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FSFE simplifies membership procedures for contributors

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During last year's General Assembly the FSFE's Council was asked to prepare a constitution change to remove the so-called "Fellowship seats". This motion was adopted with 20:3 votes and zero abstentions. Today the FSFE's General Assembly approved in an extraordinary meeting the removal of the Fellowship seats. In future, access to membership of the FSFE shall be facilitated through the normal membership procedures for active FSFE contributors.

Initially, elections for Fellowship seats were introduced to give the FSFE’s sustaining donors access to the General Assembly and therewith a voice on strategic decisions inside the FSFE. However, the FSFE's General Assembly now sees the downside of such elections despite its initially good intentions. As the community would never accept similar representation for corporate donors it is inappropriate to have such representation for any purely financial contributor.

Evaluating our nine elections, the positive aspects of these elections have been that many of the former representatives have become permanent members and valuable additions to the FSFE's General Assembly. The negative side was that we forced active contributors to run against each other in elections where the final decision on the membership was solely taken by financial contributors without reference to proved dedication and expertise of our candidates. This unfortunate mechanism discouraged active community members from applying for membership in the past.

Based on the fact that all new members who joined through Fellowship elections had already been active contributors before they were elected, we believe that the better way to grow our membership is by encouraging active contributors to become GA members, without the downsides of the elections. Even more, it gives room to integrate more than just one member a year.

During today's extraordinary general assembly it was decided by 21 votes to 1 to remove the Fellowship seats. Now we will work to further improve the documentation about how to contribute to the FSFE and how to become a member of the FSFE.

If you want to speak with us in person or become an active contributor we encourage you to participate at this years community meeting from July 7 to 9 during the Libre Software Meeting in Strasbourg, France. We look forward to meeting you there.