Subteams RFC Ambiguity: How is membership determined?


#1

The subteams RFC leaves quite a few questions unanswered. Notably, it’s not clear about who’s responsible for selecting subteam members. This raises a handful of questions which are blocking a current github issue:

  • Is “we know how to contact you” a prerequisite for participating on a subteam?
  • If someone cannot be contacted or is no longer active in the community, what’s the process for replacing them on the subteam? (do they get replaced? removed? left indefinitely? marked as absent, but left on the teams page?)
  • Who’s in charge of deciding subteam memberships? What’s the best way to contact them? (equivalently, whose approval is requried to make a change to subteam rosters?)
  • Are the answers to the above documented anywhere already?

I’m asking this pile of questions now because they’re relevant to this issue, which looked minor at first but actually turns out to be the tip of a policy iceberg…

I personally find it difficult to imagine someone contributing usefully to a subteam without the rest of the subteam having any way to contact them. However, that’s the state that Jakub’s github account deletion has put him into, and he’ll stay that way until either we find out how to contact him or replace him on the team.

Can we update/improve the subteam RFC so it’s clearer about what to do in this situation? If so, what should the policies be?

If Internals is the wrong place to ask policy questions like this, please let me know where I should take them instead.


#2

Background: a bunch of the policy around the makeups of the subteam was purposefully left open, to allow it to evolve organically and in subteam-specific ways. But I think the questions you’re raising have fairly clear answers:

Is “we know how to contact you” a prerequisite for participating on a subteam?

It wasn’t explicitly, but it should be! When we first formed the subteams, we definitely had email addresses on file for all members, but no clear statement that they would continue working.

If someone cannot be contacted or is no longer active in the community, what’s the process for replacing them on the subteam? (do they get replaced? removed? left indefinitely? marked as absent, but left on the teams page?)

In general, contributors sometimes disappear for a while and then reappear, and we want to be careful not to ask too much of volunteers even at the subteam level. We don’t have a firm policy on periods of inactivity. But certainly the subteam leader should be in touch with subteam members and, if there’s been a long period of inactivity, at some point ask about continued involvement.

We don’t have a particular quota/size for subteams, so there isn’t a notion of replacement. We’ve talked about maintaining a list of “alumni” for members who’ve finished their time on the subteam.

Who’s in charge of deciding subteam memberships? What’s the best way to contact them? (equivalently, whose approval is requried to make a change to subteam rosters?)

Each subteam decides membership changes by internal consensus. It’s easiest to contact the subteam leader about any changes.

Are the answers to the above documented anywhere already?

Not as well as they should be! There’s an amendment to the RFC process text in the works, and it’d be worth pulling these points into that writeup as well.