FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records

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FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records

Sara Safavi
Hi folks,

Some of you may be aware that for the past ~5 weeks, I have periodically renewed a public request [0] for FOSS4G-NA 2018's financial records. 

Yesterday, Marc Vloemans, speaking on behalf of LocationTech, said that I was "misrepresenting" this issue [1]. That's certainly not my intent, so I'd like to clarify the basis for my ongoing request in longform, and renew said request in this forum.

- On May 4, 2018, a LocationTech representative stated publicly that FOSS4G-NA's "financials are open, have always been" [2]

- Later the same day, the same representative said that they were "working on posting all our materials to the wiki (...) Expect those late this week" [3]

- Those statements now appear to be contradicted by the recent comment [1] that "there is no obligation" of LocationTech to share FOSS4G-NA financials

My ongoing requests have thus far been an attempt to continue the conversation that originally took place on twitter on May 4th. As Marc said last night that he does not "communicate with people via twitter" [1], I'm more than happy to continue the public conversation with him or any relevant representative(s) here. 


Regards,
Sara Safavi

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Re: FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records

michael terner-2
Sara:
I fully support the notion of "open books" and the Boston Team has endeavored to do that. Indeed, when asking volunteers to do so much in this ecosystem it is important to have openness around the finances.

This tweet from Matthew Hanson had a picture of the "raw" (and rounded) Boston numbers that I presented in a talk at FOSS4GNA in STL:

There's one other slide in that deck that showed the net results (i.e., surplus) and I would be happy to share the entire deck with this list if useful. Just ask. (And, we have lots of other more granular data if there are other, specific questions [e.g., speaker fees; # of people who were early bird; etc.]).

That said, the numbers by themselves don't tell the entire story as there is a whole lot of context that matters greatly. Stuff like:
  • Organizers do not know how the numbers will fully add up until a good bit after the conference. Indeed, there are both trailing expenses to pay, and revenue to collect (some of which are dependent on the actual attendance you achieve). And, some accounting/spreadsheet work to do by already tired volunteers.
  • Conference registrations are slow to pour in. So while Boston ultimately harvested a sizable surplus, we did not know until 2 weeks before the conference that we had achieved our break-even number. If we knew what our final attendance would be in advance we would have surely lowered our prices and/or better funded the travel grant program. But we, nor any other organizer, has that luxury. We are pleased that some of our surplus is going to support the Dar es Salaam conference through OSGeo paying for sponsorship for that event.
  • Decisions that organizers make greatly impact the finances. Things ranging from providing day care, to giving all speakers a free pass, to the location of the host city, greatly impact costs/revenues while serving other important objectives.  
Indeed, it is an imperfect science and the Boston team was petrified by our finances up until that "break even" moment 2 weeks before the conference started. But it is also the imperfectness of this science that makes "opening the books" so important as all future conferences can learn from both past triumphs and mistakes. I would never look askance at a set of numbers that told a sadder story than Boston's (unless there was abject corruption, or something like that). Running a conference is hard and in all of the FOSS4G and FOSS4GNA conferences I've volunteered on (which now numbers 5, and includes STL) I have never doubted than anyone acted in a way other than to deliver the best possible conference at the lowest possible cost. I also don't expect that everyone would make the same choices that we did in Boston. Indeed, the Chair and his/her LOC make the choices they feel will lead to the best/most successful conference. Second guessing is a natural impulse, but it easier to do than running the conference. And, from my vantage, open books are important as they serve to help explain the choices that were made, and the financial impact of those choices.

Sincerely,

MT


On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 1:18 PM Sara <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi folks,

Some of you may be aware that for the past ~5 weeks, I have periodically renewed a public request [0] for FOSS4G-NA 2018's financial records. 

Yesterday, Marc Vloemans, speaking on behalf of LocationTech, said that I was "misrepresenting" this issue [1]. That's certainly not my intent, so I'd like to clarify the basis for my ongoing request in longform, and renew said request in this forum.

- On May 4, 2018, a LocationTech representative stated publicly that FOSS4G-NA's "financials are open, have always been" [2]

- Later the same day, the same representative said that they were "working on posting all our materials to the wiki (...) Expect those late this week" [3]

- Those statements now appear to be contradicted by the recent comment [1] that "there is no obligation" of LocationTech to share FOSS4G-NA financials

My ongoing requests have thus far been an attempt to continue the conversation that originally took place on twitter on May 4th. As Marc said last night that he does not "communicate with people via twitter" [1], I'm more than happy to continue the public conversation with him or any relevant representative(s) here. 


Regards,
Sara Safavi
_______________________________________________
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https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev


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Michael Terner
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Re: FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records

Cameron Shorter

Sara,

I'd suggest it might be helpful to explain why you are requesting people open the books. Providing a worthy motivation will likely help inspire a volunteer to help you.

There is typically quite a bit of volunteer effort required to pull together past data into a usable format. Quite often it requires data to be de-personalised for public consumption. Maybe you can say something along the lines of "if you release the metrics, then I will be able to add value to the osgeo community to help ..."


On 14/6/18 8:20 am, michael terner wrote:
Sara:
I fully support the notion of "open books" and the Boston Team has endeavored to do that. Indeed, when asking volunteers to do so much in this ecosystem it is important to have openness around the finances.

This tweet from Matthew Hanson had a picture of the "raw" (and rounded) Boston numbers that I presented in a talk at FOSS4GNA in STL:

There's one other slide in that deck that showed the net results (i.e., surplus) and I would be happy to share the entire deck with this list if useful. Just ask. (And, we have lots of other more granular data if there are other, specific questions [e.g., speaker fees; # of people who were early bird; etc.]).

That said, the numbers by themselves don't tell the entire story as there is a whole lot of context that matters greatly. Stuff like:
  • Organizers do not know how the numbers will fully add up until a good bit after the conference. Indeed, there are both trailing expenses to pay, and revenue to collect (some of which are dependent on the actual attendance you achieve). And, some accounting/spreadsheet work to do by already tired volunteers.
  • Conference registrations are slow to pour in. So while Boston ultimately harvested a sizable surplus, we did not know until 2 weeks before the conference that we had achieved our break-even number. If we knew what our final attendance would be in advance we would have surely lowered our prices and/or better funded the travel grant program. But we, nor any other organizer, has that luxury. We are pleased that some of our surplus is going to support the Dar es Salaam conference through OSGeo paying for sponsorship for that event.
  • Decisions that organizers make greatly impact the finances. Things ranging from providing day care, to giving all speakers a free pass, to the location of the host city, greatly impact costs/revenues while serving other important objectives.  
Indeed, it is an imperfect science and the Boston team was petrified by our finances up until that "break even" moment 2 weeks before the conference started. But it is also the imperfectness of this science that makes "opening the books" so important as all future conferences can learn from both past triumphs and mistakes. I would never look askance at a set of numbers that told a sadder story than Boston's (unless there was abject corruption, or something like that). Running a conference is hard and in all of the FOSS4G and FOSS4GNA conferences I've volunteered on (which now numbers 5, and includes STL) I have never doubted than anyone acted in a way other than to deliver the best possible conference at the lowest possible cost. I also don't expect that everyone would make the same choices that we did in Boston. Indeed, the Chair and his/her LOC make the choices they feel will lead to the best/most successful conference. Second guessing is a natural impulse, but it easier to do than running the conference. And, from my vantage, open books are important as they serve to help explain the choices that were made, and the financial impact of those choices.

Sincerely,

MT


On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 1:18 PM Sara <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi folks,

Some of you may be aware that for the past ~5 weeks, I have periodically renewed a public request [0] for FOSS4G-NA 2018's financial records. 

Yesterday, Marc Vloemans, speaking on behalf of LocationTech, said that I was "misrepresenting" this issue [1]. That's certainly not my intent, so I'd like to clarify the basis for my ongoing request in longform, and renew said request in this forum.

- On May 4, 2018, a LocationTech representative stated publicly that FOSS4G-NA's "financials are open, have always been" [2]

- Later the same day, the same representative said that they were "working on posting all our materials to the wiki (...) Expect those late this week" [3]

- Those statements now appear to be contradicted by the recent comment [1] that "there is no obligation" of LocationTech to share FOSS4G-NA financials

My ongoing requests have thus far been an attempt to continue the conversation that originally took place on twitter on May 4th. As Marc said last night that he does not "communicate with people via twitter" [1], I'm more than happy to continue the public conversation with him or any relevant representative(s) here. 


Regards,
Sara Safavi
_______________________________________________
Conference_dev mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev


--
Michael Terner
(M) 978-631-6602


_______________________________________________
Conference_dev mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev

-- 
Cameron Shorter
Technology Demystifier
Open Technologies and Geospatial Consultant

M +61 (0) 419 142 254

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Re: FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records

stevenfeldman
It has been the "norm” but not a requirement that LOCs publish their accounts following a FOSS4G. In the case of a global event where OSGeo has a funding agreement or guarantee with the LOC in return for a share of the surplus (if any) then an "open book" approach is implicit in that agreement. 

I would not expect preparing a schedule of income and expenditure for a conference to be a lot of effort. The organising team or their PCO must maintain some schedules to record income and expenditure. 

I just had a quick look at the RfP doc and it does not explicitly state that full accounts (at a similar level of detail to the budget submitted with the RfP) should be published within x months of the event finishing. I suggest we add that requirement to the RfP doc for 2020.

Here are the accounts for FOSS4G 2013 which we published in December 2013 https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YdFNuBNaJK2XeA-bs1vU24VA1Qv9HpN8rLs30D9_0zg/edit#gid=1040179171

______
Steven


On 14 Jun 2018, at 04:44, Cameron Shorter <[hidden email]> wrote:

Sara,

I'd suggest it might be helpful to explain why you are requesting people open the books. Providing a worthy motivation will likely help inspire a volunteer to help you.

There is typically quite a bit of volunteer effort required to pull together past data into a usable format. Quite often it requires data to be de-personalised for public consumption. Maybe you can say something along the lines of "if you release the metrics, then I will be able to add value to the osgeo community to help ..."


On 14/6/18 8:20 am, michael terner wrote:
Sara:
I fully support the notion of "open books" and the Boston Team has endeavored to do that. Indeed, when asking volunteers to do so much in this ecosystem it is important to have openness around the finances.

This tweet from Matthew Hanson had a picture of the "raw" (and rounded) Boston numbers that I presented in a talk at FOSS4GNA in STL:

There's one other slide in that deck that showed the net results (i.e., surplus) and I would be happy to share the entire deck with this list if useful. Just ask. (And, we have lots of other more granular data if there are other, specific questions [e.g., speaker fees; # of people who were early bird; etc.]).

That said, the numbers by themselves don't tell the entire story as there is a whole lot of context that matters greatly. Stuff like:
  • Organizers do not know how the numbers will fully add up until a good bit after the conference. Indeed, there are both trailing expenses to pay, and revenue to collect (some of which are dependent on the actual attendance you achieve). And, some accounting/spreadsheet work to do by already tired volunteers.
  • Conference registrations are slow to pour in. So while Boston ultimately harvested a sizable surplus, we did not know until 2 weeks before the conference that we had achieved our break-even number. If we knew what our final attendance would be in advance we would have surely lowered our prices and/or better funded the travel grant program. But we, nor any other organizer, has that luxury. We are pleased that some of our surplus is going to support the Dar es Salaam conference through OSGeo paying for sponsorship for that event.
  • Decisions that organizers make greatly impact the finances. Things ranging from providing day care, to giving all speakers a free pass, to the location of the host city, greatly impact costs/revenues while serving other important objectives.  
Indeed, it is an imperfect science and the Boston team was petrified by our finances up until that "break even" moment 2 weeks before the conference started. But it is also the imperfectness of this science that makes "opening the books" so important as all future conferences can learn from both past triumphs and mistakes. I would never look askance at a set of numbers that told a sadder story than Boston's (unless there was abject corruption, or something like that). Running a conference is hard and in all of the FOSS4G and FOSS4GNA conferences I've volunteered on (which now numbers 5, and includes STL) I have never doubted than anyone acted in a way other than to deliver the best possible conference at the lowest possible cost. I also don't expect that everyone would make the same choices that we did in Boston. Indeed, the Chair and his/her LOC make the choices they feel will lead to the best/most successful conference. Second guessing is a natural impulse, but it easier to do than running the conference. And, from my vantage, open books are important as they serve to help explain the choices that were made, and the financial impact of those choices.

Sincerely,

MT


On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 1:18 PM Sara <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi folks,

Some of you may be aware that for the past ~5 weeks, I have periodically renewed a public request [0] for FOSS4G-NA 2018's financial records. 

Yesterday, Marc Vloemans, speaking on behalf of LocationTech, said that I was "misrepresenting" this issue [1]. That's certainly not my intent, so I'd like to clarify the basis for my ongoing request in longform, and renew said request in this forum.

- On May 4, 2018, a LocationTech representative stated publicly that FOSS4G-NA's "financials are open, have always been" [2]

- Later the same day, the same representative said that they were "working on posting all our materials to the wiki (...) Expect those late this week" [3]

- Those statements now appear to be contradicted by the recent comment [1] that "there is no obligation" of LocationTech to share FOSS4G-NA financials

My ongoing requests have thus far been an attempt to continue the conversation that originally took place on twitter on May 4th. As Marc said last night that he does not "communicate with people via twitter" [1], I'm more than happy to continue the public conversation with him or any relevant representative(s) here. 


