[OpenID board] Usage of the Public and Private Board Mailing Lists

Chris Messina chris.messina at gmail.com
Thu Aug 13 16:16:47 UTC 2009

Adding more bureaucracy will definitely not help things. I imagine that
people are resorting to the private list because they want to limit
discussion and avoid protracted squabbling.
What would be better would be to develop a set of community guidelines that
would help non-board-members more effectively participate in the
board at list. That is, if you want to contribute to the board list, you
should be
talking about something real or concrete, and not abstract or theoretical
(just for one example).

If the tool that we have for convening dialog (namely the public mailing
lists) are not serving people's needs, and they're resorting to other
channels, we should try to understand what about the current tool is failing
them — rather than trying to introduce new rules that require enforcement
and therefore some kind of new discipline.

We started writing up a document for this purpose:


It needs to be expanded, and we need to continually harass those who choose
not to abide it — if indeed there is no other excuse for them resorting to
the private list other than laziness or ... force of "habit".


On Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 11:42 PM, Nat <sakimura at gmail.com> wrote:

> What about making the motion to conduct the conversation in private list
> and only when accepted can proceed.
> So the thread in private list always start from a motion. It should include
> the sunset for the thread as well.
> =nat at Tokyo via iPhone
> On 2009/08/12, at 8:39, David Recordon <david at sixapart.com> wrote:
>  While this was a hot topic of discussion around the Board election almost
>> a year ago, we as an organization seem to have slipped back into a pattern
>> of using the board-private mailing list in many situations where it is
>> unnecessary to do so.  I would like to see us discuss our existing
>> board-private usage policy (http://wiki.openid.net/board-private) in an
>> upcoming Board meeting, evolve it if necessary, and ultimately have the
>> current Board ratify an appropriate policy.  Not only is this important to
>> myself, but members have also expressed concerns multiple times over a lack
>> of transparency within the Foundation.
>> The current policy states:
>>> The board-private mailing list is a hidden mailing list for conducting
>>> certain types of sensitive conversations pertaining to the responsibilities
>>> of the OpenID Foundation and its board. The list should be used sparingly
>>> and only under certain circumstances.
>>> New issues should be submitted to the public board mailing list, and
>>> ongoing updates about its pending resolution should be made public. The work
>>> to resolve an issue may be best be kept to the board-private list.
>>> Dick Hardt provides the following examples of private conversations:
>>>   • Executive Director candidates and their status while recruiting and
>>> negotiating with them. Often people are employed somewhere else, so public
>>> disclosure is inappropriate.
>>>   • Recruitment of new corporate board members. Companies will usually
>>> want to (or for compliance, may have to) control disclosure of joining the
>>> OpenID Foundation. It may be part of a larger strategy that they want to
>>> control the disclosure of.
>>> These conversations are examples that should be kept to public mailing
>>> lists:
>>>   • OIDF is looking for a new ED, a new ED has been hired
>>>   • OIDF is recruiting additional corp board members, a new corp. board
>>> member has joined (but not to be disclosed until they are ok with it)
>>> Martin Atkins has said that "there is a standing policy that everything
>>> sent to the private list must begin with a justification for it being
>>> private. Other board members can and often do reject these justifications
>>> and the discussions move to the public list."
>> Thanks,
>> --David
>> _______________________________________________
>> board mailing list
>> board at lists.openid.net
>> http://lists.openid.net/mailman/listinfo/openid-board
> _______________________________________________
> board mailing list
> board at lists.openid.net
> http://lists.openid.net/mailman/listinfo/openid-board

Chris Messina
Open Web Advocate

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