[In the mail below I try not to cast judgement, I do not know enough of the 
background to have an opinion on this specific situation. My comments are in 
response to the question “Where are the board's guidelines then, or do they 
make it up as they go?”.]

The boards guidelines are the Apache Way. This is a fluid thing that adapts to 
individual project needs but has a few common pillars in all projects, e.g. PMC 
is responsible for community health and PMC members are expected to act as 
individuals in the interest of the community. The board is empowered, by the 
ASF membership (individuals with merit) to take any action necessary to ensure 
a PMC is carrying out its duty.

If a PMC is being ineffective then the board only has blunt instruments to work 
with. Their actions appear to cut deep because they have no scalpel with which 
to work. The scalpel should be in the hands of the PMC, but by definition if 
the board intervenes the PMC is failing to use the scalpel.

So how do we identify appropriate action? Well I can tell you that any action 
of the board will result in more dissatisfied PMC members than satisfied ones. 
This is because, by definition, if the board are acting it is because the PMC 
is failing in its duty to build a vendor neutral and healthy community. The 
measure is whether the broader community feel that the board are acting in 
their best interests – including those who have not been given the privilege of 
merit (yes, PMC membership and committership is a privilege not a right).

This is not to say the board are incapable of making a mistake. They are 9 
humans after all. However, I can assure you (based on painful experience) that 
getting 9 humans to agree to use a blunt instrument that will make a mess in 
the short term is extremely hard. That’s why we have a board of 9 rather than 5 
(or any other smaller number) it minimizes the chances of error. It’s also why 
the board is usually slower to move than one might expect.

However, should the board make a mistake the correct action is to get the 
community as a whole to express their concern. Demonstrate that the community, 
as a whole, feels that the board acted inappropriately. Don’t waste time with 
long emails to board@. The people here trust in the process and the board. We 
don’t know what’s been happening inside your project, we don’t pass judgement. 
To make us care you must have your community speak with one voice. Demonstrate 
that you have consensus around your opinions. Then, and only then, will the 
membership - the people who vote for the board and hold them accountable – 
accept your argument that the board have acted inappropriately.


From: Benedict Elliott Smith [mailto:bened...@apache.org]
Sent: Friday, November 4, 2016 7:08 PM
To: dev@cassandra.apache.org
Cc: Apache Board <bo...@apache.org>; Łukasz Dywicki <l...@code-house.org>; 
Chris Mattmann <mattm...@apache.org>; Kelly Sommers <kell.somm...@gmail.com>; 
Jim Jagielski <j...@jagunet.com>
Subject: Re: DataStax role in Cassandra and the ASF

Where are the board's guidelines then, or do they make it up as they go? Flame 
wars are a risk of every public forum and discussion, and doing everything in 
public is one of the tenets of the ASF.

Jim Jagielski stated to me on twitter that a bare minimum of discussions happen 
in private, and did not list this as one of the exceptions, despite it being 
the context. His statement was inline with the link I provided, and he is a 
board member.  So ostensibly a board member agrees, at least in principle.

Regardless, the issue in question is if the board was sufficiently hostile to 
DataStax for them to rationally and reasonably feel the correct course of 
action was to mitigate their business risk exposure to the ASF board. It seems 
to me that may well be the case, but we cannot know for sure because the board 
was doing it behind closed doors despite members of the board suggesting this 
isn't how things work.

Given this inconsistency, and the fact that Mark Thomas (a board member) 
apparently hadn't even read the ASF guidelines before wantonly enforcing them, 
and the composure of Chris, as pointed out by Russel, I think it is reasonable 
to doubt the boards' credibility entirely.

So, I'm asking for clarity.  Preferably, a complete publication of the 
discussions that happened in private on the topic.

On Saturday, 5 November 2016, Tom Barber 
<tom.bar...@meteorite.bi<mailto:tom.bar...@meteorite.bi>> wrote:
You know you've linked to a PMC page, when the board isn't a PMC? For
example, board member a, thinks project X isn't doing things correctly and
their first course of action is to post notes on a public development
mailing list? You'd have arguments and flame wars left right and centre.

Having watched the discussion unfolding, whilst some discussion clearly
went on on a private mailing list, the details pertinent to the PMC  were
made available and I believe they were CC'd pretty regularly.

