Governance model proposed by Ruth Cheesley 16/05/2023 - Overview thread

This is an overview post which allows you to quickly jump to the relevant threads where we are discussing parts of this new governance model proposal.

Note that anyone is welcome to propose an alternative governance model in the same way - create a GDoc and write up the model, and then make a parent post in this category with individual threads for each section.

Each section will be open for comments and discussion as separate forum threads - with an emphasis on respectful discussion and finding a way to come to a consensus - for a period of two calendar weeks - closing on Wednesday, 7th June, at which time we will share a first draft of a proposal for voting.

EDIT: The time period for consultation has subsequently been extended to the 23rd June 2023 (making it 4 weeks total).

You can read the overview of the discussions that we have been having in #wg-governance on Slack in this document.

You can read a full version of this proposal including explanatory annotations here. :warning: NOTE: This document will now be out of date - please refer to the individual forum threads for the most up to date changes based on community discussions.

As the proposal is covering a lot of areas, we have decided to break it out into sections so that we can debate and discuss each section and come to a consensus together.

Note for reviewers:

This is a lengthy document so don’t expect to read it all in one go.

It is in a certain order because:

  • You need to define membership types before you can talk about who can and can’t vote, and who can and can’t hold leadership positions
  • You need to define decision making principles before you can define how voting works
  • You need to define voting rights before you can define how teams and working groups come into being or get dissolved
  • You need to define how teams are created and disbanded before you can define leadership roles, durations and how elections are held
  • You need to define all of the above before you can define how a council would function and why it is needed
  • You need to define all of the above before you can define how the governance model might be changed in the future

Currently this does not include the Project Lead role - this is something that we need to discuss as to how we want to move forward with that role definition and position in the community governance model.

:bookmark: Sections


Welcome to Mautic!

Within the Mautic project, our governance is driven by our core values:

  • Openness
  • Transparency
  • Integrity
  • Fairness
  • Respect
  • Engagement
  • Representation
  • Action over inaction
  • Project over people and companies

1. Membership
2. Decision making
3. General Assembly
4. Teams and working groups
5. Council
6. Record keeping
7. Amendment of this Governance Model
8. Tooling that might support this proposal

:sparkling_heart: Contributors to this governance model (so far):

These people have been involved in discussions in the Governance Working Group Slack community, which has informed many of the parts of this proposal. Thank you all for your involvement and discussions/debate!

Ruth Cheesley

Sven Döring

Norman Pracht

Joey Keller

Ionuţ Ojică

Mthobisi Glen Sehlabela

Khalid Zamer

Daniel Lord

:mag_right: Resources and references

Open source project governance examples and resources

Decision making models

Org structures

Governance tools

Community growth models


Here are some topics and questions I think would be important to give answer to before proceeding…

Why should anyone use YOUR method to make a proposal instead of using whatever method they deem best?

Why is is closing on Wednesday, 7th June? Who decided this was the right day?

Please realize you cannot put a time frame to “consensus”. It takes whatever it takes…

Who is “we”? Doesn’t seem to be explained anywhere in your proposal.

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I do not understand why there should be a vote on June,7th…
If the resolution is, as you say, to be reached by “consensus” there should be no need for voting.

You seem to be contradicting yourself, maybe you don’t understand consensus?
Please review the definition of “consensus”, here are some helpful pointers:

or watch this 2 short but very informative videos:

Another great video:

It’s incredible how consensus can be explained in 2-3 minutes, however some people seem not tu understand it at all:

And here a longer video, worth every minute!

Again, who is “we”?
I have several times expressed my concern about having to agree on 70 or so different points at once and it not making any sense.
Breaking down the 70+ points into a handful of topics, could have been a good tart, especially if these topics would have been proposed or agreed upon by the group, however…

Putting a close and closed end date to debate and decide on all 5 topic groups in the same day, not only does nothing to address the issue, it is also childish and insulting to the rest of people participating in this process.

I can therefore only reject the proposal and express my strong aversion for the pressure tactics being used to force acceptance to this proposal.

