On Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 1:28 PM, Christoph Wickert
although I and Clint already drew our consequences from the petition, I
still think that the people need to get the full picture. Please let me
provide some background information and my completely biased views.
I don't want to prolong this much more but I do want to say a few more
things in response.
First, I don't want to see good people step down which may make things
even messier in the end. I can live with whatever decision is made as
I said at the end of my first post even if I have trouble
Second, I don't want the Fedora Board or anyone else to dissolve
FAmSCo. I have sympathy for the frustration expressed in the original
post, but that is different from wanting it to happen.
Third, what you see as showing respect for the previous election I see
as disregarding the contract it made with the electorate. But now I
can see your point of view better so thanks for explaining it again.
The announcement for the upcoming elections is scheduled to go out on
the 24th. We'll need to make some changes to accommodate a FAmSCo
election, nothing that is hard to do but I'll need a little time to do
them. So if at all possible please let me know what the decision is by
the 22nd so I have time to tweak the wiki and questionnaire to include
I will make a few more remarks inline below but this email is so long
I don't expect anyone to read further unless they are named Christoph
or they are gluttons for punishment.
Am Mittwoch, den 18.04.2012, 23:40 -0500 schrieb inode0:
> On Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 8:28 PM, Christoph Wickert
> <christoph.wickert(a)googlemail.com> wrote:
> I have a fair amount of sympathy for this request based on both this
> decision and on its habitual difficulty getting a quorum to conduct
> even routine business. Although after a 15 minute wait at most
> meetings a quorum eventually does seem to show up.
Noted, lets remember this for the rest of this discussion. This is
really important because it's a major concern we all share.
> While I agree with that motivation I think we should also follow
> FESCo's example of how to do an orderly transition without overturning
> the results of a previous election. The idea that four people,
> regardless of their composition, can overturn election results for
> three others I find pretty offensive.
I don't think we are overturning the results but we wanted to use them
to make a decision. We have range voting and it gives us a good
impression of who people trust most. This is what people voted for and
I don't see why we shouldn't rely on it.
I am beginning to understand your point of view now.
If you consider shortening the term to 6 months - no matter if only
some or for all FAmSCo members - overturning the elections, we can do
nothing but to continue until F19, and this means FAmSCo, the
ambassadors and Fedora as a whole will not benefit from the changes of
the new election guidelines.
True and I do think waiting to F19 for the new election rules to take
effect is the best way to proceed. I can't measure the harm from the
loss of benefits any more than I can measure the harm from taking a
different route by moving the elections up one release. So I can't
really form an opinion based on that.
> > In order to make this change happen, we need to make a cut
> > point. No matter if it happens sooner or later, some members will only
> > be able to serve FAmSCo for 6 months.
> There is a big difference between the electorate deciding who those
> members are and four members of FAmSCo deciding.
Agreed, but there is no a big difference between the electorate deciding
in a month or 5 months ago. Do you really think the results of the next
election would be fundamentally different? Do you think people would
have voted differently if they knew that some people would have to run
for re-election after 6 months?
I don't accept that the electorate made this decision 5 months ago and
I don't presume to know how they would have voted had three seats been
limited to one release terms at the time.
> FAmSCo is clearly trying to
> make FAmSCo a more productive governance body for the benefit of
Thank you, It's good to see you at least share our goal, even if you
don't agree with FAmSCo's decision how to get there.
I do very much share your goal and I also heartily endorse the work
put into reforming the election process for FAmSCo as well as the
other governance issues you have addressed. I really do not want to be
seen as an "enemy" of your reforms because I strongly support them.
I have a very narrow objection to the transition method selected. I
take elections more seriously than I take most processes and rules. To
me they form a bond between the governed and those who chose them and
the agreement struck at the time of the election should not be
violated by either side. This does sometimes result in having to live
with less than ideal leadership, sometimes it results in a
dysfunctional governance body. (I'm speaking here not of FAmSCo or
Fedora but of elections in general.) This I accept as a consequence of
my choice when I voted and I wait for my chance to correct my mistake
in the next election.
Perhaps I should stop thinking of Fedora elections in the way I think
of elections generally. I'll give that more thought.
> > First of all this is not correct. We had 4 different
> > in a long mail . In the meeting it turned out to come down to a
> > decision between two different options (#1 and #3). It was 3:2 and the
> > vote that made the final decision for having the next elections with F18
> > and have the seats of the 3 lowest vote-getters open for election came
> > from Kaio. He is one of the 3 persons affected by this change, so what
> > you claim is definitely not true.
