Remember when I complained about YUI's opaque governance model and lack of external committers? They've fixed it!
These changes have been a long time coming and most of them were already in the works when I wrote that post, but I want to thank the YUI team for listening to me and to others in the community and making things better.
New contributor model
The contributor model is based heavily on the Meritocratic Governance Model and outlines the distinct roles (users, contributors, committers, and reviewers) within the project, as well as their rights and responsibilities. It also defines a decision-making process based on lazy consensus, which is designed to prevent roadblocks.
But perhaps the most important thing Dav announced—and certainly the most surprising—is that most of the YUI team are committers, not reviewers. This means that even though they're Yahoo! employees paid to work on YUI, they have exactly the same rights and access as external committers, and any significant changes they want to make must be approved by a reviewer. It also means that their votes carry no more weight than the votes of external committers.
This is a bold move designed to ensure that the YUI project is truly in the hands of the community and can't be too heavily influenced by Yahoo!. While there's currently only one reviewer—Dav—I'm told the team hopes to add non-Yahoo! reviewers in the future. This fills me with joy.
In addition to posting more development details on YUI's GitHub wiki, the team at Yahoo! has opened up their weekly meetings to external contributors and users via Google+ Hangouts On Air.
Every Thursday at 2pm Pacific Time, YUI users can join the hangout (or just watch it live on YouTube) and discuss project decisions, pull requests, and more with members of the YUI team at Yahoo!. This is the same weekly meeting I attended while I was on the team, and the same discussions take place, only now they're open to the world and recorded for folks who can't catch the live hangout.
The weekly hangout isn't the only forum for discussion, though. Ad hoc hangouts occur frequently and are announced on IRC, Twitter, and the YUI Blog. Pull request activity has increased, and the new contributor mailing list is spinning up.
YUIConf also served as the backdrop to Dav's introduction of a vastly improved process and tools for contributing and maintaining YUI Gallery modules. Everything I complained about was addressed, and because he's Dav, he also added a significant helping of awesomeness that I hadn't anticipated.
I'm excited about YUI's future. Yahoo! has shown a willingness to listen to criticism and address the project's problems. The community asked for more transparancy and more control, and Yahoo! gave it to us. Now it's up to us to make YUI what we want it to be.
Like any long-lived project, there are parts of YUI that are new and awesome, and there are parts that are old and crufty. Those old and crufty parts have often been frustrating to YUI's users, because it hasn't always been clear how we can improve them.
In my YUIConf talk, I advocated not using certain parts of YUI and thinking carefully before using others. I'm eager to tackle YUI's "bad parts" and improve them, especially now that I feel like I really do have the power to influence the course of the project despite no longer working for Yahoo!.
As I said during Eric's town hall at YUIConf, "the YUI team" used to mean "the Yahoo! employees who work on YUI". Now, that's no longer the case. There are still Yahoo! employees who work on YUI, but referring to them as the YUI team feels wrong, since that "team" now includes anyone who contributes a pull request or takes part in a hangout or offers a suggestion on the mailing list.
It sounds corny, but we're all the YUI team now, and that's exactly how it should be.