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Re: [asciidoc-wg] Call to form the Steering Committee under revised terms

Hi Paul,

Before I get to the substance of my message, I want to emphasize that the new terms only eliminate the WG fees for the remainder of 2020, not indefinitely. Hopefully understanding this distinction makes the rest of my message redundant.

We recognize that the effort needed to support the following two key responsibilities is not insignificant:

> to ensure the Eclipse Foundation Specification Process is managed appropriately, and
> to ensure the Eclipse Foundation trademark policy is adhered to and customized for AsciiDoc compatibility and branding.

We can assert, though, that the costs associated with them are not transparent, or even known. Regardless, our intent is not to disregard these responsibilities or their costs, but to reduce the delay in fulfilling them in a way that's fair and accessible to all member organizations.

As you pointed out, the charter provides a framework for driving the specification and related initiatives forward. What it lacks is a defined budget and transparent accounting process for the Working Group so that the participating organizations and individuals can see how the budget is allocated. This is the primary blocker for securing additional commitments. And we'll continue to operate on a shortfall (or disband) until it gets resolved.

We proposed eliminating the fees for 2020 -- and only 2020 -- so that the Steering Committee could rectify these issues by defining:

1. a budget that covers the operating costs of the group and its initiatives,
2. a budget that makes the group and its initiatives financially sustainable, and
3. a transparent process for allocating the group's budget.

Since the costs of the Working Group are not transparent to interested organizations, they can't see or appreciate the following hardship:

> shortfall in covering the costs

Conversely, a budget that accounts for these costs cannot be proposed without a Steering Committee. And yet, a Steering Committee cannot be formed without at least 3 organizations committing to the Working Group (of which we have 2). Currently, at least 3 organizations are blocked due to the lack of a transparent WG budget. So, as you can see, we're at a crossroads.

Our proposed solution is to follow the example set by the Edge WG and Cloud WG and eliminate the initial year's membership fees (in our case, 2020) so the budget can be set and agreed on in a fair and transparent manner. We believe this is not only fair, but also productive.

In the spirit of openness, we prefer discussing suggestions, solutions, and situations here on the mailing list unless a member or prospective member organization specifically requests a face-to-face meeting. That way everyone can collaborate and stay up-to-date. It also honors the request of participants to keep communication asynchronous due to their new and/or remote work schedules.

Best regards,


On Mon, Jun 8, 2020 at 1:01 PM Paul White <paul.white@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

The Eclipse Foundation remains committed to enabling the AsciiDoc community of interested parties to fulfill the objectives as laid out in the draft charter. Specifically, the objective of creating an open specification for AsciiDoc is a laudable goal.

Keep in mind the reason for a working group is to go beyond what is normally done within an open source development project, where the rules of engagement are well defined and the costs for the Foundation in supporting it are relatively small. The working group, as captured in its charter, provides a framework for organizations and individuals interested in driving the initiative forward to engage. 

Each working group is expected to define a set of program initiatives. With respect to working groups interested in generating open specifications, its program initiatives must include as a minimum fulfillment of two key responsibilities: 
        • to ensure the Eclipse Foundation Specification Process is managed appropriately, and
        • to ensure the Eclipse Foundation trademark policy is adhered to and customized for AsciiDoc compatibility and branding.

Both these responsibilities lie both with the various committees of the working group, and with the Foundation staff as well. The Foundation's responsibilities in this regard exist to benefit and to protect the members of the initiative, the implementers of the specification, and ultimately the adopters of those implementations. And the effort required is not insignificant. 

Dan, the proposed changes don’t meet the mark of enabling these responsibilities to be met.  We understand that your recommendation to eliminate the fees is intended to attract broader participation of corporations. We would need to see that broader commitment. But equally important in the charter as originally contemplated was to enable the costs of operating the working group to be covered. The elimination of the fees exacerbated the shortfall in covering the costs with no alternate solution put forward.

We recognize there is significant interest as individuals to enable this initiative to go forward, and funding is challenging.  Indeed, this broad interest is the reason I and my colleagues have invested such a significant amount of time in this endeavor.  Getting both this charter and governance framework clearly defined, as well as establishing a means for the initiative to be sustainable, is a requirement that serves all of us in both the short and long term.

Dan, we would welcome a call with you and other organizations that have expressed interest by response to your post to discuss the proposed changes to the charter and to explore how to meet the shortcomings identified here.

Hope this helps.

Paul White
VP, Member Services | Eclipse Foundation, Inc.
+1.613.852.4303 (mobile)

> On Jun 5, 2020, at 5:25 PM, Steven Anderson <sanderson@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> This sounds like a good plan. We at salesforce would like to join as a partner member of the working group under these revised terms.
>        Steve Anderson
> On Fri, Jun 5, 2020 at 4:04 AM Dan Allen <dan@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> The AsciiDoc Working Group has been promoted to active status by the Eclipse Foundation. (See The next step would normally be to form the Steering Committee. However, we're at a crossroads. According to the conditions laid out in the charter, we haven't met the requisite number of members with appointed seats (3) to form a Steering Committee.
> We unquestionably have more than enough interested parties. We're just stuck getting commitments from potential members under the terms of the current draft charter. The primary objection is the fees for organizations, mainly that the fees were set without input from the Steering Committee and without a proposed budget. In other words, the process appears to be backwards. The initial Steering Committee should be tasked with establishing the fees based on the resource requirements needed for the group to achieve its objectives.
> To resolve this situation, we're putting forth the following revisions to the draft charter (found at
> * Eliminate the Strategic Member class so there's only one class for organizations.
> * Rename Participant Member to Partner Member (to distinguish from Committer and Guest Members, who are also participants).
> * Grant each Partner Member one appointed seat on the Steering Committee (which dually serves as the Specification Committee).
> * Eliminate the Working Group fees for 2020*, with no obligation to stay on through 2021 (Partner Members reestablish membership each calendar year).
> * Increase the number of elected seats for Committer Members from 1 to 3 (to broaden and balance participation since the number of Committer Members is greater than we anticipated).
> (We've attached a copy of the revised draft charter to this message so you may preview these changes in context).
> We owe it to this community, and to the time OpenDevise has invested as the Lead Organization, to get this Working Group moving. We're calling on the Eclipse Foundation to accept the stated revisions to the draft charter and to form the Steering Committee no later than June 15, 2020 under the revised terms (assuming at least 3 organizations have affirmed the revisions are acceptable by then). Note that the Steering Committee's first order of business is to ratify the charter.
> If you're an organization on the fence about joining the Working Group, please reply to let us know whether these revised terms will enable you to commit to join the Working Group as a Partner Member in 2020.
> Best Regards,
> Dan & Sarah
> * This excludes the obligation and associated fees for organizations to be at least a Solutions Member of the Eclipse Foundation, which is still required.
> --
> Dan Allen, Vice President | OpenDevise Inc.
> Content ∙ Strategy ∙ Community
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Sarah White
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