Member for life, the wrong policy

I have talked about this in the past in my old blog (now deleted) but didn’t get any good responses back then, I have been wondering again and I don’t really understand the reason behind being an Ubuntu member for life for anyone.

Today once you become an Ubuntu member and if you dont break the COC, you are practically a member for life, I think this is a flawed policy and something that we should revisit to have a healthy community because we kind of “break” the importance of being a member.

Nothing is permanent and neither should the membership of Ubuntu. How can someone who last contributed to Ubuntu a few years ago be considered the same as someone who actively contributes.

GNOME had a better policy regarding that (not sure about it today), I once became a GNOME foundation member, soon after that my focus shifted and I stopped contributing to GNOME, the next year I could not get my membership renewed because I had to prove that I was still contributing (which I was not).

My proposal is to first disable auto-renewal of Ubuntu membership in launchpad, If someone cannot even bother to renew their membership there is no point in them being one but there is more, Ubuntu membership renewal should be extended to every two years (or one ?) with a formal meeting where you have to highligh that you still care about Ubuntu and helping to make it better in any way (criteria: TBD).

For the expired members we could just create a ~ubuntumembers-alumni.

Hope this conversation heads in a positive direction and is result oriented.

Without commenting on your proposal itself, note that there are other indirect ways of becoming an Ubuntu member. For example: when the DMB grants upload permission to a developer, we also usually make that developer an Ubuntu member (if not already a member). This happens deliberately, but from Launchpad’s perspective it’s automatic (various Ubuntu developer teams are indirectly members of ~ubuntumembers).

You might want to think about how you want this outcome to interact with your proposal. Right now, upload permissions are also granted indefinitely, and this means that the consequent Ubuntu membership is also indefinite.

Interesting topic.

I agree that once somebody left their membership expire, we shouldn’t just reenable it when they reappear. They should attend a membership meeting again, maybe an expedited one with less questions, just to check that they are still sharing with the community. Maybe it could work also as introspection on why the membership expired, which of their plans for the future were never accomplished, and why.

But, I do like the idea of membership for life. If somebody follows the CoC, has contributed with ubuntu in the past and might continue to do so in the future, I’m happy to have that person in the team. If they don’t like to be part of the team, they will just stop renewing the membership. So I see value on the people who continue to renew it even if on the present they can’t or don’t want to contribute.

I think that the importance of being a member shouldn’t come from being in a very exclusive club. Becoming a member is not difficult, and I love that. Staying a member is even easier, and that’s ok for me. For me, the importance of being a member is that commitment to share knowledge following the nice principles that are in the CoC. If what you planned for the future while preparing for your membership didn’t work as expected, that’s understandable.

What we need, I think, are more spaces to make potential new members feel welcome, and to make old members return*. I don’t see much value on tagging people as ex-members.

I would like people from the membership board to join this discussion. @elacheche, could you help us bringing this to the attention of your team?

*Like the comunitheme, it has been awesome to see so many people join.


Hi, I’m on the Membership Board.

We did have a discussion about this very issue, I can’t remember if it was internally or publicly. But, one thing that I want to make clear is that membership is not there for life, you have to renew it, unless of course you get it indirectly (and those teams make you renew the membership there as well).

I would disagree that a “check in” is needed. If an Ubuntu Member is very obviously active and responsive, we shouldn’t have to make them jump through hoops to confirm that yes, they still contribute to Ubuntu. That would, in my personal opinion, become annoying and tedious. Unlike e.g. Debian, there is no concrete way to tell if a person is still active; it varies. So you have to analyze that. Plus, with members being prompted to renew every two years, they should take a look at what they do in Ubuntu, even if for just a split second, and decide if they want to renew that or not. They should have the opportunity, as responsible contributors, to decide whether or not they want to keep contributing, and shouldn’t have to ask a board to re-approve them. After all, they became Ubuntu Members in the first place because of their significant and sustained contributions to Ubuntu. They shouldn’t have to put in more effort to prove something that was once apparent. As long as they renew their membership, Ubuntu is still at least a thought in their mind. But, that is my opinion. :slight_smile:

On the other hand, we did decide as the Membership Board (well, I remember hearing no objections) that in order to get your Ubuntu membership reactivated after a bit of time, there would be a short list of questions, with the focus of “Why did you come back, and what now?” but the criteria for that hasn’t been laid out, and this hasn’t been formally decided on yet. I will personally seek formal quorum on this and draft some criteria, as soon as I can.

Let me respond to a few specific points here:

My proposal is to first disable auto-renewal of Ubuntu membership in launchpad, If someone cannot even bother to renew their membership there is no point in them being one but there is more, Ubuntu membership renewal should be extended to every two years (or one ?) with a formal meeting where you have to highligh that you still care about Ubuntu and helping to make it better in any way (criteria: TBD).

See above about why I think this is the wrong approach. It can and will get tedious quickly, and it will put a huge burden on the Membership Board to confirm that already active people are still active. If people want to do yearly reflections, that’s up to them.

For the expired members we could just create a ~ubuntumembers-alumni.

This is called the “Former members” section of Members : “Ubuntu Members” team :stuck_out_tongue:

What we need, I think, are more spaces to make potential new members feel welcome, and to make old members return*. I don’t see much value on tagging people as ex-members.

