[Standards] Council Minutes 2017-05-24

Dave Cridland dave at cridland.net
Wed May 24 16:53:09 UTC 2017

On 24 May 2017 at 17:36, Daniel Gultsch <daniel at gultsch.de> wrote:
> Hi,
> 2017-05-24 18:04 GMT+02:00 Dave Cridland <dave at cridland.net>:
>> I consider any XEP Author unresponsive who fails to respond to
>> discussion on this list - the primary discussion venue of the XSF -
>> concerning the XEPs they are looking after for the XSF and the
>> community it serves. This is a fundamental requirement for being a XEP
>> author, and if any current authors are unwilling to subscribe to this
>> list and read it frequently, particularly threads concerning their own
>> XEPs, they should not be doing the job.
> Unresponsiveness can be very annoying. I can personally recount
> several occasions where I requested minor changes or cleanups on
> experimental XEPs and even provided a PR but couldn't get the 'authors
> approval'. Unfortunately we don't have any hard set rules on how to
> deal with those situations.
> Even the process of providing a PR and getting 'author approval' is
> more of a convention than an actual rule.

XEP-0001 was written before we considered opening up git at all, let
alone moving to github, so it doesn't deal in PRs, but in "feedback",
which is assumed to be primarily via the mailing list.

Authors didn't need to approve the feedback, they were tacitly
expected to write up the conclusions of the community into the XEP.
The "authoriness" was in the expression of that consensus, not in
deciding what went in. At times, authors might ask for someone else to
write a paragraph expressing what the intent was, for particularly
knotty problems.

Because authors now get PRs written for them as routine, we seem to
have drifted somewhat, so that the authors now hold some control over
what goes in. Approving PRs seems fine, but really only if this is
approval in terms of consensus calls - not a matter of personal
agreement or otherwise.

And the discussion leading to that consensus must be public, and
archived. I dislike discussion occurring only on PRs, because there's
a serious risk that not everyone is aware of it. Equally I'm well
aware that mailing lists are not the ideal solution, but it's what we

Finally, an author not being responsive is not the end of the world,
and shouldn't result in that author being immediately dropped. This is
a volunteer activity, and I appreciate people have other commitments,
a personal life, and so on. But months without any response seems much
too much.

> Correct me if I'm wrong but currently the only way to deal with 'an
> unresponsive' author is to defer the XEP with the 6 months of
> inactivity rule and create a new XEP. Which of course might not always
> be the best approach.

FWIW, "undeferring" a XEP is as simple as publishing a new version.
It's a thoroughly reversible process.

> If we as the XSF want to re-assign authors we should discuss and write
> down explicit rules for that process in XEP-0001.
> Side note: We also have *a lot* of XEPs which are inactive for way
> more than 6 month where there is no activity whatsoever. No questions,
> no discussions, no implementations. Are we just going to defer them?
> Or is the 6 month of inactivity timer only invoked after the first
> feedback?

It was pointed out to me that it's been 12 months for several years...
But in any case, yes - Experimental XEPs not being developed should be
deferred. As I say above, moving them back is trivial.

It'd be nice - though not essential - if we (Council) reviewed those
XEPs at risk of deferment regularly to see which can be advanced
as-is, or which we could generate a discussion around.

> cheers
> Daniel
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