XSF Discussion - 2011-06-22

  1. bear

    I am trying like heck to get free of this debug session at work, but it's a problem that has now gone into it's second day so i'm not being hopeful it will clear up in 20 minutes

  2. bear

    i'll be lurking but probably not active

  3. Florian


  4. stpeter

    hi Florian!

  5. Florian

    yhello :)

  6. stpeter

    was that a typo?

  7. Florian

    eh ... nope

  8. stpeter


  9. stpeter

    just checking

  10. Florian

    y'hello maybe :)

  11. stpeter

    some people say "hello" more like "yhello" :)

  12. Florian


  13. Florian

    gotta love package tracking :)

  14. Florian

    doesn't make it go faster ... but still cool to see where the stuff is :)

  15. stpeter


  16. Florian

    do we have a typewith.me running somewhere?

  17. Florian

    or should I quickly create one?

  18. stpeter

    good idea

  19. Florian


  20. stpeter

    heh, can you create permanent instances there?

  21. Florian

    looks like it

  22. Florian

    hmm, don't see Will online

  23. stpeter

    first question: does the Board have a quorum or is this just another friendly chat (as we had in the Council non-meeting earlier)?

  24. Florian

    bear is here

  25. Florian

    can't see jack nor Will nor nyco

  26. Kev

    I think he said a few minutes ago he wasn't really.

  27. stpeter

    I have not seen Nÿco in a long time

  28. stpeter

    and one of our Council members missed three XSF votes so maybe isn't an XSF member anymore

  29. stpeter wonders about migrating all XSF activities to the IETF ... :P

  30. Florian


  31. Florian

    I guess for a decision like that, we'd need a quorate board :p

  32. stpeter

    um, yeah ;-)

  33. Kev

    Oh, I thought it just happened automagically.

  34. Kev

    (Section 2.6 of the bylaws)

  35. stpeter

    Kev: I thought you were talking about transitioning the XSF to the IETF

  36. Kev

    Oh, right.

  37. Florian


  38. Florian

    but yeah, for the 3 consecutive misses, Kev's right

  39. Kev

    I think a members vote would probably be more appropraite than Board for that :)

  40. stpeter


  41. stpeter

    Section 2.6 Automatic Termination. Members may have their membership status automatically terminated and their names removed by the Secretary of the Corporation from all membership records of the Corporation if they fail to participate in three (3) consecutive meetings of the Members of the Corporation, held electronically or otherwise.

  42. stpeter

    that doesn't say "will" or "must", it says "may"

  43. Kev

    Right, but 2.5 says may as well.

  44. stpeter

    I'm not defending the person who hasn't voted, just noting that I think the people who wrote the bylaws built in some wiggle room (although I'm not sure that's a good idea)

  45. Kev

    And I don't think that we're saying that membership can vote to remove a member, but the member chose not to be removed :)

  46. stpeter

    heh true

  47. Kev

    If it's intended that there's wiggle-room, I think we should change the bylaws to be explicit about who gets to do the wiggling.

  48. Kev

    I note that when Bear failed to vote for three in a row, he was removed - was there a Board discussion about that?

  49. Florian

    not afaik

  50. Kev

    We should probably do whatever's consistent, and then make sure Bylaws are made to match.

  51. stpeter

    I think the bylaws should say "will be removed"

  52. Florian


  53. stpeter

    that way, there's no question about special treatment

  54. Florian

    well, that was one point I wanted talk about today

  55. Florian

    requesting a change of the bylaws following the voting discussion on members

  56. Florian

    and even decrease that number to 2

  57. Kev

    I went through the votes because of that discussion, and found that a number of people would have been removed on the basis of 2, including two of Council and one of Board.

  58. Kev

    (Not that this is strictly a problem for Board, who don't need to be members)

  59. Florian

    *isn't ?

  60. stpeter

    Dave Cridland (IIRC) proposed that Council members would not need to be XSF members

  61. Kev

    Given the current seeming apathy from Council and Board (neither of which had quorum today), maybe that's appropriate.

  62. Kev

    stpeter: Yes, but didn't get much support for that, IIRC.

  63. Florian

    I think it has a benefit of having them being members too

  64. stpeter

    Kev: cue apathetic music here

  65. bear

    please don't construe my lack of activity as apathy

  66. Florian

    and I'm actually more leaning towards requiring both to be members (Council + Board)

  67. stpeter

    bear: we understand that everyone is über-busy

  68. stpeter

  69. stpeter

  70. Kev

    bear: You are at least here and said you'd be busy for this case. This isn't true of everyone, either on Council or Board for today.

