[Foundation-l] Board response on Volunteer Council

Michael Snow wikipedia at verizon.net
Sat Apr 26 17:47:34 UTC 2008

Gerard Meijssen wrote:
> Hoi,
> Yes, but to me it is clear that the space where the board thinks a council
> should be active is in self organising the projects and its communities. The
> original proposal is very much one where the council would take power from
> the organisation and the board of trustees. If anything they poured cold
> water on this idea. When the members of the provisional council work out a
> proposal for a council that will make a difference in the governance, the
> organisation of the projects, I am sure you will find the practical support
> of the board and the organisation.
> To use your metaphor, the position of the board inhibits a reaction in the
> direction of influence over the organisation or the board of trustees, it
> gives plenty of scope to react at safe temperatures to build a council for
> project self-governance. The big question is, do you want to and how do you
> want to make a practical difference?
I agree with much of this, although I don't look at the Volunteer 
Council proposal as an attempt at taking power necessarily. But at a 
foundation level, I believe the issue is less a need to create new 
institutions. Instead we should better rationalize and integrate the 
ones we already have, and I believe the upcoming announcement will move 
us in that direction.

Meanwhile, there is definitely a space for community self-government. In 
this vein, I think Florence provided an excellent analysis of the 
possible roles for a Volunteer Council, Wikicouncil, or whatever we call 
it. I agree with her that it would be helpful to develop something in 
that area, and as Gerard suggests an appropriate proposal would have my 
support. I just don't see self-government as something the foundation 
can help by driving the matter to a conclusion, from the top down as it 
were. Instead I would like the foundation to vacate the space so that 
the community can fill it.

--Michael Snow

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