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Hi David, SC members, all

David Nelson schrieb:
Hi SC members, :-)

Charles wrote an excellent set of Community Bylaws. I would like to
see them officially adopted and applied. And I would like to see the
various committees and governance systems in the Community Bylaws set
up and become active.

The Bylaws have been approved by the SC during their last call (or the one before), so they are already adopted.

What needs to be done, is to establish the Membership Committee.
This board will decide on the requests to become formal TDF members - a precondition for electing a Board of Directors later on.

While the tasks of the BoD are worked on by the SC members by now, the Membership Committee's tasks can't be done by them too.

I feel that this is important for the future of LibreOffice. I
strongly support the project, and I want to see it succeed. I think we
need to take action quite quickly.

It is important - no question.

But I don't see it as critical as you:

The TDF membership doesn't lead to any other workflow or decision making than nowadays.

People interested in working on a specific area do the work there - if they understand, that other areas are more important at the moment, they will probably change their focus.

After the release of LibO 3.3.0 the Membership committee could start their work in approving all the requests by active community members to become TDF members.

This will probably take a several weeks, but the main part of their work will be finished before we start the election process for the Board of Directors, that has to be established in September latest (as proposed by the Steering Committee limiting it's existence to not more than one year).

I have noted how the level of involvement and contribution by "active
community members" has tailed off. I have noticed how few user support
queries there are on the user support list. It is my impression that
the level of contribution to development is also decreasing.

This is your impression.

Mine is quite different.

For me the most important point is how the open source basis for the community is filled with life - and brought to the public.

We have ten years history as an open source project, pushed and limited at the same time by the leading habit of Sun/Oracle as main contributor.

New contributors need to find their position in the existing community - we don't want to re-event the wheel in areas that have been successful in the past.

We have a situation in which a key project resource, the
libreoffice.org website, is becoming the center of pushing and pulling
for control over its development. Decisions are needed about the
website's management (editorial team), and about the future direction
of its development (the question of Drupal adoption is becoming
extremely disruptive and divisive in this fledgling project).

All these decisions will be taken - either by the website team, or (if this team will not be able to find a common way without damaging the community as a whole) by the Steering Committee.

But could you please release your website proposal before you request new steps and decisions over and over again?

You probably don't have the time to reply to the proposals for a website leading team in your other thread, as you are finishing the website until tomorrow.

So I'd ask you to let the community have some time and find a way of common goals and ways to reach them. This will not be possible without discussion. But these discussions will lead to results - they are not superfluous at all.

I personally have experienced wanting to implement 2 great initiatives
(proactive contact with Linux projects, and organization of interviews
with BBC TV and radio for Charles and/or other SC members) only to
find certain SC members strongly discouraging me to take action,
refusing to give any constructive consideration, or totally ignoring
me and not giving any reaction at all on the subject.

I can't tell you anything about the BBC contacts you mention, but I see the results of your request for participation at the Linux design teams (to create our logo9:

As our infrastructure had not at all been ready to provide a place for the Linux designers to work collaboratively together with the LibO community, they became quiet after a very short period of time (perhaps they turned their back on LibO totally). When we'll reach at them again - after establishing our branding and infrastructure - I don't know who will be interested again...

Of course this is mainly a problem of communication - if we would have been able to tell you what is necessary to lead people towards a project and to *keep them active* (and we know that from our experience in OOo), this step could have been coordinated better.

But we didn't have the time to prepare everything properly - we have to establish our new infrastructure now...


When I have suggested bold initiatives, there have been very
proprietary, "control freak" reactions from some SC members, with talk
of "this is so and so's field of responsibility", and I'm strongly
discouraged from taking the idea further.

I don't know what the initiatives are you refer here.

Calling SC members "control freaks" might be too bold IMHO.

They feel responsible for the entire community - consisting of numerous people not visible on the mailing lists, but nevertheless working in their specific area.

They know how these people are used to work and will not hinder them to work there in the way they think to be the best for their purpose.

The SC consist of members from the different areas of our community - thus allowing them to have an insight in all these fields of work.

And if they know that one or another community member should be involved in any decision on their field of expertise, this doesn't mean they behave as "control freaks".

Allowing you to work offlist for a certain time was a decision that didn't please everybody here. But is has been necessary to get the website in the state it is now.