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Thanks for the replies folks, just to emphasis that these all came in over a bank holiday weekend where I was not working, so I have only just received the replies. I am going to work through the other threads as well, but to respond to the questions in this thread:

I don’t understand this question. My text which you have highlighted is actively inviting anyone to make a proposal, in the same way that I have done, for people to discuss and review, because it’s a way that we can involve the community and ensure that people have the opportunity to discuss/review and share any concerns. It also enables longevity of content and discussions, which threads on a GDoc don’t really provide in the same way as forum threads.

We discussed in the Governance Working Group how to do this, both in a video call and in text, and the best way we came up with was breaking it down into smaller chunks of digestable content that people could discuss.

If you have a better way that a proposal could be dealt with, discussed at a granular level and that allows the entire wider community visibility then by all means suggest it!

We discussed in the Governance Working Group the need to time-box discussions because we have a situation where we need to make decisions and get things moving. I believe you referred to it as an ‘emergency’. We can’t leave this open forever and ever. Decisions need to be made, and we have yet to go through a round of reviewing a draft, discussing the draft, and then voting.

We talked about using Mautic Conference Global as an opportunity to rally the community and get the most possible interest in the governance model and hopefully nominations/elections. That’s on the 21-22 June.

The 7th June was 2 weeks from the date which I posted this to the forums - that’s where the date came from. 2 weeks is the timebox we have used in every community consultation to date, which is why I selected that, and also with the ever approaching date for the conference.

Multiple things are dependent on getting the governance model in place, we need to move things forward.

The governance working group.

I disagree here. We have to move forward as a project, together. To do this we will all need to come to some accommodations, working together, so that we can get to a point where we have something that we can agree on. Consensus.

It does not mean that you have to agree with everything that I have written in this proposal.

It means that anyone in the community can make suggestions and flag up things that they think need to be changed, and everybody has their say on those views and opinions that are expressed, and we all look for a way forward, together.

This will require all of us to work together.

To be accepting of the views of others, to actively listen and take on board their concerns.

Some areas we will need to consider and make compromises. Some views that folks hold may end up needing to be loosened if others in the community do not agree with those views and it’s considered in the best interests of the project and community to go a way that doesn’t align with those views.

I see us at Stage 4 - Stage 5 right now in the second video that you shared - pulling together ideas and creating an initial proposal, discussing and adjusting the proposal and all the parts of the proposal before making something (stage 6) that we can share as a draft.

I’m not really clear what part of this you feel is not aligning with seeking to come to a consensus, or that I don’t understand, because we are almost to the letter following the exact process that is outlined in the videos that you have shared above.

Is it that you feel the timeline of two weeks was too short for folks to give feedback?

lol @rcheesley , you have put there in your doc all the names of whoever participated in the debate, and branded it like if they support your proposal, this is really not the way…
And I’m guessing you probably assume that because no one is complaining, they support your proposal. Some of them might, but others, are not complaining because they lost all interest in participating, why? cause you ended participation by dropping a time-frame on the conversation.
Because adding them to your proposal without asking for permission is so wrong!!!

I defined it as “crisis”, but you said it was too strong of a word.
“Emergency” does not mean doing things without proper and required dedication and due diligence.

Do we want a strong base for the future or not?

Does together mean at your pace or at who’s pace?
Usually, the kind thing to do is to move at the pace of whoever is slower, that’s the way if you want to build community…

Who defines what those accommodations look like, you? or all of us?

I mentioned in the credits everybody who has been involved to date in discussing and debating these ideas and concepts, so that it did not come across as me saying that all of this was my own work. It most certainly is not, and folks should be credited for being involved in all of the discussions we have had to date.

Absolutely. But we have a fixed time frame in which we need to get things moving forward. We simply do not have months free to sit about and discuss things. Two weeks has been used in the past for community consultations with good effect. I suggested in the Working Group slack channel a week ago when discussing about creating the forum threads to set a time period, and others agreed that it was a good idea before I posted with a timebox.

So yes, we need a strong future, and a strong base to move from. But we need something. Whatever we decide does not have to be set in stone, we can make amendments and we can tweak things as we go, which is precisely what every other open source community I know of has done.

Likewise, we can work on the separate sections of this proposal until we find a common ground that we are all OK go to forward with, per the great examples in the videos you shared (thanks for finding and sharing them, it expresses so clearly exactly what we’re doing here).

