Fellowship elections participation

Paul Boddie paul at boddie.org.uk
Tue Apr 25 12:05:06 UTC 2017

On Tuesday 25. April 2017 13.00.51 Erik Albers wrote:
> Hi list,
> the Fellowship elections 2017 are over and the winner is Daniel Pocock.
> 	https://fsfe.org/news/2017/news-20170425-01
> I like to thank all candidates for bringing life into this years election
> and every voter for rewarding our candidates' activities by participating
> in the elections.

Congratulations to Daniel!

> Unfortunately, we only had a participation of around 17 % which seems to be
> the lowest participation since we record participation (2014). Many of the
> list subscribers here have had the possibility to vote, so I like to ask
> for explanations and possibilities how we can raise participation?

As a quick response, I would suggest the following...

* A misleading process whereby the hustings were announced for one date and 
held on another. And I'm still not sure whether the hustings were announced by 
mail or not because I was renewing my Fellowship at around the time any mail 
might have gone out. (They were tucked away on a "migrated" wiki page, which 
is where I found out about them.)

* A lack of a decent venue for discussion with the candidates. Apparently, we 
have this mailing list and yet it isn't certain that the candidates are 
subscribed to it. Now although I might be concerned that my own rants on this 
list might go out to hundreds or even thousands of people, would it be too 
much to expect that people wanting to interact with the organisation's 
membership participate in this list or other services provided by the 

* Uncertainty about the relevance or importance of the Fellowship 
representatives. With a much larger board and perhaps less transparency than 
might be achieved, one wonders what influence the representatives have.

Now, onto a broader but still relevant point...

I don't know how much the Fellowship is responsible for funding FSFE. It isn't 
apparent from the Web site [1,2] and I can only estimate a minimal sponsor 
funding figure of 102240 EUR, which would be less than a quarter of the 
organisation's total income:

28 * 480 + 12 * 2400 + 5 * 12000 = 102240

There were 265 votes cast, which at 17% participation suggests a total 
Fellowship population of 1500. It seems likely that this body of individuals 
collectively contributes more than the sponsors.

But since one of the candidates brought up the matter of one's contribution 
only being the start of one's participation in the organisation, I think it is 
worthwhile considering whether this perspective is too simplistic and that 
some people actually donate to delegate instead of participate. Such behaviour 
isn't unreasonable because one cannot personally get involved in every good 
cause, and money is a good substitute for effort.

That said, it is a mistake to interpret every financial contribution as a 
message to "keep up the good work" and to assume a general lack of interest in 
directing that work. Some people may be contributing to get a seat at the 
table. And I have previously mentioned that organisations like FSFE should be 
amplifying volunteer efforts, which I don't really think is occurring 
effectively today. Maybe general disillusionment is another factor.


[1] https://fsfe.org/about/funds/funds.en.html
[2] https://fsfe.org/donate/thankgnus.en.html

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