[Foundation-l] VC - alternative resolution

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Fri Apr 4 17:35:31 UTC 2008

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen wrote:
> On 4/4/08, Ray Saintonge <saintonge at telus.net> wrote:
>> Although I'm naturally partial to the resolution as presented by
>> Lodewijk, I'm not so fixated on a specific resolution as to lose sight
>> of the principal aime of this exercise: establishing a credible group to
>> develop solutions to a wide range of governance issues.  If doing so
>> means that Nathan's proposal is the only one that will fly, so be it.  A
>> hybrid resolution is also possible, but the final form of the resolution
>> is up to the Board.
>> I don't think that a dissolution clause is necessary.  Let's remember
>> that what this Council needs from the Board is not so much legal
>> authority as it is public credibility.  If the Council ceases to act
>> responsibly a simple statement from trustees that it no longer has the
>> confidence of the Board would be devastating.
> There is a weird symmetry at play here that you may not fully grasp
> all the nuances of.
Don't be so sure of that!   :-) There are many ideas that go through my 
mind as I work my way through this debate, where I simply decide that 
it's best to be quiet.  It may be that some idea is nothing more than an 
idea for discussion, and one good counter-argument would have me drop 
the idea immediately.  Written media can be very poor at distinguishing 
between new ideas and hardened positions.  If one person has provided a 
good refutation of my new idea I am no longer interested in defending 
it.  Yet others continue to attack a bad idea long after it has been 
abandoned.  This makes me more hesitant and cautious than I might 
otherwise be.  The key to effective brainstorming is that no-one has to 
defend even the craziest ideas.
> I can equally consider a Council that had no other authority than
> moral suasion, recieving word from the Trustees taht the Board no
> longer held them in esteem, forming a viable nucleus of a fork - ghod
> forbid it should ever come to pass!
There are always worst case scenarios, but dwelling on them is not 
productive.  Dwelling on them only brings about the worst case scenario 
that results from inaction.  Chess clocks were invented to offset 
Sitzfleisch strategies
> Really, it has been validly pointed out that currently forking the English
> Wikipedia is untenable by nearly any actor. If however - and we are
> dealing with very clearly hypotheticals here - there would ever be a
> council that had some trust with the wider communities, and a Board
> that had lost its focus; the Board and the Council clashing, in any
> shape or form; might serve as a nexus for forking the whole foundation.
I don't completely dismiss that possibility.
> A council would have some critical mass of people able to organize
> widely around the projects, and perhaps even organize for fund-raising
> to accomplish a middling viable fork.
> This kind of logic is not a problem in my mind, but would serve to
> keep both honest, the Board *and* the Council.
Absolutely.  Dynamic tensions have some very positive features.
> That said, a much more significant feature of the dissolution clause
> is that with it, the Board would be determinative as to the way new
> Councils are constituted in terms of their membership, be it elections
> or whatever. I find the idea of the Council self-regulating who joins
> itself (that is beyond the very earliest days, while it is still a pre-liminary
> body), very incestous method, and any council of this ilk, a Worm of
> Ouroboros kind of animal.
This is not a dissolution issue; it's a composition issue.  This is 
obviously an item that needs to be on the agenda of a preliminary body.  
At least one in-person meeting will be extremely helpful to develop 
convergent ideas.  Working collaboratively with the Board will be an 
important feature of the eventual body; if it achieves that the 
long-term right to vary the Council's composition may be moot. 

The unfortunate thing about policy development in an open forum is the 
tendency toward divergent series of actions, and a propensity for 
re-inventing the Ouroboros.


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