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From "F C. Costero" <>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] Review of Forums Agreement
Date Wed, 12 Oct 2011 02:06:18 GMT
I'm not sure this is the best place to jump in here, but I'd like to
add some comments and try to summarize changes to the proposal that
may be required, or at least welcome.

On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 4:43 PM, Rob Weir <> wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 6:03 PM, Christian Grobmeier
> <> wrote:
>>>> Volunteers are registered users of the forum(s) with a post count of
>>>> over 200 (or another lower limit), who visit and post regularly to
>>>> answer questions, report spam and in general show commitment to the
>>>> forum(s), as opposed to regular registered users who may never post at
>>>> all or post infrequently, or mostly post to ask questions.
>>> I don't think we need to be ratifying details like "post count of over
>>> 200".  Maybe better to just say something like "Volunteers are valued
>>> users of the forum selected for their contributions".
>>> The exact criteria is something that the forum can figure out for
>>> itself and modify from time to time as it sees fit.   I realize it
>>> might be 200 now, but they might consider a more flexible view of
>>> meritocracy down the road.  Forums make it easy to count posts, and
>>> assign titles based on that metric.  It is built into the software.
>>> Metrics that are easy to measure tend to be used more often.  Quantity
>>> is always easier to measure than quality.  But is that what you really
>>> care about?
>> This is how the forum currently works. Of course it might change at a
>> later point of time, but at the moment it works like that, and if the
>> forum starts at the asf, then this is how its going to fly.
>> I know about projects who have a similar policy, you need a specific
>> timeframe and you need a number of contributions to get elected.
>> This is a guideline, not the law. Anyway I don't think we need to
>> change this b/c no harm done if we leave it in.
> OK.  No objections.  This is just my observation/recommendation.
>>>> Volunteers can vote within the forum on administrative and policy
>>>> decisions just like moderators and administrators (who really are
>>>> volunteers with some extra powers). Examples of such decisions are how
>>>> to handle a particular case of user misbehavior or how to apply the
>>>> spam policy to hyperlinks in signatures. Volunteers (and other forum
>>>> members) can only vote in/on the PMC if they sign the iCLA and are
>>>> accepted as committers.
>>> I'm not sure about the use of the word "policy" here.  The PPMC makes
>>> policies for the AOOo project. Only PPMC members have binding votes on
>>> policy matters.  And even then some policy areas are reserved for
>>> other parts of Apache, like legal, branding, ASF Board, etc.
>>> Maybe we can just substitute a different word?  Maybe "terms of use"?
>>> Or "site operations"?  Or just "forum decisions".  It will be clear
>>> enough that the forum volunteers may make any decisions that the PPMC
>>> has delegated to forum volunteers.
>> Policy is the word they have being using for managing their forum.
>> Policy is this case is not only the terms of use, it is decisions like
>> the "200 posts to enter". Therefore I think the word is matching, and
>> terms of usage is not.
> Sorry, I don't understand.  What word is matching?
>>>> More information about the Volunteer role can be found in the
>>>> [Volunteer Code of
>>>> Conduct|]
>>>> Note: Moderators and administrators of nl forums also get the
>>>> volunteer rank for the English forum, regardless of how often they
>>>> post there.
>>>> A volunteer may lose his/her rank after long inactivity (but will be
>>>> restored on his/her return).
>>> Passive voice.  Could we reword it in active voice so it expresses who
>>> removes/restores their rank?  Or is this something that is automated
>>> by phpBB?
>> To my knowledge he/she must ask for it.
>> Please be aware that most people on the forum are not native speakers.
> OK. It may not matter, since it is not putting a requirement on the
> PPMC.  It doesn't really need to be in the proposal at all.  But no
> harm if it stays.
>>>> The following  proposal was compiled from a lengthy discussion on the
>>>> EN and ES forums by FJCC
>>>> [].
>>>> It contains the contributions of several forum members, including
>>>> Apache Observers.
>>> Does that mean that only the portions of the proposal up to this point
>>> was compiled from "from a lengthy discussion on the EN and ES forums
>>> by FJCC"?  What about the rest of the proposal?  Maybe we don't need
>>> that paragraph?
>> This paragraph is probably not necessary.
>> As you can read, the original proposal which you can find behind the
>> hyperlink has been proposed by somebody with the username FJCC. So it
>> refers to the original proposal and the discussion behind. Probably
>> interesting for historical reasons. Good to know, if you want to know
>> how decisions have been made.
