[Python-Dev] Introducing Electronic Contributor Agreements

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Tue Mar 5 04:13:44 CET 2013

Mark Lawrence writes:

 > People already use the bug tracker as an excuse not to contribute, 
 > wouldn't this requirement make the situation worse?

A failure to sign the CLA is already a decision not to contribute to
the distribution, no matter how noisy they are on the tracker and
list.  I think that pretty much any upload is potential content for
inclusion in Python.  For example, uploading a log of an interactive
session reproducing a bug could easily evolve into contribution of a

Since the proposed page only triggers on uploads, I think we're in
"yes, we really do want this person's CLA" territory.  The procedure
is actually rather cool.  As Eli says, the tough part is finding your
user name, but OpenID or browser memory makes that reasonably close to
trivial for many people.

It's true that people upload "one-line documentation patches," and
these don't require a CLA under even the most paranoid interpretation
of US law.  The FSF's guideline is 16 lines, I believe.  However, the
FSF's guideline also says those 16 lines are lifetime cumulative (per
copyrighted work, but we're only talking about one, Python).  In my
experience (with a different project, so FWIW) somebody who goes to
the trouble of uploading a doc typo patch is likely to be a repeat
offender, whereas "drive-by" contributors who just need that one
feature so their web2.0 app works as desired are often going to be in
16-line territory anyway.

This argument doesn't catch 100% of those who might be deterred by the
popup, but it's definitely enough to make the popup worthwhile.

IANAL-but-I-like-a-good-license-flamewar-as-much-as-the-next-guy-ly y'rs,

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