> Given the vote by Kaio I can accept that he is in effect offering to
> step down. The same cannot be said about the others and I don't see
> anything in our governance rules that allows FAmSCo to remove them
> from office before their 2 releases are complete unless FAmSCo or the
> Fedora Project Board removes them for misconduct.
They are not removed, they are asked to run again for election if they
want to continue serving on FAmSCo. And Kaio did not step down either,
neither theoretically nor effectively.
I don't see any point to semantic disagreements here. We all can see
exactly what is happening.
A removal for misconduct is something completely different.
different procedure with very different rules and outcomes, both
according to the old and the new guidelines.
BTW: The board cannot remove somebody from FAmSCo and it cannot dissolve
FAmSCo as this petition claims. Only the FPL can veto our decision
about the transition.
From the FAmSCo election rules currently on the wiki it says:
"Members can be removed from the committee for misconduct by the
Fedora Project Board or by an absolute majority vote of the FAmSCo."
I'm not sure the FPL has any power to veto a FAmSCo decision. As the
Chair of the Board she has the power to veto any Board decision.
However the Board has the explicit responsibility for "Final
arbitration of complaints related to project policies." I really don't
think anyone wants either the Board or the FPL to decide the
transition. Giving some constructive help resolving what could be
deemed a complaint related to project policies can be helpful (and I
think has been helpful).
> Changing election rules after being elected can almost always be
> as involving a conflict of interest and this is one reason there is
> normally a transition that involves the new rules not taking effect
> until the next orderly election.
But this would mean we'd have to wait until F19, with all it's
consequences such as not broadening the eligible voters, not being able
to replace inactive members, therefor not reaching a quorum, the lack of
consistency and all that. I find it hard to believe you or anybody else
would want that because at the beginning of your mail you said that that
the lack of "a quorum to conduct even routine business" is your reason
to support Nick's petition. This is exactly the issue we are trying to
address and we are trying to address it now and not in F19.
Electing some number of new people doesn't really give me that much
confidence about it being easier to achieve a quorum in IRC meetings
for a body scattered throughout so many timezones. I have suggested,
quite seriously although perhaps some thought I was joking, that the
quorum requirement simply be reduced from 4 to 3 to make getting stuff
done in meetings easier. I have more confidence that that would make
achieving a quorum easier regardless of what we do with elections.
> > To me this is not a conflict but something very natural in
> > meritocratic system like Fedora. Some FAmSCo members are more active
> > than others and attend the meetings more regularly. They are present
> > when it comes to making a decision, not only today but every week.
> > The active members also happen to be ones that get the most votes in the
> > elections. To me this doesn't show ill will or a conflict of interests
> > but proves that our system work.
> I don't see how any of this, while true, gives you the authority to
> overturn election results.
I don't thing we are. Look at it this way: We respect the results of the
last election so much that we wanted to make it the base for determining
who has to run again and who is not.
> >> Also, our current FAmSCo seems unwilling to vote gbraad out, despite his
> >> repeated failure to attend meetings, or participate in any discussions.
> > This is the part that does not make sense to me. On the one hand you
> > complain that inactive members do not vote and the active members make a
> > decision, but on the other hand you want to have somebody removed from
> > FAmSCo without talking to him first and giving him a chance to chance to
> > explain himself.
> What is the point of him explaining himself when FAmSCo is reducing
> his term to one release and is thereby removing him from FAmSCo now by
> a different process?
The point is:
* He is not removed as he can run for re-election immediately. If
he is removed according to the old guidelines, he cannot.
He is not removed for misconduct but he is still removed as a result
of his term expiring 6 months earlier than he or the electorate was
told when he was elected. And yes, he can run again. But what is the
point of him explaining himself?
* We cannot remove him without hearing him. That's the rules
as somebody who insists on not changing rules after an election,
you should obey them in this case, too. It's something we owe
not only him as a long-time very active contributor but also his
I'm not advocating you remove him without concluding his lack of
participation is misconduct in your collective opinion sufficient that
you come to the conclusion that such action is in the best interest of
FAmSCo. I'm not advocating you remove him without following the rules
that existed when he was elected. That is really one of my objections
to the transition - I think he is being removed by a different method
than what was provided at the time he was elected.
