The future is still not here for the Python Software Foundation (PSF)


The future is still not here for the Python Software Foundation (PSF)

In June 2022, I ran for the third time for a seat in the Python Software Foundation (PSF) Board of directors. Initially I wasn't thinking of running, but Dustin Ingram of PyPi encouraged me to run again at the last minute and so I did.

It didn't quite work out...

First of all, a big congratulations to the newly elected and returning Board members! They are:

  1. @DawnWagesSays
  2. @simonw
  3. @kushaldas
  4. and @jezdez

Unfortunately, I was also not elected again this time.

Although the agenda and vision that I put forth for the 2022 elections remain the same as those in the 2020 and 2021 elections, out of a total of 4115 votes given to all nominees, I only had 250, which is 6.08%. This was less than the 7.34% I had in the 2021 elections. As a note, I managed to get only 4.78% votes in the 2020 elections.

We also had 5% fewer people who were eligible to vote, down to 1459 from 1538 in the 2021 elections. Those who actually voted, however, basically remained the same, at around 39% voter turnout.

But for me, the most worrying thing is that with Marlene exiting the Board, we are now down to only two non-US/Europe directors on the Board out of 13. This doesn't look well if we want to talk about global representation and diversity. This condition slowly pushes us towards a defensive narrative if questioned on our diversity and inclusion efforts.

But other things did go well...

Yes, other things did go well.

When I announced my self-nomination for the Board, I also sent an email to our APAC PyCon Organizers group, urging others to run alongside me. This time, I had another two influential contributors from my East Asia and South East Asia region, Georgi and Kwon Han, to run with me. We didn't have nominees from our region in the past other than myself, and I believe that my work in promoting diversity, representation, and involvement within the APAC community and the PSF has increased visibility, interest, and inspired others to also run for the Board elections.

Of particular note which I am proud to mention is the election results for Georgi. Although she was not elected, she did manage to get 6.29% of the total votes and was just shy of 14 votes to be elected in her first election to the Board. Interest to serve the community through a seat on the Board continues to be strong. We had a record number of 26 nominees, similar to what we had in 2020. This is more than the 19 nominations we saw in 2021. I am also really happy to see that Cristián continues to run advocating representation for Latin America, our Spanish-speaking compatriots and i18n efforts for the PSF.

There seem to be more nominees who have openly championed diversity in representation within the PSF Board of directors and less reliance on PyCon US for financing, more than we have seen in the past.

To sum up

To be honest, I did not expect to get elected this time because nothing much has significantly changed since the last two elections, either on my end or through any initiatives by the PSF or the community to address the perceived lack of global representation on the PSF Board.

To be fair though: At least since 2020 more people have pointed out the problem of a skewed representation within the Board. Some say it's the way the elections are done, and there are suggestions on changing the way voting is done for the elections.

After the 2020 elections, the PSF has also put out a short and medium-term plan to address this issue, which includes collecting location data on the voters themselves.

As a nominee for the past three elections, having data on who our voters are is important. Without it, I do not know who I am talking to and what is important to them. Even if the 8 million or so Python users think any one person should be on the Board, if that person could not convince the 500 or so people who will be voting, then there's very slim chance of getting elected.

Our work within the D&I WG also has led us to data collection to understand better who our community members are, although I suspect not many of them are voters (yet). From preliminary data, general apathy towards the work the PSF does and the elections in general seems to be the biggest hurdle we need to overcome to get more of our non-US/Europe community members to participate.

As it is, I can also honestly say that taking part, being active and visible to the US Python community specifically seems to be a prerequisite to be successful in getting elected to the PSF Board.

Not only as Board member

So what happens to you, the avid Python user/developer/organizer who is burning with the desire to help your fellow community members, but so happens to be having a life in an area that is not the 10% of the world's landmass that is the United States or Europe?

There are many other ways for us to contribute and make an impact. Some good suggestions are listed here on the PSF's website. If you're interested in a very specific cause, there are the PSF Working Groups (also known as committees) that you can ask to join and participate in. I am currently participating in the Trademark WG and the D&I WG, which has given me knowledge from diversity policies, trademark law, other Python communities in the world, and opportunities to learn from those more experienced and knowledgeable than myself.

But from experience, I think the best way to make an impact is to join or start something within your own local area. We never have enough people to organize meet-ups, start a local conference, do weekend hackathons, guide newcomers to the community, or write and maintain software for the use of the local community.

Credits go to

Finally, big thank-yous to (in no particular order)

  1. James
  2. Dustin
  3. David
  4. Marc-André
  5. Georgi
  6. Kwon Han
  7. Thomas
  8. Wei Lee
  9. Yuggun
  10. Aiko
  11. Kamal
  12. the D&I WG
  13. PyCon JP
  14. the kind folks on Twitter and LinkedIn who liked and shared my content
  15. the folks who voted for me
  16. and the PyCon APAC Organizers group

for supporting my nomination and sharing my vision. I am only human, and forgive me if I missed anyone in the credits roll above. I'm sorry to have disappointed all of you due to my own inadequacies. But we are only human, and maybe we can try again in the future.

Directory: 2022 Tagged: psf politics community work elections python community

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