SGB 2020 General Updates

Dear Stan community,

As part of the SGB responsibilities to be a transparent body in service of the Stan community, we will be posting monthly updates with a list of approved motions, topics being discussed and information about how to join meetings if you want to raise an issue with the SGB.

  • The Stan Governing Body members during 2020 are:

    • Imad Ali (PlayStation)
    • Leah Comment (Foundation Medicine Inc)
    • Jonah Gabry (Columbia University)
    • Bill Gillespie (Metrum LLC)
    • Susana Marquez (The Rockefeller Foundation)
  • SGB meetings are held online every Monday at 3pm ET:

    • Anyone can request to join SGB meetings to discuss specific items
    • Email either one of the members or the whole SGB at (We’re also on Discourse at @SGB)
  • We have added a category Stan Governance and anything related to the SGB or governance will be under this category.

  • SGB will be posting its monthly summaries on Discourse under the category Stan Governance instead of the General category.

Thank you everyone!


SGB Update — December 2019

  • This month the SGB focused mostly on transferring items (access to key documents and logins) from the old SGB.

  • Bill Gillespie was proposed as the main liaison between NumFOCUS and the Stan Governing Body. He agreed on taking this role.

  • The SGB started discussing a new proposal to recognize people who contribute to Stan in different capacities (not only code contributors, but also people who allocate time to events, answering questions on Discourse, etc).

  • The SGB also started working on a proposal for adding new developers, however this proposal has been on hold as we need to assess whether this proposal is a) crucially needed, b) whether the SGB should be the body proposing this.

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SGB Update — January 2020

  • Daniel Lee joined the meeting on January 6th to discuss StanCon 2020, management of invoices and expenses during the previous SGB.

  • The SGB started discussing revamping the Code of Conduct in order to create an inviting environment for the entire community.

  • Discussion around website re-development was also on the agenda this month as we will need to set a contract for this work. We will seek advice from the community as to what are features that need to be considered.

  • SGB also set workflows to document donations, grants, contracts, invoices and motions in order to have better administration of key documents — very useful for the next SGB.

  • Motion SGB2020-1: Approval of an expense card in order to pay for dev ops expenses, such as AWS bills. Motion was passed unanimously with the following conditions:

    • Card is capped at $10,000 for the 2020 period.
    • Card expenses need to be reported on a quarterly basis
  • Bob Carpenter joined SGB meeting on January 27th to discuss:

    • Proposal to recognize people contributing to Stan
    • Advantages/Challenges of appointing a Technical Working Group.
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SGB Update – February 2020

  • A Code of Conduct (CoC) committee was formed so they can work on a draft, seek feedback and include people who have previously expressed changes to the current CoC. Announcement in Discourse: Announcing the formation of a committee to develop a Stan code of conduct

  • Martin Modrak (Discourse manager) payment was approved.

  • Proposal for recognition of users and categories for voting purposes. Thread can be found here: Request for input: a new mechanism for recognizing our most enthusiastic users - Stan Governance - The Stan Forums

  • Motion SGB2020-2: Approval for $20,000 from Stan funds to support StanCon scholarships that will be supporting underrepresented members of the Stan community. Proposal document was presented by Sue Marquez and Daniel Lee (members of the StanCon committee)

  • Website re-development is an ongoing discussion. The SGB is currently looking at examples of open-source projects websites and the contractors who designed them to get quotes and design ideas.


SGB Update – March 2020

  • Discuss Stan logo and trademarks to make sure we continue to keep rights over it.

  • GitHub sponsorship was posted in Discourse and the SGB discussed this with NumFOCUS to review legal considerations we need to think about.

  • Proposal for user recognition is still live in Discourse and accepting feedback.

  • A draft for voting structure has been started and is currently being discussed by SGB. This proposal intends to cover language and development changes, as well as broader topics like Code of Conduct.

  • The SGB is considering ways in which Stan development team can present updates and roadmaps of planned work.

  • Motion SGB2020-3: Transfer expenses of Google account into PEX Card. These are related to email accounts and data storage.

  • The SGB is actively looking at quotes for website re-development and checking against available funds.


SGB Update — April 2020

  • The SGB started discussing a proposal on having a news page. This topic was aggregated as part of the broader website re-development task.
  • A proposal for a user-research project and meeting was put forward and it is under consideration. This proposal will consider mostly advanced users, will have regular meetings and they are seeking feedback from the SGB.
  • The SGB is also considering how new users and new developers do not have clear resources to get started. We are bundling this conversation as part of the website re-design too.
  • Mitzi joined the SGB meeting to discuss ideas to improve technical support, documentation of new WIP and design documents currently used during development.
  • SGB discussed trademark updates to make sure we continue owning trademark over Stan’s logo and website domain.
  • Imad has kindly started the website re-design project and continues asking for advice from the community as well as updating the SGB about this.

