[ripe-chair-discuss] Some observations and opinions.
Lars-Johan Liman liman at netnod.se
Mon Jul 16 18:02:13 CEST 2018
Hi! TL;DR;version: This is mostly quite OK, but a few clarifications are needed. I also have a few questions about left-out parts. I took a look at the proposed process, and there is much about it that I like. However, I think there are few areas where I think we need to make sure that there is consensus in the wider community. I want to lift the following passages "for inspection", if only to hear 200x of "yes, that's good!". ;-) COMMENTS ON THE PROPOSED TEXT ----------------------------- The selection process should be lightweight and easy to implement but documented for clarity and accountability purposes. Most importantly, it should be determined by consensus within the RIPE community. Liman: for the mentioned accountability puprposes, it also need to be described in a _concise_ manner. It must be easy for and "auditor" to determine whether the process has been followed or not. The candidate pool The NomCom will solicit nominations from the community and publish a list of suitable candidates. Liman: I think we might want to add a few words to suppport the term "suitable", aiming to make a statement that the NomCom should strive to be non-discriminatory in producing its slate, and that variety in gender and other parameters is to be encouraged. However, that might already be sufficiently well stated in "general" documents for RIPE and its activities, and if so, I suggest adding text to the process that refers to these other documents (in order to avoid duplicating text). The selection process After a shortlist of potential candidates has been identified, the NomCom will hand it over to the WG Chair collective who will make the final decision. The WG Chair collective will actively gather feedback from the community about each candidate. Based on this feedback, the WG Chairs collective will select the best candidate for the job. Liman: This process worries me somewhat. The WG chairs are put in place for their qualities when it comes to leading work in the WGs, not because of their opinions and judgement wrt. selecting a RIPE chair. (No offence to the current WG Chairs.) These are distinctly different qualities. At a bare minimum we must make sure that these added WG Chair responsibilities are made very obvious to the people who select the WG Chairs, so that informed decisions can be made. Tenure The RIPE Chair will serve a five-year term ... Liman: this strikes me as a rather long tenure. It needs to be long enough for the chair to build up experience and become useful, and some projects that the Chair might initiate could take long time. OTOH, finding people who are willing and able to make the necessary committments for such a long tenure could possibly limit the pool of candidates to people with "large and wealthy" organisations behind them, who can afford to support this work for extended periods. In addition, if a selected Chair turns out to perform poorly, having to wait five years for an opportunity to replace him/her strikes me as a long time. ... with a two-term limit. Liman: I support this _strongly_! In my view the two-term limit is non-negotiable. I've seen how bad it can be when there is no term limit. No chair is so outstanding that this rule needs to be broken. However, the text is inconclusive about whether a candidate can be eligible for more two-term tenures after having stepped down for a year after a first (i.e., allowed to do a "comeback"). I usually say "yes, they can" when this is asked, but my only strong opinion is that it should be well-defined in the text. Vice Chair A new RIPE Vice Chair role will be created to support the RIPE Chair. This role will be filled according to the same process as that used for the RIPE Chair selection. There is no assumption that the Vice Chair would automatically become the RIPE Chair by default, but they would be free to put themselves forward (to be considered by the NomCom) for a vacant RIPE Chair position. This is all good, but needs to be augmented (probably elsewhere) with a clear description of the responsibilies of the Vice Chair vis-à-vis those of the Chair, so that both the candidates and the community understand what's expected. OTHER COMMENTS -------------- * The _process_ through which the WG Chairs finally arrive at their decision about a new chair is not defined here. Is it defined in other documents? Need it be at all, or will it just make the entier process unnecessarily heavy-weight? * Should there be a way to forcefully relieve a Chair of his/her duties? Are we sufficiently convinced that the NomCom is able to weed out bad candidates, so the probability that this will be needed is so low that we don't spend effort on it here and now? Is it defined elsewhere? Shall we deal with that problem if it hits us? The latter could work for me, as long as we all agree that that's the proposed way forward. * What happens if a non-neglectable group of members of the comomunity feel that the selection process hasn't been followed appropriately? RIPE Arbiters? External auditor? Further steps? Need we define at all? YOUR DIRECT QUESTIONS --------------------- Do you agree that a NomCom is a good way to identify a list of potential candidates? Liman: yes, this is a good idea. It's proven to work well in other communities (e.g., the IETF). Do you agree that a tenure of five years with a two-term limit is a suitable way to ensure continuity, stability and the opportunity for change in the RIPE community? Liman: not entirely. Limit is paramount, though! See my comment above. Do you agree that having a RIPE Vice Chair would be useful and that the Vice Chair should be selected following the same process as the RIPE Chair? Liman: yes, this is a good idea, but see my comment above. I now look forward to respectful, intense, and refreshing discussion. BRING IT ON! :-) :-) :-) Cheers, /Liman #---------------------------------------------------------------------- # Lars-Johan Liman, M.Sc. ! E-mail: liman at netnod.se # Senior Systems Specialist ! Tel: +46 8 - 562 860 12 # Netnod Internet Exchange, Stockholm ! http://www.netnod.se/ #----------------------------------------------------------------------