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From Marvin Humphrey <mar...@rectangular.com>
Subject Re: Apache project bylaws
Date Wed, 02 Oct 2013 19:43:38 GMT
On Wed, Oct 2, 2013 at 11:11 AM, Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com> wrote:
> It isn't out of date.  It is just plain wrong.  It does not reflect any
> of our projects, but rather presents an incomplete summary based on
> someone's personal experience.  It is difficult to do better than that
> without having a universal set of project bylaws.

I'm not satisfied with that.  Our documentation does not have to be as bad as
it is.  Having to trawl through the mailing list archives every few years
to obtain clarification and re-educate a continuously evolving community is
not scaling with time as the foundation grows and the activity of the early
participants slowly wanes.

Here are some ways which we might improve our docs:

*   Policy documents should be cleanly set apart from other documentation.
*   Policy documents should be review-then-commit.
*   Policy documents should use a more formal rhetorical mode than the
    conversational "FAQ" style which predominates at the ASF.

Perhaps a pilot project to improve the Incubator's docs along those lines is
in order, which, if successful, might serve as a template for improving
docs at the foundation level.  I volunteer to take point.

> Apache doesn't have a single set of project bylaws/guidelines because
> we want projects to be self-governing.  Inherent in that notion of
> self-governing is that projects need to have the freedom to do some
> things differently based on the nature of the project or the particular
> set of individuals involved.  By some things, I mean things that are
> not necessarily constrained by the ASF need to maintain corporate oversight
> (which is almost entirely encompassed by release votes and the procedure
> for naming someone to the PMC).
>
> Hence, we don't have a single policy for how or when to make someone
> a committer.  That is supposed to be defined by the project.
>
> Most people just assume that there exists a magic set of bylaws that
> are adopted if a given project just doesn't care (like most don't care,
> until the shit hits the fan and it is too late).  For those projects,
> we typically assume that they have adopted the HTTP Server Project
> Guidelines, since those were the originals:
>
> http://httpd.apache.org/dev/guidelines.html

A fair bit of that is news to me -- and I'm the Incubator PMC chair and a
voracious consumer of documentation. :(  I'm not a fan of forcing projects
to draft bylaws (most will do it badly because they have not had the
experience of "the Apache group" which coalesced around the HTTPD project) but
that's beside the point.  I submit that a more effective mechanism for
bequeathing Apache culture is needed.

Marvin Humphrey

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