terminating memberships responsibly

Carsten Agger agger at modspil.dk
Wed Aug 29 10:53:16 UTC 2018

On 08/28/2018 10:43 PM, Daniel Pocock wrote:
> It was attempted in a very underhanded and juvenile manner, an
> administrative motion tacked onto the last page of a 9 page notice
> (attached), reading "The current Fellowship representatives' membership
> ends immediately after the this extraordinary General Assembly."  Some
> people didn't even notice it was buried in the document, some people
> felt it wasn't intended to be noticed.  When I asked council to explain
> it before the meeting, they gave no explanation or response.
> In cricket terms, this is underarm bowling but then it just isn't
> cricket, is it?  It isn't sportsmanlike.

I remember there was some discussion on this about this at the time.

In the end, the motion you quote was one of three motions to be voted 
on, and it was not adopted - meaning that you're still a Fellowship 
representative and your membership wasn't terminated at all.

This course of events would suggest, to me at any rate, that there was 
never any intention of adopting the third motion in point 6, and that it 
was probably included for clarity ("these are the options").

Frankly, I don't see any reason to assume bad faith on anyone's part 
regarding that point.

That said, I don't really have a lot to contribute to this discussion. 
The relationship between the FSFE and the Fellowship has been the 
subject of intense discussion for years, it was something we discussed a 
lot when I was coordinating the local group in Aarhus, for instance. At 
the time, this confusion was logical for a number of reasons, one of 
them being that the FSFE  seemed to be at once a meritocratic 
volunteer-driven grassroots organization (the network of local groups, 
volunteers manning booths at events, handing out flyers, giving talks on 
free software), an association with paid membership (i.e., the 
Fellowship - with the added confusion that many if not most volunteers 
were Fellows, while very many Fellows were also volunteers), and a 
formal organization run by a limited number of people, the GA (most of 
whom were also Fellows and volunteers, I believe).

This arrangement hasn't always been easy to understand, and some people, 
who were both Fellows and local group coordinators, have expressed 
frustration that they were both paying and volunteering quite a lot, yet 
were not considered part of the formal organization and had no easy path 
in that direction either.

The GA has been trying to remedy this situation by declaring a more open 
membership process.

Daniel Pocock has been trying to address the same situation by insisting 
on openness and transparency; as Paul said, and as I hinted above, 
echoing concerns which have previously been voiced by quite a number of 
other people.

Both things would seem to point in the right direction - however, 
somewhere along the line, communication has gone awry. That's why I 
don't really feel like participating in this discussion as it is now. 
People should try to settle the personal matters off-list, and once 
matters have cooled down, we could return to discussing the best ways of 
furthering the cause of free software in Europe.


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