Re: Board Meeting Minutes :: 29th March 2007

<quote who="Adrian Custer">

> Would you be willing, as an agenda item, to re-evaluate the presence of
> secrecy in your meetings, discussions, and deliberations? Would you please
> provide us members with a statement as to the ongoing *necessity* rather
> than mere convenience of keeping items secret from us? 

I'm sure we can add an agenda item at an upcoming meeting, but I wanted to
provide a quick answer here, from my point of view (not a statement we as a
group have agreed to, etc).

To start with, secrecy is not even remotely convenient. In fact, I'm sure
any current or previous Board member (or practically anyone who has served
on the committee of a significant organisation) will tell you that it is
usually a burden -- *particularly* in the case of an open organisation such
as the GNOME Foundation, and the expectations many of us have about our
participation. The secretary has to remember to remove items from the public
minutes, we all have to remember what is Board-internal subject matter, etc.

So, that's convenience. Necessity? Some very simple examples:

 * We often deal with commercially sensitive information, which Advisory
   Board members (or others) provide in confidence.

 * The Board is responsible for employees, who must be able to expect
   privacy with regards to their management and remuneration.
 * Community members should feel very safe to contact the Board privately if
   they wish to raise or discuss sensitive community issues.

In all of these cases, it would be extremely inappropriate to break that
trust, and very limiting (given the role of the Foundation as a conduit) to
refuse it.

The (MINIMAL!) secrecy we keep is rarely convenient, but quite necessary to
run an organisation such as the GNOME Foundation. I hope it sounds entirely
obvious once explained in this way.


- Jeff

Open CeBIT 2007: Sydney, Australia    
           What do you call remote Linux firewall administration?
                              Rusty Roulette.

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