I don’t want to get too deeply involved in the complaints and struggles of PASS, but I also want to ensure we have a healthy community. I want to have us continue to grow and prosper as data professionals who work with SQL Server. PASS has a mission, and it does help our user groups, SQL Saturdays, and members thrive as a group.
I also want to say that I think PASS does lots of good things, and there are good people involved. Props for the good things, and I’ll make it a point to point them out more.
Every year we have a set of candidates for the PASS board, who will help guide the organization through the next few years. We have had board members who did well, and board members who didn’t. Overall, the organization may move forward, or it may stall, but I haven’t really seen anyone damage PASS through their actions.
To be clear, I have liked most of the people who have served and consider most of them friends. I’d be happy to sit down and have a drink with most of them, and I think they all had the community’s best interests at heart. No one made decisions to maliciously hurt the organization. I thank them all for their volunteer time and efforts.
However let’s not confuse appreciation with acceptance. Your best intentions do not imply competence or success. Criticism is not a personal attack, but rather an understanding that the process and system have bugs. If you can’t handle that, don’t serve.
I’ve wandered a bit from my title, but for a reason. The process for allowing candidates has changed over time and while I think the NomCom served a purpose when it was created, I wonder if that’s the case now. I saw a note recently that candidates need to meet a minimum criteria, and then they are evaluated by the committee.
If someone passes the minimum criteria, shouldn’t they be on the ballot. That certainly hasn’t been the case, but really, why have a committee? It can serve no other purpose than to influence voting by ranking candidates or removing candidates from the process that the committee doesn’t like. That dislike can be for personal reasons, a non-disclosed issue about the candidate, or some reason they aren’t qualified, whatever that means.
However if I certify I will travel, if I can speak English, work with SQL Server, and if I have some volunteer record, then stick me on. Well, not me, but anyone else.
I know some people worry we might have 25 people running for 3 slots, and then oh no, what will we do? How can the voters decide? Listen, if we ever have 25 people running for 3 slots, I think that’s a good day in the community. I’d view that as a win, not as a problem.
The point I’d make is there are no real decisions being made by the board that require some special training that the board members somehow have. We entrust the running of many civic decisions to people with no real training in some area, and I see no reason why the PASS board is any different. Any reasonably intelligent DBA can listen to information, ask questions, and make a decision.
In fact, I’d argue that while everyone that has served on the board has worked in the technical field, and probably had some success, they aren’t necessarily qualified to lead a non-profit with $1m+ in revenue. At least not more qualified than you or any other member of the community.
Let’s grow up a bit. Let’s recognize that the board is a part of the community, and keep it that way. If someone wants to run, meets the criteria, let them run. Anything else smacks of attempts to shape and control the organization in some way.
Any way, whether good or bad, is unnecessary.