received a reply
> I know you are busy, but the lack of reply is why I have dropped out of
> that loop
> (llike you, following dozens of simoultaneous threads)
>     more specifically
>     (ii) here is Projects Committee, which *anyone* can get involved in
>     and which is charged with OKF strategy, funding, and approval of
>     projects/working groups. If you want to run (and get funding for) a
>     project under the auspices of the OKF, please propose it here:
>     <http://wiki.okfn.org/wg/coord>. If you want to get more involved you
>     are most welcome -- the best way is to start *doing* something (write
>     a piece of code, draft a document, propose/start a working group, host
>     a monthly call on an area of interest, organise a workshop, ...). If
>     you have any problems -- please raise them, e.g. on our okfn-help
>     list, where other folks interested in open knowledge will do their
>     best to help you out! We are still working out how to refine the
>     process of seeding/supporting projects -- and you are welcome to join
>     the discussion on the okfn-coord list!
> not unless the governance questions  asked  in previous correspondence
> are answered in detail!
>     (iii) just to clarify some of your (Paola's) comments (some of which I
>     thought were really unfair!) the OKF is not 'stuck', 'a bit of a
>     mess', or 'secret'.
> sorry ,  it is a mess by my working definition  Tom Ritchey, 2003-2009
> (a messy problem s are the interesting ones in organisational chaos
> theory research)
> I have the literature to support the use of the word mess here:
> more references where the word mess is used to describe complex socio
> technical problems:
> http://www.cs.stir.ac.uk/events/network-analysis/slides/dimaio-analysis.pdf
> http://www.swemorph.com/pdf/it-webart.pdf
>     The board is overwhelmingly dealing with
>     administrivia -- like VAT applications, risk management, chasing up
>     invoices, and legal aspects of taking on projects (e.g. libel). We are
>     committed to having a board of directors that are legally responsible
>     for the administrative side of the OKF. Board members are folks with
>     proven relevant experience of this kind of admin.
> I can work with OKF if a) i am satisfied that the organisation is not a
> secret mess  b) if the board is capable of making sound decisions about
> everything
> I am sure the board members are great, but not sure if they alone can
> deliberate wisely across all the challenges that we are facing without
> further
> counsel (as it stands, some decisions are best made without a board, as
> many of you well know)
> I would not trust the OKF with some critical decisions regarding
> sensitive aspects of my project for example
> and I am not sure anyone else I know would be able to help either
> while I am sure the board does good hard work, I am not sure that is
> always enough to cover the libel for all projects
> especially when that responsibility  is one of the main point of the
> disclaimers in the agreement that OKF enterns into
> surely not the kind of risks I am taking in my work (I need a bodyguard,
> as well as lawyers)
> etc etc etc
>     We are *always*
>     looking for people to volunteer to help out with this (pretty unsexy)
>     side of the organisation -- and all our board members are unpaid and
>     very busy with other things. I'm deeply grateful for the work they put
>     in.
> Of course, Its about b it does not quite say anywhere how can people be
> part of the decision making team (the board)
> how these are elected, how they are rotated et, all questions i asked
> and did not find an answer for
>     All of the *interesting* discussions -- where we should focus,
>     what we should try to raise funds for, what we should do next, etc. --
>     will take place at the *public* project committee meeting.
> as I sai,d  if the work I am doing is a useful contribution  to OKF by
> all means lets work together
> bearing in mind that while the questions about governance (how the board
> is elected and operates)
> are satisfied, I cannot be a project leader of an organisation that
> cannot answer plain questions
> (even if its just because it has not gotten round to working out the
> answers yet :-) or because it has shortage of time etc
>     Paola -- I
>     *explicitly* invited you to the last one, but you said you were too
>     busy!
> nope, on Friday you mentioned a meeting sometime on Tuesday
> I asked to be sent the details, see the email I circulated this morning
> to the list
>     Please at least attempt to spend half an hour attending one of
>     these meetings before saying that the OKF is broken, nontransparent or
>     undemocratic!
> will be happy to attend all the meetings I am invited to *ie, that I
> receive information about
>     As it says in our governance docs we are *deeply*
>     committed to being democratic and community driven (which is often
>     quite a bit of extra work) and we work hard at this.
> you say that you are committed to democracy,  but I dont see it much
> done in practice
>     However the truth
>     is also that people are often (understandably!) too busy to get
>     involved -- even though our doors are wide open!
> of course it is understandable, and its the same for me!
> I look forward to be cooperating with OKF on the EU structural fund
> project, and other projects
> if and when the opportunit arises, in the meantime I will keep you and
> the list posted
> of the work being started in Scotland in this space, and any suggestions
> on local governance that may come up
> I hope you are having a great time in Turin, many friends of mine also
> at Communia
> and to be having a skype call to continue our conversation at your
> convenience
> where I hope everyone will be informed of, and invited to take part, if
> they so wish
> til next
>     Jonathan
> _______________________________________________
> ok-scotland mailing list
> ok-scotland at lists.okfn.org
> http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/ok-scotland

Andres Guadamuz
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University of Edinburgh
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