[volunteers] [svlug] Bickering - solution

Mark Weisler mark at weisler-saratoga-ca.us
Fri Dec 28 09:10:49 PST 2007

On Friday 28 December 2007 04:03:31 Jason Shupe wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 26, 2007 at 04:57:27PM -0200, Paul Reiber wrote:
> > Greetings from Brazil, and Happy Holidays!
> Greetings & Happy Holidays!
> > I concur w/ Edward that things have GOT to change, if SVLUG is to
> > survive and thrive.
> Everyone can probably agree that things need to change, but where we
> disagree is where and what the changes should be.
> > We tried the "whoever shows up for the governance meeting can define
> > SVLUG" approach, and with that model, we couldn't even agree on _one
> > sentence_ as a group, in over 2 hours.
> I wasn't there, but I can't say that this is entirely surprising.  I was
> once part of a group working on a draft mission statement for a large
> company and we probably averaged 1 sentence an hour, and there were only
> two people who displayed open hostility in the group.
> > With that in mind, I've decided I need, and therefore I'm creating, an
> > "advisory council" - input from random members is valuable, but input
> > from a select set of advisors will be much more valuable.
> >
> > Here are the details I've worked out so far:
> >
> > ANY member of SVLUG can apply for a seat on this council.  (Join &)
> > email the volunteers list with the reasons you'd like to be on this
> > council, and list your qualifications.
> >
> > I'll work with a small handful of others to select the council members
> > in January when I return.
> > We?ll ensure that each member is indeed on board to assist SVLUG as an
> > advisor, and then we'll share the list with the rest of SVLUG.
> I can't say I have much hope for this solution resolving anything.  I
> see it as just furthering the status quo.  With this approach I believe
> that only the interests of the current administration will be addressed,
> and that the interests of those who would like a different kind of
> leadership or different leadership will not be properly addressed.
> I see the current administration as power hungry and one that enjoys
> wielding power.  Where my desires of the officers of SVLUG would be to
> act in a service to the community role rather than in a power over the
> community role.
> My ideal view of the role of officers (and volunteers for that matter)
> is to provide...
> * event organization (coordinate scheduling, location, announcements).
> * consensus building (acting as a sounding board to the community -
>                       "I think I hear that SVLUG membership feels this
>                       way...  Is that true?").
> * cheer leading (Generally upbeat tone, thanking folks for positive
>                 contributions(on or off list), providing constructive
>                 feedback offlist or in private, refraining from any form
>                 of negative feedback onlist or in public, refusing to
>                 engage or otherwise publicly respond to any negative
>                 behavior).
> Of the lists I currently subscribe to the best model I can point to is
> UUASC (Unix Users of Southern California - a joint Los Angeles and
> Orange County user group).  UUASC isn't without noise, but Hershel Remer
> has done a good job of maintaining good list tone and fairly good signal
> to noise on a large list.  He's a man of the cloth (a Rabbi), so that
> could explain some of his benevolence and his positive welcoming
> nature.  He's apparently gained a life term as UUASC president or so his
> web page suggests:
>   http://rabbs.com/exec_dir.html
> To close, please allow me to summarize my position:
>   Any semblance of lasting peace in this mailing list / user group must
>   be rooted in a consensus based adoption of rules of governance, where
>   everyone gets to say their piece while practicing the principles of
>   non violent communication, and where no decision is made until
>   consensus is reached.
>   Some third party with successful User group leadership experience and
>   mediation experience should coordinate said process and report back to
>   the main mailing list the minutes or summarized minutes of each
>   meeting. (issue X, n dissenting views - sub group will meet before our
>   next meeting to work on issue X and present any progress then, issue Y
>   consensus reached, etc).
>   This will take dozens of meetings, and no less than 3 months.
>   Anything short of the above will ultimately result in a smaller (less
>   erudite) mailing list/user group, with a lower total knowledge, and
>   lower ability to make positive contributions to FOSS in the Bay Area
>   and in the World.
> Regards,
> Jason
> _______________________________________________
> svlug mailing list
> svlug at lists.svlug.org
> http://lists.svlug.org/lists/listinfo/svlug
Hi Jason,
Thank you for your ideas about the role of officers and volunteers, consensus, 
and other matters. I will help get your ideas to the group when we meet again 
on January 10th.

The process I've suggested includes treatment of some of your ideas as shown 
in my suggested approach at:
and summarized here:

some of which includes:

* Style and Tone
* roles and responsibilities

It would be great if you could join our meeting, maybe Hershel too if it's not 
too far for him. The meeting is open to all.

I like your "ideal view" and agree with you on the importance of consensus. 

Mark Weisler 
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our 
people need it sorely on these accounts." ---Mark Twain---
PGP: 0x68E462B6  http://pgp.mit.edu:11371/
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