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Old 04-11-2010, 01:16 PM
Markos Chandras
 
Default Policy regarding the inactive members

Hello folks,



Looking through the Council project page, the policy regarding the inactive council members doesn't look optimal to me



"To ensure that the council stays active, the chosen metastructure model says that if a council member (or their appointed proxy) fails to show up for two consecutive meetings, they are marked as a slacker."



So the attendance to council meetings is enough to prove that a member is active? 0_o



How about the participation to the discussions which took place every day on our mailing lists or in IRC? I guess not since we need to explicitly bring each issue to the meeting so council can talk about it. So it is ok to discuss and decide on a topic without knowning all the previous discussion which took place on the mailing list. Because I really doubt that *all* council members are reading the mailing list in daily basis so they get to know everything that is going on to Gentoo.



The role of the council is the following one:



"The elected Gentoo Council decides on global issues and policies that affect multiple projects in Gentoo"



I am not sure that everybody is aware of the councils' role. The only council members who look active to me are Petteri and Denis. We miss 5 more people but I am pretty sure they will be present to the next meeting hence they will be considered as "active members". This is why the current policy looks wrong to me.



A stricter rule should apply and clearly define when a council members is slacking and hence it has to be substituted immediately. Council is the core project of Gentoo ( at least it should be ) and it cannot afford inactive members.



And because talk is cheap and we already burned our keyboards out the last few days here is my proposal:



A council member is inactive when:



1) He is inactive in critical discussions ( such as the whole Phoenix discussion ) for a certain period of time

2) Fails to accomplish his role by supervising the Gentoo projects. Remember we have plenty of Gentoo projects nearly dead and there is no way for us to participate since contacting the project leaders is a no-go. Indirect question: Is the council aware of the status of all projects? Shouldn't it be since he is responsible for them?

3) Fails to attend the meetings. But this should be the last proof of their activity

4) ...



If a council member is declared "inactive" then it will be substituted by the next non-elected member.





Please, tell me exactly what does the "global issues and policies that affect multiple projects in Gentoo" means. What is your current role and ? It seems quite abstract to me so I am requesting you to elaborate.



I feel sorry to admit that the current council failed to become a good leader for Gentoo and his inactivity demotivates both users and developers[1][2] [ etc etc ]



[1] https://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-822041.html

[2] http://archives.gentoo.org/gentoo-dev/msg_bc884b5ec61a159a6c15323b2a67965c.xml



--

Markos Chandras (hwoarang)

Gentoo Linux Developer

Web: http://hwoarang.silverarrow.org
 
Old 04-11-2010, 01:50 PM
Markos Chandras
 
Default Policy regarding the inactive members

On Sunday 11 April 2010 16:16:37 Markos Chandras wrote:
> Hello folks,
Sorry for the html email. Kmail betrayed me once again
--
Markos Chandras (hwoarang)
Gentoo Linux Developer
Web: http://hwoarang.silverarrow.org
 
Old 04-11-2010, 01:59 PM
"Tony "Chainsaw" Vroon"
 
Default Policy regarding the inactive members

On Sun, 2010-04-11 at 16:16 +0300, Markos Chandras wrote:
> So the attendance to council meetings is enough to prove that a member
> is active? 0_o

Yes, since council meetings are where the crucial voting happens.
Council members that fail to show up to meetings are not generating the
output we have voted them in for.
Any other opinions they display (be it on mailing lists, IRC, jabber,
radio programs, TV shows) which do not result in a changed vote are
irrelevant.

Regards,
Tony V.
 
Old 04-11-2010, 02:04 PM
Matti Bickel
 
Default Policy regarding the inactive members

/me puts on his asbestos underwear

Markos Chandras wrote:
> So the attendance to council meetings is enough to prove that a member is
> active? 0_o

Yes. Anything else is just too hard to measure, imo. If you notice a
council member acting w/o knowing what the heck is going on, then vote
him down next election.

