Ongoing changes to the OSLC website and community

Too long; didn't read

OK, here's the long version.

At the community webcast last week, Kartik Kanakasabesan and I went over the coming changes in governance, access, and tools for the community.

Many of those changes are in place now or are coming soon.

You can watch the webcast on YouTube or right here:

Here’s a summary of what’s available now and what to expect in the coming weeks.

A Frequently Asked Questions document is available

You’ve probably got some questions about all these changes. I’ve got answers in a FAQ about the new governance model. It covers the following:

  • What it means to be an OSLC Member
  • The Steering Committee
  • How Workgroups operate and how to join
  • What the Workgroup Participation Agreement and IP Policy means to you as a contributor to a Workgroup

New legal documents are available

The complete versions of all the new and updated legal documents for the community are available now:

The site terms of use has also been updated to reflect these new documents.

As of this posting, the WPA for the Quality Management workgroup is available. More are coming soon.

“Workgroup Best Practices” documentation is now available

We’ve had a document about best practices for Workgroups on the wiki for a while now, but I’ve posted an updated version that covers the following:

  • Creating new workgroups
  • Getting started with a new Workgroup
  • Planning the kickoff meeting and regular meetings
  • Documenting Workgroup decisions
  • Setting milestones for specifications
  • Submitting a specification to the Steering Committee for Finalization

The “Members” page is now “Organizations”

Under our new bylaws, “Member” now has a very specific meaning – individuals who have completed a Members Agreement.

Accordingly, I’ve changed the “Members” page to be “Organizations”. The content of the page is the same: a listing of corporations and entities that have contributed to OSLC. Any existing links to /members/ should redirect to /organizations/.

The process to contribute to a Workgroup is about to change

Here’s the basic process.

  1. First, you must register with the site. If you’ve already registered for the site forums, yay! You can skip this.
  2. After you’ve registered, complete the With the Members Agreement, we collect some additional information about you and who you might be representing.
  3. After you’ve completed the Members Agreement, complete a Workgroup Participation Agreement for any Workgroup that you want to join.
  4. After you complete a WPA, you will be able to edit and create new pages for the workgroup on the new wiki.

All of this is electronic through the site except for this: if you are representing a company that is incorporated in the European Union, you'll have to get a signed authorization form before you can complete the WPA.

WPAs will be available through the Legal Agreements page and a few other places eventually. As of this posting, the WPA for the Quality Management workgroup is available.

As I receive Charters for each Workgroup and migrate over any wiki documents, I'll add more WPAs.

The current wiki will be locked soon

To enforce our new governance requirements (specifically that we need you to complete a Workgroup Participation Agreement before you contribute to a Workgroup), I have created a new wiki system. More on that in a moment.

Going forward, Workgroup members will have to use a new wiki and we will be transitioning away from our current wiki.

In early September (I'm saying September 7), I’ll be locking the wiki: after that there will be no new pages and no changes extremely limited changes to existing pages on that system.

For archival purposes and to avoid breaking links everywhere the wiki content will still be available and online; however, new contributions will have to be on the new wiki and will be under our new IP Policy.

The new wiki will be available soon

As I complete migrating some content to the new wiki system, I’ll be making the WPAs for every workgroup and new wiki available on a Workgroup-by-Workgroup basis.

I’ve previously discussed the major features and highlights of the new wiki system in a blog post; the webcast video above has a demo (skip ahead to 41:45).

I have (more-or-less) total control over the new wiki’s look and feel, so expect new features and other enhancements in the future.

Updated text on Participate page

I’ve modified some of the content on the Participate page to reflect the changes to our governance and access control. I anticipate that there will be a lot of tweaks and adjustments around the site.

Moving forward

I understand that there’s a lot of changes happening at once; some of you – hopefully not too many! – are probably going to be inconvenienced in one way or another. That’s not particularly fun.

That said, these changes and the associated growing pains will be good for the community; we now have a centralized, transparent governing board in the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will help manage the growth of our community and guide our Workgroups. Our new intellectual property rules not only better protect our Workgroup Members but also align us more closely with other standards organizations. These are good things.

Send me an email if you have any specific concerns or if you just want to vent.