TB council motions: Transparency

Ben Bucksch ben.bucksch at beonex.com
Tue Jan 30 01:38:19 UTC 2018


It's important for me that the Council represents the wishes of 
Thunderbird end users, both current and potential ones. In order to do 
that, I think transparency is an important aspect.

For your information, following are some motions / votes that I had 
proposed to the Thunderbird Council in the last year. I do not include 
the results or responses, because I speak for myself only.


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*Transparency of Council motions*
2018-01-24

Motion:

In order for the public to follow the decisions and the work of the 
council, the motions, votes and decisions should be made public in a 
public log.

Each vote log should include:

  * Date and time when the vote was started and closed
  * For each Council member:
      o How they voted: YES, NO, ABSTAIN, or ABSENT (no vote in time)
      o Any additional comments they made in the same email when they
        voted, e.g. for justification, or conditions for their vote, or
        anything else they would like to add.

Rarely, sensitive matters might be discussed. Examples are mostly 
monetary numbers (salaries, business numbers etc.). These sensitive 
matters may be removed from the public notes. In this case, they should 
be replaced by black bars, to inform the public that there were parts 
removed and how much was removed. The bar for removal from the public 
vote log should be very high (meaning as little as possible should be 
removed), mostly just monetary numbers).

Why important:

It allows accountability, followup in the implementation, and allows new 
Council member candidates to prepare for the coming job.


------------------------------------------------------------------------

*Transparency of Council meetings*
2018-01-24

Motion:

In order for the public to follow the decisions and the work of the 
council, the agenda and meeting notes of the weekly Council meetings 
shall be made public. For example, on a blog dedicated to it. The blog 
may be syndicated to the main Thunderbird blog, or not, that's TBD.

The notes should include:

  * Date of the meeting
  * Attendants
  * Agenda, which is set before the meeting
  * Topics, which were actually discussed during the meeting
    For each topic:
  * Notes of what was discussed. At the very least, which options were
    proposed.
  * Decisions made, and (if discussed) rationale why.
  * Who voted how / for which option
  * Action items, and who will take care of it.

Occasionally, sensitive matters might be discussed. Examples are 
business who asked for confidentiality, matters concerning specific 
employees, and any monetary numbers (salaries, business proposal etc.). 
These sensitive matters may be removed from the public notes. In this 
case, they should be replaced by black bars, to inform the public that 
there were parts removed and how much was removed.

Why important:

I think this is an easy action that will greatly increase the 
transparency of the Council work to contributors, donors and the public. 
I think it will greatly improve the public view of the TB Council and 
its work, and also help in collaboration with the community. It allows 
outside feedback to matters we currently discuss.


------------------------------------------------------------------------

*Transparency of Council mailing list*
2018-01-24

Rationale:

There is a lot of discussion happening on the TB Council mailing list. 
It is intended only for TB Council members, and rightly so, as this is 
our way to discuss and meet. However, the vast majority of TB Council 
mailing list discussions are *not* inherently confidential or sensitive. 
I think it would do the community a lot of good for these discussions to 
be public.

Motion:

The Thunderbird council mailing list is a moderated mailing list, 
whereby TB Council members have no posting restrictions and others can 
post only moderated, for exceptional circumstances when they need to 
talk to the entire council, for example business proposals or 
interaction with Mozilla. Public discussion with the community should 
happen on tb-planning.

However, for the community to be able to follow and have pertinent input 
to discussions *before* decisions are made, the Thunderbird mailing list 
has a *publicly readable archive*.

It may also allow read-only subscriptions, that's TBD. The idea is not 
that the community directly engages in TB Council discussions, but can 
read and follow them.

Importance:

  * Allows community to follow TB Council work, if interested
  * Allows community to give feedback (in other channels, not on
    tb-council mailing list) to discussions before decisions are made
    and final
  * Gives a public record, which prevents foul play
  * Increases trust and transparency
  * Shows activity


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