Present and Future of TEI

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Present and Future of TEI

Pierazzo, Elena
Dear John,

I join the voice of many already in thanking you for taking over the TEI in such a complicated moment: for sure I don't envy you in this moment. 
I have to confess myself disappointed, though, for the statement that you have released (at long last). I hope you will then forgive me for going over these facts again, doing the contrary of what you have invited us to, namely getting over it and think of a brighter future. I am sorry, but I cannot think of a brighter future if do not make clear the dark present and even darker recent past. It is my belief that if we do not investigate what has happened and why so many people felt there was something that deserved to be reprimanded in what happened  (see the Council statement, for instance, which, I notice you have not mentioned in your statement), I don't see why it shouldn't happen again as there was nothing wrong in it, if we simply stick to the letter of the Bylaws. 
In fact  in your statement, in the report of "what happened", there is a constant reference to the Bylaws trying to demonstrate that the actions undertaken by the Board comply with them. We already knew that this was formally legitimate, otherwise Martin would have not felt the need to resign, and, as you say, if the Board has the right to appoint a chair, it has the right to dismiss her/him. What I and many others contend here is that such a serious action had been taken in total isolation from the rest of the TEI, in an authoritarian way, without even waiting for the full Board to be present. A vote of non confidence never happened before so one would have expected that this followed extremely serious issues which it would have been legitimate to expect they were shared at least with the Council, if not with a broader community.

This in my opinion reflects and demonstrates the attitude of the Board as whole of not expecting that its actions should be accountable in some way. All discussions within the Board happen behind close doors but this, in spite of the Bylaws and the custom, is not acceptable anymore, as the comments that have surrounded this event have demonstrated. The TEI 'works' as an encoding standard because it is has a bottom-up mechanism: people need elements, they propose them and the Council implements  them (more or less). The same mechanism enforces the SIGs: people get organised and make proposals. It is not surprise then if people felt personally involved in the governance, but the Board seem to ignore this.
It is with disappointment that I have noticed the same attitude in your statement: we have been told that there were some difficulties and hence a vote of non confidence has been cast. End of story. Not the slightest regret for the modality of doing it in such a way, for the consequences to the TEI community and TEI reputation. There were problems between members of the Board and the Chair and the Board decided to kick him off. Simple, eh?

I will now end my message quoting, with permission, Marjorie Burghard which posted yesterday a comment on Facebook and which I have reported on Tweeter: 
Am I the only one in the TEI community to feel as if we're told "OK kids, Mum and Dad had a fight, it's a grown-up thing and it's none of your business; now let's all have dinner nicely, and not a word about it at school, please, what would the neighbours think?"
I think I will go to bed without supper, myself. 

Best
Elena

-------
Dr Elena Pierazzo
Lecturer in Digital Humanities 
Chair of the Teaching Committee
Department of Digital Humanities
King's College London
26-29 Drury Lane
London WC2B 5RL

Phone: 0207-848-1949
Fax: 0207-848-2980
http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ddh

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Re: Present and Future of TEI

Martin Mueller
I would for my part be delighted if all Board correspondence during my tenure as chair were made public.

Martin Mueller

From: "Pierazzo, Elena" <[hidden email]>
Reply-To: "Pierazzo, Elena" <[hidden email]>
Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2011 19:16:31 +0100
To: <[hidden email]>
Subject: Present and Future of TEI

Dear John,

I join the voice of many already in thanking you for taking over the TEI in such a complicated moment: for sure I don't envy you in this moment. 
I have to confess myself disappointed, though, for the statement that you have released (at long last). I hope you will then forgive me for going over these facts again, doing the contrary of what you have invited us to, namely getting over it and think of a brighter future. I am sorry, but I cannot think of a brighter future if do not make clear the dark present and even darker recent past. It is my belief that if we do not investigate what has happened and why so many people felt there was something that deserved to be reprimanded in what happened  (see the Council statement, for instance, which, I notice you have not mentioned in your statement), I don't see why it shouldn't happen again as there was nothing wrong in it, if we simply stick to the letter of the Bylaws. 
In fact  in your statement, in the report of "what happened", there is a constant reference to the Bylaws trying to demonstrate that the actions undertaken by the Board comply with them. We already knew that this was formally legitimate, otherwise Martin would have not felt the need to resign, and, as you say, if the Board has the right to appoint a chair, it has the right to dismiss her/him. What I and many others contend here is that such a serious action had been taken in total isolation from the rest of the TEI, in an authoritarian way, without even waiting for the full Board to be present. A vote of non confidence never happened before so one would have expected that this followed extremely serious issues which it would have been legitimate to expect they were shared at least with the Council, if not with a broader community.

