Re: Criteria for a successful DPL board
On Fri, 16 Feb 2007, Josip Rodin wrote:
> Now, conventional wisdom says that optimal teams (that's teams rather than
> just groups) are composed of 5 or 7 people.
I don't think we'll have any problem as there's no real limiting factor.
When you handle very simple tasks, only one can do it at a time and having
more only lead to troubles. However when most of the expected work is
"discussing issues" and "taking decisions" I don't think that the number
is a problem, but rather an advantage.
For the rest, the responsabilities within the project are high enough that
at least one of the member will care about the other tasks (like making
sure most request got an answer).
> Because of the reasons said in my last two sentences, I think it's actually
> a good time to go with the 'high road' there. We need to start figuring out
> a way to elect a leadership rather than a single leader. Now is as good a
> time as any, given how we all know how we collectively take a lot of time
> to decide things.
> I would lean towards separating the aspect of good representation from the
> aspect of good leadership. The former can and should be left to the proposed
> social committee - over there it's a crucial aspect (IMO), and over here
> it's a bonus that can be worked around. To be clearer, let me give two
> different examples:
One of the key points that is interesting in the board that I propose, is
the principle of 'discussion by proxy' so we really need some diversity in
the board otherwise the decisions may be too far from the real consensus
of the project.
If the board wants to be successful leading the project, it will have to
take decisions instead of letting ambiguous situations continue forever,
but those decisions must match as closely as possible what the project
would have decided by himself via a GR.
That's why I think we can lead even with diversity in the board.
> * A larger leadership team is elected, and this set of >5 people turns out
> to include various candidates who have various opinions. As they form
> a leadership team, these opinions escalate into internal disagreements.
> The team starts deciding things based on internal discussion, which is
> probably a representative set of inputs to begin with, but this discussion
> isn't necessarily useful, because it looks more like a quarrel and ends in
> a vote that can well tend to be contentious.
This is a risk. That's why I'm trying to recruit people who are moderate
in the way they discuss with others while still having various opinions.
The goal is that most decisions can be taken via consensus.
I wonder about setting up a rule saying that a decision always need 2/3 of
yes to be accepted, that would force the team to work together a consensus
if they ever want to take some decisions.
On the other hand, this can then really lead to a blocking situation. So
I'm not sure yet.
> * A smaller leadership team is elected, where people are elected on a
> joint platform or mutually supported ones. They can still have various
> opinions, but they don't differ as much. As they form a leadership team,
> they start to 'click' better. The team starts deciding things based on
> internal discussion, which is more monotonous. The team depends on general
> population input in order to argue for different opinions (those which are
> not held by any of the members of the team). In cases where the situation
> warrants it, this team ask the soc-ctte for opinion on wide-reaching
> issues (those that require more input and more consensus, rather than more
Note that this election method doesn't forbid to have diverse DPL board,
you just need someone like me who is ready to propose such a board. If we
can prove that having a diverse board is not necessarily a bad decision,
others may follow the idea.
> In the first case, election is easier, because we just scoop off the top >5
> on the vote result, and throw them in; in the second case, the election is
> tricky, because how do you regulate nuances to make sure no incompatible
> people are thrown together?
Yes, this is really something problematic, in particular when the DPL
elections tends to always interest one or two candidates which are known
to have problems within the community. On the other hand, it's easy to
rank them below NOTA... and we can decide that the candidates must be
acceptable to 70% of the voters (so they should not be below NOTA more
than 30% of the votes).
> So, I'm thinking a compromise on the second case should do the trick:
> * elect the top-leader as the first on the vote tally, regardless of
> * have a 3- or 5-member leadership team, selected by the top-leader
> but composed from the rest of the winning vote tally, where by "winning"
> I mean those top 3 or top 5 who win over NOTA
it's not clear how the top-leader select here... how can you choose 3
other out of the top-3 of the other candidates ? There's no choice to do
in that case...
> * this selection must be based on a public pre-vote and post-vote discussion
> on platform compatibility, with veto rights by someone, maybe secretary?
> * add a modicum of constraints on the process to ensure it works
> * top-leader is the team tie-breaker in internal votes
> * top-leader is also constitutionally bound to report all leadership issues
> that at least a handful of developers consider contentious to the
> tech-ctte and/or soc-ctte and wait for input, in order to handle all the
I like the principle of the top-leader with the tie-breaker vote. I don't
think that he should select the other members of the DPL board however,
but we must make sure that the other members are able to work in teams. I
think that the above-NOTA quorum could be used to ensure that.
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