Proposal: Clarify individual members page

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Andrew Mshar

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Oct 26, 2022, 9:49:01 AM10/26/22
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Along the lines of discussions about redefining requirements for board seats (e.g. https://groups.google.com/g/django-developers/c/FbNaAq3rz6c), I think it would be helpful to clarify what we want from individual members of the DSF here:

https://www.djangoproject.com/foundation/individual-members/

As a non-member who recently made my first contribution to Django, I looked at that page and thought: is that enough for me to be a member? I'm not particularly concerned about my own membership, but rather, this made me realize that the lack of clarity may prevent others from joining who otherwise should.

Is there anywhere that we have a more clear outline of what we expect from members both before they join and after? If not, could we have that discussion here to clarify for future members?

Thanks,
Andrew

Carlton Gibson

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Oct 27, 2022, 3:19:21 AM10/27/22
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Hi Andrew. 

Yes. Good question. I'm not immediately sure if there is a better description of DSF membership around. 🤔

It's meant to be a recognition of contribution to the community, be that to the code in django/django, maintaining a <modifier> third-party package, organising a DjangoCon or community meetup, mentoring, ... — the dots there are that the list incompletable, not simply because I'm too lazy to type, if that makes sense 😜 
(These tie roughly to the suggested points for eligibility for being on the Steering Committee in Andrew's proposal except without the "and you're still engaged" requirement that's also there — once earned, it's yours.) 

There was some discussion of this at both recent DjangoCons... — there's a bit of a gap for people, perhaps like yourself, first getting involved. One idea was a more open membership level that anyone interested could take up, that would allow easier communication if nothing else. I don't know how those discussions will turn out, but stay tuned 🙂

I hope that clarifies a litte? 

In any case, Welcome aboard! ⛵️ :) Please reach out if you need any help. 

Kind Regards,

Carlton

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Tim Schilling

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Oct 27, 2022, 7:41:15 AM10/27/22
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Hi Carlton,

I think I might have been one of those people mentioning the lack of definition around the membership requirements. It has held me back from applying (finally sent one in yesterday). Given the process's obscurity (see below), it's daunting to hit submit.
  • The number of potential qualifiers is open ended.
    • This should remain, unaltered. It makes the application more daunting, but it's also encouraging in that any contribution is valid.
  • The degree of involvement per qualifier is not defined.
    • This seems like something that could be done. The review process must have a rubric of some sort.
    • There is a valid argument to be made that making statements about minimum levels of requirement could lead to a person disputing a rejection.
  • The review process is not included on the form.
    • Some people will appreciate having more information on how the process works.
  • The people who will see this application are not included on the form.
    • I know the DSF Board is doing at least part of the approvals (I see it in the minutes), but I'm still unsure of who will see the application itself. If it's the broader DSF membership, it's uncomfortable to send all of you an advertisement about my involvement in your/our community.
  • There's nothing to help a person decide how to make the decision to put yourself out there.
    • Until San Diego I did not have a personal relationship with any DSF member, which meant I never sent a DM to an existing DSF member to ask what the process was like for them or if I was qualified.

I think if the form itself were a bit more transparent people will feel more comfortable sending in an application.

Thanks,
Tim

Andrew Mshar

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Oct 27, 2022, 9:28:09 AM10/27/22
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Regarding Carlton's points, that does clarify, and I agree about the open ended qualifiers. I also agree with Tim's points. I'm not sure we need another membership level (I'm not opposed, though). Rather, I think making the current page more transparent will help more folks feel welcome and hopefully get more folks (who do fit the criteria) to apply.

If someone wants to draft new language, that would be great. If not, I may have some time next week to try.

Thanks,
Andrew

P.S. Great meeting both of you at Djangocon last week!

Carlton Gibson

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Oct 27, 2022, 10:03:48 AM10/27/22
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That would be awesome, yes. Fresh eyes likely see more clearly :) 

And equally. :) 

Thanks. 
C. 

Andrew Mshar

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Nov 7, 2022, 9:13:08 AM11/7/22
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Suggested new language:

The following are Individual Members of the Django Software Foundation. Individual Members are appointed by the DSF in recognition of their service to the Django community.

Service to the Django community takes many forms. Here are some examples (non-exhaustive) of categories of work performed by members:
  • Code contributions on Django projects or major third-party packages in the Django ecosystem
  • Reviewing pull requests and/or triaging Django project tickets
  • Documentation, tutorials or blog posts related to Django
  • Discussions about Django on the django-developers mailing list or the Django Forum
  • Running Django-related events or user groups
If you know someone who you think should be considered for Individual Membership or would like to nominate yourself, please fill out this form. If you are unsure if you meet the criteria, but you would like to be a member, please do apply, and if not accepted, you will receive a response with information about how you can successfully apply in the future.

/end new language.

Borrowed the list of categories from Andrew Godwin's DEP for the update to the technical board. Per Tim's recommendation, do we want to include anything about the review process?

Also, I'm a little unsure about that last bit about applying, but I wanted to put something encouraging to folks to apply. Happy to reword that if someone has a better suggestion. I'd prefer that to having a full rubric for membership on this page, primarily because I think it would be very difficult to nail that down because the work that folks perform can be so disparate (must have run X django meetups, or triaged Y tickets).

