During the last six months, I've had the opportunity to hear from Joomla! community members at Joomla!Days around the world. One of the most important things I've focused on is understanding ways in which the community would like to see Open Source Matters (OSM) increase its transparency.
This has been a fitting role for me, and I've been excited to take it on. As Secretary of OSM's Board of Directors, it's my duty to provide as much sunlight as possible on the workings of OSM. Unfortunately, while I have focused on listening to the community's thoughts on OSM's, I have not been as effective in all of my other secretarial duties.
One of these responsibilities is the public compilation of board meeting minutes. This function allows our board to have a historical record of its work, and allows our community to better understand our efforts. Our meeting minutes have been recorded internally, and more often than not, sent to the board members for approval shortly after the completion of board meetings. This provides great value internally, but not much value externally if they're not easily accessible by the community.
According to OSM's bylaws, as well as my beliefs on transparency, documents such as board meeting minutes should be publicly available within a reasonable time period after each meeting. This, unfortunately, has not been done in the past, and I sincerely apologize that I've not been more diligent in this effort. This was not a matter of malfeasance, but rather my simply not following through to completion the publishing of these documents while also managing other tasks.
Change needs to come, and change starts today.
Effective immediately, I'm starting the process of publishing all approved OSM board meeting minutes on the OSM Web site. I'll start with the most recent meetings and then work backwards in time until they're all posted. These board meeting minutes can be found under the Board Meeting Minutes section of the OSM Web site. I will work as quickly as possible to post all the approved meeting minutes, and I will keep the community informed of this progress in the Joomla! Forums.
In addition to publishing of board meeting minutes, additional documents, including the posting of financial reports and 990 tax forms (2006 and 2007 are already online), will also be published. My goal is to ensure that the community is able to better understand the workings of OSM by increasing efforts to shine sunlight on our records.
Correcting the situation: building better systems, and keeping it simple.
It's obvious to me that the system for publishing OSM documentation is broken. It needs to be fixed, and requires a clear plan of attack to ensure its followed through effectively in the future. In an effort to fix this situation, I've begun discussions among my fellow board members on the topic, and will also begin a forum posting to receive input and ideas from the community. Over-building a documentation system will stymie the progress, but enacting simple best practices will help us more effectively share our documents with the community.
I am interested to hear ideas from others in the community, especially those on the boards of non-profits, as to ways you've been effective in increasing transparency within your own organizations via public posting of documents. Your comments here would be greatly appreciated, as well as in the forum (link forthcoming).
During the next few weeks, I'll continue to share thoughts with the community as to how OSM can be more transparent. I look forward to continuing this increased effort on transparency, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Edited: added link to forum post, by Ryan Ozimek on December 4, 2009 @ 2:37am ET