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From Jeremias Maerki <dev.jerem...@greenmail.ch>
Subject Re: Mailing list for voting new committers
Date Fri, 26 Aug 2005 07:28:54 GMT

On 24.08.2005 08:22:09 Jeremias Maerki wrote:
> > A discussion on general@incubator some weeks ago concerning the voting 
> > procedure for new committers [1],[2] led me to the conclusion that we 
> > should discuss and vote new committers on the pmc list.
> > 
> > What do you think?
> I fully agree.

I was approached off-line and made aware of a mistake I made with this
statement. I'd like to correct myself:

I fully agree that prior to a committer vote a discussion should be held
inside the PMC to avoid any very negative effects of a premature vote.
However, the person who wrote to me quite correctly pointed out that the
committers of a subproject who are not on the PMC would effectively
lose their voting rights in this area, were the committer vote to be
held in the PMC.

<pmc-chair-hat enabled="true">
I would like to point out to everyone once again (like I did during the
creation of the XML Graphics project) that every committer is welcome to
join the PMC. That offer still stands. The board actually encourages
most (if not all) committers to be on the PMC of their project. The PMC
is not a distinguished body in which people have a special social status
or something like that. It's the "Project Management Committee", a group
of people tasked with the oversight over a project and tasked with
certain other duties around the project to keep it live and healthy and
to address any problems in a proactive way. It's the PMC (or in the end
actually the PMC chair as an officer of the foundation) who is
ultimately responsible for the project. That's also why it is widely
believed in member circles that only PMC members have binding votes in a
project. Some people will be happy to be simple committers and noone
will dispute their rights to help steer a (sub)project in the (technical)
direction they see fit. When it comes to hard decisions it will be
primarily the PMC's call. In very hard situations it will be the PMC
chair's call as it happened when the Avalon project was shut down.

To say it once again, the board encourages committers to be on their PMC
but there is no requirement. Being on the PMC also means additional
responsibilities. It's for people who really care about the project and
are willing to invest more time beyond coding to "serve their project".

So what does this mean for the topic at hand? I think it means that we
should still consider holding the committer votes on the public dev list
but only after the PMC has decided that it's good idea to hold the vote.
Any justified -1 on such a vote by a non-PMC-member will not be
overruled as they probably have valid concerns. But in the favor of the
project and especially of the person who is voted on such vetoes should
be confided to the private PMC list before bringing them to the public.
Such vetoes can be very damaging (for whomever) as we have seen in the
past. This latter rule is one I personally think is very important so we
can allow further public committer votes at all. The vote might look
like a pro-forma thing in this light but I think it isn't. This approach
at least would address both Noel Bergman's and Ken Coar's opinions on
the matter as seen on Christian's [2] link.

Comments welcome (in the open)! I'm trying to communicate here what I
pick up on members@ and on board@ which is not always that simple,
especially when the recommendations run in different directions that
what has been done in the past (for example during the "XML" time). If
there are concerns with these general
procedures/habits/recommendations/views I'd like to encourage you to
take them to community@ where a lot of ASF and board members are also
listening in and can provide their opinions. Not what our project
concerns, but general procedure. I hope you get my meaning.

Jeremias Maerki

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