our future relationship with FSFE (public discussion)

Daniel Pocock daniel at pocock.pro
Thu Feb 1 11:45:08 UTC 2018

(This was sent to each member of the FSFE community, I'm re-posting it
here for those who would like to discuss it publicly or those who don't
receive it due to filtering problems.  Apologies to those who receive it

Dear FSFE Community,

I'm writing to you today as one of your elected fellowship
representatives rather than to convey my own views, which you may have
already encountered in my blog[1] or mailing list discussions.

The recent meeting of the General Assembly (GA) decided that the annual
elections will be abolished but this change has not yet been ratified in
the constitution.

Personally, I support an overhaul of FSFE's democratic processes and the
bulk of the reasons for this change are quite valid.  One of the reasons
proposed for the change, the suggestion that the election was a
popularity contest, is an argument I don't agree with: the same argument
could be used to abolish elections anywhere.

One point that came up in discussions about the elections is that people
don't need to wait for the elections to be considered for GA membership.
 Matthias Kirschner, our president, has emphasized this to me personally
as well, he looks at each new request with an open mind and forwards it
to all of the GA for discussion.  According to our constitution[2],
anybody can write to the president at any time and request to join the
GA.  In practice, the president and the existing GA members will
probably need to have seen some of your activities in one of the FSFE
teams or local groups before accepting you as a member.  I want to
encourage people to become familiar with the GA membership process[3]
and discuss it within their teams and local groups and think about
whether you or anybody you know may be a good candidate.

According to the minutes[4] of the last GA meeting, several new members
were already accepted this way in the last year.  It is particularly
important for the organization to increase diversity in the GA at this time.

The response rate for the last fellowship election was lower than in
previous years and there is also concern that emails don't reach
everybody thanks to spam filters or the Google Promotions tab (if you
use gmail).  If you had problems receiving emails about the last
election, please consider sharing that feedback on the discussion list.

Understanding where the organization will go beyond the extinction of
the fellowship representative is critical.  The Identity review process,
championed by Jonas Oberg and Kristi Progri, is actively looking at
these questions.  Please contact Kristi[5] if you wish to participate
and look out for updates about this process in emails and Planet[6]
FSFE.  Kristi will be at FOSDEM[7] this weekend if you want to speak to
her personally.

I'll be at FOSDEM this weekend and would welcome the opportunity to meet
with you personally.  I will be visiting many different parts of FOSDEM
at different times, including the FSFE booth, the Debian booth, the
real-time lounge (K-building) and the Real-Time Communications (RTC)
dev-room[8] on Sunday, where I'm giving a talk.  Many other members of
the FSFE community will also be present, if you don't know where to
start, simply come to the FSFE booth.  The next European event I visit
after FOSDEM will potentially be OSCAL[9] in Tirana, it is in May and I
would highly recommend this event for anybody who doesn't regularly
travel to events outside their own region.

Changing the world begins with the change we make ourselves.  If you
only do one thing for free software this year and you are not sure what
it is going to be, then I would recommend this: visit an event that you
never visited before, in a city or country you never visited before.  It
doesn't necessarily have to be a free software or IT event.  In 2017 I
attended OSCAL[9] in Tirana and the Digital-Born Media Carnival[9] in
Kotor for the first time.  You can ask FSFE to send you some free
stickers and posters (online request[11] with optional donation) to give
to the new friends you meet on your travels.  Change starts with each of
us doing something new or different and I hope our paths may cross in
one of these places.



1. https://danielpocock.com
2. https://fsfe.org/about/legal/legal.en.html
3. https://wiki.fsfe.org/Teams/GA
4. https://fsfe.org/about/legal/minutes/minutes-2017-10-15.en.pdf
5. https://kristiprogri.com/2017/09/20/fsfe-identity-process/
6. http://planet.fsfe.org/
7. https://fosdem.org/
8. https://fosdem.org/2018/schedule/track/real_time_communications/
9. https://oscal.openlabs.cc
11. https://fsfe.org/promo

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