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Old 02-15-2012, 12:12 AM
Máirín Duffy
 
Default Requests for Advice from the Board

On Tue, 2012-02-14 at 17:23 -0700, Stephen John Smoogen wrote:
> 2012/2/14 Máirín Duffy <duffy@fedoraproject.org>:
> > Don't hate me, but...
> >
> > On Tue, 2012-02-14 at 12:59 -0800, Max Spevack wrote:
> >> I know that John is just paraphrasing here, but the truth is that there
> >> are a number of times where all you see is something along the lines of
> >> "not an issue for the Board" or "Board says that $PROJECT should do what
> >> it thinks is best".

> Now how can we make this better? Because I can't see being able to
> truly answer various questions before the board.

Well, my point was if the board wants to operate under the 'people doing
the work decide' model, then I think the board should build the
framework that makes it possible for people to get the work done. This
may occasionally involve effort on the part of the board to interact
with the people who do work on things, and making a case to them that
some particular thing would make Fedora a better place. (E.g., hey
Fedora infrastructure team, what do you think about deploying X? We
think it might solve problem Y. This is how we think it'll make our
project better. What do you think? Do you, in your expertise, have a
better solution? Let's solve the problem together.) It doesn't have to
be a decree or an order. It can be a compelling case and story to
hopefully inspire people to action, or if not, show that maybe the
proposed solution wasn't the best and find a better way.

To be honest, I do worry a lot less about what exactly I work on and
more about how to make a positive impact on the project or the world - I
don't think I'm alone. Isn't that what drives us to free software
communities? If someone on the board reaches out to you, taps you to
help them solve a problem, explaining the positive difference and reach
that work would have and helping recruit others to work with you, would
you make the time? (A group of us on the websites team did exactly when
this happened with the board's ~F11 timeframe request for a new
fedoraproject.org.)

The saying, 'go ahead' to things brought up to them rather than
proactively approaching people with compelling projects, making them
feel as if they have a shot at changing things for the better and making
a difference, is certainly a less inspirational mode of operation IMHO.
It could work though, if the board made available a framework under
which people can get things done.

If the board does not do this, the 'people doing the work decide'
becomes 'people who have excessive amounts of free time and/or who are
willing to sacrifice their personal lives and who have the patience and
heart of a saint are the the people who decide.' (And there are many
such people in the project. Valentine's <3 to all of you.)

How the board answers particular questions is orthogonal here, though.
The board doesn't have to be in the business of fielding various
questions if the board follows through and makes it easier for people to
help themselves. (e.g., rather than point people to the dark forest full
of wolves and pray they have the fortitude to make it through, work to
have a set of stadium lighting installed at various points in the woods
to light the way for safe productive wandering.) As a bonus, you're not
really taking sides when you work on the framework around participation,
so I don't think 'sides' would come much into play.

~m



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Old 02-15-2012, 12:50 AM
Josh Boyer
 
Default Requests for Advice from the Board

On Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 5:27 PM, David Nalley <david@gnsa.us> wrote:
> So you mention delegating authority or power, and I think that the
> Board actually possesses very little authority inherently, and I think
> that is a good thing. (But it really makes delegating hard when you
> have nothing to delegate) The real power and authority is with the
> people who are doing the work, so there is nothing to delegate in the
> first place. Yes, as a community we've worked out a number of groups
> (like FESCo, FAmSCo, FPC, etc) that organize and effectively act as
> coordinators, but there's still precious little authority from a
> traditional view point.

This is misleading. The Board sets the overall direction of Fedora. There
is authority in that, and further the FPL HAS override authority for pretty
much anything. So, the Board (and the FPL) has the authority to say no and
while everyone seems to be really afraid of pointing that out, it is still
true.

> I realize that I am preaching to the choir (and to someone with far
> more experience re the Fedora Board), but I personally see the Board
> as minders of the trademarks, and hopefully present to unblock people
> who are trying to get things done, and that is the responsibility
> we've decided to take on. Perhaps, as a board we'll also help direct
> Fedora's future, I think we certainly have the obligation to look out
> for the future of Fedora, but I don't think that having a Board seat
> is a prerequisite for that type of leadership, as a matter of fact,
> I'd argue that anyone can do so.

How can the Board unblock people who are trying to get things done if they
have no authority to do anything? They can't, without telling whomever is
blocking the requester to stop it. Again, the power to say no or knock it
off. (Judiciously used, and rarely at that, but still within the Board's
power.)

If the Board's primary responsibility is trademark guideline adherence and
requests, then I would humbly submit that the Board should be disbanded
because Fedora legal can handle that just fine.

