Self nomination to the elections TDF Board of Directors

Dear community,

I hereby submit my candidature for the Board of Directors of The Document Foundation.

First, a bit of history: I joined the project at its creation time in 2000 where I contributed to various tasks (documentation, QA, l10n). I also formed a user association around OOo funded by the sale of the books that I wrote.

Since then, I’m still contributing to the localization of the French speaking version of LibreOffice along with other contributions in the French Open Source community.
This is now 10 years that I work for The Document Foundation, currently as a foundation coordinator.

What I’d like to help with is all written in the Pledge under the link below, but especially I’d like to bring back the joy and the enthusiasm in this task, these ones who give us the creativity and the liberty to shape a better world for the whole community in the frame of our Manifesto.

With a family around me and my other volunteer activities, working at governance level will take some more time but I’ll do it with energy and great pleasure to make TDF Board shines again.

That said, if I’m elected, I will not apply for more than one term. My only hope is that the next board of directors, showing rigor, balance, diversity, inclusiveness and openness, gives enough warmth and interest to see a lot of TDF trustees from around the world apply for the next terms.

My 75 words nomination:
Full name: Sophie Gautier-Ménard
Affiliations: TDF - SapienceTic

I am Sophie Gautier, 62 years old, a member of the foundation since its inception and a founder. I’m part of the team for 10 years now, working as a contractor and coordinating various tasks for the foundation. I joined a group who I believe is able to do the needed work for The Document Foundation and its projects. Together with others, I support the Pledge for LibreOffice The Document Foundation Nextcloud


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Hi Sophie,

Finally had time to catch up on mail here; and I have a few questions for you if that’s alright:

As you know the relationship between staff and board has been under growing tension for quite a long time. This has been given new drive in this board term and resulted in an initiative around a staff policy being drafted to help clarify and formalize the roles and responsibilities of TDF staff as a whole as they report to the board.

As you may also know, the existing conflict of interest policy covers only those subset of conflicts that involve tendering – yet there are many other possible conflicts of interest. It is encouraging that the commitment you have made states “that [you] will keep out of all decisions and also discussions that could affect our own personal interests, and that [you] will declare these interests regularly.”

Question 1: Do you believe that changes to staff oversight, and role descriptions are an area that you are conflicted in, and will you recuse yourself from all discussion and decisions about that policy ?

my take: since you may be affected by such a policy in your role as staff & community member - I do think your engagement in discussions is helpful; along with some limits – around not being involved in the final decisions / voting on the topic – but I’m curious on your take.

A second question if I may; all the FLOSS projects I’ve worked in have had an understanding that if you (say) translate one string, your contribution gives your voice a certain impact, and that your presence is valuable, and (particularly if you’re new – you’re an exciting new contributor), and so on. However successful projects do well to weigh the input more heavily of those who have translated tens of thousands of strings (and perhaps a book =).

When making decisions – we want to (somehow) particularly listen to and keep engaged those who have have the most experience in an area and have contributed the most, and the most constructively. Similarly those who contributed to LibreOffice marketing by sticking a sticker on their laptop should have a different relationship to the project to those heros who spent days at conferences answering questions, and being winsome advocates for our work.

This applies quite fundamentally to every area of our work, and in my experience successful projects bake this understanding into their governance. This is why LibreOffice tried to capture this in its statues using the word ‘meritocracy’, and not ‘democracy’.

So Question 2 – the pledge you champion states: “All contributions are equal” and “We will value all contributors equally” – can you expand on what you mean by that?

My take: if we want to say that 1000 hours of work on translation is equivalent to 1000 hours work on the code – I rather agree; I like your “Developers, non-developers, volunteers, company employees and TDF staff are all one respectable community” bullet. However the above statements are somewhat ambiguous – is this equality of time contribution what you meant? For my part I’d like to see us celebrate most those who have contributed most – as well as newbies who have yet to prove their potential.

And Question 3 – you have previously defended a privileged position for staff – meeting privately with each other and the board to make decisions. Do you expect this privileged position to continue ? And perhaps you can expand on why opening staff meetings, if only to board attendance, is not a topic – (alongside opening board meetings) in your pledge ?

And a last one – Question 4 – what qualification criteria did you use to select members of your team to build this pledge together ?

Thanks !


