Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the SGB

2018/10/03 (regular online meeting)

Board Members

  • Present (4): Breck Baldwin, Andrew Gelman, Lizzie Wolkovich, Daniel Simpson.

  • Absent (5): Daniel Lee, Jonah Sol Gabry, Julie Bertrand, Michael Betancourt, Sean Talts.

  • Quorum present? No.

  • Others present: None



No quorum so I’ll report it as informational which will be more detailed than typical minutes.

  1. There were some technical difficulties, so the meeting started a little late.

  2. TWG. We spoke about reaching out to the TWG for how to spend money and some further direction on how to spend the funds that we have.

  3. Discussion about the value of individual memberships. The feeling was that the costs for whatever benefits we provided for membership would not be cost effective as well. If people want to support Stan as individuals they can buy a t-shirt.

  4. Discussion about corporate memberships. Corporate memberships perhaps make more sense. But again, what are the benefits? For $1k a corp/university gets a few hours consulting, which in turn brings up who has to support this. Maybe more like $10k for some quality time? A dedicated email list for support. We discussed briefly adding tags to Discourse discussions from “corp members” that gives them some priority. Lots of issues around this. $20k gets you a 2-day course on site?

  5. I promised to get pricing on what a seat of SAS, SPSS, Strata costs. We can mirror that pricing for a license for Stan for those who desire to pay for Stan. Also the Gates foundation buys software for their use.

  6. We spoke of how to find successful OSS (Open Source Software) orgs that made the transition we are trying to make. Julia and RStudio came up. We spoke of how to address this information gathering goal.

Submitted by Breck Baldwin.

2018/09/26 (regular online meeting)

Board Members

  • Present (7): Andrew Gelman, Dan Simpson, Breck Baldwin, Julie Bertrand, Daniel Lee, Sean Talts, Lizzie Wolkovich.

  • Absent (2): Jonah Sol Gabry, Michael Betancourt.

  • Quorum present? Yes.

  • Others present: None


  • Meeting called to order at 12:05 PM by Presiding Officer, Breck Baldwin.

  • Accepted minutes from 09/18/2018 meeting.

  • Minutes will be publicly posted on

  • Motion (Vote #9). Motion to turn down proposal for funding external Stan development. Seconded and passed 7-0-2.

  • Report from Breck on asking Richard McElreath to join the board. Richard said no for the time being; we can revisit again with him later.

  • Discussion on how to start the Technical Working Group (TWG). Tabled until Bob Carpenter is back in NYC. At a minimum, TWG needs to determine what budget it needs.

  • Discussion on mission statement. There’s a tension between the two broad things we want to do:

    • Stan fits the hardest Bayesian models.
    • Stan is the programming language of Bayesian inference.

    We want to be accessible to bleeding edge computation and applied research. We want to support Stan’s technical development and wise use of Stan.

  • Breck’s Executive Director report

    • Financials / NumFOCUS. Breck briefly discussed the NumFOCUS Summit that happened in NYC over the weekend. He’s been told that we will be able to directly invoice vendors, which should make working with NumFOCUS better.

    • Role. Discussion on role of the Executive Director. Two broad tasks Breck will do as the Executive Director: operating officer and building relationships.

  • Meeting adjourned at 12:55 PM.

  • Minutes submitted by Secretary, Daniel Lee.

Online Activity:

  • 2018/09/21. Vote #7. Reject proposal for funding external Stan development. Vote withdrawn.

  • 2018/09/24. Vote #8. The SGB approves torsten-white_Stan.png use of the Stan logo. Passed 6-1-2. This vote approves the logo artwork indefinitely (the exact image), even if it does not meet our policy in the future. There was a secondary motion presented asking for the logo to be approved for now, but ask for adjustment if it was in violation of our policy. This secondary motion was withdrawn.

  • 2018/09/24. Motion to create a Stan Logo policy. This is currently in discussion.

2018/09/18 (regular online meeting)

Board Members

  • Present (5): Daniel Lee, Breck Baldwin, Julie Bertrand, Sean Talts, Dan Simpson.

  • Absent (4): Andrew Gelman, Jonah Sol Gabry, Michael Betancourt, Lizzie Wolkovich.

  • Quorum present? Yes.

  • Others present: None


  • Meeting called to order at 12:05 PM Eastern by Acting Presiding Officer, Breck Baldwin.

  • Noted that votes will only pass when it’s a simple majority of the full board (not a simple majority of those present).

  • Breck reported on interactions with NumFOCUS. Currently, we are unable to be issued a credit card. There are other options for umbrella organizations and we may want to reconsider if NumFOCUS is not able to handle finances for us in a satisfactory manner.

  • Motion (Vote #3): Breck Baldwin nominated as presiding officer. Seconded and passed 5-0-4 (for, against, abstain (including absentees)).

  • Motion (Vote #4): Move to set up 3 specific email accounts with the “” domain: for Breck Baldwin to use for Stan-related communication as executive director, for an external-facing inbound email address, to go to the active treasurer (when we have one). Brief discussion about which email addresses and whether Breck’s email should be the role or the individual. Seconded and passed 5-0-4. Todo: Daniel and Breck will set up the email addresses.

  • Breck will send reports of his meetings with the different consultants. He will start prefacing reports with “Report” in the title.

  • Breck will post a message to discourse announcing the Stan Governing Body to general. (It has been posted:

  • Everyone on the board should have write permissions to the website. Todo: Daniel will give write permissions to everyone on the board.

  • Motion (Vote #5): Move to reject the request from Metrum Research Group (Shona Kidd) to embed the Stan logo with a Torsten logo. Discussion took place around whether it’s appropriate for any project can embed the logo, the separation between official Stan projects and unofficial ones, and that we would be ok with “powered by Stan” as long as it doesn’t imply endorsement. The motion was seconded and passed 5-0-4. Todo: Breck will respond back to Shona Kidd stating that we disapprove the use of the Stan logo as presented, but are ok with a “powered by Stan” type of wording.

  • Discussion on policy on inbound email. After is set up, we will try to respond to each inbound email within 24 hours, typically with template email. Anyone on the board is allowed to subscribe and share the responsibilities, but is not necessary. Initial volunteers: Breck, Daniel Lee, Daniel Simpson.

  • Short discussion on funding. We discussed a number of things, including paid licenses, focusing on recurring funding, and whether this should be a committee. We decided this was important to the whole board, so will have the email discussion with the whole board. Todo: Breck will send a summary message on what he’s thought about for funding. We will continue the discussion with the whole board via email.

  • Motion (Vote #6). Motion to engage the two consultants we had as the committee: James Vasille (non-profit, board organization) and Kim Crayon (diversity). Seconded and failed 4-1-4. Quick discussion afterwards about describing the expected benefits from engaging with the consultants.

  • Meeting adjourned at 12:55 PM Eastern.

  • Minutes submitted by Board Member, Daniel Lee.

Online Activity:

  • 2018/09/03. Vote #1. The SGB will extend an invitation to Richard McElreath to join the SGB as full voting member. Passed 6-0-4.

  • 2018/09/05. Tamara Broderick has stepped down from the Stan Governing Body. We thank Tamara for her service on SGB and on the Stan NumFOCUS Board.

  • 2018/09/18. Vote #2. Daniel Lee will be secretary of the SGB for the provisional year of this SGB as per Robert’s Rules of Order 11th ed. Passed 6-0-3.