Forum .LRN Q&A: .LRN Governance

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Posted by Carl Robert Blesius on

The .LRN Consortium is moving forward on governance after the release of .LRN 2.2.

The draft governance document is here: https://openacs.org/xowiki/en/.LRN_Governance

Timetable:

  • Week of Sept 11 - Public comment on the governance document
  • Week of Sept 18 - Current .LRN Board ratifies the document and appoints the initial Leadership Team
  • Sept 25 to Oct 15 - Membership drive
  • Week of Oct 16 - Nominations open for the new board
  • Week of Oct 23 - Voting for new board
  • October 30 - Announcement of election results
  • The focus is to have something semi-democratic running quickly, to be more resilient to the limited time board members typically have (e.g. by having a leadership team in place that is actually empowered to make decisions), and to make contribution/governance pathways clear.

    Remember, we can revisit this after we have a ratified/public governance process in place and a membership roster that is more than a list on a webpage.

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2: Re: .LRN Governance (response to 1)
Posted by Malte Sussdorff on
Will the new board decide on a new leadership team and what are the conditions for the leadership team. What is the idea behind it. Could you post something for the leadership team as you did for the board on the Wiki?

What happens if a board member withdraws after the yearly vote and therefore decisions have to be made based on six members, making two "No" an effective block.

How do you count abstains from voting, when calculating the 2/3 majority? Is the 2/3 majority the majority of given votes?

What are you going to do if there is a tie in the election (especially for the last seat as has happened in OpenACS)?

Should the board members as part of their duty clarify the governance rules and make them stronger for future, additionally in line with legal necessities (if there are any)?

Can the board change the Governance rules, or does this require a general vote by all .LRN voting members (I'd say a general vote for the governance rules is in order).

Which decisions are covered by the decision making process. What ideas and actions need beforehand decisions?

When it comes down to technical issues, is there a TIP process in the pipeline for ".LRN" packages as there is for acs-core? Will there be such a thing as .LRN packages in the future?

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3: Re: .LRN Governance (response to 1)
Posted by Malte Sussdorff on
P.S.: Despite all my questions, great job, and thanks for getting it started.
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4: Re: .LRN Governance (response to 2)
Posted by Caroline Meeks on
Will the new board decide on a new leadership team and what are the conditions for the leadership team. What is the idea behind it. Could you post something for the leadership team as you did for the board on the Wiki?

The vision is The Leadership Team are the people involved in the day to day work of dotLRN. As such we don't want a big bar to being on the team, nor do we want these people to leave after an arbitrary period of time. We do want them subject to the oversight of the elected board.

Have you started the West Wing I lent you yet? There is a phrase "I serve at the Pleasure of the President". I just googled it and its actually a phrase used quite a bit in the creation of working committees. I think I should add to the Governance wiki that "The Leadership Team is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the dotLRN Board."

Note that its the The Leadership Team that does all the actual work. Thus The Leadership Team could decide that That Joe Smoot is a useful guy and doing a lot of work. They would post to the Decision Thread that Joe Smoot is a member of the Leadership Team. The board then approves this where one of the mechanisms for approval is to not say anything for two weeks.

What happens if a board member withdraws after the yearly vote and therefore decisions have to be made based on six members, making two "No" an effective block.
My observation is that dotLRN has suffered far more from things not happening then people doing the wrong thing. Thus this process is designed to make it easy do noncontroversial things and hard to do things that even a minority of people think are wrong. This is not a majority rules plan. It rewards consensus building. Thus in this situation you either have to negotiate and find a compromise or wait for the next election and try to get more people who agree with you on the board.
How do you count abstains from voting, when calculating the 2/3 majority? Is the 2/3 majority the majority of given votes?
2/3 of all votes or two Yeses and No No's. Again, its designed to be tough to do something that someone on the board really thinks is wrong. The goal is to build consensus and compromises.
What are you going to do if there is a tie in the election (especially for the last seat as has happened in OpenACS)?
Hmm, we should have discussed this and we didn't. I propose we do the same thing we do on OCT. Both people server for 1 year and they both go up for reelection at the next election.

