[License-discuss] discussion of L-R process [was Re: [License-review] Approval: Server Side Public License, Version 2 (SSPL v2)]

John Sullivan johns at fsf.org
Fri Mar 15 21:27:31 UTC 2019

Luis Villa <luis at lu.is> writes:

> I'm not sure I would go this far? But I would critically say that the
> current "process", such as it is, permits no way for an outsider to make a
> reasonable determination of the quality of the process, or to join
> constructively in the process.[1] Specific issues are not listed/tracked;
> summaries are monthly while discussions may be relevantly (or irrelevantly)
> argued in minutes; etc. And of course mailing lists, as a technology,
> encourage discussions that look like screaming matches: only the bluntest
> of moderation tools; poor search; no way to quietly "+1"; etc., etc, etc.
> (Lots of citations here
> <https://meta.discourse.org/t/discourse-vs-email-mailing-lists/54298>.)
> This is a spitball proposal, so feel free to propose something more
> constructive, but I'd suggest standing up an OSI Discourse instance, and
> moving future discussions there. In particular, I'd suggest use of
> Discourse's more wiki-ish features to establish standing lists of known
> issues with a particular draft, easy tracking of initial (and updated)
> rationales for the license, and probably other things I'm not thinking of.

I think some of this can be done without changing tools. Just as an idea
from someone who can't volunteer the time to help with it, each license
application could be assigned to a caretaker responsible for maintaining
a dossier/brief for the application, listing points raised in
discussion, posted regularly to the list (more regularly than monthly,
and with a tagged subject heading). The dossier becomes a collaborative
document that people in the discussion can be asked to refer
specifically to when making their arguments. The quality of the dossier
would help outside people assess the process, and help the OSI board.

I've found the summaries that started recently to already be very

The tools you mention don't use AI or something to sort discussions, so
in the end you're still relying on people to put the right points on the
right issues, to create new areas for new issues, etc. I also don't see
how they solve the problem of some people having louder voices, speaking
rudely, or carrying on various personal grudges or undisclosed agendas.
Those all seem like problems to me best addressed by finding more
volunteer facilitators for OSI, no matter what platform is used.

(I do like Discourse, and we use it at the FSF.)


John Sullivan | Executive Director, Free Software Foundation
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