By jimgris on May 26, 2008
I support the notion that in order to become a voting Member of the community someone should assert they want the status. Go register to vote, in other words (using the American process as an example). So, in OpenSolaris, that could mean someone asserts they want to be a Core Contributor and provides substantiation of contribution, or someone else offers a person as a Core Contributor with substantiation and the person accepts (so in that case the assertion is the acceptance). Simon agrees on this point, too.
However, there are many people participating in the community who are /not/ contributors or core contributors and have no desire to be. That's fine. It could be a personal choice or cultural characteristic, and we as a community need to accommodate this diversity of opinion. In other words, just because you don't vote or participate in cross-community discussions about governance issues doesn't mean you are not a valuable member (small "m") of the community. But I also think it's fine that community leaders go out and actively engage people in governance because that's good community building and a way to educate people around the world about how the community functions at its core. The more options for participation people have the better, and if one of those options is governance so much the better.
But my view is based on the repeated experience of going out and trying to make voters out of people who may not be interested in governance. Steve seems to agree, too. I'd rather build community by getting people involved and contributing for peer recognition at a local or global scale, and than out of that pool of people a voting block will naturally emerge. That takes a little trust because it involves letting go of the notion that large numbers of people have to be voters. They don't. Very large numbers of people have to be engaged as users, smaller numbers for developers, and even smaller for votes. That's how it seems to be working so far, anyway.