[Osmf-talk] OSMF Articles of Association - Discussion on Revision for 2013 AGM

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Thu Apr 18 06:54:52 UTC 2013


On 04/17/2013 02:58 PM, Chris Fleming wrote:
> It's an interesting question, because I think that it is important the a list of members is available.
> The act only requires the list is inspectable

The Companies Act requires that the members' register contains the full 
residential address of each member and that this is inspectable to 
*everyone* (not only members).

The planned new membership class would give us the chance of saying "we 
only make the name and email address available, and only to members not 
to the public"; an option that we don't have with Companies Act-type 

I am *very* much in favour of making the current list of members (of any 
membership class) available to all members *without* an opt-out option; 
the list containing at least the full real name but ideally also the 
E-Mail address.

In my eyes this has the following advantages:

* More transparency regarding potential ballot stuffing (the list 
wouldn't directly reveal if 20% of members are employed by the same 
company but if someone put in the necessary detective work they could 
find out - and that would be enough to deter people from attempting to 
stuff the ballot).

* More teeth for the democratic element - if e.g. the AoA say that a 
member can do something if they have x% of members supporting the cause, 
everyone knows how many exactly the x% are, and has a chance to contact 
them and try to convince them of their cause. Not that this will happen 
often if past OSMF members' politicial activities are any indication - 
but again, *having* the mechanism already strengthens the organisation.

* If the OSMF board only published statistics instead of the list of 
people, or if there was an "opt-out" for people to not be listed, that 
would be too easy to falsify (accidentally or intentionally) without the 
chance of detection.

The disadvantage is that some people might refrain from joining, either 
because of privacy reasons or because they fear repercussions from their 
bosses or the legal system in their country. I think this is the price 
we must pay for transparency.

> But we should be more expicit when people join; that the membership list will be available for inspection by other memebers.

Definitely; in the past it has been unclear what exactly the situation 
is with regard to the list of members because the Data Protection Act 
requires people's consent to their data being handed out. Does the 
Companies Act overrule the Data Protection Act or vice versa? Clearly 
stating that, and what, we will publish (or make available to other 
members) when people join will remove such questions.

> I think transparency in terms of who can vote is more important that the possibility of losing some memberships.



Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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