Monthly Meeting - 2014-06-10

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Public meeting minutes for Tuesday, June 10th 2014 at 6:30pm
Location: 1820 Pandora Street
Previous: Monthly Meeting - 2014-02-18 | Next: Monthly Meeting - 2014-07-08



Karen, Kricket, Robert, Brian Matheson, Mike Frost, Adam, Nigel, Ian, Dave Metcalfe, Jeffrey Moncrieff, Jax, Dave Ripa, Rex Brocchi, Mike McManus, Alec Smecher, Ifny, Michael DuBelko

Explanation of roles

Facilitator: Adam, later assisted by Mike Frost

Scribe: Mike Frost

Consensus briefing

Consensus briefer: Ifny.

Extensive briefing by Ifny regarding consensus, why we do it at Free Geek, why it's valuable, why it's important that everybody have a chance to participate, how to make that happen, and more.

Scribe asked that Ifny cover the points regarding consensus, standing aside, and blocking, as these had not been covered yet. This sparked a discussion of the meanings of consensus, stand aside, and block, which then morphed into a question of who was entitled to participate in the consensus, and what the rules were: specifically are the rules the same for a monthly “general” meeting as they are for the Annual General Meeting under the Societies Act.

A monthly meeting is not the same. Nigel has obtained a legal opinion that this is the case. Therefore the rules would not be the same.

Discussion then moved to what the criteria for a member (who can participate in consensus) is. The current term for this is “Active Member”. Also known as Member in Good Standing. The terms seem to be used interchangeably.

The current definition of Active Member is: all current staff, all current directors, and all volunteers who have put in 12 volunteer hours in the past 90 days and who have applied for membership in the society. Ifny objects to this definition.

Adam brings the meeting back to what we're supposed to be here to do. We are still engaged in the discussion sparked by the consensus briefing, and have not even begun the meeting proper.

Jax adds historical context of the current definition. Noting that any volunteer who did not meet the criteria could appeal to the board to be made a member in good standing. Historically this was almost always granted.

Ifny asks if the board can give the non-members special dispensation to be involved in the decision-making process for this meeting. However, the legal opinion is that any decision made by this meeting still has to be passed by the board.

Wrangling ensued over a phrase in the wiki about what the rules regarding who can participate in decision-making are.

Nigel says that he would like to have a closed board meeting to discuss whether non-active members can participate in decision-making.

---Break--- Directors deliberated on the issue. We are now about 2 hours into the meeting.

Meeting resumes: Directors have agreed to a special dispensation for our guests: Jax, Dave Ripa, Ifny, Alec, and Ian, to run until midnight June 10 2014.

Adam – conclusion that tonight everybody is participating in the decision-making. In effect a special dispensation for tonight. Other questions relating to this will need to be decided later.

Discussions of definition of “membership” - two versions, one as “member” when you get a volunteer number, one as “active member” which permits voting at AGM. Alec would like clarification of this prior to the next monthly meeting.

Then the meeting proper begins.




  • Following budget as we were last year. Latest is two months ago. At the moment we're losing money and are on target to lose $40,000. Main issue is revenue from the store and we are looking at ways to increase that revenue.


  • No report.


Build / Production

Desktops: Slow. Other than adoption boxes not too much is moving. Have instituted a new inventory system that should improve communication and flow. Laptops: 45 this month. 60 last month. Sales machines are hot sellers: as-is at $50 and $95, ongoing. We could use better advertising.

H & S

  • Slowly improving both equipment and procedures. Question about earthquake plan – yes there is one but needs updating.


  • Dave is back so things will be a bit more organized. We have stopped using two recyclers: DVDs/CDs and printer/toner cartridges, and found two better ones. Now getting paid for DVDs/CDs and toner/printer cartridges.


No changes to software, though Tyler is investigating Ubuntu 14.04.


  • Schedule updated, and is now based on physical work spaces so we won't get too crowded. New automated sign-in system. New workspace in the receiving area. Suggestion that there be more signage about signing in/out.



Retail $16,579 net (May)
Total net sales ytd are ~$5,400 better than this time last year.


$4,720 net (May)

HW Grants

  • Pretty strong, more consistent numbers than previous year. All are now at least Core 2 Duos. Also this year for the first time we have been able to give laptops at hardware grants.



