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From Marvin Humphrey <>
Subject Re: ComDev scope and lists
Date Tue, 10 Jun 2014 19:15:07 GMT
On Thu, Jun 5, 2014 at 10:49 PM, Brett Porter <> wrote:
> Possibly it's just my personal bugbear, but my concern with sending traffic
> to a list that doesn't feel empowered to act on it is that it often ends up
> in discussion with very little decision making.

To my mind, the problem that needs solving is that the catch-all forum for
discussing Foundation-wide policy -- members@apache -- is private.
Foundation-wide policy ought to be discussed by default on *public* lists
unless there is a compelling reason that the conversation must remain

First, making such debates available to the general public is consistent with
the Foundation's mission[1].  The Members care for the Foundation, but they
are not its only stakeholders.

Second, it is important for practical reasons to capture deliberations in the
public record where they may be referenced in subsequent conversations.
As has been shown by recent controversy on legal-discuss@apache over what
diligence is required before casting a +1 vote, disputes often arise as to the
original meaning of our policies.  If the crafting of the policy takes place
behind closed doors and the rationales behind its drafting are concealed in
private archives, that hinders the ability of those who must interact with the
policy to reason about it or comply with it.  It is akin to denying judges the
capacity to reference legislative intent when applying the law.

Third, members@apache has multiple defects as a policy-making venue.  Like
many private lists, it is a hostile place where participants often say things
they would be ashamed to have exposed to a wider world.  Additionally,
participation is mandatory for Members, not all of whom relish wrangling over

We have used dev@community before as a venue for policy debates.  In the
absence of a viable public catch-all alternative, I object to ruling it out
for such use in the future.

Marvin Humphrey

[1] If this argument sounds familiar to some of you, that's because I made it
    a week ago on a certain private forum.  Unfortunately, I can't link to
    that thread or reveal any details to provide context.

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