[OOTB-hive] [GOV] Draft by-laws

Jeff Potts jeffpotts01 at gmail.com
Thu Sep 4 05:41:04 BST 2014

I am going to try to address everyone's questions/feedback in a single

*Voting Eligibility of Alfresco Employees*
The mission of this organization is to be the *independent* Alfresco
community. There is no way that can happen if Alfresco employees are voting
members. We already have an Alfresco community where decisions get made in
a commercial context. This new one we are building is free of that context.
It's a core tenant of the Order.

I know there are employees who care deeply about the community. But there
will be times during the life of the organization when decisions have to be
made that may benefit one side at the expense of the other. I have seen
those first-hand when I worked for Alfresco. When there is a trade-off to
be made, it only makes sense that people who depend on the company for
their paycheck will vote to defend their paycheck. I don't want to put
those people in that difficult situation and I don't want to second-guess
anyone's motivation.

I have heard from no employees who say they would be less likely to
contribute if they were not voting members. I have heard from at least one
who says they will gladly participate even if they are not voting members.

Personally, as a non-employee, I would be much less likely to participate
if this organization is not truly independent.

We cannot use job title as a filter. The conflict exists regardless of
title. I can think of individuals at Alfresco in all job titles and
departments who are passionate community supporters and I can think of
individuals in all job titles and departments who are fair-weather
supporters, to put it kindly.

I have seen a proposal that Alfresco employees should be able to vote, but
not be on the Board. The problem with that is that the Board has no real
power, by design. It is mostly administrative. So preventing an employee
from being on the Board does nothing once they are voting members.

This organization must be able to make decisions without caring at all
about how those decisions impact the profits of Alfresco Software. It's
really that simple.

*Who Can Join*

Thoughts on who can join the Order:
 * I do not think we should have a litmus test for people who want to be
considered members. We need all of the help we can get.
 * I agree that we do not want to risk losing control of the organization
to people with bad motives or those who actually don't care that much about
the mission.
 * I don't think it is possible to define an objective membership criteria
that can be applied by a single person that will result in decisions that
we all agree with.
 * I don't want to discourage people from publicly showing their support.
 * We need help but we have very little to give in return. One thing we do
have that is valuable is the ability to give someone a vote. An individual
who can vote has the power to influence the destiny of the organization.
But they should only be granted that power in trade for what we value:
their time and energy.

So I propose the following:

(1) We allow anyone to become a member. If they found out about us
yesterday and do nothing else but submit the form, they can be added to the
list of members with no questions asked. They will be non-voting members
but they will be members. This will help us grow our community and make our
supporters visible without granting casual participants any power at all.
This also gives people a "ramp" for participating in the community. It's a
low barrier to entry (with a corresponding low level of power).

(2) Everyone starts as a non-voting member. A voting member can propose
that a non-voting member be changed to a voting member once they've proven
themselves by working on a committee. The voting member does this by
sending an email to a list that is private to existing voting members. The
existing voting members discuss whether or not that person has made enough
contributions to the Order (not only to the Alfresco community, but to the
Order, specifically) to be made into voting members and they hold a vote on
the private list. If this vote passes, they are now voting members. This is
basically the Apache process.

Over time we'll grow into a scalability problem with this approach. When
that happens, we'll delegate membership voting to each committee.

(3) Right now we should consider the list of voting members to be the
Board. The Board can vote on each of the members who have already signed up
which will expand the list of voting members to include those who have been
working hard on their committees thus far. Then we will continue to have
membership votes as needed as the committees grow and more people start to

*The 2/3 Majority Rule*

If we go with the idea that everyone starts as a non-voting member, and
people are made voting members only after they make multiple contributions
to the Order, I think the 2/3 majority rule concern raised by Bindu is
addressed. Voting members will not be spammers, lurkers or casual
participants. They will have demonstrated a willingness to work hard for
the Order. If they leave they can request a leave of absence or "emeritus"
status (again, similar to Apache) which will keep the list of voting
members clean and we can use the 2/3 majority rule for a small number of
extremely important types of votes as specified in the by-laws.