  • Brian is working on an open classroom project, may have results in the next month. Also events at Surrey Library (Brian and Mac), once a month, in concert with Vanlug and Ubuntu Vancouver. Has about 5 courses and 20 potential teachers. The problem is finding physical space.

Events / Media

2 days outreach at VCC. Video about Telus volunteers will be coming out. Coming up: Canada Day at Victoria Park. Ubuntu 14.04 release party was held in late May at Free Geek.


4 people went to Portland: Michael, Mike, Nigel and Robert. We spent all day Saturday from 9 to 6 with the Portland people and were very hospitably received. It was extremely inspiring, and very informative. They are 7 years older than we are, have encountered and overcome problems that we are also facing. Also they are known as “the place” to recycle e-waste, which is something we should aspire to. Trip cost about $900 for the weekend.

Staff / HR

  • Staff is up to full strength since Dave is back. We have also reconciled our issues with TOIL. We wish we could afford more staff. Two interns from the YMCA. We qualified for CSJ but there was no money available for our area.

Directors / Governance

  • Justin is back as Treasurer. Recently the board has tackled the issue of FOSS and alternative operating systems.

Old business

Motion to pass the minutes from the previous meeting

(We have no minutes from the past meeting?) Deferred to next meeting. Minutes missing?

New business

First Proposal: Original Equipment Manufacturer Stickers

Proposal 1: OEM stickers are to remain on all computer cases and laptops. No stickers can be sold by themselves. all stickers that are to go with a system, the system has to include a motherboard and CPU. No end of life stickers will be preserved. No retail stickers will be preserved.

Mailing list concerns and relevant discussion:


Caution: Jax: we must take care NOT to install Windows on machines we sell. This will avoid the legal ramifications.

Robert: OEM sticker leaving Free Geek has to include the motherboard.

Alec – question of messaging – want to be careful that we don't promote Windows. So when we leave a sticker on a machine we need to have a consistent message about what that implies.

For the next hour, much discussion, no progress. Finally Mike F, as facilitator, polled the group with the question: Is leaving the Windows stickers on the machines a good idea?

Most are in favour. Those not in favour: Ian: maybe. Ifny: “I have concerns”. Alec: “No, unless it's done right.”

Discussion continues, no progress made. At no time are the concerns or objections of those opposed to the proposal stated in detail, therefore the discussion is unfocussed, there being no actual substantive points to discuss. Discussion appears to be going in circles. On several occasions speakers are asked to stop talking at tangents around the point and make their point, but in spite of this the behaviour continues, slowing the meeting and at times derailing it into discussions far off topic.

To break the logjam and get us talking about the actual proposal, Alec proposes we work on the proposal in pieces, one piece at a time, and see if we can possibly reach consensus on at least one piece of the first proposal before we adjourn.

Proposal – agreed that we see no reason that it would be illegal to leave the stickers on the systems (a case with its motherboard in it). Passed.

Proposal – Alec to draft boilerplate message regarding: what we tell customers in regards to the sticker and what it implies. Not binding. Later this is objected to, first by Nigel, as “putting the cart before the horse”, then also by Ifny for reasons unclear, so it is dropped.

Meeting adjourned until....

Proposal – meet again in 2 weeks June 24, 6:30 pm. Passed.

First question at next meeting is going to be: do we think it's a good idea to leave the stickers on.

Meeting adjourned with the first proposal unresolved and the two related proposals not even discussed. Alec's questions were not discussed either.

Testing of Hardware

Proposal 2: FG Vancouver allows the build departments to use alternative Operating Systems (O/S) for testing, including non-FOSS if and when practical and can include installing non-FOSS drivers to test.


Proposal not discussed due to adjournment.

Resale of Gaming Software

FG Vancouver no longer disposes of games on any platform by recycling them, but sells these in the Free Geek store.


  • Not discussed due to adjournment.

Clarification of board's role in decision-making

There are several recent threads on the fg-general list about decision-making that have not come to a conclusion yet:


  • Not discussed due to adjournment.

Clarification of purpose of OHN

There are two "definitions" circulating of Open Help Night.

Free help for anyone (e.g.
FOSS outreach and support (

If the first, are there any practical limits on help that we need to establish? Also, the wiki and webpage would need updating. If the second, how do we avoid angering attendees by turning them away? Do we need to better present the purpose of OHN?


Not discussed due to adjournment.

