Re: Board meeting minutes - was (Re: A question for the candidates)


On 28 May 2012 05:03, Frederic Muller <fredm gnome org> wrote:
> On 05/28/2012 07:29 AM, Tobias Mueller wrote:
>> ne doesn't know what is happening and thus
>> being able to take influence. So I would try to have the minutes sent
>> around ASAP. But as far as I could see, nobody was suffering enough yet
>> to publicly ask whether it'd be possible to make things more (timely)
>> public.
> Again I guess we were spoiled by former board secretary in the previous
> years who was automatically emailing the meeting notes 2 weeks after the
> meeting. This year (2011-2012) minutes were published as follows:
> - Meeting of July 26, 2011 -> publish on August 23rd : 1 month later
> - Meeting of August 9th, 2011 -> published on October 18th: 2+ month later
> (publish together with 4 other meeting minutes).

yes, this is my definite fault.

[just a bit of backstory, here, also to help out eventual other
candidates in case I'm not elected] the meeting minutes are written
down during the meeting itself by using a collaborative editor, so
that everyone on the meeting can actually review in real time what's
being written (this also helps in case I could not hear or understand
what was being said, or when I am talking about some topic/action
item, in which case I cannot really take notes).

after the meeting is over, the minute is published on the Foundation's
restricted wiki space, for further review, in case I missed a private
section, or I was being overzealous with one, as well as for clearing
up some of the action items.

after some time pass, the wiki page for the minutes is copied over to
the public section of the Foundation's wiki space, and the contents
are sent using an email.

none of this is automated: Brian was "just" exceptionally good at
sending out minutes every two weeks. :-)

my main two issues as serving as secretary this year were being
overzealous with people reviewing my note-taking (not a native english
speaker, and the conference call phone line can be pretty messy at
times), as well as reviewing the private sections. the first issue can
be ascribed to me being in my first term; the second issue is the
result of messing up a couple of times. I honestly didn't realize that
there would be this many private discussions going on for multiple
meetings. if somebody plans to be the secretary: be aware that it
could happen.

> I personally even thought meetings were not happening anymore and
> considering the reactions I get when asking questions to the board I have
> just given up on asking for the time being. Note that I feel sending minutes
> is a board problem and not necessarily the secretary alone. I believe in
> getting things done rather than blaming individuals.

again, it most definitely was my fault.

> One question was eventually asked when getting those minutes and the answer
> was "_topic_in_question_ should be marked as private" - again a typical
> "sorry we can't tell you" answer which I got quite often during public
> foundation IRC meetings.

private topics surprised me as well; obviously, choosing the new ED
has been a private topic in the past and even from the outside I knew
that. I was unprepared at the time at the amount of sensitive topics
that the Board is actually handling - it made me much more
appreciative of the role of the Board. sadly, given the nature of
these topics, releasing them in the public minutes (even after a
longer embargo) may definitely not be possible; there are privacy
concerns, as well as business concerns. other private topics have only
an issue of timing: they could be moved to the public minutes after
the discussion is over - though it'd require modifying the published
minutes and then announcing the delta.

> Meeting minutes seems crucial to run a public discussion between the board
> and its members as Germán has highlighted and it's not because no one asked
> that no one thought it was not important anymore.

I agree with you, and if I'm serving as secretary on the next term,
I'll make a point of addressing my obvious shortcoming of this term.



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