This in my opinion reflects and demonstrates the attitude of the Board as whole of not expecting that its actions should be accountable in some way. All discussions within the Board happen behind close doors but this, in spite of the Bylaws and the custom, is not acceptable anymore, as the comments that have surrounded this event have demonstrated. The TEI 'works' as an encoding standard because it is has a bottom-up mechanism: people need elements, they propose them and the Council implements  them (more or less). The same mechanism enforces the SIGs: people get organised and make proposals. It is not surprise then if people felt personally involved in the governance, but the Board seem to ignore this.
It is with disappointment that I have noticed the same attitude in your statement: we have been told that there were some difficulties and hence a vote of non confidence has been cast. End of story. Not the slightest regret for the modality of doing it in such a way, for the consequences to the TEI community and TEI reputation. There were problems between members of the Board and the Chair and the Board decided to kick him off. Simple, eh?

I will now end my message quoting, with permission, Marjorie Burghard which posted yesterday a comment on Facebook and which I have reported on Tweeter: 
Am I the only one in the TEI community to feel as if we're told "OK kids, Mum and Dad had a fight, it's a grown-up thing and it's none of your business; now let's all have dinner nicely, and not a word about it at school, please, what would the neighbours think?"
I think I will go to bed without supper, myself. 

Best
Elena

-------
Dr Elena Pierazzo
Lecturer in Digital Humanities 
Chair of the Teaching Committee
Department of Digital Humanities
King's College London
26-29 Drury Lane
London WC2B 5RL

Phone: 0207-848-1949
Fax: 0207-848-2980

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Re: Present and Future of TEI

Doug Reside
I also wish to express my support for John Unsworth whose wisdom and
moral authority is probably unsurpassed in academia at large, but
certainly in the DH suburbs.  I have the utmost respect for him
personally, and great confidence in his ability to take the reigns of
leadership at this time.

I mean that period on the end of that sentence to read as a full stop.

Ok, now, another thing:

I suspect that I am not alone in feeling somewhat conflicted because I
also deeply respect Martin and very much agreed with the vision for
the future laid out in his letter.  I wish I could understand what
caused 3 of my colleagues to take such an action against him.
Perhaps, as John suggests, it really is best to look to #teifuture now
as I admit I cannot really think of anything to be gained as an
organization by dwelling on the cause of his removal, but I hope
Martin's letter will remain central to the plans for the future.

I believe I am now disenfranchised, not being employed by a member
organization (right?), but nonetheless I offer a hearty (if ultimately
futile) vote of confidence for that vision

Doug
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Re: Present and Future of TEI

Lou Burnard-6
On 22/08/11 01:19, Doug Reside wrote:
> I believe I am now disenfranchised, not being employed by a member
> organization (right?), but nonetheless I offer a hearty (if ultimately
> futile) vote of confidence for that vision

You're only technically disenfranchised until such time as you persuade
your current employers to sign up! And you're certainly not
disenfranchised from participating in this or any other debate
concerning the TEI. <crackedRecord/>
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Re: Present and Future of TEI

Hugh Cayless-2
If the present membership structure is to be maintained, I think you'll have to make a better argument for why institutions should join. Are the current membership benefits a sufficient argument? Even if nothing structural is to change, it would be wise to develop some rhetoric for community members to use on the people with the purse strings. I suspect that (for an institution) having a voice was much more of a draw in earlier days. Since the standard is pretty mature, there's really no downside to an institution in being a "free rider".

I, like Doug am not enfranchised, (yes, I've suggested it) and honestly, interactions with the TEI are always a bit of a cost/benefit calculation for me. It's more of a hobby than anything else (though bits of it overlap with my job).

For what it's worth: I posted some thoughts on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/u/0/114107944655075263427/posts/MV6ewB5MmG2 and there's been some good discussion there. I know at least one person wished it were over here instead, so I'm happy to field responses here if there are any.

Hugh

On Aug 22, 2011, at 6:38AM, Lou Burnard wrote:

On 22/08/11 01:19, Doug Reside wrote:
I believe I am now disenfranchised, not being employed by a member
organization (right?), but nonetheless I offer a hearty (if ultimately
futile) vote of confidence for that vision

You're only technically disenfranchised until such time as you persuade your current employers to sign up! And you're certainly not disenfranchised from participating in this or any other debate concerning the TEI. <crackedRecord/>

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Re: Present and Future of TEI

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

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

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

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

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

Here's to constructively moving forward,

Gabby

On 2011-08-21 19:16, Pierazzo, Elena wrote:

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

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

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

Email: [hidden email]
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 1388
Fax: +44 (0)20 7848 2980

http://www.digitalclassicist.org/
http://www.currentepigraphy.org/
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Re: Present and Future of TEI

Sebastian Rahtz
I think Gabriel expresses things well.

I _am_ content to give John U (who has the respect of us all, I am sure)
time to look into what happened; and for the people on the Board to have a decent chance to explain
why they felt it necessary to take such a major decision. But I _do_ want to hear eventually,
not least because it may substantially affect the way we vote for the next election, and
whether or not we stand for election. The deadline for proposing candidates for TEI Board
and Council is in a couple of weeks, and I want more info before then.
--
Sebastian Rahtz      
Head of Information and Support Group, Oxford University Computing Services
13 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6NN. Phone +44 1865 283431

Sólo le pido a Dios
que el futuro no me sea indiferente
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Re: Present and Future of TEI

Patrick Durusau-3
In reply to this post by Gabriel BODARD
Gabriel,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope you are having a great week!

