[Osmf-talk] Modus operandi of the board

Paul Norman penorman at mac.com
Wed Oct 22 10:17:58 UTC 2014


I'm traveling for work, so haven't replied before now, but Frederik's description of the board workings has few surprises to me. I don't expect it has many surprises for any of those doing most of the foundation work.

On Oct 21, 2014, at 03:48 AM, Kathleen Danielson <kathleen.danielson at gmail.com> wrote:


Still, you raise a very important point: 

Reading this manifesto indicates that there is  little point in standing for election as there is nothing but frustration  to achieve in the board.

The OSMF board sounds like an emotionally exhausting and draining body. I can wholly empathize, but it's still a problem. Personally, I'm a bit less interested in all of the current board members answering for Frederik's take on the group, and more interested in what we (as members) can do to make it a more functional place. It seems to me that we (generally speaking) enjoy complaining that the board doesn't do anything, to which we generally hear the response that the board's mandate is intentionally narrow, and yet this little glimpse into what's going on in there gives a fairly stark view of the climate each of our board members are working within. In a situation such as that, how can you be expected to take on much else? Who has the energy to deal with diversity initiatives, for example, when everything is seen as so political? 

Perhaps instead of the purpose of the board being too small, it's in fact too large-- maybe they need more support in the administrative workings. I'm reluctant to suggest more working groups, but finding some other mechanism for support that would free up the board to be more creative might be helpful. Maybe it's a matter of finding ways to test out new ideas in a less risky environment, meaning we as a membership need to encourage more experimentation and be more forgiving of failure. 

More support would be wonderful, but as it stands, more working groups would likely just shuffle the work around the 20 or so people who end up doing most of the work of the foundation. There have been repeated efforts to get more people involved, but these have not been particularly successful.

The cynic in me doubts this will change. Periodically, people speak of the need to start new initiatives or make changes, but when it comes down to volunteers to do the work required, as a general rule, no one steps forward.
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