Posts Tagged ‘osm’

Decisions, Decisions, and Joomla

On the Joomla! Community Blog, Steve Burge is requesting ideas for better communication between the OSM board and the Joomla community. If you are in any way involved in the Joomla community, please take a few moments to share your ideas with the OSM board. I just sent in my ideas and what I wrote is below. While I’m not sure that my ideas are 100% practical, there definitely needs to be better communication of how much money OSM is needing and what the money will be spent on.

Which questions are important enough to undergo community consultation?

OSM should adopt and publish an annual budget at a set time of the year, detailing planned expenses and desired vs. expected revenue.

Any single purchase totaling more than 5% of the annual budget should be put before community review.

Any decisions that involve compensating members of the Joomla community for ongoing services (greater than one month) should also definitely undergo community review. I think there’s potential for favoritism (or at least the accusation of it) if people who are close to the Joomla community are compensated for tasks behind closed doors.

Financially, these policies should make it possible to pay for routine expenses quickly, while ensuring that “back room deals” do not occur. These policies should also appropriately set the expectations for how much OSM will spend and how much it needs to carry out its mission. “More” is not the answer to “how much?”

Any proposals to change the leadership or governing structure of OSM or the Joomla project should go under community review. There have been far too many times where a new structure is simply announced because “the old one was too burdensome.” While this may be true, a new structure may not necessarily be less burdensome.

Changes or adoptions of OSM policies concerning the rights or responsibilities of members of the Joomla community should undergo community review.

What steps should all these decisions go through?

Community review should be the following process:

  • Creating a proposal
  • Putting the proposal up for vote with the following options: approve, disapprove (no change), disapprove with suggestions for alternative.
  • Voting open for one week.
  • If the majority of voters approve, the change is made. If the majority of voters disapprove with no suggestions, the issue is dropped. If there is no majority, the suggestions should be considered, then a new proposal should be created.

Ideally, eligible voters should meet a predetermined criteria (n number of posts on the Joomla forms, etc…). In the absence of predetermined criteria, voting should be open to the public at large.

UPDATE 3/26/10: After the discussion below, I’ve been reminded and convinced that a binding vote is not such a good idea. The logistics are tough to sort out when it comes to who is eligible. More importantly, OSM board members are legally liable for their decisions, while members of the Joomla community do not have this liability. Still, I think that having a simple feedback mechanism (let people either “like” an idea or suggest alternatives) for a set period of time would help things.

UPDATE 3/27/10: OSM Treasurer Dave Huelsmann has posted OSM’s unaudited YTD financials. It appears as though this will now be done on a monthly basis. I believe this will go a long way towards communicating OSM’s financial position and needs so that people can assist and rumors can be dismantled. If you’re not familiar with the way balance sheets and P&L statements work, Dave has also posted some helpful links where you can learn about them.