A step closer to the Future for the Python Software Foundation (PSF)


A step closer to the future for the PSF

It's the time of the year again!

Four members of the board retire in 2023, paving the way for another election, which represents an opportunity for us to have a more diverse representation on the board level of the PSF.

Since participating in the elections in 2020, interest has been growing within the community in which I am involved, particularly the APAC or Asia region, when we talk about diversification of ideas and people within the PSF specifically and the community in general.

In 2020, I was the only person from within the APAC region to run for election. Now in 2023, we have as many as six people, representing their communities in JP, KR, TH, IN, and BD raising their hands and wanting to be counted and running for a seat on the Board.

I knew before the election that at least 3 members of my community would be running for a seat on the board, and wasn't thinking of running. Unknown to me, Jannis nominated me, and that got me thinking that it would be a good platform to help the campaigns of my fellow compatriots from my region to run, so I decided to accept the nomination and use whatever exposure I get to campaign for them instead.

I am personally happy that all the three candidates that I supported in my own nomination statement got elected to the Board.

Managing a worldwide non-profit requires a diverse set of skills and not only technical competency. We now have a much-needed diverse group of people within the PSF Board, not only within the region they are associated with but also the skillset they bring.

Voter count

There is one thing of concern though: The voter count and voter turnout

Regardless of the efforts we're putting in, at least from within my community and also from within the D&I Workgroup which I am part of, we can't seem to get a steadily increasing voter count year-over-year. Although we can never know who voted, taking into account that our voter turnout jumped to 70% when the vote count was its lowest in 2023 points out the possibility that the voters that vote in the yearly elections are a fixed group of people.

As I wrote in 2020, increasing the voter count by encouraging participation from much more diverse Python communities is still very much a work in progress, and, is taking a step backward if we look at the 40% decrease year over year in 2023.

The summary above is flawed. Read on in the Updates section below

A small win though: As I wrote above, the amount of participation in the number of candidates related to my APAC region has increased.

I still think that we need much more participation from community members that reside in non-West Europe and North American regions.

Special thanks go to Jay Miller for contributing to the election process by caring and creating videos for the candidate.

So what's next?

For 2023, and within the context of diversity and inclusion from within my region, we're seeing a step forward; we still have much work to do:

Now that we have a more diverse group of people now in the Board: The Board now needs to deliver by coming back to the community and showing results such as a better distribution of grants, Fellow memberships, and also awards.

They, of course, can only do this if there are requests, nominations, and commendations from the community itself, but they can help that by being present within these underrepresented communities and making sure that they are aware of all of these ways to acknowledge the wonderful work done by our diverse communities. Now with a more diverse Board that has stronger connections with these different communities, there is one less reason to not be able to find ways of doing so.

At the same time, I do realize that the Board alone can't do all of these: A group of 10 or 12 people can't represent a community of 8 million worldwide. That said, the PSF Board has Workgroups at their disposal. There should be more listening and consultation with the community through these Workgroups.

The Workgroups have practical knowledge and connections to the different communities that they are in, and along with the Board of the PSF and in tandem with other Workgroups, they should work together to address the two items above.

If you're reading this and thinking, "I want to help", go on over to the list of active Workgroups that the PSF has and find a WG that interests you most.

As it is though, I am excited to see the new Board for this year and wish them all the best. Hopefully, we'll get to meet again at the next PyCon somewhere.

Updates 2023-07-06

After putting out the above post, I received a comment from C.A.M Gerlach about how I'm misinterpreting the numbers of the election results.

The main point is that starting from the 2023 elections, how "eligible voter" is counted has changed. This is because the PSF needs to protect its quorum to satisfy its bylaws. In the past, this was not enforced due to technical reasons.

Before 2023, I have personally taken the number of eligible voters as a proxy to gauge participation in the community, through registrations as Fellows, Managing, Supporting and Contributing Members. This is the most important number, at least for me regardless of actual participation in the election itself. Because how we count the number of "eligible voters" has changed, using this number as the proxy for participation is no longer valid. The decrease in 40% YoY vs. 2022 of people voting, as it is, doesn't mean anything as we're not comparing to the same thing.

There is also good news. C.A.M Gerlach also pointed out data which I did not look at: The cumulative increase in the absolute number of people voting. It has increased 33% from 460 in 2020 to 614 in 2023. . We are getting more people involved, at least where the election is concerned, and voting for a more diverse group of people, at least from what we see in the 2023 elections.

I would like to believe that, the work done by me and my compatriots in the D&I WG as also those from within my APAC/Asia community contributed in part to this.

I'm leaving the original article I wrote above as it is so that it will be beneficial in the future if I need to do a diff on what and why I wrote and thought about something.

Directory: 2023 Tagged: psf politics community work elections python community

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