I figured instead of just complaining I would offer some practical fixes which would avoid the issue of disfranchising in the future.
First let’s examine why this is is an issue. In order to become a member of the Foundation one must prove they have worked on significant pieces of GNOME and have two references to back them up. A lot of people I know balk at even going through this first step because as far as they can see there is little benefit to becoming a member. I try to remind them that voting is an important benefit. During my tenure as a Foundation Board member we saw this as an issue and tried to promote Foundation participation by those in the GNOME Community. Among other things we required people receiving funding from the foundation to apply for membership at some point in the future. However the problem still remains that being a member constitutes a voting ballot once a year (1 and a half years during my tenure due to realigning election years) and little else (there is the occasional smaller ballot). A foundation member also has to renew their membership once every two years. So if a member has to think about Foundation process once a year and membership process once every two years it is easy for membership to laps until a member finds themselves in the quandary I now find myself in. To further exacerbate the situation it is a known issue by the membership and election committees that spam filters eat their e-mails and that the only reminders sent out are the exact same e-mails.
So how do we fix this?
Long Term Solutions
1.) Make registration an in person event to compliment the reminder e-mails – one of the things Foundation Members tend to do every year is go to one of the many events the Foundation sponsors. If there is a registration system their names should be flagged and they given the opportunity to renew their membership if it is set to expire in less than a year. This should be an offline form that is processed at a later date as we all know how bad conference networking can be. This can be a stipulation to organizers for receiving funding from the Board.
2.) Remind people when they are interacting with the Foundation process – Since voting happens every year, why not warn people when they vote that they will not be eligible for the next years vote unless they reregister at some point during the year?
Short Term Solution
All those who were denied a vote and who voted in last years elections should be allowed to reregister for this vote and given a ballot.[read this post in: ar de es fr it ja ko pt ru zh-CN ]