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TEI-L  August 2011

TEI-L August 2011

Subject:

Re: Present and Future of TEI

From:

Patrick Durusau <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Patrick Durusau <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 22 Aug 2011 15:38:22 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (168 lines)

Gabriel,

A first step towards answering Elena's post would be to make all the 
Board correspondence during Martin Mueller's tenure public. Martin 
Mueller has already posted his willingness to support such a disclosure 
to this list.

I think you will find that the TEI Board has as much interest in 
openness as it does in a democratic process. As least as "democratic" is 
commonly understood.

I fully support the notion that we need to "move forward" but as 
Sebastian points out in a post replying to Gabriel, we can't do that 
without an explanation for recent events.

Personally I am less interested in after the fact explanations than 
disclosure of the Board correspondence and recollections of the events 
themselves. I think we are all capable of making whatever inferences 
seem appropriate.

Transparency is easier to promise than to practice, as political leaders 
find all to often.

In this case, however, I think we need to insist on transparency.

Hope you are having a great week!

Patrick

PS: Unless Martin Mueller signed some sort of confidentiality oath or 
agreement, I don't know of any barrier to his releasing his email 
archives with regard to the TEI Board. Perhaps a target date for such a 
release would prompt a *full* release of the archives so we would get a 
"balanced" view of the discussion.

On 8/22/2011 2:06 PM, Gabriel Bodard wrote:
> 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
>>
>

-- 
Patrick Durusau
[log in to unmask]
Chair, V1 - US TAG to JTC 1/SC 34
Convener, JTC 1/SC 34/WG 3 (Topic Maps)
Editor, OpenDocument Format TC (OASIS), Project Editor ISO/IEC 26300
Co-Editor, ISO/IEC 13250-1, 13250-5 (Topic Maps)

Another Word For It (blog): http://tm.durusau.net
Homepage: http://www.durusau.net
Twitter: patrickDurusau

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