[Members] XSF @ 10

Dave Cridland dave at cridland.net
Wed Jul 13 08:24:08 UTC 2011

On Wed Jul 13 05:39:58 2011, jehan at zemarmot.net wrote:
> Basically here is my vision of membership as a "simple" XSF member:  
> we
> are just an excuse to have 4 votes for new members a year.

You should be doing 6 votes a year - 4 for members, and 2 for Council  
and Board - to be pedantic.

But yes, finding more - and more intersting - things for members to  
do seems sensible.

> Since the years I am member, I proposed quite a few things to  
> improve
> the XSF, they are most of the time not even discussed. New things  
> are
> usually not accepted. Also sometimes, and that is really the worst,  
> I am
> just told "there is a procedure, you did not follow it". So yes I  
> am not
> perfectly aware of the whole complicated procedures. I try to be  
> but am
> not. But why did the form totally eclipse the contents? I made a
> procedure mistake, hence I cannot propose ideas, at least for
> discussion?

I don't know what you're referring to - can you give a concrete  

> My feeling in the XSF in such a case is that the "powerful" crush  
> the
> "simple one" (hopefully that's not always true). Also sometimes some
> same powerful (whether because they are of the board, the council,  
> other
> important position or simply because they have been here for so many
> years that they maybe consider us as "noobs") don't even participate
> much, miss their meetings, do not vote themselves, do not answer the
> list, etc. But they still block us from participating. So in the  
> end,
> the XSF does not move.

Right, the fact that our leadership, both technical and  
organizational, is failing to participate in some cases is not good  
at all.

> help. Everyone cannot be an extra contributor like Peter, but the  
> time
> we are able to and propose to contribute, this is too bad it is  
> wasted
> on us.

Just on this point, we should ensure that whatever process we have is  
not gated on Peter. Not only is that making ourselves reliant on  
Peter's continued dedication, which simply isn't fair on Peter, but  
it's also going to be a choke point.

> So I totally back Peter up on this. We should have a XSF more  
> flexible,
> more open and less procedural, a XSF where the contribution matters
> (instead of procedures).

You say that, but even going through the procedures doesn't get us  
anywhere, at times.

I don't see that hand-waving around words like "open", "flexible" and  
so on will magically make people interested in making comments on  
by-law amendment proposals, to pick an example where I *have*  
followed procedure, and been prevented from taking things further by  
pure apathy.

> And in particular we should allow people to contribute, whatever  
> their
> "rank" (it is even sad I have to precise this point in a standards
> organization). Because if each of us cannot necessary give a lot,  
> most
> of us can and want to give at least a little, and that all together  
> will
> be a lot.

Bear in mind that rank, as you put it, is inevitable. It's actually  

By making sensible suggestions and following them through, you  
automatically gain reputation. That's fine - it's just a by-product  
of the way we filter information, and it's the kind of meritocratic  
thing that apparently has just become all the rage.

There will be a slant toward assigning a higher reputation to your  
friends, and so on, but I think trying to solve that is impossible.

> From the point of view I cited above, it is broken somewhere.
> Note as I said in introduction, it is not all bad. Actually the spec
> part is the only one where I manage to contribute (probably because  
> in
> technics, ranks tend to be lessened). Funnily enough that's the part
> where I don't need membership. But internal organization, I want  
> and try
> to propose things, that's a dead end.

Actually, in the specification side, ranks are vastly increased, but  
they're also somewhat easier to get, and the subject matter has more  
cases of objectively being correct - so it's far easier to spot  
something that's broken and suggest a reasonable fix, without being  
in the situation where you disagree whether it's broken in the first  

Dave Cridland - mailto:dave at cridland.net - xmpp:dwd at dave.cridland.net
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