PSF Membership FAQ
The mission of the Python Software Foundation is to promote, protect, and advance the Python programming language, and to support and facilitate the growth of the international community of Python programmers.
—from the Mission Statement page
- Why does the PSF have members?
- What membership classes are there?
- How does one become a nominated member of the PSF?
- Can I nominate myself to become a PSF member?
- What are the responsibilities of voting PSF members?
- What if a member cannot fulfill their responsibilities?
- How would my being a member benefit the PSF?
- There are already many PSF members. Would the PSF really benefit from another?
- Can I contribute without being a PSF member?
- How can I ask other questions?
The Python Software Foundation is a membership-based, non-profit corporation. Membership is necessary to make the PSF a valid legal entity so it can hold and protect the Python copyrights and trademarks. PSF members have a significant stake in the language and community, and represent the community to help steer the PSF's direction.
There are four classes of Python Software Foundation members:
- Nominated members are individuals or entities who have demonstrated a commitment to the Python language and community. The PSF serves to steer the Python language and community, and the best people to do the steering are the ones with an active stake. Candidates are nominated and elected by existing members (details below).
- Sponsor members are like nominated members, except that they must pay a yearly fee to the PSF. Sponsor members will usually be organizations, not individuals. Sponsor membership details can be found here.
- Emeritus members are former nominated members who are no longer active. Emeritus members do not have the right to vote or be counted for purposes of quorum at members' meetings.
- Associate members make an annual donation to the PSF to sustain the Foundation and support the Python community. Associate members do not have voting privileges. You can sign up as an associate member at <http://www.psfmember.org>.
There are three steps to becoming a nominated member of the Python Software Foundation:
Nomination. A person or entity must be nominated by a current member of the Python Software Foundation. A membership nomination is a form of recognition of a pattern of contributions to the Python community. Accepting the nomination confirms the nominee's intention to continue to promote Python and to contribute further to the community.
To nominate someone, a current PSF member should:
- Ask the potential nominee if they are interested in membership.
- Point the nominee to this page for background.
- Make a formal nomination via email to the PSF-members list, containing the words "I nominate (name) for membership" along with a brief description of the nominee.
- List the nominee on the private PSF wiki (accessible to members only).
The nominee must complete and submit the membership application form at least ten days before the meeting where elections are held. The nominating member should make sure the nominee submits the form on time.
Election. The existing members of the PSF vote (in person or by proxy) at the Annual Meeting, typically held at PyCon.
Sponsor members must, in addition, pay an annual fee (details here).
In nominating and electing new members, the existing members consider the following criteria:
- Multiple contributions over a period of time.
- Shows interest in the on-going stewardship of the language.
- Has taken on some form of responsibility (maintaining a Python website, writing articles/books, running events, writing summaries/newsletters, maintaining the language, writing docs, active involvement with community, marketing Python, fundraising, etc.).
- Active in some Python leadership group (python-dev, the marketing list, an interest group, or similar)
- Has visibility (at least a handful of the current members should have heard of the person; at least one should know enough to champion the new member)
No; new members must be nominated by a current member of the Python Software Foundation. But you can ask a current PSF member to nominate you -- it will help to be active in the Python community!
Or, you can join as an associate member. This doesn't grant you voting privileges but supports the PSF's work.
The minimum commitment is to vote in person or by proxy at annual Python Software Foundation meetings and to keep the PSF updated with address changes. Members should be prepared to go further though.
PSF members are encouraged to participate in the decision-making process to shape the PSF's policies and goals, and to volunteer in various ways. Members may take part in discussions at meetings and on the mailing list, serve on committees (conference, grants, infrastructure, others), serve on the board of directors, or serve as officers. Members should review the minutes of meetings of the Board of Directors (who make decisions on behalf of the members), the resolutions of the Board, and the minutes of members' meetings. However, members are not required to participate in these activities, and membership is not a requirement for participation.
Python Software Foundation members who are not active and can no longer fulfill their responsibilities to represent the community should convert their membership to emeritus status. Emeritus members do not vote at members' meetings.
A conversion to emeritus membership form is available.
We need smart people with good ideas about how the Python Software Foundation can continue to evolve as an organization, and how it can be most effective as a positive force in the Python community.
Yes. We need to keep the Python Software Foundation membership representative of the currently active contributors to the Python community. The community changes over time, and it cannot be represented by a fixed set of members from previous years. Every member brings their own unique background and expertise. New members can bring valuable new perspectives, fresh ideas, and enthusiasm.