Patrick

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

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

> I don't think anyone replying to this thread has addressed the core of
> Elena's post, which is that as a result of the actions of the week
> before last there has been a real loss of faith in the way the TEI
> Board (and perhaps Council, because many people don't observe a
> difference) work, and this has not been addressed by any of the
> official responses.
>
> Transparency in the activities of Board and Council alike is not just
> about better communication of decisions made: the situation last week
> would not have been any less awful if we'd learned about it several
> days after the event in the open minutes of a Board meeting. That's
> still a fait accompli. Activities of a certain gravity (certainly
> including the appointment and dismissal of the consortium's CEO)
> should not be vulnerable to the sudden decisions of three board
> members. (And then the details of this vote never made public.)
>
> I think this is what bothers people more than anything: that this
> happened within the letter of the bylaws but without what many people
> would think of as due process or consultation. We still don't
> officially know anything about the events of August 11th, but those
> who have been party to the closed list have (privately or publicly)
> used words like "shocked", "disappointed", "insane" and "disgusted"
> with reference to it. Bad behaviour was strongly implied, if not
> detailed. The community has been infected with some of this disgust
> and dismay, and we have still not been given any hard information to
> wash it off. In the circumstances, many understandably feel that more
> transparency is still needed.
>
> And I'm afraid you can't say that "fresh eyes" perspectives are
> welcome but that "kibitzing" is not. Every complaint is somebody's
> perspective, and if we haven't learned from this debacle that all
> voices in the TEI community are worthy of being listened to (even
> those that are "unhelpful"), then we really haven't been paying
> attention. Openness isn't just in the rules; it's in the attitude. And
> that attitude doesn't look very open from this discussion.
>
> I for one am glad that so many people care about the TEI to be
> horrified by the idea that something like a "putsch" might have
> happened, and to bitch about it on Twitter.
>
> Here's to constructively moving forward,
>
> Gabby
>
> On 2011-08-21 19:16, Pierazzo, Elena wrote:
>> Dear John,
>>
>> I join the voice of many already in thanking you for taking over the TEI
>> in such a complicated moment: for sure I don't envy you in this moment.
>> I have to confess myself disappointed, though, for the statement that
>> you have released (at long last). I hope you will then forgive me for
>> going over these facts again, doing the contrary of what you have
>> invited us to, namely getting over it and think of a brighter future. I
>> am sorry, but I cannot think of a brighter future if do not make clear
>> the dark present and even darker recent past. It is my belief that if we
>> do not investigate what has happened and why so many people felt there
>> was something that deserved to be reprimanded in what happened (see the
>> Council statement, for instance, which, I notice you have not mentioned
>> in your statement), I don't see why it shouldn't happen again as there
>> was nothing wrong in it, if we simply stick to the letter of the Bylaws.
>> In fact in your statement, in the report of "what happened", there is a
>> constant reference to the Bylaws trying to demonstrate that the actions
>> undertaken by the Board comply with them. We already knew that this was
>> formally legitimate, otherwise Martin would have not felt the need to
>> resign, and, as you say, if the Board has the right to appoint a chair,
>> it has the right to dismiss her/him. What I and many others contend here
>> is that such a serious action had been taken in total isolation from the
>> rest of the TEI, in an authoritarian way, without even waiting for the
>> full Board to be present. A vote of non confidence never happened before
>> so one would have expected that this followed extremely serious issues
>> which it would have been legitimate to expect they were shared at least
>> with the Council, if not with a broader community.
>>
>> This in my opinion reflects and demonstrates the attitude of the Board
>> as whole of not expecting that its actions should be accountable in some
>> way. All discussions within the Board happen behind close doors but
>> this, in spite of the Bylaws and the custom, is not acceptable anymore,
>> as the comments that have surrounded this event have demonstrated. The
>> TEI 'works' as an encoding standard because it is has a bottom-up
>> mechanism: people need elements, they propose them and the Council
>> implements them (more or less). The same mechanism enforces the SIGs:
>> people get organised and make proposals. It is not surprise then if
>> people felt personally involved in the governance, but the Board seem to
>> ignore this.
>> It is with disappointment that I have noticed the same attitude in your
>> statement: we have been told that there were some difficulties and hence
>> a vote of non confidence has been cast. End of story. Not the slightest
>> regret for the modality of doing it in such a way, for the consequences
>> to the TEI community and TEI reputation. There were problems between
>> members of the Board and the Chair and the Board decided to kick him
>> off. Simple, eh?
>>
>> I will now end my message quoting, with permission, Marjorie Burghard
>> which posted yesterday a comment on Facebook and which I have reported
>> on Tweeter:
>> Am I the only one in the TEI community to feel as if we're told "OK
>> kids, Mum and Dad had a fight, it's a grown-up thing and it's none of
>> your business; now let's all have dinner nicely, and not a word about it
>> at school, please, what would the neighbours think?"
>> I think I will go to bed without supper, myself.
>>
>> Best
>> Elena
>>
>> -------
>> Dr Elena Pierazzo
>> Lecturer in Digital Humanities
>> Chair of the Teaching Committee
>> Department of Digital Humanities
>> King's College London
>> 26-29 Drury Lane
>> London WC2B 5RL
>>
>> Phone: 0207-848-1949
>> Fax: 0207-848-2980
>> [hidden email]
>> http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ddh
>>
>

