[Infrastructure] Minutes of Meeting - 3-November-2021

Ben Wilson bwilson at mozilla.com
Thu Nov 4 23:19:33 UTC 2021

*Infrastructure Committee Meeting Minutes of Wednesday, 3-November-2021*

*Attendance:* Ben Wilson, Corey Bonnell, Iñigo Barreira, Shelley Brewer,
Jos Purvis, Wayne Thayer, and Thomas Zermeno.

*Antitrust Statement:* was read by Jos.

*Minute of October 20, 2021*: was approved unanimously.

*GitHub:* Corey needs access to send as the infrabot user on GitHub, and
we’ll direct emails to the infrabot mailer and other mailers as needed. He
also has to write code to glue everything together, which he started on
this week.

*Website:* Jos suggested that we might move the website from Wordpress to a
publishing tool (Hugo) that works with markdown and GitHub. Pages written
in markdown would reduce duplication of efforts. Jos showed how the website
would look and the Hugo backend. We could prepare templates for ballots and
minutes that would make publication easier. You add a block of metadata,
including tags and keywords, at the top of the page and then Hugo converts
the file to an html web page. At the bottom of the page we could track
status of ballots from discussion, to voting, to IPR review in the
timetable automatically without having to update the webpage.

Wayne asked about context behind the proposed conversion away from
Wordpress.  Jos responded that we want to facilitate publication of minutes
and other proceedings. We would be able to handle the website via Git
rather than manually updating with Wordpress. Minutes and ballots would
have to be prepared using markdown.

Ben asked how this migration would occur. We would have to have
instructions and educate users more about Github.

Wayne asked how you would preview changes with this model. Jos explained
that we could have a dev branch in Github and a test.cabforum.org website,
or while you are working, you could preview changes locally at localhost.

Wayne was concerned about the effort involved vs. what we’re doing today
with Wordpress. Jos agreed that this would be a lot of work.

Ben suggested that we should look to streamline our processes when we use
Github, Wordpress, and the wiki.  Jos and Wayne suggested we look at
Wordpress plugins to have them automatically consume markdown files from
Github. Instead of having to pick, point, click, etc., it would be good to
drop it in and let automation do the work. Wayne agreed.

Corey suggested we standardize on templates and forms to do minutes and
ballots. Jos noted that we are not currently consistent among working
groups or within working groups for how we’re doing things. We should do
style guides for ballots and for minutes. Wayne said that standardization
would be good as long as we don’t make it harder to get information out to

Ben said he would volunteer to work with another volunteer to develop a
standard template for a ballot and one for minutes. Jos said he has some
examples from the work he recently did with Hugo. He’ll send out what he

Wayne said it would be good to also solve the problem with saving the
ballots to the wiki – to have something that works by pushing ballots to
Docuwiki. Jos said that the markdown files should work for Docuwiki, too.
The wiki administrator can just drop text files into Docuwiki. Each web
page on the wiki is just a markdown document on the file server.

*Ballot Process Flow Charts:* The group reviewed the two versions of the
flow charts with swimlanes. Jos suggested that we use the flowchart where
the swimlanes are organized by role (Chair, Ballot Proposer, Webmaster),
and then color-code the boxes based on where the activity takes place
(Github, wiki, website, email, etc.). It would also be good to outline who
has to do what, i.e. there are things that can only be done by the chair.
Then, there are things that are typically done by the chair, but don’t have
to be.

Wayne said that the role of webmaster is troublesome because there isn’t a
good way to hand off work. Sometimes it’s more efficient just to make the
change on the website when you’re working on a ballot or set of minutes. We
shouldn’t use the webmaster just to publish things. The webmaster should
work on structural things, but member representatives should take on
publishing things. Jos said this could be done on Github, rather than
giving everyone Wordpress credentials. Wayne said that the swimlane for
webmaster ought to be changed to indicate that other people can perform
these tasks, like “Other”. Jos said that the swimlane for chair ought to
indicate those things that can only be done by the chair or vice chair. Ben
said the proposer ought to be responsible for seeing the ballot through.
Wayne said that a ballot shepherds or someone familiar with the process
ought to be involved in the process. Jos said we could have a group of
ballot shepherds. Ben said it is somewhat like the role of a
parliamentarian in some organizations.

Jos said that if a person was having trouble moving the ballot through the
process they could get guidance from a ballot shepherd on how to do pull
requests, make sure the pull request is clean, which branch they need to
use, etc. Then, once the ballot has passed, that shepherd could get the
ballot published to the website and process it through the IPR review
period. We could create a Slack channel where people can ask for help from
ballot shepherds.

Wayne asked how we could improve/delegate vote counting, putting them on
the spreadsheet and publishing them to the website.  That’s a role that
underlying work doesn’t have to be done by the chair.  Jos noted that the
certification or announcement of voting results would need to be done by
the chair/vice-chair. Jos also noted that time-sensitive tasks with bylaw
deadlines cannot be handled informally. We need to be able to say, “Wayne,
you are the ballot shepherd for this and need to do this by X date.” Then
the chair or vice-chair would need to ensure that it gets done.

*Membership Spreadsheet:*  Wayne has been able to get Google Sheets to
prepare an attendance list, but a database would solve some of the problems
we’re faced with better than a spreadsheet.  Currently, we have to maintain
data in multiple places / multiple sheets. In the structure we have
organizations, membership types, and those flow down to people, and then we
have to track whether they have voting privileges.  On the old spreadsheet,
we track which working group you are a member of, and which mailing lists
you should be subscribed to.

Wayne has been working on automatically generating an attendance list. Some
pretty intricate filters have to be written to prepare this list and other
lists. Thus, it would be good to have a database, but we don’t have money
for that. Wayne said that the biggest hurdle will be populating the list.
We should see whether we want to copy and paste from the old list, or have
members re-submit information, etc.  Wayne said it would be great if we had
a query for creating membership lists based on category, e.g. all
certificate consumers who are members of the Code Signing Working Group.

The group discussed various solutions, including MS Access, online
databases, and SQLite, e.g. sqlitebrowser.org. What would be great to have
a GUI on top of the database that would allow us to complete forms, e.g.,
add new member functionality.  Jos said it is too bad we’re not a 501(c)(3)
(or an international equivalent) non-profit organization that could get
some of these services for free.

Meeting adjourned until next time on 17-November-2021.
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