TDF has new members

The opening of the membership process was announced last Tuesday, and we already received lots of applications. Sophie did a great job scanning those and preparing the list for our first Membership Commitee meeting.

So, on Friday, we processed 59 applications (roughly all we received up to Thursday midnight). We are happy to tell you that we felt able to approve 23 applications immediately. For 22 more applications, we need to take a closer look. We will ask the contacts named in the applications for verification, scan our systems – such as Git, Pootle, the Wiki, Alfresco and the mailing lists for appreciable contributions. Please bear with us while we collect the information to enable us to take an informed decision.

Unfortunately we had to decline 14 applications – in almost all cases, this was because no information was given about current contributions. However, these people are welcome to send in a further application with appropriate information.

All applicants have been informed today about the status of their  application. We will also publish a list of accepted TDF members on our website.

What we learned from some of the comments and mails that came in is that we will have to review our application form. Some phrases are not very clear (like the "contact information"), and we should provide a link to our bylaws so that you can check that you meet the membership criteria as well as read about our members' rights and responsibilities.

We also received some mail messages asking why we need a membership application at all. Let me try to answer to some of those comments.

Question: "Does the mean that unless we are 'members' of the 'Community' we are not allowed to represent and promote LibreOffice at trade shows, or to provide support to users?"

Answer: This is not the case at all. Everyone is welcome to contribute to LibreOffice and TDF, and this can be done in various ways. Our Community Bylaws list some ways to contribute, but this list is not necessarily exhaustive. The Membership Committee will also evaluate other ways of contributing (we anticipate that there are many other ways that we even did not think of yet).

So, everyone is welcome to contribute and the status of official membership is our way to acknowledge these contributions.

Question: "Before the fork, members of the Community Council were elected by the members of the community. The only requirement to be amember was to have created an account on the OpenOffice.org website. So what's the situation now?"

Answer: There are two things two consider.

First, only one seat on the OOo Community Council was directly elected by the community (defined as above). Most seats were elected by project leads, who had to be elected or appointed beforehand. So the OOo process is also not open to everyone. Even worse, the OOo process did not give equal rights to contributing members, because of the non-egalitarian system of project leads. We at TDF are sticking closely to the rule that there is no difference of equality among accepted members.

Second, if we allowed just anyone to get voting power "with one click", this would completely invalidate our philosophy of merit. Why should anybody work hard and give continuous user support, and then just see his/her voice overruled by people who "just clicked the right button"?

This does indeed not mean that we will ignore the voices of our user base. Those people who give support and are in close contact to end user are especially encouraged to represent user concerns.

Question: "I refuse to apply for membership in the community. I do not feel that anyone has the right to judge me when they know nothing about me. So?"

Answer: This is indeed very unfortunate, and a misunderstanding of what the Membership Committee's is intended to accomplish. We want to get to know you so that we can properly and fairly process your application. The information we ask for is intended to help us with this task. My experience is that everybody who is contributing to a community is known within the said community. Our obligation as the Membership Commitee is to seek counsel from the community so that we
can arrive at the right decision.

The next meeting of the Membership Committee will be in about one week, and we'll be looking forward to receiving your applications. :-)

Thanks to David for proofreading my initial draft and making it sound less German.

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