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Technical Committee: reserved seats for PTLs (or not)


The current PPB had a discussion yesterday on the bylaws for the
Foundation Technical Committee ("TC"), mainly around whether PTLs should
get reserved seats on the TC.

I would like to summarize the options and extend the discussion to the
Foundation ML for wider input.

My initial proposal [1] was to have a directly-elected committee (9
seats, all elected by technical contributors to OpenStack projects as a
whole, in the same way each PTL is elected by the contributors of each
project). Some members of the current PPB suggested that we should keep
reserved seats for the core projects PTLs, and only directly elect 5
extra seats (TC = PTLs+5 seats, 11 seats for the original setup).

The main argument against the "directly-elected" model is that you might
run in a situation where a PTL of a smaller project does not get a vote
on the TC, especially as the number of core projects grows.

IMHO the potential drawbacks of the "PTLs+5" model are:
* Committee bloat as we grow our number of projects
* Skewed election power for smaller projects members
* Projects have different sizes but PTL votes carry the same weight
* Have fear of dilution play a role when deciding new core inclusion
* Have fear of bloat play a role when deciding new core inclusion
* Have fear of bloat or dilution discourage further core project splits

In the end, the result should not be very different: I expect most PTLs
to be elected anyway since the voters are the same people that elected
them in each project. And the use of "proportional representation"
option in the Schulze algorithm specifically ensures that smaller groups
get a fair representation and cannot be displaced by a majority of
voters. Additionally, PTLs have to accept that some TC decisions will
not go their way: having one vote doesn't magically ensure that all
decisions will go your way, especially in a large committee.

So I think the key question is whether the TC should be considered "the
college of the PTLs + a number of extra elected people", or "whoever the
technical contributors elect for the job, who may or may not also be PTLs".

One thing to remember is that the Technical Committee will define what
"OpenStack" is technically, which goes beyond just core projects. It
influences library projects, gating projects, plug-ins etc.

Personally I think OpenStack-wide policies could be decided by a group
of people that are specifically and fairly chosen by all technical
contributors to do that, group which may or may not include all the
PTLs. But if there is consensus that every core project PTL, whatever
its size, needs to have a vote in those decisions, then it might be
worth to use reserved seats to ensure such representation.

Thoughts ?

[1] http://wiki.openstack.org/Governance/Foundation/TechnicalCommittee

Thierry Carrez (ttx)
Release Manager, OpenStack

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