16/05/2023 Model Proposal - Section 1, Membership

This is one of the biggest issues.
I wanted to propose a slightly meritocratic scheme by means of weighted-voting, but immediately hit the wall of “How to measure contribution” and had to abandon the idea, at least for now.

As you say @pierre_a , we do not yet have a proper method to effectively measure contribution, that is one big reason for me to adopt something less complex, at least in the early days, like consensus.
Consensus requires no technology, not even a vote counting app.
I would really love to see some level of meritocracy implemented as I think it would encourage participation and contribution, but I can’t figure out how that could be properly implemented without spending a small pile of cash. I will keep thinking about it…

This would use the existing tools and definitions for contributing. The person who wants to claim this status would need to be able to demonstrate a consistent contribution history in SavannahCRM (which we can verify) in order to be eligible. I think maybe we should be clear about what we look for - eg do they need to show a year’s worth of contributions to be eligible? Or a specific time period? I did not think to make that clear so that’s a good point for discussion.

Here we are talking about individuals rather than companies.

So if the plugin is provided free of charge and is open source, per this term:

then probably we would consider that the maintainers of that plugin (as evidenced by the commit history of that plugin) would be eligible, if they are spending at least five hours a month maintaining that plugin. This would only be the case if that plugin was open source and freely available.

As they would be self-certifying, to a certain degree we would have to take their word for it as to the time that they spend. I’m not up for micro-policing and checking timesheets! :sweat_smile:

That’s a great question. Thanks for raising it!

Currently we don’t actually log the time that someone spends contributing, just the actual number contributions. So it would be on trust, to an extent. I would think that we would review their contribution history and see whether that actually matches up with what we would expect to see from someone who has been contributing five hours a month consistently (which is roughly one hour per week). Obviously we have some tasks which take a lot longer than others, but we’re working on ways to try to adjust for that (eg breaking down into smaller tasks).

Maybe this would be better represented as a physical number of contributions, but that could also be open to exploitation, possibly more than by taking someone’s word that they are contributing.

I guess we have to consider how likely it is that someone would want to cheat the system by making a fake claim to become a supporting member, how easy or otherwise it would be to decide if it was a valid claim, and how we deal with that process.

I can ask the PSF how this works in their community and what the rejection rate is like, if that would be helpful?

No, they have exactly the same voting rights. Nothing at all is different. They are not better than or worse than each other.

It’s purely and simply, a different way to become a member.

So you’re not better because you contribute practically, or financially. Just you become eligible to be a member through a different way. Financially contributing, or practically contributing. The two are not mutually exclusive either. You could decide to pay to become a Contributing Member, even if you are eligible as a Supporting member.

Likewise you could (and hopefully many would) contribute practically to the level where they would be eligible to become a Supporting member, even if you’re already a Contributing member.

I just gave them different names to make it clearer that there are different ways to become a member.

I like your suggestion of just calling it ‘membership’ and having different ways to become a member, without actually having different names for the different types of membership. Totally open to updating the proposal above to just have it under one section and break it out into different ways to become a member. I can draft that in a later post for consideration if that works?

We have not discussed this but I would suggest that we just stick to individuals having the option to vote, not companies. Having companies voting opens up a whole huge can of worms which I don’t feel that we are in a position to deal with right at this stage, but it might well be something that we could consider in the future if there is sufficient need and desire for it.

I’m open for discussion on that, but please just bear in mind the complexity, and potential for abuse, of enabling companies to be involved in decision making/voting.

It’s something to consider. It was only a month or two ago that GitHub introduced fees for companies sponsoring through this route. Some orgs and individuals do like to have the kudos on GitHub of sponsoring projects, and it is quite the process moving everybody over to a different system. So this would be something we would have to discuss with those sponsors and decide if this is the right time to cause that disruption (but I would also love it if everyone sponsored on Open Collective as it makes it much easier to do the open startup reporting too!)

