Governance Office Hours Meeting Minutes

Thanks Darian for the update. A few additional questions or clarifications on understanding for the three governance bodies:

  1. Which body - “Organizational” or “Executive” - would have financial responsibility for the Project Jupyter project? One or both?

  2. “Organizational” - Is it one member per institution/company? Or do subsidiaries of a company get a seat? For example, Microsoft owns GitHub and LinkedIn. Quansight has Labs, Open Teams, etc. Would these have a member per top level entity or by sub-org?

  3. “Organizational” - Is there a thinking about the % number for community quota? 30%? Many of us have multiple roles: corporate and community. Which one is used to determine membership?

  4. “Organizational” - Diversity - Great start to have companies fund additional diversity efforts. In terms of governance and representation in decision making/direction, will there be a quota for certain axes of diversity? For example, 25% or greater number of members should reflect gender diversity goals (25% representation comes from the non-dominant group). Is the commitment to diversity aspirational or is there a specific measurable target?

  5. “Executive” - If “Organizational” and “Executive” groups have different standpoints on an issue, which one has priority?

  6. “Executive” - Will this governance group, also have a specific goal/metric/commitment to diversity within its members? While there are many axes of diversity, it is known that non-dominant gender groups are underrepresented. Will there be a guarantee to commit to a specific minimum acceptable diversity?

Very cool to see this moving forward.

Thanks,

Carol

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Hi, Carol, thank you for the thoughtful questions. We are still exploring things at a relatively high level, so we haven’t gotten too deep into the details. But your questions are spot on and going to be important for us to consider. Some initial thoughts organized by your numbered questions…

  1. Not sure. We don’t want the “Organizational” body to be purely advisory, but we want to continue Jupyter’s tradition of putting important decisions in the hand of the people doing the work of the project (who would populate the “Executive” body).

  2. This is a really good question and corporate legal and organizational structures are flexible enough that we may have to consider this on a 1-1 basis. But the goal of the “Organiztional” body is to have a place where organizations with less resources (universities) are peers with those with more (large companies), so it may not make sense to allow corporate subsidiaries to have seats.

  3. I think we mentions numbers such as 25%, 1/3, etc. In terms of who gets community versus organizational seats, my initial thought is that anyone whose employer doesn’t have a seat would be eligible for a community seat.

  4. We have been talking about diversity but hadn’t talked about this aspect specifically. I think it is a good idea to have diversity goals for the “Organizational” body seat, and for the mentors.

  5. There are different models of this we are exploring. One is to make the “Organizational” body more advisory - but our experience of advisory boards is that they aren’t very useful. Another would be to partition decisions between the two (each makes decisions, but not the same ones). A third would be that the both participate on the same decisions, with some resolution approach. I think the underlying principle are thinking about those is balancing power through mechanisms.

  6. We talked about the diversity of the “Executive” body briefly. Because the goal is for it to be representative, it will reflect (at least in aggregate) the population of the subprojects that elect representatives. In this model the primary place that diversity “happens” will be in the work of the subprojects the each individually elect a representative. This was precisely why we wanted the “Organizational” body to fund and help staff diversity mentorships and internship, as that is a meaningful way to impact the diversity of the subprojects.

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Thanks Brian for the detailed response.

Item 6 probably deserves further discussion. Since I’m not fully clear on what the Executive body would do, I’m not sure that leaving it to the subprojects will result in diversity.

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Hello everybody. Sorry for the late, late notice, but I just found out we need to cancel today’s call as neither Brian nor Fernando can make it.

I will sign into the call to notify anybody who shows up. Sorry again for the last minute cancellation!

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As a reminder, today we are having our monthly community call at 9AM PST: https://calpoly.zoom.us/my/jupyter

Regular attendees of the governance call will join the community call first.

The weekly hourly office hours call is open to the community members who care about governance issues. The call is held 9-10AM PST on Tuesdays.

Meeting Minutes – January 28, 2020

  • Attendees
    • Brian
    • Fernando
    • Matthias
    • Chris H.
    • Darian
    • Luciano
  • Update from Brian and Fernando on evolution and regarding the current model.
  • Trying to identify what are the types of decisions that would need to be made by which governing bodies.
  • Analogies to visa system - a visa can be sponsored by an employer or it can be self-sponsored.
  • Possible division can be decision making vs. allocation of resources. Org body represents the interests of its stakeholders by deciding resource allocation for decisions and projects that are implemented by the executive body.
  • Things that the org body can offer to be attractive to stakeholders: a voice/vote on roadmap decisions and prioritization.
    • Concern is that it could discourage participation of stakeholders who don’t have enough resources to get these special votes/influence.
  • Concrete funding would allow us to keep staff for moving certain tasks forward in a reliable way (e.g. releases).
  • Idea: the organizational body can have a few (two?) seats in the executive body.
  • Key question: what’s the “carrot” that organizations get to encourage them to contribute to the organizational body?
    • They want to be able to accelerate the project in critical directions.
  • By creating this more explicit organizational body we’re proposing to formalize a type of power that thus far has been mostly informal. We need to carefully delineate the boundaries of this, both in design and in its communication, to make it clear that we’re not fundamentally altering the balance of power and resources in the project.
  • The participation of organizations and corporations has been critical to the existence of the project in its current form. However some of the past processes and decisions regarding these were informal and with poor process transparency - we’re trying to formalize and structure this better precisely to make it more explicitly.
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Thank you all for your continued work on this, it’s great to see. Is there a timeline on consolidating and getting public input on this form? Or what’s the general outline of the process moving forward?