Regards,
Sara Safavi
_______________________________________________
Conference_dev mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev


--
Michael Terner
(M) 978-631-6602


_______________________________________________
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[hidden email]
https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev

-- 
Cameron Shorter
Technology Demystifier
Open Technologies and Geospatial Consultant

M +61 (0) 419 142 254
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Re: FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records

Sara Safavi
In reply to this post by Cameron Shorter
Hi Cameron, all:

Sure, happy to explain further: my request is for information that LocationTech already stated publicly was "open", "has always been", and would be posted to OSGeo's wiki -- to actually be made open and posted to the wiki. If LocationTech either misspoke, lied, or changed their mind on that then as a community member/volunteer/sponsor I would like to know why. I'm not alone in this, either: I'm just today's squeaky wheel. :)

As Steven said:
I would not expect preparing a schedule of income and expenditure for a conference to be a lot of effort. The organising team or their PCO must maintain some schedules to record income and expenditure. 

I'm not expecting miracles, but as a community centered around transparency and openness it seems unusual to not have at least some insight into one of our larger event's basic financial records. As Mike & Steven both point out, though not a requirement this is a longstanding community norm for many FOSS4G events. 

Considering the past conversations we've all seen on the distro lists re: this working group/LOC specifically and transparency, I'm surprised that one now needs to provide "a worthy motivation" to even pose the question. Meanwhile off-list I'm getting private messages telling me to "just let this go". Did I miss a memo or something?

On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 10:44 PM, Cameron Shorter <[hidden email]> wrote:

Sara,

I'd suggest it might be helpful to explain why you are requesting people open the books. Providing a worthy motivation will likely help inspire a volunteer to help you.

There is typically quite a bit of volunteer effort required to pull together past data into a usable format. Quite often it requires data to be de-personalised for public consumption. Maybe you can say something along the lines of "if you release the metrics, then I will be able to add value to the osgeo community to help ..."


On 14/6/18 8:20 am, michael terner wrote:
Sara:
I fully support the notion of "open books" and the Boston Team has endeavored to do that. Indeed, when asking volunteers to do so much in this ecosystem it is important to have openness around the finances.

This tweet from Matthew Hanson had a picture of the "raw" (and rounded) Boston numbers that I presented in a talk at FOSS4GNA in STL:

There's one other slide in that deck that showed the net results (i.e., surplus) and I would be happy to share the entire deck with this list if useful. Just ask. (And, we have lots of other more granular data if there are other, specific questions [e.g., speaker fees; # of people who were early bird; etc.]).

That said, the numbers by themselves don't tell the entire story as there is a whole lot of context that matters greatly. Stuff like:
  • Organizers do not know how the numbers will fully add up until a good bit after the conference. Indeed, there are both trailing expenses to pay, and revenue to collect (some of which are dependent on the actual attendance you achieve). And, some accounting/spreadsheet work to do by already tired volunteers.
  • Conference registrations are slow to pour in. So while Boston ultimately harvested a sizable surplus, we did not know until 2 weeks before the conference that we had achieved our break-even number. If we knew what our final attendance would be in advance we would have surely lowered our prices and/or better funded the travel grant program. But we, nor any other organizer, has that luxury. We are pleased that some of our surplus is going to support the Dar es Salaam conference through OSGeo paying for sponsorship for that event.
  • Decisions that organizers make greatly impact the finances. Things ranging from providing day care, to giving all speakers a free pass, to the location of the host city, greatly impact costs/revenues while serving other important objectives.  
Indeed, it is an imperfect science and the Boston team was petrified by our finances up until that "break even" moment 2 weeks before the conference started. But it is also the imperfectness of this science that makes "opening the books" so important as all future conferences can learn from both past triumphs and mistakes. I would never look askance at a set of numbers that told a sadder story than Boston's (unless there was abject corruption, or something like that). Running a conference is hard and in all of the FOSS4G and FOSS4GNA conferences I've volunteered on (which now numbers 5, and includes STL) I have never doubted than anyone acted in a way other than to deliver the best possible conference at the lowest possible cost. I also don't expect that everyone would make the same choices that we did in Boston. Indeed, the Chair and his/her LOC make the choices they feel will lead to the best/most successful conference. Second guessing is a natural impulse, but it easier to do than running the conference. And, from my vantage, open books are important as they serve to help explain the choices that were made, and the financial impact of those choices.

Sincerely,

MT


On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 1:18 PM Sara <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi folks,

Some of you may be aware that for the past ~5 weeks, I have periodically renewed a public request [0] for FOSS4G-NA 2018's financial records. 

Yesterday, Marc Vloemans, speaking on behalf of LocationTech, said that I was "misrepresenting" this issue [1]. That's certainly not my intent, so I'd like to clarify the basis for my ongoing request in longform, and renew said request in this forum.

- On May 4, 2018, a LocationTech representative stated publicly that FOSS4G-NA's "financials are open, have always been" [2]

- Later the same day, the same representative said that they were "working on posting all our materials to the wiki (...) Expect those late this week" [3]

- Those statements now appear to be contradicted by the recent comment [1] that "there is no obligation" of LocationTech to share FOSS4G-NA financials

My ongoing requests have thus far been an attempt to continue the conversation that originally took place on twitter on May 4th. As Marc said last night that he does not "communicate with people via twitter" [1], I'm more than happy to continue the public conversation with him or any relevant representative(s) here. 


Regards,
Sara Safavi
_______________________________________________
Conference_dev mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev


--
Michael Terner
(M) 978-631-6602


_______________________________________________
Conference_dev mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev

-- 
Cameron Shorter
Technology Demystifier
Open Technologies and Geospatial Consultant

M +61 (0) 419 142 254


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Re: FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records

Paul Ramsey
I too would like to see the books published.

There will be (hopefully) an NA LOC budgeting their event shortly, and
knowing the books from previous events (prior years would be nice
too!) would, as always, be immensely helpful to them.

If LocationTech is not going to do it, they can just come out and say
so, and that will be that, we don't have any standing to demand they
open them post facto if they never intended to. In the meanwhile, it's
strange to be in this intermediate liminal state, where on the one
hand the books are open in principle but on the other they are not in
practice.

P.

On Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 11:23 AM, Sara <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi Cameron, all:
>
> Sure, happy to explain further: my request is for information that
> LocationTech already stated publicly was "open", "has always been", and
> would be posted to OSGeo's wiki -- to actually be made open and posted to
> the wiki. If LocationTech either misspoke, lied, or changed their mind on
> that then as a community member/volunteer/sponsor I would like to know why.
> I'm not alone in this, either: I'm just today's squeaky wheel. :)
>
> As Steven said:
>> I would not expect preparing a schedule of income and expenditure for a
>> conference to be a lot of effort. The organising team or their PCO must
>> maintain some schedules to record income and expenditure.
>
> I'm not expecting miracles, but as a community centered around transparency
> and openness it seems unusual to not have at least some insight into one of
> our larger event's basic financial records. As Mike & Steven both point out,
> though not a requirement this is a longstanding community norm for many
> FOSS4G events.
>
> Considering the past conversations we've all seen on the distro lists re:
> this working group/LOC specifically and transparency, I'm surprised that one
> now needs to provide "a worthy motivation" to even pose the question.
> Meanwhile off-list I'm getting private messages telling me to "just let this
> go". Did I miss a memo or something?
>
> On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 10:44 PM, Cameron Shorter
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Sara,
>>
>> I'd suggest it might be helpful to explain why you are requesting people
>> open the books. Providing a worthy motivation will likely help inspire a
>> volunteer to help you.
>>
>> There is typically quite a bit of volunteer effort required to pull
>> together past data into a usable format. Quite often it requires data to be
>> de-personalised for public consumption. Maybe you can say something along
>> the lines of "if you release the metrics, then I will be able to add value
>> to the osgeo community to help ..."
>>
>>
>> On 14/6/18 8:20 am, michael terner wrote:
>>
>> Sara:
>> I fully support the notion of "open books" and the Boston Team has
>> endeavored to do that. Indeed, when asking volunteers to do so much in this
>> ecosystem it is important to have openness around the finances.
>>
>> This tweet from Matthew Hanson had a picture of the "raw" (and rounded)
>> Boston numbers that I presented in a talk at FOSS4GNA in STL:
>> https://twitter.com/GeoSkeptic/status/996147340854652928
>>
>> There's one other slide in that deck that showed the net results (i.e.,
>> surplus) and I would be happy to share the entire deck with this list if
>> useful. Just ask. (And, we have lots of other more granular data if there
>> are other, specific questions [e.g., speaker fees; # of people who were
>> early bird; etc.]).
>>
>> That said, the numbers by themselves don't tell the entire story as there
>> is a whole lot of context that matters greatly. Stuff like:
>>
>> Organizers do not know how the numbers will fully add up until a good bit
>> after the conference. Indeed, there are both trailing expenses to pay, and
>> revenue to collect (some of which are dependent on the actual attendance you
>> achieve). And, some accounting/spreadsheet work to do by already tired
>> volunteers.
>> Conference registrations are slow to pour in. So while Boston ultimately
>> harvested a sizable surplus, we did not know until 2 weeks before the
>> conference that we had achieved our break-even number. If we knew what our
>> final attendance would be in advance we would have surely lowered our prices
>> and/or better funded the travel grant program. But we, nor any other
>> organizer, has that luxury. We are pleased that some of our surplus is going
>> to support the Dar es Salaam conference through OSGeo paying for sponsorship
>> for that event.
>> Decisions that organizers make greatly impact the finances. Things ranging
>> from providing day care, to giving all speakers a free pass, to the location
>> of the host city, greatly impact costs/revenues while serving other
>> important objectives.
>>
>> Indeed, it is an imperfect science and the Boston team was petrified by
>> our finances up until that "break even" moment 2 weeks before the conference
>> started. But it is also the imperfectness of this science that makes
>> "opening the books" so important as all future conferences can learn from
>> both past triumphs and mistakes. I would never look askance at a set of
>> numbers that told a sadder story than Boston's (unless there was abject
>> corruption, or something like that). Running a conference is hard and in all
>> of the FOSS4G and FOSS4GNA conferences I've volunteered on (which now
>> numbers 5, and includes STL) I have never doubted than anyone acted in a way
>> other than to deliver the best possible conference at the lowest possible
>> cost. I also don't expect that everyone would make the same choices that we
>> did in Boston. Indeed, the Chair and his/her LOC make the choices they feel
>> will lead to the best/most successful conference. Second guessing is a
>> natural impulse, but it easier to do than running the conference. And, from
>> my vantage, open books are important as they serve to help explain the
>> choices that were made, and the financial impact of those choices.
>>
>> Sincerely,
>>
>> MT
>>
>>
>> On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 1:18 PM Sara <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>
>>> Hi folks,
>>>
>>> Some of you may be aware that for the past ~5 weeks, I have periodically
>>> renewed a public request [0] for FOSS4G-NA 2018's financial records.
>>>
>>> Yesterday, Marc Vloemans, speaking on behalf of LocationTech, said that I
>>> was "misrepresenting" this issue [1]. That's certainly not my intent, so I'd
>>> like to clarify the basis for my ongoing request in longform, and renew said
>>> request in this forum.
>>>
>>> - On May 4, 2018, a LocationTech representative stated publicly that
>>> FOSS4G-NA's "financials are open, have always been" [2]
>>>
>>> - Later the same day, the same representative said that they were
>>> "working on posting all our materials to the wiki (...) Expect those late
>>> this week" [3]
>>>
>>> - Those statements now appear to be contradicted by the recent comment
>>> [1] that "there is no obligation" of LocationTech to share FOSS4G-NA
>>> financials
>>>
>>> My ongoing requests have thus far been an attempt to continue the
>>> conversation that originally took place on twitter on May 4th. As Marc said
>>> last night that he does not "communicate with people via twitter" [1], I'm
>>> more than happy to continue the public conversation with him or any relevant
>>> representative(s) here.
>>>
>>> [0a] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1006304174332661760
>>> [0b] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1001543441053114368
>>> [0c] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/994930635096641536
>>> [1] https://i.imgur.com/NlbXb4t.png
>>> [2] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/992394814749577217
>>> [3] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/993584128279957504
>>>
>>> Regards,
>>> Sara Safavi
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Conference_dev mailing list
>>> [hidden email]
>>> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Michael Terner
>> [hidden email]
>> (M) 978-631-6602
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Conference_dev mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev
>>
>>
>> --
>> Cameron Shorter
>> Technology Demystifier
>> Open Technologies and Geospatial Consultant
>>
>> M +61 (0) 419 142 254
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Conference_dev mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev
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Re: FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records

Cameron Shorter
In reply to this post by stevenfeldman

+1 from me that future global FOSS4G RFP documents require organising committees publish full accounts (at a similar level of detail to the budget submitted with the RfP) within x months of the event finishing.

Such information should also be provided by large regional FOSS4G events (such as FOSS4G-NA), and strongly encouraged (but not mandated) from smaller regional and local events. (The smaller events often don't have as much process and capacity.)

Such information should also be linked from our FOSS4G Cookbook at: https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/FOSS4G_Handbook#Budget


On 14/6/18 9:09 pm, Steven Feldman wrote:
It has been the "norm” but not a requirement that LOCs publish their accounts following a FOSS4G. In the case of a global event where OSGeo has a funding agreement or guarantee with the LOC in return for a share of the surplus (if any) then an "open book" approach is implicit in that agreement. 

I would not expect preparing a schedule of income and expenditure for a conference to be a lot of effort. The organising team or their PCO must maintain some schedules to record income and expenditure. 