> > We have a policy for removal of members: "In the event
> > absence without contact, or other serious misconduct or negligence, a
> > FAmSCo member may be subject to removal. Before any other process
> > occurs, the FAmSCo member in question will be personally contacted by
> > the FAmSCo Chair to try to resolve the situation. If this contact does
> > not successfully resolve the situation, the FAmSCo member in question
> > may be removed by unanimous vote of the other members of FAmSCo." 
> > This is what currently happens. We have started the process but not yet
> > made a decision. I have contacted the person in question, got a quick
> > reply and we agreed he will get back to me after the weekend. He will
> > try to catch up with FAmSCo business and then make a decision if he can
> > make it or not.
> > Even if this person did not serve FAmSCo in this term, we prefer to not
> > make this decision against but with him. We believe that issues can be
> > resolved amicably and so should you.
> FAmSCo just did make the decision to remove him without his
> participation by deciding to make his seat open in the F18 election
But still this is something very different form a removal, see above.
Let's not compare apples to oranges.
I agree removal for misconduct is different than removal for other
reasons. When I say removal don't assume I mean removal for
I really don't understand how somebody
* on the one hand can complain about a so-called "removal" of 3
people although they were involved and heard in the discussion
* but on the other hand demand the removal of one of them
*without* hearing him.
I have never demanded anything of the sort. And I do object to
removing him without a finding of misconduct in a fashion not
consistent with the rules governing his term in effect at the time of
That is totally inconsistent.
Yes, but it is not my position.
> > This being said here is my proposal:
> > * Wait a few days for feedback from the ambassadors. Either they
> > share your concerns and think it is unfair to require some
> > members to run again while not others, or they are fine with our
> > decision because they agree to the results of the previous
> > elections.
> I thought it was unfair when FESCo changed its election rules in the
> middle of a recent election.
I am confused now. If you consider it unfair, why did you call it an
"example of how to do an orderly transition without overturning the
results of a previous election" at the beginning of this very mail?
This reference was to an election where FESCo allowed nominations to
stand that were made after the nomination period ended against at
least the precedent set twice earlier when late nominations were not
placed on the final ballot.
I admire the way FESCo is run very much and I think they do things
right more than any other Fedora governance body.
> I think this goes way beyond unfair.
> Elections are really quite a silly exercise if four people after the
> election can overturn the result of the election for the other three.
> Next time perhaps the bottom four will throw out the top three, seems
> FAmSCo thinks this sort of majority decision is fine.
Please get the facts straight. It was NOT the top four who made this
decision and meanwhile several of the top 4 vote-getters have offered
their seat for election.
I did not say it was the top four. Which four it is makes no
difference to me at all. Fedora ambassadors elected 3 of their fellow
members to two release terms on FAmSCo. Four FAmSCo members have just
changed those terms to one release terms. While I understand that is
expedient to get to where we both want to end up, I think it isn't the
best way to get there.
> Is asking FAmSCo
> to respect the result of the last election really asking for too much?
> I can't believe I have to ask that question.
Obviously you and Nick have very different goals, the only thing where
you agree is to disagree to FAmSCo. While Nick wanted to have everybody
seats open in in F18, you don't want any.
We seem to agree to disagree with FAmSCo about the transition anyway.
Perhaps we agree to disagree with each other about the transition as
> > * If there is support from the ambassadors for your
> > *all* seats will be up for the F18 election. The 4 highest
> > vote-getters will serve two releases, the lowest 3 will serve 1
> > release. This was option 2 in my mail from last week .
> Option 3 is an orderly transition following the example set by FESCo
> when they made a similar transition in its election rules.
But again, this means delaying the transition by another 6 months.
1. Having to fight for a quorum in every meeting
2. Effectively not being able to remove somebody. If we cannot
replace an somebody (and we cannot in the old guidelines) we
cannot remove him.
> Option 2 is also offensive as it also overturns the result of the last
> election. But it is a lot less offensive than Option 1 and at least
> allows the electorate to decide who receives the short transition
> terms. Option 2 also benefits from the fact that current FAmSCo
> election rules do allow for an early election to be called "by the
> Chairperson of the committee, an absolute majority vote of FAmSCo, or
> by the Fedora Project Board." So it would be allowable under current
> rules by my reading of them.
The rules you quote are the old guidelines, not the current ones. They
were ratified two weeks ago by unanimous (!) vote. We are only talking
about the one paragraph of the new guidelines that describes the
transition, but nobody is questioning the new guidelines itself.
