Re: Efficient board meetings, revised

From: Ian Jackson <ijackson(at)chiark(dot)greenend(dot)org(dot)uk>
To: David Graham - SPI Secretary <cdlu(at)spi-inc(dot)org>
Cc: board(at)spi-inc(dot)org, spi-general(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org
Subject: Re: Efficient board meetings, revised
Date: 2004-10-26 14:00:28
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I started to write an in-detail response to David, but on reflection I
think neither of us will convince the other; other members and board
members aren't well-served by us two dissecting each others' postings
at length.

My basic premise is this:

IRC is not the best place for serious discussion of important issues.
Trying to do the discussion, reporting, resolution-drafting, etc. in a
real-time IRC meeting results in:

- Inadequate consideration of the issues because everyone is
`thinking on their feet' and there's no time to do research.

- Inadequate preparation and groundwork (lack of draft resolutions
or pre-prepared reports; informal reports about important issues).

- A pernicious combination of alternating frenzy and
boredom/impatience which makes meetings simultaneously stressful and
a waste of time (and leads to inattentiveness by some people).

- Pressure to type very quickly to get one's word in (which is bad
for accuracy, and disadvantages people who can't type as fast).

- Sometimes, pressure to skimread complex discussion in real-time in
order to keep up (which is bad for thoroughness and excludes people
who have difficulty following the fast, idiomatic and abbreviated

If you agree that email, rather than IRC, should be the primary medium
for discussions, reception of reports, drafting of resolutions, etc.,
you'll probably agree with my proposed update of the Efficient Board
Meetings resolution.

Board members who disagree, and want us to start generally discussing
matters by IRC, are happy for people to type in reports while-we-wait,
and would prefer more interactive discussion of resolution drafting
details, questions, etc., during the meeting, should vote for David
Graham's amendment - i.e. to abolish "Efficient Board Meetings" - and
then vote in favour of the resolution as amended.

I'd be happy to hear constructive criticisms of my proposed draft and
discuss them and accept changes which agree with the principle, but I
feel I've said most of what I can usefully say in support of the



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