[maemo-community] [maemo2midgard] proposal for @maemo.org email usage

From: Dave Neary bolsh at gnome.org
Date: Fri May 9 12:59:49 EEST 2008

I think these two mails have hit the nail on the head.

Gil Quim (Nokia-D/Helsinki) wrote:
> There is no software project giving away email addresses to any
> contributor. There is always a level of responsibility and
> commitment.
> It is not even clear what 'contributing to maemo' means today.

Ferenc Szekely wrote:
> OK, let's forget about contributors, but talk about real roles. I am
> considering myself an active member of this community, but I am in the
> background. I am involved with the web apps and infrastructure, where I
> have a key role, just like everybody else who is basically on this list.
> Yes, I get paid for it, but so what. It is not about the money.
> Everybody who has a key role in his/her field in the maemo project
> should be able to use a @maemo.org address. The development teams could
> propose key people in their "micro-community". If I were them I would
> pick guys who found crucial bugs, submitted patches, or ideas. We know
> that code contribution from non-Nokia developers (incl. partner
> companies, organizations) is not part of the maemo practices yet, but as
> I feel this is the direction you are steering the boat now.
> I did not mean giving away email aliases, I just proposed something
> based on chatting with others in the team. Dave said it right, people
> should earn "maemo.org" addresses. Let's come up with the definition of
> "earning" ;)

When thinking about things like this, there are a few things I like to
bear in mind.

What to do if someone who has a maemo.org email address starts behaving
badly? GNOME and the GIMP have a simple approach to this - no-one loses
a gnome.org or gimp.org email address, ever. On the other hand, in the
case of the GIMP, this has caused considerable problems when someone
became very unstable and started abusing people from a gimp.org email
address [1].

Who decides when your contribution is sufficient? Most rewards work best
when the person doesn't ask for them, but when an existing contributor
says "you've been great help for a while, I think it's time we got you a
maemo email address, if you want one". In general this works best if
there's a number of well-established people capable of identifying
continuing contributors. The email addresses can also be related to some
concrete achievement - becoming a GNOME Foundation member [2], for
example, or becoming a Debian developer [3]. We might even decide that
karma is a decent measure [4] (although for some reason my karma has
been stuck at 3 since I joined, so perhaps there's something wrong with

Since Debian and maemo have some similarities, I think it's worth
integrating some of the Debian experience here. Packaging software for
maemo should be a big tick mark towards getting a maemo email address.
Active and constructive contributions in terms of code, website
maintenance and bugzilla should also count. I'm generally of the opinion
that people who spend a lot of time talking about the project are less
valuable than people who spend a little time doing things for the
project - so I tend to place a higher bar on mailing list and forum
participation, a person really has to stand out as a long-time helpful
contributor for me to get a maemo.org address that way.

All of this is subjective, and all of this comes back to a central
question: who is the guardian of the maemo.org door? Who decides whether
someone meets the criteria for having an address, or decides that
someone has over-stepped reasonable bounds and has abused their privilege?

The only sensible answer to this question, for me, is that Quim decides.
Quim may decide that he should be the person, or he may decide to
delegate to 2 or 3 others the authority.


[1] http://www.j5live.com/2005/08/28/gimp-and-usability/
[2] http://foundation.gnome.org/membership/
[3] http://www.debian.org/devel/join/nm-amchecklist
[4] https://maemo.org/profile/list/

Dave Neary
GNOME Foundation member
bolsh at gnome.org

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