Electing the next Advisory Council - nominations and voting


#1

To get things going, the first Advisory Council members was appointed by the .NET Foundation Board, but moving forward the council members will be nominated and elected through a democratic and community based process.

Your feedback on how this process should look is greatly appreciated - below is a proposal on who gets to vote and who gets to be nominated.

For those unaware of what we do in the council you can read a formal description this doc, but in a nutshell our raison d’être is to assist the Board by wording proposals, give impartial input and feedback, all based on experience and diversity in the council member body.

Who can vote?

We would like to enable the entire .NET community to influence who sits on the council and thus we suggest that all that is required to vote is that you have registered with the .NET Foundation website by logging in using GitHub, Google, Facebook, Twitter or Yahoo (as you do on this forum).

This should enable the entire .NET community to partake in the voting with a minimum of fuss.

Who can be nominated?

Since we believe that the council should consist of people with unique knowledge and skills relating to open source, we suggest that nominees as a minimum should have contributed in some way to .NET open source projects recently. Contributions can come in many forms - pull requests, maintaining documentation and even registering issues should constitute a contribution.

Since some valuable candidates may be in a job situation preventing them from contributing to open source projects, we also suggest that members on the current advisory council or the board may nominate people freely, regardless of contributions.

Following the nomination process there will be held an election, which is yet to be defined.

Diversity and independence

We want a diverse advisory council with credible independence from Microsoft. The laws governing the council already ensure the no more than a maximum of 4 Microsoft employees may be voted into the councils 9 seats. Any feedback on how we can make the voting process promote diversity and best bring about unique knowledge and skills to the council is greatly appreciated.


#2

Hi Marcus,

I’ve just gotten back from a couple conferences and I’m just catching up here. Thanks for posting this!

I think being inclusive and allowing anyone that contributes to our forums, repos, content, community, etc. should be able to weigh in. You’re saying not just code contributions but any contribution and I agree with that. What might be tricky is identifying those. We could use these forums for the “registration” since we already have social logins set up. And if folks use their GitHub to log in, then we can even see contributions there, in addition to contributing to discussions here.

With respect to who can be nominated – you say people could be nominated regardless of their contribution. I think if we’re looking at contributions in the broader definition as you’ve stated above, then we should be able to clearly indicate if a nominee is a great candidate because “they care about .NET” , i.e. they have contributed to the community in some meaningful way. That makes sense.

Digging in a little deeper, would the nominees need to get board of director approval or would you allow completely open “write-ins” for instance? Would votes by the board be weighed in more heavily than a forum poster? If so, how does that look? How can we be transparent about that?

Good stuff, thanks!


#3

Personally, I think that once someone is nominated then all votes are equal - however if someone hasn’t achieved enough level of contribution then they are still able to be special cased and have a route by which the board could nominate them. However they would then still have to achieve a popular vote. This would allow the board to skew the nominations to ensure that certain special cases were always able to get in front of the community to vote - but the community would be ultimately responsible for the people who are responsible for representing the community at large which only seems far I think?


#4

I’m not sure the special case of allowing the advisory council or board members to nominate anyone will be necessary. The specific reason for this is as follows:

The advisory council is comprised of 9 members. I believe substantially more than that number of highly-qualified people are already positioned as active participants in various open-source development efforts, and are thus eligible for nomination by any member of the community. Unless there is a lack of viable candidates in the group of people the community can nominate, there is no need to make special exceptions during the nomination process.

Of the entire process, I actually see nominations as the least likely to encounter problems. The areas I’m more concerned about are:

  1. Transparency in the process. This includes early notification of key dates related to nominations and voting, along with the manner in which nominees are expected to behave/participate throughout the election process.
  2. Clarity in responsibilities. While the advisory council proposal includes formal wording for responsibilities, it would help to document is “plain language” some of the tasks the first Advisory Council has participated in. Members of the community will gain a better understanding of the manner in which the council represents their interests, and potential nominees can better understand both their qualifications for the actual duties as well as understand their role and expectations.

#5

I’m not sure the special case of allowing the advisory council or board members to nominate anyone will be necessary.

If people nominated by the council are cut from the same cloth as “the rest of us”, I fully agree that there is little sense in this exception. However, I see this idea as a way to bring in unique candidates. I think opening up to people outside the .NET open source sphere makes sense, if you view the advisory council’s role as a place where diverse ideas can flourish. For instance, there are folks out there, who could otherwise not participate, which can bring different views and insights to the table and perhaps strengthen the .NET brand in the established open source world.

Since the .NET community has the final word, I do not see this as a problem. We should just avoid that a council nomination become “a badge”. All candidates should be presented on an equal footing.

Transparency in the process. This includes early notification of key dates related to nominations and voting, along with the manner in which nominees are expected to behave/participate throughout the election process.

This makes a lot of sense and I fully agree, and we will work to ensure that there is ample time and information in these processes. I think that once we have the nomination and voting process nailed, the rest of the process can be defined reasonably fast.

If you have some suggestions on these steps, this is a good place to post them. While I have not fully formed my own opinions on this, I see nomination and presentation/discussions as something spanning 4-6 weeks each, and the foundations website as a place to fairly and equally present candidates and discuss with them.

Clarity in responsibilities. While the advisory council proposal includes formal wording for responsibilities, it would help to document is “plain language” some of the tasks the first Advisory Council has participated in.

That is excellent input to a “call for candidates” text. Truth be told, the current council is in the process of figuring out its role and we also have some basics to cover, like proposing this very voting process and requirements for projects that wish to join the foundation.

Thanks!


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