I just had a quick look at the RfP doc and it does not explicitly state that full accounts (at a similar level of detail to the budget submitted with the RfP) should be published within x months of the event finishing. I suggest we add that requirement to the RfP doc for 2020.

Here are the accounts for FOSS4G 2013 which we published in December 2013 https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YdFNuBNaJK2XeA-bs1vU24VA1Qv9HpN8rLs30D9_0zg/edit#gid=1040179171

______
Steven


On 14 Jun 2018, at 04:44, Cameron Shorter <[hidden email]> wrote:

Sara,

I'd suggest it might be helpful to explain why you are requesting people open the books. Providing a worthy motivation will likely help inspire a volunteer to help you.

There is typically quite a bit of volunteer effort required to pull together past data into a usable format. Quite often it requires data to be de-personalised for public consumption. Maybe you can say something along the lines of "if you release the metrics, then I will be able to add value to the osgeo community to help ..."


On 14/6/18 8:20 am, michael terner wrote:
Sara:
I fully support the notion of "open books" and the Boston Team has endeavored to do that. Indeed, when asking volunteers to do so much in this ecosystem it is important to have openness around the finances.

This tweet from Matthew Hanson had a picture of the "raw" (and rounded) Boston numbers that I presented in a talk at FOSS4GNA in STL:

There's one other slide in that deck that showed the net results (i.e., surplus) and I would be happy to share the entire deck with this list if useful. Just ask. (And, we have lots of other more granular data if there are other, specific questions [e.g., speaker fees; # of people who were early bird; etc.]).

That said, the numbers by themselves don't tell the entire story as there is a whole lot of context that matters greatly. Stuff like:
  • Organizers do not know how the numbers will fully add up until a good bit after the conference. Indeed, there are both trailing expenses to pay, and revenue to collect (some of which are dependent on the actual attendance you achieve). And, some accounting/spreadsheet work to do by already tired volunteers.
  • Conference registrations are slow to pour in. So while Boston ultimately harvested a sizable surplus, we did not know until 2 weeks before the conference that we had achieved our break-even number. If we knew what our final attendance would be in advance we would have surely lowered our prices and/or better funded the travel grant program. But we, nor any other organizer, has that luxury. We are pleased that some of our surplus is going to support the Dar es Salaam conference through OSGeo paying for sponsorship for that event.
  • Decisions that organizers make greatly impact the finances. Things ranging from providing day care, to giving all speakers a free pass, to the location of the host city, greatly impact costs/revenues while serving other important objectives.  
Indeed, it is an imperfect science and the Boston team was petrified by our finances up until that "break even" moment 2 weeks before the conference started. But it is also the imperfectness of this science that makes "opening the books" so important as all future conferences can learn from both past triumphs and mistakes. I would never look askance at a set of numbers that told a sadder story than Boston's (unless there was abject corruption, or something like that). Running a conference is hard and in all of the FOSS4G and FOSS4GNA conferences I've volunteered on (which now numbers 5, and includes STL) I have never doubted than anyone acted in a way other than to deliver the best possible conference at the lowest possible cost. I also don't expect that everyone would make the same choices that we did in Boston. Indeed, the Chair and his/her LOC make the choices they feel will lead to the best/most successful conference. Second guessing is a natural impulse, but it easier to do than running the conference. And, from my vantage, open books are important as they serve to help explain the choices that were made, and the financial impact of those choices.

Sincerely,

MT


On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 1:18 PM Sara <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi folks,

Some of you may be aware that for the past ~5 weeks, I have periodically renewed a public request [0] for FOSS4G-NA 2018's financial records. 

Yesterday, Marc Vloemans, speaking on behalf of LocationTech, said that I was "misrepresenting" this issue [1]. That's certainly not my intent, so I'd like to clarify the basis for my ongoing request in longform, and renew said request in this forum.

- On May 4, 2018, a LocationTech representative stated publicly that FOSS4G-NA's "financials are open, have always been" [2]

- Later the same day, the same representative said that they were "working on posting all our materials to the wiki (...) Expect those late this week" [3]

- Those statements now appear to be contradicted by the recent comment [1] that "there is no obligation" of LocationTech to share FOSS4G-NA financials

My ongoing requests have thus far been an attempt to continue the conversation that originally took place on twitter on May 4th. As Marc said last night that he does not "communicate with people via twitter" [1], I'm more than happy to continue the public conversation with him or any relevant representative(s) here. 


Regards,
Sara Safavi
_______________________________________________
Conference_dev mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev


--
Michael Terner
(M) 978-631-6602


_______________________________________________
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[hidden email]
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-- 
Cameron Shorter
Technology Demystifier
Open Technologies and Geospatial Consultant

M +61 (0) 419 142 254
_______________________________________________
Conference_dev mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev


-- 
Cameron Shorter
Technology Demystifier
Open Technologies and Geospatial Consultant

M +61 (0) 419 142 254

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Re: FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records

Sara Safavi
In reply to this post by Sara Safavi
Hi Marc:

Please do not bring my employer into this. That is threatening behavior, and is incredibly inappropriate for anyone in this community to engage in.

The fact that I was Program Chair of FOSS4G-NA 2018 for six months is no secret: among many reasons documented elsewhere, I found a replacement for myself and stepped down from the role in order to maintain "separation of church & state", as it were, when I felt it was no longer tenable to represent both my employer and FOSS4G-NA at the same time (this directly followed you asking Sara-the-Program-Chair to "wiggle a platinum sponsorship from" her employer).

Come on, folks. I'm not trying to make unreasonable demands. I'm not trying to launch any missiles. I'm just trying to continue a conversation that LocationTech staff started on May 4. Personal attacks on me and dismissing this as a "non-discussion" aren't constructive.

--Sara

On Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 8:00 PM, Marc Vloemans <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dear all,

After so many tweets, posts, blogs etc. I feel a formal response is needed.

LocationTech - as part of a longstanding agreement with the Core Committee of Foss4g NA - has acted as the contractor/producer of this conference.
This entailed that all pre-conference investments and financial risks were off the shoulders of OSGeo.org. Regional conferences like this one elsewhere in the world are taken on by local/regional chapters. But until some weeks ago there was no such chapter in North America. Therefor this special construct.
LocationTech has informed the Core Committee before “St Louis” that we would  not be able to continue this arrangement as the financial and human resources were beyond its means.

The demands made by Sara Safavi to give insight into the books are not appropriate. Comparable to a customer asking her employer (Planet Labs) to open their books to a customer. Since FOSS4G NA mostly relied on professional staff (instead of volunteers like in “Boston” and Companies sponsoring their employee’s time) this would give third parties indirect information re salaries etc.
And I will not do that. Ever. Especially if persons try to force my hand, when they have no legal, moral or other right to this type of personal information.

Furthermore, I would like to emphasise that Sara has been Program Chair of FOSS4G NA 2018 until the deadline for the CfP. She has been aware of this arrangement from the beginning....

On another note; this non-discussion is damaging the Core Committee, the FOSS4G NA and overall brands at large and OSGeo (both .org and US). And the great working relationship between OSGeo and LocationTech. But furthermore, it makes our community a place where those who put in actual work and energy are subjected to harassment. With the silent approval of the majority.....
If we want to keep present/attract future volunteers, partners, supporters and sponsors we need to put a stop to this type of behaviour. Right here and now. Otherwise we dig our collective grave.

If the majority keeps their silence then OSGeo has become a very toxic place, indeed!

(And I still wonder whether the demands represent Planet Labs’ (who was a welcome and respected sponsor of this year’s FOSS4G NA) opinion or not .....)

Hope this gives background and puts an end to this non-discussion.

Kind regards,
Marc

>
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records
> Date: 2018-06-14 14:23
> From: Sara <[hidden email]>
> To: Cameron Shorter <[hidden email]>
> Cc: michael terner <[hidden email]>, [hidden email], Conference Dev <[hidden email]>
>
> Hi Cameron, all:
>
> Sure, happy to explain further: my request is for information that
> LocationTech already stated publicly was "open", "has always been", and
> would be posted to OSGeo's wiki -- to actually be made open and posted
> to the wiki. If LocationTech either misspoke, lied, or changed their
> mind on that then as a community member/volunteer/sponsor I would like
> to know why. I'm not alone in this, either: I'm just today's squeaky
> wheel. :)
>
> As Steven said:
>> I would not expect preparing a schedule of income and expenditure for
> a conference to be a lot of effort. The organising team or their PCO
> must maintain some schedules to record income and expenditure.
>
> I'm not expecting miracles, but as a community centered around
> transparency and openness it seems unusual to not have at least some
> insight into one of our larger event's basic financial records. As Mike
> & Steven both point out, though not a requirement this is a longstanding
> community norm for many FOSS4G events.
>
> Considering the past conversations we've all seen on the distro lists
> re: this working group/LOC specifically and transparency, I'm surprised
> that one now needs to provide "a worthy motivation" to even pose the
> question. Meanwhile off-list I'm getting private messages telling me to
> "just let this go". Did I miss a memo or something?
>
> On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 10:44 PM, Cameron Shorter
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Sara,
>> I'd suggest it might be helpful to explain why you are requesting
>> people open the books. Providing a worthy motivation will likely help
>> inspire a volunteer to help you.
>> There is typically quite a bit of volunteer effort required to pull
>> together past data into a usable format. Quite often it requires data
>> to be de-personalised for public consumption. Maybe you can say
>> something along the lines of "if you release the metrics, then I will
>> be able to add value to the osgeo community to help ..."
>> On 14/6/18 8:20 am, michael terner wrote:
>> Sara:
>> I fully support the notion of "open books" and the Boston Team has
>> endeavored to do that. Indeed, when asking volunteers to do so much in
>> this ecosystem it is important to have openness around the finances.
>> This tweet from Matthew Hanson had a picture of the "raw" (and
>> rounded) Boston numbers that I presented in a talk at FOSS4GNA in STL:
>> https://twitter.com/GeoSkeptic/status/996147340854652928 [2]
>> There's one other slide in that deck that showed the net results
>> (i.e., surplus) and I would be happy to share the entire deck with
>> this list if useful. Just ask. (And, we have lots of other more
>> granular data if there are other, specific questions [e.g., speaker
>> fees; # of people who were early bird; etc.]).
>> That said, the numbers by themselves don't tell the entire story as
>> there is a whole lot of context that matters greatly. Stuff like:
>> * Organizers do not know how the numbers will fully add up until a
>> good bit after the conference. Indeed, there are both trailing
>> expenses to pay, and revenue to collect (some of which are dependent
>> on the actual attendance you achieve). And, some
>> accounting/spreadsheet work to do by already tired volunteers.
>> * Conference registrations are slow to pour in. So while Boston
>> ultimately harvested a sizable surplus, we did not know until _2 weeks
>> _before the conference that we had achieved our break-even number. If
>> we knew what our final attendance would be in advance we would have
>> surely lowered our prices and/or better funded the travel grant
>> program. But we, nor any other organizer, has that luxury. We are
>> pleased that some of our surplus is going to support the Dar es Salaam
>> conference through OSGeo _paying_ for sponsorship for that event.
>> * Decisions that organizers make greatly impact the finances. Things
>> ranging from providing day care, to giving all speakers a free pass,
>> to the location of the host city, greatly impact costs/revenues while
>> serving other important objectives.
>> Indeed, it is an imperfect science and the Boston team was petrified
>> by our finances up until that "break even" moment 2 weeks before the
>> conference started. But it is also the imperfectness of this science
>> that makes "opening the books" so important as all future conferences
>> can learn from both past triumphs and mistakes. I would never look
>> askance at a set of numbers that told a sadder story than Boston's
>> (unless there was abject corruption, or something like that). Running
>> a conference is hard and in all of the FOSS4G and FOSS4GNA conferences
>> I've volunteered on (which now numbers 5, and includes STL) I have
>> never doubted than anyone acted in a way other than to deliver the
>> best possible conference at the lowest possible cost. I also don't
>> expect that everyone would make the same choices that we did in
>> Boston. Indeed, the Chair and his/her LOC make the choices they feel
>> will lead to the best/most successful conference. Second guessing is a
>> natural impulse, but it easier to do than running the conference. And,
>> from my vantage, open books are important as they serve to help
>> explain the choices that were made, and the financial impact of those
>> choices.
>> Sincerely,
>> MT
>> On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 1:18 PM Sara <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Hi folks,
>> Some of you may be aware that for the past ~5 weeks, I have
>> periodically renewed a public request [0] for FOSS4G-NA 2018's
>> financial records.
>> Yesterday, Marc Vloemans, speaking on behalf of LocationTech, said
>> that I was "misrepresenting" this issue [1]. That's certainly not my
>> intent, so I'd like to clarify the basis for my ongoing request in
>> longform, and renew said request in this forum.
>> - On May 4, 2018, a LocationTech representative stated publicly that
>> FOSS4G-NA's "financials are open, have always been" [2]
>> - Later the same day, the same representative said that they were
>> "working on posting all our materials to the wiki (...) Expect those
>> late this week" [3]
>> - Those statements now appear to be contradicted by the recent comment
>> [1] that "there is no obligation" of LocationTech to share FOSS4G-NA
>> financials
>> My ongoing requests have thus far been an attempt to continue the
>> conversation that originally took place on twitter on May 4th. As Marc
>> said last night that he does not "communicate with people via twitter"
>> [1], I'm more than happy to continue the public conversation with him
>> or any relevant representative(s) here.
>> [0a] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1006304174332661760 [3]
>> [0b] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1001543441053114368 [4]
>> [0c] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/994930635096641536 [5]
>> [1] https://i.imgur.com/NlbXb4t.png [6]
>> [2] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/992394814749577217 [7]
>> [3] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/993584128279957504 [8]
>> Regards,
>> Sara Safavi _______________________________________________
>> Conference_dev mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev [1]
>> --
>> Michael Terner
>> [hidden email]
>> (M) 978-631-6602
>> _______________________________________________
>> Conference_dev mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev [1]
>
> --
> Cameron Shorter
> Technology Demystifier
> Open Technologies and Geospatial Consultant
>
> M +61 (0) 419 142 254
>
> --
> You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
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> To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send
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> To view this discussion on the web, visit
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> Links:
> ------
> [1] https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev
> [2] https://twitter.com/GeoSkeptic/status/996147340854652928
> [3] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1006304174332661760
> [4] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1001543441053114368
> [5] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/994930635096641536
> [6] https://i.imgur.com/NlbXb4t.png
> [7] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/992394814749577217
> [8] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/993584128279957504
> [9] https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/foss4gna_selection/CAF%2BW3R5DUHRdPoFR%3D-Z19WJug0FO7cybxGZHxq_fVxAfe9Hd8Q%40mail.gmail.com?utm_medium=email&utm_source=footer


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Re: FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records

Rob Emanuele
Hi,

My understanding of what is happening here is this: a LocationTech employee mis-spoke about the organization's intentions about reporting financial data, which was never a requirement put on the organization nor the intention of the organization. The result has been a set of valid questions, which should be answered clearly.