I've been on the Board. I happened to be on one of the Boards that
pro-actively tried to set direction for the Project in both the mission
statement and the target user. Were those happy fun times that everyone
agreed to and held hands and sang happy songs about? Certainly not. Were
they controversial, unclear, and a off-putting to some? Absolutely. Did it
drive some people away from the project as contributors? I have no idea to
be honest. It would be hard to say.

When my term was over, I thought it was a lesson in failure. All I saw was
the turmoil and complaining and quite honestly I was pretty burnt out on
Fedora. I guess time has allowed a bit of reflection and while there may
have been some mistakes made and the end result wasn't perfect, I actually
look back at that as a _good_ thing for Fedora. The Board actually did
something to steer the project and try to clarify who we're targeting.
Most importantly, we weren't afraid to actually exercise the intended
purpose of the Board, even in the face of pissing people off. I find that
much more satisfying than having a Board that is entirely non-opinionated
and seems to exist for the sake of having a Board.

I do see good things coming from the current Board, like the individual
member goals and championing of sub-projects. So please don't take this as
a slam of the current Board. I do wish, however, that you would be a bit
more hands-on even if that is only admitting that you were elected to lead
the project and it's really hard to do. You are not cheerleaders. You are
supposed to get your hands dirty, and sometimes even tell people no if the
occasion shows itself.

josh
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Old 02-15-2012, 12:09 PM
"Paul W. Frields"
 
Default Requests for Advice from the Board

On Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 06:05:31PM -0600, inode0 wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 4:27 PM, David Nalley <david@gnsa.us> wrote:
> > So you mention delegating authority or power, and I think that the
> > Board actually possesses very little authority inherently, and I think
> > that is a good thing. (But it really makes delegating hard when you
> > have nothing to delegate) The real power and authority is with the
> > people who are doing the work, so there is nothing to delegate in the
> > first place. Yes, as a community we've worked out a number of groups
> > (like FESCo, FAmSCo, FPC, etc) that organize and effectively act as
> > coordinators, but there's still precious little authority from a
> > traditional view point.
>
> I'm not sure how to say this exactly but I think you are missing out
> on making a bigger contribution to the project by rejecting
> consideration of issues even when they don't fall into some small
> basket of things that you do have power over. I think this part of the
> conversation applies to more than the Board too. I can't count all the
> times I've heard FESCo members say to someone that whatever they are
> inquiring about isn't a FESCo issue too.
>
> If a contributor or a potential contributor is curtly brushed aside
> they get a message but it isn't always one of empowerment. Often it is
> one of rejection instead. Is it really so hard to say "I/we think this
> is a great/stupid idea for the following reasons but it is something
> that isn't for the Board to decide - you'll need to do X to make it
> happen?"
>
> > In my opinion, individuals who are doing the work have the ultimate
> > authority in Fedora. They make the decisions, and they are getting
> > things done.
> >
> > What the board, and other groups hopefully do is inspire and lead by
> > consensus. They certainly have no compulsory power. However, weighing
> > in on every decision, or even informing folks we've decided not to
> > issue a writ of certiorari belies the real situation - and that is
> > that the folks doing the work should almost always be the ones making
> > the decisions, and (hopefully this always remains true in Fedora) that
> > we trust that those spending their time, most of them donating their
> > time, to Fedora can make good decisions.
> >
> > I personally think that most of the requests (that aren't trademark
> > related) and to which the Board says 'this is none of our business'
> > fall into one of several categories:
> >
> > 1. People who think they need permission - this is rarely the case -
> > yes you might need to be a packager, or have access to some resource
> > that infrastructure might need to provision, but VERY rarely do folks
> > actually need permission from the board.
>
> So say your idea is grand or your idea is hogwash or your idea maybe
> could be improved by paying some attention to this thing. Oh, and you
> don't need our permission but thanks for thinking about our feedback
> when you make the decision.
>
> > 2. People really think that the board is really in charge in a
> > traditional sense - and they seek to have something about/within
> > Fedora changed, and so they have effectively bypassed all of the folks
> > doing the work, and show up on the footsteps of the board asking for
> > some change, a change we are often not in place to mandate.
>
> Even here I think you should consider the issue and share your
> thoughts about it. If those folks ever do get together to work on this
> issue they will be better off with your contribution to the cesspool
> of ideas floating around in the project.

Ouch, "cesspool"? :-) (No worries John, I think I knew what you
meant, it just made me chuckle this morning for some reason.)

I think Max also clarified in a way that jibes well with what you
wrote here. I think what you're suggesting is there should be
followup with the people or team that is responsible (or could be
responsible) for the work in question. That way, there's not a
misconception that the Board is saying "not our problem," as opposed
to "well, you don't need us to decree this, let's talk together with
these folks over here to see how this could just move forward."

Does that about sum it up?