  71. stpeter

    didn't realize I could send an empty message

  72. bear

    sorry - that came off as really cranky (which is a side effect of my current work related grief)

  73. bear


  74. stpeter

    bear: no apology required!

  75. bear

    and I'm +1 to board/council being members

  76. Florian

    should we add that to the todo for the next meeting too?

  77. Florian


  78. Kev

    Florian: You mean the next Members meeting?

  79. bear

    the kick I got out of xsf by missing 3 meetings was what was needed - I would say we could drop it to 2 missed in a row

  80. Florian

    Board needs to propose it first

  81. stpeter

    I do wonder about how to proceed -- e.g., we could shut down the XSF as a legal entity or modify the bylaws such that we basically turn it into an open-source (open-spec) project .... the legal superstructure is not truly necessary to do our core work

  82. stpeter

    all this voting stuff is just overhead

  83. bear

    being a legal entity allows for what benefits?

  84. Florian


  85. stpeter

    IANAL, but we do have 501(c)(3) status

  86. stpeter

    naturally, with that status comes responsibilities

  87. stpeter

    and we need to have membership, a board, etc.

  88. Florian

    I think there's a benefit of having the structure

  89. stpeter

    I'm just thinking out loud at this time

  90. stpeter

    Florian: there are benefits and costs, yes

  91. Florian

    it /should/ make people care about it :)

  92. bear

    I think part of the issue is, except for the council, the membership doesn't really have to do anything

  93. stpeter

    bear: indeed

  94. Florian


  95. Kev

    Except vote.

  96. stpeter

    we tried a bit with the various teams, but that's just more structure to a large extent

  97. Kev

    Although the iteam works moderately well.

  98. stpeter

    if we were a business, we'd be due for a reorg :)

  99. stpeter

    Kev: it does, yes

  100. Florian


  101. stpeter

    although in fact the iteam isn't even all XSF members

  102. stpeter

    e.g., Jerry

  103. stpeter

    just folks who come together because they care about keeping things running

  104. Florian

    I think a first step would be to start restricting membership to people who are active

  105. stpeter

    bear: thanks for participating in this conversation despite your work hell

  106. Florian

    i.e. decreasing the misses to 2 and enforcing the 3 misses we have atm

  107. stpeter

    Florian: so we'd have, what, 10 members? ;-)

  108. Kev

    Well, is that a bad thing?

  109. stpeter


  110. stpeter

    not at all

  111. Kev

    And we have more than 10 active people, I think.

  112. Florian

    I don't think it is :)

  113. Florian

    Kev: indeed

  114. stpeter

    but then we'd basically get rid of voting for the Council and the Board

  115. stpeter

    all members vote on everything

  116. stpeter

    if you have a quorum, decisions can be made

  117. bear

    it may be that having a council and board are what is causing folks to not interact

  118. stpeter

    bear: yes, maybe!

  119. bear

    tho the board is required I think for legal reasons

  120. Florian


  121. stpeter

    "oh we'll leave it up to the 'leadership'"

  122. bear

    it would be an interesting thing to try for the next "season"

  123. stpeter

    bear: yes it is

  124. Kev

    I would vaguely resist disbanding Council.

  125. Kev

    By which I mean I think it'd be a terrible idea :)

  126. stpeter

    I think we need to get rid of the Executive Director position ;-)

  127. Kev

    There are enough people involved that ever spec would be vetod for one reason or another.

  128. Kev


  129. bear

    yes, that is a concern I would have - seeing how the jingle codec discussion has happened

  130. Florian

    or people voting just yes because they just vote

  131. Florian

    without ever reading the specs

  132. Kev

    Florian: That's not actually so bad.

  133. bear

    maybe the first step is to tighten the membership voting requirement

  134. Kev

    Since Council votes are vetos.

  135. bear

    and see how much of a shake out that has

  136. Kev

    It's only the 'No's that matter.

  137. stpeter

    but if there is no Council then there are no vetoes

  138. Florian


  139. stpeter

    it would be true rough consensus :)

  140. stpeter

    not unanimity

  141. Kev

    Consensus meaning unanimity, of course :)

  142. bear

    the ietf can teach us something in that area

  143. stpeter

    heck, maybe we can even work some running code into the mix ;-)

  144. Kev

    bear: The IETF has a Council equivalent.