I can confirm that the FOSS4G NA core committee never required the Eclipse Foundation or LocationTech to report financial data as part of brining them on as the logistics organizer. 

Moving forward, if the community decides that it's right and fair that the organization receiving sponsor money and taking ticket money for the conference report on a specific level of P/L data, then that requirement can be put into place and clearly communicated before any commitments are made. We (the core committee) had asked LocationTech if it was possible to report financial data in past years, and they politely declined for the reasons listed (I believe fairly), and we dropped the issue. This could represent a failing on our part to uphold the ideal of transparency, and if that is the case, then this misunderstanding is on us. One could argue we should have forced the issue, and if LocationTech had not acquiesced, we should have not used them as the LO. I was not of that opinion at the time and remain that way, though I understand and respect why transparency is important, and could very possibly be wrong. However, I believe LocationTech ran great conferences with honest and hard effort, for the good of the community. I appreciate the work they put in, while simultaneously hoping that the next conference committee, LO, and the core committee can do better in the future.

Thanks,
Rob



On Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 9:06 PM, Sara <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Marc:

Please do not bring my employer into this. That is threatening behavior, and is incredibly inappropriate for anyone in this community to engage in.

The fact that I was Program Chair of FOSS4G-NA 2018 for six months is no secret: among many reasons documented elsewhere, I found a replacement for myself and stepped down from the role in order to maintain "separation of church & state", as it were, when I felt it was no longer tenable to represent both my employer and FOSS4G-NA at the same time (this directly followed you asking Sara-the-Program-Chair to "wiggle a platinum sponsorship from" her employer).

Come on, folks. I'm not trying to make unreasonable demands. I'm not trying to launch any missiles. I'm just trying to continue a conversation that LocationTech staff started on May 4. Personal attacks on me and dismissing this as a "non-discussion" aren't constructive.

--Sara

On Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 8:00 PM, Marc Vloemans <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dear all,

After so many tweets, posts, blogs etc. I feel a formal response is needed.

LocationTech - as part of a longstanding agreement with the Core Committee of Foss4g NA - has acted as the contractor/producer of this conference.
This entailed that all pre-conference investments and financial risks were off the shoulders of OSGeo.org. Regional conferences like this one elsewhere in the world are taken on by local/regional chapters. But until some weeks ago there was no such chapter in North America. Therefor this special construct.
LocationTech has informed the Core Committee before “St Louis” that we would  not be able to continue this arrangement as the financial and human resources were beyond its means.

The demands made by Sara Safavi to give insight into the books are not appropriate. Comparable to a customer asking her employer (Planet Labs) to open their books to a customer. Since FOSS4G NA mostly relied on professional staff (instead of volunteers like in “Boston” and Companies sponsoring their employee’s time) this would give third parties indirect information re salaries etc.
And I will not do that. Ever. Especially if persons try to force my hand, when they have no legal, moral or other right to this type of personal information.

Furthermore, I would like to emphasise that Sara has been Program Chair of FOSS4G NA 2018 until the deadline for the CfP. She has been aware of this arrangement from the beginning....

On another note; this non-discussion is damaging the Core Committee, the FOSS4G NA and overall brands at large and OSGeo (both .org and US). And the great working relationship between OSGeo and LocationTech. But furthermore, it makes our community a place where those who put in actual work and energy are subjected to harassment. With the silent approval of the majority.....
If we want to keep present/attract future volunteers, partners, supporters and sponsors we need to put a stop to this type of behaviour. Right here and now. Otherwise we dig our collective grave.

If the majority keeps their silence then OSGeo has become a very toxic place, indeed!

(And I still wonder whether the demands represent Planet Labs’ (who was a welcome and respected sponsor of this year’s FOSS4G NA) opinion or not .....)

Hope this gives background and puts an end to this non-discussion.

Kind regards,
Marc


>
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records
> Date: 2018-06-14 14:23
> From: Sara <[hidden email]>
> To: Cameron Shorter <[hidden email]>
> Cc: michael terner <[hidden email]>, [hidden email], Conference Dev <[hidden email]>
>
> Hi Cameron, all:
>
> Sure, happy to explain further: my request is for information that
> LocationTech already stated publicly was "open", "has always been", and
> would be posted to OSGeo's wiki -- to actually be made open and posted
> to the wiki. If LocationTech either misspoke, lied, or changed their
> mind on that then as a community member/volunteer/sponsor I would like
> to know why. I'm not alone in this, either: I'm just today's squeaky
> wheel. :)
>
> As Steven said:
>> I would not expect preparing a schedule of income and expenditure for
> a conference to be a lot of effort. The organising team or their PCO
> must maintain some schedules to record income and expenditure.
>
> I'm not expecting miracles, but as a community centered around
> transparency and openness it seems unusual to not have at least some
> insight into one of our larger event's basic financial records. As Mike
> & Steven both point out, though not a requirement this is a longstanding
> community norm for many FOSS4G events.
>
> Considering the past conversations we've all seen on the distro lists
> re: this working group/LOC specifically and transparency, I'm surprised
> that one now needs to provide "a worthy motivation" to even pose the
> question. Meanwhile off-list I'm getting private messages telling me to
> "just let this go". Did I miss a memo or something?
>
> On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 10:44 PM, Cameron Shorter
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Sara,
>> I'd suggest it might be helpful to explain why you are requesting
>> people open the books. Providing a worthy motivation will likely help
>> inspire a volunteer to help you.
>> There is typically quite a bit of volunteer effort required to pull
>> together past data into a usable format. Quite often it requires data
>> to be de-personalised for public consumption. Maybe you can say
>> something along the lines of "if you release the metrics, then I will
>> be able to add value to the osgeo community to help ..."
>> On 14/6/18 8:20 am, michael terner wrote:
>> Sara:
>> I fully support the notion of "open books" and the Boston Team has
>> endeavored to do that. Indeed, when asking volunteers to do so much in
>> this ecosystem it is important to have openness around the finances.
>> This tweet from Matthew Hanson had a picture of the "raw" (and
>> rounded) Boston numbers that I presented in a talk at FOSS4GNA in STL:
>> https://twitter.com/GeoSkeptic/status/996147340854652928 [2]
>> There's one other slide in that deck that showed the net results
>> (i.e., surplus) and I would be happy to share the entire deck with
>> this list if useful. Just ask. (And, we have lots of other more
>> granular data if there are other, specific questions [e.g., speaker
>> fees; # of people who were early bird; etc.]).
>> That said, the numbers by themselves don't tell the entire story as
>> there is a whole lot of context that matters greatly. Stuff like:
>> * Organizers do not know how the numbers will fully add up until a
>> good bit after the conference. Indeed, there are both trailing
>> expenses to pay, and revenue to collect (some of which are dependent
>> on the actual attendance you achieve). And, some
>> accounting/spreadsheet work to do by already tired volunteers.
>> * Conference registrations are slow to pour in. So while Boston
>> ultimately harvested a sizable surplus, we did not know until _2 weeks
>> _before the conference that we had achieved our break-even number. If
>> we knew what our final attendance would be in advance we would have
>> surely lowered our prices and/or better funded the travel grant
>> program. But we, nor any other organizer, has that luxury. We are
>> pleased that some of our surplus is going to support the Dar es Salaam
>> conference through OSGeo _paying_ for sponsorship for that event.
>> * Decisions that organizers make greatly impact the finances. Things

>> ranging from providing day care, to giving all speakers a free pass,
>> to the location of the host city, greatly impact costs/revenues while
>> serving other important objectives.
>> Indeed, it is an imperfect science and the Boston team was petrified
>> by our finances up until that "break even" moment 2 weeks before the
>> conference started. But it is also the imperfectness of this science
>> that makes "opening the books" so important as all future conferences
>> can learn from both past triumphs and mistakes. I would never look
>> askance at a set of numbers that told a sadder story than Boston's
>> (unless there was abject corruption, or something like that). Running
>> a conference is hard and in all of the FOSS4G and FOSS4GNA conferences
>> I've volunteered on (which now numbers 5, and includes STL) I have
>> never doubted than anyone acted in a way other than to deliver the
>> best possible conference at the lowest possible cost. I also don't
>> expect that everyone would make the same choices that we did in
>> Boston. Indeed, the Chair and his/her LOC make the choices they feel
>> will lead to the best/most successful conference. Second guessing is a
>> natural impulse, but it easier to do than running the conference. And,
>> from my vantage, open books are important as they serve to help
>> explain the choices that were made, and the financial impact of those
>> choices.
>> Sincerely,
>> MT
>> On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 1:18 PM Sara <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Hi folks,
>> Some of you may be aware that for the past ~5 weeks, I have
>> periodically renewed a public request [0] for FOSS4G-NA 2018's
>> financial records.
>> Yesterday, Marc Vloemans, speaking on behalf of LocationTech, said
>> that I was "misrepresenting" this issue [1]. That's certainly not my
>> intent, so I'd like to clarify the basis for my ongoing request in
>> longform, and renew said request in this forum.
>> - On May 4, 2018, a LocationTech representative stated publicly that
>> FOSS4G-NA's "financials are open, have always been" [2]
>> - Later the same day, the same representative said that they were
>> "working on posting all our materials to the wiki (...) Expect those
>> late this week" [3]
>> - Those statements now appear to be contradicted by the recent comment
>> [1] that "there is no obligation" of LocationTech to share FOSS4G-NA
>> financials
>> My ongoing requests have thus far been an attempt to continue the
>> conversation that originally took place on twitter on May 4th. As Marc
>> said last night that he does not "communicate with people via twitter"
>> [1], I'm more than happy to continue the public conversation with him
>> or any relevant representative(s) here.
>> [0a] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1006304174332661760 [3]
>> [0b] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1001543441053114368 [4]
>> [0c] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/994930635096641536 [5]
>> [1] https://i.imgur.com/NlbXb4t.png [6]
>> [2] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/992394814749577217 [7]
>> [3] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/993584128279957504 [8]
>> Regards,
>> Sara Safavi _______________________________________________
>> Conference_dev mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev [1]
>> --
>> Michael Terner
>> [hidden email]
>> (M) 978-631-6602
>> _______________________________________________
>> Conference_dev mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev [1]
>
> --
> Cameron Shorter
> Technology Demystifier
> Open Technologies and Geospatial Consultant
>
> M +61 (0) 419 142 254
>
> --
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> Links:
> ------
> [1] https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev
> [2] https://twitter.com/GeoSkeptic/status/996147340854652928
> [3] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1006304174332661760
> [4] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1001543441053114368
> [5] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/994930635096641536
> [6] https://i.imgur.com/NlbXb4t.png
> [7] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/992394814749577217
> [8] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/993584128279957504
> [9] https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/foss4gna_selection/CAF%2BW3R5DUHRdPoFR%3D-Z19WJug0FO7cybxGZHxq_fVxAfe9Hd8Q%40mail.gmail.com?utm_medium=email&utm_source=footer

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Re: FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records

delawen


On Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 5:26 AM, Rob Emanuele <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi,

My understanding of what is happening here is this: a LocationTech employee mis-spoke about the organization's intentions about reporting financial data, which was never a requirement put on the organization nor the intention of the organization. The result has been a set of valid questions, which should be answered clearly.

I can confirm that the FOSS4G NA core committee never required the Eclipse Foundation or LocationTech to report financial data as part of brining them on as the logistics organizer. 

Moving forward, if the community decides that it's right and fair that the organization receiving sponsor money and taking ticket money for the conference report on a specific level of P/L data, then that requirement can be put into place and clearly communicated before any commitments are made. We (the core committee) had asked LocationTech if it was possible to report financial data in past years, and they politely declined for the reasons listed (I believe fairly), and we dropped the issue. This could represent a failing on our part to uphold the ideal of transparency, and if that is the case, then this misunderstanding is on us. One could argue we should have forced the issue, and if LocationTech had not acquiesced, we should have not used them as the LO. I was not of that opinion at the time and remain that way, though I understand and respect why transparency is important, and could very possibly be wrong. However, I believe LocationTech ran great conferences with honest and hard effort, for the good of the community. I appreciate the work they put in, while simultaneously hoping that the next conference committee, LO, and the core committee can do better in the future.

