This is a proposal to change the process by which we grant membership to people who make a substantial contribution to Ubuntu. Currently, that membership is given by the Community Council only, and requires participation in a CC meeting that happens only once every two weeks. This has created a bottleneck in membership applications. There have been a number of suggestions of ways to reduce that bottleneck, this is orthogonal to those (for example see NewMemberProcess).
In short, this proposal suggests that we should allow each of the major "content groups" or substantive teams in Ubuntu to grant membership to people who make a substantial contribution to their group efforts.
Membership reflects a "substantial contribution over time" to the Ubuntu Project. It also reflects a person's regard for the code of conduct. Anybody who has made a substantial contribution, in any field, and who has respected the code of conduct throughout, is eligible for membership.
The Community Council is the steward of the Code of Conduct and community governance processes. It is the ultimate authority (well, there's the sabdfl and the b.j.) in the project, and has until now been responsible for approving new members. However, the members of the community council sometimes have a limited ability to judge the scale of someone's contribution. This is compounded by the fact that the CC can only meet on a fortnightly basis, and no matter what timezone we have the meeting in, it will likely be inconvenient for many valuable members.
Membership is open to anybody who makes a substantial contribution to the project. It makes sense, therefor, to delegate some ability to award membership to those people who are in a good position to judge. For example:
The forums administrators are in a good position to judge the contribution of people who participate a lot in the forums. They are also in a good position to gauge whether or not someone upholds the Code of Conduct, and this should be true even if there are personal disagreements between the admins and specific participants. Now, there has been some discord in the forums admin team, so this proposal would continue to be subject to the discretion of the CC.
The TechnicalBoard is in a good position to award membership to new people who have been making a strong contribution on the development front. In fact, it may even be worthwhile delegating membership as far as the MOTU team, who interact with new developers every day.
The Documentation, Artwork and Marketing teams are similarly in a position to judge the contribution being made by new members.
Currently, membership is implemented through Launchpad. The "ubuntumembers" team is the canonical list of members.
Option A: It is proposed that we add a series of teams, for each of the groups to which we are happy to delegate membership authority. Those teams would each have their own admins, so they could manage their own membership. And because of the nested membership of Launchpad, whenever someone was added as a member of these subsidiary teams they would immediately also become a member of the Ubuntu Project.
Option B: It is proposed that we give the leaders of different parts of the community Admin rights in the "ubuntumembers" team. This would allow them to approve new members directly in the "ubuntumembers" team. This has the advantage of being able to see all the members in a single team, rather than having to look more deeply into the membership structure (though of course it would be possible to have a page that lists all members, both direct and indirect).
Option C: It is proposed that the team leaders of these constituent communities nominate new members to the Community Council, for approval. This would retain the CC as the sole administrators of the "ubuntumembers" team, and still allow for more flexible appointment by relevant team leaders.
These options will be discussed at the next Community Council meeting (Nov 8, 2005).