New Application processes

James Westby jw+debian at
Thu Jan 8 15:33:03 GMT 2009

On Wed, 2009-01-07 at 18:14 +0100, Daniel Holbach wrote: 
> Hash: SHA1
> Hello everybody,
> some of you will have noticed that the application processes of the MOTU
> Council have been taking several weeks, even months in extreme cases and
> we have been very unhappy with this status quo.
> We identified a number of reasons for this and have been discussing
> efforts to resolving this. The solution we propose is going to give us
> the benefits of both: the general membership process and our mailing
> list based discussion.

Hi Daniel,

I think the proposal sounds good, and I'd certainly like to give it a 
go, we can always refine it later.

As with Nick my biggest concern is with the IRC meetings, but perhaps
for a different reason.

I'd like to clarify the steps that would be involved though, can you
confirm the following is correct?

1. Applicant prepares a wiki page listing their achievements, best
    work, plans etc.
2. Sponsors/advocates add their feedback to the wiki page.
3. Applicant posts their application to the mailing list.
4. The MC reads the application and does background research, or 
    whatever it is you do.
5. At the next meeting the applicant can attend after a waiting period
    of two weeks the application is reviewed with questions asked,
    and feedback from other interested parties given. The MC then votes
    on the application during the meeting.

> 4) Open IRC meetings for application approvals
> Application reviews and approvals shall happen at a fortnightly IRC
> Meeting. This is how every Council and Board deals with applications and
> is a great opportunity to talk to the applicant face to face. In
> addition to that we believe this will make our Council more
> approachable, inviting and interaction more immediate.

I believe that this would be a good thing to come from the change. I 
also believe that having the meeting as a definite point to assess the
application and make a decision, or explicitly choose to have more 
discussion will be a good thing.

> We'd like to hold
> these meetings every two weeks and like to request two weeks of time for
> review and discussion before a decision is made in the meeting.

This was going to be the core of my reservations about this. If there
are mailing list discussions on the application beforehand, which there
will be for the contentious ones, then the transition to an IRC meeting
may not always be smooth.

We would need to ensure that those with objections felt that their 
concerns had been taken in to account by the Council, even when they
may not be able to attend the meeting; if a decision is taken in your
absence that doesn't go the way you want then it is easy to feel like
your opinions were not listened to.

I think it is also critical that the mailing list discussions don't
boil over in to the meeting, and the meeting doesn't drag on repeating
points from the thread over again.

However, we elect the MC to vote on applications, to listen to all of
the inputs and make a decision. It shouldn't be that if I say "this
person makes a few too many mistakes for me to trust them to upload
without a sponsor yet" I expect the application to be blocked. I should
expect the MC to look at some of the mistakes, and then talk to the
applicant about the way they work and review their own changes, and
then make a decision, even if they disagree with me.

Therefore I think the meetings will work fine if they are a forum for
that discussion to take place. It is then up to me to point the MC in
the direction of the problem areas so that they can be fully informed
when they make their decision.

If I disagree with a decision of the MC because they overlooked 
something I saw to be a problem then it's really my fault for not
bringing it to the attention of the Council. If they discuss the
concern and still believe that the applicant can be trusted to gain
the upload rights then it is just a difference of opinion.

So, in total, little point of me writing that, I might have well
have just said "go for it!" We'll assess how it is going after a
few applications have been reviewed under the new scheme.



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