Hi Michael, Andreas, dear members of BoT,
On 9/4/20 2:17 PM, Michael Meeks wrote:
On 03/09/2020 19:59, Andreas Mantke wrote:
b) TDF currently has 221 members and none of them asked any question to
That's something to think long and hard about. What does this mean to
the democratic culture of the foundation. It was created to get the
members / contributors a voice and a say.
Fair enough =) good point - here are a few questions I came up with.
Please note - it is trivial to ask more questions in a few minutes than
can be answered in a lifetime - but here are a few things I'd love to know
from each candidate:
What is the right list for that ? board-discuss I hope.
* many MC members say they want to expand the membership.
Given that LibreOffice is rather static in terms of its
number of those involved in development: coding, UX,
translation, documentation etc.
+ how do you plan to gain lots of new contributors ?
+ Do you think we expand the membership by accpting
more marginal contributions for membership cf.
First of all. I don't think lowering the threshold for membership is a
good idea. Bringing people who doesn't contribute to the project
regularly, and who probably doesn't follow what's going on, into TDF
membership wouldn't bring any value into the project/community, and
might even be considered harmful, I think.
So I have two main ways in mind for expanding the membership base:
1- Finding the ones who are already contributing silently, but who are
not aware of the importance of the membership, or who doesn't see
themselves "worthy" for membership. (Yeah, I've seen such people. They
usually don't think what they do is enough for membership. But their
contributions are very valuable in fact.) I have already found & invited
tens of contributors during my current term in the MC. Some regular code
contributors and long-time translators are among them.
I keep an eye on various sources to spot those contributors, but I
especially focus on the code contributors & translators because it is
more efficient use of time for me (because of my experience/expertise in
those areas) as a former translator and current developer.
2- Reaching out to people, especially the young ones, to bring fresh
blood into the project/community, mostly through organizing & running
events, and helping mentor/onboard/welcoming the newcomers to the project.
I think, of course without neglecting the general public, focusing on
the universities & colleges is the most efficient way of gaining new
contributors and increasing our project's chances of survival in the future.
For example, I have been applying/experimenting-with a cascaded/layered
strategy about this lately: Reach out to as many as possible
students/people via large-scale events like conference & presentations
etc, to ansure exposure to FLOSS concepts and familiarity with
LibreOffice & TDF. That is the first contact. Then through the
connection you got, try to engage them in active contribution events
like workshops & bug-hunting-sessions etc. And hope for the best. :)
One example of what is described above is the LibreOffice Developer
Bootcamp (large scale, with weekly lessons & assignments), and the
LibreOffice Development Workshop (small-scale) we run after that. We
gained several active contributors from this series, including
translators, and developers (2 of GSoC 2020 students of LibreOffice are
from here). Now we -yes, started as I, but now it is we :)- are planning
for the next run of this series.
+ what effect do you expect that to have on the project ?
1- Improved sense of belonging for the active contributors, and an
increased chance for a longer contribution period.
2- A more vibrant/lively community with many active contributors, and
hopefully some positive effect on the sustainability of the project.
(Volunteer contributors may also become full-time/paid open source
developers, so a double win for the community.)
* If you've stood before, approximately how many people have
you encouraged to apply for membership ?
Tens of people. Probably less then 50.
* How many applications have you voted against ?
Can't tell. Maybe less than 10?
Based on my experience, the approval & rejection decisions have been
mostly made unanimously in the MC. I guess that's because opinions and
evidence are shared before the voting, so if there is strong evidence
against (or lack of any evidence altogether) an application, it gets
rejected, and if evidence is in favor of the application, then it gets
approved. Of course, there are also edge cases, which are the most
difficult ones. So, I expect the "voted-against" number to be similar
(but not exactly the same) for all members of the current MC.
* Do you believe we should have a half-way house / badge
between membership and non-membership that encourages
a person, and gives the a path via more contribution to
achieve full membership ?
Hmm. Might be. The recently started initiative of issuing open badges to
contributors might be something which can be used in this direction.
