Proposed Membership Guidelines

Dear GNOME Foundation Members:

The Board has asked Chris DiBona, Dan Mueth, and I to serve as the 
Membership and Elections Committee for the upcoming year.  All three 
of us served on the committee which oversaw the first Board elections 
earlier this year (along with Sergey Panov and Martin Baulig), and 
are enthused to go forward to next year.  

As our first item of business, we have drafted a set of guidelines for
handling membership requests in the future.  These are intended to
codify our previously ad-hoc determinations about what constitutes
sufficient contribution to GNOME to qualify for membership, as well as
to set out procedures for handling applications.  Our plan is to
submit the policy to the Board for approval as our mandate; before
then, however, we welcome any suggestions or comments from the

Please note that there are several areas still undecided, including 
the actual design of the application form and how long members who 
joined before the last election will have until they need to renew.  
(If possible, we would like to avoid having the vast majority of the 
renewals occur at the same time, to avoid a logistical nightmare.  We 
may, therefore, use some sort of staggering system to spread out the 
initial members' renewal dates.  No final plans have been made, 
however.)  Finally, remember that these are only meant as guidelines- 
as they themselves note, the Board will always be able to exercise 
its discretion to approve or deny membership, consistent with the 
Foundation's charter.

If you have any questions regarding the policy, please feel free to 
ask here, or to contact us at membership gnome org 

 for the GNOME Foundation Membership and Elections Committee

Draft Membership Policy for the GNOME Foundation

* Who is eligible for membership in the GNOME Foundation?

Per the GNOME Foundation's charter, any contributor to GNOME is
eligible for membership.  Although it is difficult to specify a
precise definition, a contributor generally must have contributed to a
non-trivial improvement of the GNOME Project.  Contributions may be
code, documentation, translations, maintenance of project-wide
resources, or other non-trivial activities which benefit the GNOME
Project.  While large amounts of advocacy or bug reporting may qualify
one as a member, such contributions must be significantly above the
level expected of an ordinary user.  Membership eligibility is an
individual determination: while contributions made in the course of
employment will be considered, they will generally be ascribed to the
individuals involved, rather than accruing to all employees of a
"contributing" corporation.  As noted above, these guidelines are not
meant to define precise objective criteria: ultimately, an
individual's membership eligibility will be determined on a
case-by-case basis, in the sound discretion of the Membership
Committee and the Board of Directors.

* How can I apply for membership in the GNOME Foundation?

To apply for membership, please complete the form available at [insert
URL].  Please note that applications for membership must include
sufficient information to allow the Membership Committee to verify the
applicants' eligibility; applications which include inaccurate or
insufficient information may be rejected at the committee's

* My application was rejected; what can I do?

If you have questions as to why your application was rejected, please 
contact the Membership Committee by electronic mail to 
membership gnome org; you may be able to provide additional 
information which will lead to the approval of your application.  If 
you are still dissatisfied with the Membership Committee's 
determination, you may appeal the decision to the Board of Directors
by e-mailing board gnome org 

* Renewing your membership

Membership in the GNOME Foundation ordinarily lasts for two years.  A
reasonable period of time before your membership expires, you will be
contacted by the Membership Committee with a request that you file a
renewal application, available at [insert URL].  Renewal applications
will be reviewed according to the same standards outlined above for an
initial membership, and must generally be supported by recent or
ongoing contributions to GNOME.  If you do not file a valid renewal
application by the specified deadline, your membership will terminate;
former members may, of course, file a new application for membership
at a later date, again provided it is supported by recent or ongoing

[[Note: The following is not part of the policy per se, but is 
provided for the information of the readers, and would likely be 
posted near the policy on -RMS]]

* Who is currently serving on the Membership Committee?

Chris DiBona <chris valinux com>
Dan Mueth <d-mueth uchicago edu>
Russell Steinthal <rms39 columbia edu> (chair)

[Bart Decrem and Martin Baulig also contributed to this draft policy.]

Russell Steinthal		Columbia Law School, Class of 2002
<rms39 columbia edu>		Columbia College, Class of 1999
<steintr nj org>		UNIX System Administrator,

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