[part 2] Article 3: Membership

Dale Scheetz dwarf at polaris.net
Fri Mar 26 03:39:25 UTC 1999

On Thu, 25 Mar 1999, Will Lowe wrote:

> > >I'd have it expire in 2 years also... basicly a ping to take them off the
> > >email lists if they don't respond...
> > Then you have to define what happens when a contributing memebr slips into 
> > non contrib.  I think this way is easy, and really see no need to remove 
> > inactive supporting members.  Otherwise I'd me for a longer term (4-5 
> > years possibly).
> Perhaps it's time to address the issue of whether we'll have the
> (hu)manpower needed to manually reinstate a member every year. I know that
> some of this could be automated, but the automation will inevitably
> require a responsible, quick-to-reply set of maintainers, in much the same
> way as the debian new-maintainer list does.
You bring up a fundamental problem in volunteer organizations. (This is
what I call "The Little Red Hen" problem.)

In support of removing such problems where possible, I keep returning to
the following questions:

Why should membership have a duration?

Does the value of a contribution deminish over time?

Are we considering any other conditions that would "remove" a member?

I can see no reason, once a person has "qualified" for membership, that we
should ever terminate that membership unless the member specifically
requests such termination.

Why do I think this? The reasoning goes like this:

   1. All of the requirements for membership involve some level of
      contribution to the Free Software Movement.

   2. Once membership is obtained, work done for SPI becomes a
      contribution to the FSM.

   3. Members who make no contribution have their "influence" reduced.

One of the components of the "Corporate Charter" (Which is the DNA of SPI)
is an educational responsibility. I know this sounds like a totally
unrelated issue, but it speaks to the need for more than one "class" of
member. By making "full membership" contingent on a reasonably high level
of commitment to Free Software we keep SPI's goals under the control of
the "right" people. By providing an "associate membership" for the rest of
the world, we provide an educational interface for the uninformed "general
public", as well as an avenue for contribution by individuals and
corporations who would otherwise not qualify for SPI membership.

Waiting is,

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