> place on the mailing list. Because I really doubt that *all* council members
> are reading the mailing list in daily basis so they get to know everything
> that is going on to Gentoo.

This is impossible. Council should follow -council and debate points
pushed onto their agenda via -dev. At least that's my understanding.

> The only council
> members who look active to me are Petteri and Denis.

While I applaud Denis and Petteri for taking a stand on the pit that
-dev is, I doubt council members should be required to participate here.
They can vote on an issue without discussing their opinion first, based
on their technical/social experience (which is what I voted them in for,
in the first place)

> A council member is inactive when:
>
> 1) He is inactive in critical discussions ( such as the whole Phoenix
> discussion ) for a certain period of time

Please, no. Or we start to get -council/-dev threads about why a certain
thread here is not considered critical by half of the council when they
don't reply. If you can't put a number on it, please don't make it a
hard requirement.

> 2) Fails to accomplish his role by supervising the Gentoo projects.

This isn't even in their domain. I would complain *loud* about any
council member interfering with projects unless it's an inter-project
issue. The council is meant for arbitration and vision, not for
commanding devs.

> Remember we have plenty of Gentoo projects nearly dead and there is
> no way for us to participate since contacting the project leaders is
> a no-go.

Huh? That's what I did with php. Chtekk was most helpful, and because
he's no longer active (wish him all the best!), nobody stopped me from
updating the projects pages to reflect that (after speaking to the team,
of course!)

Rather than relying on the council for whatever "leadership" you want,
please just DO something that scratches YOUR itch. I'm aware our current
technical/social infrastructure is not up to par on handling large scale
contributions by hundreds of users/non-devs. I realize there's this
impression that every time you have an idea there's a mob of people
stoning your idea to death. I have however observed that the more mature
(read: the more implemented code) your idea is, the smaller the stones.
And if your idea is good enough, others might use their stones for
building instead of mud-slinging.

Just my 2cent.
 
Old 04-11-2010, 03:01 PM
Denis Dupeyron
 
Default Policy regarding the inactive members

On Sun, Apr 11, 2010 at 7:16 AM, Markos Chandras <hwoarang@gentoo.org> wrote:
> Hello folks,

Hi Markos. A small detail first. You shouldn't cross post as it makes
things confusing and often results in threads splitting. I have no
problem with that because my email client merges threads but it's not
the case for everybody.

> Looking through the Council project page, the policy regarding the inactive
> council members doesn't look optimal to me

If you look at the summary of the last council meeting you will see
that I was tasked to start discussions on rewriting GLEP 39. I have
gathered input from various sources and will start posting the
discussion topics real soon now. One of them is about voting by email
which impacts the slacker rule. Your email will be particularly useful
for the discussion of that topic.

> 1) He is inactive in critical discussions ( such as the whole Phoenix
> discussion ) for a certain period of time

This is an interesting concept but finding a metric to gauge activity
based on mailing list discussion is very difficult for two reasons.
You use the example of the Phoenix discussion as one where council
members should have posted to show their activity. However, although
you consider me active you may have noted that I haven't publicly
participated to it. This doesn't mean I don't care or don't have an
opinion on it. But, and this is the other reason, much of the work I
do is done in private. Not that I want to hide anything but I read
threads and based on what developers and users say I ask questions,
advise, (re-)motivate, or connect people, etc... And I do that in
private because it doesn't make much sense to have those conversations
on mailing lists, and also because you guys already see enough of me
there.

> 2) Fails to accomplish his role by supervising the Gentoo projects. Remember
> we have plenty of Gentoo projects nearly dead and there is no way for us to
> participate since contacting the project leaders is a no-go. Indirect
> question: Is the council aware of the status of all projects? Shouldn't it
> be since he is responsible for them?

Another hard one to find a metric for. Beyond that, when I wrote my
manifesto for last year's elections I talked with other developers
about the possibility for the council to "audit" projects on a
volunteer basis. By audit I meant and explained that the council would
closely look at a project at their request and offer advice on short
and long term operation. This wasn't well received at all, to the
point that I didn't even bother adding it to my manifesto.

