[Members] XSF membership: what does it mean?

Jehan jehan at zemarmot.net
Tue Nov 4 17:59:40 CST 2008


for my own, I perfectly understand what he means. The point here is
probably not that as member we would have "special powers" or some
greater importance over non-members, but maybe the opposite. We were all
expecting some responsibilities, that the XSF may rely on us. Of course
not like a "job", where we MUST be there every time we are called. But
just we applied to say "if ever you need some people, we are ready to
give the XSF some of our time if possible".

Unfortunately the truth is that maybe you don't trust people enough
Peter, just as you told me once on some MUC. The other members, I don't
know; but I, I don't ask you to trust me or anyone else, nor to give me
the keys of your house. But just to "use" me. Stop doing everything
alone and use people who agreed "officialy" (by submitting membership)
to be used.
I think that's exactly what was saying Eric Raymond (and Linus Torvalds)
in "the Cathedral and the Bazaar":

6. Treating your users as co-developers is your least-hassle route to
rapid code improvement and effective debugging.


When I expressed this opinion in his [Linus'] presence once, he smiled
and quietly repeated something he has often said: ``I'm basically a very
lazy person who likes to get credit for things other people actually
do.'' Lazy like a fox. Or, as Robert Heinlein famously wrote of one of
his characters, too lazy to fail.

Really I am sure that if you were able to use us more and cleverly, then
you would have far more time for many interesting things and many things
would go faster in the XMPP world and the XSF. That's something you
cannot ask other people in the community, even the most active ones,
because they participate but still are independant. Whereas us, we
agreed by signing membership, so you may feel righteous to try and ask
us stuffs if needed.

And one last thing: you may answer that we could by ourselves propose
stuffs, etc. But the fact is that this is the reason why we applied for
membership, not for leadership. We don't want (or cannot, for any
reason) to decide, choose, but still if we have the ability, we can "act".
For my own, I would not know what to do "just like that" to help the
XSF. Or the truth is that I have some ideas but don't have the time or
the will to propose then defend them to get them done.
But still when you had the wiki problem on the database the other day, I
would have been able to fix it. You told me by IM that it was not your
priority so I did not insist. But even small details like this would
have been good for the XSF and might have needed absolutely no effort
from you if you had used my (small) technical skill.

Just to conclude: yes I think this could be better. By keeping only the
"legal" part of being a member, then you keep only the boring part (in
my own opinion). That's not to say that I will stop my membership, I am
a very new member and still hope I may be useful to the Foundation some
day (like Daniel Henninger probably did when he first applied), but I
give my opinion of my first monthes as being a member...


P.S.: I hope this email is not too "hard"... especially coming from a
very new member. But I never knew how to speak correctly and politely...
:-/ Sorry about this.

Peter Saint-Andre wrote:
> Daniel Henninger didn't re-apply for XSF membership:
> http://blathersource.org/blog/archives/75-Why-I-left-the-XSF.html
> I've been commenting at his post, as have a few others.
> The basic confusion is that some folks expect XSF membership to mean
> something -- as in, we have some deeply meaningful conversations on this
> list, plot out the future of XMPP technologies, etc.
> By contrast, I see the membership as something we need in order to
> maintain the XSF as a legal entity. We are a non-profit corporation
> that's defined as a membership organization, so we need members. But we
> don't limit participation to members (or employees of sponsoring
> companies), as too many closed industry consortia do. Instead, all of
> our important work takes place on open mailing lists, chatrooms, and
> sometimes IRL at the XMPP Summit meetings.
> Because XSF members don't really do much *as members*, some people get
> confused. Why isn't there any conversation on the members at xmpp.org list?
> Where is the secret handshake? Etc. But that's not the point of being an
> XSF member.
> We could change that. We could ask XSF members to get more heavily
> involved in website development, running the jabber.org service, doing
> interop testing, marketing, and so on. That would be great, if people
> are interested. But I don't see a strong reason to limit things so that
> only XSF members can help with any of those tasks.
> Folks here may disagree with this approach, which would be fine with me.
> After all, agreement is overrated. :)
> What do you think?
> Peter

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