[Members] proposed bylaw change: membership application periods

jehan at zemarmot.net jehan at zemarmot.net
Sun Mar 20 04:45:06 CST 2011


On Thu, 17 Mar 2011 11:05:36 +0000, Dave Cridland <dave at cridland.net>
> On Wed Mar 16 20:21:25 2011, Peter Saint-Andre wrote:
>> Before I forget, I would like to propose a change to Section 2.1 of  > the
>> XSF's bylaws, to be considered at the next meeting of the membership
>> (most likely in July).
>> > Gosh, everyone else seems to unreservedly positive, I feel  honour-bound to be contrary.

and I will support your contrariety because I do globally agree with
your various points.

> I think it's worth examining what we do today, how that differs from 
> what we have specified, and what changes we'd like to make.
> So, currently, we have periods where we accept - and indeed solicit -
> membership applications. After this period closes, we have a period 
> of voting, culminating in a meeting. We do this four times a year, 
> and we aim to - roughly - hit the months above, although this doesn't 
> always work out quite. We have been known to have more than 14 days 
> of voting, I think, and similarly more than 10 days of applications.
> One year after you're voted in to the XSF, you have to reapply - in 
> practise, we assume that the exact length of your membership is 
> aligned with the meetings for those quarters.
> So the primary way we differ from the by-laws is in the precise 
> timing of events, and there's knock-on from that.
> Now, Peter's proposed text does rather more than loosen the timing.
> Firstly, it means we don't have to ever have a meeting to accept 
> members - while I doubt this would be the case, I don't really see 
> that removing a "four times a year" stipulation gains us much. 
> Secondly, we accept applications at all times, meaning we lose the 
> solicitation period we currently have, and I'm concerned that this 
> may have the effect of (further) limiting new applications. Thirdly, 
> without the cut-off we have, I'm uncomfortable with the unspecified 
> way we'd decide which applications we'd be voting on in which meeting.

I also wonder what we would gain from the changes and all the points
raised by Dave here are also for me.

For the point of limiting new applications in particular: we are
already complaining about the few number of members. Making it rolling
is a very nice idea "globally", but in our specific case, it really
removes the "particularity" of the membership application period. This
is a period when we will advertise the value of being a XSF member, will
post on the website about it as a particular event for outside people to
get interested in. By making membership a constant logics (we are always
in application time), we removes this special day logics. It loses

Hence I would say the rolling system is good when we won't need anymore
to advertise the membership, because everyone remotely implicated in
XMPP will want to be a member. But right now, this would just make
people forget that they can be members (for the few who know!).

> Finally, we'd need to adapt the membership term in §2.9 more formally
> to last for a mimimum of one year, after which it would linger until 
> the end of the next meeting - but this is one thing we probably need 
> to do anyway.
> (I note in passing that depending on the timing of the reapplication 
> meeting, it's perfectly possible that you may not be able to vote on 
> your own reapplication. For instance, if next year's meeting happens 
> on the 17th of March, I'd not be able to vote for my own 
> reapplication - we may, or may not, want this)

Yes precisely. Currently if I am voted on Q1, I know I'll stay a member
until next year's Q1. Because we have 4 precise and known membership
voting periods. So even though the next Q1 can be a little late or a
little early, Q1 is Q1.

Now if I am voted on… "some day" during the rolling voting year, when
is my next day to apply? If we say something like "we are member for one
year and we re-apply at the first application after this year" (which
can be basically whenever with these words), then we will have typically
some time gap where we are not members anymore every year and we won't
vote on our own re-application period.

I know you wrote that typically we probably won't change the logics of
4 periods a year, but I just try to think about the meaning of words
here, as this is the point of such a change. So in the general logics
which appear to be behind a rolling application, something does not seem
right to me.
Anyway if change there is to be, I think the text should still keep
some precision, much more than that at least.


> So in summary, while I'm entirely in favour of reviewing the somewhat
> strict timing of §2.1 and §2.9, I don't think that Peter's approach 
> is quite right, and takes things a little too far.
> Dave.

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