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From Ross Gardler <>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] Having New Committers also be on the PPMC
Date Fri, 30 Sep 2011 09:04:23 GMT
On 30 September 2011 03:04, Rob Weir <> wrote:
> On Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 9:09 PM, Dennis E. Hamilton <> wrote:
>> It has been the practice, thus far, that all newly-invited committers are invited
to also be on the Podling Project Management Committee (PPMC). Some decline being on the PPMC,
some accept, some accept but don't actually show up at the PPMC, etc.


> Note specifically that a committer can have a narrow focus.   But a
> PMC member has broader responsibilities.  I'd expect a committer to
> have demonstrated competence in some area of the project that requires
> committer access, such as coding, testing, doc, or admin work.  I'd
> expect a PMC member to additionally have a strong interest in the
> overall direction of the project, and to have exhibited insight and
> judgment that would be an asset to the oversight of the overall
> project .
> The Podling Guide [2] also supports this view, when it says:  "The
> PPMC should take an active role in watching committers develop into
> community participants, identify those who are participating at a
> community level, not just a technical one, and approach them with an
> offer of PPMC membership."

This is an area where ASF projects differ from one another. Some
projects prefer to have a separation, others prefer not to.

In my experience a flatter organisational structure is generally
better. However, on a project as large and diverse as OOo this may not
be the case.

The reason for "flatter is better" is that people tend to be more
engaged when they feel more empowered. Once OOo graduates PMC members
will have binding votes on everything committers may not have binding
votes on everything (this is something that the PPMC needs to resolve
nearer the time). By creating the separation of roles you are creating
the potential for a hierarchy to emerge.

Generally we find that people will not meddle with areas of the
project they are not qualified to meddle in. It's kind of hard to do
so anyway since a veto requires an alternative course of action that
the community supports. If one isn't qualified to meddle how can one
come up with a proposal that will be supported?

>> My preference is to continue the current practice of inviting contributors to be
both committers and members of the PPMC.  I have seen it recommended for Podlings and I see
no reason to suddenly change.  Also, I expect there will be some culling of the PPMC on graduation
to a top-level project and a PMC.
> I believe you have misread the recommendation in the Podling Guide.
> If you read the complete paragraph, it is clearer.

Never trust documentation in the ASF ;-)

You will find many many people who do not agree with that paragraph
but can't be bothered to change it (guilty ;-)

I think Denis is demonstrating an understanding of the alternative view.

Every year, just before the ASF Members meeting, we have the same
discussion about what barriers should there be to people becoming
members. Typically you will hear the oldest hands saying "minimal
barriers, we need bodies" whilst the newer hands will say "some
barriers, we need control".

I myself went through that process. I was amazed when I was voted in
as a member. I didn't think I'd done enough to deserve it. I watched
and learned. I realised early was good, but thought there should be
some barriers. Today, ten years on, I am of the "minimal barriers"

Now, ASF membership is different from OOo PMC membership. I'm not
suggesting that you have to go this way. I'm saying that just because
it is written doesn't mean it is the one true way.

>> I have seen no harm in the practice whatsoever.  There has been no injury or damage
no matter what apprehensions there are about having a wide membership in the PPMC.

The argument of "there is no harm" is exactly the argument that
matters. There really is no harm in having all committers in the PMC.
The decision making process respects the community as a whole. Should
a member of the PMC be causing problems there are mechanisms for
dealing with it (it is very, very  rare).

Conversely there is harm in not having a broad and varied PMC. There
is increased opportunity for vested interests to take control. There
are more rumours of backroom deals on the private list. There is a
feeling of reduced transparencey etc. None of these things exist in
the OOo podling, but when independent mentors like myself clear off
will the community trust the remaining PMC members?

Note, this decision is not an either/or. You can make it common
practie to invite committers to the PMC but allow committer proposals
to say "committer only" in specific cases.

I suggest you discuss this one widely in the community and then put it
to community vote since it is a very important issue moving forwards.


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