> OK.
I, at least, agree that this paragraph could be deleted, though it
really isn't part of the Proposal, which is below it. It is evidence
of what happens when even a simple document is written by a group.
>>>> *A.* Forum governance will be discussed in a publicly readable forum.
>>>> Write access will be limited to those with at least 10 posts. The
>>> So the proposal is to prevent someone who is concerned about a
>>> governance discussion to weigh in on that discussion, unless they have
>>> already posted 10 unrelated posts?
>> Why do you say unrelated? If it is unrelated it will be deleted/moved whatever.
>> This is a usual rule on many bulletin boards out there, btw.
> The posts would need to be unrelated, since (by rule) they could not
> have been in the Governance Forum.  So in order to be accredited to
> post an opinion on site governance, one must make 10 posts unrelated
> to site governance, say 3 posts  on spreadsheet formulas, 1 on PDF
> export, 2 on mathematical notation, 4 on MS Office import.
> It is like saying that no one from the public could post to ooo-dev on
> project-wide governance decisions unless they first posted 10 posts on
> the ooo-users lists on unrelated topics.
>>> I think this cuts the project off from potentially valuable feedback
>>> from users of the support forum.  Why would we want to do that?
>> Such a message board has lots of 1-3 time posters. They want feedback
>> on forum related matters from people who seem to have an interest to
>> participate and not looking for the quick fix.
> ooo-dev also has a people who have posted only 1-3 times.  Presumably
> they posted because they had something to say and felt it was
> important.  Is that a bad thing?  I'm not saying that the casual
> participant can vote.  I'm just suggesting that they should not be
> muted entirely.
>> A mailinglist is different to a message board. Message board posts are
>> way easier to read than mailinglist archives.
> This may be true.  But is that relevant to whether a casual
> participant can post on comment on governance questions?  Isn't that a
> core part of the Apache Way, the ability for anyone in the community
> to give their opinion and even a non-binding vote?
> To be fair, I would not vote against the proposal just for this.  But
> I think it is a very odd thing.
>>> Forum
>>> moderators already have the ability to censor posts that use "explicit
>>> or bad language" and to remove spam or to move posts that are in the
>>> wrong place.  That is sufficient for moderators to handle abuse in
>>> other forums.  What is special about the governance forum that
>>> recommends a greater bar to participation?  What are we defending
>>> against?
>> Why being against it? They can try it out, and if not satisfying,
>> forum folks can decide to make it different.
> I think I made my case on this.  Again, I would not vote against the
> proposal just on that point.  But it is very un-Apache like, and I
> fail to see how it is better than our existing open, inclusive
> process.
The desire to limit who can contribute to the Governance section may
be a result of experience with the difficulty in keeping posts in the
correct section. It is a regular occurrence that sub-forums with big
red banners saying "Do not post questions here!" (because they are
reserved for tutorials) get questions. There is a Site Feedback
section for general user comments. The moderators may just be leery of
having one more place with frequent misplaced posts. The current
Governance forum only has 145 total topics and 1600 posts, so it isn't
a section that anyone needs frequent access to. The current "Shall we
join Apache" topic contains about 1/5 of the total posts!
>>>> *B.* The Forum Issues section will remain private with access limited
>>>> to Volunteers, Moderators and Admins and will be used only to discuss
>>>> user behavior or similarly sensitive topics
>>> As I see from the ."technical changes" section at the end of the
>>> proposal, it is also stated that such private posts will be echoed to
>>> a private mailing list for archiving and access by PPMC members and
>>> Apache members.  Very good,
>> Please not, there are not technical volunteers for fulfilling that
>> task. Terry E, who left the project, has mentioned this might be very
>> difficult or even impossible. This is a wish, but there is need of
>> somebody who does it.
> But that is what the proposal on the wiki says.  The wiki has a
> "technical changes" section in the proposal that states:
> "A new public board "site governance" is established to discuss forum
> related tasks. The messages are sent automatically to a readonly
> mailinglist name "forum-sitegovernance@"
> A new private board "private xxx" is established to discuss sensitive
> tasks, like for example user behavior. The messages are sent
> automatically to a privately archived mailing list (allowing Apache
> Members and Apache OpenOffice PPMC members to view) with a specific
> tag"
> Is this an error?  Should that section of the proposal be removed?
> If it is removed, then what are we doing about audit trails, and such?
>  Does phpBB give us everything we need without having it echoed to a
> private list?  I'm fine with that.  But I think it is important that
> the proposal cover how the forums will satisfy that important
> requirement.
>>>> *C.* Forum admins must sign the ICLA. They will interact with the
>>>> Apache Infra group and should be official project members. At least
>>>> one Moderator, who will sign the ICLA, or Admin on every NL forum will
>>>> commit to reporting forum status to the Project as determined by the
>>>> Apache OpenOffice PPMC
>>> Working with Apache Infra requires you have an Apache ID.  Without an
>>> ID you cannot get onto their mailing list.  Without an ID you have no
>>> identity in the system that they can assign permissions to.  What is
>>> really required is becoming a Committer.  That's what gets you an
>>> Apache ID.    Signing the iCLA is a pre-req for becoming a committer.
>>> But the iCLA by itself is not enough.
>> The forum admins are already listed in the initial committers section
>> (at the moment 3 persons,more hopefully to come). They all will sign
>> the ICLA and they will get an Apache ID, if we vote +1.
> Good.
>>> As for status reports, I don't think the PPMC needs a status report
>>> from every NL forum.  I don't know about you, but I hate reports.
>>> I'd be happy if the forum volunteers as a whole can contribute a few
>>> sentences of status to our quarterly Board reports, and maybe do a
>>> blog post or two about the forums, such as the "best questions of the
>>> quarter" or something like that.
>>> With good terms of use, as you have above, with clear reuse
>>> permission, this enables some cross-promotional opportunities, via the
>>> blog, the project's home page, via Twitter, etc.  I think this can
>>> work out well.
>> Makes it easier of course
I will suggest changing "sign the ICLA" to "become a committer" or
"become committers" as appropriate. I think everyone understood that
on the forum.
I don't think anyone wants formal status reports. Yuck! The reporting
to the PPMC might just be an obligation to raise the alarm if things
are coming off the rails or whatever regular feedback the PPMC wants.
>>>> *D.* Moderators and Volunteers will keep their current functions and
>>>> will be created through the traditional process of nomination and lazy
>>>> consensus on the forum.
>>> If I read Dennis's cover letter correctly, he is asking the PPMC to
>>> bind ourselves to this proposal. Do we really want to bind ourselves
>>> to a decision making process and say that we will never change it?
>> We are saying yes for now. Then the forum folks are in the PMC and
>> then we can discuss on same level. Nobody said "never change it". Or
>> did i miss it?
> "Yes for now" is fine.  I just want to make sure we have a common
> understanding of that.
>>> Do we want to say that even if the forum volunteers, in the future, want
>>> to change the "traditional process", they cannot because the PPMC
>>> agreed previously to maintain this process?
>> No.
>>> Maybe just say something like "Existing moderators and Volunteers will
>>> keep their current functions.  New moderators and volunteers will be
>>> created through the traditional process of nomination and lazy
>>> consensus on the forum, or by other means as the project may determine
>>> in the future".
>> No objections against this.
I believe the concern addressed here is the talk about the Volunteer
role not fitting into the Apache structure and the need for all
Moderators to become committers. That was some time ago and I can't
remember what was on the mailing list and what was on the forum. The
desire is to agree to leave the current forum roles unchanged because
they have worked well for a few years. If conditions on the forum
change, I'm sure people would want to adjust. An assurance that no one
sees a need for changes (in this area) now would make people feel more
>>>> *E.* Any [Apache Member|]
>>>> or [Apache OpenOffice
>>>> PPMC|] member can
>>>> request Apache Observer status and thereby gain read and write access
>>>> to all forums, including Forum Issues, and have read access to the
>>>> logs. Apache Observers will not have the capability to edit, delete or
>>>> move posts or perform administrative functions unless otherwise
>>>> elected to those positions by normal forum rules.
>>> This is good.  However, I think we need someone with the ability to
>>> edit, delete, etc.  Someone with oversite authority should have all of
>>> those permissions.  Maybe the IPMC Chair?  Maybe Apache Infra?  (Maybe
>>> they have that ability already?).
>> There are forum PPMC members to come, they should have enough powers.
>> Infra has usually access to everything.
> Excellent.
>>>> *F.* Any decisions made by the Apache OpenOffice PPMC with respect to
>>>> the forums or the forum members will be posted on the Site Governance
>>>> forum or, in the case of a sensitive topic, on the Forum Issues forum.