I won't answer directly for the board for #2, but I suspect the answer
would be, Cassandra has been through the incubation phase, so the PMC
should understand how the project should be run, its not the boards job to
fix it directly. Did the board act unreasonably? I don't think so. Did some
heated discussions take place? Undoubtedly.

On Sat, Nov 5, 2016 at 12:28 AM, Benedict Elliott Smith 
> wrote:

> This discussion is bundling up two issues:
> 1) Did DataStax have an outsized role on the project which needed to be
> offset, preferably with increased participation?
> 2) Did the Board behave reasonably in trying to fix it?
> As far as I can tell the answers are 1) Yes, 2) No
> Can the board please now unequivocally answer if they followed protocol
> and kept all discussions around company involvement to public mailing lists?
> https://www.apache.org/dev/pmc.html#mailing-list-private<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.apache.org%2Fdev%2Fpmc.html%23mailing-list-private&data=02%7C01%7CRoss.Gardler%40microsoft.com%7C5c04c4a66e0946fb576908d4052086e2%7C72f988bf86f141af91ab2d7cd011db47%7C1%7C0%7C636139084643734494&sdata=OCEuwt1KWAv6e586vEixFLQfAJOWbLpvb9kpKw9TwLI%3D&reserved=0>
> I'm certain they did not, and they cannot as a result claim to be
> upholding ASF process and ideals.  Similarly to how Mark Thomas recently
> attempted to misapply ASF policies, when policing user mailing
> list discussions.
> I originally supported the ASF efforts to improve the project. I have
> since lost all faith in the board.
> On Saturday, 5 November 2016, Chris Mattmann 
> <mattm...@apache.org<javascript:;>> wrote:
>> Thank you for sending this. I am not going to reply in depth now, but
>> will do so to Kelly and
>> others over the weekend, but this is *precisely* the reason that I have
>> been so emphatic
>> about trying to get the PMC to see the road they have already gone done
>> and the ship that
>> has already set sail.
>> Those not familiar with Lucene and its vote to merge Lucene/Solr may want
>> to Google the
>> Apache archives around 2010 and see some of the effects of Individual
>> organizations and
>> vendors driving supposedly vendor neutral Apache projects. It’s not even
>> conjecture at this
>> point in Cassandra. The Board has acted as Greg referred to else-thread,
>> and we asked Jonathan & the
>> PMC to find a new chair (rotation is healthy yes, but we also need the
>> chair to be the eyes
>> and ears of the Board and we asked for a change there). Mark Thomas from
>> the Apache Board
>> also has a set of actions that he is working with the PMC having to do
>> with trademarks and
>> other items to move towards more independent governance.
>> Your experience that you cite below Lukasz is precisely one I found in
>> Lucene/Solr, Hadoop,
>> Maven, and other projects. Sometimes the ship has been righted – for
>> example in all of these
>> projects they have moved towards much more independent governance,
>> welcoming to contributors,
>> and shared community for the project. However, in other cases (see
>> IBATIS), it didn’t work out, for
>> various reasons including community issues, but also misunderstandings as
>> to the way that the
>> ASF works. I know my own experience of being an unpaid, occasional
>> contributor to some open
>> source projects has put me to a disadvantage even in some ASF projects
>> driven by a single vendor.
>> I’ve also been paid to work on open source (at the ASF and elsewhere) and
>> in doing so, been on the
>> other side of the code. That’s why ASF projects and my own work in
>> particular I strive to try and
>> remain neutral and to address these types of issues by being welcoming,
>> lower the bar to committership
>> and PMC, and moving “contributors” to having a vote/shared governance of
>> the project at the ASF.
>> Thanks for sending this email and your insights are welcome below. The
>> Apache Board should hear this
>> too so I am CC’ing them.
>> Cheers,
>> Chris
>> On 11/4/16, 5:03 PM, "Łukasz Dywicki" <l...@code-house.org<javascript:;>> 
>> wrote:
>>     Good evening,
>>     I feel myself a bit called to table by both Kelly and Chris. Thing is
>> I don’t know personally nor have any relationship with both of you. I’m not
>> even ASF member. My tweet was simply reaction for Kelly complaints about
