council size (was: Re: AW: [Members] Memberbot)

Peter Saint-Andre stpeter at
Tue Sep 12 16:51:30 CDT 2006

Kevin Smith wrote:
> On 12 Sep 2006, at 21:11, Ian Paterson wrote:
>> In any case, Peter should be OK despite his position in the list, so
>> I'll pray that Remko and Kevin are elected - if only to avoid any
>> grief within our happy community. ;-)
> Heh, I'm not going to hold any hard feelings when I'm not elected
> (although I'll be sad if Remko isn't). As I explained in a previous mail
> some hours ago which still hasn't filtered through yet, when I applied,
> it was in the belief that council was unbounded in size: being told that
> the majority of members think you incapable of serving on council is
> very different indeed from the majority thinking that there are other
> people more qualified than you. As I also said in the prior mail, I
> think these 8 candidates are all very qualified to serve out council,
> it's just a question of finding the right mix of developers,
> protocolists, user interactionists etc etc etc, whichever five come out
> will undoubtedly be a strong council for the next year.

Group dynamics come into play. We found that a council of 9 was too
large. A council of 3 would be too small. Back in 2003, we settled on a
council of 5 as best. Even numbers might be problematic (how do you
break a tie?), so 4, 6, and 8 are out. That leaves 5 or 7. To me, 7 is
shading too close to 9 (hard to get everyone in a chat room at the same
time, too many actors and perspectives to stay productive). I have
served on the 1st, 4th, and 5th Councils and I have been present at
every Council meeting ever held, and in my experience 5 works best. But
I agree that we need to update the Bylaws to make that explicit, and we
can do that in October.


Peter Saint-Andre
Jabber Software Foundation

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