who has time for the GA? (was: terminating memberships responsibly)

Mirko Boehm mirko at fsfe.org
Thu Aug 30 15:28:50 UTC 2018


> On 30. Aug 2018, at 07:34, Carsten Agger <agger at modspil.dk> wrote:
> On 08/30/2018 03:49 PM, Nikos Roussos wrote:
>>> This brings me back to the original question then: democracy.  Annual
>>> elections and allowing all the community to participate can provide
>>> regular renewal.  When somebody doesn't have the time any more, either
>>> they don't run for re-election or the community will help them depart by
>>> voting for an alternative candidate.  Changing the tools and arbitrarily
>>> expelling people are a crazy alternative to something as easy to
>>> understand as democracy.
>> I understand that this may be your expectation, but this hardly true for any non-profit organisation out there. You have a very specific view on how FSFE should operate democratically, but that doesn't mean that this is the only way, or even that democracy is the only way to run an organization.
>> I have been (and still am) member/supporter of various non-profit organizations and none of these apply the kind of democracy you envision. Rightfully so, in my opinion. As an example, I'm a member of EFF but there is no democratic way for me to be elected in the Board of Directors, or participate in their private strategic meetings. Same applies for FSF (US).
> Many NGOs that I know of are run as traditional associations, with a yearly general assembly as te highest authority, a board elected by the participants at the general assembly; with all members being eligible to attend the general assembly and run for the board, and membership being open to everyone (maybe with well-defined limitations, such as a profession or geographical area) willing to pay membership dues.
> That's true of some of the largest NGOs here in Denmark, and I believe it's a requirement in order to receive various kinds of public support (e.g., access to venues, for small associations). That has, on the other hand, of course, never been how e.g. the FSF or the FSFE (or the EFF) have worked. But it is true that such organization is a norm in some circumstances.

Thanks, Carsten and Nikos.

What you describe as a norm is almost exactly the model Shane and I (and Jonas earlier on) suggested as a blueprint for how FSFE should operate. We suggested this for approval during the 2017 agenda. The proposal was accepted. Implementation is outstanding.

It is apparent that some of the old guard free software organisations are set up in an intransparent, autocratic model that is tailored to protecting the position of the figure heads. It is also apparent that all these organisation struggle with renewal and maintaining relevance and a contributor base. This is a fate I we should avoid for FSFE. I don’t think inaction is a good approach.


Mirko Boehm | mirko at kde.org | KDE e.V.
FSFE Team Germany
Qt Certified Specialist and Trainer
Request a meeting: https://doodle.com/mirkoboehm

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