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

Sebastian Hellmann hellmann at informatik.uni-leipzig.de
Tue Mar 26 18:33:23 UTC 2013

Thanks for this email. It is quite long, but well worth reading it, as 
it is a good analysis.

I came up with a more refined list of responsibilities and also a list 
of expected results to check, whether the person is taking his/her 
responsibilities serious. I think, we should demand some reliable 
commitment, but keep the tasks minimal, so not to overburden the people. 
I see the difference between our views much clearer now. Probably, both 
is the best, to have individual discipline, as well as a fixed group of 
people who motivate and coordinate contribution.

"Admin" is too technical, I would rather go for "curator" for 
content-focussed tasks or coordinator, if it is used with "with" as in 
"coordinates with OKFN", e.g. for reporting.
Here is my incomplete list:

Please refine, this is just a first shot. It is focused on managing our 
resources and it certainly neglects the issues raised by Christian.

However, imagine, if we, as a group, were to produce all the things in 
the expected results column. I would be very proud of our community.

All the best,

Am 26.03.2013 13:28, schrieb Christian Chiarcos:
> 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,
> Christian
> 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

Dipl. Inf. Sebastian Hellmann
Department of Computer Science, University of Leipzig
Projects: http://nlp2rdf.org , http://dbpedia.org
Homepage: http://bis.informatik.uni-leipzig.de/SebastianHellmann
Research Group: http://aksw.org

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