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TEI-L  August 2011

TEI-L August 2011

Subject:

Re: Present and Future of TEI

From:

Gabriel Bodard <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Gabriel Bodard <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 22 Aug 2011 19:06:19 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (134 lines)

I don't think anyone replying to this thread has addressed the core of 
Elena's post, which is that as a result of the actions of the week 
before last there has been a real loss of faith in the way the TEI Board 
(and perhaps Council, because many people don't observe a difference) 
work, and this has not been addressed by any of the official responses.

Transparency in the activities of Board and Council alike is not just 
about better communication of decisions made: the situation last week 
would not have been any less awful if we'd learned about it several days 
after the event in the open minutes of a Board meeting. That's still a 
fait accompli. Activities of a certain gravity (certainly including the 
appointment and dismissal of the consortium's CEO) should not be 
vulnerable to the sudden decisions of three board members. (And then the 
details of this vote never made public.)

I think this is what bothers people more than anything: that this 
happened within the letter of the bylaws but without what many people 
would think of as due process or consultation. We still don't officially 
know anything about the events of August 11th, but those who have been 
party to the closed list have (privately or publicly) used words like 
"shocked", "disappointed", "insane" and "disgusted" with reference to 
it. Bad behaviour was strongly implied, if not detailed. The community 
has been infected with some of this disgust and dismay, and we have 
still not been given any hard information to wash it off. In the 
circumstances, many understandably feel that more transparency is still 
needed.

And I'm afraid you can't say that "fresh eyes" perspectives are welcome 
but that "kibitzing" is not. Every complaint is somebody's perspective, 
and if we haven't learned from this debacle that all voices in the TEI 
community are worthy of being listened to (even those that are 
"unhelpful"), then we really haven't been paying attention. Openness 
isn't just in the rules; it's in the attitude. And that attitude doesn't 
look very open from this discussion.

I for one am glad that so many people care about the TEI to be horrified 
by the idea that something like a "putsch" might have happened, and to 
bitch about it on Twitter.

Here's to constructively moving forward,

Gabby

On 2011-08-21 19:16, Pierazzo, Elena wrote:
> Dear John,
>
> I join the voice of many already in thanking you for taking over the TEI
> in such a complicated moment: for sure I don't envy you in this moment.
> I have to confess myself disappointed, though, for the statement that
> you have released (at long last). I hope you will then forgive me for
> going over these facts again, doing the contrary of what you have
> invited us to, namely getting over it and think of a brighter future. I
> am sorry, but I cannot think of a brighter future if do not make clear
> the dark present and even darker recent past. It is my belief that if we
> do not investigate what has happened and why so many people felt there
> was something that deserved to be reprimanded in what happened (see the
> Council statement, for instance, which, I notice you have not mentioned
> in your statement), I don't see why it shouldn't happen again as there
> was nothing wrong in it, if we simply stick to the letter of the Bylaws.
> In fact in your statement, in the report of "what happened", there is a
> constant reference to the Bylaws trying to demonstrate that the actions
> undertaken by the Board comply with them. We already knew that this was
> formally legitimate, otherwise Martin would have not felt the need to
> resign, and, as you say, if the Board has the right to appoint a chair,
> it has the right to dismiss her/him. What I and many others contend here
> is that such a serious action had been taken in total isolation from the
> rest of the TEI, in an authoritarian way, without even waiting for the
> full Board to be present. A vote of non confidence never happened before
> so one would have expected that this followed extremely serious issues
> which it would have been legitimate to expect they were shared at least
> with the Council, if not with a broader community.
>
> This in my opinion reflects and demonstrates the attitude of the Board
> as whole of not expecting that its actions should be accountable in some
> way. All discussions within the Board happen behind close doors but
> this, in spite of the Bylaws and the custom, is not acceptable anymore,
> as the comments that have surrounded this event have demonstrated. The
> TEI 'works' as an encoding standard because it is has a bottom-up
> mechanism: people need elements, they propose them and the Council
> implements them (more or less). The same mechanism enforces the SIGs:
> people get organised and make proposals. It is not surprise then if
> people felt personally involved in the governance, but the Board seem to
> ignore this.
> It is with disappointment that I have noticed the same attitude in your
> statement: we have been told that there were some difficulties and hence
> a vote of non confidence has been cast. End of story. Not the slightest
> regret for the modality of doing it in such a way, for the consequences
> to the TEI community and TEI reputation. There were problems between
> members of the Board and the Chair and the Board decided to kick him
> off. Simple, eh?
>
> I will now end my message quoting, with permission, Marjorie Burghard
> which posted yesterday a comment on Facebook and which I have reported
> on Tweeter:
> Am I the only one in the TEI community to feel as if we're told "OK
> kids, Mum and Dad had a fight, it's a grown-up thing and it's none of
> your business; now let's all have dinner nicely, and not a word about it
> at school, please, what would the neighbours think?"
> I think I will go to bed without supper, myself.
>
> Best
> Elena
>
> -------
> Dr Elena Pierazzo
> Lecturer in Digital Humanities
> Chair of the Teaching Committee
> Department of Digital Humanities
> King's College London
> 26-29 Drury Lane
> London WC2B 5RL
>
> Phone: 0207-848-1949
> Fax: 0207-848-2980
> [log in to unmask]
> http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ddh
>

-- 
Dr Gabriel BODARD
(Research Associate in Digital Epigraphy)

Department of Digital Humanities
King's College London
26-29 Drury Lane
London WC2B 5RL

Email: [log in to unmask]
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 1388
Fax: +44 (0)20 7848 2980

http://www.digitalclassicist.org/
http://www.currentepigraphy.org/

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