Subject: Re: Board meeting?
From: David Barrett <>
Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2005 18:09:00 -0700

Rodent of Unusual Size wrote:
>>- Posting a tentative agenda for each meeting on week before, with an
>>honest invitation to request additional topics
> Posting such an agenda would be done on the Web site.  Where would
> you expect the invitations to be posted, though?  Same place?
> A bunch of mailing lists?  Which ones?  There's no mailing list
> [yet] for discussing 'OSI business'..  And I foresee problems with
> the invite system; witness the little contretemps we had on this list
> not too long ago because someone felt it should have been on one of
> the new projects.

Re: Where would you expect the invitations to be posted?
I'd suggest posting the agenda to all OSI-managed mailing lists; there 
are only a couple, correct?  And all are clearly interested in the board 

Re: Problems with the invite system
The chair (or whoever sets the agenda) can clearly disregard suggested 
topics as seen fit; there's been no lack of backbone in this area to 
date.  But if he/she receives a surprising number of requests on a 
particular topic, then it might be worth raising the issue.

>>- Posting a final agenda on the day of the meeting
> I doubt that would happen.  For one thing, it would possibly be
> incomplete due to items to be discussed in executive session;
> for another, tracking this and getting it up at the right time
> is a bit of administrivia that I think would be honoured more in
> the breach than in the observance.  The board are volunteers too,
> y'know. :-)  If this is deemed appropriate, reasonable, and
> possible, getting a rough agenda up any time in advance would
> be a major accomplishment.

I wasn't thinking anything terribly formal.  It might only be four 
bullet items, and 3 might be the same from meeting to meeting.  But just 
*some* sense of what's going on would be nice.  I guess I was assuming 
you already had some kind of agenda in place and I just wanted to make 
it semi-public; I'm not sure how you could be functional at all without 
*some* kind of organization.

>>possibly inviting
>>1-2 community representatives to participate based on the current
>>interests of the various community mailing lists
> Noted (at least by me).

This fits into the "inviting topics for discussion" bit -- people who 
are particularly passionate in a topic would lead the discussion in the 
mailing list, propose it for inclusion in the agenda, and then be 
invited to participate in the meeting.

>>- Posting minutes within 24 hours of the meeting summarizing what
>>decisions were made, and what new actions are going to be taken
> Posting minutes won't happen; they need to be reviewed and approved
> first, which means not until the next board meeting at least.  However,
> there's no reason the board can't post a summary in the shorter term.

A summary then, though it's a little scary that something "approved" in 
board meeting N needs to be "re-approved" in board meeting N+1.

>>Right now I feel like I'm begging for scraps of information at the
>>board's table.  Is that the relationship you seek to establish?
> You're talking about a major change in the way the board operates,
> which means it's going to take time.

That's fine.  I'm just tossing out ways that the board might, well, 
exist in the public's mind.  With the single exception of a bulk 
"approved / rejected / deferred" email sent out a month or two back 
(which was late in coming and sadly deferred on my topic of interest), 
for the period that I've been paying attention, there's been little 
evidence on this list that the board actually does anything.  I 
recognize it's a volunteer organization.  But an organization only 
exists if it actually produces output.  I'm proposing a constant stream 
of output to demonstrate the board exists and does stuff, rather than 
the faith-based approach we're currently taking.  It's like we 
occasionally have priests come down to the masses and tell us about all 
these miracles being worked by up in heaven, and how these miracles are 
worthy of worship, but miracles are few and far between here on Earth.

I think the OSI matters, else I wouldn't waste my breath.  It's just 
that they're failing on the small things.  Let's get the little things 
-- license approval, board meetings, bidirectional communication -- 
let's get those running smoothly and then we can tackle the big things 

   We're already heading toward
> a lot of these changes. ...
> I'm very much in favour of openness and transparency, but there are
> limits.  ...
> So yes, opening things up, arranging for some sort of formal process
> for the community to partner with the board, polishing things
> toward transparency -- these are all goals.  ...
> So please join the discussion on the membershop list to
> help that area evolve.

I don't see it mentioned anywhere on the website, though the name does 
sound familiar.  Has it been appointed by the OSI board to create actual 
recommendations that will be listened to, or is more of a grass-roots 
effort to create change from the outside in?