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TensorFlow Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

What makes a good SIG?

The ideal scope for a SIG will meet a well-defined domain, where the majority participation will be from the community. Additionally, there should be sufficient evidence that there are community members willing to engage and contribute should the interest group be established.

Not all SIGs will have the same level of energy, breadth of scope, or governance models, so we should expect some variability.

Non-goals: What a SIG is not

The intent of a SIG is to facilitate collaboration on shared work. A SIG is therefore:

  • Not a support forum: a mailing list and a SIG is not the same thing
  • Not immediately required: early on in a project's life, you may not know if you have shared work or collaborators
  • Not free labor: energy is required to grow and coordinate the work collaboratively.

Our approach to SIG creation will be conservative: thanks to the ease of starting projects on GitHub, there are many avenues where collaboration can happen without the need for a SIG.

SIG playbook

Research and consultation

Proposers of groups should gather evidence for approval, as specified below. Some possible avenues to consider are:

  • A well-defined problem or set of problems the group would solve
  • Consultation with community members who would benefit, assessing both the benefit and their willingness to commit
  • For existing projects, evidence from issues and PRs that contributors care about the topic
  • Potential goals for the group to achieve
  • Resource requirements of running the group

Even if the need for a SIG seems self-evident, the research and consultation is still important to the success of the group.

Creating the new group

The new group should follow the below process for chartering. In particular, it must demonstrate:

  • A clear purpose and benefit to TensorFlow (either around a sub-project or application area)
  • Two or more contributors willing to act as group leads, existence of other contributors, and evidence of demand for the group
  • Resources it will initially require (usually, mailing list and regular VC call.)

Approval for the group will be given by a decision of the TF Community Team, defined as being the maintainers of the tensorflow/community project. The team will consult other stakeholders as necessary.

Before entering the formal parts of the process, it is advisable to consult with the TensorFlow community team, community-team@tensorflow.org. It is highly likely that conversation and iteration will be required before the SIG request is ready.

The formal request for the new group is done by submitting a charter as a PR to tensorflow/community, and including the request in the comments on the PR (see template below). On approval, the PR for the group will be merged and the required resources created.

Template Request for New SIG

This template will be available in the community repo: SIG-request-template.md.

Chartering

Each group will be established with a charter, and be governed by the TensorFlow code of conduct. Archives of the group will be public. Membership may either be open to all without approval, or available on request, pending approval of the group administrator.

The charter must nominate an administrator. As well as an administrator, the group must include at least one person as lead (these may be the same person), who will serve as point of contact for coordination as required with the TF community team.

This charter will be posted initially to the group mailing list. The community repository in the TensorFlow Github organization will archive such documents and policies (example from Kubernetes). As any group evolves its practices and conventions, we expect it to document these within the relevant part of the community repository.

Collaboration and inclusion

While it is not mandated, the group should choose to make use of collaboration via scheduled conference call or chat channels to conduct meetings. Any such meetings should be advertised on the mailing list, and notes posted to the mailing list afterwards. Regular meeting helps drive accountability and progress in a SIG.

TensorFlow community team members will proactively monitor and encourage the group to discussion and action as appropriate.

Launching

Required activities:

  • Notifying TensorFlow general mailing lists (discuss@, developers ML) of new group
  • Adding SIG to the community pages on TensorFlow web site

Optional activities:

  • Creating a blog post for the TensorFlow Medium.com blog community

Health and termination of SIGs

The TF community team will make best effort to ensure the health of SIGs. From time to time it will request the SIG lead to provide a report of the SIG's work, which will be used to inform the broader TensorFlow community of the activity of the group.

If a SIG no longer has a useful purpose or interested community, it may be archived and cease operation. The TF community team reserves the right to archive such inactive SIGs, in order to maintain the health of the project at large, though it is a less preferable outcome. A SIG may also opt to disband if it recognizes it has reached the end of its useful life.