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

Another Word For It (blog): http://tm.durusau.net
Homepage: http://www.durusau.net
Twitter: patrickDurusau
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Re: Present and Future of TEI

John Unsworth-3
In reply to this post by Pierazzo, Elena
Gabby,

I appreciate the point that Elena and you both make--that while the sequence
of events have been explained, the real sense of what happened has not.
What I can say, as a newcomer to the situation myself, and as someone who is
trying to move things forward, is that the account of recent events that I
presented is a statement of fact that encompasses all that the parties
involved could unanimously endorse.  Beyond what is represented in my
statement, there are differences of opinion about why things happened, and
even about what happened.  Now, we could decide that the best thing is to go
back and adjudicate these matters--who was right, and who was wrong--but
honestly, I think the point here is the organization, not the individuals
who happen to constitute its board (or its council, or even its membership)
at the moment.  If I have to choose between a broad and open discussion
about what should be the future of the organization, and a personally and
professionally fraught process of assigning blame to individuals, it seems
clear that the former is more constructive.  In the end, if the organization
knows and articulates where it wants to go and what it is about, it will
attract the leaders it should have.  I regard it as my main task over the
next few months to promote and synthesize and implement ideas about the
future direction of the TEI, and I really appreciate the time and effort
that has already gone into this thread on both TEI-L and Twitter, including
your own.  

John
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Re: Present and Future of TEI

Roberto Rosselli Del Turco
In reply to this post by Sebastian Rahtz
Il giorno lun, 22/08/2011 alle 19.50 +0100, Sebastian Rahtz ha scritto:
> I think Gabriel expresses things well.
>
> I _am_ content to give John U (who has the respect of us all, I am sure)
> time to look into what happened; and for the people on the Board to have a decent chance to explain
> why they felt it necessary to take such a major decision. But I _do_ want to hear eventually,
> not least because it may substantially affect the way we vote for the next election, and
> whether or not we stand for election. The deadline for proposing candidates for TEI Board
> and Council is in a couple of weeks, and I want more info before then.

As a member of the TEI community (not a developer, or an editor: a
simple user and teacher of TEI technologies) I wholeheartedly agree with
Elena, Gabriel and Sebastian. I have been following the evolution and
growth of the community for quite some time now, and this is the worst
crisis I ever had a chance to see. John Unsworth has my gratitude and
trust to take hold and chair the TEI Board, but we can't just go ahead
pretending nothing has happened; at the very least, if there are
procedural problems with the current Bylaws/Board functioning they have
to be fixed, and that can't happen if we just turn our back to the
recent past.

Ciao

        Roberto

--

Roberto Rosselli Del Turco      roberto.rossellidelturco at unito.it
Dipartimento di Scienze         rosselli at ling.unipi.it
del Linguaggio                  Then spoke the thunder  DA
Universita' di Torino           Datta: what have we given?  (TSE)
 
  Hige sceal the heardra,     heorte the cenre,
  mod sceal the mare,       the ure maegen litlath.  (Maldon 312-3)
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Re: Present and Future of TEI

Pierazzo, Elena
In reply to this post by John Unsworth-3
Hi John,

I appreciate your efforts and the difficulties you are facing at the
present time and, as I said, I am extremely grateful for what you are
doing, and I say it really sincerely.
Honestly, I'm not that interested in what some individuals did or did not
do, in a witch-hunt for some morbid personal interest. I am much more
interested in understanding by which mechanisms and attitudes this was
possible.

I have declared myself disappointed by the authoritarian attitude of the
Board that even now has not considered a step back, has not considered to
express regret for the hasty decision, for not being able to sort out
internal differences and for having damaged the TEI as a whole. These are
the reasons why I have elsewhere [1] called for the Board to resign. I
have also called for transparency and respect for the community.

As Sebastian has mentioned, the time for proposing nominations for the
next TEI elections expires in two weeks. My term as Council member is
ending this year and I am now considering my options: do I want to offer
my time and be part of the TEI for another term? I think the answer for me
(and I think for many others) will be: it depends! It depends how these
situations will be managed in the next few weeks, if we see some signals
on behalf of the Board of going in the right direction, and by right I
mean toward transparency and acting with respect of the community.

So after the pars destruens of the email, here we come to the pars
construens and my proposals:
 
- More transparency in the acts of the Board actuated by the prompt
publication of minutes of meetings and disclosure (partial or total, it
remains to be seen) of the Board archives
- Major decisions like appointing a chair or dismissing them should be
done openly, with qualified majority (if not unanimity) and previous
consultation with the Council
- When a chair is appointed or ends her mandate in some way, there should
be a public statement in the name of the Board.
- Introduce a limit of 2 consecutive terms of serving within the Board

I realise nothing is revolutionary here but these are what I would call
mechanisms to prevent that what has happened will happen again.