>> ASF punishing out DataStax. Kelly timeline also contained statement such
>> "forming a long term strategy to grow diversity around” which reminded me
>> my attempts to collaborate on Cassandra and Tinkerpop projects to grow such
>> diversity. I collected message links and quotes and put it into gist who
>> could be read by anyone:
>> https://gist.github.com/splatch/aebe4ad4d127922642bee0dc9a8b1ec1<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fgist.github.com%2Fsplatch%2Faebe4ad4d127922642bee0dc9a8b1ec1&data=02%7C01%7CRoss.Gardler%40microsoft.com%7C5c04c4a66e0946fb576908d4052086e2%7C72f988bf86f141af91ab2d7cd011db47%7C1%7C0%7C636139084643734494&sdata=fyu1vH6AUhkW%2Bk%2FJmQhKsAH3kBmzxPXEs8bt161SPXU%3D&reserved=0>
>>     I don’t want to bring now these topics back and disscuss technical
>> stuff over again. It happened to me in the past to refuse (or vote against)
>> some change proposals in other Apache projects I am involved. I was on the
>> other ("bad guy") side multiple times. I simply collected public records of
>> interactions with DataStax staff I was aware, simply because of my personal
>> involvement. It shown how some ideas, yet cassandra mailing list don’t have
>> many of these coming from externals, are getting put a side with very
>> little or even lack of will to pull in others people work in. This is
>> blocking point for anyone coming from external sides to get involved into
>> project and help it growing. If someone changes requires moves in project
>> core or it’s public APIs that person will require support from project
>> members to get this done. If such help will not be given it any outside
>> change will be ever completed and noone will invest time in doing something
>> more than fixing typos or common programmer errors which we all do from
>> time to time. Despite of impersonal nature of communications in Internet we
>> still do have human interactions and we all have just one chance to make
>> first impression. If we made it wrong at beginning its hard to fix it later
>> on.
>>     Some decisions made in past by project PMCs lead to situation that
>> project was forked and maintained outside ASF (ie. stratio cassandra which
>> eventually ended up as lucene indexes plugin over a year ago), some other
>> did hurt users running cassandra for long time (ie. discontinuation of
>> thrift). Especially second decission was seen by outsiders, who do not
>> desire billion writes per second, as marketing driven. This led to people
>> looking and finding alternatives using compatible interface which might be,
>> ironically, even faster (ie. scylladb).
>>     And since there was quote battle on twitter between Jim Jagielski and
>> Benedict, I can throw some in as well. Over conferences I attended and even
>> during consultancy services I got, I’ve spoken with some people having
>> records of DataStax in their resumes and even them told me "collaboration
>> with them [cassandra team] was hard". Now imagine how outsider will get any
>> chance to get any change done with such attitude shown even to own
>> colleagues? Must also note that Tinkerpop is getting better on this field
>> since it has much more generic nature.
>>     I don’t think this whole topic is to say that you (meaning DataStax)
>> made wrong job, or you are doing wrong for project but about letting others
>> join forces with you to make Cassandra even better. Maybe there is not a
>> lot of people currently walking around but once you will welcome and help
>> them working with you on code base you may be sure that others will join
>> making your development efforts easier and shared across community.
>>     Kind regards,
>>     Lukasz
>>     > Wiadomość napisana przez Edward Capriolo 
>> <edlinuxg...@gmail.com<javascript:;>> w
>> dniu 4 lis 2016, o godz. 18:55:
>>     >
>>     > On Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 11:44 PM, Kelly Sommers <
>> kell.somm...@gmail.com<javascript:;>>
>>     > wrote:
>>     >
>>     >> I think the community needs some clarification about what's going
>> on.
>>     >> There's a really concerning shift going on and the story about why
>> is
>>     >> really blurry. I've heard all kinds of wild claims about what's
>> going on.
>>     >>
>>     >> I've heard people say the ASF is pushing DataStax out because they
>> don't
