I wrote a blog post about some open discussion items
that were discussed on this list over the last 2 months:

There was also some discussion about this on the LWN website:

It summarizes things as I see them personally. But maybe some
of this can be the start of discussion pages once we have a
collaborative wiki to work them out further.

Here it is as plain text:

 New GNU Governance

   There is now a public discussion[1] about GNU governance issues as
   described in this LWN article: Rethinking the governance of the
   GNU Project[2]. We have had private discussion about GNU governance
   issues for the last couple of decades between GNU maintainers, but
   that never resulted in actual change. And recent events[3] made
   things a bit more urgent. Since the Chief GNUisance is no longer the
   president of the FSF. The FSF is now asking for feedback[4] on how
   their relationship with the GNU project should go forward with
   respect to fiscal sponsorship, technical infrastructure, promotion,
   copyright assignment, and volunteer management. So we need to answer
   a lot of questions.

  1 https://gcc.gnu.org/ml/gcc/2019-10/msg00147.html
  2 https://lwn.net/Articles/802985/
  3 https://guix.gnu.org/blog/2019/joint-statement-on-the-gnu-project/
  4 https://www.fsf.org/news/fsf-and-gnu

 Mentoring and apprenticeship

   We started with a description of how various GNU projects handle
   mentoring and apprenticeship[5]. Once a GNU maintainer is assigned as
   the FSF steward of a project/package there are lots of documents on
   coding standards and what it means for a project to be GNU and Free
   Software. But there is no core guideline and a GNU maintainer has
   almost complete freedom interpreting whether any guidelines are or
   arenât applicable to their project. This results in GNU maintainers
   reinventing a lot of project maintenance, governance and delegation
   of tasks. It would be good to document[6] the various (consensus
   based) development models that are the result.

  5 https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/gnu-misc-discuss/2019-10/msg00002.html
  6 https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/gnu-misc-discuss/2019-10/msg00025.html

 GNU membership

   The mentoring and apprenticeship discussion focused on the GNU
   maintainers as being the core of the GNU project. But as was
   pointed out[7] there are also webmasters, translators, infrastructure
   maintainers (partially paid FSF staff and volunteers), education and
   conference organizers, etc. All these people are GNU stakeholders.
   And how we organize governance of the GNU project should also involve
   them. There are also already some committees to evaluate new GNU
   packages and give feedback on the GNU coding standards. But given
   these committees are advisory only and are sometimes ignored or
   overruled people have been demotivated to join them or don't see them
   as legitimate. It isn't clear who is actually a GNU member, or
   whether the FSF recognizes just the GNU maintainers or also other GNU
   volunteers as stakeholders.

  7 https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/gnu-misc-discuss/2019-10/msg00054.html

 FSF Philosophy or GNU Policy

   Both the GNU membership and the new GNU governance discussions try to
   answer the question "What is GNU?". The easy answer is "GNU is an
   operating system[8] that is free software[9], put together by people
   working together for the freedom of all software users to control
   their computing". That still leaves a lot to define. What is in an
   Operating System, who are these people that do all this work and how
   do we coordinate all that work?

   But looking at [gnu.org[10] it is much more complex than that. As you
   expect there is a people[11] section and a software[12] section. But
   then there is a lot of sections that blur the lines between the FSF
   and GNU. Most of that is simply historical. GNU used to be the only
   program the FSF ran. And some of these pages now have their own on
   fsf.org[13]. The FSF now has a long list[14] of programs besides GNU
   it runs. But things like the Free Software License List[15], Free
   Software Definition[16] and Free System Distribution Guidelines[17] are
   still maintained on gnu.org. It would be good to agree on who defines

   And looking at the Philosophy[18] of the GNU project page one
   could ask[19] whether GNU is fundamentally about producing coherent,
   empowering free software systems, or whether it is fundamentally
   about developing and propagating an inspiring, liberatory philosophy?
   Or maybe it is both? And which Philosophy articles actually define
   Policy for the project and which are just personal opinions or
   preferences of the authors? How we are going to maintain these pages
   in the future (or maybe we are just going to mark them as historic?)
   depends on answers[20] to these questions.

   8 https://www.gnu.org/gnu/about-gnu.html
   9 https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html
  10 https://www.gnu.org/
  11 https://www.gnu.org/people/
  12 https://www.gnu.org/software/
  13 https://www.fsf.org/
  14 https://www.fsf.org/campaigns
  15 https://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html
  16 https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html
  17 https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html
  18 https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/
  19 https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/gnu-misc-discuss/2019-10/msg00161.html
  20 https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/gnu-misc-discuss/2019-10/msg00190.html


   The FSF manages a lot of resources for the GNU project. It holds the
   trademark, it is entrusted with some of the copyrights, does
   fundraising and uses the money for technical infrastructure that GNU
   volunteers can use. Crucially it maintains the infrastructure for
   www.gnu.org[21], lists.gnu.org[22], ftp.gnu.org[23],
   savannah.gnu.org[24] and fencepost.gnu.org for GNU projects to
   publish their work and coordinate development. But this
   infrastructure doesn't currently scale and several GNU projects have
   to maintain[25] their own infrastructure. Some projects have their
   own (earmarked) funds through the FSF Working Together for Free
   Software[26] program (or sometimes through other foundations like
   Software in the Public Interest[27]). It would be nice if the FSF
   could provide a place to have a discussion about the use of FSF
   resources by all the GNU volunteers (meta.gnu.org maybe) to help with
   these discussions and to make it more clear who can speak for GNU and
   which volunteers can use which mailinglists[28] for what purposes.

  21 https://www.gnu.org/
  22 https://lists.gnu.org/
  23 https://ftp.gnu.org/
  24 https://savannah.gnu.org/
  25 https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/gnu-misc-discuss/2019-10/msg00024.html
  26 https://www.fsf.org/working-together/fund
  27 https://www.spi-inc.org/projects/
  28 https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/gnu-misc-discuss/2019-11/msg00096.html

 GNU Social Contract

   All the above discussions will be easier if we could agree on some
   guidelines that everybody[29] would follow when acting on behalf of
   GNU. A mission statement about what it means to be GNU and what the
   values are that the GNU community respects when working together.
   Condensed to something that is easy to comprehend and follow by
   anybody who wishes to associate with GNU. Ludo posted a first
   (annotated) draft[30] based on the idea of the Debian Social
   Contract. And after some discussion[31], Andreas posted a preliminary
   version of the GNU Social Contract[32] based on four core principles:

     * The GNU Project respects users freedoms
     * The GNU Project provides a consistent system
     * The GNU Project collaborates with the broader free software community
     * The GNU Project welcomes contributions from all and everyone

 29 https://wwahammy.com/on-safety-at-libreplanet/
 30 https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/gnu-misc-discuss/2019-10/msg00050.html
 31 https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/gnu-misc-discuss/2019-11/msg00358.html

   If you are working on and/or participation in a GNU project we would
   love to hear your feedback on the proposed GNU Social Contract, the
   relation of the GNU project and the FSF, governance, membership and
   any of the other topics that we have been discussing. Together we can
   make sure that the GNU project will keep empowering all users to
   control their computing.

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