It seems that project leads like to consider their project as their
own little corner of Gentoo, and don't like too much to be interfered
with. I'm personally OK with that. One of the reasons is that we rely
on volunteer manpower and you can't force a volunteer to do anything
(s)he doesn't want or like or (s)he'll leave. You have to be very
careful when interfering with their work and find the right balance
which will change from one situation to the other.

One example I remember is when last year the kde project was
considering going forward without a lead. It isn't technically a
top-level project so it isn't required to have a lead. I thought that
in the case of such a large project it was a bad idea to not have one
though. I wanted to force an election but decided I would wait for the
right opportunity to make it happen as smoothly as possible. Jorge
will probably confirm that there was no arm wrestling involved. Making
such things happen without hurting anybody and stepping on anybody's
toes requires a lot of thinking and planning. From the opinion of a
lot of devs it's about as far as one should go. By the way this is
probably the kind of "leadership" Ben was referring to in his recent
thread, although I didn't mention it there as I don't like bragging
about these things.

> I feel sorry to admit that the current council failed to become a good
> leader for Gentoo and his inactivity demotivates both users and
> developers

I partly agree with you. I considered resigning last year when I saw
the disaster from the inside. Ferris convinced me that the right thing
to do was to stay on and do my best to keep things working and change
them when necessary. Which I'm still trying to do, but right now I'm
not sure I'll run next time.

Denis.
 
Old 04-11-2010, 03:02 PM
Roy Bamford
 
Default Policy regarding the inactive members

On 2010.04.11 14:16, Markos Chandras wrote:
> Hello folks,
>
> Looking through the Council project page, the policy regarding the
> inactive
> council members doesn't look optimal to me
>
> "To ensure that the council stays active, the chosen metastructure
> model says
> that if a council member (or their appointed proxy) fails to show up
> for two
> consecutive meetings, they are marked as a slacker."
[snip]

Markos,

Thats from GLEP39. The council has already ruled that they cannot
change GLEP39 without a general vote of all Gentoo devs.

This suggests you need to present your proposals as an amendment to
GLEP39 and that all devs need to vote on it.

Others have already pointed out a few issues with your proposal, so
I'll stop there.

--
Regards,

Roy Bamford
(Neddyseagoon) a member of
gentoo-ops
forum-mods
trustees
 
Old 04-11-2010, 03:17 PM
Zeerak Mustafa Waseem
 
Default Policy regarding the inactive members

On Sun, Apr 11, 2010 at 04:04:57PM +0200, Matti Bickel wrote:
> /me puts on his asbestos underwear
>
> Markos Chandras wrote:
> > So the attendance to council meetings is enough to prove that a member is
> > active? 0_o
>
> Yes. Anything else is just too hard to measure, imo. If you notice a
> council member acting w/o knowing what the heck is going on, then vote
> him down next election.
>
> > place on the mailing list. Because I really doubt that *all* council members
> > are reading the mailing list in daily basis so they get to know everything
> > that is going on to Gentoo.
>
> This is impossible. Council should follow -council and debate points
> pushed onto their agenda via -dev. At least that's my understanding.

But isn't it the councils purpose to lead gentoo? I agree it's damn hard to measure. A thing that could be done is to appoint one person to speak on behalf of the council and to follow -dev. The entire Python-3 stabilization could have used a figure to say that it was to be stabilized or not and state why and what should (and would) be done to prevent the same situation in the future. Imo Gentoo sorely needs a leader. Someone to bring all of these various bodies of gentoo to work together.