Next meeting

When: Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 at 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Where: Free Geek Vancouver, 1820 Pandora St., back door


Facilitator: Mike Frost

Scribe: To be determined


June 24 2014, meeting started at 18:40 approx. This meeting should be considered as a followup to the adjourned meeting of June 10, 2014, as agreed by those present at the time.


Mike F., Nigel, Mac, Alec, Jax, Robert, Rex, Brian, Jeffery, Ian, Dave Metcalfe, Ifnye, Kricket

Explanation of roles

Facilitator: Mike Frost

Scribe: Kricket, replaced by Ian

Consensus briefing

Consensus briefer: .

Business from previous meeting

1. Status of guests. (Here)

2. Question from previous meeting: “Is leaving the Windows stickers on machines a good idea?

(discussion here)

Ifny: Extremely uncomfortable revisiting a decision the members have already made


Alec: concerned about damage to FG's brand

Jeffery: portland leaves the stickers on, toronto sells windoze on gaming machines

Ifny: toronto is in trouble for selling windoze...may be in violation of Intergalactic...may lead to violation of FG name. Ifny can report back on status with Intergalactic, but generally cautions that Toronto is not happy with

Nigel: Portland is also selling windoze machines, so what's the problem?

Mike: Who does selling windoze stickers hurt, and if so does this hurt our brand?

Alec: argued that we are off topic. Mike suggested he was flexible to talk about

Ifny: Expressed a desire to help FG thrive, and regret that there was tension in the room

Mack: Asked Ifny to volunteer.

Ifny: will table on Canada Day

Alec: not interested in stirring up discontent with the FOSS question, but more concerned about the regularity of meetings. Would like to keep contributing to getting monthly meetings back up and running. Recognizes lack of good faith needed to get that started.

Mack: Wants and needs the volunteers who have fallen out of the community, wishes they would return.

Robert: Debate is better than apathy

Ifny: Not interested in running things, but wanting to help and share knowledge. Has special skills that she feels will be useful

Mack: When coming to FG, accept the new FG, and not judge

Alec: salutes the amicable ending.

Ifny: will start volunteering, salutes the volunteers, wants everyone to feel like we're on the same team.

Jefferey: Leave the computers behind and build the community!

Iain: will be in for orientation tomorrow

Bryan: Effective shit-disturbing for general meetings: keep a short list of pet projects, and bring them to slow meetings so they get discussed. This is how good decisions get made. This is what FOSS is about.

Ifny: Facilitator should call out for agenda items

Bryan: Agenda items should be posted to general mailing list as well

Alec: Concerned about issues of process leading up to the meeting 2 weeks ago. Asks the board to respond the issues he's raised by email, or talk person to person. Nigel: a busy guy, hasn't taken time to respond to Alec's emails

Alec: Tried to keep it concise, but wanted to be thorough. A tough balance

Nigel: Board is accountable to its membership, not Alec. We're transparent, but doesn't want to do laundry in public.

Alec: Open to keeping discussion private, but prefers to keep it public.

Nigel: Resignation from board made him not a member.

Alec: Had a 1yr dispensation to chair AGM last year, but this has not been honored

Mack: Things have been done sloppily as per societies act

Alec: this is not new, but its important to go by the rules where possible, but the spirit of FG always. There are lots of holes in the bylaws, but that misses the point of operating in good faith. Consensus doesn't work without good faith.

Ifny: Alec's membership hangs on Mack's memory

Mack: secretary (Chris Hooper) is no longer with us. He would have a better recollection. “I know he asked for it, and I know he got it.”

Nigel: question was for how long.

Ifny: dispensation has never been less than a year

Mack: agrees

Alec: disrespectful to have a meeting last week without a member with an interest in that meeting.

Mack: I found out about last week's meeting by accident. This is the board's problem. The list has to be updated.

Cricket: agrees Alec was a member.

Ifny: nonprofit societies are well advised to have an honor system when things go wrong.

Nigel: I don't recall Alec being made a member

Bryan: <<ACTION ITEM>> Volunteer registration form prohibits us from contacting volunteers by email except by emergency. This is a big problem. <<ACTION ITEM>>

Ifny: Mike will send email to GENERAL for volunteers for Canada Day, with meeting time.

Mike: Next meeting is Monthly Meeting – 2014-07-08 Scribe: Godot Facilitator: Alec, and will call for agenda items

Iain proposed everyone “hug it out.” Tabled for next meeting.