Foundation Board Minutes for Monday 14 January, 16:30 UTC
- Improving board elections (Allan)
- Board meeting frequency, attendance, and priorities (Nuritzi)
- FOSS North email, see board-list (Philip)
- Invitation to Kavayitri Bahinabai Chaudhari North Maharashtra University, see board-list (Philip)
- Improving board elections
- Allan: We want to have elections where it's easy for all Foundation members to meaningfully engage and debate with the candidates, so that the Foundation members feel like they're having more of an influence over the election. It feels like the last election or two haven't really lived up to that. Some candidacy emails were quite short on detail. We want to have a process where it's clear what the candidates stand for, so that Foundation members know who they're voting for.
- Allan: Some ideas:
- Have a template for candidates to fill in, with sections including things like relevant expertise, priorities as directors, and time commitment.
- Have voting forms link to the candidacy statements, for easy reference during voting.
- Have candidates send their candidacy statements in to the membership committee so that they determine beforehand, rather than after the fact, if a candidate is eligible to stand for the board.
- Allan: Also consider how we can encourage debate? Do we encourage people to ask questions? If there haven't been any questions after a week or three days, do we send an email to the membership to get the questions rolling?
- Nuritzi: should the old board prepare questions that the candidates can answer?
Allan: If they are the same questions for each candidate, that might be repetitive for >7 candidates.
- Philip: I was surprised to get no questions at all during the last election, given the candidate statement that I wrote.
- Allan: Are there any other open source projects whose elections we can learn from?
- Kat: It would be good for the board to prepare questions for candidates. However, we don't want to discourage potential candidates with a form.
- Allan: It doesn't have to be a whole essay, but maybe short questions like "How many hours a week can you commit?"
- Rob: Aren't we planning to change the term lengths for board members? We would only need three candidates if that went through.
- Kat: If we change the terms this year, then we would still need seven candidates and only three/four the following year.
Nuritzi: We discussed changing the term lengths during the Foundation hackfest, but I didn't find anything in our GitLab issues about it. Neil had a plan worked out, and would know how this is progressing.
- Federico: Can we encourage people to run for the board by reminding them that we need board members as chairpeople or liaisons on the committees?
- Carlos: Maybe we can highlight things the board has done over the past years, so people can realize what they can do in the board. (e.g., the quote from Didier on how he wasn't aware of just how much stuff there is to do and how much impact it has.)
- Philip: Does it ever happen that candidates stand who are ineligible?
- Allan: That's maybe less related to engagement, it was more a question I had last time when a lot of candidates announced themselves at the last minute and if any of them had been ineligible there wouldn't have been time for the membership committee to validate their candidacies before the deadline, causing confusion among the members.
- Rob: In Debian, for example, the project secretary assembles the candidacies on a webpage.
- Nuritzi: Would like the Foundation's web page to have up to date bios on the staff.
- Nuritzi: Until now, the Engagement team has been running the gnome.org web site. Now that we are expanding, should we have staff working on it? Rob: That seems like a question for Neil.
- ACTION: (Neil): Present to the board on how the board term length change is progressing.
- ACTION: (Carlos): Figure out with the membership committee what would be involved in a change in the election process.
- Board meeting frequency, attendance, and priorities
- Nuritzi: We started discussing this at the hackfest. As the Foundation expands, it's not necessary for all the staff to attend the meetings. It also seems like we have been getting fewer items each meeting - or is that just the beginning of the year? In any case, it seems like we have more work to do, rather than items to discuss. With the Foundation expansion, relatively more tasks will be taken over by the Foundation staff.
- Rob: I also struggle to make time for some items, and it's not always the case that the board meeting time is as efficient as it could be. We could consider meeting every two weeks, and having a work session in the off weeks.
- Rob: It would also clarify things to create a RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) list for every task, so that it's clear what Foundation staff is responsible for and what the board is responsible for, and who needs to approve things or not.
- Nuritzi: Likes the idea of having a hack week and then a meeting week.
- Allan: This used to happen some time ago.
- Rosanna: This was mostly aspirational; people met on IRC on the off-weeks.
- Nuritzi: The type of work may also make a difference. The type of work that we are doing now is very different from the type of work we were doing when I started serving.
- Rosanna: focused working groups (only people working on a particular topic need to meet) may work better than all-hands every time.
- Allan: We should aspire to not have meetings if there's nothing on the agenda.
- Philip: In my recollection it's only happened once this term that there was nothing on the agenda. We do sometimes have only a few things.
- Nuritzi: Regardless, we should stick to the scheduled hour.
- Nuritzi: We'll try this approach, starting with a "hack week" next week, and so the next board meeting will be January 28th. The topics for the hack week will be the definition of GNOME software and the travel policy. We'll keep the first meeting of the month for the ED's report. Additionally, during the hackfest we had discussed making the discussion board-only after the presentation of the ED report.
- ACTION: (Allan) Write up the discussion from the board hackfest about gnome-software, so other people can see if it's relevant to them.
- ACTION: (Nuritzi) Set the first board meeting of each month to include 30 minutes executive director update and 30 minutes board-only discussion.
- FOSS North email, see board-list
- Philip: We've received an email from FOSS North and I don't entirely understand what's being asked.
- Kat: The email is asking us to organize GNOME hackfests co-located with FOSS North. It's not something we've done before, but I don't see a reason not to. We have a long relationship with FOSS North and have been invited to speak there often. The board can send out an announcement that if people want to have a hackfest during FOSS North, they can provide a venue. We also used to have a booth at that conference, so we could at the same time ask for a volunteer to staff the booth.
- Nuritzi: This would be a great opportunity to get the program manager involved.
- Rob: It's important to consider that the board does not direct the Foundation staff, so we cannot direct the program manager to become involved.
- ACTION: (Kat) Make Kristi (program manager) aware of the request from FOSS North.
- Invitation to Kavayitri Bahinabai Chaudhari North Maharashtra University, see board-list
- Philip: We've received an email with two requests:
- Release a new version of the GIMP (forward this to the GIMP maintainers)
- They would like someone to give a speech to inaugurate a university course about the GIMP. Maybe we can find a community member who lives more close by to give this speech.
- Philip: This is also something that does not need to be handled by the board.
- Nuritzi: it would be good to comb the GNOME web pages and remove board-list as the first point of contact.
- Carlos: it would be nice to show info in the staff/board pages what each person can do for people in the community.
- ACTION: (Rob) Discuss with Neil how we want to handle forwarding requests from the board to the staff.
- ACTION: (Philip) Forward the request for a release to the GIMP maintainers.
- ACTION: (Neil) Update the contact info on the gnome.org Foundation page so that it's not board-list, and see if there are any other places where the contact info should be updated.
- Philip: We've received an email with two requests:
- Neil - Present to the board on how the board term length change is progressing.
- Carlos - Figure out with the membership committee what would be involved in a change in the election process.
- Allan - Write up the discussion from the board hackfest about gnome-software, so other people can see if it's relevant to them.
- Nuritzi - Set the first board meeting of each month to include 30 minutes executive director update and 30 minutes board-only discussion.
- Kat - Make Kristi (program manager) aware of the request from FOSS North.
- Rob - Discuss with Neil how we want to handle forwarding requests from the board to the staff.
- Philip - Forward the request for a release to the GIMP maintainers.
- Neil - Update the contact info on the gnome.org Foundation page so that it's not board-list, and see if there are any other places where the contact info should be updated.