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From "Dennis E. Hamilton" <>
Subject RE: Proposing for Apache Member?
Date Fri, 11 Jul 2014 18:05:12 GMT
While a little tweaking about contributions and contributors might help, the common use of
those terms tends to be sufficient.  The User hat is also a casual description.  There are
no bright lines.  

Note that "Contributor" and "Contribution" as narrow terms of art are called out by explicit
definition when needed, as at <>.

I think the mistake is defining "User" as an Apache Hat.  You can talk about "them" all you
want, but it does not appear to be an useful designation other than for those who self-proclaim
themselves to be users (as is certainly their right).  Even "user" reports of misadventures
and difficulties are contributions and those can be quite valuable.  I see no reason for Apache
to consider that a distinguishable hat, especially with implications of some sort of rank.

Thinking hierarchically, an user is anyone who engages with the project.  We don't know Jack
about the ones that don't, not even from download counts.  Identifiable engagement is a contribution,
however fleeting.  It would work for me to see there be contributors and then how some contributors
also have committer (and other roles) at the ASF and ASF projects.

I'm a committer.  I am not wearing my committer hat in writing and posting this message. It
doesn't seem to me that I am wearing an user hat either. I trust that it is a contribution,

What hats are others wearing at the time of their participation on this thread?

 -- Dennis E. Hamilton    +1-206-779-9430  PGP F96E 89FF D456 628A
    X.509 used and required for signed e-mail

PS: Since it is rare, in practice, for me to make a direct commit to any project, my being
a committer works out to be more about the orcmid @a.o identifier, the fact that I have a
CLA on file, and that I have access to some mailing lists and resources (including a ~orcmid
computer account) that are provided to committers.  

-----Original Message-----
From: Pierre Smits [] 
Sent: Friday, July 11, 2014 05:45
Subject: Re: Proposing for Apache Member?

The hat 'User' states that the following:

They contribute to the Apache projects by providing feedback to developers
in the form of bug reports and feature suggestions

The hat 'Developer' states that the following:

a user who contributes...

In general, a user only consumes the work (the software, the documentation,
the postings on the mailing list). They aren't active as contributors (in
any way, within the community of a project). As soon as a user gets
involved in a project (participating in discussions in the mailing list,
posting JIRA issues, etc) he becomes a contributor to the project and its
work. This person might be a developer or not, a documentalist or not, etc.

Having the 'contribute' in both descriptions makes it ambiguous. Removing
the aspect of contributing from the hat 'User' partly removes that
ambiguity. Renaming the hat 'Developer' to 'Contributor', does the other

Subsequently, the hat 'Committer' could be redefined with following:

A *committer *is a contributor, that was given write access...


Pierre Smits

Services & Solutions for Cloud-
Based Manufacturing, Professional
Services and Retail & Trade

On Fri, Jul 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM, Eric Covener <> wrote:

> On Fri, Jul 11, 2014 at 7:23 AM, Pierre Smits <>
> wrote:
> > How can it be that 'Contributor' is not an official 'hat'-definition in
> the
> > (explanatory) pages of the ASF? While so much importance is placed on
> > correct usage of terminology in projects and elsewhere, based on those
> > pages.
> >
> > Shouldn't the document
> > be amended
> (with
> > respect to definitons 'User' and 'Developer) in such a way that it
> reflects
> > that?
> I don't think a generic "Contributor" adds much to that document. What
> confusion about the term contributors would the hypothetical update
> clarify?

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