What to do with the OpenSolaris User Groups?

I started a thread on advocacy-discuss about the OGB community reorganization and new opensolaris.org webapp coming (here, here) in the near future. I hope it generates some discussion and some consensus.

As the OpenSolaris Governing Board (OGB) discusses the possible reorg and community simplification, I wanted to bring up the OpenSolaris User Group (OSUG) issue so we could go back to the OGB with our input. The time for this discussion is right now, so I wanted to make sure everyone in the Advocacy CG and the OSUGs had an opportunity to participate.

There are a few issues involved: (1) the OGB's community reorg, (2) the progress on the new opensolaris.org webapp, and (3) the desire of some in Advocacy to see the OSUGs have a higher profile on the site. History: I migrated all the OSUGs to individual projects within the merged Advocacy CG last year. But at the time I felt, and many agreed, that this was a temporary solution to solve an immediate problem and that in the future we could do more to help the OSUGs evolve on the site. That future is now.

There are two key features of the new webapp related to this discussion: (1) it will be able to recognize new collective groups (user groups, SIGs, consolidations, or whatever we want to specify) so we'll have new options for organizing the community, and (2) it will include a new content management system based on a wiki so it will be easier to edit and maintain. The new webapp will be implemented over time, of course, so we will all have to go through a migration of content to move to the new site in the future. So we may as well decide now how we want OSUGs to be characterized in the new webapp.

We have some obvious options:
  • Do nothing. Leave the OSUGs as sponsored projects inside Advocacy. The new webapp will allow horizontal relationships between collectives as well as hierarchical relationships. So, we can just leave things alone and see what the OGB comes up with -- whether the new system is horizontal or hierarchical or just a cleaned up version of what we have now.

  • Move the OSUGs to opensolaris.com, which is supposed to evolve into the central user site for the community. The big issue there would be that moving OSUGs to another site would remove them from the OpenSolaris governance system, and we don't know how OSUG members would feel about that.

  • Choose to assert that OSUGs should be their own collective along with Community Groups and Projects when the new webapp is implemented. The new webapp will allow this functionality. Also, this option would keep the OSUGs within the OpenSolaris governance system, thus preserving all the Contributor and Core Contributor grants. How we grant Contributor and Core Contributor status would have to be considered, but that issue is also being discussed as part of a potential OGB reorg.
The OGB is a dependency here. I'm not sure how the OGB will implement a reorg at this time, and there is no time line or schedule at the moment. Also, we can't actually change our status without going to the OGB, but we don't necessarily have to wait for reorg, either. The two issues are not necessarily joined. There's nothing stopping us from going to the OGB and asserting what we want independent of the reorg. That would be helpful to the OGB, actually, since Advocacy is the largest CG in the community, and the OGB needs to hear from the entire community about these issues well before a reorg actually takes place.

Here's my view: I propose we ask the OGB to let the OSUGs become a new collective -- User Groups -- on the site when that functionality becomes available whether the reorg is specified or not. This would not get in the way of a potential reorg. In fact, it could be part of a multi-step reorg, but more importantly, it could enable the OSUGs to have the same status as Community Groups and Projects if the reorg is delayed, or we decide a reorg is not needed, or if the reorg is relatively minor with no structural or relationship changes to what we have now. The OSUGs are different from CGs and Projects, so they ought to have their own space. My goal is to move the OSUGs out from under the Advocacy CG, maintain governance status for the 4,000 people involved, and help the OSUGs grow in size, activity, and number. In other words, I want faster growth, more exposure, and less process.

Agree? Disagree? Any other options we should consider?
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