[Osmf-talk] New idea: Invite a LC to speak at each OSMF Board meeting

Christoph Hormann chris_hormann at gmx.de
Thu Apr 9 12:09:01 UTC 2020

On Thursday 09 April 2020, Steve Doerr wrote:
> Not from my side, no. If anything, the point of my question was to
> find out whether the Advisory Board actually functions as envisaged
> at all.

That question can hardly be answered objectively because the Advisory
Board never had a well defined purpose.

My personal impression is that the AB definitely does not function as a
place for the local chapters providing advise to the OSMF board.  What
i also can say is that the AB overall does not function as an advisory
body that provides advise more valuable than the sum of its parts by
developing this advise in deliberation and arguments among its members
(this is how i would generically defined the function of an advisory
body - but that is just my personal definition of course).  But i can't
and don't want to rule out that the AB as is fulfills other important
functions that i am not aware of.

A huge part of the problem probably is that having local chapter
representatives on the AB was mainly an afterthought for having them in
the role of chaperons, i.e. having independent people present in a
venue that would otherwise be very prone to corporate representatives
using it to lobby for their interests in an organized and intransparent
fashion.  Don't get me wrong - this role is vital, i would be very
uncomfortable with something like the AB without having such.  But it
also kind of precludes it growing to become more useful.

The AB is also a good point to answer Allan's question about possible
harm of the proposed idea (apart from the already discussed points,
especially the additional emphasis to the English language bias in the
OSMF) - for years the AB has from my perspective kind of served as an
alibi for involvement of the local chapters in the OSMF - something
people could point to when the discussion came to the matter in a way
of "here look, the LCs are already involved prominently in the OSMF".
It is possible that in the future this speaking slot at the board
meetings in a similar fashion could serve as a token defusing the call
for a more substantial involvement in actual decision making and checks
and balances within the OSMF.

But it does not have to - ideas like this are definitely never bad per
se.  But neither are they good per se.  I pointed out a number of
potential issues i see.  None of them means the whole idea could not be
implemented in a beneficial way as long as you do it in awareness and
respect of these points.  Dismissing potential issues out of the belief
things will work out fine because you happen to like the idea however
(as it seems to shine through in some of the comments here) does not
seem a good strategy to me.

An additional concrete suggestion for the sketched idea:  Instead of the
random selection of the LC to speak (which is odd in its arbitrariness
and as mentioned bears the problem that an unfortunate LC might not be
able to speak for a really long time) do a systematic rotation:  Order
the LCs according to their number of members starting from the smallest
and after coming to the largest start again with the smallest.  This
would IMO be more fair, predictable and balanced than random selection.

Christoph Hormann

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