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Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:52 am
by NivF007
Hi Folks:

There is a very active discussion going on right now among the Governance Working Group regarding opening up OSM to community stakeholders for membership.

Membership would include the right for stakeholders, once accepted as members, to vote in elections for the OSM Board Directors who they feel will best represent their interests.

In brief, OSM's new by-laws identify the criteria for membership as "any individual who has contributed to improving Open Source Matters and its projects in any form."

The new OSM by-laws are available at http://www.opensourcematters.org/policies/by-laws.html.

At this point in time only OSM Directors are Members. The OSM Board has established the purpose of the Governance Working Group as "Conducting research and sharing recommendations for best practices on governance issues."

At the time of writing this, there are 18 people involved in discussions on these matters - those discussions are taking place on https://basecamp.com/2257443/

All are welcome to participate in these discussions with the Governance Working Group, please send an email to paul.orwig@opensourcematters.org.

Best to everybody,

Niv

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:51 am
by masterchief
NivF007 wrote:At the time of writing this, there are 18 people involved in discussions on these matters - those discussions are taking place on https://basecamp.com/2257443/
This requires a login to view (and Basecamp is not free). The information is not public.
NivF007 wrote:All are welcome to participate in these discussions with the Governance Working Group, please send an email to paul.orwig@opensourcematters.org.
If there is an undertaking to have all information public, I would be happy to.

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:53 am
by NivF007
+1

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:56 am
by masterchief
Bit late for a +1 isn't it :P

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:00 am
by masterchief
Where is the appropriate place to give public feedback about the GWG?

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:04 am
by jgress-
my understanding is that one has to email paul to be able to join the GWG. i tried really hard to find a public place to view before someone finally told me to email paul and that was the way to join the group.

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:10 am
by masterchief
Is getting the data off Basecamp and onto, for example, Github an option? I'm more than happy to help, but not if we are using a closed system.

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:14 am
by jgress-
i'm not in the group. i can ask someone that is in the group though. or maybe they can enlighten me/us as to why it's set up how it is.

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:35 am
by masterchief
So, basically what I would do is set up a repository such as https://github.com/joomla/governance (doesn't exist so don't try the link), and I'd work on these key features:

* README.md and repository Wiki would contain the information about what the GWG is, it's mandate, it's decisions etc. (for example https://github.com/joomla-cms/start-here) Even Google is struggling to find the definitive guide to the GWG.
* Tasks and questions can be handled by the Repositories "Issues" system (for example https://github.com/joomla-cms/start-here/issues). This works much like BaseCamp.
* Proposals could be drafted in the wiki or as files by GWG members in Markdown format (it's a really easy markup format, has to be if engineers are using it because we are lazy sods). I'd probably go with files and leave the wiki only for instructional material.
* You'd use pull requests to allow people to comment on final proposals. That also allows other people to fork your proposals and tweak them.

It sounds a bit scary, but Open Source governance is something that is taking off (see https://government.github.com). But more importantly it keeps everything open and transparent and people aren't left to jump to conclusions because of a lack of context or information (and hopefully in the process it shows that the detractors don't know what they are talking about). I'm more than happy to hold peoples hands through the process as well.

Ideally you end can put by-laws and trademark stuff in there, maybe even minutes but we can take baby steps if this is the direction people want to head. Long term you probably want a ticketing system but that's a conversation for another day.

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 6:43 pm
by jgress-
a GWG member shared with me that they are looking at Confluence and JIRA this week to see if they will work for complex project management necessary. probably they won't go to github for GWG.

they will be discussing this and making a public post soon - probably a couple/few weeks.

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:11 pm
by masterchief
Thanks for the update Jenn. However, that's disappointing only from the respect that the project seems to be underutilising the tools which we already have available and not centralising resources. I notice that the JED has spun up their own Jira when we already had a free account. They are using Bitbucket instead of Github when we already have a full account. This group is used a closed system when we have open systems at our disposal. Mediawiki is clunky but I can't see the sense in ditching it for Confluence, unless of course you think you need an aircraft carrier to support this working group (and that would concern me if you do). At the very least select a tool where we at least have a API package in the Joomla Framework (Github or Mediawiki would be preferable) so we can integrate with it if need be.