We blew past our timeline with the holidays, but the idea is for Fernando and Brian to present a draft for deliberation soon. I don’t think we re-calibrated the timeline, though.

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The weekly hourly office hours call is open to the community members who care about governance issues. The call is held 9-10AM PST on Tuesdays.

Meeting Minutes – February 4, 2020

  • Attendees
    • Fernando
    • Darian
    • Tim G.
    • Brian
    • Luciano
    • Jason
  • Quick update from Jason about the conference committee
  • Brought up discussion of, “What is the failure mode to cover crises that arise from deep breaks of trust?”
  • Continued discussion of the organizational and executive bodies (primarily in Fernando and Brian’s brainstorming document)

The weekly hourly office hours call is open to the community members who care about governance issues. The call is held 9-10AM PST on Tuesdays.

Meeting Minutes – February 11, 2020

  • Attendees
    • Brian
    • Darian
    • Tim G.
  • Brian updated about how he and Fernando are thinking about governing the smaller sub-teams in the project.
    • As small teams that organize themselves grow, they devolve into the tyranny of structurelessness, so not defining how that governance works needs to be defined.
    • Otherwise, it would just be punting the governance problem down to the sub-groups.
    • The sub-groups should have authority by default unless otherwise stated by the main governance model.
  • Questions the group governance model has to answer
    • How do they make decisions?
    • What decisions are in scope?
    • Q: How do they elect their delegate/rep to the executive body?
      A: The delegates for sub-groups are selected by electors from each sub-group. A list of electors (a voter roll) should publicly exist. These people vote on who represents their project as a delegate. For software projects, this pretty much correlates with the list of committers. With non-software sub-groups. the analogue still holds.
    • How do they report?
  • The executive body (E body) should be proportional to the number of voters per sub-group. A huge sub-group should have more representation in the E body compared to a small fledgeling group.
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The weekly hourly office hours call is open to the community members who care about governance issues. The call is held 9-10AM PST on Tuesdays.

There will be no call on February 25. The next call will be on March 3.

Meeting Minutes – February 18, 2020

  • Attendees
    • Brian
    • Fernando
    • Tim G.
    • Luciano
    • Darian
    • Zach
  • One concern in the new model is to avoid a large number of representatives from which a smaller set is chosen to make the hard decisions and move the project forward. Current leaders have been in that position and don’t want to be, and also don’t want to ask anybody else to be.
    • Even in a large representative body, there emerges leaders, implicitly or explicitly.
    • The governance system can’t fix a wide breach of trust and good faith. At best we can govern in places where trust exists and people can continue to act in good-faith even when the project doesn’t press in their direction for a time.
  • A key difference between us and something like a nation-type government: a key ouptut from Jupyter is concrete products, that can adapt to external conditions, markets and needs, and that require a clear vision. The creation of effective products of this kind may not necessarily be what pure group-based decision making requires.
    • Legitimacy of decision-making can be enhanced by a clear process that constrains unhappiness about specific decisions.
    • Innovation can come out of a strong infrastructure decision that is made and invested into, e.g… JupyterLab was a strategic product decision, not based on full community consensus.
      • Risk is another factor in innovation. Open-Source distributes that risk across industry stakeholders that may not be able to foot the risk individually.
    • There’s a balance between having a strong central government and representing the voice of the individual. Examples given in some democratic systems the individual has a lot of power to veto things that could be good for the larger population. An opposite example is an authoritarian system, where the individual has no power, great things can be done, but at the cost at the cost of the individual.
  • Thoughts on quorum: if the quorum requirement is very low, that might encourage participation b/c there’s clarity that if only a few people show up, they will actually be empowered to make decisions.
    • Whatever the mechanism is, there has to be something in place to keep velocity.
  • The overall two-body model seems OK as a starting point, what needs fleshing out to have a first working draft? A few things…
    • Emeritus status and/or quorum tricks to balance participation and velocity?
    • Growth of representative body, proportionality with team sizes?
    • How to ensure decision making doesn’t stall?
      • Perhaps we don’t have to ensure that, rather just create the right incentives.

Last minute update: there will be no call tomorrow, March 3 as Brian and Fernando will be using the time for some heads down work. The next call will be on March 10.

