This document proposes a model of Raku governance based around a steering council. The council has broad authority, which they seek to exercise as rarely as possible; instead, they use this power to establish standard processes. It follows the general philosophy that it’s better to split up large changes into a series of small changes that can be reviewed independently: instead of trying to do everything in one proposal, focus is on providing a minimal-but-solid foundation for further governance decisions.
The main goals of this proposal are:
The Steering Council is a 7-person committee.
The Steering Council shall work to:
The Steering Council has broad authority to make decisions about the project. For example, it can:
However, they cannot modify this proposal, or affect the membership of the core team, except via the mechanisms specified in this proposal.
The Steering Council should look for ways to use these powers as little as possible. Instead of voting, it’s better to seek consensus. Instead of ruling on individual problem-solving proposals, it’s better to define a standard process for problem-solving proposal decision making. It’s better to establish a Code of Conduct committee than to rule on individual cases. And so on.
To use its powers, the Steering Council votes. Every council member must either vote or explicitly abstain. Members with conflicts of interest on a particular vote must abstain. Passing requires support from a majority of non-abstaining council members.
Whenever possible, the council’s deliberations and votes shall be held in public.
A council election consists of two phases:
Phase 1: Candidates advertise their interest in serving. Candidates must be nominated by a core team member. Self-nominations are allowed.
Phase 2: Each core team member can vote for zero to five of the candidates. Voting is performed anonymously. Candidates are ranked by the total number of votes they receive. If a tie occurs, it may be resolved by mutual agreement among the candidates, or else the winner will be chosen at random.
Each phase lasts one to two weeks, at the outgoing council’s discretion. For the initial election, both phases will last two weeks.
The election process is managed by a returns officer nominated by the outgoing steering council. For the initial election, the returns officer will be Will Coleda.
The council should reflect the diversity of Raku contributors and users, and core team members are encouraged to vote accordingly.
A new Steering Council is elected after each language level release. Each council’s term runs from when their election results are finalized until the next council’s term starts. There are no term limits.
Council members may resign their position at any time.
Whenever there is a vacancy during the regular council term, the council may vote to appoint a replacement to serve out the rest of the term.
If a council member drops out of touch and cannot be contacted for a month or longer, then the rest of the council may vote to replace them. If the vote is successful the new council member will be chosen based on the last election results. The non-elected candidate with the most votes is offered the position. If the offer is rejected then the next most-voted candidate is considered.
In case of a tie the rules of election will come into effect.
A new election is started if no more candidates are left on the list.
While we trust council members to act in the best interests of Raku rather than themselves or their employers, the mere appearance of any one company dominating Raku development could itself be harmful and erode trust. In order to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest, at most 2 members of the council can work for any single employer.
In a council election, if 3 of the top 7 vote-getters work for the same employer, then whichever of them ranked lowest is disqualified and the 8th-ranking candidate moves up into 7th place; this is repeated until a valid council is formed.
During a council term, if changing circumstances cause this rule to be broken (for instance, due to a council member changing employment), then one or more council members must resign to remedy the issue, and the resulting vacancies can then be filled as normal.
In exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to remove someone from the core team against their will (for example: egregious and ongoing code of conduct violations.) This can be accomplished by a Steering Council vote, but unlike other Steering Council votes, this requires at least a two-thirds majority. With 7 members voting, this means that a 4:3 vote is insufficient; 5:2 in favor is the minimum required for such a vote to succeed. In addition, this is the one power of the Steering Council which cannot be delegated, and this power cannot be used while a vote of no confidence is in process.
If the ejected core team member is also on the Steering Council, then they are removed from the Steering Council as well.
In exceptional circumstances, the core team may remove a sitting council member, or the entire council, via a vote of no confidence.
A no-confidence vote is triggered when a core team member calls for one publically on an appropriate project communication channel, and another core team member seconds the proposal.
The vote lasts for two weeks. Core team members vote for or against. If at least two thirds of voters express a lack of confidence, then the vote succeeds.
There are two forms of no-confidence votes: those targeting a single member, and those targeting the council as a whole. The initial call for a no-confidence vote must specify which type is intended. If a single-member vote succeeds, then that member is removed from the Steering Council and the resulting vacancy can be handled in the usual way. If a whole-council vote succeeds, the Steering Council is dissolved and a new council election is triggered immediately.
The core team is the group of trusted volunteers who manage Raku. They assume many roles required to achieve the project’s goals, especially those that require a high level of trust. They make the decisions that shape the future of the project.
Core team members are expected to act as role models for the community and custodians of the project, on behalf of the community and all those who rely on Raku.
They will intervene, where necessary, in online discussions or at official Raku events on the rare occasions that a situation arises that requires intervention.
They have authority over the Raku infrastructure, including the Raku website itself, the Raku GitHub organization and repositories, the bug tracker, the mailing lists, IRC channels, etc.
Core team members may participate in formal votes, typically to nominate new team members and to elect the Steering Council.
Raku core team members demonstrate:
As the project matures, contributions go beyond code. Here’s an incomplete list of areas where contributions may be considered for joining the core team, in no particular order:
Core team membership acknowledges sustained and valuable efforts that align well with the philosophy and the goals of the Raku project.
It is granted by receiving at least two-thirds positive votes of votes cast in a core team vote and no veto by the Steering Council.
Core team members are always looking for promising contributors, teaching them how the project is managed, and submitting their names to the core team’s vote when they’re ready.
There’s no time limit on core team membership. However, in order to provide the general public with a reasonable idea of how many people maintain Raku, core team members who have stopped contributing are encouraged to declare themselves as “inactive”. Those who haven’t made any non-trivial contribution in two years may be asked to move themselves to this category, and moved there if they don’t respond. To record and honor their contributions, inactive team members will continue to be listed alongside active core team members; and, if they later resume contributing, they can switch back to active status at will. While someone is in inactive status, though, they lose their active privileges like voting or nominating for the Steering Council, and commit access.
The initial active core team members will consist of everyone who has a commit bit in any the following repositories:
After the initial election, anybody who has not committed to these repositories in the past two years, and who also did not vote for the initial election, will be assumed to be inactive, and have their status changed to “inactive”, thus revoking their voting rights until they’ve become active again and accepted by a core team vote.
Changes to this document require at least a two-thirds majority of votes cast in a core team vote.
Most of this text was copied shamelessly from The Python project’s governance document, which was mostly copied from Django’s project’s governance document.
Text copied from Django used under their license. The rest of this document has been placed in the public domain.
1Raku Foundation: As part of the “Yet Another Society”, Relationship with The Perl Foundation ↩