Regards
Elena

[1] http://www.tei-c.org/Activities/Council/Meetings/tcm47.xml

On 23/08/2011 03:05, "John Unsworth" <[hidden email]> wrote:

>Gabby,
>
>I appreciate the point that Elena and you both make--that while the
>sequence
>of events have been explained, the real sense of what happened has not.
>What I can say, as a newcomer to the situation myself, and as someone who
>is
>trying to move things forward, is that the account of recent events that I
>presented is a statement of fact that encompasses all that the parties
>involved could unanimously endorse.  Beyond what is represented in my
>statement, there are differences of opinion about why things happened, and
>even about what happened.  Now, we could decide that the best thing is to
>go
>back and adjudicate these matters--who was right, and who was wrong--but
>honestly, I think the point here is the organization, not the individuals
>who happen to constitute its board (or its council, or even its
>membership)
>at the moment.  If I have to choose between a broad and open discussion
>about what should be the future of the organization, and a personally and
>professionally fraught process of assigning blame to individuals, it seems
>clear that the former is more constructive.  In the end, if the
>organization
>knows and articulates where it wants to go and what it is about, it will
>attract the leaders it should have.  I regard it as my main task over the
>next few months to promote and synthesize and implement ideas about the
>future direction of the TEI, and I really appreciate the time and effort
>that has already gone into this thread on both TEI-L and Twitter,
>including
>your own.  
>
>John
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Re: Present and Future of TEI

Gabriel BODARD
In reply to this post by John Unsworth-3
Dear John,

I appreciate this, and as others have said I have a lot of faith in your
intention and ability to help sort out the unfortunate situation the
administration of the TEI finds itself in.

I think you misrepresent those who are concerned to achieve more
transparency in what happened as wanting to judge or assign blame to
individuals. For my part it is irrelevant whether I think Martin was a
good chair or not, whether I think his removal was good or bad for the
TEI. The point is that things have happened *in a way* that people are
very uncomfortable with, principally due to the lack of transparency (in
both senses I mentioned last time). We want (a) to see some
transparency, albeit too late, and (b) to see real changes in the bylaws
of the Consortium to ensure this sort of thing is not able to happen in
this autocratic way in the future.

Many thanks,

Gabby


On 2011-08-23 03:05, John Unsworth wrote:

> Gabby,
>
> I appreciate the point that Elena and you both make--that while the sequence
> of events have been explained, the real sense of what happened has not.
> What I can say, as a newcomer to the situation myself, and as someone who is
> trying to move things forward, is that the account of recent events that I
> presented is a statement of fact that encompasses all that the parties
> involved could unanimously endorse.  Beyond what is represented in my
> statement, there are differences of opinion about why things happened, and
> even about what happened.  Now, we could decide that the best thing is to go
> back and adjudicate these matters--who was right, and who was wrong--but
> honestly, I think the point here is the organization, not the individuals
> who happen to constitute its board (or its council, or even its membership)
> at the moment.  If I have to choose between a broad and open discussion
> about what should be the future of the organization, and a personally and
> professionally fraught process of assigning blame to individuals, it seems
> clear that the former is more constructive.  In the end, if the organization
> knows and articulates where it wants to go and what it is about, it will
> attract the leaders it should have.  I regard it as my main task over the
> next few months to promote and synthesize and implement ideas about the
> future direction of the TEI, and I really appreciate the time and effort
> that has already gone into this thread on both TEI-L and Twitter, including
> your own.
>
> John
>

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

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

Email: [hidden email]
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 1388
Fax: +44 (0)20 7848 2980

http://www.digitalclassicist.org/
http://www.currentepigraphy.org/
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Re: Present and Future of TEI

Marjorie Burghart-2
In reply to this post by Roberto Rosselli Del Turco
Like Roberto, I have never been a Board or Council member, I am only a TEI user and teacher, and I believe that my concerns are those of many "basic" members of the community.
For many of us, mere pawns on the TEI checkboard, the TEI Council and the SIGs are the most visible and tangible bodies of the TEI-C. We somehow have it in the corner of our minds that a Board exists, complete with its chair, but really when we need to do some work on the TEI it's with the Council and SIG people that we discuss.
And all of a sudden, with this incident, we're brutally reminded that there's a Board and chair, and that they are the ones ruling the policies behind the TEI. In the same movement, many of us realize that there are policies behind the TEI, and that they are sufficiently sensitive issues as to generate the arguments we have heard of.
And the problem is, those policies have never, ever been discussed among the community of users. I understand that this is what people mean by "transparency", not witch-hunting. Without that the TEI might look very much like a "drunken boat" to those not in the know, and beware of the consecutive hangover...

