[python-committers] An alternative governance model

Nathaniel Smith njs at pobox.com
Fri Jul 20 20:04:57 EDT 2018

On Fri, Jul 20, 2018 at 3:50 PM, Brett Cannon <brett at python.org> wrote:
> On Fri, 20 Jul 2018 at 15:36 Nathaniel Smith <njs at pobox.com> wrote:
>> On Fri, Jul 20, 2018, 08:58 Brett Cannon <brett at python.org> wrote:
>> > While I'm purposefully staying out of this thread as my name is
>> > currently so strongly associated with it and I don't want people thinking
>> > I'm a megalomaniac, I will say that I see no reason why I wouldn't get 50%
>> > time at Microsoft if I asked for it (I already get a day/week plus email
>> > reading every day).
>> Is that only if you were named BDFL, or do you think they might also
>> support that if you were named "Chief PEP Herder", or "Member of the
>> steering council",or similar?
> It isn't really title and more about workload/responsibility. So if the
> title changed to "Chief PEP herder" but it was still on my shoulders to have
> final say then I don't expect an issue as they would understand what that
> means to me and my time. If I'm one of three on a council then I might still
> get more time but I'm not as sure; it's definitely possible, but not as much
> of a sure thing. If the group was 10 then probably not because that means I
> am just one of about a quarter of all authors over the past year.

Right, my point was more that "workload" and "authority" are related
but not exactly the same :-). For example, if we ended up with a
governance model in which final PEP acceptance is based on consensus
or voting or something, then we wouldn't have a BDFL, but it still
might be *very* helpful to have people with dedicated time to help
shepherd PEPs through the process of building consensus, working out
exactly what the points of disagreement were that needed to be voted
on, mediating arguments that get out of hand, and so forth [1] --
that's what I was trying to handwave at with the "Chief PEP herder"

> I think that's a constant discussion to have which never really ends. People with more time to effectively contribute is always welcome. :)

Sure, but there is something special about this moment too :-). If we
think that funding positions like these would make a significant
difference to the viability of our community post-Guido, then now is a
time when we could go to companies and say "look, Python is going
through this critical transition, it needs this kind of funding to
survive and thrive, can you help?", and see how they respond.

I don't want to put you on the spot and I know you can't make promises
on behalf of MS, so maybe I shouldn't have asked. But generally – we
have some evidence that companies might be willing to fund someone to
be the BDFL. It'd be useful to know whether companies would also be
willing to fund crucial community work even if it didn't mean they got
to boast about having the BDFL on their payroll.


[1] personally I suspect that python's survival is going to depend
much more on whether we have people doing this kind of work, than on
which specific formal governance structure we end up with

Nathaniel J. Smith -- https://vorpus.org

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