mark | 1 Jul 13:57 2005
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Re: Proposed roadmap

Hi Tom,
I think you are aiming for an "ideal" solution. From my (admittedly 
limited) experience of AFFS there is little possibility of a broad 
consensus amongst members on a large number of issues surrounding free 
software. There have obviously been recent problems amongst members of 
the AFFS committee. In practical terms, and based on my experience in 
other walks of life I would have to agree with John Seago's assessment, 
especially when he writes:-

"However it does
need the Committee to follow the usual proceedures and put up with the
inconvenience of holding regular meetings, and keeping accurate and
complete minutes of those meetings, available at the very latest one week
after the meeting to both the members and the Committee, otherwise, at the
very least, those at the meeting will be unable to remember what actualy
happened. Only in really exceptional circumstances should those minutes
not be freely available to the members, (as any business conducted by the
Committee is conducted on behalf of the members)."

There is no reason in my view why AFFS members who are unable to attend 
meetings should not be able to vote on certain issues, and even for 
election of committee members. This could be done either online or by 
post. It also needs committee members who are able to organize this 
sufficiently well that everybody is kept onboard. If the committee 
members can get to the point where somebody stands up in an AFFS 
meeting, fully cognisant of the AFFS minuting and procedures, and says 
something like "I'd like to say something off the record...." and then 
proceeds to outline a piece of hearsay, or their knowledge on a 
controversial topic, then you will know that the system is working as it 
reasonably should. In my experience these moments are often what makes 
(Continue reading)

Alex Hudson | 1 Jul 09:30 2005

Re: Re: Proposed roadmap

Hi Mark,

(I think your clock might be in the wrong timezone?)

On Fri, 2005-07-01 at 07:57 -0400, mark wrote:
> I think you are aiming for an "ideal" solution. From my (admittedly 
> limited) experience of AFFS there is little possibility of a broad 
> consensus amongst members on a large number of issues surrounding free 
> software.

That's possibly true - AFFS is quite a broad church in many ways. I
think, though, that actually makes it more important that AGM is treated
how it should be - a decision making body, but not more than that. You
need to have very broad agreement before getting to AGM.

As an example:

> There is no reason in my view why AFFS members who are unable to attend 
> meetings should not be able to vote on certain issues, and even for 
> election of committee members. This could be done either online or by 
> post.

There is no reason why this shouldn't be the case; but at the moment
it's not because our constitution doesn't allow it (postal voting). I
tried at the last AGM to change our constitution and thought I had
fairly broad agreement before I got to AGM. When I got to AGM, new
problems with the changes were put forward and at that point you cannot
really alter your proposal. So, we've been left another year+ with the
problem still in place. (As an aside, committee did agree to put forward
a single small change to remove this restriction at the next AGM; this
(Continue reading)

Graham Seaman | 1 Jul 10:54 2005
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Re: List Descriptions..

linuxgirlie wrote:

> After following the topics on this list are the AFFS descriptions on
> the website out of date??
>
>
> As it says:
> Mailing Lists
>
>     * affs-project
>       <https://www.affs.org.uk/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/affs-project>:
>       participate in the discussion of AFFS activities. This includes
>       meetings, Expos, but also anything else which is something AFFS
>       would "do".
>     * fsfe-uk <http://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/fsfe-uk>: general
>       Free Software discussion list in the UK, hosted by the
>       FSF-Europe. This is not an official AFFS list, but many members
>       talk about general issues on this list.
>
> ?!??!???!??
>
> Jo

In practice I think the above is still the way things are. At the moment
we have threads about how the AFFS is organised  running on FSFE-UK
while Alex has started another thread about the  AFFS website on
AFFS-project.  So members have to be subscribed to both lists  to follow
everything, which seems  to me  to be  a tactic which will lose people.
I had hoped we could change that.

(Continue reading)

MJ Ray | 1 Jul 11:58 2005

Re: Proposed roadmap

Tom Chance wrote:
> Yes, a great idea. A lot more can be achieved in person with a well 
> facilitated, free flowing discussion :) If the meeting is well advertised, 
> and there is plenty of effort to gather opinion from those who cannot attend, 
> then IMO exclusion shouldn't be a big problem.

