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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Re: Proposed roadmap

From: Tom Chance
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Re: Proposed roadmap
Date: Thu, 30 Jun 2005 16:47:56 +0100
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On Thursday 30 Jun 2005 14:29, John Seago wrote:
> On Thursday 01 Jan 1970 00:59, Tom Chance <address@hidden> wrote:
> > It involves a phase of documenting current procedure, a phase of
> > gathering input from all "stakeholders" (for want of a better word), and
> > a phase of formulating proposals for change.
> Whilst I can accept that you are proposing a series of 'changes' in good
> faith, there really can be no change at all unless 2/3 of the membership
> at the AGM are prepared to vote for 'change'. Neither is there any need
> for 'change', the present structure, for a voluntary membership
> association, is perfectly adequate to run any size of organisation. the
> problem seems to lie with the "current proceedure" in that decisions have
> not been adequately recorded, the constitution/rules are quite capable of
> allowing the AFFS to do whatever its members want it to. However it does
> need the Committee to follow the usual proceedures and put up with the
> inconvenience of holding regular meetings, and keeping accurate and
> complete minutes of those meetings, available at the very latest one week
> after the meeting to both the members and the Committee, otherwise, at the
> very least, those at the meeting will be unable to remember what actualy
> happened. Only in really exceptional circumstances should those minutes
> not be freely available to the members, (as any business conducted by the
> Committee is conducted on behalf of the members).
> > We could just carry on as we are. We could let people elect a committee
> > at AGM that would hopefully work out the issues. But I think that we
> > (the entire free software community) need a chance to discuss, with the
> > experience of the past few years, what we want the AFFS to be doing.
> What exactly do you mean by, "We could just carry on as we are. We could
> let people elect a committee at AGM that would hopefully work out the
> issues."? The members have a right to elect whoever they see fit, its not
> a matter of some giving others permission to elect a new Committee. The
> AFFS belongs to its members, they are the ones who have the say in any and
> all matters. Who are the 'we' that will give the members permission to
> elect a committee? The Constitution/Rules lay down when committee members
> retire and elections are held. The only improvement to the current
> situation that needs to be put in place is the adoption of standing orders
> for the conduct of General and Committee meetings. Perhaps this could be
> placed on the Agenda of the next AGM?

John, I respect that things need to be done by the book in regards to 
constitutional changes and so on, but I think you are looking at this in 
completely the wrong way. The infrastructure of 'the AFFS' are meaningless, 
except insofar as they support and empower the aims of the AFFS.

IMHO, an AFFS that operates around a small membership, only makes decisions 
based on their opinions, and generally runs itself like a small club is going 
to totally fail the wider free software community. The current membership of 
the AFFS represents a small minority of the community, and a pinprick in the 
constituency that it works on the behalf of - the whole of society. The AFFS 
can either operate on behalf on its small membership, or it can try to reach 
out and provide the political arm to the UK free software community. Either 
goal is worthy in its own right, but, well, you can guess which one I'm more 
interested in :)

Just leaving this to the AGM, then, would be totally unacceptable. A room full 
of even fifty AFFS members isn't the right way to go about deciding the 
future of the AFFS I'd like to see. Nor would an all-day debate at the AGM 
ever fully settle these issues, IMO.

My proposal is that everyone willing coordinates some serious outreach work, 
and tries to work through some of the wider issues properly *before* the AGM. 
If it works, there will be broad consensus, representative of a large section 
of the community, on the key aims and activities of the AFFS. These can then 
be enshrined in constitutional changes and other decisions made at the AGM, 
according to the current rules, by the book.


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