Foundation Membership [Was: Minutes for Board Meeting 2002-09-24]

<quote who="jody peabody ximian com">

> 	  Minutes of the GNOME Board meeting September 24 2002

(Thanks Jody, for the minutes.)

>   - Membership Committee
>       : Clarify Guidelines
> 	  * Jim proposed simple guideline
> 	      'If you have ever contributed to GNOME and wish to be a member
> 	       you can be a member'
> 	      = Unanimous agreement by those present
> 	      = The key element is 'desire to be member', interpretation of
> 		'contribution' should be lax, including QA, usability, and
> 		 advocacy.

The Foundation by-laws define the key element of Foundation membership
qualification as 'contributor':

  "Any contributor to GNOME shall be eligible for membership. A
  'contributor' shall be defined as any individual who has contributed to a
  non-trivial improvement of the GNOME Project, such as code, documentation,
  translations, maintenance of project-wide resources, or other non-trivial
  activities which benefit the GNOME Project."

In my opinion, this qualification is critical to the success of an active,
productive Foundation. If the Board is to represent the Project, it needs to
represent an active, current group of voting members.
  "Large amounts of advocacy or bug reporting may qualify one as a
  contributor, provided that such contributions are significantly above the
  level expected of an ordinary user. [Snipped bit about employment /

This is where it gets tricky - some kinds of contribution are indirect, or
not seen as 'major'. Perhaps people will be offended if their work is not
seen as 'major', but then, as a project, we have a pretty good nous for
finding the people who are putting in their blood, sweat and tears. I don't
think the above clause is unfair.

Current 'major' contributors understand the project. They define it. They
are also the right people to choose their representation and to represent.

Thus, I think the Board's very loose interpretation of this section (Article
VI, Section 1), is not in the best interests of the GNOME Foundation.

If I'm going to wax on about bugs, I'd better propose a fix, hey? :-) So:

  I suggest that the Foundation Board continue to qualify the voting
  membership against the current by-laws (Article VI, Section 1), and create
  a new, non-voting class of Foundation Membership to satisfy 'desire to be
  a member'. Perhaps call this the 'supporting membership' as opposed to the
  'voting membership'.

  This is very positive in a number of ways. Anyone with a desire to become
  a member can sign up for 'supporting membership' - join once, member for

  The 'voting membership' will be made up of current contributors, who are
  able to vote for current contributing representatives on the Board. The
  Foundation may choose to create an 'honourary voting membership' for
  highly significant contributors.

  Note that Foundation membership will *increase* with this change -> the
  Foundation can claim both sets of members as numbers of support in its
  bids for grants, marketing material, etc.

Thanks, hope the Board considers this suggestion,

- Jeff

                    Mangoes are nature's edible orgasm.                     

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