*Well facilitated* is the key and beer doesn't always help...
July and August are probably two bad months for exclusion, with
students away from their campuses working to make ends meet,
while workers go on their annual holidays and shutdowns.

> Alex Hudson wrote:
> > I think the most important thing is to find out what tasks people think
> > AFFS should focus on - the structure and stuff should support the work,
> > rather than the other way around.
> I agree completely [...]

Some may want AFFS defined in terms of tasks people want it to do.
The community will need to know what AFFS is, before it can say
what it should do.  This is a circular problem.

We can tackle circular problems by spiralling up. We have
something called AFFS and it has some structure and stuff, so
let's invite people to review that and act on the review. Some
people have already started, in their own way. Can it be drawn
together and more people be brought into the process?  (Periodic
review is part of voluntary group "good governance" too.)

Imposing organisational structures is a bit wrong, even if we
have consensus on what should be done. The AFFS structures
(Continue reading)

Alex Hudson | 1 Jul 11:39 2005

Re: List Descriptions..

On Fri, 2005-07-01 at 09:54 +0100, Graham Seaman wrote:
> In practice I think the above is still the way things are. At the moment
> we have threads about how the AFFS is organised  running on FSFE-UK
> while Alex has started another thread about the  AFFS website on
> AFFS-project.  

Hmm. We did originally start the AFFS-Project mailing list, because some
people didn't want to see AFFS business discussed on FSFE-UK :)  (At
least, at the time, there was a group of people who said that there was
a need to have AFFS-specific discussions away from FSFE-UK, and leave
FSFE-UK to general discussion of free software in the UK).

> So members have to be subscribed to both lists  to follow
> everything, which seems  to me  to be  a tactic which will lose people.
> I had hoped we could change that.

Well, you know, we can change it :) 

I'm not sure if there is a consensus on what we should change it too,
though :)

There are two problems people are trying to address here, I think. The
first is that people feel committee isn't open enough. That's fair
enough, and I don't think there's much disagreement about this.

The second is, what is the right place to have these kinds of
discussions? We have:

      * affs-ctte. Not the right place, because it's private.
      * FSFE-UK. Not the right place, because it would be using a
(Continue reading)

MJ Ray | 1 Jul 12:33 2005

Re: Re: Proposed roadmap

Alex Hudson <home <at> alexhudson.com> wrote:
> [...] When I got to AGM, new
> problems with the changes were put forward and at that point you cannot
> really alter your proposal. [...]

Some of the problems put weren't new. People just didn't have
time to keep repeating them for months on the lists, as it
wasn't moving forwards at all.

Most meetings allow amendments to be offered to proposals and
accepted by the proposer. I can't understand your unreasoned
refusal to consider that.  The current meeting rules, visible
at http://www.affs.org.uk/~mjr/admin/rfc-meetings.txt now make
clear how amendments can happen. (Of course, I hope that the
specifics of those rules seldom need enforcing and they should
be put to AGM before using them for AGM.)

--

-- 
MJ Ray (slef), K. Lynn, England, email see http://mjr.towers.org.uk/
MJ Ray | 1 Jul 12:08 2005

Re: AFFS strategy (Was: Beyond bitching...)

Graham Seaman <graham <at> theseamans.net> wrote:
> Jason Clifford wrote:
> >Membership of AFFS is fairly meaningless of itself right now. It doesn't 
> >give AFFS a great deal of leverage as the membership is small and seems to 
> >exclude corporate membership - whether anyone likes it or not the 
> >government is not going to take AFFS seriously if it is seen as not being 
> >representative of commercial interests.

There's a problem with corporate voting members that we've
discussed in the past and never resolved: how can they
co-exist with individual members without causing double
representation of some people? (Isn't that what Usenetters
call sock-puppetry?) Corporations are slave legal entities that
people own, after all.

If we have non-voting corporate members, that avoids it, and we might
be able to use the same system to offer other membership types.

> I don't see that. The government is required to take academic experts
> seriously (at least nominally) in some areas.