As a professional, this is the kind of thing I'll come into a department or organisation and say "this is nuts and you are making a rod for your own back". As a volunteer, we've all heard too many times there is too much information spread too thinly across too many different and disparate systems. I mean, what's next? Using a WordPress site here or there for a part of the project because that's got a better off-the-shelf template? Drupal?

It frustrates the life out of me that this type of thing keeps happening over and over again and nobody seems to have their finger on the big picture pulse (and that, ironically, is partly a governance problem).

Anyway, this is a hobby for me so I might just do it anyway (the title of the paper will be "How Joomla could have improved processes by Open Sourcing governance" instead of "How Joomla is Open Sourcing not only its code, but governance as well"). Niv, maybe you'd be prepared to share your proposal as some data I can experiment with.

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:09 pm
by porwig
I responded here to some questions/concerns about the Governance Working Group and working in the open (mostly in my #3):
http://forum.joomla.org/viewtopic.php?f ... 5#p3161784

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:16 pm
by masterchief
What wasn't immediately obvious was some of the "legal" issues that make life interesting in assessing these things, not dissimilar to how we have to handle security issues in the JSST. I think we can find a better "home" as we wean off BaseCamp.

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Wed May 07, 2014 6:24 am
by NivF007
masterchief wrote:So, basically what I would do is set up a repository such as https://github.com/joomla/governance (doesn't exist so don't try the link), and I'd work on these key features:

* README.md and repository Wiki would contain the information about what the GWG is, it's mandate, it's decisions etc. (for example https://github.com/joomla-cms/start-here) Even Google is struggling to find the definitive guide to the GWG.
* Tasks and questions can be handled by the Repositories "Issues" system (for example https://github.com/joomla-cms/start-here/issues). This works much like BaseCamp.
* Proposals could be drafted in the wiki or as files by GWG members in Markdown format (it's a really easy markup format, has to be if engineers are using it because we are lazy sods). I'd probably go with files and leave the wiki only for instructional material.
* You'd use pull requests to allow people to comment on final proposals. That also allows other people to fork your proposals and tweak them.

It sounds a bit scary, but Open Source governance is something that is taking off (see https://government.github.com). But more importantly it keeps everything open and transparent and people aren't left to jump to conclusions because of a lack of context or information (and hopefully in the process it shows that the detractors don't know what they are talking about). I'm more than happy to hold peoples hands through the process as well.

Ideally you end can put by-laws and trademark stuff in there, maybe even minutes but we can take baby steps if this is the direction people want to head. Long term you probably want a ticketing system but that's a conversation for another day.
Yikes! Somehow I unsubscribed and didn't catch this until now :-(!

Andrew this is excellent. I'm totally behind this idea. Having had a frustrating time in BaseCamp trying to keep different ideas organized and moving forward, this might just be the answer. I'll pass it by Duke and see if he can include it in the GWG presentation to OSM.

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Wed May 07, 2014 6:31 am
by masterchief
I've already spoken to Duke about it. The premise is that the initial discussions, for legal reasons (which were not immediately obvious to me), needed some privacy akin to how security issues are handled by the JSST. I think the idea of governance by source control is too big a leap for most people just at this time so we'll just run with what the GWG comes up with. I just don't have the energy nor the inclination to bang that drum at the moment. Study and gardening are consuming most of my time.

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Wed May 20, 2015 4:55 am
by NivF007
Could I politely ask for an update?

1. Who are the current OSM members (i.e. not Directors, but members with voting powers)?

2. What is the new process for OSM membership?

3. Which non-OSM Directors (past or present) who have contributed to the Joomla project have been made voting members of OSM?

4. What provisions has OSM made to provide the community at large with membership and voting powers in OSM affairs?

5. What oversight exists (i.e. which group, made up of non-OSM Directors) with powers over OSM to ensure that OSM acts fairly and ethically on behalf of the Joomla Community at large?

Thanks,

Niv

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Wed May 20, 2015 5:26 am
by masterchief
No. Be patient.

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Wed May 20, 2015 5:52 am
by NivF007
No. Be patient.
Sigh...

Let me put this out there, so that nobody has to give themselves a 'mental hernia' over how to follow the OSM by-laws and open up membership (and voting) to the key contributors to the project.

1. OSM By-Laws state that voting members should be admitted on a case-by-case basis. Members are contributors defined in the by-laws as: A "contributor" shall be any individual who has contributed to improving Open Source Matters and its projects in any form.

