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Comment: Clean up intro and clarify some points; link to other doc about board@

DRAFT - This is a landing page for better documenting and explaining how the many contributors to Apache projects can best communicate with the board - and vice-versa.  The board The Board regularly communicates with hundreds of people about a wide variety of issues, and any Apache project committer may have questions or ideas to present to the boardBoard.  Historically virtually all of this has been through simple emails to the central Board list.  It's time to brainstorm ways that we can make this process easier to follow, both for our volunteer directors as well as all of our project communities.

Note: If you have a Member-private suggestion or example of better communication practices, please use the private ASFP wiki space for that:


Here are some collected best practices for communicating with the Board - either on board@ or elsewhere.  We also have a specific guide for "What Emails Belong On board@ (or should be elsewhere)"

Escalation Guide - How To Raise Concerns Between Communities

Sometimes, we need to raise a serious issue within one project community or committee at the ASF - or even perhaps between communities or from a project to the board.  There's a new guide for the most effective ways to raise issues at Apache you should read!Please read this escalation guide before bringing your questions to board@:


As an all-volunteer organization with a long history, there are a lot of things we do "because we've always done them that way".  As we scale past the point where individual volunteers can pay attention to everything on the Board board@ list, it's interesting to see all the different things we talk about, or need to make decisions about - or, to explicitly let all of our projects know about important activities.

The board Board as a group uses multiple email lists to communicate, and regularly listens to and reaches out to works with many different people and groups/committees.  If you've been here forever, it's obvious.  If you're newer than that, it's often confusing - or it takes extra time to clarify your request or question into the right place to get a definitive answer.  The Escalation Guide above may help as well.


The board@ private mailing list is where the majority of work is done.  All directors read this list; all PMC Chairs are required to be subscribed to the list.  Many ASF Members also subscribe to the list and participate regularly, as do many of our operations officers (Conferences, Fundraising, Infra, etc.)  We separately also use the board-chat@ private mailing list for non-governance matters the board wants to start discussing but that PMC chairs are not expected to read, like planning for F2F meetings or other inter-director announcements like offline time.


  • Document and use different mailing lists for specific and bounded purposes.  For example: board-chat chat@ list.
    • Benefit: makes it easy for list readers to follow, reduces traffic.
    • Drawback: strong opposition from some list readers (historically, this often prevents new lists)
  • Use [SubjectTags] on emails - somewhat regularly done with \[NOTICE], \[REPORT] \[VOTE] emails
    • Benefit: allows people with mail filters to easily categorize mail
    • Drawback: very inconsistent usage except in very specific documented processes
  • Implement alternative task or communication tracking tools
    • Benefit: some specific tasks can be done on Whimsy.a.o, which ensures that requests are routed to the right place while still echoing the results to the appropriate list.
    • Drawback: requires coding & maintenance of any automation.  Board Agenda, self-subscription, self-PMC list editing are all examples of successful tools.