I’m going to take a brief break from the MeeGo cheerleading to rally support for a related and more immediate need: electing the next maemo.org community council. The bad news is it means there’s gonna be a lecture… and it’s liable to stick to some readers.
The council’s charter is defined simply as:
To represent the Maemo Community’s best interests to Nokia, and to act as a community conduit for Nokia-generated information.
To that I would add to shine a light on opportunities, to cultivate a spirit of personal growth and contribution, and to inspire the community to greatness. Note that leaders come in many forms and need not fit any stereotypical model. “Leading from behind” is just as valid as carrying some flag up the hill!
The initial council was challenged with shaping a community and I believe they did very well. The second council ramped up the role and visibility of the representative body and in my opinion they were the most productive group yet.
I’m going to come right out and say that our version (third) fell short in many ways, and I don’t mean that on an individual basis but as a whole. For whatever reasons we did not “gell”. The next council needs to work on that, and I have some suggestions.
The main gap as I see it is lack of intercouncil dialog. Because of this, too many community issues were given inadequate attention or went unaddressed entirely. I am not going to dwell on specifics, but rather will insist that the next council needs to find a way to work virtually, effectively. I am hoping I can take the lessons learned forward into a second term. If not, I will gladly support the next council as a resource in any capacity asked.
As I think about it, the biggest gaps were communications-based. Not that more talk was needed, just more effective talk. This was something I noted in a previous article, and I’m not confident that the issues raised have been resolved satisfactority. I will propose the following that I think would help:
- I believe the council should be sponsored to meet physically three times during their term: at the beginning, middle and end. The middle meeting I see to be the most important as it is midterm slump due to exhaustion that has stymied past projects. A physical meeting with the council and official maemo.org parties can work wonders in restimulating efforts.
- The council needs to meet periodically online, outside of the sprint process
- Council members need to make an effort to respond to all intercouncil communications, and speak as a body in response to community concerns
Only the first is completely out of any council’s control. I welcome additional suggestions.
All politics are local
Now let’s get to me specifically.
I believe I performed well in my first stint. I realize many disagree, including some among the community leadership, and I can be objective about that. Maybe they don’t agree with the projects I championed. Maybe they find my priorities or execution to be off. Fine. Those are valid aspects with which to take exception, and I would hope to get some constructive feedback on any personal gaps.
My only issue with such disagreement is that it is danced around. I find this to be equally as bad as the voter apathy. We are all adults here. If anyone finds fault with any aspect of my performance, I want to hear about it. In this blog, in email, over twitter or carrier pigeon– I don’t care. But passive aggressive jabs and slights don’t cut it. Speak up. I just ask for a civil approach. I will respond in kind.
If your issues with me as a representative or candidate are personality-based, then I’ll be just as forthright: that has no place in this matter. I’ve had my issues with the attitudes and behavior of other council members but as long as they were unrelated to the position I sifted them completely from consideration. I don’t even have a problem with congratulating a bitter enemy if he or she has done the right thing by the community at large. I would think we are all entitled to such objectivity.
I expect to see some comments on this article from those interested in being a part of any solutions going forward.
This past few months has seen turmoil of all sorts, and the result has been highly visible amongst the members. Anxiety is a natural consequence of change, especially on the scale we’ve seen around maemo.org, and it requires solid leadership to soothe and/or channel that anxiety. That same leadership needs to challenge those driving such change to do their part in mitigating undue stress as well.
Your job as voters is to identify the people you believe will perform best in such a role. If I am not that person then so be it. But I want more nominations of people I can get behind as a community member. If you sit back and let 5 or fewer people just fall into the next council seats, then you are getting the governance you deserve.
In closing, some inspiring words from Tero Kojo:
As is obvious the next Maemo council will be in a very exciting and interesting position. The challenges are different than for the previous councils, but that has always been the case for the new council. Certainly MeeGo has changed the dynamics, and the Community needs to figure out how things go from here.
If that isn’t a good challenge, then nothing is.
Nominate. Vote. Support.