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SavannahCRM only measures quantity, not quality nor duration. Hence it is not a valid verification of anything, just an indicator of activity, number of contributions, that is.
So if I add 5 PRs in 10 minutes in Github, I get 5 points.
If I dedicate 4 hours to research an article, I get… 0 (ZERO) points.
If I finally publish said article, I get 1 point.

This is not entirely the case. The way that we can use Jira means that we can (and indeed, should, for the reasons you have outlined) separate out larger tasks into smaller ones, and tackle those ones individually. We could for example give guidelines that any task over a certain anticipated duration would be advised to break apart into separate tasks for this reason.

We are trying to do this currently but we could make it more consistent by having clear guidance on this topic. I feel that would largely address those concerns, when used appropriately.

Of course this, like anything, is open to exploitation, so we would need to ensure that it is being done correctly.

Of course, and we could just “manually” evaluate each contribution and give it a “value”.

This is EXACTLY the case. I asked the software owner/developer.

I meant that you were not taking into account in your explanation the way we can use Jira to break down tasks into smaller sub-tasks, so that if something takes a really long time, you actually get credited for the work by completing all of the smaller tasks. I was not referring here to your comments about Savannah CRM and how that works.

Following up on the questions about the Fellows, which I took inspiration from the Python Software Foundation, I went back and asked a bit more about how it works and how the folks who receive the award and the community feel about it.

With Python being a very long standing project since the 1990s, they have a lot of people who never received credit at the time for extensive amounts of contribution, because there were no mechanisms back then to give people any tangible thanks for all the foundational work they had done back then.

The PSF award maybe 20 fellows per year on average, and many are working through recognising historical contributors, but sometimes they are people who have contributed substantially but their career path has changed and therefore they’re no longer involved actively with contributing to the project.

I asked if those folks who become Fellows value it, and my understanding following conversations was that they don’t really care about having voting rights for life - some use it, some don’t. They do, however, feel very proud to be recognised as having made significant contributions to the project and being recognised as a Fellow is something that they cherish and value. The community see that as a sign of respect - someone who is a Fellow has made a significant and sustained contribution, much like we talked about in the Governance Working Group slack channel about ‘elders’ of the community, and their voices can sometimes be helpful in bringing different perspectives.

Now, obviously we are a much smaller project and much newer. I would envisage we might have 2-5 people that we could consider for this status from the outset. Maybe a few might be nominated per year.

I would think that might include for example, folks who have been fundamental in creating Mautic but aren’t involved - our founder DB Hurley, Alan Hartless who is one of the principle engineers who built Mautic, and so forth. I expect that some of the longer established community members might be able to nominate a few more.

Hopefully that might be helpful as a bit more context around the suggestion of that type of membership. As mentioned above, I’m happy to look at maybe changing the name if folks feel it’s not appropriate, or even removing if we don’t think that it’s necessary to recognise past contributors in this way.

The below still holds for the importance of this type of membership to me.

Would love to hear thoughts on this.

Looping back on the discussion of membership types:

  • I can’t think of any reason why we would ever want to distinguish between the types of membership other than ‘is member’ and ‘is not member’ or ‘member’ and ‘fellow’.
  • I’d be happy to get rid of the membership types (1.1 to 1.3) and just have it all under the title of ‘Becoming a member’ if this helps to simplify things, and makes it easier to understand that one isn’t better than the other.

@pierre_a would that bring this section to a place where you’d be happier with this part of the proposal?

Some thoughts I had when reading this:

  • Why even allow people to decline its right to be a Mautic member? It doesn’t make sense for someone to not be a member if there are no rights or obligations attached to it. Similar trend, but keep it as simple as possible. Let the code of conduct be the arbiter of the behavior.

  • Supporting member. It’s not fully clear when the price is revised once a year. I suggest to limite to X countries or regions. You already have enough administration I would think, so I’m not sure why this should be more complex than necessary.