Should the board members as part of their duty clarify the governance rules and make them stronger for future, additionally in line with legal necessities (if there are any)?

Can the board change the Governance rules, or does this require a general vote by all .LRN voting members (I'd say a general vote for the governance rules is in order).

The Board has the power to change the governance rules. dotLRN is not a grassroots organization. Many of the members will be large organizations represented by a manager who will quite likely be far away from the day to day of .LRN. I think getting them to vote once a year will take quite a bit of effort. In my opinion representative leadership is more realistic. However, I can certainly respect that there are different views on this. Our goal for the first governance document is to do something simple that the elected Board could then refine so really, this issue should be deferred to the first duly elected board.

Which decisions are covered by the decision making process. What ideas and actions need beforehand decisions?
This is not something that will be codified. The Leadership Team will need to work this out. The codified system rewards consensus and makes it difficult to do things people object to.

Since we effectively have people working together on .LRN now, and making decisions, I believe there is good reason to believe they will continue to be able to do so. The intent of the current Board is to appoint all of the usual suspects for a .LRN Meeting to the Leadership Team.

When it comes down to technical issues, is there a TIP process in the pipeline for ".LRN" packages as there is for acs-core? Will there be such a thing as .LRN packages in the future?
This is outside the scope of .LRN Governance. The current goal is to set up an organization that is legitimately elected and has transparent processes so that this sort of decision can be made.

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5: Re: .LRN Governance (response to 1)
Posted by Rocael Hernández Rizzardini on
so, at which stage are we now on this? when the leadership team will be elected?
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6: Re: .LRN Governance (response to 5)
Posted by Caroline Meeks on
We are here:

Week of Sept 18 - Current .LRN Board ratifies the document and appoints the initial Leadership Team

I AIMed Carl a couple of days ago and he said he was going to get the ratification process moving.

The current board appoints the leadership team until the next board is elected. They can do so at any time.

I encourage them to do so now. :)

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7: Re: .LRN Governance (response to 1)
Posted by Alfred Essa on
I support ratification. It can always be revised if we there are problems. The Leadership Team needs to be appointed quickly. Time is of the essence.
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8: Re: .LRN Governance (response to 1)
Posted by Carl Robert Blesius on
The document was ratified unanimously by the board on Friday. I have put up a document in the wiki with the nominations as they stand now.

https://openacs.org/xowiki/en/.LRN_Leadership_Team_Nominations

I have asked the board and herby ask the community to post additional nominations in this thread or on the wiki.

The leadership team will be a working group (e.g. weekly meetings with decisions and action items) and the nominations are based on people that have been getting things done in recent past and present (e.g. showing up to the recent meetings, getting other people involved, contributing to the recent release, generally contributing to our success, etc).

Target is to have a functioning team mid week at the latest. I am contacting the nominees tonight by email to make sure they accept nomination before the board makes a final decision.

We are making progress.

As soon as we have a team we will start the invoicing procedure (with the help of the team) so that we can have enough consortium members to vote on the board.

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9: Re: .LRN Governance (response to 8)
Posted by Rocael Hernández Rizzardini on
Carl, thanks for leading this.
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10: Re: .LRN Governance (response to 9)
Posted by Caroline Meeks on
According to the schedule we should be doing nominations this week.

Any ideas on how to collect nominations? Shall we just open a new thread for now. I think anyone can nominate, but only representatives from dotLRN Consortium members can run/be elected.

Comments?

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11: Re: .LRN Governance (response to 10)
Posted by Malte Sussdorff on
Who are representatives from the .LRN Consortium. I know I filled in some paper at one point in time way back, but so far was not invoiced for membership, so what is the deal here ?
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12: Re: .LRN Governance (response to 1)
Posted by Dave Bauer on
Malte,

if you signed up then you will receive an invoice. I think we all know who the basic list of members are. Carl is working on the invoicing but I think we should proceed and if someone is nominated who is not from a member organization we can note that on the thread.