SGB Update — May 2020

  • The SGB is currently considering moving away from a highly technical person to a more management support for the day-to-day operations, communications and implementation of voting structures.
  • Code of Conduct group is currently working on the draft and updated the SGB on the current work so far.
  • Bill is helping solve the administrative issues regarding GitHub Sponsorship in order to make it easy to donate to Stan. People can find the Support button on the main Stan GItHub page. Thank you Bill!
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SGB Update — June 2020

  • The SGB reviewed contracts from last year and made sure all the contract information was updated.
  • The SGB worked on including more details to the technical voting proposal and the discussion will be posted for the community to contribute with suggestions and finalize the first official version.
  • Rainbow logo was included in the Stan Shop.
  • Sue updated the SGB on the status of StanCon 2020 to include information regarding virtual conference, potential platforms to easily facilitate discussions, global schedule and general format.
  • Request for comment for the Code of Conduct first draft. The SGB provided feedback to the current committee and they will post their work on discourse in order to seek feedback and comments.
  • Motion SGB2020-4: Approval of $5,000 to support the work by Kinetix events who will be supporting the virtual organization of StanCon. The statement of work was provided to the SGB as part of the proposal for funding.
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SGB Update — July 2020

  • Steve and Lauren submitted a draft version of the Code of Conduct for Stan.
  • The SGB discussed how to reimburse developers who have paid from their own pocket for computing resources.
    • We currently have a card dedicated for these type of expenses. We encourage developers to consult with the SGB in advance when possible because we would prefer you to use the card instead of the reimbursement path.
  • The SGB reviewed a proposal put forward by Breck, Simon, Eren and Abbas to form a group focused on user-feedback.
  • The SGB asked for feedback on the voting proposal and incorporated all the relevant comments into a revised proposal.
  • Website redevelopment is moving forward and the SGB requested proposal from website developers.
    • We received quotes and specific proposals
  • Sue presented updates about StanCon and the virtual logistics for the event.

SGB Update — August 2020

  • The SGB continue working on items from July (Breck’s group proposal & website redevelopment).
  • First virtual StanCon took place on August 13th
  • The SGB incorporated all the feedback and re-wrote the voting proposal. The next step is to trial the voting mechanism.
  • The website redevelopment received further feedback and the SGB is making sure these items are communicated to potential contractors.
  • Last year elections for the SGB were held in November and after receiving external advice, the SGB is currently discussing options for staggered terms to have some form of continuity to a) continue with ongoing projects, b) reduce the learning curve and time of acquiring credentials to key documents
  • The SGB incorporated feedback on the discussion on how to recognize contributions to Stan. This conversation is parallel to the voting structure as it allows us to better understand how to structure who can vote on what.

SGB Update — Sept 2020

  • The SGB is considering the Community module in order to formalize the community contribution to Stan with the title of Stan developer.
  • In the website redesign, the agency will run workshops with different user archetypes in order to have a better idea of the needs for the new website.
  • Spending in AWS has increased this year as a result of lockdowns at universities and companies. The SGB will consider increasing the budget for this particular expense.
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SGB Update — Oct 2020

  • The SGB discussed the elections for the SGB 2021 as there is a need to announce it on Discourse and review the process that will be followed.
  • A Stan user requested a letter of support for her grad school applications and in consultation with other Stan developers, the SGB was able to provide this letter.
  • We would like to encourage other Stan contributors to check with the SGB and Stan developers when they need letters of support, in case this process needs to be formalized.
  • The SGB agreed on deadlines for the election: Nov 16th - Nov 30th is the time for nominations and the first two weeks of Dec for election. The last day to vote being Dec 15th.
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SGB Update — Nov 2020

  • PosteriorDB proposal was posted on discourse in order to have a vote on including it as part of the Stan ecosystem.
  • NASA grant proposal was brought to the attention of the SGB in order for Stan to seek additional funding.
  • The SGB discussed some of the ways in which we could make technical voting faster without compromising discussion.
  • Polidea started to organize workshops for UX interviews with users.
  • There were 5 nominations for the SGB 2021 and vote will take place during December.
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SGB Update — Dec 2020

  • The new SGB is announced.
  • The SGB 2020 is organizing with the incoming group the transfer of documents, financials and credentials to access past documentation.
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