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Re: Social committee proposal

Andreas Tille <tillea@rki.de> wrote:
> On Sun, 3 Jun 2007, MJ Ray wrote:
> > I feel that this would probably entrench any majority views,
> > particularly with only five members.  Replace with:
> >
> > 7. The initial Social Committee will consist of eleven Developers
> > drawn by random selection from all Developers.
> Are there any statistics from which number of members on a
> commitee stops working effectively? [...]
> Chances are good that at least half of the members is either
> not interested or MIA.

I suspect it's difficult to gather many general statistics, because
the size of uselessness will vary with the personalities of the
members and how likely they are to disagree.  I've seen hundreds of
people be an effective meeting, with dozens of them speaking in turn
and AFAICT everyone who wanted to put their questions could, but that
was a group with strong common aims and fairly relaxed social

The number of *active* members is what will make most difference, not
just the number of members, so the size is going to be larger than one
would guess.  Charities are better-documented than many groups and
it's easy to find info like:

  "The average size of boards increases with organisation size, going
   from under 9 in the smallest charities, up to almost 21 for the

Source: summary of research by Chris Cornforth at Open University
Business School in 'Recent Trends in Charity Governance and
Trusteeship' published May 2001 by National Council for Voluntary
Organisations, ISBN 0719915910, seen at

> > 8. Should any appointed Developer be unwilling to serve, unwilling to
> > serve any longer, or fail to answer three requests from the Project
> > Leader within a month without warning, they will be replaced by
> > another Developer drawn in the same manner.
> I wonder how long it will take to finally get a working committee
> by using this procedure.

Me too, but I feel it's more important to get a broad, tolerant
cross-section than to make the decision-making artificially quick by
limiting to five elected politicians.  The project has tolerated
deteriorating behaviour without effective sanctions for years, so is
taking a few months to get a better social-committee a big problem?

Anyway, random selection works for juries.

My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
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