>>> The PPMC discusses proposals on ooo-dev (or rarely on ooo-private).  I
>>> think the forum volunteers shut themselves out if they ask for only
>>> the final decisions, after all discussions, to be announced on the
>>> Site Governance forum.  And the PPMC loses a valuable source of
>>> feedback if forum members do not participate in the discussions.
>>> In any case, this is another passive voice construct that makes it
>>> unclear who is doing this. Maybe it is unnecessary?  If you already
>>> have, per above, PPMC representation on the forums, can you just rely
>>> on them to keep you informed of any new threads of interest on
>>> ooo-dev?  Presumably this will be more than just policy related, and
>>> will include other threads of interest to support and to users in
>>> general.
>> You need to know what they are discussing, and this requires you to
>> create an account and look about what they do.
>> 99% of ooo-dev is out of interest for them. They discuss "deleting
>> topics", enable a new volunteer status. I would leave this kind of
>> discussions were they belong - the forum - and if they want to sign
>> up, they'll do.
> OK.  I think this is just common sense and courtesy.  If we think that
> something is being discussed on ooo-dev (or any other mailing list)
> that we think the forum guys should be aware of, then we should bring
> it to their attention via a forum post.
The phrase "common sense and courtesy" is just right. This clause was
requested on the ES forum and I'm sure you can imagine how daunting
the dev mailing list is to someone who struggles  with English. A
central place for all-things-forum would really help get the word out.
>>>> *G.* The new Terms of Use will be similar to the current ToU,
>>>> particularly the clause that
>>>> "You hereby grant to the Host and all Users a royalty-free, perpetual,
>>>> irrevocable, worldwide, non-exclusive and fully sub-licensable right
>>>> and license under Your intellectual property rights to reproduce,
>>>> modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from,
>>>> distribute, perform, display and use Your Submissions (in whole or
>>>> part) and to incorporate them in other works in any form, media, or
>>>> technology now known or later developed, all subject to the obligation
>>>> to retain any copyright notices included in Your Submissions. All
>>>> Users, the Host, and their sublicensees are responsible for any
>>>> modifications they make to the Submissions of others."  Note that
>>>> Apache Legal will review and approve the final ToUs, which will also
>>>> ensure that sufficient rights are granted to consider contributions
>>>> under the Apache License.
>>> Looks OK to me, but IANAL. Has this been reviewed?
>> Not yet.
>>>> *H.* Should the ASF or the Apache project decide to
>>>> terminate its support of the forums, it will grant a period of at
>>>> least 90 days for the transfer of the contents and structure of the
>>>> forums to another host as decided by the Administrators, Moderators
>>>> and Volunteers.
>>> A formality: this is a proposal being considered by the PPMC, not by
>>> the ASF Board, so we cannot bind them.  We don't have that authority.
>>> There are examples of occasions, outside of the PPMC's control, where
>>> ASF might need to suddenly shut down the forums.  For example, if the
>>> website is attacked by a cross-frame scripting attack and taken over
>>> and is stealing users' passwords, then Infra will take it down with
>>> zero notice.  They will protect the users.  They will not give 90 days
>>> notice.  They will not give 90 minutes notice.
>> It is not meant like this.
>> They just want the chance to run the board elsewhere if TheASF decides
>> not to support phpBB forums at infrastructure just because they are
>> too oldschool.
>> Its about giving back their data, when they are thrown out.
>> I think everybody understands that a forum will go down if it is
>> sending tons mail for example.
> OK.  My point was that having a good backup plan covers them in all
> cases.  If we just remove "ASF" (Daniel noticed this as well) then I
> think this is fine.
I'll suggest dropping the "ASF". "Its about giving back their data,
when they are thrown out." sums up the concern. If the forum is judged
not to work for Apache, forum members would like to be able to set up
elsewhere without starting from scratch.
>>>> *I.* While the forums operate within the Apache podling/project they
>>>> will have the same domain/URL as before the transfer.
>>> Another passive voice construct that leaves it unclear who is agreeing
>>> to what.   I can agree that it is OK for you to want this.  But I
>>> cannot make it happen merely by agreeing that it is OK.  This looks
>>> like something you would cover by entering a JIRA issue for Infra.
>>> Don't think we need to vote on that.  Maybe it goes better with the
>>> technical details below?
>> Who cares about the domains?
>> can the project make sure they keep their old domain user.x.x.x when
>> they move here?
> All the PPMC can do is give permission.  But actually doing it
> requires Infra.  That was my point.
>> Cheers
>> Christian
I hope that helps. And, of course, all views are just my own.

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