Perl Rules of Governance
We are forming a system of governance for development of the Perl programming language.
The scope of governance includes the language definition, its implementation, its test suite, its documentation, and the policies and procedures by which it is developed and maintained.
A system of governance includes one or more groups that make will decisions, the rules by which these groups are formed and changed, and the enumerated powers and constraints on the activities of governing groups.
In forming a system of governance, we seek to achieve the following goals:
We want a system that is functional. That means the governing groups may decide to undertake large changes, or they may decide to act conservatively, but they will act with intent and clear communication rather than fail to reach decisions when needed.
We want a system that is trusted. That means that a reasonable contributor to Perl might disagree with decisions made by the governing groups, but will accept that they were made in good faith in consultation with relevant communities outside the governing groups.
We want a system that is sustainable. That means it has provisions to self-modify, including ways of adding new members to the governing groups, ways to survive members becoming inactive, and ways of amending the rules of governance themselves if needed.
We want a system that is transparent. That means that it will prefer policies that manage ordinary matters in public, and it will prefer secrecy in a limited number of situations.
We want a system that is respectful. That means that it will establish standards of civil discourse that allow for healthy disagreement but avoid rancor and hostility in the community for which it is responsible.
Perl language governance shall work to:
Maintain the quality, stability, and continuity of the Perl language and interpreter
Guide the evolution of the Perl language and interpreter
Establish and oversee the policies, procedures, systems, and mechanisms that enable a community of contributors to the Perl language and interpreter
Encourage discussion and consensus among contributors as preferential to formal decision making by governance groups
Facilitate communication between contributors and external stakeholders in the broader Perl ecosystem
This document describes three roles involved in governance:
A section on each follows.
The Core Team
The Core Team are a group of trusted volunteers involved in the ongoing development of the Perl language and interpreter. They are not required to be language developers or committers.
References to specific votes are explained in the "Rules for Voting" section.
In addition to their contributions to the Perl language, the Core Team sets the rules of Perl governance, decides who participates in what role in governance, and delegates substantial decision making power to the Steering Council.
They elect the Steering Council and have the power to remove Steering Council members.
In concert with the Steering Council, they manage Core Team membership.
In concert with the Steering Council, they have the power to modify the Perl Rules of Governance.
The Core Team do not have any authority over parts of the Perl ecosystem unrelated to developing and releasing the language itself. These include, but are not limited to:
The Perl Foundation
CPAN administration and CPAN authors
perl.org, metacpan.org, and other community-maintained websites and services
Perl conferences and events, except those organized directly by Core Team
Perl-related intellectual property legally owned by third-parties, except as allowed by applicable licenses or agreements.
The initial Core Team members will be specified when this document is first ratified.
Any Core Team member may nominate someone to be added to the Core Team by sending the nomination to the Steering Council. The Steering Council must approve or reject the nomination. If approved, the Steering Council will organize a Membership Change Vote to ratify the addition.
Core Team members should demonstrate:
- A solid track record of being constructive and helpful
- Significant contributions to the project's goals, in any form
- Willingness to dedicate some time to improving Perl
Contributions are not limited to code. Here is an incomplete list of areas where contributions may be considered for joining the Core Team:
- Working on community management and outreach
- Providing support on mailing lists, IRC, or other forums
- Triaging tickets
- Writing patches (code, docs, or tests)
- Reviewing patches (code, docs, or tests)
- Participating in design discussions
- Providing expertise in a particular domain (security, i18n, etc.)
- Managing Perl infrastructure (websites, CI, documentation, etc.)
- Maintaining significant projects in the Perl ecosystem
- Creating visual designs
Core Team membership acknowledges sustained and valuable efforts that align well with the philosophy and the goals of the Perl 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 Perl.
Core Team members serve until they are removed.
Core Team Members may resign their position at any time.
In exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to remove someone from the Core Team against their will, such as for flagrant or repeated violations of a Code of Conduct. Any Core Team member may send a recall request to the Steering Council naming the individual to be removed. The Steering Council must approve or reject the recall request. If approved, the Steering Council will organize a Membership Change vote to ratify the removal.
If the removed member is also on the Steering Council, then they are removed from the Steering Council as well.
Core Team members who have stopped contributing are encouraged to declare themselves "inactive". Inactive members do not nominate or vote. Inactive members may declare themselves active at any time, except when a vote has been proposed and is not concluded. Eligibility to nominate or vote will be determined by the Vote Administrator.
To record and honor their contributions, inactive Core Team members will continue to be listed alongside active members.
No Confidence in the Steering Council
The Core Team may remove either a single Steering Council member or the entire Steering Council via a No Confidence Vote.
A No Confidence Vote is triggered when a Core Team member calls for one publicly on an appropriate project communication channel, and another Core Team member seconds the proposal.
