On Sun, 2 Sep 2018 at 00:15, Vincent Untz firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Le samedi 01 septembre 2018, à 21:07 -0700, Richard Brown a écrit :
If the issue being presented to the Board is one that can be handled "in the open" in the way that you and others are advocating, then I argue that the issue shouldn't be presented to the Board as something for it to decide.
We support contributors who take the initiative, and when that is not an option we have the project mailinglist and countless other places and means for such things to be debated and decided.
The Board exist to be able to make the decisions that can't be handled in such an open fashion. And thus, we require the trust of the Project in order to be able to do our job with the discretion required of it.
This is true when this is when it comes to handling a conflict, but the board does more than that: for instance, it has an influence on the budget, or the organization of oSC, and more.
What I understand that people are pointing out is that these other topics do not need as much discretion, and transparency is expected there.
The way this can be approached, and that is pretty close to what I feel the current board is doing, is that by default, topics should be considered as "to be documented publicly" unless there's a good reason to not do so -- and I'm being vague here on purpose as you can't predict what topic may not be appropriate to detail in minutes; I trust the board to take the right decision.
The minutes that have been shared lately already offer some pretty good transparency (although votes are not included -- which I'm fine with). If anything, I feel the board has actually been too transparent about the conflicts in the minutes as it's something I would simply not document publicly as it can influence the conflict resolution negatively.
The only topic I have been debating here is whether or not the Board should include the details of whom voted for what
Of course the Board should minute what it discusses, I do not disagree on that point with you one iota and I would defend any suggestion otherwise as vociferously as I am defending the need to note include the details of votes in our minutes.
That said, like you, I fear we've been TOO transparent in areas like conflict resolution from time to time, but the fact we err on the side of openness should be somewhat reassuring to the Project. But sharing the details of whom voted for what is a step that I, personally, think is far too far - partially because it strips the Board from the collective responsibility that has given it the freedom to both learn from its mistakes and to take risks like occasionally being too open in its minutes.
However, returning to your point about the Board doing "more than just conflict resolution" - This may be true, heck we sure seem busier than when you were Chairman ;) but the nature and scope of the work has evolved since your time.
Taking your examples, Budget influence is far less than in the past - because the role of Treasurer we created has succeeded in it's intended role of taking a lot of that day-to-day noise away from the Board. Therefore, when the Board is now discussing budgets, it's almost always (and in my eyes should always) be in a form of 'escalation mode' - discussing topics which our Treasurer or others in the Project cannot handle comfortably. Every example I can think of could easily be described as a "conflict" between the desires of the Project and the desires of our sponsors. And ergo, those incidents are some which require heaps of discretion and benefit from the obscured voting which we currently practice in the Board.
oSC influence is another example you cited. It's true that in the past the Board was very hands on with the organisation of oSC. I've been campaigning hard within the Board to stop that practice as it is beyond the intended remit of the Board. Earlier in the thread I gave the example of openSUSE Asia as a fine example of how the Project could be doing such things. We have this list, and opensuse-marketing, and a growing body of experienced oSC volunteers. I work hard to ensure that any question about organisational minutiae or any other aspect of oSC, or in general any topic at all, that could be discussed and documented in the open, is NOT discussed by the Board at our meetings. That is not our job and never has been. In cases like that I've been working hard to push the people raising such things to do so openly with the project, and on one or two occasions I have strongly advocated to the Board that we should reject the questions asked of us, because they're not for us to decide.
The Project should be able to do and decide things without the Board. We were never conceptualised as a gate to block or permit what our contributors wanted to do. The power of deciding what we do, how we do it, when we do it, lies with our contributors, not with the Board.
The Board is there to serve a purpose when that typical open collaborative means of this project doesn't work. When conflicts are abound and when discretion is required. When something needs to be handled delicately and yet still decisively in the name of the Project. Those are the functions the Board exists, and so to risk repeating myself, if the topic is one which can easily be handled openly and could be wholly minuted openly without any discretion required, it's a topic I'd personally like to see handled elsewhere then the Board.
We've got enough ugly stuff to deal with, and the Project has better means for doing and deciding stuff openly.
For example, I'd love to start seeing this list being used more proactively by others for postulating and discussing far more new ideas for the Project, and then the collective readers of this list taking the initiative and acting on them. The Boards minutes and the debates around them should be a minority activity of this list, not the majority it seems to have been lately.