[OpenStack Foundation] Individual Member Director Elections

Mark McLoughlin markmc at redhat.com
Mon Oct 7 21:06:53 UTC 2013

Hi Jim,

On Mon, 2013-10-07 at 10:12 -0700, James E. Blair wrote:
> Hi,
> During the October 3 meeting, the board discussed the election process
> for the individual member directors and made some fairly shocking
> conclusions.
> As you may recall, there has been concern about this process since its
> inception, and the board has spent some time dealing with this.
> On November 16, 2012:
>   RESOLVED, that the Board will bring in outside experts and conduct a
>   proper legal review before making changes to the cumulative voting
>   process prior to the next election.
> And on February 12 2013:
>   RESOLVED, that the following members of the Board shall be appointed
>   to an Election Committee, to be chaired by Mr. Moore:
>   ...
> From what I gather, that election committee produced a report that was
> delivered to the directors.  I have not read it because it has not been
> made public; nor do I believe that any input from the wider community
> was solicited.  But based on that report, the board concluded that the
> individual member director election process is fine the way it is and
> does not need to change.
> I believe this is, to anyone who has been paying attention for the past
> year, quite a shocking determination to make.

All your points are well made and thanks for taking the time to make

I do very much agree with your points about the election system and
favoured a change to STV but, yet, I did vote to not change the system
this year because:

  - there was a general feeling that relatively few perceive the 
    problem here. Comparing our ~6000 members to the numbers expressing 
    serious concerns on this mailing list, you can see why.

  - the current system does appear to have elected committed board 
    members who act on behalf of the membership rather than their 
    affiliation. That could be a self-serving perspective, though.

  - with such a large electorate, getting a majority of a 25+% voter 
    turnout to vote for an election system change is going to require a 
    lot of awareness raising. I'm trying to imagine a massive "our
    election system is broken, it's critical you turn out to fix it" 
    being a positive thing. I'm also concious that if we did hold a 
    vote to move to STV and it was rejected, that could be the end of 
    the matter forever.

  - I do think the code of conduct will have an influence and prevent 
    "bad" voter behaviour. I'm basing that on the strong endorsement 
    all board members appear to give the code.

  - I was in favour of the max-4-votes-per-candidate "tweak" because we
    initially thought that would not require a bylaws change. This would
    have had an immediate positive effect IMHO.

i.e. my conclusion was that we should make a tweak for this cycle and
revisit if/when this becomes a big enough issue again to mobilize a
large enough chunk of the electorate.

Ultimately, though, my concern is how our membership numbers means there
is a massive difference in commitment/engagement between our members.
The number of members who are closely engaged with the project (and no,
I don't just mean ATCs) is huge by any standards but they are most
likely dwarfed by the number of less engaged members. That numbers game
had a big impact on this debate IMHO.

All that said, it's fair to say the election committee realized only
last week that we should have been far more transparent and e.g. had a
mailing list like the transparency committee has. I should take
responsibility for that since your concerns about the committee's
workings is like a mirror image of mine from last year:


The report of the committee was intended to be published, I trust it
will be soon.

Thanks again,

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