If a No Confidence Vote removes all Steering Council members, the Vote Administrator of the No Confidence Vote will then administer an election to select a new Steering Council.
Amending Perl Rules of Governance
Any Core Team member may propose amending the Perl Rules of Governance by sending a proposal to the Steering Council. The Steering Council must decide to approve or reject the proposal. If approved, the Steering Council will administer an Amendment Vote.
Rules for Voting
Membership Change, Amendment, and No Confidence Votes require 2/3 of participating votes from Core Team members to pass.
A Vote Administrator must be selected following the rules in the "Vote Administrator" section.
The vote occurs in two steps:
The Vote Administrator describes the proposal being voted upon. The Core Team then may discuss the matter in advance of voting.
Active Core Team members vote in favor or against the proposal. Voting is performed anonymously.
For a Membership Change Vote, each phase will last one week. For Amendment and No Confidence Votes, each phase will last two weeks.
The Steering Council
The Steering Council is a 3-person committee, elected by the Core Team. Candidates are not required to be members of the Core Team. Non-member candidates are added to the Core Team if elected as if by a Membership Change Vote.
References to specific elections are explained in the "Rules for Elections" section.
The Steering Council has broad authority to make decisions about the development of the Perl language, the interpreter, and all other components, systems and processes that result in new releases of the language interpreter.
For example, it can:
Manage the schedule and process for shipping new releases
Establish procedures for proposing, discussing and deciding upon changes to the language
Delegate power to individuals on or outside the Steering Council
Decisions of the Steering Council will be made by majority vote of non-vacant seats on the council.
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 cases, it's better to define standards and processes that apply to all cases.
As with the Core Team, the Steering Council does not have any authority over parts of the Perl ecosystem unrelated to developing and releasing the language itself.
The Steering Council does not have the power to modify the Perl Rules of Governance, except as provided in the section "Amending Perl Rules of Governance".
A new Steering Council will be chosen by a Term Election within two weeks after each stable feature release1 or after two years, whichever comes first. The council members will serve until the completion of the next Term Election unless they are removed.
Steering Council members may resign their position at any time.
Whenever there are vacancies on the Steering Council, the council will organize a Special Election within one week after the vacancy occurs. If the entire Steering Council is ever vacant, a Term Election will be held instead.
If a Steering Council member is deceased, or drops out of touch and cannot be contacted for a month or longer, then the rest of the council may vote to declare their seat vacant. If an absent member returns after such a declaration is made, they are not reinstated automatically, but may run in the Special Election to fill the vacancy.
Otherwise, Steering Council members may only be removed before the end of their term through a No Confidence Vote by the Core Team.
Rules for Elections
Term and Special Election are ranked-choice votes to construct an ordered list of candidates to fill vacancies in the Steering Council.
A Vote Administrator must be selected following the rules in the "Vote Administrator" section.
Both Term and Special Elections occur in two stages:
Candidates advertise their interest in serving. Candidates must be nominated by an active Core Team member. Self-nominations are allowed. Nominated candidates may share a statement about their candidacy with the Core Team.
Active Core Team Members vote by ranking all candidates. Voting is performed anonymously. After voting is complete, candidates are ranked using the Condorcet Minimax method. If a tie occurs, it may be resolved by mutual agreement among the tied candidates, or else the tie will be resolved through random selection by the Vote Administrator.
Anyone voted off the Core Team is not eligible to be a candidate for Steering Council unless re-instated to the Core Team.
For a Term Election, each phase will last two weeks. At the end of the second phase, the top three ranked candidates are elected as the new Steering Council.
For a Special Election, each phase will last one week. At the end of the second phase, vacancies are filled from the ordered list of candidates until no vacancies remain.
The election of the first Steering Council will be a Term Election. Ricardo Signes will be the Vote Administrator for the initial Term Election unless he is a candidate, in which case he will select a non-candidate administrator to replace him.
The Vote Administrator
Every election or vote requires a Vote Administrator who manages communication, collection of secret ballots, and all other necessary activities to complete the voting process.
Unless otherwise specified, the Steering Council selects the Vote Administrator.
A Vote Administrator must not be a member of the Steering Council nor a candidate or subject of the vote. A Vote Administrator may be a member of the Core Team and, if so, may cast a vote while also serving as administrator. If the Vote Administrator becomes a candidate during an election vote, they will appoint a non-candidate replacement.
If the entire Steering Council is vacant or is the subject of a No Confidence Vote, then the Core Team will select a Vote Administrator by consensus. If consensus cannot be reached within one week, the President of The Perl Foundation will select a Vote Administrator.
1 Given vX.Y.Z, a feature release is a bump in the first or second version number. Perl's convention is that a stable feature release has an even value for Y.