--
Paul W. Frields http://paul.frields.org/
gpg fingerprint: 3DA6 A0AC 6D58 FEC4 0233 5906 ACDB C937 BD11 3717
http://redhat.com/ - - - - http://pfrields.fedorapeople.org/
The open source story continues to grow: http://opensource.com
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Old 02-15-2012, 03:07 PM
inode0
 
Default Requests for Advice from the Board

2012/2/15 "Jóhann B. Guđmundsson" <johannbg@gmail.com>:
> On 02/13/2012 06:05 PM, inode0 wrote:
>>
>> people are ranting because the experience how buggy are
>> features in the GA-releases if they are in such a not
>> conesquently thought state at alpha
>>
>> the last releases it was always fact that they was not ready until
>> GA and if they can't be fixed then "common bugs" are listed in
>> the release notes
>>
>> the problem is here that first the work/change/feature is started as
>> happend often in the past and in the middle of the work more
>> and more people coming with things nobody cared in tghe planning
>> phase what let many of us feel like "there is nothing planned, there
>> were people starting and forcing without any thoughts and the hope
>> that all will get sorted until GA"

Just so it is clear I did not say any of the stuff quoted above.

> I'm currently working on a proposal which might help solve this which I have
> open with the board in the trac system.
>
> I'm seeking two things from the board in that regard before I finish the
> proposal ( or make it more concrete so to speak ) and presenting that to the
> community and or open it with fesco/releng/qa for further discussion and
> feedback.
>
> 1. Rough feedback to the rough proposal as it is in the relevant ticket
> (question thoughts comments ).
> 2. The board to reach within the walls of Red Hat to see if there is any
> will from Red Hat to participation/cooperation in the proposal and if so to
> what extent Red Hat is willing to participate and what they would seek from
> such cooperation ( It would be illogical for Red Hat not to be willing to
> participate in it from my pov ).
>
> The content of the proposal is not depended on Red Hat
> participation/cooperation in it however the outcome of that decision is a
> decisive factor on how I continue to proceed with writing of that proposal
> since lack of their involvement might mean a bit more work for us to do and
> how we do it.

Good luck.

John
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:59 PM
inode0
 
Default Requests for Advice from the Board

On Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 7:09 AM, Paul W. Frields <stickster@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 06:05:31PM -0600, inode0 wrote:
>> Even here I think you should consider the issue and share your
>> thoughts about it. If those folks ever do get together to work on this
>> issue they will be better off with your contribution to the cesspool
>> of ideas floating around in the project.
>
> Ouch, "cesspool"? :-) *(No worries John, I think I knew what you
> meant, it just made me chuckle this morning for some reason.)

I often refer to an abstract pool of ideas as a cesspool since I
expect almost all of them to be waste. But I also think of this
cesspool as the source of much magic when some of the good ideas in
there find each other and out of that comes something special. I
didn't mean it in a negative way, more a humorous characterization of
a large somewhat random pool of thought. I'll post a bit more about
this in another thread soon.

> I think Max also clarified in a way that jibes well with what you
> wrote here. *I think what you're suggesting is there should be
> followup with the people or team that is responsible (or could be
> responsible) for the work in question. *That way, there's not a
> misconception that the Board is saying "not our problem," as opposed
> to "well, you don't need us to decree this, let's talk together with
> these folks over here to see how this could just move forward."
>
> Does that about sum it up?

Pretty much. I'm not sure it would be the Board's responsibility to
track or do followup. I think it is the Board's responsibility to make
people who come to it with concerns or ideas not feel marginalized
doing so. And I think by responding to folks in a way that shows you
cared enough to actually consider and think about what they said goes
a long way even if in the end you explain why can't wave a magic wand
and just make it happen. It is the advisory board and I think by doing
more advising people feel better treated and the culture around the
project is improved by the existence of the advice.

John
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:03 PM
Toshio Kuratomi
 
Default Requests for Advice from the Board

On Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 11:01:54AM +0000, "Jóhann B. Guđmundsson" wrote:
> On 02/13/2012 06:05 PM, inode0 wrote:
> >people are ranting because the experience how buggy are
> >features in the GA-releases if they are in such a not
> >conesquently thought state at alpha
> >
> >the last releases it was always fact that they was not ready until
> >GA and if they can't be fixed then "common bugs" are listed in
> >the release notes
> >
> >the problem is here that first the work/change/feature is started as
> >happend often in the past and in the middle of the work more
> >and more people coming with things nobody cared in tghe planning
> >phase what let many of us feel like "there is nothing planned, there
> >were people starting and forcing without any thoughts and the hope
> >that all will get sorted until GA"
>
> I'm currently working on a proposal which might help solve this which
> I have open with the board in the trac system.
>
Is that this ticket:

Fedora LTS and a single rapid release proposal -
https://fedorahosted.org/board/ticket/133

or are you talking about something different?

-Toshio
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