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Hi Michael,

We promise in our pledge to abstain from all discussions that could affect our own personal interests. And with absolutely no issue, I don’t want to be part of any discussion and a fortiori decisions concerning budget, HR and all staff matters.

Translating one string if you are in the middle of a desert with 2 hours of expensive electricity/connection by day is as important than me comfortably translating 100 strings at quite no cost. This contributor has demonstrated their engagement and should have a high recognition and impact in how the foundation is organized to help them the most.

Since then, there is the Post-Meritocracy Manifesto that I value a lot and which for me capture the essential of what should be present in our community.

This is the other fold of your question, let me take an example here too, if you want to build a house that is solid, cosy, comfortable and beautiful, you need the work of:

  • an engineer to make the calculations and calibrate the capacity of the structure
  • an architect to listen to you and design a house that is comfortable, cosy and beautiful for you
  • a construction company to carry out the structural work
  • A plumber
  • an electrician
  • a painter

  • It’s with the work of all these people that you get the house you want, not with the work of the construction company alone … the company will take more money than the architect, for example, but that does not mean that the architect’s work is not essential.

We want TDF to return to being a welcoming, comfortable and beautiful home, where everyone feels appreciated for who they are and what they do, when they do it well.

I expect the board to be transparent and open to all. If that happens, there should be no need for the staff to have privileged (I’ve never seen that as a privilege by the way) access to board decisions. If anyone at all, and only under strict circumstances, only the Membership Committee should have a privileged access to what the board is working on before the outcome becomes public.

As for opening the staff meetings to the entire community, that should be discussed by the staff, not me. We have already discussed this and planned it in the past, but as several staff members got exposed, people were worried to be attacked.
But as you ask my opinion, I have no problem to open our meetings to everyone interested. My only concern is we have a lot of work, and those meetings should remain as effective as they are today, exchanges between the staff members on their own areas and also those who often overlap with others (for example release engineering and marketing). I would be more for an AMA session each month or something like “hear only” meetings, but it’s not up to me to decide here.

You see me with powers I don’t have (and don’t want to have), and it’s a big group: current board, team, community members. As members of the community, we discuss quite often. Those who wanted, gathered to write the pledge and some of them volunteered to be candidates. As you know me, I value diversity, inclusiveness and transparency. I met those values in the group of the pledge and the pledge we wrote, making me wanting to be part of it.

I hope that it answers your questions.


Hi Sophie,

In an earlier post, I already tried to reflect on various ideas listed in the pledge.

Since I’m spending quite some time on renovation and constructing :wink: I do like the metaphor that you and Andreas are using, about building a house. Personally, I will never contract a painter, carpenter, if I’m not sure first that the basic construction gets done.
To me the similarities with (the house of) Apache OpenOffice are noticeable. They had a group of enthusiastic contributors in QA, l10n, documentation, … that organized campaigns to attract developers, but they failed. So for my own house: what could I even start without the basic construction? And yes, for me painting, plumbing etc… are just as important.
Now in TDF: isn’t it that in our community the situation is similar? If only we look at the attractive series of interviews with all sorts of contributors on our blog. Also our statues grant similar rights for membership to anyone doing significant contributions from any kind.
Looking at myself: I’ve done a lot of work with localization and marketing. I never felt though that it was nearly as important as the larger development work. QA comes a bit in that direction, but… But does the fact that I find my own contributions not of the same importance, mean that I find myself as contributor less valuable? Not at all.
So yes it is important to try to be respectful towards all people. And when there is a problem somewhere - and these will always occur - I hope we can help each other to understand. I remember quite well when I was called, years ago, by another community member. It turned out that I had expressed myself disrespectful towards others, without me realizing that; from my personal background it was more toward a joke. Now thanks to someone calling and explaining, I could understand and apologize.
So we simply need do each other, trying to work together in a way that all can feel valued and respected, also if IMO we cannot charge the environment with the full responsibility for our feeling well.


Hi Sophie,

I find that an interesting site and explanation. It looks as if they work from the idea that meritocracy tells that people have more value based on skills they have. From that perspective, I can understand criticism. But what if meritocracy means that people who actually work on a product, have influence on its development? That would not mean that some people have more value as person than others. Or…? Please how do you see that?

Hi Cor,

Meritocracy has a meaning that you can not change. This is why the post meritocracy manifesto was written.

Hi Sophie,
Maybe we can agree that the most important are the values of respect, openness and truthfulness that we put into our work :slight_smile: