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Re: [steering-discuss] List discussion & purpose


Hello,

2011/8/12 Florian Effenberger <floeff@documentfoundation.org>

Hello,

let me jump in quickly with a few thoughts:

- The set-up of this list was discussed in one of last year's steering
commitee public conference calls, and if I remember correctly, it was even a
demand by the community, not by the steering committee. (Which does not mean
we do not consider it a good idea.)

- The purpose of this list is for the steering committee to discuss on
topics. Others of course can jump in, but let's not forget we have a discuss
mailing list that serves what it's name has: discussion. So, the topics on
this list indeed should *only* be related to things concerning steering
committee decisions. Traffic on this list should be kept rather low, main
discussions should take place on the discuss list. I myself will try to
follow that idea better in the future, I've also swamped the
steering-discuss list with topics that would have belonged to a different
list.

- Yes, there is a private list, and there are private calls. This has not
been kept in secret, we've stated that several times at various places. We
try to discuss as many things in public as possible, and our bylaws also
have that we make private items public when possible.

One recent example for that is the letter of intent we sent regarding
OpenOffice.org. During that discussion, it was crucial to not have it public
- especially when dealing with corporations, there are of course topics that
are to be kept confidential. I hope it is obvious to everyone why we could
not discuss some internals of the things happening at OpenOffice.org in
public. It was simply not possible, and if we hadn't have a chance to
discuss it in private, we would have been forcd to keep out of it totally,
which is not ideal. When the discussion phase has ended, we made the letter
public, so everyone could read the contents.

So, please, everyone, calm down a bit. What Charles tried to say is that we
should keep the focus of this list, and move other discussions on their
appropriate list, e.g. discuss@tdf.

I agree that having a private list is always connected to some bad
feelings, but I hope you see there are justified reasons for having that.
Again, we discuss anything in public that is possible, and the topics that
are discussed in private will be made public afterwards if that is feasible.

Nothing on our principle of transparency, openness and meritocracy has
changed. I give you my word on that.

Florian



To second Florian's point about the private list, and to answer Drew's
requests, it is actually rather simple. There is no decision by principle
taken privately on the private mailing list. In fact the steering-discuss
list is where decisions are being taken (there is no "rest of us" here,
Drew, because I'm on the discuss@ list as well, and I have a strong feeling
against using that list for SC/BoD discussion.) Private communications
happen in two cases: there's a need for confidentiality in legal terms or
one of us wishes to switch to a more informal mode because he/she cannot
discuss his / her point clearly without feeling uncomfortable in public.

However, note that we have a rule inside our bylaws that's rather clear
about transparency and disclosure: if we have a decision that needs to be
taken care of in confidentiality we must disclose it after a specific period
of time. Hence the case with our letter of intent to Oracle. I must reassure
everyone here we don't write such letters every month, very far from that :)
Last but not least the use of one private list exists in every FOSS project;
and LibreOffice, just like every other project, does make use of it,
however, we make sure that the decision making process does not happen
there.

Best,
Charles.

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