[Members] XSF @ 10

Kevin Smith kevin at kismith.co.uk
Wed Jul 13 09:47:36 UTC 2011

On Wed, Jul 13, 2011 at 5:39 AM,  <jehan at zemarmot.net> wrote:
> I don't think most of the problem is about XEP and RFC process. It is
> also (mainly?) about XSF organization. Specification procedures can
> obviously be improved, but that's not where I see the bigger problem.
> Basically here is my vision of membership as a "simple" XSF member: we
> are just an excuse to have 4 votes for new members a year.
> Outside the XSF, I am quite regularly advocating the XSF and XMPP, in
> particular in the French community. I organized a conference event for
> the 10 years of XMPP, I am regularly contributing articles about XMPP
> advances for French-speaking Free Software community (Ludovic Bocquet
> wrote on the members list about this a few days ago) and overall I am
> trying to get XMPP contributors (for instance many developers of XMPP
> softwares could participate more, if at all) into membership. But
> sometimes I am wondering if I am not lying to them.

It's not clear to me what type of participation you're talking about
encouraging here, or about what you feel you're lying - can you

> Since the years I am member, I proposed quite a few things to improve
> the XSF, they are most of the time not even discussed.

I'm not sure which specific cases you're talking about here.

> New things are
> usually not accepted.

Here too - I think it's important if we're talking about fixing
problems in the XSF that we discuss what the exact problems are,
rather than alluding to them - my memory isn't good enough to pull
this stuff out without reference.

> Also sometimes, and that is really the worst, I am
> just told "there is a procedure, you did not follow it". So yes I am not
> perfectly aware of the whole complicated procedures. I try to be but am
> not. But why did the form totally eclipse the contents? I made a
> procedure mistake, hence I cannot propose ideas, at least for
> discussion?
> My feeling in the XSF in such a case is that the "powerful" crush the
> "simple one" (hopefully that's not always true). Also sometimes some
> same powerful (whether because they are of the board, the council, other
> important position or simply because they have been here for so many
> years that they maybe consider us as "noobs") don't even participate
> much, miss their meetings, do not vote themselves, do not answer the
> list, etc. But they still block us from participating. So in the end,
> the XSF does not move.

There are two issues being raised here, I think. One is that at least
some people feel they can't contribute, and one is that some of the
membership fail to fulfil their duties (I think this has been true of
people on Board, Council, the work teams and the membership at large,
at different times). Both are worthy of discussion.

At least for issues of Council, you have the option of coming to me
(as current Council chair) or to Peter as XSF Executive Director if
it's me that you think sucks if you want to do things quietly or to
just post your complaints to the members list and having an open
discussion about them. Similarly for Board issues you could complain
to Bear, or to Peter, or bring things up in public. I promise that if
people complain to me about how Council are behaving I will at least
*try* to address the complaints.

For issues of feeling unable to contribute, we'll have to watch out
for where this seems to be happening and address it - or people can
bring it to someone's attention that they think might be able to do
something about it. These may be issues of perception - one person
pointing out procedural issues can be a way of helping another person
'get it right' so they can proceed, while to the other person it can
be seen as repression. I make no assertion that this is what happens
in some, all or any cases, but it is worth bearing in mind (for

> So I want to be clear. I am not saying everyone should be perfect. I
> perfectly understand that XSF is not *everything*. Myself I don't have
> that a lot of time to give to the XSF. And I understand that, even a
> board member for instance could be too busy or care about other stuffs,
> more important, at some point. This is not my point. What I am saying is
> that simple members should be listened too, given some credits and some
> capacity to do the things they propose, especially when they try to
> help. Everyone cannot be an extra contributor like Peter, but the time
> we are able to and propose to contribute, this is too bad it is wasted
> on us.

Right, I don't think anyone is going to argue that members should be
ignored, so I think this comes down to individual things that have
gone wrong, and we should address those.


> Note as I said in introduction, it is not all bad. Actually the spec
> part is the only one where I manage to contribute (probably because in
> technics, ranks tend to be lessened). Funnily enough that's the part
> where I don't need membership. But internal organization, I want and try
> to propose things, that's a dead end.

It's interesting that you bring this up - given that the XSF exists
for the purpose of managing the specs (and contributions to etc.,
etc.), that you feel that it is getting that part right it's actually
a huge plus and something we must be careful not to damage in any
reforms that take place.


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