[Foundation] membership, money, and meritocracy

Peter Millard me at pgmillard.com
Fri Apr 4 11:17:24 CST 2003

Shawn Wilton wrote:
> Nothing personal, but that's nonsense.  You don't strengthen a community
> by inciting fees.  You do it by allowing in anyone who wants to
> participate.

We aren't trying to strengthen the community, we're trying to strengthen and
organize a non-profit organization. There is no barrier to entry to "join the
jabber community". Just join a mailing list :)

I think there is a key point that people are overlooking here:
The "Jabber Community" existed long before the JSF was ever created. The JSF was
started. So there has always been a clear distinction between the two.
(Community vs. JSF).

Many folks have asked what the "goals" of the JSF should be. According to the
JSF page on jabber.org (http://www.jabber.org/jsf/):
The Jabber Software Foundation (JSF) is a sponsor-supported, not-for-profit
membership organization that fosters freedom of conversation through the
continuing development of an open XML protocol for instant communications and by
supporting the growing community of Jabber-based projects and companies.The JSF
does not itself develop software. Instead it provides organizational and
technical assistance to projects and organizations within the Jabber community.

This clearly states the goals of the JSF (as they currently stand)... perhaps I
can summarize:
1. Continue to develop and mature the Jabber/XMPP protocol.
2. Provide technical assistance to projects "in the jabber community".
Note that if we don't agree on these points, lets discuss that also :) I'm
thinking a third goal should be added (IMO):
3. Promote the use of Jabber through various marketing programs, and to educate
the public at large about Jabber.

So what does this mean to me?
It means that developing a jabber client doesn't "entitle" me to be a member. It
means that providing feedback, guidance, and primary authorship of JEP's is more
of a contribution. (Goal #1). It also means that hanging out in jdev, and
helping people learn about jabber and how it can be used with their project, or
helping them understand how subscriptions work is also more important than
contributing code. (Goal #2).

There are lots of people that develop "jabber related code"... they are part of
the Jabber community. They write all sorts of things: libraries, clients,
servers, components, etc... Those folks are _VITAL_ to the community. They
provide good usable "real-world" implementations of the jabber protocol which
allows people to actually use this stuff. However, there are also folks in the
community that are writing JEPs, providing good feedback on JEPs, providing
marketing materials (to educate those ever-so-informed media reporters), and
providing experimental implementations which assist in protocol development.
According to the JSF goals above, it's the 2nd group of people which are
important to the JSF, not the first.

If you think the jabber protocol rocks and works, and you build stuff, then
great. But if those are the extent of your personal goals for jabber, then you
are unlikely to contribute in a meaningful way to the JSF itself (since there is
no motivation). If you want to see "total jabber world domination", then join
the Marketing group. If you want to help drive the pub-sub protocol, then
provide feedback on the standards-jig mailing list . If you want to see jabber
be more "secure", then participate in the IETF XMPP Working Group.

If you've read this far, kudos :)
I agree with Ryan:
> I think the following questions need to be answered:
> What is the JSF?
> What is its purpose?
> What are its goals?

IMO, many of these questions are answered by the quote above from our current
website. So I think at the minimum we ALL need to answer these questions:

Do I agree with these goals?
If not, what should the goals be?
If you do, do you agree that the existing "member criteria" is sufficient to
assure that the JSF will can focus and achieve these goals?

This email is not intended to personally attack anyone. It's intentions are
1) To promote introspection on your personal role in the jabber community, and
possibly in the JSF.
2) To promote productive discussion and debate, not a flame war :)
Looking forward to feedback & comments, not flames.


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