>>     >> like how much control they have over Cassandra. I've heard other
>> people say
>>     >> DataStax and the ASF aren't getting along. I've heard one person
>> who has
>>     >> pull with a friend in the ASF complained about a feature not
>> getting
>>     >> considered (who also didn't go down the correct path of proposing)
>> kicked
>>     >> and screamed and started the ball rolling for control change.
>>     >>
>>     >> I don't know what's going on, and I doubt the truth is in any of
>> those, the
>>     >> truth is probably somewhere in between. As a former Cassandra MVP
>> and
>>     >> builder of some of the larger Cassandra clusters in the last 3
>> years I'm
>>     >> concerned.
>>     >>
>>     >> I've been really happy with Jonathan and DataStax's role in the
>> Cassandra
>>     >> community. I think they have done a great job at investing time
>> and money
>>     >> towards the good interest in the project. I think it is
>> unavoidable a
>>     >> single company bootstraps large projects like this into
>> popularity. It's
>>     >> those companies investments who give the ability to grow diversity
>> in later
>>     >> stages. The committer list in my opinion is the most diverse its
>> ever been,
>>     >> hasn't it? Apple is a big player now.
>>     >>
>>     >> I don't think reducing DataStax's role for the sake of diversity
>> is smart.
>>     >> You grow diversity by opening up new opportunities for others.
>> Grow the
>>     >> committer list perhaps. Mentor new people to join that list. You
>> don't kick
>>     >> someone to the curb and hope things improve. You add.
>>     >>
>>     >> I may be way off on what I'm seeing but there's not much to go by
>> but
>>     >> gossip (ahaha :P) and some ASF meeting notes and DataStax blog
>> posts.
>>     >>
>>     >> August 17th 2016 ASF changed the Apache Cassandra chair
>>     >> 
>> https://www.apache.org/foundation/records/minutes/<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.apache.org%2Ffoundation%2Frecords%2Fminutes%2F&data=02%7C01%7CRoss.Gardler%40microsoft.com%7C5c04c4a66e0946fb576908d4052086e2%7C72f988bf86f141af91ab2d7cd011db47%7C1%7C0%7C636139084643734494&sdata=tUnCACcUzARHCi4ZIz3nf3kUPSQkjKsZaCF96e3E5ac%3D&reserved=0>
>>     >> 2016/board_minutes_2016_08_17.txt
>>     >>
>>     >> "The Board expressed continuing concern that the PMC was not acting
>>     >> independently and that one company had undue influence over the
>> project."
>>     >>
>>     >> August 19th 2016 Jonothan Ellis steps down as chair
>>     >> 
>> http://www.datastax.com/2016/08/a-look-back-a-look-forward<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.datastax.com%2F2016%2F08%2Fa-look-back-a-look-forward&data=02%7C01%7CRoss.Gardler%40microsoft.com%7C5c04c4a66e0946fb576908d4052086e2%7C72f988bf86f141af91ab2d7cd011db47%7C1%7C0%7C636139084643734494&sdata=5De2ySsguPY381uaQyrS4UaDMI0am5rNZhn7YtaiwSs%3D&reserved=0>
>>     >>
>>     >> November 2nd 2016 DataStax moves committers to DSE from Cassandra.
>>     >> 
>> http://www.datastax.com/2016/11/serving-customers-serving-th<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.datastax.com%2F2016%2F11%2Fserving-customers-serving-th&data=02%7C01%7CRoss.Gardler%40microsoft.com%7C5c04c4a66e0946fb576908d4052086e2%7C72f988bf86f141af91ab2d7cd011db47%7C1%7C0%7C636139084643734494&sdata=vqI4LOx%2BtpmgsmQMgLqRGeW3%2Fg0Q%2BeERrxqNkP1jYb8%3D&reserved=0>
>> e-community
>>     >>
>>     >> I'm really concerned if indeed the ASF is trying to change control
>> and
>>     >> diversity  of organizations by reducing DataStax's role. As I said
>> earlier,
>>     >> I've been really happy at the direction DataStax and Jonathan has
>> taken the
>>     >> project and I would much prefer see additional opportunities along
>> side
>>     >> theirs grow instead of subtracting. The ultimate question that's
>> really
>>     >> important is whether DataStax and Jonathan have been steering the
>> project
>>     >> in the right direction. If the answer is yes, then is there really
>> anything
>>     >> broken? Only if the answer is no should change happen, in my
>> opinion.
>>     >>
>>     >> Can someone at the ASF please clarify what is going on? The ASF
>> meeting
>>     >> notes are very concerning.
>>     >>
>>     >> Thank you for listening,
>>     >> Kelly Sommers
>>     >>
>>     >
>>     > Kelly,
>>     >