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The weekly hourly office hours call is open to the community members who care about governance issues. The call is held 9-10AM PST on Tuesdays.

Meeting Minutes – March 10, 2020

  • Attendees
    • Brian
    • Tim G.
    • Darian
    • Chris H.
    • Jason
    • Luciano
  • We read through a draft of the governance proposal that Fernando and Brian have been working on and added some comments in-line as well as discussing in person.
    • The Organizational Body for institutional stakeholders
    • The Executive Body is the decision-making body for individuals
    • The Distinguished Contributors population exists purely for recognition
  • What is the “strategic planning” project area? It is the sort of implicit power work that goes on with members of the project who already have authority. So we need to attempt to capture this explicitly instead.
  • There is one delegate per subproject or working group in the Executive Body, we discussed the trade-offs between proportional representation vs. having a “Senate” model.
    • A purely formulaic approach that calculates delegate count as a proportion of contributors was considered but contributor count ≠ importance, necessarily.
  • What is the role of JEPs?
    • The work done in the past year on codifying JEPs as part of our process does not need to be reinvented.
    • The Executive Body would be the decision maker on JEPs.
  • In all bodies a consensus seeking mode would be used, with a low quorum during the voting phase.
  • We need a decision making process that can trickle down to individual sub-projects regardless of whether they are 3 people or 20+.
  • If all sub-project decisions are consensus driven and allow for an objector to call a vote, does that slow down rapid-fire pull request iterations?
    • One thing that needs to be possible is a post-merge vote, especially if we want low-friction pull requests.
    • This model should allow for anyone to call a vote post-merge.
    • Each sub-project has a list of voters (for example voters may be comitters, but this is not required).
  • Sub-project governance should basically be modeled on the larger project’s governance, with certain variables being modifiable (e.g., how big is quorum for this sub-project, voting periods)
    • Voting/reporting should be standardized and automated across projects

The weekly hourly office hours call is open to the community members who care about governance issues. The call is held 9-10AM PST on Tuesdays.

Meeting Minutes – March 17, 2020

  • Attendees
    • Fernando
    • Darian
    • Tim G.
    • Luciano
    • Jason
    • Sylvain
  • Discussed question of proportional representation on the executive body vs fixed at one-per-project, which creates issues with the relative sizes of different projects.
    • Orgs vs Projects vs Sub-projects
      • eg. JupyterLab has 39 repos within it. Are we looking at 50+ people on the executive body?
        • No, GitHub orgs are the level of ‘project’ and repos are ‘sub-projects’. Only projects get representatives on the executive body.
  • Question on how to encode top-level leadership and vision with a more explicit model?
    • What replaces the BDFL part of our current governance? The strategic vision responsibility does not yet seem encoded in the new model.
  • Idea: a special, small (3-person) team in the Executive Body that is flagged for strategic leadership/vision that encodes what Fernando/Brian and others have done informally for years with grants/etc.
  • The existing steering council covers a variety of areas, but isn’t successful in all the areas it’s responsible for right now. We talked through some of the implications of what is being done by the steering council now that will be broken down into other groups.
    • Strategic Vision ⇒ Strategic committee of Executive body (max 3 people)
    • Technical/project level decisions ⇒ Executive Body
    • Institutional Partners ⇒ Organization
    • Prolific contributors ⇒ Distinguished Contributors

Is it possible to read through the draft? I have standing meetings that prevent attending the Governance Office Hours.

Hi Carol! I hope you are well!

The document is shared in the Jupyter Governance group, of which you’re a member. If you open up Google docs and search for: Draft Governance Proposal it should be accessible.

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Thanks Darian for the response and reminder. I had completely forgotten.

I hope you are doing well too. Stay safe.

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Thanks, Carol! You too!

The weekly hourly office hours call is open to the community members who care about governance issues. The call is held 9-10AM PST on Tuesdays.

Meeting Minutes – March 24, 2020

  • Attendees
    • Tim G.
    • Jason
    • Darian
  • Discussed what the composition and election to the Distinguished Contributors section of the governance model should be:
    • The primary questions are who selects and how
      • We should add members once annually.
        • If we cap a total number per year we keep some value on this
      • Tagging on some ‘cost’ to honoring people adds a natural barrier to adding too many people.
    • We can unbound for the first year, to get important contributors included.
      • The first raft of people should be the existing SC members.
    • These members should be nominated by an existing member, vetted by a subcommittee of the distinguished contributors, and elected by the whole group once annually.
  • Executive Body section of the document should link out to a list of all projects.

The weekly hourly office hours call is open to the community members who care about governance issues. The call is held 9-10AM PST on Tuesdays.

Meeting Minutes – March 31, 2020

  • Attendees
    • Brian
    • Tim G.
    • Chris H.
    • Luciano
    • Darian
  • We spent the meeting looking at drafts of the Distinguished Contributors section of the model and the Executive Body section.
  • It was basically a working call to edit and not a typical weekly call.