list of TB contributors and governance

Kent James kent at caspia.com
Mon Oct 22 23:48:10 UTC 2012


While aceman and I worked together to come up with the list of TB 
contributors, I had a little different purpose in mind than he had.

I've stated here several times that I don't believe that a future 
Thunderbird governance model which is based on the list of Thunderbird 
module owners is the best model. The model that I have been considering 
proposing instead is to use a list of significant contributors, and let 
that list of significant contributors vote democratically on governance 
issues (that is, one vote per person). So my contribution to the list 
originally started by aceman had that in mind as a secondary purpose. As 
you can see, about 70 people form that list, and IMHO are the correct 
group to have ultimate authority over key Thunderbird decisions.

Although I am not that familiar with the Plone project, this model is 
very similar to the description that they have on their website for 
their governance. In particular, they have thought through the 
definition of a "significant contributor" and have established a list of 
guidelines here http://plone.org/foundation/membership/meritguidelines/ 
that could serve as an example of what I am proposing. I would expect 
that the broad list of significant contributors would probably want to 
establish a smaller governing council of some sort that would make more 
routine decisions.

Although I am not yet prepared to give a full description or defense of 
this proposal, let me state some of the reasons that I don't see the 
module owners list as being the best model:

1) Issues that may generate some controversy, such as recent discussions 
of how to raise money and how to spend money, currently have no way to 
reach a resolution, as there is no functioning body that is taking 
responsibility for such decisions.

2) The module owner list is too narrow. There is no real place for many 
stakeholders to have a voice in big issues.

3) The module list is directly controlled by Mozilla insiders, and not 
my the broader community of people who contribute to Thunderbird.

4) Certain critical roles, particularly in areas such as marketing, are 
not being filled, and no person or group is in a position to advocate to 
get them filled.

5) I don't see any evidence that the module owners, as a group, are 
taking responsibility for broader issues of Thunderbird direction.

:rkent







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