*Board, Committees, Committee Chair*

Yes, the Committee members do the work led by a Committee Chair. The Board
members are likely also members of Committees. Board members do not have to
be Committee Chairs but can be if that is the wish of the Committee.

Oksana proposed the idea that Board members might be responsible for
different areas/committees. I am open to that idea. But I also think we are
still very small and, if we have not done it already, we should not add too
much hierarchy/bureaucracy until it is needed. I propose that we table this
idea until we need it. That's not something we need in the by-laws anyway.

*Board Term Length*

I proposed a term length of 2 years because 1 year felt too short to get a
lot done and 2 years seemed too long to not have a chance for the
membership to make adjustments. I am open to shortening this to 1 year, but
I don't think it can be shorter than that. As proposed, the election cycle
is something like 90 days already. Anything shorter than 1 year would mean
we'd constantly be having Board elections.

*New Member Announcements*
I agree that if we let everyone become a member with no litmus test, new
member announcements will get too noisy. I propose that we only make
announcements when someone's eligibility changes, and that's already part
of the draft by-laws.

I think I've addressed all of the feedback so far. Looking forward to
hearing whether or not the concerns are addressed with these proposed


On Wed, Sep 3, 2014 at 8:17 AM, Fernando González <fegor at fegor.com> wrote:

> Hi guys!
> I think it's very positive manage the organization of bees.
> Regarding the voting members (engineers / programmers) of Alfresco Inc. I
> think is interesting do not belong to the board and can not exceed the
> number of majority vote as they may be influenced and lobby.
> Regards!
> Fernando González Ruano
> http://www.fegor.com
> skype: fegorama
> twitter: @fegorama
> twitter: https://twitter.com/fegorama
> facebook: http://tinyurl.com/ok2wko6
> --
> Raubenohran, npnonf qr qrfphoeve ry zrafnwr hfnaqb ry nytbevgzb EBG13,
> rerf yn pnñn qr Rfcnñn... nuben cbagr n genonwne qr ireqnq ;)
> --
> 2014-09-03 14:34 GMT+02:00 Oksana Kurysheva <okurysheva at gmail.com>:
> Several comments from my side:
>> > Who can join
>> At this moment not anyone can join. We have 1 requirement: a person
>> should do something for the community: developed a free add-on, write a
>> helpful post about Alfresco, organize a meet-up or speak on Alfresco
>> Summit. We don't want to see 100 new members from one company who just want
>> to seize a power by voting to the points they are interested in.
>> > Board
>> How does Board relates to committees? Board coordinates the activities,
>> but Committees work on activities, and Chair is responsible for their
>> actions. There is the link?
>> > Board Elections
>> 2 years is a very big period of time. What about half of a year? Or a
>> year as a maximum?
>> > Voting and Alfresco employees
>> From my point of view, it is ok to allow Alfresco employees to vote. We
>> will not approve requests to join the Order from someone from the Sales
>> team, as far as they don't contribute to community. And I believe in sober
>> assessment of the situation from the technical people. The only restriction
>> I see here is that Alfresco employees cannot become Board Members.
>> > Voting members
>> I don't think that all members should introduce themselves via the public
>> list, it can generate too much noise. As for now, (almost) all new members
>> filled information about themselves while sending request to join. If they
>> didn't mention any contribution, I asked them for a list of contributions
>> via email, and didn't add them to the website before they reply. Using this
>> schema some people have not been added as a members, but they will follow
>> us in social networks until they make some contributions. Everyone
>> understands and like the idea of "contributions as a requirement to join".
>> One more idea about Board Election. Maybe it's crazy and we should not
>> follow it:
>> We elect 5 independent members that should communicate a lot with each
>> other and collaborate in many activities. Together they should cover all
>> our activities and committees. I afraid of the situation when all members
>> will be specialists in the same area.
