The Apache Software Foundation's Concept of "Hats"

From Usenet Big-8 Management Board

This text was copied from the Apache Software Foundation's web site on November 11, 2006, and used as an inspiration for our remarks on how to interpret posts made by members of the Big-8 Management Board.

Individuals compose the ASF

All of the ASF including the board, the other officers, the committers, and the members, are participating as individuals. That is one strength of the ASF, affiliations do not cloud the personal contributions.

Unless they specifically state otherwise, whatever they post on any mailing list is done *as themselves*. It is the individual point-of-view, wearing their personal hat and not as a mouthpiece for whatever company happens to be signing their paychecks right now, and not even as a director of the ASF.

All of those ASF people implicitly have multiple hats, especially the Board, the other officers, and the PMC chairs. They sometimes need to talk about a matter of policy, so to avoid appearing to be expressing a personal opinion, they will state that they are talking in their special capacity. However, most of the time this is not necessary, personal opinions work well.

Some people declare their hats by using a special footer to their email, others enclose their statements in special quotation marks, others use their email address when otherwise they would use their personal one. This latter method is not reliable, as many people use their address all of the time.

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