Best wishes, Marjorie



Le 23/08/2011 11:32, Roberto Rosselli Del Turco a écrit :
As a member of the TEI community (not a developer, or an editor: a
simple user and teacher of TEI technologies) I wholeheartedly agree with
Elena, Gabriel and Sebastian. I have been following the evolution and
growth of the community for quite some time now, and this is the worst
crisis I ever had a chance to see. John Unsworth has my gratitude and
trust to take hold and chair the TEI Board, but we can't just go ahead
pretending nothing has happened; at the very least, if there are
procedural problems with the current Bylaws/Board functioning they have
to be fixed, and that can't happen if we just turn our back to the
recent past.

Ciao

	Roberto


-- 
Marjorie BURGHART
EHESS (pôle de Lyon) / UMR 5648
Histoire et Archéologie des Mondes Chrétiens et Musulmans Médiévaux
18 quai Claude Bernard
69007 Lyon - FRANCE
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Re: Present and Future of TEI

Brett Zamir
In reply to this post by Patrick Durusau-3
Personally, I think some political systems suffer from too much transparency. If it was not breaking any by-laws, I think the confidence of those consulting should be respected.

In my view it is the quality of character and contributions to the community which should determine those elected and not whether their votes happen to match up with our desires.

Those elected certainly ought to consult with and discover the wishes of the people they represent, but just as I trust a doctor for their expertise after selecting them carefully, I also trust the judgments of those elected in a refined dignified process (which I feel is better served without nominations and self-selection).

One should, I feel, be free to vote one's conscience and avoid public pressure for individual decisions. If there were no violation of by-laws, I don't see there should be any problem by the fact of a vote alone (which is not at all to speak of the merits of the particular issue put to vote here).

Martin's ideas seemed from my perusal and perspective to be very helpful, but, in my opinion, moving forward need have nothing to do with digging up secrets unless there was some policy violation, though it may related to revisiting policies for the future (and it would seem to me quite reasonable that all voting members be notified of any votes, for example).

I say this with no position on the Board or familiarity with the exact situation here, but just a response on principle.

Best wishes,
Brett

On 8/23/2011 3:38 AM, Patrick Durusau wrote:
Gabriel,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope you are having a great week!

Patrick

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

On 8/22/2011 2:06 PM, Gabriel Bodard wrote:
I don't think anyone replying to this thread has addressed the core of Elena's post, which is that as a result of the actions of the week before last there has been a real loss of faith in the way the TEI Board (and perhaps Council, because many people don't observe a difference) work, and this has not been addressed by any of the official responses.

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

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

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

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

Here's to constructively moving forward,

Gabby

On 2011-08-21 19:16, Pierazzo, Elena wrote:
Dear John,

I join the voice of many already in thanking you for taking over the TEI
in such a complicated moment: for sure I don't envy you in this moment.
I have to confess myself disappointed, though, for the statement that
you have released (at long last). I hope you will then forgive me for
going over these facts again, doing the contrary of what you have
invited us to, namely getting over it and think of a brighter future. I
am sorry, but I cannot think of a brighter future if do not make clear
the dark present and even darker recent past. It is my belief that if we
do not investigate what has happened and why so many people felt there
was something that deserved to be reprimanded in what happened (see the
Council statement, for instance, which, I notice you have not mentioned
in your statement), I don't see why it shouldn't happen again as there
was nothing wrong in it, if we simply stick to the letter of the Bylaws.
In fact in your statement, in the report of "what happened", there is a
constant reference to the Bylaws trying to demonstrate that the actions
undertaken by the Board comply with them. We already knew that this was
formally legitimate, otherwise Martin would have not felt the need to
resign, and, as you say, if the Board has the right to appoint a chair,
it has the right to dismiss her/him. What I and many others contend here
is that such a serious action had been taken in total isolation from the
rest of the TEI, in an authoritarian way, without even waiting for the
full Board to be present. A vote of non confidence never happened before
so one would have expected that this followed extremely serious issues
which it would have been legitimate to expect they were shared at least
with the Council, if not with a broader community.

This in my opinion reflects and demonstrates the attitude of the Board
as whole of not expecting that its actions should be accountable in some
way. All discussions within the Board happen behind close doors but
this, in spite of the Bylaws and the custom, is not acceptable anymore,
as the comments that have surrounded this event have demonstrated. The
TEI 'works' as an encoding standard because it is has a bottom-up
mechanism: people need elements, they propose them and the Council
implements them (more or less). The same mechanism enforces the SIGs:
people get organised and make proposals. It is not surprise then if
people felt personally involved in the governance, but the Board seem to
ignore this.
It is with disappointment that I have noticed the same attitude in your
statement: we have been told that there were some difficulties and hence
a vote of non confidence has been cast. End of story. Not the slightest
regret for the modality of doing it in such a way, for the consequences
to the TEI community and TEI reputation. There were problems between
members of the Board and the Chair and the Board decided to kick him
off. Simple, eh?

I will now end my message quoting, with permission, Marjorie Burghard
which posted yesterday a comment on Facebook and which I have reported
on Tweeter:
Am I the only one in the TEI community to feel as if we're told "OK
kids, Mum and Dad had a fight, it's a grown-up thing and it's none of
your business; now let's all have dinner nicely, and not a word about it
at school, please, what would the neighbours think?"
I think I will go to bed without supper, myself.

