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

Ragavan S ragavans at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 12 11:32:27 CST 2002


A lot of really interesting proposals have been put forward to define what 
being a JSF member means. I have one of my own.

One of the things that we did mention initially when we formed the JSP was 
that we would be basing it on the likes of the Apache Software Foundation 
and the GNOME foundation. Maybe it would be helpful for us to kinda take a 
look at their approaches to these issues. I am sure they have both dealt 
with similar issues. We have people like James Barry and Dirk who have been 
heavily involved with the Apache foundation, so it shouldn't be too 
difficult for them to come in and throw some light on this particular issue. 
The same applies to the Powered by Apache logos.

I also understand that this is not going to be an exact solution for our 
case, but it is definitely a good starting point for us to come to some 
solid conclusions.

What say you?


>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interest and is no longer active.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
>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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