  • Contributing member. To me it’s a bit odd to see “5 hours” as a requirement. This is not really a standard within Open Source communities afaik. I understand you want to set a minimum-bar, but maybe make the case that they should provide proof of 5 positive contributions to Mautic in the last 3 months? I could easily spend 5 hours thinking about Mautic and replying random things but not really contributing to the project in general. I would challenge this and see if we can rethink this towards something that can be more easily measured from the outside instead of “believe me on my word”. Ideally this becomes an automatically granted role through community platform analysis or by setting some basic measurements in place such as code commits and you manually audit the non-code contributions until you have a better system

  • Managing members: There is a small sentence about that, but no header.

  • Fellows: In most other OSS projects this is called “Core team” or something similar. Given you require a vote, what happens if members of the community council do not show up or from the chartered working group? Do you then postpone the decision until the year is over per “A voting member who does not cast a vote for one (1) votes within a single calendar year shall immediately have their voting rights revoked for the remainder of such year.” I suggest to turn this around, if no objections are given for the member to become a fellow or core team member within 30 days, we’ll move forward. Someone can only become a fellow after being or have been a contributing member. A bit later you refer to lazy decision making so why not follow your own principles?

Notes from Gabor on Slack:

  • “Contributing members” are same as “managing members”? The name seems to change mid section. Important because the benefit (voting for free) only comes at the end.
  • You may want to have a way to revoke Fellowship in rare and extreme cases. Maybe 1.6 applies to fellows but that is not clear.
  • The voting rights also seem to be responsibilities if voting rights are revoked following not participating in a vote. That should be considered carefully. Ie. if someone goes on vacation, could they loose their voting right for the rest of the year? Especially for 36 hour votes.

@rcheesley I think I do not even understand the exact meaning of this. Moreover, what is the reasoning behind it?

Ah that came from the Python Software Foundation - I think it’s to encourage people to actually ‘use it on lose it’ when it comes to voting.

I’m probably around a 2/10 on having that - I don’t think it’s hugely important but it might be an incentive for folks to actually do the voting part.

Hi @nick_vh and thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, much appreciated!

Which part are you referring to here? If you are suggesting everyone having voting rights, we had quite a lengthy discussion around wanting to encourage people to give back to Mautic, and that earning voting rights by financially or practically contributing was one way to ‘incentivise’ for want of a better phrase, that behaviour.

I think we would review the base rate in the annual General Assembly but I can make that clearer. :white_check_mark: updated to make this clearer

I don’t think we should limit anything by country. We already use the Big Mac Index for our partner programme, and there were concerns expressed that $100 flat rate was a much larger ask in some places in the world than others. That’s why we proposed the Big Mac Index, to make it more proportionately fair.

We had a lengthy debate on this as well - it is a hard one. The 5 hrs/mth actually comes directly from a very long established open source project, the Python Software Foundation: PSF Bylaws | Python Software Foundation - see section 4.6. The main discussion was around 5 contributions being to create an image on Canva, for example, might take 5 minutes each, whereas a PR might take 2 hours each. So self-certifying the time basis was what we came up with (inspired by Python) as a way to work around this.

This was subsequently simplified so I think this is outdated now.

I don’t think that is the case. Fellows are folks who are most likely not involved with Mautic any more. Think of it like an honorary member. Voting rights, but not necessarily contributing any more.

Yes, we did discuss defaulting to using lazy consensus and time boxing of decision making in another part of the governance model. We absolutely could use lazy consensus there too. I’m fine with updating that away from a majority and towards a time-boxed lazy consensus.

This was updated subsequently so this point is no longer relevant as we simplified the wording.

Yes - this is a good point! We should make it clear that 1.6 indeed applies to fellows. :white_check_mark: updated to make this clearer

Yes good point - given what you and others have said, maybe we should just take out the responsibilities part - we can always add it back in a later year if we want to.

If we find this to be a practical issue, we can always tackle it later.
I think for now, less regulation is better, in general.

(And I still don’t get what the rule says: If I don’t vote by Dec/31st, I cannot vote for the remainder of the year ???)

