My Guide to Considering a PSF Board Member

17 Jun 2023 12:40 UTC

I started writing this to give my recommendation for who I am supporting and I sincerely cannot give my nod to any 4 individuals over another. So in lieu of personal endorsements I will share what my personal desires are. I encourage if you don't know who you intend to vote for, consider using these as a metric for yourself as well.

This should not be a popularity contest so be sure to read ALL of the statements and not just rely on recommendations from people you know.

Lastly, I doubt there will be a candidate that has all of these traits. In my selection, I will need to weigh each of these and ultimately use them as a map to choose folks I think can best fill the role. This is just how I would gage With that said, let's get started.

My Qualifications

The candidate understands the work that needs to happen

As Jeff Triplett mentions "we don't need directors who wear capes."

Out of the millions of Python users around the world you will be voted on by most likely less than 0.1% of them, but it is your job to represent all of them even if they don't know who you are.

We don't need Programming Superstars.

We don't need 10x speakers.

We don't need influencers.

Your work will be a commitment of unpaid volunteer time monthly often doing non-sexy work. After three years you will likely be exhausted but fulfilled knowing you have served a community of people you care whose welfare you care for. If that ain't you, I don't want you representing me.

The best way to trust that you'll commit to this service is if YOU'RE ALREADY DOING IT on a smaller scale.

If you're working on a PSF working group or are heavily involved in your local community, that's a plus in my book, but it can also be an issue. While the commitment to the board is a couple meetings a month, there is an issue of folks previously that have not had excellent attendance. Not to say that folks that are doing a lot will not do a great job, my hope is I vote for folks that can spend more than the bare minimum (or in some cases less) improving the PSF over the next 3 years.

The candidate brings a skill I PERSONALLY believe the PSF Needs

The PSF is a non-profit. This comes with many roles that need to be filled. Programming prowess isn't necessarily the biggest thing needed.

Folks who have experience being on a board

You have a clear goal for what you intend to accomplish and being a board member is the only way to achieve it

This will be the thing that helps me narrow my selection process significantly. It's great to want to help. There are also plenty of ways to help without being a board member.

First, let me state, it's okay if you don't have specifics. I think there is a benefit to having the right folks in the room that can bring unique insight to a conversation. That said if you come from a major company or from a country already represented, I will most likely consider someone else unless you have a very specific goal that aligns with MY desires for the Python community that can only be achieved at this time by the PSF.

You're from an area currently lightly represented

I've aired previous grievances that the PSF seemed to be too US/European Centric. I'd like to be the first to say that (as of 2023) many of those concerns have seemed to lessen as representation from LATAM and African communities has grown.

That being said, I believe that there are still some areas that would benefit from a louder voice in the PSF. At this time I would like to suggest someone that is heavily involved in emerging technology centers globally and countries that have worked outside of the limelight, that others may learn from their success.

You voice your concerns loudly, outside the channels that mostly PSF Members occupy

I try to find examples of candidates voicing their concerns or criticisms of the community publicly.

The PSF Board is selected by people who contribute to Python financially or attest to committing at least 5 hours a month to the Python community as a volunteer or contributor. The goal should be that this number increases every year and the only way that happens is by education and awareness. I talk to people all over the world that don't feel as if the PSF represents them. This may be because they are not heavily involved in the community or may not know what the PSF is doing.

If you are shouting into the echo chamber, that does not help. My hope is that you're speaking at generalist events about topics that raise awareness of your/PSF goals that will increase the number of folks contributing to the community. This will make for a healthier foundation in which the Python Community rests.

This is my list of considerations I make prior to voting. I'm sure there are other qualifiers and I may update this in the future, but I hope that This encouraged you to start thinking about how you will look at ALL the nominees and make well informed voting decisions.