We have a fixed time period in which we have a full time resource available to work for the community (my role as project lead). If, by the time that period elapses, we have not developed a sufficient financial base, that resource will no longer be available. So we do have a very specific timeframe in mind.

For the governance model, and I’ve discussed this a few times today in different threads, we’d discussed that it would be ideal to have something that we can present to the community at Mautic Conference Global so that we can get the most possible eyes on it, the widest possible engagement, and have the conversations that are needed on such an important topic.

That happens on 21-22 June. Just three weeks away.

Whether that is a first draft, or something final, is up to us to decide. But we won’t have that opportunity again until November at the earliest, which is far too late, so I don’t think we can avoid having that as a very important deadline in our process.

We will use the process of respectful discussion, active listening and debate to explore what people’s objections are, and find a way that we can move forward as explained so helpfully in the videos you shared earlier today on gaining consensus.

I expect there are some areas where we will all need to make accommodations.

I’ve found it helpful to be very clear after explaining my thoughts, exploring alternatives proposed or ideas that people have, to state how strongly I feel about something on a scale of 1 to 10, for example.

This allows folks to understand if I really care deeply about something they are not happy with, or if it’s something I think we can be more flexible with or even abandon all together.

I do think that it’s vitally important that we don’t just flat out reject something, but instead try to understand what is the core principle of the suggestion and propose alternative ways to meet the same ends. That way there is something tangible to actually discuss and debate.

@ruth, you keep mentioning a figurative deadline we seem to have, but you don’t explain why you think we have it.
What is more important than having the right foundation that we need to rush such foundation and risk getting it wrong?

At work I establish alone:

  • assumptions, if needed information is missing; I do mark them as such, at the beginning of the project presentation
  • dead-line, if none is defined
  • persons by name, that are responsible for specific task

All these points and more are fixed by me alone and presented on a meeting.

These points are a start for the conversation. And can be changed. And most of the time, are changed.

Without a clear base being set, a project will not go well, as the tasks are not being defined, persons are not feeling responsible, tasks are not finished without a fixed dead-line.

I find good that all the facts are being established by Ruth and we all can improve specific aspects that we find important.
These can include also:

  • dead-line for decision - we can all specify a new specific proposal.
  • wording - we can propose, how can we clearly define the concept.

I find important to come with concrete proposal to replace the current phrase, wording or concept.

Do you also, Yosu ?


I got acquainted with the Governance model, and for me, it is a good direction, great job! I do not have any comments or requests for change on the individual sections!

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Hi Ruth, finally found some time to review the lengthy document. That would be my feedback #1, try to get this in a more digestable format so that one can do a deep-dive more rapidly and understand how it is run from a high-level, and from there can opt to dive deeper.

  • I was confused with the core values. It feels that we’re overthinking those. It’s hard to remember such a long list, so I’d recommend going for 4 or 5 that implicitly can have subvalues. For example, Openness can have a subvalue of transparancy within decision making. Representation is a value I don’t really understand as a non-native but fluent English speaking person.

All other comments have been added to the appropriate threads

Feedback from Gabor on Slack:

  • finally the governance does not explain the project lead and if it has any special roles or responsibilities? is the project lead just a regular contributing member without any powers (unless elected to the community council)?

Thanks - great point! These were complied from the core things that were arising during the discussions on Slack and our implied values from the Code of Conduct. Fine to consolidate them, do you have any thoughts on what might make a good shortlist?

This is a great question and I think it’s a wider discussion that we need to have within the community as to how this role will sit within the governance model going forward.

From the practical perspective, employment is overseen by the Community Council as would be any other employee.

In terms of voting, currently the Project Lead does have a casting vote in things, however of course we would need to make it explicit that this does not apply if we are dealing with anything that relates to that role.

I do think that it can be helpful for the Project Lead to have that casting vote. I don’t recall ever using it to decide something in the last three years, because the council and the leadership team has always been in a place where we have been able to agree a route forward.

I could foresee that there might be future situations where there is a stalemate in some place in the community or an inability to come to a consensus - and in that case, I think that it would be helpful if it were possible to be able to invoke that.

I’m open to discussion on this, of course!