As the SC seems not to follow your idea of providing you with more privileges than anybody else in this community (not even a SC member will be able to work on his/her own ideas - only to be stopped by a majority decision of the SC), your position seems to have changed by 180°:

These attitudes and some other attitudes I have encountered from
certain SC members are contrary to the
principles of good meritocracy and equality of membership laid down in
the bylaws.

How do you value meritocracy? Are your contributions more valid than mine?

You did a tremendous job in creating our present website - and this gives you merit.

Your voice will be heard in every discussion on website development (and probably on documentation, but this is not an area I'm involved). Your opinion will probably have more value than the opinion of most of the other members of the website team. But this doesn't mean that you are absolutely right in every idea you want to establish.

Equality of membership is mentioned in the Bylaws for TDF membership: Every member has one vote for the BoD elections.

But you don't want that every community member who reached some merit can modify the website according his or her opinion. So you know that equality is not possible - and not helpful to get the needed work done.

Personally, I sometimes get the impression that there is currently a
three-tier membership in this project: new community members like me:
1 vote. past OOo community members: 1.5 votes. SC members 3 votes (or
simple dictation of decision). I have had this impression a number of
times while contributing work to the project. I know that there are at
least *some* other people who would agree fairly closely with this
assertion. I have an impression that, "All members are equal, but some
are more equal than others". :-D

Your assumption is not really wrong: Even if there are no real votes, merit does count more than just discussion.

And trust counts even more: If people have contributed for a longer period of time, their merit might be rated higher than a short time contribution. All the SC members have been active contributors to our community over years. They are respected by the community members, as they know about their long time position towards the community.

They didn't leave OpenOffice.org because they wanted to become "dictators" - the didn't see an other way to keep the community in a state where single people's contributions matter.

The SC was a necessary institution when TDF was first launched. But it
was only supposed to be a temporary body. Some SC members now seem to
becoming rooted in their positions of decision-taking power. The
situation is becoming undemocratic and non-meritocratic. IMHO, it
starts to resemble a form of "Communism going wrong". ;-)

The SC told from the very beginning, that it's work has to be finished within one years time: At this time we'll have an elected Board of Directors.

For the moment, I can't understand what you are heading for.

I seriously believe that, if you do not take quick action, the
LibreOffice project is in serious danger of imploding within the next
couple of months or before the end of the year. Contributors will
progressively drop away. Less and less work will be contributed.
Ultimately, tensions will arise within the SC itself, and
disagreements will break out; if the SC itself were to fragment, the
LibreOffice project could end up orphaned.

This is the SC you want to decide on your proposal to lead the website team as single "boss"? And if they decide, you will call them "dictators"?

Please, could you tell us what you believe would be the right way to lead our community?

People contribute because they want LibreOffice to become better, more known and important.

But we are not a horde of individuals. We need to interact - and I don't see any decision by the SC where this has not been considered.

In the present situation, you cannot attract more corporate
contributors/partners to the project, because there is not the
necessary governance. The SC lacks proper legitimacy. If you do not
take action fairly soon, could you perhaps even end-up losing the
corporate contributors you currently have (Novell and Red Hat)?

If this project is attractive to corporate contributors depends mainly on personal contacts. Of course they want to know how this community evolves.

But the SC has legitimacy until September - I didn't hear any possible sponsor asking for a shorter period of time.

Even if TDF does not now have the funds to establish itself legally,
there is nothing to stop you implementing the bylaws at a moral and
organizational level right from the present time. You might then
attract more financial contributions to enable you to set up a legal
structure in either Germany or the UK.

As the Bylaws have been approved, they are implemented a the moral level. Organizational there is still some work to be done, but this is not a precondition for any sponsor, IMHO.

I hereby request you to discuss the issue of formal adoption and
implementation of the Community Bylaws during either the next SC
confcall or - at latest - during the next-but-one SC confcall (if you
need time to prepare), and to take some formal decisions in this
respect within a short time frame.

It's your right to request the implementation of the Bylaws - I support it with regards to the Membership Committee.

I believe in the Steering Committee's ability to decide on the most urgent topics for our community and to lead and guide our community in a way the vast majority of our community supports whole-heartedly.

As already mentioned above: Please describe the way you want the community to be led, when you have the time to provide such feedback.

We are open to new ideas - especially if they come from a community member that showed his skills and devoted his time to a huge task for our community like you did with the website.

Best regards

Bernhard

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