So what you want is a mixture of old and new guidelines: Using the old
guidelines to call an early election that would then follow the rules of
the new policy. Sorry, but mixing two different policies does not work
and I am surprised you even suggest it as you insist on obeying the
guidelines so much.
I was trying to find common ground where we could compromise. Shrug.
> > The other option would be to let everybody finish his 1 year
> > (option 4), but this would delay the shift to the new guidelines.
> This was Option 3 I believe.
> Why does waiting 6 months to effect this transition make a difference?
> You seem to think this is very urgent to do right now but I don't
> understand why.
It is urgent because with the old guidelines we cannot fill vacant seats
and thus we will continue to struggle with the problem of reaching a
quorum in every meeting again and again until F19.
Given that at the beginning of your mail you said this is exactly your
motivation to support Nick's petition I find it hard to believe this is
what you had in mind.
> > The new FAmSCo election guidelines offer some huge advantages, most
> > notably we extend the group eligible voters from ambassadors to CLA+1,
> > this means to everybody who signed the Contributors License Agreement
> > and is member of at least one other group can vote. This is a big
> > advantage and we think this is a good reason to make the shift to the
> > new guidelines ASAP.
> This is another good reason to have an orderly election of the entire
> body when this change takes effect. How does it make any sense for
> four FAmSCo members who were elected by members of the Ambassadors
> group to sit with 3 others elected by contributors who satisfy the
> CLA+1 requirement?
That is a good point indeed. IHMO this alone justifies opening all
seats for elections. Thank you, I did not think of this.
> Again. I can't see any reason why waiting 6 months
> makes a bit of difference.
Again, it makes a huge difference. Not only that we won't benefit from
the new guidelines, we also will have to deal with the consequences of
the fundamentally flawed old guidelines that rendered previous FAmSCos
more or less useless.
If you looked at the old FAmSCos as closely as you are now looking at
this question, you would see that a lot of their decisions were invalid
as they had no a quorum. Many of them even had less members voting than
the decision you are complaining about now.
With the old guidelines vacant seats were not filled until their number
dropped below 5. 5 active FAmSCo members on the other hand mean, that
only one of them has to miss a meeting and one has to disagree with the
other 3 in order to render the committee non-functional (because 3 is no
longer a quorum of 7). In fact we already had 3 inactive members in
FAmSCo, but no supplementary election was ever be called. This clearly
shows that the old policy does not work.
If you still wonder why we don't want to delay the elections until F19,
please take a look at my analysis of the old guidelines in the wiki. 
> > Please note that I only speak for myself at this point and not for
> > FAmSCo. While I am personally perfectly fine with running again for
> > F18, I still need the other members to buy in to my proposal. If I were
> > to offer you all seats for the election no matter if your petition
> > receives support or not, a single person (you) would effectively
> > overpower FAmSCo. I think we all agree that this is not fair either.
> I have no idea if we can agree on anything at this point if we can't
> agree that four people on FAmSCo don't have the authority to overturn
> the election results for three other FAmSCo members without misconduct
> on their part.
I'm afraid we really will not reach a consensus here. I still don't
think we overturn but follow the results.
So far the supporters of the petition have raised two points:
1. One should not change the rules until the next orderly
2. Members should not make a decision for other members who cannot
express their view.
If we want to address *both* these concerns, we will *never* be able to
change the election guidelines because strictly speaking not making a
decision on behalf of the other members also includes the members of the
next or any future FAmSCo.
You are getting carried away now. Election reform is commonplace. And
it is commonplace when the reformed rules take effect - and that time
is usually following the departure of those from office who created
them. There is a reason for this.
This being said we need to make a cut at some point and some people
always consider it a breach of the guidelines. Even though I still
think that the majority of the voters would be perfectly fine with what
FAmSCo discussed, decided and confirmed in various meetings, I do share
your concern about the change in the eligible voters and I am very
thankful you pointed it out.
Has one person said Option 3 is a breach of any guidelines? I have
heard it isn't expedient, but that is all.
Therefor we can only offer to go with option 2 (having all seats
to the F18 election) or 4 (having people step down voluntarily). I am
glad to see that we already have enough people for option 4, but I would
prefer option 2.
I would prefer Option 2 as well.
Regardless of what we choose and for the reasons outlined in this
several others, the wiki and many discussions, FAmSC0 wants the
transition to happen ASAP. Lets build a better FAmSCo for the sake of