Draft Membership Policy: Comments Requested (again)

Dear Foundation members:

At the request of the Foundation's Board of Directors and on behalf 
of its Membership and Elections Committee, I am forwarding our draft 
membership guidelines for your review and comment.  There aren't any 
significant changes to the draft since the last time I posted it 
here, but since the Board is hopefully close to approving it, this is 
your chance to get in your comments...

One of the few unresolved issues is how we will handle the existing 
membership.  For administrative reasons, we (the Membership and 
Elections Committee) don't want to have all of the 300+ existing 
memberships come up for renewal at the same time, two years after the 
approval of the policy.  To avoid that, we'll probably divide the 
existing membership up (randomly) into two or three groups, and 
stagger their expiration dates, so that we end up having a batch of 
renewals every six months or so.  The question is when to start the 
stagger: some have argued that the first group should be at the two 
year mark, with others following, and others have suggested the 
opposite, that the first group should be approximately six months 
after the policy is adopted, with the last group being two years from 
now.  It's basically a balancing act between two policy goals: 
ensuring that the Foundation membership accurately reflects the 
current GNOME contributors (and thus requiring a renewal at least 
every two years) versus fulfilling people's expectations (whatever 
they are) about not needing to renew too frequently.  Your thoughts, 
of course, are appreciated.  One thing to remember is that the 
renewal process won't be particularly arduous; although we haven't 
devised the renewal form yet, it will probably be a relatively simple 
web page asking for the member's current GNOME contributions.

Whatever suggestions or comments you have about the policy (below) or 
the staggering issue are appreciated.  Please feel free to send them 
here (foundation-list) or directly to the Membership and Elections 
Committee at membership gnome org 


 for the Membership and Elections Committee

Draft Membership Policy for the GNOME Foundation
(see ChangeLog at end of document)

* 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


2000-12-21  Russell Steinthal  <rms39 columbia edu>

	* Added "or other non-trivial activities which benefit the GNOME
	Project" to the list of valid contributions (Bart)

	* Added contact address for the board (board gnome org, per
	Havoc's mail to foundation-list) (Russell)

	* Removed notification that the membership committee would forward
	its recommendation and the results of its investigation to the
	Board when a rejection is appealed (Bart)

	* Noted that renewal applications "will be reviewed according to
	the same standards [as original applications", rather than "may be
	verified pursuant to...". (Russell)

	* Added ChangeLog, header (Russell)

	* Various grammar fixes (Bart, Russell)
2000-12-12  Russell Steinthal  <rms39 columbia edu>

	* Initial draft mailed to membership committee for comment

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

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