- Most if not all of the small changes that were suggested (e.g. rephrasing, reordering/merging of sections, adding some precision, etc.) were included in the updated draft
- Debate points were gathered, discussed during Funkwhale Sync #3 and answered (either directly or indirectly) during the discusion
I’ll describe below the outcomes of the discussion, and, when relevant, how we want to reflect that in the draft. Feel free to ask for clarification as needed, and of course, share your feedback below
Should the Board be part of the Steering Commitee?
Question/issue: the initial draft state that the Board and Steering Commitee are two separate entities with different attributions. It was suggested that the Board should be part of the Steering Commitee, for practical/decisional reasons.
Discussion outcome: after the discussion and the clarification of the role of each entity, there is no really strong consensus, but the majority seems in favour of keeping both separate.
Should we use a list-based system to elect Board and Commite members?
Question/issue: the initial draft stated that members of those entities were elected separately, which seemed impractical.
Discussion outcome: there was no opposition on this, so we’re going this way. We’re also looking for a partial renewal of the members each year (probably by half) to ensure there is a continuity.
Should we enforce some quotas to ensure we have a men/women parity?
Question/issue: it was an open question during the redaction of the first draft, and we thought this could help us to enforce a minumum diversity whithin the collective (and especially in the decision process). However, we were not sure how to design it to work with the current state of our community, and there was a risk to block the collective before it even began.
Discussion outcome: It was suggested by @Hælwenn and @OniriCorpe to work on a weighted vote mechanism to bring more power to under-represented people’s opinions (see below). As a result, we won’t enforce quotas whithin the Board and Commitees, but use this voting system instead, while actively working at keeping the community welcoming and diverse.
Which Board decisions should require an approvel by the Assembly during the Assemblée Générale Ordinaire (AGO)?
Question/issue: the initial draft stated that during the AGO, the Assembly had to approve (or refuse) individual Board decisions made over the past year. This was suggested to enforce accountability regarding the Board decisions (especially since the Board can exclude other members), but seemed quite heavy in practice
Discussion outcome: We’ll explicitely mention in the statuses that the Assembly can approve or refuse exclusions decided by the Board. Other decisions are not affected.
Specify how Assemblies are organized
Question/issue: the initial draft did not specify how Assemblies (AGO, AGE) were organized, if they could happen remotely, etc. This seemed dangerous.
Discussion outcome: We’ll specify in the statuses that Assemblies can happen remotely with voting tools that prevent disclosures of the votes to other members of the assembly.
Is there a risk of conflict of interest in the Steering Commitee? Should we act on that?
Question/issue: the Steering Commitee will be involved in the budget design, and some of its members will likely perceive financial retributions for their contributions to the project. This is a situation of potential conflict of interest.
Discussion outcome: Nobody seemed especially worry about that during the discussion. Since the whole Board will be part of the decision process, it seems currently enough to reduce the risk.
Weighted vote proposal to support diversity
Question/issue: If we’re not enforcing quota, how can we ensure people belonging to minorities or under-represented categories are heard and part of the decision process?
Discussion outcome: we could apply some additionnal weight to the votes of people belonging to under-represented categories, and remove some weight from other votes.
This idea was mentionned during the discussion on quotas, as a possible lighter alternative. After the Sync meeting, we spent half an our with a few motivated people to think about how it could actually work.
Based on our discussion, we’re confident it is doable and could support diversity in the community, by bringing more power to people belonging to usually under-represented categories, while lessening its effects when we approach parity.
Here is how it would work:
- We design a list of categories that are usually underrepresented (for instance: women, transgender people, disabled people, people of color, neuroatypical people)
- Whenever a Commitee or the Board is formed, its members can identify themselves as belonging to a category present of this list (but they don’t have to specify which one)
- If less than 60% of the members do so, then we apply weight on the votes, as outlined below (if the underrepresented group represents more than 60% of the members, each person has a single voice):
- We split the members in two groups: one group of overrepresented people (who don’t belong to any listed category) and one group of underrepresented people
- The overrepresented group gets 4 votes, the underrepresented group gets 6 votes
- Inside a group, those votes are splitted equally between members
- To approve a decision, a 2/3 majority is needed
- A commitee is composed of 7 people: 5 cis men (one of whom is a person of color), and two women
- Since there are 3 individuals beloning to an underrepresented category, we apply the weighted vote system
- The group composed of 4 white cis men gets 4 votes (1 vote/person)
- The group composed of 2 women and 1 person of color gets 6 votes (2 votes/personne)
Since this system can only work if there is at least one underrepresented person in the Commitees or Board, we would actually enforce a quota on elected lists: any list of candidates must include a candidate belonging to one of the underrepresented categories to be considered valid.
Cons of this system:
- It’s obviously harder to explain than traditionnal voting
- It assumes group members act in good faith and don’t claim they are member of an underrepresented category if they are not
- It’s harder to setup/count votes
Pros of this system:
- It includes more people than a gender-based quota
- It’s more flexible: it evolves automatically based on the group composition and the list of underrepresented categories
- It disables itself if a group is diverse enough
- It brings more power to underrepresented people, which acts as an incentive to increase diversity
- It limits as much as possible the scope of the outing people need to face to benefit from the extra votes: it’s purely opt-in, people only identify themselves as on the list (without specifying the precise category). Of course, in some situations it’s still possible to guess, but all of this this happens inside the group (and not publicly), the scope is quite small here as well.
Questions that are not addressed yet
Who between the Board and Steering Commitee should design the budget?
Question/issue : the initial draft stated that the Steering Commitee was in charge of the budget, but this may not be practical/possible because the Board needs some visibility and power regarding how the association resources are used
Proposal: the budget is designed by the Board and the Steering Commitee, working together. They have the freedom to chose the budget period (monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc.) to adapt to change