Additionally, let me tell you what I do about this for new contributors
I spot. I check their contributions, and project the date they would
become eligible for membership. Then contact/meet them and try to
encourage them by telling about the TDF membership, and telling that
they would become eligible for membership if they keep contributing like
this until that date.
And other than the new contributors, there is also the case of
former/old/long-time contributors. If a person keeps contributing for
years as a TDF member, but fails to contribute for ~1 year for some
reason (health, work etc.), we have to decline their renewal request.
This looks/sounds harsh/unfair/harmful to me. Or there might be some
people who have been actively contributing, and would like to / need to
decrease their contributions maybe because of a change in life or
something like that, but keep their affiliation to TDF & LibreOffice,
and show their support when it is possible...
The case described in the paragraph above has been bothering me for a
while, and I have been wondering if we should have an Emeritus Member
status which doesn't give the voting privilege, but provides a sense of
* When there are no concrete metrics (such as translated strings,
code commits, wiki changes, ask comments, etc.) available to
decide on a person's contribution; what is best practice for
MC members vouching for their friends' contributions, and how
should other MC members validate that ?
Easily verifiable, publicly accessible data is the golden criteria for
the MC. If such sources are the central/main ones (such as translated
strings, code commits, wiki changes, ask comments, etc.), we are the
most happy. But if the sources are from the local community, not in
English etc. we seek help from an active member of the certain local
community. There are sometimes almost no public source, because of the
way of contribution, like giving on-site user trainings, user support
etc. without online attribution, so in such a case, we again seek info
from an active member of the certain local community, and that person
becomes the verifier. There is no distinction between an MC member and a
BoT member in this regard. So they are both considered as witnesses of
the contributions, rather than the friend of the contributor.
* To what degree should the MC's decisions & discussion
be transparent (ie. publicly available) ?
Some FLOSS foundations like ours use semi-public (accessible by current
members) issues to track & handle membership decisions. I see no harm in
being as transparent as possible in this regard, to the extent allowed
by GDPR & other applicable law. Some possible benefits of such an approach:
- The applicant creates the issue himself/herself, so no need for
additional consent (?-need to consult an expert on this)
- Other contributors can see the criteria & contribution level needed
for the foundation membership by examples, which might also be an
encouragement for them (setting contribution goals etc.)
- The approved issue might serve as a public profile for the foundation
member, thus giving the members an additional way of knowing (about)
* How do you believe we can improve the existing election
system - assuming the statutes can be tweaked ?
+ I'm interested in where we have the situation that
being too popular can stop you being able to
engage at all as a deputy - as we saw with
Miklos/Jona in the last MC election, and Kendy
in the last Board election.
If I remember correctly, the statutes declares a rule, but doesn't tell
how to ensure that, regarding the situation in the example. So a change
in the statutes might not be needed, and a change in the way of
application might be enough. (?-need to consult an expert on this)
I think an option for an MC member to step down to a deputy position
might solve the issue above, but needs careful formulation, and possibly
also some consultation to a lawyer. (Like, what happens if all deputies
have the same affiliation? Maybe we should apply the affiliation
restriction also to the Extended MC -including the deputy members-?)
By the way, let me try to explain the problem/unfairness described above
a bit by example, for the ones who are not familiar with the issue:
A and B are working in the company X
C and D are working in the company Y
They all run in the MC elections
A got the 1st position (becomes member)
B got the 2nd position (becomes member)
C got the 3rd position (becomes member)
D got the 6th position (becomes deputy member)
Because of the affiliation restriction, both A and B having the same
affiliation, one of them (let's say B) steps down from MC position, and
is kicked out of the MC completely. But C and D, although they have the
same affiliation, stay at their positions. So B is, in a way, punished
for getting too many votes. See the unfairness?
Thanks for any answers =)
Thanks for the questions. And thanks a lot to whoever got this far,
reading the loong answers! Sorry about that. :)
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Re: [board-discuss] Questions To MC Candidates · Muhammet Kara
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