  145. stpeter

    Kev: true

  146. Florian

    I think a first step would be to enforce the bylaws and possibly reducing that limit

  147. stpeter

    as I'm well aware :)

  148. Florian

    and then see how membership reacts

  149. Florian

    and then go from there

  150. bear

    yes, but I thought consensus was not the same as majority vote

  151. stpeter

    bear: it's not

  152. Kev

    Florian: Yes.

  153. Kev

    bear: It's not, consensus means everyone is in agreement :)

  154. Kev

    "Rough consensus" is something of a misnomer.

  155. bear

    I always disliked that word: agreement

  156. stpeter

    Kev: sometimes consensus is rough, sometimes it is smooth

  157. bear

    and then their is the W3C

  158. bear runs

  159. stpeter

    in the IETF, consensus does *not* mean that everyone is in agreement

  160. stpeter


  161. stpeter

    bear: I'd prefer to go in the direction of an open-spec project than in the direction of an industry consortium with corporate members (not individual contributors)

  162. bear

    totally agree

  163. bear

    one of the good things about the XSF is the lack of corporate dominance

  164. stpeter

    one model might be the WHATWG (partial shudder)

  165. stpeter

    bear: right, it's just us geeks (ideally)

  166. stpeter

    granted, I get paid by a big company and they tell me what to think and do, but at least we have the appearance of independence ;-)

  167. bear


  168. Florian


  169. stpeter

    Kev: imagine that we had only ~12 active committers

  170. stpeter

    which sounds about right

  171. stpeter

    others could contribute patches

  172. stpeter

    but only the committers could vote

  173. stpeter

    that's your Council equivalent

  174. bear

    your talking about something like the Apache model

  175. stpeter

    something like it, yeah

  176. stpeter

    although Apache members can't be removed

  177. bear

    that could mean two types of membership

  178. stpeter

    one of the challenges in any such model is determining who is a committer / decider

  179. bear

    voting and non

  180. stpeter

    e.g., IESG is selected via the NomCom in an arcane process that's necessary because the IETF doesn't have the concept of membership

  181. Kev

    stpeter: I'm not convinced we should go for huge overhauls right now. I think going with the simple one of changing bylaws to remove completely inactive people would be a start.

  182. stpeter

    the current structure of the XSF was established 10 years ago and might not fit today's reality

  183. stpeter

    and the bylaws were written by those evil jabber.com people

  184. Kev

    Or, well, we could look at the ways the XSF is currently failing, and see if bylaws changen could help.

  185. Florian

    Kev: +1

  186. Kev

    I'm not sure that fewer members automatically means better review of specs, for example.

  187. stpeter

    I definitely agree on enforcing the bylaws

  188. stpeter

    Kev: right

  189. Kev

    Fewer members *would* mean that people in positions of responsibility who were inactive would be removed and thus make space for potentially more active people.

  190. Florian


  191. Kev

    This *might* address some issues.

  192. Florian

    so let's start enforcing that?

  193. Kev

    (It may well not)

  194. Florian

    I mean, bylaw 2.6 exists

  195. stpeter

    personally I don't think there's anything bad about being active and then inactive -- people's priorities change, not everyone is wedded to XMPP for life like I am, etc. :)

  196. Kev

    stpeter: No, I don't think there's anything wrong with being inactive - only when it's blocking progress.

  197. Florian


  198. stpeter

    Kev: correct

  199. Florian

    Kev: right

  200. bear

    being inactive is ok, being non-communicative *and* inactive - that's the problem

  201. bear considers voting to be communicating

  202. Kev

    The problem with inactivity is when you end up with people who are completely uninterested because they've been inactive voting on things, etc.

  203. Florian


  204. stpeter

    given that you have 2+ weeks to vote, there's really no excuse for missing more than 1 meeting in a row

  205. stpeter

    I know I've missed one meeting in my time :)

  206. bear

    I need to switch back to work - i'm +1 to the tone of the conversation so far and +1 to tightening up member voting bylaw items

  207. stpeter

    in fact I might have missed two

  208. stpeter

    bear: thanks for participating

  209. Florian

    bear: thanks for your time :)

  210. bear knows he owes kev some serious gsoc time and will be in contact about that soon

  211. Florian

    so who needs to enforce Section 2.6?

  212. bear re-lurks

  213. Florian

    is it Baord? Secretary? Members?

  214. stpeter

    Florian: the Secretary

  215. Florian


  216. stpeter

    well, the Secretary just automatically removes members who haven't voted

  217. Kev

    bear: I've just assumed you've pulled out of that.

  218. Kev

    And have been acting autonomously.