This is true, but we are sort-of competing with organisations with
larger corporate funding. I'm not convinced that the low numbers of
companies funding AFFS is because there's no corporate membership.
Committee could tell us how many enquiries, attempts to join and
company donations have come in this month.

It may be a way in, though. Some of the government's relevant
panels have lots of commercial members and few community ones.

(Continue reading)

Tom Chance | 1 Jul 12:46 2005
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Re: Re: Proposed roadmap

Hi Mark,

On Friday 01 Jul 2005 12:57, mark wrote:
> I think you are aiming for an "ideal" solution. From my (admittedly
> limited) experience of AFFS there is little possibility of a broad
> consensus amongst members on a large number of issues surrounding free
> software. There have obviously been recent problems amongst members of
> the AFFS committee. In practical terms, and based on my experience in
> other walks of life I would have to agree with John Seago's assessment,
> especially when he writes:-
>
> "However it does
> need the Committee to follow the usual proceedures and put up with the
> inconvenience of holding regular meetings, and keeping accurate and
> complete minutes of those meetings, available at the very latest one week
> after the meeting to both the members and the Committee, otherwise, at the
> very least, those at the meeting will be unable to remember what actualy
> happened. Only in really exceptional circumstances should those minutes
> not be freely available to the members, (as any business conducted by the
> Committee is conducted on behalf of the members)."

I'm mostly interested in the relationship between 'the AFFS', which is mostly 
its committee and to a lesser extent its members, and the wider free software 
community. IMO trying to expand the AFFS so that it represents the interests 
of the wider community, not just those of its members, is a worthy goal that 
can only be achieved by significantly widening participation. I believe in 
participation, and I don't believe that the "small club" I described can ever 
legitimately and effectively advocate free software, only its own interests.

Developing consensus is possible, it just needs to be done properly, as anyone 
(Continue reading)

John Seago | 1 Jul 12:51 2005
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Re: Proposed roadmap

On Thursday 01 Jan 1970 00:59, MJ Ray <mjr <at> phonecoop.coop> wrote:

> I agree with John that the AGM has to be the final
> decision-maker, but I think Tom's idea may be a good way to
> develop the question that is put to the AGM, as long as no-one
> then gets there and presents it as an unmodifiable done deal. One
> month isn't enough to ask everyone.

Quite.

There seems to be a problem which some are seeking to solve by leaping 
striaght to what they consider to be an 'ideal' solution. We can only 
start from where we are. 

As mark points out the time scale is too short, and the AGM proposed for a  
time which may not elicit the maximum possible attendance. One alternative 
solution might be to hold an AGM, (trying to get a full slate of 
candidates for the Honourary Offiers and Committee, in order that the 
meeting can have 'real' elections), with the Agenda containing only the 
business required, plus a motion to hold a further Extraordinary General 
Meeting later when everyone has had time to both consider and discuss a 
way forward. 

In the mean-time I would like to start the ball rolling with a discussion 
as to where we should hold the discussion. This list seems to meet the 
basic requirements as it is open to all those who may have an interest in 
all aspects of Free Software.
--

-- 
John Seago
GNU/Linux User #219566 http://counter.li.org
(Continue reading)

Adam Bower | 1 Jul 12:44 2005
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Re: List Descriptions..

On Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 10:39:05AM +0100, Alex Hudson wrote:

> I guess it comes down to this: AFFS-Project is the right place if we
> want somewhere which is run by AFFS and has a specific AFFS remit.
> FSFE-UK is the right place if we want an immediately broader
> subscribership and people here are happy with that arrangement.
> 
> Does this make sense, or am I missing something? :)

I certainly agree with that sentiment, I have noticed a couple of
complaints away from this list about the amount of AFFS traffic the list
generates and how it doesn't really need to be here.

I also wonder if it would be "a good idea" to re-advertise the
affs-project list (and mention fsfe-uk) in the next newsletter to remind
people of which lists there are?

Adam
--

-- 
jabberid = quinophex <at> jabber.earth.li
AFFS || http://www.affs.org.uk/ || Not a filesystem

Gmane