ralphm's blog

Friday, 13 May 2005

The Mysterious Council

Secret stuff!

There has been quite a bit of discussion on the Jabber Software Foundation Members mailinglist about the role and tasks of members of the JSF, which then evolved into a discussion about JSF approved software and/or Jabber/XMPP compliance certification. So far, none of the Council members have commented in that discussion, but now sneakin makes a comment about the alleged existence of a inner circle in the community, and that being the Jabber Council. On top of that he claims that its workings [...] are quite a mystery.

I'm sorry, but I am offended by these statements. First of all, I don't believe there is such a thing as an inner circle in the way suggested. Yes, there are people who have been around for a long time, have served on teams or councils, have authored many JEPs or otherwise contributed in a more-than-average way to our community. They apparently earned the respect of others in our community and that's a good thing. With respect comes influence, I guess, but what's not true is that they have a special status of some kind. I believe that anyone in this community, that contributes in any significant way, will also earn the same respect and influence. Maybe some of these influentials are more vocal or outspoken. Is that bad? Maybe they are also hard-headed, but at the same time reasonable enough to bend as a result of good counter arguments.

When I applied for the Jabber Council last year, I got unanimously voted in, and I was flattered by that fact. But does that mean I now belong to the inner circle? I hope people voted me in because I made a contribution in discussing protocols, and that my views alligned with the membership of the JSF, or at least enough to trust me enough to represent them in the Council.

About the council: we are not mysterious. Anyone getting enough votes can get in. You get votes by being visible and a credible applicant for the job at hand. A good mission statement helps. Our workings are transparent. We discuss pretty often (once in two or three weeks) in the council@conference.jabber.org chat room (logs) that is open to everyone albeit voice-less. Also, there is the Council mailing list, that also provides archives. The meetings are always announced on that mailinglist, and everything we do is through these two channels. Oh, and of course there is the standards-jig mailinglist for general protocol discussions and council announcements. No secret stuff going on behind doors. By the way, this information can be found on this handy page from the frontpage of the JSF site.

Finally, I'm glad that non-council-members are discussing things like certification, and hope something good will come out of that, eventually. I'll weigh in when I have sorted out my opinion on the subject.