[OpenStack Foundation] Opening up the board mailing list

Mark McLoughlin markmc at redhat.com
Sat Feb 2 10:28:40 UTC 2013

On Fri, 2013-02-01 at 09:20 +0100, Thierry Carrez wrote:
> Dave Neary wrote:
> > On 01/31/2013 10:20 PM, Mark McLoughlin wrote:
> >> There's a standing desire by some (many?) board members for the
> >> foundation-board mailing list to be made public so that anyone can
> >> follow their discussions.
> >>
> >> Personally, I'd also like a way for folks who aren't on the board to
> >> easily be able to participate in any board discussions. However, there
> >> needs to be some way for board members to easily separate the discussion
> >> between board members from the discussion with the wider foundation
> >> membership.
> >>
> >> I think of this is an "inner circle"[1] mailing list setup:
> >>
> >>   - Two mailing lists - "inner circle" and "everyone else", lets call
> >>     them the IC and EE lists
> > 
> > I've been thinking of foundation as EE, in which case the board list is
> > IC - and opening the archives of board discussions/allowing read-only
> > subscriptions would give the transparency to the operation of the board.
> > Since board members are all members of the foundation list already
> > (correct?) the foundation list would be the avenue for members to engage
> > with the board. Problem solved, without the need for Yet Another Mailing
> > List or a complicated workflow.
> > 
> > Am I missing something?
> That's been my suggestion too. The workflow that Mark suggests is likely
> to result in thread duplication, missing elements in some threads vs.
> the other, and overall confusion, especially with a population that's
> not necessarily following strict ML etiquette.
> Using two lists (with one of them being the "open discussion" list for
> the topics formally introduced on the first one) is a classic setup that
> is simpler and more foolproof imho.

I see this model panning out one of two ways:

  1) The majority of the discussion happens on the open list and we 
     are very successful at getting non-directors involved in healthy 
     open discussions. This means massive email threads which I expect 
     many of the directors to find overwhelming and not follow or 
     participate in the discussion. That could mean little in the way of
     collaborative discussion amongst directors, or those discussions 
     happening privately somewhere.

  2) The majority of the discussion happens amongst directors on the 
     readonly list with maybe summaries sent to the open list. 
     Non-directors are annoyed because they can only follow the
     discussion by looking at the archives and it's difficult to take 
     part of the discussion amongst the directors and discuss the topic 
     amongst the wider audience.

Basically, I think a big part of the value committee like this is the
members actively and directly engaging with each to understand their
points of view. In an ideal world, the committee members would also
listen to the points of view of non-members. But if we end up with a
situation that the volume of discussion is so large that it's hard to
even just have a discussion amongst committee members, then you'll get a
least some of the members giving up completely on the discussion.

I think this is even true of the TC - if we had discussions on the TC
list, I think TC members would be more engaged. Instead, we have it on
the -dev list and have more participation, but less participation from
the committee members. I think the problem will be worse with the board,
where many of the directors just aren't used to massive mailing list

What I'm trying to figure out is a model where directors engage fully
with each other in open discussions, but we also have a very active open
discussions amongst non-directors which directors can dip in and out of.


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