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Re: [board-discuss] membership application/language and supporters

Hello Norbert, Cor, all,

Le mardi 22 mai 2012 à 08:25 -0500, Norbert Thiebaud a écrit :
On Tue, May 22, 2012 at 5:36 AM, sophie <> wrote:
This is what language communities are supposed to do : give those who don't
speak English a chance to be part of the project. We can't rely only on
English speaking people to grow the community and represent it every where
in the world. This is why settling each of our actions on an i18n point of
view first is very important.

That conjure to me the following quote (from a brazillian TDF member
on the aooo-dev ML)

"4 - Suddenly, TDF was requesting that every person who wanted to be called
a "contributor" should fill a agreement request in order to be
"recognized". So we became to be concerned about that huge amount of people
who contributed and didn't want to fill a formal agreement to a foreign
organization that don't speak their language and has a lot of "channels",
many of them obscured.
5 - In addition, people who we were fighting bacame key persons in TDF. One
of them became a "brazilian" member of the BoD, with 70 votes, when
brazilian accepted members in Brazil were less than 15 and most of them
didn't vote for him."

Which, to me, indicate that the language barrier is being use and
abuse to mislead (*), and the underlying 'nationalism' is disturbing
to me. the notion the TDF should be the UN with 'national
representative' is pretty scary (**) :-(


(*) TDF does not _require_ anything to 'contribute'. for code
contribution we ask for the proper licensing... but that is true of
nay project.
member need to be contributors but contributors are not required to be
member. For instance last time I checked Tor is not a member, yet he
is undeniably a contributor.
Sure, to become a member, one is asked to agree to the tenet of the
organization one want to become a member of... nothing shocking about

(**) the notion of 'brazillian' member is shocking to me, just like
the notion of 'French' member or 'Finnish' member... a member is a
member, his national origin is irrelevant.
And voting for a BoD member based on such irrelevant criteria is
disturbing to me.

I'll try to go back to the initial two questions. The first one, the one
of the language, is an important one. To my very own surprise (and
partial misunderstanding) we have lots of enthusiastic volunteers who
*do and contribute* lots of efforts but are almost fully unable to
interact with the English language. This in turn brings many undesired
effect, such as the lack of recognition and the lack of awareness of
TDF's affairs. I don't believe that it's a matter of nationalism. Of
course you will always find rotten apples in every discussion and every
group. But the lack of fluency in English is a problem and while we
cannot provide English lessons to people, we ought to have tools that
allow for a reasonable understanding of at least important matters, and
have local communities that can use one or more proxy to understand
what's going on. Worldwide communities are full of resources for us:
developers, QA testers, documentation writers, localizers, marketers,
extension writers... All of them grow our ecosystem, expand our reach,
and by doing so are a vital part of the community. Never forget about
what made the success of in the first place: not its
development methods, but its ability to permeate every market and user
base thanks to a huge, ubiquitous and enthusiastic community. So if we
can, say, translate a certain page such as the membership application
page or have a process ready for people who are active but who cannot
interact well with English, the MC should work on this.

On Cor's second question, I read it in two very different ways. One way
to understand the issue is that we have people who don't feel they
qualify so they would like a different kind of membership. I think that,
just like what's written in the bylaws, membership is something you
earn, not something you can just ask for. But I'm sure we can come up
with a different term, because I also don't wish to downgrade the value
of membership by watering it down with other kinds of membership. "Fan
of LibreOffice", for instance, etc.  One reminder though: I think the
criteria for membership are quite broad, and I think the real issue is
that people don't apply, not that they get frustrated because they are
rejected. The second way for me to read this is that I think this
question outlines the need for more structure inside the LibreOffice
project (no, not Red Tape) . Structure as in, having roles that are
existing in fact, but never recognized with a small signature or just
clearly marked on a page. Case in point? The localiers; we may want to
have a "french l10n team" for instance, and he/she does not have a to be
a TDF member for that. We ought to have a clear "Documentation Team
leader" (yes Jean, I know, I know ;-) )and so on and so forth. I
actually think that's the real question, which is how we acknowledge our
contributors in a more proactive and "daily" fashion; the TDF membership
is a rather powerful tool, but it is of limited use on a daily basis
inside the project.

My two eurocents,

Charles-H. Schulz
Co-Founder & Director, The Document Foundation,
Zimmerstr. 69, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Rechtsfähige Stiftung des bürgerlichen Rechts
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