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-   -   Board Single Point of Failure (http://www.linux-archive.org/fedora-advisory-board/657433-board-single-point-failure.html)

Toshio Kuratomi 04-19-2012 12:10 AM

Board Single Point of Failure
 
Since the problems withgetting the new banner onto fedoraproject.org for
the SOPA blackout day, the Board has had a ticket open to look into ways that
it can be less of a single point of failure in the future. I've organized
the ideas presented
onhttps://fedoraproject.org/wiki/User:Toshio/sopa-post-mortem

into some guidleines and policy that the Board can implement to "keep itself
honest" -- making so that they address at least some of the issues that
showed up during the decision and implementation ofwhat Fedora would do
forthe SOPA blackout. The draft is here:

https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/User:Toshio/Board_single_point_of_failure

Although not exactly a work in progress, this is by no means set in stone.
Feel free to read, comment, and suggest alternatives to address the issues
brought up on either of the two pages. Depending on how much people want to
change here, the Board will discuss and possibly vote on adopting those
guidelines at their next week's meeting.

THanks,
-Toshio
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Toshio Kuratomi 05-02-2012 08:00 PM

Board Single Point of Failure
 
On Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 5:10 PM, Toshio Kuratomi <a.badger@gmail.com> wrote:
> The draft is here:
>
> https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/User:Toshio/Board_single_point_of_failure
>
> Although not exactly a work in progress, this is by no means set in stone.
> Feel free to read, comment, and suggest alternatives to address the issues
> brought up on either of the two pages. *Depending on how much people want to
> change here, the Board will discuss and possibly vote on adopting those
> guidelines at their next week's meeting.
>
We discussed this in the meeting last week and in general were not
happy with it in several ways.

* There was a general feeling of getting over-bureaucratized
* It was mentioned that these guidelines are largely things we think
we should be doing anyway -- and it was countered that we all feel
that yet aren't succeeding.
* Some people were nervous about allowing votes of less than quorum in
these cases. Other people countered that we generally trust Board
members. Other people noted that the inability to get quorum when
there's not explicitly a meeting is the problem we're trying to solve.
* If we aren't committed to making this happen, it probably won't
happen despite having it as policy (see what happened with the
commitment the Board made to update all of its tickets once a month,
for instance).
* I raised the possibility of just keeping the procedure for making
quick followup decisions as a means of putting more power into the
hands of those who are working on the implementation and desire to get
things done and striking the rest of the draft.
** It was mentioned that doing this in the Board ticketing system was
less than ideal due to Board tickets being private by default. The
idea was put forth that the ticket submitter would need to alert
people to the outcome.

No one had concrete ideas for changing the draft other than reducing
it to only the procedure for quick followups and we decided to ponder
the problem and proposed solution some more.

We'd appreciate constructive discussion on this -- treat it as a
strawman to start generating ideas but see if you can come up with
something better/more likely to succeed. We'll be discussing this at
next week's meeting (hopefully with some better ideas by then :-)

-Toshio
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Stephen John Smoogen 05-02-2012 08:41 PM

Board Single Point of Failure
 
On 2 May 2012 14:00, Toshio Kuratomi <a.badger@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 5:10 PM, Toshio Kuratomi <a.badger@gmail.com> wrote:

> We discussed this in the meeting last week and in general were not
> happy with it in several ways.
>
> * There was a general feeling of getting over-bureaucratized

I think that "general feeling" needs to be expanded.. When you have
groups of people over 20 people, bureaucracy of some sort of another
is going to occur. While the board is less than 10, it reports to a
group of around 5000 (taking active fas accounts)... and that is where
the need for having methods that people know a group is following is
needed.

The proposal seem to be basic items I have seen over and over in
corporate and non-profit charters. They are there because a) they are
painfully obvious and b) they then to get thrown out the door when
other problems come up unless people know they are going to be held to
measure against them.

Sorry for the grumpy tone, but I am really tired of hearing in Fedora
"that is too bureaucratic" one week and then get to complain that
stuff never gets done or everything seems to be done in a vacuum.

> * It was mentioned that these guidelines are largely things we think
> we should be doing anyway -- and it was countered that we all feel
> that yet aren't succeeding.

What is mentioned in the writeup are basic items, but pretty much
every organizational charter has them in place one way or another.
Why.. it keeps clear what the board should be measured against by
itself and by the voters who put them in place. Organizations from
corporations to little non-profits have found that not having these in
place makes them the first things forgotten when other concerns come
up.

> * Some people were nervous about allowing votes of less than quorum in
> these cases. ¬*Other people countered that we generally trust Board
> members. ¬*Other people noted that the inability to get quorum when
> there's not explicitly a meeting is the problem we're trying to solve.

Quorums are always a problem with volunteer organizations. Again these
get outlined in charters because they quickly become the things that
get forgotten or washed aside. What normally happens is that the
charter outlines that a board will be of 3 to X members and that the
membership will ratify a policy saying how many should be on it. If
people can't make the meeting after X times, they are removed, and the
board size is shrunk until a quorum is meant. Yes this can be screwed
with.. just as much as not showing up to meetings over time to make
sure a group doesn't have quorum can be screwed by some individuals.

> * If we aren't committed to making this happen, it probably won't
> happen despite having it as policy (see what happened with the
> commitment the Board made to update all of its tickets once a month,
> for instance).

Well one issue is I see what is outlined above as basic charter
issues. Dealing with tickets are more of a policy level item. In the
case of not being able to meet charter (or constitutional level items)
then a group really isn't working and radical change is needed. In the
case of policy level items, then evolutional changes are needed.

> * I raised the possibility of just keeping the procedure for making
> quick followup decisions as a means of putting more power into the
> hands of those who are working on the implementation and desire to get
> things done and striking the rest of the draft.
> ** It was mentioned that doing this in the Board ticketing system was
> less than ideal due to Board tickets being private by default. ¬*The
> idea was put forth that the ticket submitter would need to alert
> people to the outcome.
>
> No one had concrete ideas for changing the draft other than reducing
> it to only the procedure for quick followups and we decided to ponder
> the problem and proposed solution some more.
>
> We'd appreciate constructive discussion on this -- treat it as a
> strawman to start generating ideas but see if you can come up with
> something better/more likely to succeed. We'll be discussing this at
> next week's meeting (hopefully with some better ideas by then :-)
>
> -Toshio
> _______________________________________________
> advisory-board mailing list
> advisory-board@lists.fedoraproject.org
> https://admin.fedoraproject.org/mailman/listinfo/advisory-board



--
Stephen J Smoogen.
"The core skill of innovators is error recovery, not failure avoidance."
Randy Nelson, President of Pixar University.
"Years ago my mother used to say to me,... Elwood, you must be oh
so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I
recommend pleasant. You may quote me." ¬*‚ÄĒJames Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd
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