Resolution 2007-02-15.jrk.1: Openness of Board Discussions

Jimmy Kaplowitz jimmy at
Thu Feb 15 17:18:02 UTC 2007

On Thu, Feb 15, 2007 at 08:50:45AM -0800, Josh Berkus wrote:
> First, I don't think we should vote on this in Feburary.  We've
> already passed the deadline for agenda items, and I can't see this in
> any way as "urgent".

Notice how I proposed it for the March meeting because it was too late
for the February one.

> Also, you're violating our new procedures which require resolutions to
> be posted to spi-private, NOT spi-general.  For this reason, I've gone
> ahead and cross-posted it.

Which procedures are you referring to? The main procedures I see are in
this email:

From: Neil McGovern <neilm at>
To: board at, spi-private at,                           
        spi-general at                                           
Subject: Publically viewable resolutions and increasing the visibility of       
        board activity                                                          
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2006 23:46:23 +000

Those procedures say that resolutions should be sent to spi-general
instead of spi-private unless they are private, legally sensitive, or
time sensitive, none of which apply here. (It also specifies secretary@
and board@, so I included those addresses as well.)

If you agree after reading the above mail that -general is more
appropriate than -private under our policy, please remove -private from
your reply to this mail so that we don't continue sending duplicates to
everyone on both lists.

> Second, I'm unclear on the roles of spi-general vs. spi-private here.
> I'm particularly concerned that many contributing members have
> unsubscribed from spi-general because of prior spam issues.   Also,
> quite frankly, I'm unclear on why we even *have* an spi-general, given
> that the subscribers seem to be a subset of spi-private.  I think the
> purposes of the various lists from the organization's perspective
> needs to be clarified before passing any such resolution.

spi-general is also open to non-contributing members and the general
public, including media organizations, Google's search index, Microsoft,
and random Slashdot users. Therefore I really doubt the subscribers are
a subset of -private. If you really want to know that for sure, check
with admin at By contrast, spi-private is only open to SPI
contributing members, won't be Googleable, and requires an inconvenient
mailman password to look in the web archives (which also aren't
searchable even to subscribers). spi-general is useful in the interest
of being transparent to the general public, especially those people who
are users of SPI member projects but not eligible for SPI contributing
membership. Most discussions don't require restriction to our membership.

As for the spam problem, instead of deprecating spi-general entirely,
I'd much rather have Joerg Jaspert (on our admin team) apply some of the
same automated solutions as he has to the DebConf mailing lists, which
don't have a spam problem without needing human moderation.

> Finally, I'm not going to vote for this resolution unless I first see
> that several to many contributing members think one is warranted.  I
> personally don't see a resolution as necessary; several members have
> made clear after the discussion that they expect
> greater transparency and the board has responded through improved
> rules on notifications for board business as well as plans to disclose
> the board@ discussion on that topic.   At this point, MJ is
> grandstanding and I won't cater to it. 

Whether MJ is grandstanding or not is besides the point. As of now, we
haven't actually approved any resolution regarding notifications for
board business, though one is on the agenda for tomorrow's meeting. That
resolution doesn't actually address a board policy on the level of
openness of our discussions or the level of justification we give for
decisions based on private discussions. Regardless of MJ's style of
debate, these are valid concerns that should be remedied. It will also
give us (hopefully) unambiguous guidance as to how to act in individual
situations where we are unsure, plus serve as a clear recommendation to
future boards which they would have to explicitly (and publically) vote
to change. All of which is good.

- Jimmy Kaplowitz
jimmy at

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