Request for Clarifications

Paul Boddie paul at
Sat May 4 14:27:44 UTC 2019

On Saturday 4. May 2019 02.51.44 Carmen Bianca Bakker wrote:
> The gist of it is:
> - Elections pit contributors against each other, which is not in the
> spirit of collaboration.
> - There are already other ways to become a GA member.
> - And, if you ask me, the idea of a "fellowship representative" is a
> little bit silly---surely everyone on the GA aims to represent the
> interests of the Free Software community.

How do we know what the General Assembly members stand for, though? Unlike the 
Fellowship representative election candidates, they do not publish any kind of 
platform for others to review.

It isn't enough to claim that GA members want the best for Free Software, 
whatever that might be, let alone that they might represent "the interests of 
the Free Software community", as if such interests were uniformly shared 
throughout the community (although there might be a subset of interests that 
are). Furthermore, individuals may have other interests that, for them, 
override whatever interests they do happen to share with the community.

Naturally, supporters can judge GA members by their actions and complain if 
they feel misrepresented. This is precisely what has happened in feedback 
regarding certain campaigns and communications of the organisation. 
Unfortunately, without more transparency, the GA members have to be judged 
collectively which is usually far from optimal.

It may seem unfair to criticise those who are surely working hard towards a 
goal that they believe they share with the supporters. However, without broad 
engagement with supporters, the only mechanism left available to those 
supporters is that of criticising such work after the fact and hopefully 
avoiding misunderstandings or misrepresentation in future.

I would agree that formal democratic measures like votes are not necessarily 
constructive. Instead, the focus should be on consensus, understanding what 
the community's interests are, and offering a vision they can subscribe to. 
For this, the platforms published by Fellowship representative candidates were 
a rather useful tool of engagement.

I felt that in the last election there were several candidates who would have 
represented my views fairly well. It was a shame that such a wealth of 
experience and insight had to be squeezed through a narrow hole into a 
decision-making venue where such contributions seem rather likely to have been 


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