[Evergreen-governance-l] Response to Dan's question about Oversight Board delegation (was Re: Phone Call re: Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement)

Dan Scott dan at coffeecode.net
Wed Feb 9 00:32:07 EST 2011

On Tue, Feb 01, 2011 at 03:21:09PM -0500, Bradley M. Kuhn wrote:
> Dan Scott wrote at 17:11 (EST) on Monday:
> > Bradley, if you have a chance to clarify what you meant, on the chance
> > that I read your intent incorrectly, it would be appreciated.
> Sure, no problem.

Thanks for the thorough, thoughtful reply, Bradley.


> > choosing a different code repository, naming a new set of committers,
> > setting up a process by which contributions must be approved by the
> > Oversight Board, etc - but in my opinion that would be a rather
> > ruinous path for the project to follow.
> Certainly Conservancy doesn't want a project to follow a "ruinous path".

Apologies for being overly dramatic with my choice of wording there. I
was surprised at what appeared to me (perhaps incorrectly) a position
appearing in the minutes that would result in the Oversight Board having
a direct hand in the approval of code going into the repository, rather
than the agreement we had worked out in principle in discussions prior
to the Conservancy discussions that these decisions would be delegated
to the development team. So I overreacted, and I apologize.

> This is precisely why Conservancy seeks to make sure the Oversight Board
> truly represents the actual and natural leadership of the Project.  It
> seems to me if there is legitimate fear that the Oversight Board might
> change the development processes outlined in
> http://evergreen-ils.org/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=contributing in a
> deleterious way, community members who are thusly concerned should bring
> that up immediately.  Indeed, we should probably make sure those with
> such concerns have a seat on the Oversight Board, so they can make sure
> project contribution and other development/documentation-related
> policies are well looked after.

Well, I'm the one who raised the concern, so I guess I'm in the right
place :) Galen and I have been part of discussions amongst the
development team about changing tools (to git or another DVCS) and
possibly other processes (more use of branches to get features fully
baked before going into the official release). I've also recently raised
the issue in the Documentation Interest Group that new features should
come with some level of documentation, and an interesting discussion has
begun on that front. (Excerpt: from my perspective, docs are as valuable
as code and perhaps features should stay in a branch until they have
adequate docs to accompany them). None of this should affect the
Conservancy from a legal perspective, though, so I suppose I'm
mentioning it more for the interest of my fellow interim governance
board members as examples of possible changes to that document.

> Having said that, I must point out it honestly seems unlikely to me that
> the Oversight Board would fail to appropriately delegate these sorts of
> contribution policies to the right person.  I would suspect, in fact,
> that the clearer structure created by Conservancy membership and its
> formal delegation to the Oversight Board would clarify who is in charge
> officially to make those sorts of determinations.  Specifically, I
> suspect that day-to-day won't change much with regard to project
> oversight, but formal structures will then exist to give that day-to-day
> work some organizational legitimacy.

Yes, in the clear light of day (or just past midnight, with my cold
medication wearing off), that all makes sense. 

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