[Foundation-l] Board resolutions (chapters)

Delphine Ménard notafishz at gmail.com
Tue Jan 20 11:48:07 UTC 2009

It is interesting how the "power distance" thing is playing out here. :)

On Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 12:22, Sebastian Moleski <sebmol at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Florence wrote:

Sebastian wrote:
> I don't really see why it would be more difficult. If numbers
> increase, we have to change the format of some of the events during
> the meeting. We could, for example, have full assembly sessions with
> all chapter representatives combined with "committee
> meetings/workshops" of a smaller size where not every chapter is
> represented. The meeting would turn more into a sort of conference
> which, as regards efficiency, isn't a bad thing at all.

I don't agree much on the "efficiency" of a "conference" over a
"meeting". I think they are two very different ways of people getting
together. Which does not make one better than the other, they are just
very different things.

Florence wrote:
>> Second, one person may speak in the name of its board on issues they
>> have discussed previously. Far less on new discussions. And at the end
>> of the discussion, the representant may not "vote" because legally
>> speaking, only the entire board can take a decision.

Sebastian wrote:
> I don't agree that that's necessarily the case. It's entirely within
> the realm of possibility for a chapter (board) to appoint a
> representative who can make decisions/vote on behalf of the chapter.

> On of the main issues I see here was that those attending the chapter
> meeting had no "mandate" from their chapters to enter into any sort of
> agreement. If that is addressed prior to the next meeting, i.e. each
> chapter sends a representative with the necessary mandate to vote, I
> don't see why we would not be able to make a decision at the meeting
> that binds the chapters that attend.

I tend to agree with you, but I believe you have to keep in mind many
singularities within chapters. This, if it happens, would be a very
big strech for some of the chapters, where decisions are made
"collectively" all the time, and the decision is a product of
"consensus" and debate, and can only with difficulties be handed to
one person.

Make it a cultural particularity or a wiki-culture heritage, whatever,
but I think that some chapters might have a very hard time appointing
who they consider "the right person" to make decisions that could
engage the chapter for a long term plan of any kind. If only because
their strength lies in having very different individuals in their
board and/or membership, with different ideas, which act as synergy
when put together, but could lead to a standstill if left "alone"
(think for an extreme example, the person "mandated" says yes and then
is disavowed by the board/the members etc.).

To try and rephrase Florence's concerns expressed at the beginning,
which were some of mine when we debated Wikimedia NYC in the chapters
committee, let us try with and example.

Today, it is great that Wikimedia has Wikimedia NYC, because it gives
a great frame for people in metropolitan areas of the US to be active
in a positive and helping way.

My thought, however, is that it opens the door, to a potential of XX
(hear many) US-based chapters, (as well as XX India-based chapters or
to have a heavy (or even majority) representation of one
country/culture(or approaching culture) within the "chapters body", if
there is such a thing.

I do believe it is something to consider. If decisions are made on a
consensus basis, then maybe this does not have such an influence. As
soon as you try and introduce some "voting" system or other, the
balance might be heavily tipped one way and not reflect what would
come out of a consensus, taking all particularities into consideration
(which does not mean you have to accommodate them, but which does mean
you have to look at them).

But then, take all of the above with a grain of salt, I'm French, and
we French think we deserve our place in the sun ;-)


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