  219. stpeter

    I used to do that, now Alex does

  220. stpeter


  221. stpeter

    in this case I will send a message to the members@ list

  222. stpeter

    with my executive director hat on

  223. Kev

    Have you checked that the person *has* missed three votes? :)

  224. stpeter

    I shall certainly double-check first

  225. Kev

    I was told they have, but haven't checked (I only checked two votes backwards, I think)

  226. Florian

    it might be good to also send a list of people who have been removed to the members@ list and the member removed

  227. stpeter


  228. Florian

    i.e. so that we don't have the situation like with bear who found out months later that he wasn't a member

  229. Florian

    I think that sounds like a good thing to do :)

  230. stpeter

    Florian: good point

  231. Kev

    This is clearly not good :)

  232. stpeter notices that there is no link to http://xmpp.org/about-xmpp/xsf/meeting-minutes/ from http://xmpp.org/about-xmpp/xsf/

  233. Florian

    Kev: why not?

  234. Kev

    It is clearly not good that members are removed without realising.

  235. Florian

    ah right :)

  236. Florian


  237. Florian

    on a different note: Board meeting next wednesday then?

  238. stpeter

    aren't they supposed to be every two weeks?

  239. Florian

    well, we didn't have a full one this week?

  240. stpeter

    well true

  241. stpeter

    I'm sure that if we send a few interesting email messages, there will be plenty of demand for a meeting :)

  242. Florian


  243. stpeter

    it's difficult to maintain energy and commitment for an initiative like XMPP over a span of years

  244. Florian


  245. stpeter

    and the technology is getting to be a bit mature, which means that excitement is elsewhere (social networking, websockets, etc.)

  246. Florian

    but I think there's good times too :)

  247. Florian

    like the Summits

  248. stpeter

    so in part I think we need to adjust to a new reality

  249. Kev

    I'm still excited!

  250. stpeter

    I am too!

  251. stpeter

    but fewer people are still excited

  252. Florian


  253. stpeter

    which is fine, really

  254. stpeter

    but we need to think about how to structure things now

  255. stpeter

    so this has been a good conversation

  256. stpeter

    but we don't have answers yet

  257. stpeter

    among other things, I'm going to make a list of people who really are active (not necessarily in writing specs, could be iteam or website or other efforts) -- I doubt that list has more than 20 people on it

  258. Florian

    but we've got a start

  259. Kev

    You mean active on more than standards@?

  260. Kev

    Because contributing to standards@ is valuable too.

  261. Kev

    (Although of course doesn't require membership, much like the IETF)

  262. stpeter

    Kev: not sure, I might make a few lists

  263. Kev


  264. stpeter

    and there are people who are active in one area (e.g., jingle, bosh) but not others

  265. stpeter

    I know a lot of people *care*, but that's not the same as doing things

  266. Kev

    'Tis true.

  267. Florian

    another way to motivate people a bit is money :)

  268. stpeter


  269. Kev

    Florian: Not necessarily.

  270. stpeter

    but sometimes you motivate the wrong people that way

  271. Florian

    true :/

  272. stpeter

    and you de-motivate people who don't get any money

  273. stpeter

    or you can

  274. stpeter

    that's a difficult path, but not impossible

  275. stpeter

    well this has been useful, but I'm going to heat up some lunch now

  276. Kev


  277. Florian

    bon appetit :)

  278. stpeter

    thanks, guys

  279. stpeter

    I'm not disappearing, just going AFK for a few minutes

  280. bear

    great - it just keeps coming today - one of leo's servers evidently got an injection attack earlier today

  281. bear

    I know what i'm doing tonight :/

  282. Florian

    ouch :/

  283. Florian

    bear: if there's anything I can help with, drop me a line

  284. bear


  285. bear

    right now i'm just doing an audit for entry points and making sure everything is up to date

  286. stpeter


  287. stpeter

    sorry to hear it, bear

  288. stpeter

    the 'net is an ugly place sometimes

  289. bear

    sadly, even tho I'm the only person maintaining it, I have found a couple places out of sync

  290. bear

    yea, php and mysql are evil

  291. stpeter


  292. bear of course blames the tools ;)

  293. stpeter

    unfortunately, they are also quite convenient ;-)

  294. bear


  295. bear goes back to the grind

  296. stpeter reads draft-ietf-dkim-mailinglists for tomorrow's IESG meeting and considers adding DKIM support to his mail server

  297. stpeter

    (and maybe to atlas, too, but one experiment at a time...)