Global decision making

I have briefly discussed this with the board and I want to open this up to a wider audience:

tl;dr Foundation meetings should resolve critical issues globally and finally, cannot currently because of legal shortcomings.

We have a very poor process of making decisions globally right now, as there is not even a proper forum to discuss or resolve such issues. Recent cases of this have been OTSconf and Hackership where we need some governance instrument. Potential other issues could be budgets (see Meetup troubles.)
It’s also —maybe most importantly— a matter of fairness: other chapters should be involved in our decision making as well. Up to now, Global Review Meetings have largely been lengthier incarnations of Berlin Organizers.
Additionally it also brings clarity to debatable topics: Currently it’s up to the Board to define what the OpenTechSchool brand entails, at their discretion and at any convenient time. With such an instrument we could make this more democratic. Once a project has received approval by the Foundation at large they are at much safer grounds in respect to their relationship to the OpenTechSchool.

In German foundation law —our governing body of law— there is an instrument called an Extraordinary General Assembly (AMV, Außerordentliche Mitgliederversammlung) which covers all these cases well — people disagree with something in the Foundation, call for an AMV¹, have the issue resolved, done. Decisions made by the members are final; the Board has to execute them.

The crux of the matter is the format of this meeting: Every voting member needs to be physically present. If Berlin calls for an AMV, at least Melbourne and San Francisco are going to have a hard time — it’s not terribly convenient for all the other chapters as well.

I propose changing the Charter in such a way this is no longer true and members can vote from abroad. I have an amendment lined up for the upcoming (regular) General Assembly which I’m going to present in due time.

Opinions? Thoughts? Praise? Objections?

(¹ This step actually involves a petition signed by at least 25% of the members currently.)

hi @robert !

at the same time of thinking about how we make decisions on a global scale
i’m actually interested in the community itself. we hear about chapters opening up
all over the world but who are the people running these chapters? and what are
their successes and troubles at the moment? i almost feel i want to know they really
exist before trying to get them to come and make decisions they may or may not feel
personally invested in. once people feel they’re part of a larger community then they
take more ownership but i wonder if they even feel that.

I agree, I don’t feel too connected to our 15+ other chapters as well. I suspect this might be because we’re doing a horrible job at onboarding new chapters/members — we give them accounts and a very brief document and then they’re on their own. If you think this is an area worth exploring (say, checking in with new chapters regularly, having a better landing page for them, making it easy for them to join the Foundation, etc.), could I kindly ask you to open up a new discusson on it?

sounds great imho! voting from abroad, what is needed to put that into effect @robert ?

but again, we keep talking about the global community helping make decisions but is there really one out there? maybe i will even take that over (global community outreach) just because i keep asking about it and never seem to get answers-- i mean, is there info to “turn over” to someone interested to know who the global community actually is? email addresses, just follow the github trail?
who is this “global community” actually? how can i find out more?

I think we are actually starting now to create our global community.
As we said at the global review meeting we need a way to make others chapters feel more part of OTS umbrella.
We are starting with Community Call but we need a way to make it a real Community Call not just Berlin Call and some others.
Probably the thing we were/are not good at, is promotion because actually no body of us is an expert on it and required a lot of time/effort.
We need an easy way to reach all the chapter and as first to make them partecipate to the Community Call! Then maybe we can start to talk about a “global community”…

Sounds like a plan! Thumbs up!

The proposed Charter Amendment is available in the draft agenda. (NB: draft.)

I think, generally speaking, there is definitely a global community: the other 15+ chapters worldwide. I agree we’re doing a lousy job in connecting them and support every effort to improve this!

Hey there,
Being from a chapter abroad, I thought I could give my (late, again) local two cents.

The question of global community, decision process & communication are linked (at least in my case) with the implication needed and the time/reward implied. For me, I don’t really see the reward of investing time on the global OTS side (even more that I’m already not having enough time to do all I want for my local chapter). Maybe I’m wrong, and the help would outcome the time spent here, but it’s not the feeling I’m having (hence why I communicate so little on here). From afar, the topics discussed don’t seem very relevant to me (then again, this might be completely my fault…).

Getting from there, it’s a bit frightening to hear that there could be a central decision process (which I wouldn’t have much time/desire to be part of) that could over time regulate stuff I’m doing, or worse, a central body I should refer to when organizing stuff other than classic OTS event (sorry if it’s not the case and I read wrong).

I wanted to participate more at some point globally, got side tracked, and it made less and less sense as time passed. Not sure if that makes me an ungrateful brat. I’d be eager to interact again globally (decision process or other) but I don’t see much reason for that to happen.


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hey @roman_miletitch

thanks for your thoughts! i had the feeling this is how many/most global members feel,
that the reason i can’t reach them and don’t see them around is because they’re all busy
with their own local chapters or their own lives, with little if any interest in the global community
side of things.

i don’t think we really want to add more rules to control anyone just to clarify and make it easier
for people to take decisions themselves (for more automony!) but at the same time knowing
when it would be necessary to bring bigger decision-making things to the group

that being said this is what i feared and why i don’t think we should spend a ton of time changing
things for the global community to be more a part of decision making when we don’t even know
if thats what they (you) want. i don’t at all buy into the idea that if you build it they will come.

anyway, thanks again for sharing!