The maemo.org community is something of a rare bird in the mobile environment - a self-organizing community centered around Nokia's tablet line, with a very strong infrastructure and unique spot where users, developers and hackers come together resulting in a lot of synergy and powerful base compared to the niche aspect of Maemo. One of the most peculiar aspects of it is the Community Council, a representative body that deals with all things Maemo. What it can do, why should you care and, most importantly, why should you vote *TODAY* if you are a community member with enough karma ? Read on to find out ! I also hope this to shed a little light and be a short introduction of the inner workings of maemo.org to people NOT familiar with the intricate community workings of maemo.org .
The Community Council was formed two years ago as a representative body, with a role to "represent the Maemo community's best interests to Nokia, and to act as a community conduit for Nokia-generated information." This role has recently been expanded, as Nokia has transferred control of maemo.org to the community (=the Council as a representative body). This gives it a fairly complete control over all things that happen in maemo.org, a lot of which many users are not even aware of:
- the rules that define criteria for software in extras and related repositories
- determining forum policies
- overseeing collection of documentation/wikis/howtos
- ability to issue tasks to maemo.org staff (you DO care if the forums or Extras breaks down or is difficult to use, right ?)
- disseminate important information through the Council blog
- help coordinate community events (Summits/Conferences/meetups)
- help with grassroots efforts (competitions, hackfests, anything Maemo)
- formalize concerns and issues and pass them to Nokia
- define goals/strategies for the future of maemo.org
- really, anything maemo.org related
- in fact, anything community related goes - it it's cool, support it !
So yes - if you would like more of the things above, or you have a peeve you'd like changed - the Council is the body whose attention you need. Generally - if you have an idea relating to Maemo, and you don't know who to turn to, the council is the address (with a notable exception - the Council is not Nokia Care, Nokia has proper customer care channels, the Council focuses on community aspects).
Even with fairly complete control over the maemo.org realm, I cannot emphasize enough the facilitation character of the Council when it comes to Nokia. Nokia does not obey the Council - but certainly does listen to it as it represents the most vibrant and passionate base of it's users.
I've listed a short (far from complete !) list of what the Council can do - but there are things, often sources for confusion, of what it CANNOT do. Can the Council guarantee that a particular firmware will be made available to your device ? No - it's not a community call. Can the Council force Nokia to include/exclude components from firmwares ? No - it's not a community call.
Some of you Maemo device owners will stop (or already stopped with tldr ;) ) reading as they don't really care about this maemo.org stuff (something I doubt, as Extras, a central part of it, is the main source of applications).
However, if even if all this community-talk jibberish means nothing to you and and you define the bottom line as Apps Apps and Apps (with Flash), you should pay attention. The Community Council is in the unique position to make a strategy for the future of the community. It *does* direct the work of maemo.org people and will be pivotal in determining for example what software will be available from MeeGo repositories, or just how difficult it will be for MeeGo/Harmattan developers to support the Extras repository. They can (and IMO should !) also be the voice of the Maemo community inside MeeGo - MeeGo doesn't have a council, and if you have an itch, it won't get resolved unless you or your representatives do it.
All this brings us to the bottom line - in my opinion, the Council matters, but only to the extent of the abilities of people in there. In a worst case scenario, the people you elect to it do nothing - that's the same as if it didn't exist. However, YOU, the community member have the power to elect people who ARE capable of affecting the future of maemo.org and all the people and device it touches on, be that apps, events or other. Today is the last day of the community elections for the next term, so if you care the tinyest bit about Maemo, MeeGo, maemo.org or your Maemo device - use that voting token and make a difference.