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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] Review of Forums Agreement
Date Tue, 11 Oct 2011 20:32:35 GMT
On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 3:13 PM, Rob Weir <> wrote:
> To enable list-based discussion of the proposal, I'm pasting in the
> current wiki markup.  This will allow anyone to enter inline
> commentary, as a response, to the quoted original.
> -Rob
> -----------------------
> h1. Changes to integrate the forums into the AOOo project

First, I'd like to thank the forum admins, moderators and volunteers
for putting together this thoughtful proposal.  Also, thanks to the
PPMC members and mentors who helped develop this as well.  I truly
appreciate the effort that went into this.

I have some suggestions following for how this can be improved, as
well as some suggestions.

> h2. 1. Community
> The forum community divides in:
> * Site Admins
> * Forum Admins
> * Moderators
> * Volunteers
> 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?

> 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.

> 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?

> Moderators are maintainers of the board, they have access to the
> moderator panel, removing spam, marking topics as Solved or Issue,
> editing topic titles to make them more meaningful or removing all
> caps, warning people who seriously misbehave, but not applying
> censorship except in case of very explicit or bad language.
> More information about the Moderator role can be found in the
> [Moderator Code of
> Conduct|]
> Admins have access to the underlying forum code and the phpBB admin
> control panel.
> The forum [Survival
> Guide|]
> includes a description of the different user ranks and other
> information about the culture and standards of the forum.
> 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?

> h2. Proposal
> *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?

I think this cuts the project off from potentially valuable feedback
from users of the support forum.  Why would we want to do that?  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

> previous governance forum will become read only with access limited to
> Volunteers, Moderators and Admins. This is to protect the personal
> information that was posted on that forum.

Good.  Thanks.

> *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,

> *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.

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.

> *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?  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?

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".

> *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?).

> *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

> *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?

> The current Terms of Use are here: []
> *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.

The goal, I think, should be for the admins of the forums to maintain
a sufficient backup regimen (including "contents and structure") that
they they can recover from any contingency quickly.

> *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?

> h2. Initial Committers / PMC
> Zoltan Reizinger - r4zoli, Hungarian Forum admin, already PPMC member
> Please add here the names of the current admins/moderators/volunteers
> who want to join the PMC
> Rory O'Farrell - RoryOF - ofarrwrk at
> Ricardo Gabriel Berlasso - RGB-es on the Spanish forums (Admin) - rgb
> _dot_ mldc _at_ gmail _dot_ com
> h2. Technical changes
> The forum is maintained via private subboards currently.
> *Proposal #1:*
> The private boards are put to read only.
> 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 \[OOODEV:forum\].

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