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, a big congratulations to the newly elected and returning Board members! They are
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 the 2020 and 2021 elections, out of the total 4115 votes given to all the nominees, I only had 250 which is 6.08%. This was less than the 7.34% which I had in the 2021 elections. As a note I managed to only get 4.78% votes in the 2020 elections.
We also had 5% less people who were eligible to vote, down to 1459 from 1538 in the 2021 elections. Those that actually vote though 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 to 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 for the rest of us to run alongside myself. This time I had another two influential contributors from my East Asia and South East Asia region to run with me, Georgi and Kwon Han. We didn't have nominees from our region in the past other than myself, and I believe as little impact as it might have been, my work in promoting diversity, representation and involvement within the APAC community and the PSF have increased the visibility, interest and inspired others to also run for the Board elections.
Of a 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 nominess 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 which have openly championing diversity in representation within the PSF Board of directors and less reliance to the 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 initiaitves 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 to 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 the voting is done for the elections.
After the 2020 elections, the PSF too 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 you 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 (i.e why does it concern me?) 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 pre-requisite to be succesfull to be elected to the PSF Board.
Not only as Board member
So what happens to you, the avid Python user/developer/organizer that is burning with the desire to help your fellow community members, but so happens to be having a life in an area which 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 know 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'd 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 new comers 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)
- Kwon Han
- Wei Lee
- the D&I WG
- PyCon JP
- the kind folks on Twitter and LinkedIn that liked and shared my contents
- the folks who voted for me
- and the PyCon APAC Organizers group
for supporting my nomination and sharing my vision. I am only human, and forgive me if I missed you in the credits roll above. I am only human, and I'm sorry I dissapointed all of you due to my own inabilities. But we are only human, and maybe we can try again in the future.