2. Clearly, anybody who has a) served on a Joomla Leadership team or b) who has contributed code to the Joomla project fits the bill.

Therefore, nothing (nothing whatsoever!) prevents OSM from admitting these key contributors as members to OSM, who would then have voting powers to elect OSM Directors.

Viola! Problem solved - fiduciary duty to OSM and the Joomla! Community whom OSM is there to serve is met.

In the interim, OSM is proposing (and likely will effect) major organizational changes giving themselves more power and doing so without any oversight.

There are (and have been) a lot of tireless contributors to the Joomla code, community project and code - so I fail to see why their voting powers in the affairs of the Joomla! project should be usurped by a small group of OSM Directors who are blocking them from voting by refusing to follow the intent of their own by-laws.

Andrew - for how long do you propose we should continue to be patient? This matter has been dragging well over a year and nobody can provide any good reason as to why project contributors have not yet been made members.

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Wed May 20, 2015 5:55 am
by masterchief
Niv, they only just voted the new structure document in a few days ago. Give them a few weeks to get their act together. I don't think that's too much to ask is it?

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Wed May 20, 2015 6:15 am
by NivF007
masterchief wrote:Niv, they only just voted the new structure document in a few days ago. Give them a few weeks to get their act together. I don't think that's too much to ask is it?
EDITED:

Okay, here is the link to the doc https://docs.google.com/document/d/1U_r ... BKbEg/edit

In fact, we can provide some positive updates here (sorry Andrew, your original answer that an update was not possible at this time threw me off).

It identifies such issues as
No clear mandate from the community (electorate)
It then goes on to define the electorate (i.e. members)
3.1.7.1 Members
Team Leaders, including Department Coordination Team Leaders, and Officers of the Board will constitute the Member base of the Corporation. As such they have the right to vote for the Board of Directors.
BRAVO!

These are the positive changes we were hoping for!

So hat's off to everybody who worked hard on this - let's hope that the new Board will be able to effectuate these changes.

In fact, there is a very positive update to these matters and I'm looking forward to future updates.

Niv

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Wed May 20, 2015 6:31 am
by masterchief
As long as you can be Team Member and not just a Team Contributor, you'll get a vote in some capacity. That's all you should be worried about (is the penny in the air, that is the question?).

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Wed May 20, 2015 6:38 am
by NivF007
FYI - Andrew, I've edited my above post. Thanks for your attention and responses - dating back over a year and now.

I think it's very important that influential people such as yourself have piped in on this matter - it certainly seems to be moving forward in a very positive direction.

In this context, you are exactly right - it will take some time for the new board to put these initiatives in place, and in fact, I am most pleasantly surprised by the progress - and grateful for the hard work and well-thought approach of those who have contributed these efforts.

Cheers,

Niv

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Wed May 20, 2015 6:47 am
by masterchief
It's a mixed bag all round. The positive take home for me is there is power in the Team to make binding decisions for themselves (whether that was an intended side-effect or not is another thing). The most exhaustion I have experienced with Joomla involves justifying my decisions to people that don't understand, don't want to understand and ultimately don't have any skin in the decision anyway. At least with the way the Teams are set up, they are empowered to make decisions and I think that's a really, really good thing.

Whether the structure above the Teams proves to solve the problems its supposed to, only time will tell but I can't be more disinterested in that side of things at this point in time.

Re: Opening Up Membership and Elections to OSM Stakeholders

Posted: Wed May 20, 2015 6:58 am
by NivF007
Certainly exhausting and drain on energy - I can relate.
Whether the structure above the Teams proves to solve the problems its supposed to, only time will tell but I can't be more disinterested in that side of things at this point in time.
A wider electorate (i.e. as opposed to a self-electing board) comprised of key contributors certainly goes a long way to solving the current OSM paradigm and I think that the criticisms of OSM as self-electing, self-serving board have been very diligently addressed by the past board.

I think we can trust the new OSM Board - and be 'disinterested' for while now - but I certainly don't regret speaking up vehemently on this matter - as exhausting and full of conflicts as it was.

I'm still seeing some of the old sentiments being re-broadcasted inter alia by some of the old people - but I think we can point to this doc and the initiatives to help restore some trust - feels like a brand new day 8) for Joomla!