[open-linguistics] Call for ideas about organisational structure for OWLG until April 12th

Christian Chiarcos christian.chiarcos at web.de
Tue Mar 26 12:28:37 UTC 2013

Dear all,

first of all, thanks to Sebastian and Jonathan for their summaries.

As for Sebastian's list, I would like to add one additional issue, that is

- *Aggregate and facilitate communication*: one or few persons who keep  
track of what is going on, who feel responsible to make sure that there is  
something going on at all, who should be addressed if issues arise that  
pertain to the OWLG as a whole, and who redistribute this information  
through the website/blog, the mailing list and at the telcos.

Of course this covers some of the tasks that Sebastian mentioned, which  
are however, much more specific, and actually, somewhat orthogonal to this  
task. Maybe we should distinguish between responsibilities for concrete  
tasks and the responsibility to maintain an overview to make sure the  
group works as whole. I felt the latter was somewhat missing since the  
second half of last year.

Technically, this would be what a coordinator would be supposed to do, but  
as here are several communities involved, that normally don't come  
together at all, it would be recommendable that we appoint *several  
people* to this role that interface with their specific communities, say,  
the Semantic Web community, typology, and NLP/computational linguistics  
(so far, these have been most active, but suggestions for additional  
fields and candidates welcome). The main obligation would be to  
participate in *every* telco, and every possible meeting, and to stay in  
close contact with the other to keep up with the developments in case a  
telco/meeting is missed.
The number of people should not be too high, say, five at most, as telcos  
with 10 or more participants (we have had some fluctuation there) tend to  
be increasingly impractical.

Actually, we had a very similar, but informal structure before, during and  
after LDL, and it worked pretty well for a while, just that without formal  
responsibilities, we stopped having telcos and meetings since the MLODE  
workshop, when people got occupied with more concrete tasks such as  
converting data sets, preparing data set descriptions and publishing their  
results. Actually, this was a consequence of our success, because the  
number of active people substantially increased and we had to specialize,  
loosing global coherence a little out of sight. Appointing a few people to  
compensate this natural particularization process seems necessary to keep  
the group working.

 From a terminological point of view, I would prefer not to use  
hierarchy-loaded terms like "chair" or "coordinator", because we like to  
stay open to everyone who is interested in participating, but rather talk  
about "administrators", as this job also should come with some technical  
responsibility (inseparable from the general task to "facilitate  
communication"), such as mailing list administration (aside from OKFN  
people currently Sebastian Hellmann and me) or web site administration  
(aside from OKFN people currently Steve Moran, Sebastian Hellmann and me).

All the best,

On Wed, 20 Mar 2013 17:50:52 +0100, Sebastian Hellmann  
<hellmann at informatik.uni-leipzig.de> wrote:

> Dear OWLG group,
> you can find the minutes of our telco here: http://okfnpad.org/OWLG
> In the telco, we concluded that we need an organizational structure for  
> our group. The main rationale is that there seems to be a lot of  
> activity on the one hand, but there seems to be a lack of information  
> and coordination. Many of the tasks and todos are neither handled nor  
> kept track of and the group effort is stagnating.
> Here are the main issues, we are trying to tackle with an organisational  
> structure for the group:
> - how do we keep the web site up to date? (including blog posts)
> - who schedules telcos?
> - who can people ask, if they want to organize an OWLG workshop?
> - how do we organize a procedure for issuing letters of support?
> - ....
> The Open Knowledge Foundation does not have any requirements for working  
> group structures, so we are free to choose our own way. Also there  
> doesn't seem to be any best practice. We therefore would like to ask you  
> to make proposals on how to organize this group. The need is certainly  
> obvious, as we seem to be stagnating.
> Please post any problems, issues, wishes or proposals to this list until  
> April 12th, so we can discuss this problem and make an informed decision,
> all the best,
> Sebastian
Christian Chiarcos
Angewandte Computerlinguistik
FB 12 Informatik und Mathematik
Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität Frankfurt a. M.
Fach 154
60054 Frankfurt am Main

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