Addressing poor performance of board members

We all want the best for GNOME. In this journey, we -the Board of Directors- are your mates. Remember, it was your decision to become a member of the Board of Directors.

You are expected to work actively and pro-actively as member of the Board of Directors. We all know you are a volunteer, and we also know there is life outside GNOME. For different reasons, duties in your work, college/university, family, etc. there will be periods of time where you will be busy and/or you will not be able to accomplish your role as a board member neither as much as you would like or as much as is needed. However, this should be the exception, not the rule.

Responsiveness expectations

  • You should attend the meetings regularly. Meetings are only held for just 1 hour bi-weekly. If you will not be able to attend, let the board know in advance and report the state of your duties and actions beforehand. If you are really busy, at least let people know.
  • Do not block tasks. Projects need to move forward. If you feel you will not be able to accomplish a task by the deadline, keep the board informed and/or ask for help.
  • If you are an officer (president, vice-president, secretary or treasurer), you are expected to do the duties associated with the role and be prepared to provide relevant information when needed, such as at meetings.
  • You should follow the discussions you start on behalf of the Board of Directors on the Foundation list to guide/moderate them and to avoid flame wars.
  • You are expected to also work with others in the community. To delegate and/or lead tasks and follow up on them.
  • You should answer your (board/GNOME) emails promptly.
  • You should voice your opinion and vote promptly.
  • Answer emails, voice your opinion and vote promptly, are necessary but not sufficient for the work expected as director. You should take actions and be proactive. If you hesitate about what you can do, you must ask. The board members are willing to help you.

A sign of poor behavior is when a decision is stalled for missing votes and when a wider opinion is solicited and only two or three members reply on time.

Remember, one month without communication is a long time in terms of the Board of Directors since terms only last 12 months.


If you find yourself not having enough time to even follow the emails of the Board mailing list, apologizing too much due to a lack of your availability, missing more than 2 consecutive meetings, or missing more than 4 non-consecutive meetings; then you should seriously consider resigning.

If for any reason the lack of communication between you and the Board of Directors delays actions or blocks tasks, then you will be sent an email politely asking about your status.

Later, if you do not reply, then you will receive another email asking about your status and stating that the next email will be a report to the Foundation list about this.

The board will wait 2 weeks for an answer since the last attempt to get in touch with you, if there is no response, then the board will assume you are resigning. The Board of Directors will send a report to the Foundation list explaining the situation and informing the reasons of the new vacancy.


Board members must not disclose any information discussed on a private list unless there is a consensus that it will not cause problems or controversy for the GNOME Foundation and that it can be disclosed.

The mailing lists are private in order to allow people to express freely and to receive and share information which under different circumstances would not be given. The board members must guarantee the privacy of issues discussed there.

The disclosure of private communications is not acceptable unless there is agreement from all people and institutions involved.


If you disclose any private discussion or part of it as described above you may be asked to resign. You will have the chance to apologize publicly and explain your resignation. However, if a breach is accidental and the information disclosed is not particularly serious, then the board may opt for just an apology.

If you do not reply promptly and accordingly, the Board of Directors will send a report to the Foundation list explaining the situation and providing the reasons for the new vacancy if you are asked to resign.

FoundationBoard/BoardMemberDuties (last edited 2010-04-02 00:14:43 by GermanPooCaamano)