With the 2020 Board of Directors Election Results announced, a new class of directors will officially be joining June 30th!
In light of the results and narrow margins, the Python Software Foundation (PSF) staff, incoming directors, existing directors, and community have already taken time to consider and discuss the participation and representation of our global community on the PSF Board of Directors. These facets are crucial to the long term direction and resilience of our community.
For now, the PSF staff would like to share information on participation, representation, and the next steps we plan to take to improve these facets of our membership.
|Maria Fernanda Petri Betto||184|
|Jason R. Coombs||110|
|Agata Skamruk (Bublewicz)||107|
|Amadikwa Joy N||67|
|Asif Saif Uddin||62|
2019 Participation By Membership Class
|Contributing or Managing||472||165||35.0%|
2020 Participation By Membership Class
|Contributing or Managing||555||191||34.4%|
For definitions of each membership class, please see python.org.
* Note: Fellow membership increased 10% 2019 -> 2020 with the advent of the PSF Fellow Working Group
** Note: 2019 Supporting membership was partially disenfranchised, see next section.
In the process of administering this year's election we realized that 114 of 1151 voters were initially disenfranchised from this year's vote. In addition we were able to confirm that approximately the same number were disenfranchised from the 2019 vote due to the same issue.
While researching a missing ballot the election administrator discovered that a large number of Supporting members were missing from the 2020 voter roll.
When pulling information for Supporting members from our relationship management platform, we erred in overlooking that "Supporting with Yearly Renewal" memberships were not included when querying for "Supporting" memberships.
This excluded 125 members from our result and thus the voter roll. 11 of those members were already represented in other membership classes (Fellow, Contributing, Managing). The result was 114 disenfranchised voters.
For past years, we'll be working to retroactively to understand how long this has been affecting the voter roll. We've requested the voter rolls from past elections from the previous volunteer Election Administrator and will share analysis when we are able.
For 2020, ballots were issued for those voters 2 days into voting, and email notifications and reminders were sent so that they had a chance to vote, and have their votes counted. We have also updated our voter roll report and documentation to correctly query for all Supporting members moving forward.
After the results were published, an immediate question raised was "what do the demographics of our members and voters look like?".
This is not a new question among the PSF staff, directors, or community, but was particularly impassioned this year due to the extremely close margins. Especially given that the winning candidates (unlike the candidate pool) all reside in North America and Western Europe.
Bluntly, we do not have the data needed to answer this question accurately. Currently the only membership class we have any demographic information for is Supporting members, who constitute less than 25% of the voter roll, and that only includes their postal address.
The PSF staff have already begun to discuss and formulate plans around the following:
Short term: Improved demographic information in Member profiles
The PSF staff and board understand that demographic information is highly sensitive and should not be needlessly collected. We are currently discussing and making plans for what demographic information may be added to membership profiles and if specific pieces of information will be voluntary or required.
Demographic information such as country of residence, years of experience with Python, and years of participation with the PSF will allow for us to better understand how the board represents our global membership. Most importantly it will allow us to track progress towards our goal to best represent our community over time.
Medium term: Consolidating membership management
Members may not realize that each membership class is currently managed in a set of disparate systems and processes:
- Basic members sign up at python.org
- Supporting members donate at psfmember.org to sign up
- Contributing and Managing members submit their certification via a Google form
- Fellows are manually managed by PSF staff on psfmember.org.
This regularly leads to headaches and confusion for everyone involved.
The PSF staff was planning to migrate to a new relationship management platform in 2020, but had to abandon this effort due to the financial outlook in the aftermath of the cancellation of PyCon 2020. Instead, we have renewed efforts to invest in our existing platform, CiviCRM. This will include consolidating all membership signups and management in one place: psfmember.org.
We hope that this will also improve the experience for new and existing members and empower the PSF staff to better answer questions about our members as a whole.
Long term: Reconsidering membership classes and benefits
Ideas for how we can best welcome members as well as any and all Python users globally are also being discussed and researched by the PSF staff. We will be assessing what barriers exist for new members and what helps to drive and retain participation of existing members. This process may include bylaws changes and user research. We hope to be able to share a timeline for this work as it develops.
We are grateful as an organization for each and every member of our community past, present, and future. We are excited to see the field for the board expanding to better represent our global community. We look forward to doing the work necessary to improve the membership experience of the Python Software Foundation and will be sharing more information over the coming months as the PSF staff and board better develop plans.