Best
Elena

-------
Dr Elena Pierazzo
Lecturer in Digital Humanities
Chair of the Teaching Committee
Department of Digital Humanities
King's College London
26-29 Drury Lane
London WC2B 5RL

Phone: 0207-848-1949
Fax: 0207-848-2980
[hidden email]
http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ddh





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Re: Present and Future of TEI

James Cummings
In reply to this post by Gabriel BODARD
Dear TEI-L,

I have been holding back adding my voice to those other elected
individual TEI Technical Council members (esp. Elena, Gabriel, Sebastian
in their 'Dear John' emails) who have forcefully reminded the Board that
there has not been much full and frank disclosure. I've resisted doing
so not because I was hoping that some change or more information might
be coming from the TEI Board and believe there eventually will be
beneficial changes. However given the strength of feeling, and that it
is Technical Council members that are most vociferous is telling, one
would hope at least some minutes of the meeting might be posted.¹ For
our recent Council meeting the minutes were posted within 24 hours, and
one suspects that the community are significantly more interested in
those Board minutes.² I support John's slow and steady methodology, but
like others hope that this is demonstrated in some real and importantly
visible changes in the not too distant future.

The TEI Technical Council has been getting on with its work, debating
technical changes to the schema, and of course this all happens in the
open so anyone can read it.³ There has been a lot of discussion of
genetic editing and the content model inside <availability>. We donate a
significant amount of our time to furthering the goals of the TEI, and
so have a vested interest in its long-term health, hence our concern.

Simultaneously the discussion on TEI-L has wandered quickly from the
overall benefits of the TEI through customisation to the mythical beast
of direct and lossless interoperability. While I tend to side with the
agreement overlap of Wendell and Sebastian, I think these are the kinds
of conversations that markup geeks enjoy, but the benefits of TEI
include its flexibility, extensibility. That HTML is the assumed output
I entirely disagree with. Mostly I think those projects I work for tend
to just want specific results tailored to the detailed semantics they
have encoded in their texts -- semantics which the TEI is the natural
choice. I don't think one-size-fits-all solutions are what most of the
projects I work on crave. My real point though is that this is all very
reassuring and shows that the community is invested in the TEI as a
developing standard.

I do, however, add my voice to those hoping to see more from the Board.
Specifically, this should appear in time to be considered in-depth
before the elections this year.

Best,
James

¹ at http://www.tei-c.org/Board/
² at http://www.tei-c.org/Activities/Council/Meetings/tcm47.xml
³ http://lists.village.virginia.edu/pipermail/tei-council/

On 23/08/11 12:38, Gabriel Bodard wrote:

> Dear John,
>
> I appreciate this, and as others have said I have a lot of faith in your
> intention and ability to help sort out the unfortunate situation the
> administration of the TEI finds itself in.
>
> I think you misrepresent those who are concerned to achieve more
> transparency in what happened as wanting to judge or assign blame to
> individuals. For my part it is irrelevant whether I think Martin was a
> good chair or not, whether I think his removal was good or bad for the
> TEI. The point is that things have happened *in a way* that people are
> very uncomfortable with, principally due to the lack of transparency (in
> both senses I mentioned last time). We want (a) to see some
> transparency, albeit too late, and (b) to see real changes in the bylaws
> of the Consortium to ensure this sort of thing is not able to happen in
> this autocratic way in the future.
>
> Many thanks,
>
> Gabby


--
Dr James Cummings, InfoDev,
OUCS, University of Oxford
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Re: Present and Future of TEI

Julia Flanders
In reply to this post by Pierazzo, Elena
Apologies if I sounded like I was suggesting that we should be content  
without information or transparency. I was really responding to the  
bits of twitter that were saying, in effect, "ooh, cool, there's a  
fight brewing" as opposed to "oh  no, something terrible is happening  
that matters  to me". I agree very much that all voices matter here  
(and I guess there's a lot to learn even from that former kind of  
response!).

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

Paul Caton-4
In reply to this post by Pierazzo, Elena
John Unsworth is in a thankless position and is understandably treading carefully and diplomatically in his statements. It is unfortunate that he now finds himself the point man for dealing with questions that I think others had a responsibility to answer before he took on the role of interim Board Chair. Emails, blog posts, and tweets following the news of Martin Mueller's resignation show clearly that there is a great deal of anger in the TEI community both at what happened and the subsequent deafening silence from some of those present at the August 11th Board meeting. I have no problem with the normal courtesy of confidentiality where appropriate, and I accept that in strict procedural terms nothing at that meeting was untoward. Nevertheless, any member of the board of an organisation must acknowledge that voting 'no confidence" in your Chair is an exceptional circumstance which demands firstly, that it not be done rashly or in anything less than the most pressing circumstances and, secondly, that one should be ready to clearly explain one's lack of confidence in the Chair to members of the organisation who were not  privy to the events and discussions that led to the vote being held.

