[Foundation] Criteria, Voting, Membership What does it mean?

Julian Missig julian at jabber.org
Mon Mar 11 22:40:32 CST 2002

I completely agree that the JSF should be a meritocracy and I agree with
everything you say here.

The one issue I can think of right now is in relation to:
> 6. Code contributed (to your own project or someone else's)
Now, the distinction between open source code that the community *can*
use and closed source code that the community cannot is an easy one to
make. However, I think we'll need to better define what we mean by
"contributed" -- what if my only "contributions" to Jabber are bits and
pieces of Open Source code that don't even really work? I haven't really
made a contribution to the community, but it's open source... so it
would seem to me that we would need a way to distinguish useful code
from useless code - and that's not a pretty distinction to make, in my
tiny bit of experience. Thoughts?


On Mon, 2002-03-11 at 23:24, Peter Saint-Andre wrote:
> What does JSF membership mean? Here is my ideal:
> JSF membership means a *lot* -- it's something that community members
> aspire to. You're accepted as a member only if you have created a lot of
> value and have really contributed. JSF members are a small, respected
> subset of Jabber community members. Promises, wishes, and good intentions
> are heavily discounted when current JSF members vote on whom to accept. In
> other words, the JSF is a meritocracy, not a democracy.
> It's easy for me to say that but not quite so easy to implement. One way
> to ensure that JSF membership means a lot is for current JSF members to be
> picky about whom they accept as new members. But even that is not enough.
> For example, say someone was a strong contributor to the Jabber community
> two years ago and was voted in as a JSF member, but has since lost
> interest and is no longer active. Is that person stripped of JSF
> membership? By whom? Based on what criteria? Right now, as long as that
> person continues to vote, he or she can be a member of the JSF for life,
> which doesn't seem right.
> A standard open-source project is certainly a meritocracy, since your
> standing in the project is based on the code (or docs etc.) you've
> contributed, but it is not a membership organization and its formal
> structure is loose to non-existent. A standard membership organization
> (e.g., a club) is more of a democracy since it considers anyone who pays
> monetary dues to be a member. The JSF is something in between these. Like
> a club it is a membership organization, but like an open-source project
> your membership is based not on your monetary contribution, but on your
> contribution of code, documentation, assistance to people on the mailing
> lists, and so on. A club will no longer consider you a member if you don't
> contribute money. Likewise, I think it would make sense for the JSF to no
> longer consider you a member if you don't contribute in at least some
> relevant capacity.
> Would it be possible to come up with objective ways to measure the extent
> of an individual's contributions to the Jabber community? Here are some
> possibilities:
> 1. JEPs accepted by the JEP Editor
> 2. Substantive comments made within the Standards JIG
> 3. Questions answered on JDEV or JADMIN
> 4. Documents produced (howtos, whitepapers, etc.)
> 5. Community services provided (e.g., JabberStudio, JabberCentral)
> 6. Code contributed (to your own project or someone else's)
> I'm not thinking that we would have hard-and-fast quotas here (10
> questions answered on JADMIN and you're in), but I am thinking that in the
> future we would ask for documentation of specific contributions in each of
> the above areas from new applicants (URLs for docs created or posts made
> to the mailing list archives, features added or bugs fixed in code
> projects, etc.). I'm still not sure what to do about existing members who
> have stopped contributing -- for example, I don't particularly want to
> require each member to put together a yearly list of accomplishments in
> order to remain a member (I must admit I would not be averse to that, but
> I don't quite see who would vote on retaining existing members).
> You may wonder where this leaves people who have not made public
> contributions to the Jabber community -- for example, people who have
> created proprietary software. I'm not sure. I'm inclined to say that if
> all you have done is create something private and proprietary (say, an
> awesome Jabber-enabled intranet for your company) and you have not made
> any public contributions to the Jabber community (e.g., by posting to the
> mailing lists), then you don't deserve to be a member of the JSF. To
> borrow a term from Lawrence Lessig, the Jabber protocols are an
> intellectual commons. If you have not contributed value to that commons,
> serving instead solely your own private interest, then you do not merit
> JSF membership, no matter how significant your efforts may have been to
> your own cause. So my proposed criteria would exclude people whose
> interest in Jabber is purely commercial (I emphasize the word "purely").
> However, for people or more likely companies whose interests are purely
> commercial, there is always the option of sponsoring the JSF, as several
> companies have already done. (I recognize that there is a lack of clarity
> around sponsorship right now -- Andre Durand and I are working to clear
> that up soon.)
> Anyway those are my initial thoughts on the meaning of JSF membership. I'm
> looking forward to discussing these issues further.

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