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From Marvin Humphrey <>
Subject Re: Open enrollment
Date Mon, 28 May 2012 12:22:20 GMT
Hi Josh,

On Sun, May 27, 2012 at 3:06 PM, Josh Wills <> wrote:
> I think that not making an explicit policy announcement was a mistake on our
> part, because the interpretation was ambiguous and that led directly to an
> ugly start for the project.

Had you stated such a policy, you would be at odds with existing Incubator
participation guidelines.

    The proposal typically contains a list of initial committers. When a
    podling is bootstrapped, this list is used by the mentors to set up
    initial accounts. So, one way to become a committer for a podling is to be
    listed on the proposal as an initial committer.

    The right way to express interest is by a post to the list with a brief
    introduction. Piling onto a proposal (by adding your own name as an
    initial committer) is impolite.

IMO, these guidelines are flawed -- though possibly through imprecise language
rather than intent.  Encouraging people to introduce themselves on the public
list puts podling candidates in the awkward position of having to turn people
away.  We've just seen how well that work out, no?  :P

Skepticism of open enrollment goes back a long time.  Here's ASF Director Roy
Fielding in 2006:

    In contrast, letting anyone "pile on" to a podling while it is at
    the proposal stage is placing an unequal burden on a new podling
    that we would never place on a full project.  If the community is
    not cohesive, no consensus will be possible and we effectively
    hamstring the podling before it is even started.

> At a minimum, I think it would be wise for the incubator documentation
> to tell new projects to announce a policy as part of their proposal,
> so that others do not make the same mistake. That announcement could
> be anything from "The initial committers will be made up exclusively
> from existing contributors" to "We would like to consider potential
> additional committers on a case-by-case basis" to "Anyone from the
> Apache community is welcome to join as an initial committer." Then
> there could be explicit discussion on the thread about the pros and
> cons of the project's choice before the proposal went to a vote.

I support the idea of proposal authors taking charge of destiny and overriding
the flawed participation policies in the Incubator's documentation.

However, I am uncomfortable with the exclusivity of language like "The initial
committers will be made up exclusively from existing contributors".

Marvin Humphrey

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