[OpenStack Foundation] Individual Member Director Elections

Soren Hansen soren at linux2go.dk
Fri Oct 11 12:34:26 UTC 2013

2013/10/10 Joshua McKenty <joshua at pistoncloud.com>:
> First, I wanted to restart the PROBLEM that we all seem to be struggling
> with, so that we can use it as a litmus test against proposed solutions.
> We want our board to represent the DIVERSITY of the community, rather than
> PROPORTIONALLY representing the membership - even of active members.

I'm not going to try to speak for everyone, but I certainly don't
agree with this.

Proportional representation seems perfectly sound to me, assuming the
needs and desires of whatever minorities we have in the community are
given appropriate attention by the elected individuals. That's about
as much representation you can expect to have as a minority, since
there's a limited number of seats, but a potentially unlimited number
of minorities.

> I believe I was the first person to point out problems with our voting
> mechanisms, after the first individual member elections.

I'm not sure where you're going with this?

> Change voting mechanism:
>  - Limit of one seat per organization (instead of two)

I'm frankly tired of this limitation on number of seats per
organization. I find the implied assumption that there's some sort of
one-to-one relationship between corporate affiliation on one side and
the set of opinions and values held on the other side absolutely
ridiculous. Just because two individuals work for the same company
doesn't mean they hold the same views. I disagree with Rick *all the
time*. Also, just because two individuals work for different companies
doesn't mean they disagree on everything. Even if we assume that board
members strictly represented their respective companies,
representatives from two similar companies (say, two startups in the
private cloud space or two public cloud vendors, etc.) are very likely
to agree on most topics, so how's that for diversity?

My point is that if we have e.g. three people that *everyone* adored
and respected and wanted to be on the board, they should totally be on
the board! Yes, even if they by some crazy coincidence happened to
work for the same company. We're not giving the board members enough
credit if we think they're going to replace all their opinions with
new ones if they switch companies.

There are many ways to address the problem of people getting elected
mostly by people from their own company and not really anybody from
outside their company. My personal favourite is: Disallow people from
voting for people working for the same company as themselves. If N
people from company A can garner enough votes to join the board based
exclusively on votes from people not working for company A, I could
not possibly care less if N is greater than 1.

> While I fully support the notion of requiring members to remain "active", we
> haven't been able to come up with an "active" test that folks find
> even-handed beyond the "membership questionnaire" that's already in the
> Bylaws. If we can make voting compulsory, we can just thrown an occasional
> general election to clean the roles.

Some other projects have membership boards that evaluate whether an
individual meets the requirements for membership (typically some sort
of sustained, significant contribution (the interpretation of which is
up to the membership board, but could be anything from writing code to
triaging bugs, from writing documentation to answering questions on
user mailing lists, etc.)). I think that has worked quite well.

Soren Hansen
AVP, Chief Architect
Reliance Jio Infocomm, Ltd.

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