> > 2) Fails to accomplish his role by supervising the Gentoo projects.
>
> This isn't even in their domain. I would complain *loud* about any
> council member interfering with projects unless it's an inter-project
> issue. The council is meant for arbitration and vision, not for
> commanding devs.
>

Well, the way I understand it, the council is elected to lead Gentoo. By leading they have to either delegate to someone to supervise Gentoo projects or do it themselves.
It isn't supervision in a "Why is developer X not doing anything" but rather as "This project hasn't moved forward for X months, let's get in touch and hear what's going on and what can be done about and whether or not anything should be done".
Gentoo consists of the projects it works on (and has worked on), leading Gentoo must also mean leading the projects.

> Rather than relying on the council for whatever "leadership" you want,
> please just DO something that scratches YOUR itch. I'm aware our current
> technical/social infrastructure is not up to par on handling large scale
> contributions by hundreds of users/non-devs. I realize there's this
> impression that every time you have an idea there's a mob of people
> stoning your idea to death. I have however observed that the more mature
> (read: the more implemented code) your idea is, the smaller the stones.
> And if your idea is good enough, others might use their stones for
> building instead of mud-slinging.
>

But if the council is elected to lead Gentoo, then they are the ones to look at when there is a seeming lack of leadership. I do agree that doing something yourself will always be the first step, but there is no way every developer can keep track of everything that's going on. It seems to me that the need for Gentoo at the moment is, someone who can keep track of the ongoings of Gentoo and make the necessary decisions to further this distribution. A council is a very good idea, but it is a slowly moving process and there needs to be an intermediate person that can do the day to day decisions, and this person would of course take the most important issues (along with anything the individual developers think should be taken care of) to the council for the council to vote on.

I utterly fail to see why there should be any rock throwing. It should not be hard to voice your concerns about an idea without coming off as hostile. Rather than seeing a problem with the idea, one should look for solutions. And on that note I fail to see why flaming occurs, this is a workplace and you don't get into arguments (heated debates yes but not arguments) with your other employers, do you? And even if it is a volountary workplace and it's on the internet, the same courtesy should be shown. I know all of you already know this, but if there's something you think might not be understood in the manner you intend in real life, then it definately won't be understood in the manner you intend on the internet.
And there's something good about that this is on the internet. If you feel like you're starting to get agitated, take a breather, no one will know any better, other than (hopefully) your responce will be that much more relaxed.

As an endnote I should say that I know you're all doing your best here, so keep it up!

--
Zeerak Waseem
 
Old 04-11-2010, 03:27 PM
Duncan
 
Default Policy regarding the inactive members

Matti Bickel posted on Sun, 11 Apr 2010 16:04:57 +0200 as excerpted:

>> A council member is inactive when:
>>
>> 1) He is inactive in critical discussions ( such as the whole Phoenix
>> discussion ) for a certain period of time
>
> Please, no. Or we start to get -council/-dev threads about why a certain
> thread here is not considered critical by half of the council when they
> don't reply. If you can't put a number on it, please don't make it a
> hard requirement.

Agreed. I just don't see how this is can be practically enforced. Even
if it's possible to cleanly determine what threads apply, do we really
want council members posting the equivalent of "discussion-present"
messages? Does failure to post when someone else said it better, or even
just said it already, indicate inactivity?

>> 2) Fails to accomplish his role by supervising the Gentoo projects.
>
> This isn't even in their domain. I would complain *loud* about any
> council member interfering with projects unless it's an inter-project
> issue. The council is meant for arbitration and vision, not for
> commanding devs.

I believe this was, in fact, specifically one of the reasons the purpose
was worded as it was, "global issues and policies that affect multiple
projects". Even if it was humanly possible for council to micro-manage,
should it? Projects and their leaders (and many participants) wanted the
flexibility and freedom to make their own decisions, not have council
constantly second-guessing them.

Instead, the wording is deliberately limiting to global Gentoo and inter-
project issues, tho it can be noted that there remains in effect a way for
council to act in the affairs of an individual project, should it be
deemed necessary, by declaring the issue to have escalated to enough
importance that it's now a global Gentoo issue. So there's a means of
escalation should it be necessary, and it's the council that makes that
judgment, subject only to reelection votes, but if it's clearly getting
out of hand, people will walk and form a new "genthree", if it comes to it.

