Below is an email that has been distributed to the FSFE community today. FSFE aims to be an open organization and people are welcome to discuss it through the main discussion group (thread) whether you are a member or not.
Dear FSFE Community,
I'm writing to you today as one of your elected fellowship representatives rather than to convey my own views, which you may have already encountered in my blog or mailing list discussions.
The recent meeting of the General Assembly (GA) decided that the annual elections will be abolished but this change has not yet been ratified in the constitution.
Personally, I support an overhaul of FSFE's democratic processes and the bulk of the reasons for this change are quite valid. One of the reasons proposed for the change, the suggestion that the election was a popularity contest, is an argument I don't agree with: the same argument could be used to abolish elections anywhere.
One point that came up in discussions about the elections is that people don't need to wait for the elections to be considered for GA membership. Matthias Kirschner, our president, has emphasized this to me personally as well, he looks at each new request with an open mind and forwards it to all of the GA for discussion. According to our constitution, anybody can write to the president at any time and request to join the GA. In practice, the president and the existing GA members will probably need to have seen some of your activities in one of the FSFE teams or local groups before accepting you as a member. I want to encourage people to become familiar with the GA membership process and discuss it within their teams and local groups and think about whether you or anybody you know may be a good candidate.
According to the minutes of the last GA meeting, several new members were already accepted this way in the last year. It is particularly important for the organization to increase diversity in the GA at this time.
The response rate for the last fellowship election was lower than in previous years and there is also concern that emails don't reach everybody thanks to spam filters or the Google Promotions tab (if you use gmail). If you had problems receiving emails about the last election, please consider sharing that feedback on the discussion list.
Understanding where the organization will go beyond the extinction of the fellowship representative is critical. The Identity review process, is actively looking at these questions. Please contact FSFE if you wish to participate and look out for updates about this process in emails and Planet FSFE. FSFE will be at FOSDEM this weekend if you want to speak to them personally.
I'll be at FOSDEM this weekend and would welcome the opportunity to meet with you personally. I will be visiting many different parts of FOSDEM at different times, including the FSFE booth, the Debian booth, the real-time lounge (K-building) and the Real-Time Communications (RTC) dev-room on Sunday, where I'm giving a talk. Many other members of the FSFE community will also be present, if you don't know where to start, simply come to the FSFE booth. The next European event I visit after FOSDEM will potentially be OSCAL in Tirana, it is in May and I would highly recommend this event for anybody who doesn't regularly travel to events outside their own region.
Changing the world begins with the change we make ourselves. If you only do one thing for free software this year and you are not sure what it is going to be, then I would recommend this: visit an event that you never visited before, in a city or country you never visited before. It doesn't necessarily have to be a free software or IT event. In 2017 I attended OSCAL in Tirana and the Digital-Born Media Carnival in Kotor for the first time. You can ask FSFE to send you some free stickers and posters to give to the new friends you meet on your travels. Change starts with each of us doing something new or different and I hope our paths may cross in one of these places.