Thanks,
Rob



Hi,

If I can give my 2 cents:

As a member of the community I would like to know all budgets. Not only from events, but from everything. This way, I will be sure that money is well spent. And, if I see something that could be improved, I can help in improving it. I like transparency in all my teams, my own company included. Maybe I won't read all of them, but, if I suspect something is not efficient enough, I can take a look and improve it. Or point any nasty thing, if there is such a thing.

As someone who wants to run conferences, I would like to know all budgets so I have input about the possible problems and outcomes that can surprise me when organizing one. If every LOC has to run based on their own experience, we will be reinventing the wheel every year.

And finally, as someone who has run several conferences as chair, I know that it is not easy to close the final budget right after the conference. I know that the bigger the conference is, the more it gets delayed. I wouldn't expect any reliable final data until three or four months after the conference ends. And that is if and only if the organizers keep working right after the conference closes. Which, in the case of volunteer work, that usually don't happen. I was once chair of a biannual event (every two years) and got some income money still running into the bank account from the previous (two years ago!) event while we were already running our own. So, yes, this things take time, specially when it is based on voluntary work, which is not usually constant.

So, if possible, I would like to ask all FOSS4G to be transparent and publish all their data. That will help us also in generating statistics of what are the best approaches and strategies for getting better conferences. Like the discussion on twitter about giving discounts to speakers or not. Does it really push better speakers to the front? Or it  is just money "wasted"? Is it better to invest on the TGP directly? Is it better to invest on... Without data, it is only guessing and wishful thinking. So, please please please, keep the data running, it is always useful.

Said this, on this particular situation: if LocationTech haven't promised any budget disclosure, we can kindly ask them, but not force them into anything. What we can do is impose a rule that says something like "If you want to use the FOSS4G name, you should comply with some community rules like transparent budgets.".

And I was completely out of the conversation, so I am trusting all of you about this situation in particular. That's why I am so quiet about what happened to FOSS4GNA: I have no first hand info.

Have a happy weekend!
María


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Re: FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records

stevenfeldman
If the FOSS4GNA committee did not stipulate a requirement for LocationTech to report financial data post conference then there is no obligation on LT to do so even if an LT employee mis-spoke. 

That said, it does not prevent LT from providing some financial information in the interest of transparency and to support/inform future organisers of FOSS4G events (global and regional).

Surely LT could publish a simple form of accounts which could be a simple as:

  • Income
    • Early Birds
    • Full tickets
    • Discounted tickets (students, speakers etc)
    • Free Tickets
    • Sponsorship
  • Expenditure
    • Venue fees
    • Catering
    • Entertainment/Party
    • Marketing
    • Equipment hire
    • T-shirts etc
    • Credit card and registration service fees
    • Printing
    • Professional Conference Organiser fees
    • Other
  • Surplus

There is no expectation that these accounts should disclose people’s salaries and it is up to LT to determine the level of granularity of info provided that adequately protects their organisation's confidential matters.

Currently the Conference Committee has no involvement in the arrangements for regional events nor can we mandate any requirements for the use of the FOSS4G brand. Perhaps it is time to reconsider this laissez-faire approach?
______
Steven


On 15 Jun 2018, at 08:17, María Arias de Reyna <[hidden email]> wrote:



On Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 5:26 AM, Rob Emanuele <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi,

My understanding of what is happening here is this: a LocationTech employee mis-spoke about the organization's intentions about reporting financial data, which was never a requirement put on the organization nor the intention of the organization. The result has been a set of valid questions, which should be answered clearly.

I can confirm that the FOSS4G NA core committee never required the Eclipse Foundation or LocationTech to report financial data as part of brining them on as the logistics organizer. 

Moving forward, if the community decides that it's right and fair that the organization receiving sponsor money and taking ticket money for the conference report on a specific level of P/L data, then that requirement can be put into place and clearly communicated before any commitments are made. We (the core committee) had asked LocationTech if it was possible to report financial data in past years, and they politely declined for the reasons listed (I believe fairly), and we dropped the issue. This could represent a failing on our part to uphold the ideal of transparency, and if that is the case, then this misunderstanding is on us. One could argue we should have forced the issue, and if LocationTech had not acquiesced, we should have not used them as the LO. I was not of that opinion at the time and remain that way, though I understand and respect why transparency is important, and could very possibly be wrong. However, I believe LocationTech ran great conferences with honest and hard effort, for the good of the community. I appreciate the work they put in, while simultaneously hoping that the next conference committee, LO, and the core committee can do better in the future.

Thanks,
Rob



Hi,

If I can give my 2 cents:

As a member of the community I would like to know all budgets. Not only from events, but from everything. This way, I will be sure that money is well spent. And, if I see something that could be improved, I can help in improving it. I like transparency in all my teams, my own company included. Maybe I won't read all of them, but, if I suspect something is not efficient enough, I can take a look and improve it. Or point any nasty thing, if there is such a thing.

As someone who wants to run conferences, I would like to know all budgets so I have input about the possible problems and outcomes that can surprise me when organizing one. If every LOC has to run based on their own experience, we will be reinventing the wheel every year.

And finally, as someone who has run several conferences as chair, I know that it is not easy to close the final budget right after the conference. I know that the bigger the conference is, the more it gets delayed. I wouldn't expect any reliable final data until three or four months after the conference ends. And that is if and only if the organizers keep working right after the conference closes. Which, in the case of volunteer work, that usually don't happen. I was once chair of a biannual event (every two years) and got some income money still running into the bank account from the previous (two years ago!) event while we were already running our own. So, yes, this things take time, specially when it is based on voluntary work, which is not usually constant.

So, if possible, I would like to ask all FOSS4G to be transparent and publish all their data. That will help us also in generating statistics of what are the best approaches and strategies for getting better conferences. Like the discussion on twitter about giving discounts to speakers or not. Does it really push better speakers to the front? Or it  is just money "wasted"? Is it better to invest on the TGP directly? Is it better to invest on... Without data, it is only guessing and wishful thinking. So, please please please, keep the data running, it is always useful.

Said this, on this particular situation: if LocationTech haven't promised any budget disclosure, we can kindly ask them, but not force them into anything. What we can do is impose a rule that says something like "If you want to use the FOSS4G name, you should comply with some community rules like transparent budgets.".

And I was completely out of the conversation, so I am trusting all of you about this situation in particular. That's why I am so quiet about what happened to FOSS4GNA: I have no first hand info.

Have a happy weekend!
María 

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Re: FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records

delawen


On Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 2:49 PM, Marc Vloemans <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi All,

Indeed, over the last three FOSS4G NA’s there were no financials published. Eclipse Foundation/LocationTech has been the supplier of production/logistical/marketing services. That is a different arrangement from other FOSS4G’s. Call it a historical anomaly.

Without the involvement of the amount of volunteers usually involved In organising such event, EF/LT have used the services of various sub-contractors. These are suppliers for 12+ years, with rates reflecting the longstanding relationship. Divulging the contractual arrangements is bad business practice and in many cases against the contractual stipulations. Even asking EF/LT as main contractor for monetary info is not done. Your companies/employers don’t do this too re clients. 

So again, no numbers are given. For a host of valid and legal reasons.

However. On the income side anybody can do the math (10% early bird) from the publicly available info on the conference website. Extra work to provide this seems rather excessive.

So, framing the discussion in terms of ‘transparency’ is - considering the above - somewhat beside the point. In that case no 
The handover to future organisers is secured via the Core Committee. That was the ‘client’ of the event. 

What everyone seems to ignore is that harassment and misinformation have been happening. In the ‘open’. And that the Board and community at large is choosing to ignore this. Which sends a signal as loud as if shouted from the rooftops. If that is what we want....


I was agreeing with you until this point.

Why this separation between you and the community? Are you not part of the community? Did I miss something?

And also, why this separation between the community and the board? Is it because the CoC team is dormant and we should do something about it? We are doing something about it. But my search for volunteers is not being very effective. People tend to think that either that is not something that affects them or that that is something they don't have to solve (because they are not the ones that created the harassment). If you have a better way to handle this, please, enlighten me. Because I am not sure what else to try besides what we are already trying.

Also, on a personal side, I haven't seen any harassment yet. Maybe I missed it? Maybe I saw it but didn't see the harassment? How can I, as part of the community, answer to something that I haven't seen? Did it happen outside the OSGeo mailing lists? Outside my social network range? How would I know?

And if you (or anyone else) knows there is harassment, why haven't you pointed at it? Why haven't you told anything until now? I still don't know where this harassment has happened, you just mentioned an ethereal event I don't know of, how can I act?

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Re: FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records

Paul Ramsey
In reply to this post by Rob Emanuele
Thank you Rob, for the clear explanation of the history and current state.

Like Stephen I would love to see some major category reporting, which
is all that prior conferences have provided (this isn't an
invoice-by-invoice audit, it's information suitable for future
planning) but if LT is unable to produce that for whatever reason, I
won't light my hair on fire.

Thanks all,
P.


On Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 8:26 PM, Rob Emanuele <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi,
>
> My understanding of what is happening here is this: a LocationTech employee
> mis-spoke about the organization's intentions about reporting financial
> data, which was never a requirement put on the organization nor the
> intention of the organization. The result has been a set of valid questions,
> which should be answered clearly.
>
> I can confirm that the FOSS4G NA core committee never required the Eclipse
> Foundation or LocationTech to report financial data as part of brining them
> on as the logistics organizer.
>
> Moving forward, if the community decides that it's right and fair that the
> organization receiving sponsor money and taking ticket money for the
> conference report on a specific level of P/L data, then that requirement can
> be put into place and clearly communicated before any commitments are made.
> We (the core committee) had asked LocationTech if it was possible to report
> financial data in past years, and they politely declined for the reasons
> listed (I believe fairly), and we dropped the issue. This could represent a
> failing on our part to uphold the ideal of transparency, and if that is the
> case, then this misunderstanding is on us. One could argue we should have
> forced the issue, and if LocationTech had not acquiesced, we should have not
> used them as the LO. I was not of that opinion at the time and remain that
> way, though I understand and respect why transparency is important, and
> could very possibly be wrong. However, I believe LocationTech ran great
> conferences with honest and hard effort, for the good of the community. I
> appreciate the work they put in, while simultaneously hoping that the next
> conference committee, LO, and the core committee can do better in the
> future.
>
> Thanks,
> Rob
>
>
>
> On Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 9:06 PM, Sara <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Hi Marc:
>>
>> Please do not bring my employer into this. That is threatening behavior,
>> and is incredibly inappropriate for anyone in this community to engage in.
>>
>> The fact that I was Program Chair of FOSS4G-NA 2018 for six months is no
>> secret: among many reasons documented elsewhere, I found a replacement for
>> myself and stepped down from the role in order to maintain "separation of
>> church & state", as it were, when I felt it was no longer tenable to
>> represent both my employer and FOSS4G-NA at the same time (this directly
>> followed you asking Sara-the-Program-Chair to "wiggle a platinum sponsorship
>> from" her employer).
>>
>> Come on, folks. I'm not trying to make unreasonable demands. I'm not
>> trying to launch any missiles. I'm just trying to continue a conversation
>> that LocationTech staff started on May 4. Personal attacks on me and
>> dismissing this as a "non-discussion" aren't constructive.
>>
>> --Sara
>>
>> On Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 8:00 PM, Marc Vloemans <[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>>>
>>> Dear all,
>>>
>>> After so many tweets, posts, blogs etc. I feel a formal response is
>>> needed.
>>>
>>> LocationTech - as part of a longstanding agreement with the Core
>>> Committee of Foss4g NA - has acted as the contractor/producer of this
>>> conference.
>>> This entailed that all pre-conference investments and financial risks
>>> were off the shoulders of OSGeo.org. Regional conferences like this one
>>> elsewhere in the world are taken on by local/regional chapters. But until
>>> some weeks ago there was no such chapter in North America. Therefor this
>>> special construct.
>>> LocationTech has informed the Core Committee before “St Louis” that we
>>> would  not be able to continue this arrangement as the financial and human
>>> resources were beyond its means.
>>>
>>> The demands made by Sara Safavi to give insight into the books are not
>>> appropriate. Comparable to a customer asking her employer (Planet Labs) to
>>> open their books to a customer. Since FOSS4G NA mostly relied on
>>> professional staff (instead of volunteers like in “Boston” and Companies
>>> sponsoring their employee’s time) this would give third parties indirect
>>> information re salaries etc.
>>> And I will not do that. Ever. Especially if persons try to force my hand,
>>> when they have no legal, moral or other right to this type of personal
>>> information.
>>>
>>> Furthermore, I would like to emphasise that Sara has been Program Chair
>>> of FOSS4G NA 2018 until the deadline for the CfP. She has been aware of this
>>> arrangement from the beginning....
>>>
>>> On another note; this non-discussion is damaging the Core Committee, the
>>> FOSS4G NA and overall brands at large and OSGeo (both .org and US). And the
>>> great working relationship between OSGeo and LocationTech. But furthermore,
>>> it makes our community a place where those who put in actual work and energy
>>> are subjected to harassment. With the silent approval of the majority.....
>>> If we want to keep present/attract future volunteers, partners,
>>> supporters and sponsors we need to put a stop to this type of behaviour.
>>> Right here and now. Otherwise we dig our collective grave.
>>>
>>> If the majority keeps their silence then OSGeo has become a very toxic
>>> place, indeed!
>>>
>>> (And I still wonder whether the demands represent Planet Labs’ (who was a
>>> welcome and respected sponsor of this year’s FOSS4G NA) opinion or not
>>> .....)
>>>
>>> Hope this gives background and puts an end to this non-discussion.
>>>
>>> Kind regards,
>>> Marc
>>>
>>>
>>> >
>>> > -------- Original Message --------
>>> > Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records
>>> > Date: 2018-06-14 14:23
>>> > From: Sara <[hidden email]>
>>> > To: Cameron Shorter <[hidden email]>
>>> > Cc: michael terner <[hidden email]>,
>>> > [hidden email], Conference Dev
>>> > <[hidden email]>
>>> >
>>> > Hi Cameron, all:
>>> >
>>> > Sure, happy to explain further: my request is for information that
>>> > LocationTech already stated publicly was "open", "has always been", and
>>> > would be posted to OSGeo's wiki -- to actually be made open and posted
>>> > to the wiki. If LocationTech either misspoke, lied, or changed their
>>> > mind on that then as a community member/volunteer/sponsor I would like
>>> > to know why. I'm not alone in this, either: I'm just today's squeaky
>>> > wheel. :)
>>> >
>>> > As Steven said:
>>> >> I would not expect preparing a schedule of income and expenditure for
>>> > a conference to be a lot of effort. The organising team or their PCO
>>> > must maintain some schedules to record income and expenditure.
>>> >
>>> > I'm not expecting miracles, but as a community centered around
>>> > transparency and openness it seems unusual to not have at least some
>>> > insight into one of our larger event's basic financial records. As Mike
>>> > & Steven both point out, though not a requirement this is a
>>> > longstanding
>>> > community norm for many FOSS4G events.
>>> >
>>> > Considering the past conversations we've all seen on the distro lists
>>> > re: this working group/LOC specifically and transparency, I'm surprised
>>> > that one now needs to provide "a worthy motivation" to even pose the
>>> > question. Meanwhile off-list I'm getting private messages telling me to
>>> > "just let this go". Did I miss a memo or something?
>>> >
>>> > On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 10:44 PM, Cameron Shorter
>>> > <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> >
>>> >> Sara,
>>> >> I'd suggest it might be helpful to explain why you are requesting
>>> >> people open the books. Providing a worthy motivation will likely help
>>> >> inspire a volunteer to help you.
>>> >> There is typically quite a bit of volunteer effort required to pull
>>> >> together past data into a usable format. Quite often it requires data
>>> >> to be de-personalised for public consumption. Maybe you can say
>>> >> something along the lines of "if you release the metrics, then I will
>>> >> be able to add value to the osgeo community to help ..."
>>> >> On 14/6/18 8:20 am, michael terner wrote:
>>> >> Sara:
>>> >> I fully support the notion of "open books" and the Boston Team has
>>> >> endeavored to do that. Indeed, when asking volunteers to do so much in
>>> >> this ecosystem it is important to have openness around the finances.
>>> >> This tweet from Matthew Hanson had a picture of the "raw" (and
>>> >> rounded) Boston numbers that I presented in a talk at FOSS4GNA in STL:
>>> >> https://twitter.com/GeoSkeptic/status/996147340854652928 [2]
>>> >> There's one other slide in that deck that showed the net results
>>> >> (i.e., surplus) and I would be happy to share the entire deck with
>>> >> this list if useful. Just ask. (And, we have lots of other more
>>> >> granular data if there are other, specific questions [e.g., speaker
>>> >> fees; # of people who were early bird; etc.]).
>>> >> That said, the numbers by themselves don't tell the entire story as
>>> >> there is a whole lot of context that matters greatly. Stuff like:
>>> >> * Organizers do not know how the numbers will fully add up until a
>>> >> good bit after the conference. Indeed, there are both trailing
>>> >> expenses to pay, and revenue to collect (some of which are dependent
>>> >> on the actual attendance you achieve). And, some
>>> >> accounting/spreadsheet work to do by already tired volunteers.
>>> >> * Conference registrations are slow to pour in. So while Boston
>>> >> ultimately harvested a sizable surplus, we did not know until _2 weeks
>>> >> _before the conference that we had achieved our break-even number. If
>>> >> we knew what our final attendance would be in advance we would have
>>> >> surely lowered our prices and/or better funded the travel grant
>>> >> program. But we, nor any other organizer, has that luxury. We are
>>> >> pleased that some of our surplus is going to support the Dar es Salaam
>>> >> conference through OSGeo _paying_ for sponsorship for that event.
>>> >> * Decisions that organizers make greatly impact the finances. Things
>>>
>>> >> ranging from providing day care, to giving all speakers a free pass,
>>> >> to the location of the host city, greatly impact costs/revenues while
>>> >> serving other important objectives.
>>> >> Indeed, it is an imperfect science and the Boston team was petrified
>>> >> by our finances up until that "break even" moment 2 weeks before the
>>> >> conference started. But it is also the imperfectness of this science
>>> >> that makes "opening the books" so important as all future conferences
>>> >> can learn from both past triumphs and mistakes. I would never look
>>> >> askance at a set of numbers that told a sadder story than Boston's
>>> >> (unless there was abject corruption, or something like that). Running
>>> >> a conference is hard and in all of the FOSS4G and FOSS4GNA conferences
>>> >> I've volunteered on (which now numbers 5, and includes STL) I have
>>> >> never doubted than anyone acted in a way other than to deliver the
>>> >> best possible conference at the lowest possible cost. I also don't
>>> >> expect that everyone would make the same choices that we did in
>>> >> Boston. Indeed, the Chair and his/her LOC make the choices they feel
>>> >> will lead to the best/most successful conference. Second guessing is a
>>> >> natural impulse, but it easier to do than running the conference. And,
>>> >> from my vantage, open books are important as they serve to help
>>> >> explain the choices that were made, and the financial impact of those
>>> >> choices.
>>> >> Sincerely,
>>> >> MT
>>> >> On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 1:18 PM Sara <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> >> Hi folks,
>>> >> Some of you may be aware that for the past ~5 weeks, I have
>>> >> periodically renewed a public request [0] for FOSS4G-NA 2018's
>>> >> financial records.
>>> >> Yesterday, Marc Vloemans, speaking on behalf of LocationTech, said
>>> >> that I was "misrepresenting" this issue [1]. That's certainly not my
>>> >> intent, so I'd like to clarify the basis for my ongoing request in
>>> >> longform, and renew said request in this forum.
>>> >> - On May 4, 2018, a LocationTech representative stated publicly that
>>> >> FOSS4G-NA's "financials are open, have always been" [2]
>>> >> - Later the same day, the same representative said that they were
>>> >> "working on posting all our materials to the wiki (...) Expect those
>>> >> late this week" [3]
>>> >> - Those statements now appear to be contradicted by the recent comment
>>> >> [1] that "there is no obligation" of LocationTech to share FOSS4G-NA
>>> >> financials
>>> >> My ongoing requests have thus far been an attempt to continue the
>>> >> conversation that originally took place on twitter on May 4th. As Marc
>>> >> said last night that he does not "communicate with people via twitter"
>>> >> [1], I'm more than happy to continue the public conversation with him
>>> >> or any relevant representative(s) here.
>>> >> [0a] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1006304174332661760 [3]
>>> >> [0b] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1001543441053114368 [4]
>>> >> [0c] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/994930635096641536 [5]
>>> >> [1] https://i.imgur.com/NlbXb4t.png [6]
>>> >> [2] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/992394814749577217 [7]
>>> >> [3] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/993584128279957504 [8]
>>> >> Regards,
>>> >> Sara Safavi _______________________________________________
>>> >> Conference_dev mailing list
>>> >> [hidden email]
>>> >> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev [1]
>>> >> --
>>> >> Michael Terner
>>> >> [hidden email]
>>> >> (M) 978-631-6602
>>> >> _______________________________________________
>>> >> Conference_dev mailing list
>>> >> [hidden email]
>>> >> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev [1]
>>> >
>>> > --
>>> > Cameron Shorter
>>> > Technology Demystifier
>>> > Open Technologies and Geospatial Consultant
>>> >
>>> > M +61 (0) 419 142 254
>>> >
>>> > --
>>> > You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
>>> > Groups "foss4gna_selection" group.
>>> > To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send
>>> > an email to [hidden email].
>>> > To post to this group, send email to
>>> > [hidden email].
>>> > To view this discussion on the web, visit
>>> >
>>> > https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/foss4gna_selection/CAF%2BW3R5DUHRdPoFR%3D-Z19WJug0FO7cybxGZHxq_fVxAfe9Hd8Q%40mail.gmail.com
>>> > [9].
>>> > For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > Links:
>>> > ------
>>> > [1] https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev
>>> > [2] https://twitter.com/GeoSkeptic/status/996147340854652928
>>> > [3] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1006304174332661760
>>> > [4] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1001543441053114368
>>> > [5] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/994930635096641536
>>> > [6] https://i.imgur.com/NlbXb4t.png
>>> > [7] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/992394814749577217
>>> > [8] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/993584128279957504
>>> > [9]
>>> > https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/foss4gna_selection/CAF%2BW3R5DUHRdPoFR%3D-Z19WJug0FO7cybxGZHxq_fVxAfe9Hd8Q%40mail.gmail.com?utm_medium=email&utm_source=footer
>>
>>
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>>
>> For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.
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Re: FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records

michael terner-2
+1 Big thanks to Rob for explaining things and providing context.

Also, a thanks to LT for stepping forward for three FOSS4GNA cycles. We can all find imperfections that are more, or less important to us individually, but the fact remains that there were three great events in North America (2015, 2016 and 2018) that would not have happened without LocationTech's involvement. And, as others have said, we can learn lessons that can be passed on to future conference teams (e.g., a potential requirement/guideline for post conference financial reporting).

But, as Marc pointed out it is indeed time to focus on FOSS4GNA 2019. And, it is really important for all of us to realize that with LT pulling back from "leading" FOSS4GNA, the Core Committee has its hands full finding a team, a location and a Chair for that event. I know some possibilities are being explored and that the new OSGeo US Chapter is now an active participant in the Core Committee, but those plans need to firm up soon as there are really only ~11 months to go until that conference would normally happen.

Let's learn from this productive, if not painful at times, thread and move on to FOSS4GNA 2019. This is a great event that has benefited the North American FOSS4G ecosystem and from my POV it needs to recur.

MT

On Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 10:03 AM, Paul Ramsey <[hidden email]> wrote:
Thank you Rob, for the clear explanation of the history and current state.

Like Stephen I would love to see some major category reporting, which
is all that prior conferences have provided (this isn't an
invoice-by-invoice audit, it's information suitable for future
planning) but if LT is unable to produce that for whatever reason, I
won't light my hair on fire.

Thanks all,
P.


On Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 8:26 PM, Rob Emanuele <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> My understanding of what is happening here is this: a LocationTech employee
> mis-spoke about the organization's intentions about reporting financial
> data, which was never a requirement put on the organization nor the
> intention of the organization. The result has been a set of valid questions,
> which should be answered clearly.
>
> I can confirm that the FOSS4G NA core committee never required the Eclipse
> Foundation or LocationTech to report financial data as part of brining them
> on as the logistics organizer.
>
> Moving forward, if the community decides that it's right and fair that the
> organization receiving sponsor money and taking ticket money for the
> conference report on a specific level of P/L data, then that requirement can
> be put into place and clearly communicated before any commitments are made.
> We (the core committee) had asked LocationTech if it was possible to report
> financial data in past years, and they politely declined for the reasons
> listed (I believe fairly), and we dropped the issue. This could represent a
> failing on our part to uphold the ideal of transparency, and if that is the
> case, then this misunderstanding is on us. One could argue we should have
> forced the issue, and if LocationTech had not acquiesced, we should have not
> used them as the LO. I was not of that opinion at the time and remain that
> way, though I understand and respect why transparency is important, and
> could very possibly be wrong. However, I believe LocationTech ran great
> conferences with honest and hard effort, for the good of the community. I
> appreciate the work they put in, while simultaneously hoping that the next
> conference committee, LO, and the core committee can do better in the
> future.
>
> Thanks,
> Rob
>
>
>
> On Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 9:06 PM, Sara <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Hi Marc:
>>
>> Please do not bring my employer into this. That is threatening behavior,
>> and is incredibly inappropriate for anyone in this community to engage in.
>>
>> The fact that I was Program Chair of FOSS4G-NA 2018 for six months is no
>> secret: among many reasons documented elsewhere, I found a replacement for
>> myself and stepped down from the role in order to maintain "separation of
>> church & state", as it were, when I felt it was no longer tenable to
>> represent both my employer and FOSS4G-NA at the same time (this directly
>> followed you asking Sara-the-Program-Chair to "wiggle a platinum sponsorship
>> from" her employer).
>>
>> Come on, folks. I'm not trying to make unreasonable demands. I'm not
>> trying to launch any missiles. I'm just trying to continue a conversation
>> that LocationTech staff started on May 4. Personal attacks on me and
>> dismissing this as a "non-discussion" aren't constructive.
>>
>> --Sara
>>
>> On Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 8:00 PM, Marc Vloemans <[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>>>
>>> Dear all,
>>>
>>> After so many tweets, posts, blogs etc. I feel a formal response is
>>> needed.
>>>
>>> LocationTech - as part of a longstanding agreement with the Core
>>> Committee of Foss4g NA - has acted as the contractor/producer of this
>>> conference.
>>> This entailed that all pre-conference investments and financial risks
>>> were off the shoulders of OSGeo.org. Regional conferences like this one
>>> elsewhere in the world are taken on by local/regional chapters. But until
>>> some weeks ago there was no such chapter in North America. Therefor this
>>> special construct.
>>> LocationTech has informed the Core Committee before “St Louis” that we
>>> would  not be able to continue this arrangement as the financial and human
>>> resources were beyond its means.
>>>
>>> The demands made by Sara Safavi to give insight into the books are not
>>> appropriate. Comparable to a customer asking her employer (Planet Labs) to
>>> open their books to a customer. Since FOSS4G NA mostly relied on
>>> professional staff (instead of volunteers like in “Boston” and Companies
>>> sponsoring their employee’s time) this would give third parties indirect
>>> information re salaries etc.
>>> And I will not do that. Ever. Especially if persons try to force my hand,
>>> when they have no legal, moral or other right to this type of personal
>>> information.
>>>
>>> Furthermore, I would like to emphasise that Sara has been Program Chair
>>> of FOSS4G NA 2018 until the deadline for the CfP. She has been aware of this
>>> arrangement from the beginning....
>>>
>>> On another note; this non-discussion is damaging the Core Committee, the
>>> FOSS4G NA and overall brands at large and OSGeo (both .org and US). And the
>>> great working relationship between OSGeo and LocationTech. But furthermore,
>>> it makes our community a place where those who put in actual work and energy
>>> are subjected to harassment. With the silent approval of the majority.....
>>> If we want to keep present/attract future volunteers, partners,
>>> supporters and sponsors we need to put a stop to this type of behaviour.
>>> Right here and now. Otherwise we dig our collective grave.
>>>
>>> If the majority keeps their silence then OSGeo has become a very toxic
>>> place, indeed!
>>>
>>> (And I still wonder whether the demands represent Planet Labs’ (who was a
>>> welcome and respected sponsor of this year’s FOSS4G NA) opinion or not
>>> .....)
>>>
>>> Hope this gives background and puts an end to this non-discussion.
>>>
>>> Kind regards,
>>> Marc
>>>
>>>
>>> >
>>> > -------- Original Message --------
>>> > Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records
>>> > Date: 2018-06-14 14:23
>>> > From: Sara <[hidden email]>
>>> > To: Cameron Shorter <[hidden email]>
>>> > Cc: michael terner <[hidden email]>,
>>> > [hidden email], Conference Dev
>>> > <[hidden email]>
>>> >
>>> > Hi Cameron, all:
>>> >
>>> > Sure, happy to explain further: my request is for information that
>>> > LocationTech already stated publicly was "open", "has always been", and
>>> > would be posted to OSGeo's wiki -- to actually be made open and posted
>>> > to the wiki. If LocationTech either misspoke, lied, or changed their
>>> > mind on that then as a community member/volunteer/sponsor I would like
>>> > to know why. I'm not alone in this, either: I'm just today's squeaky
>>> > wheel. :)
>>> >
>>> > As Steven said:
>>> >> I would not expect preparing a schedule of income and expenditure for
>>> > a conference to be a lot of effort. The organising team or their PCO
>>> > must maintain some schedules to record income and expenditure.
>>> >
>>> > I'm not expecting miracles, but as a community centered around
>>> > transparency and openness it seems unusual to not have at least some
>>> > insight into one of our larger event's basic financial records. As Mike
>>> > & Steven both point out, though not a requirement this is a
>>> > longstanding
>>> > community norm for many FOSS4G events.
>>> >
>>> > Considering the past conversations we've all seen on the distro lists
>>> > re: this working group/LOC specifically and transparency, I'm surprised
>>> > that one now needs to provide "a worthy motivation" to even pose the
>>> > question. Meanwhile off-list I'm getting private messages telling me to
>>> > "just let this go". Did I miss a memo or something?
>>> >
>>> > On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 10:44 PM, Cameron Shorter
>>> > <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> >
>>> >> Sara,
>>> >> I'd suggest it might be helpful to explain why you are requesting
>>> >> people open the books. Providing a worthy motivation will likely help
>>> >> inspire a volunteer to help you.
>>> >> There is typically quite a bit of volunteer effort required to pull
>>> >> together past data into a usable format. Quite often it requires data
>>> >> to be de-personalised for public consumption. Maybe you can say
>>> >> something along the lines of "if you release the metrics, then I will
>>> >> be able to add value to the osgeo community to help ..."
>>> >> On 14/6/18 8:20 am, michael terner wrote:
>>> >> Sara:
>>> >> I fully support the notion of "open books" and the Boston Team has
>>> >> endeavored to do that. Indeed, when asking volunteers to do so much in
>>> >> this ecosystem it is important to have openness around the finances.
>>> >> This tweet from Matthew Hanson had a picture of the "raw" (and
>>> >> rounded) Boston numbers that I presented in a talk at FOSS4GNA in STL:
>>> >> https://twitter.com/GeoSkeptic/status/996147340854652928 [2]
>>> >> There's one other slide in that deck that showed the net results
>>> >> (i.e., surplus) and I would be happy to share the entire deck with
>>> >> this list if useful. Just ask. (And, we have lots of other more
>>> >> granular data if there are other, specific questions [e.g., speaker
>>> >> fees; # of people who were early bird; etc.]).
>>> >> That said, the numbers by themselves don't tell the entire story as
>>> >> there is a whole lot of context that matters greatly. Stuff like:
>>> >> * Organizers do not know how the numbers will fully add up until a
>>> >> good bit after the conference. Indeed, there are both trailing
>>> >> expenses to pay, and revenue to collect (some of which are dependent
>>> >> on the actual attendance you achieve). And, some
>>> >> accounting/spreadsheet work to do by already tired volunteers.
>>> >> * Conference registrations are slow to pour in. So while Boston
>>> >> ultimately harvested a sizable surplus, we did not know until _2 weeks
>>> >> _before the conference that we had achieved our break-even number. If
>>> >> we knew what our final attendance would be in advance we would have
>>> >> surely lowered our prices and/or better funded the travel grant
>>> >> program. But we, nor any other organizer, has that luxury. We are
>>> >> pleased that some of our surplus is going to support the Dar es Salaam
>>> >> conference through OSGeo _paying_ for sponsorship for that event.
>>> >> * Decisions that organizers make greatly impact the finances. Things
>>>
>>> >> ranging from providing day care, to giving all speakers a free pass,
>>> >> to the location of the host city, greatly impact costs/revenues while
>>> >> serving other important objectives.
>>> >> Indeed, it is an imperfect science and the Boston team was petrified
>>> >> by our finances up until that "break even" moment 2 weeks before the
>>> >> conference started. But it is also the imperfectness of this science
>>> >> that makes "opening the books" so important as all future conferences
>>> >> can learn from both past triumphs and mistakes. I would never look
>>> >> askance at a set of numbers that told a sadder story than Boston's
>>> >> (unless there was abject corruption, or something like that). Running
>>> >> a conference is hard and in all of the FOSS4G and FOSS4GNA conferences
>>> >> I've volunteered on (which now numbers 5, and includes STL) I have
>>> >> never doubted than anyone acted in a way other than to deliver the
>>> >> best possible conference at the lowest possible cost. I also don't
>>> >> expect that everyone would make the same choices that we did in
>>> >> Boston. Indeed, the Chair and his/her LOC make the choices they feel
>>> >> will lead to the best/most successful conference. Second guessing is a
>>> >> natural impulse, but it easier to do than running the conference. And,
>>> >> from my vantage, open books are important as they serve to help
>>> >> explain the choices that were made, and the financial impact of those
>>> >> choices.
>>> >> Sincerely,
>>> >> MT
>>> >> On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 1:18 PM Sara <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> >> Hi folks,
>>> >> Some of you may be aware that for the past ~5 weeks, I have
>>> >> periodically renewed a public request [0] for FOSS4G-NA 2018's
>>> >> financial records.
>>> >> Yesterday, Marc Vloemans, speaking on behalf of LocationTech, said
>>> >> that I was "misrepresenting" this issue [1]. That's certainly not my
>>> >> intent, so I'd like to clarify the basis for my ongoing request in
>>> >> longform, and renew said request in this forum.
>>> >> - On May 4, 2018, a LocationTech representative stated publicly that
>>> >> FOSS4G-NA's "financials are open, have always been" [2]
>>> >> - Later the same day, the same representative said that they were
>>> >> "working on posting all our materials to the wiki (...) Expect those
>>> >> late this week" [3]
>>> >> - Those statements now appear to be contradicted by the recent comment
>>> >> [1] that "there is no obligation" of LocationTech to share FOSS4G-NA
>>> >> financials
>>> >> My ongoing requests have thus far been an attempt to continue the
>>> >> conversation that originally took place on twitter on May 4th. As Marc
>>> >> said last night that he does not "communicate with people via twitter"
>>> >> [1], I'm more than happy to continue the public conversation with him
>>> >> or any relevant representative(s) here.
>>> >> [0a] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1006304174332661760 [3]
>>> >> [0b] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1001543441053114368 [4]
>>> >> [0c] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/994930635096641536 [5]
>>> >> [1] https://i.imgur.com/NlbXb4t.png [6]
>>> >> [2] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/992394814749577217 [7]
>>> >> [3] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/993584128279957504 [8]
>>> >> Regards,
>>> >> Sara Safavi _______________________________________________
>>> >> Conference_dev mailing list
>>> >> [hidden email]
>>> >> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev [1]
>>> >> --
>>> >> Michael Terner
>>> >> [hidden email]
>>> >> (M) 978-631-6602
>>> >> _______________________________________________
>>> >> Conference_dev mailing list
>>> >> [hidden email]
>>> >> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev [1]
>>> >
>>> > --
>>> > Cameron Shorter
>>> > Technology Demystifier
>>> > Open Technologies and Geospatial Consultant
>>> >
>>> > M +61 (0) 419 142 254
>>> >
>>> > --
>>> > You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
>>> > Groups "foss4gna_selection" group.
>>> > To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send
>>> > an email to [hidden email].
>>> > To post to this group, send email to
>>> > [hidden email].
>>> > To view this discussion on the web, visit
>>> >
>>> > https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/foss4gna_selection/CAF%2BW3R5DUHRdPoFR%3D-Z19WJug0FO7cybxGZHxq_fVxAfe9Hd8Q%40mail.gmail.com
>>> > [9].
>>> > For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > Links:
>>> > ------
>>> > [1] https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev
>>> > [2] https://twitter.com/GeoSkeptic/status/996147340854652928
>>> > [3] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1006304174332661760
>>> > [4] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1001543441053114368
>>> > [5] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/994930635096641536
>>> > [6] https://i.imgur.com/NlbXb4t.png
>>> > [7] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/992394814749577217
>>> > [8] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/993584128279957504
>>> > [9]
>>> > https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/foss4gna_selection/CAF%2BW3R5DUHRdPoFR%3D-Z19WJug0FO7cybxGZHxq_fVxAfe9Hd8Q%40mail.gmail.com?utm_medium=email&utm_source=footer
>>
>>
>> --
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>> To post to this group, send email to [hidden email].
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>>
>> For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.
>
>
>
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Re: FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records

Cameron Shorter

+1 from me too for comments and reasoning from the wise people on this email thread who have spoken before me.

LocationTech and the Eclipse Foundation have stepped up and provided a huge amount of generous support, expertise and professionalism. They provided backing to financially risky FOSS4G events. During the 2009 financial crisis when I was FOSS4G-global chair, for a while I was seriously concerned that FOSS4G was going to be a financial disaster and was going to bankrupt OSGeo. It would have been nice to have LocationTech helping out back then.

I'm sure LocationTech now have the message that it would be valuable to open the books. Maybe they will share something in their own time. They have no contractual obligations to do so, and I'm suspecting there are business pressures they face to not open the books. Let's accept that, and take it as a lesson for future events. There are always things that we could have done better or differently and we sometimes forget to acknowledge what we have done well.

I'm more concerned that LocationTech has felt that they should step back from FOSS4G involvement. Are we making it hard and unwelcoming for a segment of our community to engage with OSGeo activities?

Warm regards, Cameron


On 16/6/18 2:54 am, michael terner wrote:
+1 Big thanks to Rob for explaining things and providing context.

Also, a thanks to LT for stepping forward for three FOSS4GNA cycles. We can all find imperfections that are more, or less important to us individually, but the fact remains that there were three great events in North America (2015, 2016 and 2018) that would not have happened without LocationTech's involvement. And, as others have said, we can learn lessons that can be passed on to future conference teams (e.g., a potential requirement/guideline for post conference financial reporting).

But, as Marc pointed out it is indeed time to focus on FOSS4GNA 2019. And, it is really important for all of us to realize that with LT pulling back from "leading" FOSS4GNA, the Core Committee has its hands full finding a team, a location and a Chair for that event. I know some possibilities are being explored and that the new OSGeo US Chapter is now an active participant in the Core Committee, but those plans need to firm up soon as there are really only ~11 months to go until that conference would normally happen.

Let's learn from this productive, if not painful at times, thread and move on to FOSS4GNA 2019. This is a great event that has benefited the North American FOSS4G ecosystem and from my POV it needs to recur.

MT

On Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 10:03 AM, Paul Ramsey <[hidden email]> wrote:
Thank you Rob, for the clear explanation of the history and current state.

Like Stephen I would love to see some major category reporting, which
is all that prior conferences have provided (this isn't an
invoice-by-invoice audit, it's information suitable for future
planning) but if LT is unable to produce that for whatever reason, I
won't light my hair on fire.

Thanks all,
P.


On Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 8:26 PM, Rob Emanuele <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> My understanding of what is happening here is this: a LocationTech employee
> mis-spoke about the organization's intentions about reporting financial
> data, which was never a requirement put on the organization nor the
> intention of the organization. The result has been a set of valid questions,
> which should be answered clearly.
>
> I can confirm that the FOSS4G NA core committee never required the Eclipse
> Foundation or LocationTech to report financial data as part of brining them
> on as the logistics organizer.
>
> Moving forward, if the community decides that it's right and fair that the
> organization receiving sponsor money and taking ticket money for the
> conference report on a specific level of P/L data, then that requirement can
> be put into place and clearly communicated before any commitments are made.
> We (the core committee) had asked LocationTech if it was possible to report
> financial data in past years, and they politely declined for the reasons
> listed (I believe fairly), and we dropped the issue. This could represent a
> failing on our part to uphold the ideal of transparency, and if that is the
> case, then this misunderstanding is on us. One could argue we should have
> forced the issue, and if LocationTech had not acquiesced, we should have not
> used them as the LO. I was not of that opinion at the time and remain that
> way, though I understand and respect why transparency is important, and
> could very possibly be wrong. However, I believe LocationTech ran great
> conferences with honest and hard effort, for the good of the community. I
> appreciate the work they put in, while simultaneously hoping that the next
> conference committee, LO, and the core committee can do better in the
> future.
>
> Thanks,
> Rob
>
>
>
> On Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 9:06 PM, Sara <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Hi Marc:
>>
>> Please do not bring my employer into this. That is threatening behavior,
>> and is incredibly inappropriate for anyone in this community to engage in.
>>
>> The fact that I was Program Chair of FOSS4G-NA 2018 for six months is no
>> secret: among many reasons documented elsewhere, I found a replacement for
>> myself and stepped down from the role in order to maintain "separation of
>> church & state", as it were, when I felt it was no longer tenable to
>> represent both my employer and FOSS4G-NA at the same time (this directly
>> followed you asking Sara-the-Program-Chair to "wiggle a platinum sponsorship
>> from" her employer).
>>
>> Come on, folks. I'm not trying to make unreasonable demands. I'm not
>> trying to launch any missiles. I'm just trying to continue a conversation
>> that LocationTech staff started on May 4. Personal attacks on me and
>> dismissing this as a "non-discussion" aren't constructive.
>>
>> --Sara
>>
>> On Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 8:00 PM, Marc Vloemans <[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>>>
>>> Dear all,
>>>
>>> After so many tweets, posts, blogs etc. I feel a formal response is
>>> needed.
>>>
>>> LocationTech - as part of a longstanding agreement with the Core
>>> Committee of Foss4g NA - has acted as the contractor/producer of this
>>> conference.
>>> This entailed that all pre-conference investments and financial risks
>>> were off the shoulders of OSGeo.org. Regional conferences like this one
>>> elsewhere in the world are taken on by local/regional chapters. But until
>>> some weeks ago there was no such chapter in North America. Therefor this
>>> special construct.
>>> LocationTech has informed the Core Committee before “St Louis” that we
>>> would  not be able to continue this arrangement as the financial and human
>>> resources were beyond its means.
>>>
>>> The demands made by Sara Safavi to give insight into the books are not
>>> appropriate. Comparable to a customer asking her employer (Planet Labs) to
>>> open their books to a customer. Since FOSS4G NA mostly relied on
>>> professional staff (instead of volunteers like in “Boston” and Companies
>>> sponsoring their employee’s time) this would give third parties indirect
>>> information re salaries etc.
>>> And I will not do that. Ever. Especially if persons try to force my hand,
>>> when they have no legal, moral or other right to this type of personal
>>> information.
>>>
>>> Furthermore, I would like to emphasise that Sara has been Program Chair
>>> of FOSS4G NA 2018 until the deadline for the CfP. She has been aware of this
>>> arrangement from the beginning....
>>>
>>> On another note; this non-discussion is damaging the Core Committee, the
>>> FOSS4G NA and overall brands at large and OSGeo (both .org and US). And the
>>> great working relationship between OSGeo and LocationTech. But furthermore,
>>> it makes our community a place where those who put in actual work and energy
>>> are subjected to harassment. With the silent approval of the majority.....
>>> If we want to keep present/attract future volunteers, partners,
>>> supporters and sponsors we need to put a stop to this type of behaviour.
>>> Right here and now. Otherwise we dig our collective grave.
>>>
>>> If the majority keeps their silence then OSGeo has become a very toxic
>>> place, indeed!
>>>
>>> (And I still wonder whether the demands represent Planet Labs’ (who was a
>>> welcome and respected sponsor of this year’s FOSS4G NA) opinion or not
>>> .....)
>>>
>>> Hope this gives background and puts an end to this non-discussion.
>>>
>>> Kind regards,
>>> Marc
>>>
>>>
>>> >
>>> > -------- Original Message --------
>>> > Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G-NA -- request for financial records
>>> > Date: 2018-06-14 14:23
>>> > From: Sara <[hidden email]>
>>> > To: Cameron Shorter <[hidden email]>
>>> > Cc: michael terner <[hidden email]>,
>>> > [hidden email], Conference Dev
>>> > <[hidden email]>
>>> >
>>> > Hi Cameron, all:
>>> >
>>> > Sure, happy to explain further: my request is for information that
>>> > LocationTech already stated publicly was "open", "has always been", and
>>> > would be posted to OSGeo's wiki -- to actually be made open and posted
>>> > to the wiki. If LocationTech either misspoke, lied, or changed their
>>> > mind on that then as a community member/volunteer/sponsor I would like
>>> > to know why. I'm not alone in this, either: I'm just today's squeaky
>>> > wheel. :)
>>> >
>>> > As Steven said:
>>> >> I would not expect preparing a schedule of income and expenditure for
>>> > a conference to be a lot of effort. The organising team or their PCO
>>> > must maintain some schedules to record income and expenditure.
>>> >
>>> > I'm not expecting miracles, but as a community centered around
>>> > transparency and openness it seems unusual to not have at least some
>>> > insight into one of our larger event's basic financial records. As Mike
>>> > & Steven both point out, though not a requirement this is a
>>> > longstanding
>>> > community norm for many FOSS4G events.
>>> >
>>> > Considering the past conversations we've all seen on the distro lists
>>> > re: this working group/LOC specifically and transparency, I'm surprised
>>> > that one now needs to provide "a worthy motivation" to even pose the
>>> > question. Meanwhile off-list I'm getting private messages telling me to
>>> > "just let this go". Did I miss a memo or something?
>>> >
>>> > On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 10:44 PM, Cameron Shorter
>>> > <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> >
>>> >> Sara,
>>> >> I'd suggest it might be helpful to explain why you are requesting
>>> >> people open the books. Providing a worthy motivation will likely help
>>> >> inspire a volunteer to help you.
>>> >> There is typically quite a bit of volunteer effort required to pull
>>> >> together past data into a usable format. Quite often it requires data
>>> >> to be de-personalised for public consumption. Maybe you can say
>>> >> something along the lines of "if you release the metrics, then I will
>>> >> be able to add value to the osgeo community to help ..."
>>> >> On 14/6/18 8:20 am, michael terner wrote:
>>> >> Sara:
>>> >> I fully support the notion of "open books" and the Boston Team has
>>> >> endeavored to do that. Indeed, when asking volunteers to do so much in
>>> >> this ecosystem it is important to have openness around the finances.
>>> >> This tweet from Matthew Hanson had a picture of the "raw" (and
>>> >> rounded) Boston numbers that I presented in a talk at FOSS4GNA in STL:
>>> >> https://twitter.com/GeoSkeptic/status/996147340854652928 [2]
>>> >> There's one other slide in that deck that showed the net results
>>> >> (i.e., surplus) and I would be happy to share the entire deck with
>>> >> this list if useful. Just ask. (And, we have lots of other more
>>> >> granular data if there are other, specific questions [e.g., speaker
>>> >> fees; # of people who were early bird; etc.]).
>>> >> That said, the numbers by themselves don't tell the entire story as
>>> >> there is a whole lot of context that matters greatly. Stuff like:
>>> >> * Organizers do not know how the numbers will fully add up until a
>>> >> good bit after the conference. Indeed, there are both trailing
>>> >> expenses to pay, and revenue to collect (some of which are dependent
>>> >> on the actual attendance you achieve). And, some
>>> >> accounting/spreadsheet work to do by already tired volunteers.
>>> >> * Conference registrations are slow to pour in. So while Boston
>>> >> ultimately harvested a sizable surplus, we did not know until _2 weeks
>>> >> _before the conference that we had achieved our break-even number. If
>>> >> we knew what our final attendance would be in advance we would have
>>> >> surely lowered our prices and/or better funded the travel grant
>>> >> program. But we, nor any other organizer, has that luxury. We are
>>> >> pleased that some of our surplus is going to support the Dar es Salaam
>>> >> conference through OSGeo _paying_ for sponsorship for that event.
>>> >> * Decisions that organizers make greatly impact the finances. Things
>>>
>>> >> ranging from providing day care, to giving all speakers a free pass,
>>> >> to the location of the host city, greatly impact costs/revenues while
>>> >> serving other important objectives.
>>> >> Indeed, it is an imperfect science and the Boston team was petrified
>>> >> by our finances up until that "break even" moment 2 weeks before the
>>> >> conference started. But it is also the imperfectness of this science
>>> >> that makes "opening the books" so important as all future conferences
>>> >> can learn from both past triumphs and mistakes. I would never look
>>> >> askance at a set of numbers that told a sadder story than Boston's
>>> >> (unless there was abject corruption, or something like that). Running
>>> >> a conference is hard and in all of the FOSS4G and FOSS4GNA conferences
>>> >> I've volunteered on (which now numbers 5, and includes STL) I have
>>> >> never doubted than anyone acted in a way other than to deliver the
>>> >> best possible conference at the lowest possible cost. I also don't
>>> >> expect that everyone would make the same choices that we did in
>>> >> Boston. Indeed, the Chair and his/her LOC make the choices they feel
>>> >> will lead to the best/most successful conference. Second guessing is a
>>> >> natural impulse, but it easier to do than running the conference. And,
>>> >> from my vantage, open books are important as they serve to help
>>> >> explain the choices that were made, and the financial impact of those
>>> >> choices.
>>> >> Sincerely,
>>> >> MT
>>> >> On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 1:18 PM Sara <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> >> Hi folks,
>>> >> Some of you may be aware that for the past ~5 weeks, I have
>>> >> periodically renewed a public request [0] for FOSS4G-NA 2018's
>>> >> financial records.
>>> >> Yesterday, Marc Vloemans, speaking on behalf of LocationTech, said
>>> >> that I was "misrepresenting" this issue [1]. That's certainly not my
>>> >> intent, so I'd like to clarify the basis for my ongoing request in
>>> >> longform, and renew said request in this forum.
>>> >> - On May 4, 2018, a LocationTech representative stated publicly that
>>> >> FOSS4G-NA's "financials are open, have always been" [2]
>>> >> - Later the same day, the same representative said that they were
>>> >> "working on posting all our materials to the wiki (...) Expect those
>>> >> late this week" [3]
>>> >> - Those statements now appear to be contradicted by the recent comment
>>> >> [1] that "there is no obligation" of LocationTech to share FOSS4G-NA
>>> >> financials
>>> >> My ongoing requests have thus far been an attempt to continue the
>>> >> conversation that originally took place on twitter on May 4th. As Marc
>>> >> said last night that he does not "communicate with people via twitter"
>>> >> [1], I'm more than happy to continue the public conversation with him
>>> >> or any relevant representative(s) here.
>>> >> [0a] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1006304174332661760 [3]
>>> >> [0b] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1001543441053114368 [4]
>>> >> [0c] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/994930635096641536 [5]
>>> >> [1] https://i.imgur.com/NlbXb4t.png [6]
>>> >> [2] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/992394814749577217 [7]
>>> >> [3] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/993584128279957504 [8]
>>> >> Regards,
>>> >> Sara Safavi _______________________________________________
>>> >> Conference_dev mailing list
>>> >> [hidden email]
>>> >> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev [1]
>>> >> --
>>> >> Michael Terner
>>> >> [hidden email]
>>> >> (M) 978-631-6602
>>> >> _______________________________________________
>>> >> Conference_dev mailing list
>>> >> [hidden email]
>>> >> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev [1]
>>> >
>>> > --
>>> > Cameron Shorter
>>> > Technology Demystifier
>>> > Open Technologies and Geospatial Consultant
>>> >
>>> > M +61 (0) 419 142 254
>>> >
>>> > --
>>> > You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
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>>> > To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send
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>>> > To post to this group, send email to
>>> > [hidden email].
>>> > To view this discussion on the web, visit
>>> >
>>> > https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/foss4gna_selection/CAF%2BW3R5DUHRdPoFR%3D-Z19WJug0FO7cybxGZHxq_fVxAfe9Hd8Q%40mail.gmail.com
>>> > [9].
>>> > For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > Links:
>>> > ------
>>> > [1] https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev
>>> > [2] https://twitter.com/GeoSkeptic/status/996147340854652928
>>> > [3] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1006304174332661760
>>> > [4] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1001543441053114368
>>> > [5] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/994930635096641536
>>> > [6] https://i.imgur.com/NlbXb4t.png
>>> > [7] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/992394814749577217
>>> > [8] https://twitter.com/TheaClay/status/993584128279957504
>>> > [9]
>>> > https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/foss4gna_selection/CAF%2BW3R5DUHRdPoFR%3D-Z19WJug0FO7cybxGZHxq_fVxAfe9Hd8Q%40mail.gmail.com?utm_medium=email&utm_source=footer
>>
>>
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>>
>> For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.
>
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