Am I the only person who thinks it unpardonable for any Board member to have voted "no confidence" in the Chair in a meeting where only two-thirds of the voting members were present? Even if one felt that lack of confidence very strongly, could one not have signalled one's intentions by abstaining? If three people had abstained and only one voted "confidence", I have no doubt that a conscientious Chair would take that as a sign to call for another vote of confidence as soon as all voting members could be assembled in an extraordinary meeting. Whatever the good intentions of the three members who voted "no confidence", it seems to me the TEI community was served extremely poorly by their doing so when two voting members were not present.

In addition, as I indicated in an earlier email, I find it amazing and disheartening that not one person who voted "no confidence" in the Chair of the TEI Board saw fit to explain themselves on the TEI list. Instead what we got was the equivalent of the archetypal coup aftermath, where there is nothing but patriotic music being broadcast on all tv and radio channels while the population are left bewildered and rumours fly around in the absence of real information. Again, I think the TEI community deserved better, and it should not have been up to John Unsworth to give an explanation.

Paul Caton

--
Dr. Paul Caton
Research Associate
Centre for Computing in the Humanities
King's College, London
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Re: Present and Future of TEI

Peter Boot-2
On Wed, 24 Aug 2011 14:58:42 +0100, Paul Caton wrote:

> John Unsworth is in a thankless position and is understandably
> treading carefully and diplomatically in his statements. It is
> unfortunate that he now finds himself the point man for dealing with
> questions that I think others had a responsibility to answer before
> he
> took on the role of interim Board Chair. Emails, blog posts, and
> tweets following the news of Martin Mueller's resignation show
> clearly
> that there is a great deal of anger in the TEI community both at what
> happened and the subsequent deafening silence from some of those
> present at the August 11th Board meeting.

Paul expresses very much what I feel. Why is it so hard for the board
members who voted Martin out to explain their action? Or at least to
identify themselves? Or to say sorry if they never meant things to turn
out this way?

Peter
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Re: Present and Future of TEI

Lou Burnard-6
I think the statements already issued by the Board make clear who voted
how on this issue, and there are no minutes from the Aug 11th meeting
because the meeting closed down immediately after the vote was taken. I
have no explanation to offer for anyone's votes (except my own -- I
voted in support of Martin as chair) . It is probably not for me, or
anyone else, to speculate as to the motivation other Board members may
have for remaining silent on this question.

I note, however, that (as is usual) two Board members will be retiring
this year, and that there has recently been a call for nominations.
Anyone can stand, and anyone can nominate themselves. The nominations
secretary is John Walsh : see the call posted here earlier
http://listserv.brown.edu/archives/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind1107&L=TEI-L&P=R6622&D=0&T=0

You may feel that the current electoral system is corrupt or inadequate
of course. But at least standing for the Board (or Council) under the
present regime gives you a better opportunity to change it from within.


On 24/08/11 15:24, Peter Boot wrote:

> On Wed, 24 Aug 2011 14:58:42 +0100, Paul Caton wrote:
>> John Unsworth is in a thankless position and is understandably
>> treading carefully and diplomatically in his statements. It is
>> unfortunate that he now finds himself the point man for dealing with
>> questions that I think others had a responsibility to answer before
>> he
>> took on the role of interim Board Chair. Emails, blog posts, and
>> tweets following the news of Martin Mueller's resignation show
>> clearly
>> that there is a great deal of anger in the TEI community both at what
>> happened and the subsequent deafening silence from some of those
>> present at the August 11th Board meeting.
>
> Paul expresses very much what I feel. Why is it so hard for the board
> members who voted Martin out to explain their action? Or at least to
> identify themselves? Or to say sorry if they never meant things to turn
> out this way?
>
> Peter
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Re: Present and Future of TEI

Patrick Durusau-3
Lou,

Not that it will shed any further light on this matter but it is worth
one further try....

On 8/24/2011 2:01 PM, Lou Burnard wrote:
> I think the statements already issued by the Board make clear who
> voted how on this issue, and there are no minutes from the Aug 11th
> meeting because the meeting closed down immediately after the vote was
> taken. I have no explanation to offer for anyone's votes (except my
> own -- I voted in support of Martin as chair) . It is probably not for
> me, or anyone else, to speculate as to the motivation other Board
> members may have for remaining silent on this question.
>
The statements issued by the Board may be clear to you, as a person
present at the meeting, but they are not clear to me.

Furthermore, this discussion isn't a "witch hunt," to use one
characterization, or a question of speculating on motivations. John
Unsworth made it clear in his initial statement that "strategic
priorities" were part of the issues between the Board and Chair. Surely
those "strategic issues" are relevant to the upcoming elections to both
Board and Council?

At a bare minimum, the TEI Community should be explicitly told:

What "strategic issues" lay at the heart of the disagreement between the
Chair and the Board. Along with who supported which positions.

Voting members may wish to vote for Board members who continue (or
oppose) the strategic priorities that lead to the recent events.

They can't do that if they don't even know what issues were in play.

Hope you are having a great day!

Patrick

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

Another Word For It (blog): http://tm.durusau.net
Homepage: http://www.durusau.net
Twitter: patrickDurusau
12