[FFmpeg-devel] Voting committee

Nicolas George george at nsup.org
Mon Sep 14 00:36:29 CEST 2015

Le septidi 27 fructidor, an CCXXIII, Michael Niedermayer a écrit :
> Having a team vote about members of the team can be problematic,
> For example if one member votes against another, it wont help
> team spirit and social relations.

If two people do not get along to the point that one would vote no to the
other, it is already a problem. The thermometer does not make the people

Hopefully, this will just not happen.

> also a "comittee" which makes decissions affecting a larger group
> should be made of members fairly choosen from that group.
> "all active FFmpeg developers and contributors",  or
> "all FFmpeg developers and contributors" or ...
> i think this was the intend of the initial choice, and i hope that it
> will continue to be true in the future

I hope so too, but "active FFmpeg developers" is not an objective condition.
Any objective measurement, such as counting commits, would have drawbacks:
neglect people contributing differently (user support, patch review), for
example. Moreover, any objective measurement can be gamed, and will be, see
for example scientists segmenting their articles into small bits to increase
their bibliometric value.

On the other hand, deciding by co-optation works very well: someone is an
active FFmpeg developer if the other active FFmpeg recognize him/her as

So the decision in the IRC meeting was to make an initial list based on a
simple commit count, with a very strict boundary. You will notice that there
are quite a few obvious missing persons on this list. The idea is trust the
people on the initial list to immediately co-opt, hopefully by unanimous
consensus, everybody who was left out.

I will state it another way: this whole voting system is a safety net to
prevent things going sour like when the fork happened. Hopefully, it will
never be needed as such, but if it happens, it needs legitimacy. The initial
list gives legitimacy because of its strict and objective criterion, and
they will keep it by doing the right thing, i.e. co-opting immediately all
current "active FFmpeg developers".

If you want, once that phase is done, you can call on the mailing list "does
anyone feel they have been unjustly neglected?", and if there is no
reaction, it proves the process has been fair and gives sound foundations.

I feel comfortable saying that this whole process is fair because I am not
personally on the initial list (due to other projects taking my time in the
last few months).


  Nicolas George
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