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Overview of Proposal

Labs sponsors are currently limited to "a maintainer of one of the Hyperledger projects, a TSC member or a WG chair". This turns out to be quite limiting, making it often difficult for people to find a sponsor. As a consequence labs stewards get routinely solicited to be sponsor so that the proposal can move forward.

The whole idea of requiring a sponsor in the first place was to provide for some filtering mechanism and weed out unworthy proposals. Having the sign-off from a SIG chair surely achieves that goal so, this proposal is to extend the list of qualifying sponsors to include SIG chairs.

Formal Proposal(s)

Extend the list of qualifying lab sponsors to SIG chairs.

Action Items

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Reviewed By


  1. As a lab steward, I support this measure.
    I also propose adding lab stewards to the list of sponsors. Right now of the existing stewards, Arnaud J Le Hors Tracy Kuhrt and I have other hats that allow us to sponsor. But one of the lab stewards does not. We normally review all proposals and suggest changes

    1. I'm sympathetic to the idea but I don't think we should do that because while I would have been happy to leave it entirely to the stewards to filter out proposals that don't fit, without requiring a sponsor, some TSC members didn't feel comfortable with that and requested that we add a sponsor.

      Saying that any steward can serve as sponsor would be the same as removing the need for a sponsor essentially. I don't know that TSC members who wanted it in the first place would be happy to go that way.

      At the very least I think this deserves enough consideration to be worth being addressed independently.

  2. I'm pleased to see that most TSC members have reviewed this proposal but I would appreciate if people could add in a comment whether they support it or not. I'm hoping we can come to a resolution without spending any call time on this.


  3. I don't actually recall checking the box. Looking at the page history it looks like several boxes were checked


    1. I definitely have permissions to check and uncheck your box here.  I guess there is some sort of permissions mismatch.

      For science, I unchecked you!

      1. You also unchecked yourself. 

      2. As far as I know this was always possible. It's a wiki after all. We rely on history to be able to fix what was unduly modified and... to find out who didn't it!

        1. In the past you were not able to check any box, just the one against your login.

    2. I was impressed to see how many TSC members had so quickly reviewed this proposal... :-/

      Hart, you're a naughty boy! (wink)

      1. I reset the list to what appear to be the checks placed by the people themselves

  4. One of the reasons we set sponsors as they were was to know that there was some link to the HL codebase. It was one of the differences between labs being distinct from just github. I think encouraging SIG contributors to connect with TSC members or project maintainers is still useful in a way that relying on the SIG chairs would not be.

    1. This connection isn't always easy.  Is there some way we could make it easier?

      One of the big issues with Hyperledger is that it's difficult to break in.  Labs projects are a great way to do this.  I agree that we want to take steps to avoid being the github blockchain dumping ground, but there's a fine line here, and I'm not entirely sure where the right place to put it is.

      1. I agree that the connection isn't always easy. 

        A couple ideas that come to mind are maintaining a list of the people who are allowed and willing to be sponsors or creating a rocket chat channel with those sponsors so people interested in creating a lab can directly ask for help and guidance. One other idea could be having a dedicated time, perhaps on some of the TSC meetings, to allow people who want to propose a project to present and ask for sponsors. These ideas are mostly orthogonal to the proposal.

  5. I would like to encourage discussion on this proposal.

    From a purist perspective, SIGs are not under the TSC and are kept distinct and "managed" by Hyperledger staff. **

    Labs are under the TSC.

    So a purist view would be to keep the separation and not allow this proposal.

    On the flip side, this proposal is another way to help bring things together.

    So the question is, can we approach this from a Technical Steering perspective and not from a governance perspective?

    Which path seems like it will bring the best outcome to the Hyperledger Community ?


    **Personally I think this the proper response to the TSC not wanting to recognize anything other than code as a legitimate contribution to Hyperledger.

    1. Thanks for the discussion!

      One thing that came up in my mind when I thought about this was the mentorship issue.  Apache (upon which we have based much of our rules) typically requires that "podlings" have a shepherd/mentor/steward who can help them navigate the process of coming into the software foundation and help them out with all of the unspoken rules.  This seems like something we should encourage as well.  While the SIG leaders are certainly qualified and competent people, they may also not be as familiar with some of the unspoken rules and other stuff that people who have been in or floating around the TSC for quite some time are (for instance–the TSC has never approved a project for incubation that has only one company supporting it, but we still get proposals like this).  So one (perhaps unintended) consequence of the current rule on this is to force people to find some guidance/stewardship, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

      On the other hand, maybe if the labs stewards are continually asked to be sponsors (and say yes), it might just be best to eliminate the sponsorship requirement altogether.  The labs stewards are the arbiters of worthiness anyways–our whole labs system is on the premise that they are trusted (and they definitely are by most of the community).  Does the sponsorship requirement effectively weed out proposals?  I'd be curious what the labs stewards have to say about this, and if they would be OK without the sponsorship requirement.

      1. We should not drop the sponsorship requirement. It is good to have a link to people in the community that can help the lab to build a community and provide support for best practices when it comes to developing open source projects. I take the purist approach when it comes to sponsorship, and the current criteria seems appropriate to me. As an original lab steward, I did not think it was appropriate for me to sponsor labs. So I would not add lab stewards to the list. I find it difficult when a lab steward sponsors a lab knowing whether we need two other lab stewards to approve or if the it is okay for the sponsor to approve as their other role of lab steward.

        1. I agree with Mark and Tracy. I don't think we should drop the sponsorship requirement. I am also purist and agree that SIG Chairs, though qualified technically, should not be allowed as sponsors as SIGs do not come under TSC governance. There is value having guidance from sponsors who are governed under the TSC as they are better able to navigate the process.

  6. I guess one question would be, how many lab proposals do not get accepted ?

    If a proposed lab is not accepted, what did it fail to meet ?

    1. It is more of the amount of friction to get a lab approved, sometimes it is a "hunt for a sponsor" that can create a few week delay. The proposal doc had to be edited to make the rules for sponsors clearer, as well as to suggest where to look for a sponsor.

  7. I know some of the labs stewards have already weighed in on this, but could we get a "consensus" opinion collectively from the labs stewards?  I'd imagine this would be a better gauge of what we should do than taking the opinion of the TSC, which is by definition less informed.

  8. These are the current sponsors and how many labs they are sponsoring. I see a couple of names on this list that probably should not have been allowed as sponsors.

       7 Arnaud Lehors
       1 Artem Barger
       2 Chris Ferris
       5 Dan Middleton
       2 Dex Hunter
       1 Eugene YYY
       1 Gari Singh
       4 Hart Montgomery
       1 Kelly Olson
       3 Mark Wagner
       1 Mic Bowman
       1 Richard Bloch
       1 Ry Jones
       1 Silas Davis
       1 Swetha Repakula
       6 Vipin Bharathan
  9. Think of this sponsor requirement not as an obstacle but as an opportunity. If you want to grow a lab into a project you're going to want sponsors, you're going to want to have been building something the other projects see value in, you're going to want some awareness of what you're going to invests months and years on.

    Just opening a repo is easy. 

  10. I guess this proposal is dead, then?

    Maybe we should implement one (or all) of Swetha's ideas and make it easier for potential lab contributors to find sponsors?

  11. I echo Marta Piekarska's contacts comment.