>> Sample:
>> If there are 6 candidates:
>> 4 of them work on add-ons
>> 1 - for Gov committee and
>> 1 - for events organization
>> Many members like add-ons, so 4 members from the Add-ons committee will
>> be elected easily. And let's imagine that voting members chose 1 candidate
>> from Gov as fifth Board Member. After that we don't have any control in
>> coordination on meetups and conferences, because all Board members are not
>> interested in this topic.
>> What about electing a full Board (team of 5 people)? Campaigning phase
>> can be a time then nominates tell not only about their activities and who
>> are they, but also how can they coordinate with each other and how will
>> they work as a Board? So we should vote not for 1 person, but for the team
>> of 5 people. One person can be a member of several candidate teams.
>> Another way to solve this issue is to create roles in the Board. Like: 1
>> person should be responsible for new activities and committees, 1 person -
>> for technical aspects of our add-ons and Honeycomb, 1 - for marketing and
>> events, other 2 can be elected as independent.
>> Any comments?
>> Oksana
>> On Wed, Sep 3, 2014 at 3:52 PM, Jan Pfitzner <jan at alfrescian.com> wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> first of all: thanks Jeff for writing this down.
>>> From my point of view, it is OK to allow Alfresco employees to vote.
>>> But, this also opens a way for Alfresco Inc. to undermine the OOTB. As long
>>> we are talking about Alfresco Engineers (& Richard ;-)) I'm sure that they
>>> will respect & support our vision. I wouldn't say the same about general
>>> management, sales ...
>>> Jan
>>> 2014-09-03 7:17 GMT+02:00 Richard Esplin <richard.esplin at alfresco.com>:
>>> I really like the draft of by-laws.
>>>> However, I am still concerned by the restriction that prevents
>>>> employees of
>>>> Alfresco from voting.
>>>> I understand the concern about independence, but I also think it is de-
>>>> motivating that an Alfresco employee could contribute to the Order and
>>>> not be
>>>> able to participate on decisions involving their efforts.
>>>> So I propose a compromise.
>>>> Alfresco employees would vote in their committees, but not in a general
>>>> membership vote. I think anyone actively contributing on a committee
>>>> should be
>>>> treated equally with other members of the committee. But if a committee
>>>> issue
>>>> is impactful enough or divisive enough to require a broad membership
>>>> vote,
>>>> then Alfresco employees would not participate in that vote.
>>>> This would require removing "committe vote" from the first sentence in
>>>> the
>>>> section on "Voting Members". The section on "Non-Voting Members" would
>>>> need an
>>>> additional sentence like "Non-Voting Members who are members of
>>>> committees may
>>>> vote equally with other members of their committees on subjects
>>>> restricted to
>>>> the affairs of those committees of which they are a member, but are not
>>>> counted
>>>> in general votes."
>>>> Does this address everyone's concerns?
>>>> Richard
>>>> On Tuesday, September 02, 2014 23:10:39 Jeff Potts wrote:
>>>> > Hi Bees,
>>>> >
>>>> > I've drafted a rough set of by-laws. I am trying to keep it short--it
>>>> is
>>>> > primarily focused on how we are organized, how board elections work,
>>>> how
>>>> > voting works, and voting eligibility.
>>>> >
>>>> > https://github.com/OrderOfTheBee/gov/blob/master/bylaws.md
>>>> >
>>>> > A lot of it is repeat from my original "organizing ourselves" email
>>>> with
>>>> > some feedback from that thread folded in (a longer voting period, for
>>>> > example).
>>>> >
>>>> > The document is purposefully free of mission/vision/strategy
>>>> statements,
>>>> > specific committee names, or anything that needs to be fungible.
>>>> >
>>>> > I'll give everyone some time to digest this and suggest feedback,
>>>> then when
>>>> > it seems like we're close to something we can agree on we'll put it
>>>> to a
>>>> > formal vote.
>>>> >
>>>> > I would like to have these ratified before Alfresco Summit so if you
>>>> have
>>>> > feedback, don't sit on it.
>>>> >
>>>> > Jeff
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>> --
>> С уважением,
>> Оксана Курышева
>> <okurysheva at gmail.com>
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