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From Santiago Gala <sg...@hisitech.com>
Subject Private mail lists [was: Inappropriate use of announce@]
Date Thu, 23 Oct 2003 20:50:23 GMT

El miércoles, 22 octu, 2003, a las 06:18 Europe/Madrid, Phil Steitz  

> Maybe I am way off base here, but I see the whole community as  
> responsible. The Board and PMCs (relatively stable "authorities") have  
> to exist for legal reasons and to make program-level decisions  
> (including how charters are defined and how community decision-making  
> works); but the responsibility for day to day decisions (such as how  
> to distribute the newsletter) belongs with the community -- especially  
> those who are stepping up to do the work.
> I know that it may be naive to assume that the "community" can  
> effectively decide everything and that the discussion/voting process  
> will always lead to consensus.  I have seen a few situations where  
> this has failed; but I don't see pushing decisions off to "responsible  
> parties" or "ultimate authoriteies" as any better than letting  
> individuals *take* responsibility and defend their ideas and actions  
> among the community.

Some days ago (I'm swamped with work), there was a discussion in  
members@apache.org about how private are private mailing lists in  

I asked about subscription to some pmc mailing lists (private),  
remembering I had read something Stefano Mazzochi published back in  
June [1] in his excellent introduction to Apache Membership and its  

There you could read:

> all members have access to the entire
> history of the foundation, including legal and financial stuff. They  
> can
> subscribe to any mailing list, including all PMC lists, the licensing
> committee, and even the board mail list.

The discussion settled down slowly, the fact got confirmed. Ken Coar  
remembered us:

> however, this does raise an interesting point -- namely, that the
> non-member subscribers to some lists (like the non-asf-member pmc
> members) may not be aware that any asf member can read the archives.

The members who read those lists archives are, of course, bound by the  
same privacy requirements as the members of the list themselves.

This mail serves to a couple purposes. One is to remember non Apache  
members in pmc lists that ASF members can see what they post there.

When I said:

> Just tell them. I think they are all PMC Chairs are subscribed to  
> board, so it should be easy to tell them there to

and offered a sample mail, Greg Stein replied:

> I think your sample is missing some context about why this has come  
> up. If
> some non-Member PMC-member read this, they would wonder what the heck  
> is
> going on and why they should (or should not) be concerned.
>> ...
>> Just copy it and send it, or give me the ok ,and I'll do it myself.
> Who should "give [you] the ok" ?? You're a Member. You should already  
> know
> that this is a good thing to send out, and can take the lead on doing  
> so.

What was going on? This is actually the main objective of this email,  
and why I think it is interesting in the context of Phil's post.

I was looking for public information on XXXXXXXXX(it does not actually  
matter). Nothing, or barely something could be found about some  
decision process in public lists.

Actually I could find some information in some pmc lists. And what  
looked interesting is not what I found there, but the fact that it was  
not public. Possibly because all people involved in the discussion saw  
it in three or four lists, they took it as public info in their mind.  
Actually it was not.

What I have found reading a sample of pmc posts of several pmcs is that  
80% to 90% of the posts there should/could be public, and that our  
decision processes would be simpler and less confusion would arise if  
at least summaries of the results of the processes are posted publicly.

Unfortunately, not at the information handled there can be public. But  
I think the volume of a lot of those pmc lists is beginning to be big  
enough so that people forget to tell those outside of the pmc about  

A place where this is happening is jakarta. More and more of the things  
that used to come in jakarta-general are now discussed in the pmc list.  
This is, no doubt, because the PMC has increased a lot in size, but the  
fact leaves the committers outside of the PMC, which are still most of  
them, and the community at large, completely outside of the loop.

Another troublesome and interesting case is incubation processes. There  
are messages going back and forth between the incubator and the  
relevant pmc to take the project, and quite often the final acceptance  
decision is not documented anywhere, or barely so. And the process  
looks obscure from the outside, even when, reading the relevant  
(private) messages makes the process obvious and non-controversial.

Should most of those processes be held in public? I think public  
decision processes is crucial to Apache community culture, and  
switching to committee decision would in the long term damage the  



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