>>     > Thank you for taking the time to mention this. I want to react to
>> this
>>     > statement:
>>     >
>>     > "I've heard people say the ASF is pushing DataStax out because they
>> don't
>>     > like how much control they have over Cassandra. I've heard other
>> people say
>>     > DataStax and the ASF aren't getting along. I've heard one person
>> who has
>>     > pull with a friend in the ASF complained about a feature not getting
>>     > considered (who also didn't go down the correct path of proposing)
>> kicked
>>     > and screamed and started the ball rolling for control change."
>>     >
>>     > There is an important saying in the ASF:
>>     > 
>> https://community.apache.org/newbiefaq.html<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcommunity.apache.org%2Fnewbiefaq.html&data=02%7C01%7CRoss.Gardler%40microsoft.com%7C5c04c4a66e0946fb576908d4052086e2%7C72f988bf86f141af91ab2d7cd011db47%7C1%7C0%7C636139084643734494&sdata=l5vVCp%2FEn4QFXIfnAFWGulr2J6ZDzAsS8jdVNyAT1%2F8%3D&reserved=0>
>>     >
>>     >   - If it didn't happen on a mailing list, it didn't happen.
>>     >
>>     > It is natural that communication happens outside of Jira. The rough
>> aim of
>>     > this mandate is a conversation like that that happens by the water
>> cooler
>>     > should be summarized and moved into a forum where it can be
>> recorded and
>>     > discussed. There is a danger in repeating something anecdotal or
>> 'things
>>     > you have heard'. If that party is being suppressed, that is an
>> issue to
>>     > deal with. If a party is unwilling to speak for themselves publicly
>> in the
>>     > ASF public forums that is on them. Retelling what others told us is
>>     > 'gossip' as you put it.
>>     >
>>     > "I think it is unavoidable a single company bootstraps large
>> projects like
>>     > this into popularity"
>>     > "I don't think reducing DataStax's role for the sake of diversity is
>>     > smart."
>>     >
>>     > Let me state my opinion as an open source ASF member that was never
>>     > directly payed to work on an open source project. I have proposed
>> and seen
>>     > proposed by others ideas to several open source projects inside
>> (ASF and
>>     > outside) which were rejected. Later (months maybe years later) the
>> exact
>>     > idea or roughly the same idea is implemented by different person in
>> a
>>     > slightly different form. There is a lot of grey area there.
>>     >
>>     > How does that related to this 
>> http://www.datastax.com/2016/<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.datastax.com%2F2016%2F&data=02%7C01%7CRoss.Gardler%40microsoft.com%7C5c04c4a66e0946fb576908d4052086e2%7C72f988bf86f141af91ab2d7cd011db47%7C1%7C0%7C636139084643744506&sdata=6Pn5o6Abfuy84NltYW7CoTaRvUxssQO0d%2Bh9nq%2FpUMs%3D&reserved=0>
>>     > 11/serving-customers-serving-the-community  ?
>>     >
>>     > Remember the ASF is a volunteer organization. One desired effect of
>> the
>>     > volunteerism is so that one single large company does not bootstrap
>> or
>>     > control the project. (When my proposed ideas got knocked down, I
>> had some
>>     > choices including complain to anyone that will listen, lick my
>> wounds and
>>     > press on, or become less involved.)
>>     >
>>     > Whatever event has happened has happened. Like you, I only know of
>> it
>>     > second hand so I will not comment.
>>     >
>>     > The volunteer committers can decide their own level of involvement.
>> For
>>     > example, they can "double down" and use their free time to stay
>>     > involved. They can attempt to convince their organization that
>> pulling them
>>     > back is the wrong move, or they can fall away.
>>     >
>>     > " The ultimate question that's really important is whether DataStax
>> and
>>     > Jonathan have been steering the project in the right direction"
>>     >
>>     > Outside of the politics/litigation it is becoming normal for an ASF
>> project
>>     > to rotate the PMC chair. It keeps things fresh, and helps avoid
>> issues
>>     > where some may perceive control by one person/entity. Your question
>> may
>>     > ultimately highlight an issue as ASF sees it, namely who is
>> "steering" you
>>     > mention a corporate entity in your question.

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