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From Ross Gardler <>
Subject Re: ComDev scope and lists
Date Wed, 11 Jun 2014 01:08:49 GMT
Brett didn't ask about where policy ought to be made, he asked about where
committer support lives.

You narrow a very good point about policy not being made on members list,
and in fact it isn't made there - sometimes debated but never defined. I do
agree that those discussions should be public (and very often are moved
onto a public list), but that is a different topic to the one I thought
Brett was raising.

If we ask is ComDev a good place to discuss policy in general I would say
it is a good candidate, see my other reply where I say ComDev is a pointer
to policy. There is no reason why that can't also be a source if background
and a place for feedback.

However, I still wonder about the original topic and my observation that if
new committees need guidance from ComDev then the PMCs are, in my opinion,
failing to mentor new members of their project appropriate.


On Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 12:15 PM, Marvin Humphrey <>

On Thu, Jun 5, 2014 at 10:49 PM, Brett Porter <
<javascript:;>> wrote:
> Possibly it's just my personal bugbear, but my concern with sending
> to a list that doesn't feel empowered to act on it is that it often ends
> 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
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
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
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
policy to reason about it or comply with it.  It is akin to denying judges
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
they would be ashamed to have exposed to a wider world.  Additionally,
participation is mandatory for Members, not all of whom relish wrangling

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
    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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