Following up to yesterday’s panel discussion, I am now convinced that we should embrace organizational membership from day one, or else we’re missing out on a big opportunity.


Implications of “Only Individuals”

Let’s envision the practical situation if we only do individuals, and I admit I have a Mautic service provider like ourselves in mind.
Possible reasons being dedication, participation, personal brand, right?
Let’s see:

  • Would I personally become a member? Sure (probably make the company pay)
  • Would any other employee become a member and pay for themselves? Probably not.
  • Would the company pay for the membership of other employees? Maybe for 1-2, but without any good reason beyond general attitude.
  • Would the company pay for the membership of freelancers? Rather not.
  • Would freelancers become members and pay for themselves? Hopefully yes.

TOTAL = 1-3 Bigmacs plus freelancers

→ There is no motivation for organizations to pay more. And not even a clear way to do that.


Implications of “Organizations, too”

What if, in addition to individual memberships, we also allow organizations, maybe even in tiers?
Possible reasons for organizations being dedication, participation, and for Mautic services: primarily marketing, imho.

  • Would the company become a member? At least for ourselves, being a member e.g. in a 10-Bigmacs tier would be a no-brainer. And that is not determined by “how many votes does the tier get me?” or such
  • Would the company pay for the membership of other employees? Maybe less likely in this setup.
  • Everything else remains the same.

TOTAL = 11 Bigmacs plus freelancers

→ And organizations are now motivated (and enabled) to opt for even higher tiers.


Proposal

  • We offer organizational membership from day one, in multiple tiers (details tbd)
  • Organizations too have only 1 vote regardless of the tier chosen
  • Mautic Partners (let’s drop the word “community”) need to be organizational member of some tier (or of any tier, depending on the details)
  • The only other benefit for organizational members is a nice logo for them to use
  • Benefits may evolve over time (membership listing with backlink, number of votes based on tier if that turns out to be a topic, …)
  • And in parallel, we bring the details of the Mautic Partner program to the next level.

Reasons, in a nutshell:

  • Personal membership is not attractive to organizations
  • We can raise way more money if we do not exclude organizations, plus give them premium options (marketing 1-0-1 :slight_smile: )

Thanks for sharing your thoughts here and in the panel!

I do like the idea of having the corporate membership - maybe we can align with the existing sponsorship tiers?

This might be technically a bit of a challenge to implement (who has the ability to use that vote, for example) but I am sure we can find a way!

I think that is a reasonable expectation and I don’t think it would be an issue for any existing partners.

I think we would need to be clear the difference between sponsoring, being a member of the General Assembly, being a partner - but indeed nice to have shiny badges and good perks.

Here’s some proposed changes for incorporating organsational members:

1.3 - Organizational membership

Organizations can become a member by joining at one of the following tiers:

  • Champion - $1,200/yr
  • Community - $5,000/yr
  • Bronze - $10,000/yr
  • Silver - $15,000/yr
  • Gold - $30,000/yr

Organizations will be entitled to one (1) vote, in the same way as individual members.

An addition to 1.6 making it clear that the org memberships may also be terminated and a clause to state that no refund will be made if an org membership is terminated.

Members may convert their membership to Basic Membership or withdraw any tier of membership including Fellow status and organizational membership at any point by completing the membership change request form. Refunds are not provided for organizational memberships which are terminated early.

A member’s membership may be terminated by the Community Council (for example as a result of a Code of Conduct investigation recommendation) with an affirmative vote with two-thirds (2/3) of the members who are present and eligible to vote at the meeting. This also applies to Fellows and Organizations. No refund will be provided for early termination of organizational memberships.

NOTE: This will take the place of the current sponsorship tiers that we have been planning to launch in the community. We will offer perks for the tiers, the first draft of which can be found here: Become a Corporate Sponsor of Mautic - Mautic Community. The $ amounts are not confirmed - these are proposed tiers. So we could decide to tweak them.

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