Re: Membership drive

On 7/24/05, David Neary <dneary free fr> wrote:
> Hi,
> Luis Villa wrote:
> > Given that the membership is charged with making important decisions
> > about the direction of the foundation and the stewardship of the
> > foundation's resources, I'm fairly skeptical about any move to
> > increase membership for the sake of increased membership. So, why are
> > we seeking to increase the number of members, exactly?
> One of the problems the foundation has is explaining how being a
> foundation member is relevant. If too many GNOME participants aren't
> members, then the foundation (and notably, the board, elected by the
> foundation members) isn't going to act in a way that reflects the wishes
> of the majority of GNOME contributors, making the foundatioon irrelevant.
> Another thing is that foundation membership is kind of the only metric
> we have for measuring whether someone is "part of GNOME" or not, and at
> present it's not a particularly good metric.

The metric for whether or not someone is 'part of GNOME' is, and
should be, fluid, and based around participation, not titular
membership in an organization. The titular membership is only a proxy
for the actual, important membership, since we need one for voting for
the board. I've yet to see any other useful reason to have a
'membership' list.
<snip lots of other stuff that I don't think, in the end, answer the question>

I think part of the problem is that you're confusing 'healthy
community' with 'healthy foundation.'[1] The community itself is quite
healthy, I think, and if the foundation is not, then maybe the problem
is that the foundation is not important to the goals of the
foundation, and the solution is reducing and redefining the role of
the foundation, instead of attempting to falsely inflate it's
significance in ways that are distortionary to the meaning and goals
of the community.

Let me put it another way: what problems does our community have that
can be solved *only* by a foundation with a fixed, defined membership
list? Are any of those problems solved better with a bigger
membership? (I'd suggest that making the membership more
'representative' is noble, but unless it can be shown that a more
representative membership  would change voting or participation
patterns, it's not actually solving any problems.)

Let me be clear- I'm not *against* increased membership, per se; in
particular being more representative is probably worthwhile. But I'd
much prefer to (1) work on increasing the size of the community[2] and
(2) work on making the foundation more relevant to said community. If
those two happen, then foundation membership will increase, and
increase naturally, not because we thought our numbers were bad.


[1] you cited the marketing team (well,
communication/advocacy/marketing) on your blog as proof of success of
*the foundation*. I think that's insane :) The marketing team is proof
of success of the *community*, and would exist with or without the
foundation. Arguably, by privileging certain individuals in ways not
related to their actual participation, the marketing team's existence
and activity have been *impeded* by the foundation, if anything.
[2] go gnome-women! go doc team! go marketing team (esp. the folks
working on the website)! on dancer! on dasher! and prancer and vixen!

[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]