For the record, we have seen much less applications for Ubuntu Membership lately. I can see this being for a few reasons, but I think it’s outside the scope of this particular discussion to figure that out.


As with anything, the devil is in the details.

I’m assuming that if someone, for whatever reason, goes off the rails, there is a mechanism for dealing with that (i.e. removing the Membership status).

Other than this sort of circumstance, what specific problems are there with the current situation of easily-renewed Membership?


Peoples circumstances change.

I was active in the Ubuntu community from 2004 to 2009. Then disappeared until 2014. I think people who achieved membership in the past and elect to renew their membership should be permitted to do so. It is possible they will once again become active, as I did.


By ‘any good responses’ do you mean responses that made sense or responses you agreed with?

Personally I don’t really see any reason why someone who’s proved their worth to the community having to do so again - just because life happened for them in the meantime.

Ftr - I’ve been an Ubuntu Member - have no interest in doing so again. The people in the teams I’m active with know my worth without a label.


For keeping things as simple as possible, I think that may stay as-is. Perhaps another discussion around cleanup of people who last uploaded to Ubuntu archives a long (define that ?) time ago.

Generally speaking upload rights are a sensitive issue, so active check and balance there would make sense.

Today, when someone’s membership is about to expire, they get an email 7 days before expiry, then regular reminders but when you get past day of expiry, your membership gets renewed automatically, that needs to change.

That makes sense in some scenarios but there are a lot of people who just stopped using Ubuntu, changed industries or just lost interest, we can hope they will come back but such occurrences are pretty low and should be treated as a “special” scenario instead of default.


Could you please verify if that’s still the case, I have had that occurrence once where I forgot to renew my Ubuntu membership a few years ago and it got automatically renewed.

I agree with the general idea, though there is police for a reason, wrong analogy perhaps but the point is being an Ubuntu member is a privilege IMO and people don’t give that up voluntarily :slight_smile:

That indeed is true and something that worries me as I believe the overall health of the community needs a review and some concrete efforts need to be done to get more people get involved in Ubuntu. And one angle of my initial proposal was inspired by the fact that we don’t know how many active members we have – that isn’t really a benchmark but at least helps keep the record straight

As I wrote above, there are more scenarios that just “life happened”, and when something is as simple as just a renew button, I don’t expect everyone to give up the membership as its “good to have” even if someone is not interested in the project at all.

Perhaps I’m missing something in your thinking.

But what I’ve gathered from this so far is:

We have a group of people who we call Ubuntu Members - as a group they bring a whole lot more to the community than they gain.

They gain Membership - Ubuntu Wiki - not a great deal there in the real world. And one is laughable …

Now we’re expected to make life hard for people who bring more to ‘us’ than we give them?

Not finding it easy to see this as a way to get more people involved in *buntu.


Not sure about you but having an forwarding email is the biggest thing I take pride in, even though I don’t use that cloak often, its something substantial enough for me to show off my association with the Ubuntu community.

I guess you don’t read the whole of someone’s post then.

I’ve BEEN an Ubuntu Member - I’m not now.

When I was I sometimes used the e-mail suffix.

I had the ubuntu IRC cloak.

None of the benefits would make me want to come back.

All of that aside you’ve not actually answered me :wink:

So what about those who applied for membership on the basis that their membership was for for life?

I’m not sure I would now be a successful applicant due to my current level of participation which is now someone who submits an occasional bug report, makes infrequent posts to the forums and reports the results of testing ISO images whenever a new version of Ubuntu is getting ready for release . :question:

Should I now be preparing myself to the relinquishing of my Ubuntu Membership? :confused:

1 Like

That’s the real issue that needs addressing. Just look at Members : “Ubuntu Members” team and reverse sort by “Member since” date.

Just one new member in each of 2016, 2017 and 2018. Very disappointing.

1 Like

I think you already are a rockstar and definitely care about Ubuntu with the work you do, so nothing changes there. :slight_smile:

1 Like

I’m in much the same position as @paulw2u – I do the odd bug report, ISO testing and the occasional post to the forums plus mod duties.

I do very little in the way of support these days. Partly because I don’t seem to own any of the tricky hardware or use cutting-edge programs, and partly because Ubuntu seems to require a lot less hand-holding these days. (I can remember having to configure xorg.conf and compile wifi drivers.)

Therefore, I see the proposed regular-reapplication regime as vastly favouring coders/developers, and I as I’m not one, I’d be expecting to be told, “Sorry, what you’re doing isn’t enough.”


I think this thread might have got sidetracked. The fact you think you are contributing to Ubuntu in one way or another is for the most part enough for you to continue being a member.

The point of the thread has been those contributors who were active in the community once and haven’t looked back in years. If we ever go on such a scrutiny, my non-scientific hunch is that at least 20% of the current members are in such a status.

I for one, know at least two Ubuntu members, one personally and the other on the web, who haven’t contributed to Ubuntu community since 2014, hope that clears thing up.

At the same time, it must also be noted that this is not some kind of super new idea or something, GNOME already does something similar and they definitely are a healthy community as well.

That is not accurate. Take a look here: Ubuntu Members in Launchpad
There are 600 members, and your link shows 400. :man_shrugging:

We need to improve a lot, but our numbers are not sooo bad.