Forums Community Governance Codification
The Ubuntu Forums represent many people's first meeting with Ubuntu. They are an important resource for support and social interactions. The forums were started as an independent project by Ryan Troy in 2004 and their rapid success was officially recognized when they were designated as the Official Ubuntu Forums.
This document aims to:
- Provide a clear explanation of the existing leadership in the forums.
- Describe clear processes for the appointment of leadership and staff positions in the forums.
- Describe methods for both preventing and resolving any future inter-administrator or inter-staff conflicts within the forums.
- Provide a straightforward process for forums staff to be recognized as full members in Ubuntu, with the right to vote on resolutions posed by the Community Council.
Wider Ubuntu Community Policy
The forums are part of the wider Ubuntu community which is governed as described on the governance page of the Ubuntu website.
Note that the document above is structured to describe NOT JUST the Forums, but all the areas of the project which are large and independent enough to have their own dedicated leadership structures.
For active teams and subprojects with Ubuntu, the Ubuntu Community council delegates many of its responsibilities to "Team Councils." These councils act as proxies for the Community Council over a particular team or scope of activity within the Ubuntu community. These governance councils are ultimately responsible for the actions and activity within their team or scope and resolves disputes and manage policies and procedures internal to their team and frequently appoint Ubuntu members on behalf of the CC.
The Ubuntu Forums Council (FC) is the team governance council for the the official Ubuntu forums.
Forums Council Charter
The forums council is the group that is ultimately responsible for the governing the forums and interfacing between the forums and the rest of the Ubuntu community and governance systems. It will:
- Consist of five to seven members. Membership should be public and published.
- Decisions will be made by a majority of voting forums council members when at least three and more than half of the total members have voted.
- FC members should be accessible by and responsive to the forums community (i.e., through a dedicated forum).
- Hold "meetings" regularly and visibly. Meetings can either be in IRC in the "ubuntu-meeting" channel or in a special, publicly visible area or sub-forum.
- Be appointed by the Ubuntu Community Council in consultation with the Forums Council, forums staff, and active contributors to the forums. Nominations would be open and public and would be considered and evaluated by the CC. Each candidate should prepare a wiki page summarizing their nomination and their contributions and including and referencing testimonials (e.g., something similar to what is prepared for Ubuntu membership). The CC commits to evaluating all nominations on the following criteria, listed in order of importance:
The nominees active status as an Ubuntu member (essential).
The nominees support from at least one active forum staff member (essential).
- Opinions and testimonials (positive and negative) from current members of the forums council;
- Opinions and testimonials from current forums staff;
- Opinions and testimonials from Ubuntu Members, Ubunteros, and other active participants in the forums;
- Clear evidence of activity within the forums (quality, quantity and duration);
- Serve terms of two (2) years. FC members could serve multiple or repeated terms. Weight will be given to proved contributors and reelection of consistently active members should be both easy and common.
- Be formed, initially, of the current forums administrators (i.e., Ryan Troy (Ubuntu-Geek), John Dong (jdong), and Mike Braniff (KiwiNZ)).
- Have a chairman with a casting vote, appointed by the Community Council, initially to be Ryan Troy.
The FC would have a number of rights and responsibilities, and be ultimately responsible for the smooth operation of the forums. These include:
- Appointing or recalling administrators, moderators and forums staff or determining criteria by which they are appointed.
- Resolving disputes between forums staff and moderators as per the existing dispute resolution system and forums guidelines.
- With advice, feedback, and help from the forums staff, maintaining and enforcing the Forums Guidelines and associated infrastructure (e.g., the resolution center).
- Regularly and when possible (i.e., monthly), sending reports or representatives to CC members to weigh in on issues of membership and to update the council on the FC business.
Staff and Ubuntu Membership
Forums staff will be appointed by the forums council. Forums staff are expected to uphold and set an example that is consistent with the Code of Conduct.
Forums staff and participants have the option to become Ubuntu members. Current staff can apply for membership at an Ubuntu CC meeting. Their contributions as staff members and contributors on the forums should provide more than sufficient evidence of a sustained and significant contribution to the Ubuntu community.
The FC will be responsible for maintaining forum guidelines and systems for internal conflict resolution (e.g., the forums resolution center).
Additionally, there should provide a documented method whereby any disagreements or conflicts between moderators can request a hearing by the FC.
In extreme situations, users and moderators who feel that they have not been given a fair hearing by the FC can appeal a decision to the CC. The CC considers the FC to be a greater authority on forums matters and in the majority of these cases, the CC will likely refer these issues back to the FC.
Any deadlock within the FC will can be referred to the community council for resolution.