[Members] Board responsibilities

Peter Saint-Andre stpeter at stpeter.im
Mon Oct 21 15:10:17 UTC 2013


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On 10/21/2013 04:20 AM, Laura Gill wrote:
> Hi Dave, H With so many questions flying around, I do have one for 
> the Board.
> 
> What are the responsibilities and commitment required of Board 
> members? I am thinking along the lines of meetings, work per week 
> etc.
> 
> It would be really useful to know what the Board are looking for,
> to ensure that anyone standing for the Board (myself included) can
> meet that commitment?

Hi Laura, thanks for your question and for your interest. I'll let
current Board members reply about the time commitment, although I
expect it is minimal.

Taking a step back, perhaps it would help if I explain a bit about our
community (or at least my perspective on our community). To me, what
matters and has always mattered is the code -- the software and
services that people write and run. To make sure that those things can
interoperate, we need documentation about the protocols that XMPP
clients and servers use to talk to each other. The XSF exists to
publish that protocol documentation, and provides a way for the entire
community (or those who are actively involved in it) to agree on new
protocol extensions that we can all implement in an interoperable way.

The XSF as an organization merely provides the legal scaffolding for
us to develop and document the protocols that people build into their
software and deploy in their services. Because of how the XSF is
structured (a not-for-profit membership corporation), we need
individual members. Because of how our bylaws are written, we need
those members to elect a Board of Directors each year.

Whether by design or by tradition, the members and the Board have few
responsibilities. Sometimes we try to change that, but in general what
we have mostly works because it enables us to focus on writing code
(IMHO the protocol documentation is necessary but secondary).

Now, the Board and the members *could* do more (write whitepapers,
promote our technologies, improve the website, recruit members,
solicit sponsors, speak at conferences, etc.). However, everyone is
busy so they tend to default to the minimum. And, surprisingly, we've
done that since 1999 and all these years later people are still
writing code, deploying services, and using our technologies. Would
more people be doing things with XMPP if we had been more active? I
don't know. Do we have the energy to be more active now? Perhaps. But
if our history is any guide, I think we'll need to find a few
initiatives to focus on, which is something the Board could help with
in the next term.

Peter

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