As the period of Mellon Foundation funding for THATCamp nears its March 31st, 2014 end date, it becomes time to set up a community-driven means of managing the overall THATCamp project. I won’t bother you too much yet with my thoughts about what it has meant to me to be the THATCamp Coordinator over the last four years, but I will just say here that it’s been a pleasure and a privilege.
The task of turning THATCamp over to the community is in one sense utterly simple: it’s already a radically decentralized project, and there are plenty of THATCamps I have literally nothing to do with. In another sense, though, it’s hard — maybe the hardest task I’ve yet faced as THATCamp Coordinator. This is something I want very much to do right. I’ve therefore spent quite a bit of time thinking about how to do it, helped by an initial consultation session last October at THATCamp Leadership. I also read Jono Bacon’s The Art of Community, which gives practical advice from the perspective of the Ubuntu development community, and even got a bit of help from @jonobacon himself.
The result of all that study is the below document, a 3-page draft THATCamp Council Charter that describes a system of elections and governance. And now here comes the begging: please comment on the charter by March 10, 2014. You can use the regular blog comment box here titled “Leave a reply” to let us know if the system herein described looks good to you. (Don’t forget to scroll.) I’m particularly interested in how to ensure a diverse Council: I had thought about instituting quotas of some kind dealing with race, gender, country, rank, and so on, but frankly the math got too complex too quickly because of all the variables that could attach to any of the seven members: I wouldn’t want a Council with six white male American tenured professors and one black female Belgian grad student. We might want slightly more specific guidelines than those I’ve outlined here, though. My ears are open.