DSF Individual membership - call for implementation proposals
The DSF wishes to put in place a system for the nomination, approval and accession of Individual Members.
The DSF wants to expand its membership, not just in number, but also in diversity. The current mechanisms in place for bringing on new members are not wholly satisfactory.
The DSF seeks proposals to design and implement a system to improve the membership nomination system. A budget of USD$5,000 - USD$8,000 has been made available.
Proposals including a timeline and budget should be forwarded to the DSF Board.
This process and its implementation will include:
- a web-based system for gathering nominations
- a mechanism allowing members to comment
- a system to record formal votes of DSF members
- a system by which the DSF Board can give final approval
- a system to ease the administration burden of adding new users
Exactly how all these parts are implemented is open to proposal.
Principles of DSF individual membership
The process and its implementation must be in line with four principles:
- Membership follows service: Individual Members are appointed by the DSF in recognition of their service to the Django community
- Membership represents belonging: Membership should represent belonging rather than merely joining. It signifies welcoming of an individual into a group.
- Membership should empower: Becoming a member should enable the individual to help take charge of the direction of our community, and act within it with more confidence, knowing that their thoughts and ideas will have value in the eyes of others, and that their initiatives are likely to find support. Above all, it should affirm to them their right to participate, take action and disagree.
- Becoming a member should be meaningful: If membership represents a place in the community rather than simply an administrative or legal entitlement, then becoming a member should have some meaning attached to it.
The process therefore needs to:
not just allow, but also encourage, nominations that clearly explain the service the individual has made to the community, and the value of that service.
A mechanism needs to be created by which existing members can be alerted of nominations that are made (e.g. via the DSF email list, or to individual mailboxes, or some other way).
encourage and allow existing members to respond in ways that will stand as a record within the DSF (e.g. on its email list), and will in turn help show the nominee why they belong
All responses and expressions of approval should be visible to newly-elected members, so that they can see that they are valued and welcomed by individuals who have taken the trouble to say so.
give new members, some of whom may be less confident of their place in the community than others, reasons to feel that they are entitled to act as members of the community
The process should reflect the new members’ achievements and contributions back to them at the same time as sharing them with the community, to help make clear to them that they (and their opinions and activities) are positively valued.
give new and existing members the sense that it is a matter of significance to be elected to the DSF membership
New members should feel proud about their nomination and accession, and understand what it means (it should not leave them feeling unsure or baffled about its significance).
Engagement of existing members
At present, the DSF membership does not do a very consistent job of nominating new members. The system should prompt and remind members to think of potential nominees (e.g. an automated monthly message).
The system should allow non-members to nominate themselves, as well as being nominated by others.
In doing so it should make it easy for those people to provide the right kind of information about what they do, so that a person reading it, who doesn’t yet know them, will be in a position to make an informed judgement (and ultimately, an enthusiastic endorsement) of them.
Successfully eliciting this information in a form that fulfills this need is not easy.
In order to avoid creating two tiers of DSF member (those who were enthusiastically nominated, seconded and welcomed by others, and those who had to nominate themselves, with little response or enthusiasm from others) the self-nomination process must make it possible for self-nominated members to enjoy the same kind of reception. Ways to achieve this could include:
- guiding self-nominees to write strong descriptions and proposals for themselves (e.g. providing an example of a good self-nomination)
- automatically circulating their names to the membership, so that an existing member who knows them, or may know someone who knows them, is prompted to “sponsor” the nomination
- advising a self-nominee to contact an existing member they may know, who could sponsor them (this will be especially important for self-nominees with fewer connections)
Ultimately, a self-nominee deserves to be welcomed with the same kind of warmth that other nominees receive, and the system must find ways to overcome the natural difficulties in achieving this.
As far as possible, the system should reduce the burden of managing nominations. A single interface, as part of the Django Project website, should:
- prompt and encourage nominations
- accept nominations
- allow voting and positive comments
- share comments with the membership in a way that encourages further engagement
- allow the DSF board to approve a nomination
- when approved, add the nominee to the Django Project website, DSF email list or other forum, etc
- automate some basics of induction/welcome for new members
- automate a public announcement of their accession on Twitter
Only positive endorsements of a nominee should be circulated by the system amongst the DSF membership. Members however should be able to raise a flag if they have a concern about a particular nomination. This will be referred to the DSF Board, to be dealt with appropriately.
Proposals for implementing a system should be forwarded to the DSF Board.
Please include as much detail as you feel able to in an initial proposal. Your proposal should include:
- a timeline for implementation
- a budget
The Board will also welcome questions and requests for clarification.