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Hi all,

Italo Vignoli wrote on 04/09/2020 16:44:
On 9/4/20 4:26 PM, Michael Meeks wrote:

             Sorry for that. The essence of the question is simple - if you
want to grow the membership there are at least these two approaches:

     + encourage more people to contribute more to meet
       the criteria
     + lower the criteria for membership

There is a third solution: convince more contributors to apply for
membership, as many of them do not even know that it is possible to
become TDF members by contributing to LibreOffice.

For instance, we have over 4K people registered on weblate, or 20 times
as many TDF members. 

This is a very interesting point. 4k people in Weblate, so that would be
350 persons or so on average for every language that LibreOffice supports?

Of course, many of them would not qualify as their
contribution is marginal, but many would.

We could ask the MC their experience with reaching out, what is marginal
and not.
I know we reached out in the past, and thus attracted more members. And
reading the replies from MC members, that is still the case.
Also I remember that different people, had a different appreciation of
the work the did/do for LibreOffice.

But.. having more members is positive as this reflects support, and
since members are likely to help spreading the word about LibreOffice.
However then there regularly was - and I assume it is similar nowadays -
the situation that people feel they contribute so little, that they are
only weakly connected and membership is not reasonable.
And that makes sense. Because membership also comes with the power, and
thus responsibility, to help setting the goals in steering the community.
In the past I've been stating regularly that it is important that
developers have enough understanding of the needs of the people doing
e.g. QA and l10n.
But the same can happen the other way round. The recent discussion about
the marketing approach, with all related items, in the board and in the
full community, reveals that for many it is not natural to understand
the situation of commercial entities in the community. This comes with
the clear risk that one of the major pillars under LibreOffice's success
- professional developers - is seriously weakened. Details can be read
in the recent discussion.
And I don't want to blame anybody for that. It is only natural that many
people, at larger distance to the core group, have a different
understanding of the situation.

I think that a solution to this issue is to reach out to native language
communities, especially outside Europe, where the relationship with the
core group is less strong.

I think we have to recognize that the number of 4k people there is very
high. Even if say 10% would contribute (...) it is unrealistic to expect
that their membership will help with a balanced, strong governance of
the foundation.
Yet, having them on our side showing support, spreading the word, is
important. And the same applies in the area of e.g. marketing and
design. We do want to value the support also from people that help on a
booth or do a local presentation 2, 3 times a year and have them engaged.
Is it necessary to try to make them all member? Growing membership is
not a goal of the community. More important is that the board of
trustees is composed in a way, that this supports that people who are
doing the hard and essential work of development will also be leading
their own work. We cannot afford that the meritocracy disappears; this
is undesired.

Michael Meeks wrote on 04/09/2020 13:17:
* 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 ?

Investigating in that direction possibly brings the best of two worlds

Cor Nouws, member Board of Directors
The Document Foundation, Kurfürstendamm 188, 10707 Berlin
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