Thanks,
Andrew

Cory Zue

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Nov 7, 2022, 11:12:41 AM11/7/22
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Hey Andrew,

Thanks for drafting this language and I think it looks great. As someone who only recently applied after hearing it discussed on an episode of Django Chat[1], I'm all for the goals of making it more encouraging and accessible and think this is a great step in that direction.

Here are a few minor thoughts to specific bits:

Service to the Django community takes many forms. Here are some examples (non-exhaustive) of categories of work performed by members:

"performed by members" is a little ambiguous as to whether it means "this is how we evaluate applicants" vs "this is what you'll do if part of the DSF". Since I think the intention is the former it might make sense to change to something like:

Service to the Django community takes many forms. Here are some (non-exhaustive) examples of the categories of work that might qualify as "service":

Borrowed the list of categories from Andrew Godwin's DEP for the update to the technical board. Per Tim's recommendation, do we want to include anything about the review process?

When I applied I didn't (and still don't, really) have any visibility into the process, so it wasn't a deterrent for me, personally, but I think having information certainly wouldn't hurt. My two cents would be good to put something in, but not necessarily if it slows down/stalls this change if for whatever reason that isn't super easy, since I think this represents an improvement on its own.

Also, I'm a little unsure about that last bit about applying, but I wanted to put something encouraging to folks to apply. Happy to reword that if someone has a better suggestion. I'd prefer that to having a full rubric for membership on this page, primarily because I think it would be very difficult to nail that down because the work that folks perform can be so disparate (must have run X django meetups, or triaged Y tickets).

Definitely agree a rubric would cause more problems than it would help at this stage. The goals of rubrics in terms of increasing objectivity and reducing bias are great, but as applied to the already-squishy definition of "service to the community" it doesn't seem like a good fit here.

Finally, this is wildly out of scope, but it may make sense to (either here or separately) attempt to create a bit more content about what it means to be an individual member of the DSF. That information is also somewhat lacking, and having it somewhere may encourage more people to apply. One possibility could be to link to one of the recent conference talks[2][3] on the DSF. But wouldn't want that discussion/information to slow down this change.

cheers,
Cory

 

Tim Allen

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Nov 7, 2022, 1:51:14 PM11/7/22
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I'm of the opinion that if you care enough about Django to investigate becoming a member of the DSF, that's enough of a qualification - it is just challenging to formalize that into proper text for the website. Maybe two changes to encourage people to join:
  • We could tweak "Running Django-related events or user groups"  to "Attending or organizing Django-related events or user groups".
  • Add a sentence to the end of the first stanza: "The following are Individual Members of the Django Software Foundation. The DSF appoints individual Members in recognition of their service to the Django community. If you would like to join the DSF, we welcome you. Please feel free to self-nominate for membership."
Regards,

Tim

Carlton Gibson

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Nov 7, 2022, 1:57:54 PM11/7/22
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Hey Tim! 

> I'm of the opinion that if you care enough about Django to investigate becoming a member of the DSF, that's enough of a qualification... 

OK, so this is the point about whether or not we need another membership level... — DSF membership has been "The DSF appoints individual Members in recognition of their service to the Django community" rather than "If you would like to join the DSF, we welcome you."

I've made this mistake in the past: I've said to people, "Go and self-nominate" and that's not been accepted because they've been new members of the community, who didn't pass the *service* bit (even though *intending* to get involved). 

I think this is something that needs to be discussed on the DSF members list. Could I (cheekily) ask you to open the batting? 

Kind Regards,

Carlton

Carlton Gibson

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Nov 8, 2022, 10:10:51 AM11/8/22
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Hey Andrew. 

I had thought this was a Flatpage (stored in the database) but it's not. 
If you wanted to open a PR suggesting your changes, that would be amazing 🤩

Thanks. 

Kind Regards,

Carlton

On Mon, 7 Nov 2022 at 19:51, Tim Allen <fli...@peregrinesalon.com> wrote:

Andrew Mshar

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Nov 8, 2022, 10:16:31 AM11/8/22
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Will do, Carlton.

Tim and Cory, thanks for the suggestions. I'll incorporate those in the PR and post here when it's ready. Probably not today, but I should be able to open it before the end of the week.

Thanks,
Andrew

Carlton Gibson

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Nov 8, 2022, 10:26:28 AM11/8/22
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Great, Thanks Andrew. No urgency 😊

Andrew Godwin

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Nov 8, 2022, 11:23:57 PM11/8/22
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Just want to pop in and say these are great ideas - feel free to copy me in on any PR if you want extra opinions!

Tim Schilling

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Nov 11, 2022, 12:21:43 PM11/11/22
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Hi folks!

Andrew (Mshar) how do you feel about reworking:

> If you know someone who you think should be considered for Individual Membership or would like to nominate yourself, please fill out this form.

To something that places more focus on self-nomination, with nominating others as the alternative such as:

If you would like to apply for Individual Membership, please fill out this form. You can also nominate others if you know someone who should be considered.

My reasoning:
  • The use of "apply" rather than "nominate yourself". People are used to applying for things for themselves. I imagine fewer nominate themselves for things making it less comfortable. I think using language that's more comfortable will encourage people.
  • Moving the nomination of others to the end highlights that applying for yourself is not the exception flow. Again, this should help encourage people to apply.

Thanks for driving this!

Andrew Mshar

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Nov 11, 2022, 1:52:07 PM11/11/22
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I like that idea, Tim. A few things came up, so I'll open this PR next week.

Thanks,
Andrew
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