[OpenStack Foundation] Fwd: Re: [Foundation Board] propose 2015 board meeting dates

Lauren Sell lauren at openstack.org
Tue Feb 24 18:29:45 UTC 2015

First, I think it's worth repeating the many ways in which the Board has acted in an open manner, to provide some context. All of the Board meetings are public and open with dial in numbers posted to public mailing lists in advance, and I think there are several committees such as DefCore that have set an excellent example for how the Board can collaborate openly with the community through public meetings, updates, and mailing lists. There are certainly areas for improvement, but I think the accusations of systemic secrecy and private maneovering give a false impression.

However, in retrospect, I do think it would have been better to conduct the poll (and associated discussion) in public to help provide visibility into the decision. I don't think there were any shady dealings or bad intent behind the scenes, rather Alan and Lew wanted to realistically determine whether the Board would be able to reach quorum in India or if there were viable alternative locations for the 24 Board members to meet.  To put things in perspective, we should consider that Board meetings have not historically been organized to create a marketing opportunity around the meeting's location. We have co-located with the Summit or industry events to increase our chances of getting the most board and community members possible in one room, but it has largely been a practical logistics decision. 

Regardless, let's take this opportunity to bring transparency top of mind and execute some significant, yet fairly easy and quick to implement changes to prove it to the community. Aggregating some of the constructive recommendations on this thread as well as my own thoughts, I would propose the following path forward:
We should take quick action to create an open Board mailing list and operate it just like the TC and User Committee lists. This was a recommendation early on by the transparency committee that stalled because we were waiting for an OpenStack-based document store that could be used for the few confidential pieces of information that needed to be exchanged. In the interim, Board members were encouraged to use the public foundation list, but I don't think that's practical for every discussion and makes it too easy to keep things on the private list. 
Again, we've learned a lesson here with the anonymous doodle to schedule the meeting, and we should make a point to have any future polls and discussions along those lines public on a new, open Board mailing list.
To showcase the board commitment, it would make sense to get the list set up quickly and re-run the mid-year board meeting scheduling poll and discussion publicly. 
The original pitch to co-locate the Board meeting with OpenStack Day India was to make a strong show of support for the growing community; however, I agree with others that there are effective ways to do this whether or not the meeting is co-located. I know several of the Foundation staff have been discussing mid-year travel schedules and would like to attend, and I definitely think we should make a strong effort to recruit Board and TC and other community members to attend the event. 
I'm happy to see Sean pick up the torch with the transparency committee. I was on the committee in 2013 and helped draft the transparency policy, but the committee waned and did not take much if any action in 2014. It would be great for Sean to get some time on the March 3 board meeting to discuss it.
Finally, I agree with MarkMc that the entire community must contribute to an open and respectful culture that encourages transparency. I don’t think board members accusing fellow board members of racism and laziness and using curse words in public forums sets a good example for our community, and is more likely to backfire. People will hesitate to engage openly if they are scared of being burned at the stake.  On that note, our community code of conduct is always worth reviewing as we engage in these important discussions: http://www.openstack.org/legal/community-code-of-conduct/ especially this excerpt on respect:

"The OpenStack community and its members treat one another with respect. Everyone can make a valuable contribution to OpenStack. We may not always agree, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behavior and poor manners. We might all experience some frustration now and then, but we cannot allow that frustration to turn into a personal attack. It's important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one. We expect members of the OpenStack community to be respectful when dealing with other contributors as well as with people outside the OpenStack project and with users of OpenStack.”

Looking forward to your feedback,


> On Feb 24, 2015, at 11:48 AM, Doug Hellmann <doug at doughellmann.com> wrote:
>> On Feb 24, 2015, at 12:04 PM, Mark McLoughlin <markmc at redhat.com> wrote:
>> Hi Jesse,
>> On Sun, 2015-02-22 at 21:09 -0800, Jesse Proudman wrote:
>>> Having international exposure to the OpenStack foundation is important
>>> to the long term viability of of this project, the reality is that the
>>> board meetings themselves do not expose much value to the overall
>>> community.
>> Yes. Simply having a board meeting in a particular geography is IMO not
>> going to have any real impact on increasing geographical diversity in
>> the project and Foundation.
>> If a board meeting could coincide with a large local event, that could
>> be more effective. And similarly, simply having directors (and project
>> leaders) routinely attend (and present at) local meetups in geographies
>> that are not well represented would have a greater impact. I think
>> that's happening to a degree already, but perhaps we could figure out
>> some more deliberate and coordinated way to make this happen.
> Having the board meetings coincide with some other public event also makes it more likely that foundation members who are not on the board would be able to attend, because they can coordinate the trip with the conference or other event to justify the budget expense. As with OSCON, those events don’t need to be limited just to OpenStack-specific conferences, so there should be plenty of flexibility in the schedule.
> Doug
>> On transparency and openness, as always I'm hugely in favor of improving
>> this. I don't think this decision needed to be made privately. However,
>> turning a relatively mundane decision into an unnecessarily heated and
>> charged debate does little to encourage people to be more open.
>> Mark.
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