....

But an issue that I've wondered about before, that I've never seen
addressed, is this: With default-monthly meetings and council serving
only a year, that's only 12 meetings. A council member could make every
other one, skipping the last three in a row, and effectively the only
thing that could be done would be not reelect him.

Now people are human, get sick, have loved ones die, have an earthquake
hit the day of the council meeting, whatever, so there's gotta be some
give.

But it always seemed to me that a rolling 2 out of 3 should be required,
possibly with a council-can-forgive-one-absence clause. So if you miss
one, you better make the next two or you're forced to appeal to the "at
the mercy of the council" clause. And you can only use that council-mercy
vote once, so if it happens again, you're out, period.

Also, there needs to be a way for an accelerated new election, should it
be needed, as otherwise, by 8 months in, by the time the machinery gets
going, the new councilor might get in for the last meeting, when
presumably the old council is only finishing up tail-ends. Is it even
worth it? But that's really a topic for another (sub?)thread.

Another alternative would be to make the terms a bit longer, perhaps 18
months or two years, having half the council replaced every 9 months or
annually. Or make it 14 months and stagger terms starting every two
months. The idea being, it's never "the last couple months" for
everyone. And if the terms are staggered every two months, elections
would be basically constant, they wouldn't be such a big deal, and council
policy changes would be more gradual.

--
Duncan - List replies preferred. No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master." Richard Stallman
 
Old 04-11-2010, 04:12 PM
Matti Bickel
 
Default Policy regarding the inactive members

Zeerak Mustafa Waseem wrote:
> But isn't it the councils purpose to lead gentoo?

It's my understanding that council gets elected to lead gentoo as a
whole. But in the end the one doing the work gets to decide what's going
on (as long as it's intra-project; the only thing i remember where
council got to vote on a "project" outcome is PMS/EAPI)

Don't get me wrong: several times i hoped for somebody with authority to
magically end discussions on an issue, handing out the right direction
and be done with it (you already mentioned python-3).
But in a "consensus" community like gentoo we will instantly have
discussions about "our" definition of "right direction". Only a select
few still have that authority required to end a sub-thread with their
"right direction". And this is mostly because they post hard facts you
are buying because they've done so for years and otherwise kept their
mouth shut.

But i disgress..

> By leading they have to either delegate to someone to supervise
> Gentoo projects or do it themselves.

No. It just doesn't work that way. GLEP39 says projects may have a
leader, who will hopefully be responsible to the projects members.

That's the person you want to turn to. Older projects may still have a
"operation" lead and a "strategic" lead. In that case, you want the
"strategic" lead

The whole wording and history of the GLEP gives projects most of the
power. They can't be blocked by the community, they can conflict, they
can go defunct at any time. All these are explicitly spelled out in the
GLEP.

> I do agree
> that doing something yourself will always be the first step, but
> there is no way every developer can keep track of everything that's
> going on.

They are not required to. I'm not required to know of the wiki project
or the huge issue that python3 going stable seems to be. My
responsibility as a dev is to keep up with things I work on, like EAPI
changes. If I *want* others to notice, I'll contact council (if I need a
decision) or PR (if I have an announcement).

You are proposing a centralized solution. This hasn't worked since
Daniel left and I personally think gentoo's too large to successfully
try it again.

> I utterly fail to see why there should be any rock throwing.

Me too. But it happens. Despite a dozen folks calling for calm again and
again. I don't want to offer explanations for it, this mail has gotten
long enough as it is
 
Old 04-11-2010, 07:17 PM
"Jorge Manuel B. S. Vicetto"
 
Default Policy regarding the inactive members

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

On 11-04-2010 13:16, Markos Chandras wrote:
> Hello folks,
>
> Looking through the Council project page, the policy regarding the inactive
> council members doesn't look optimal to me

As others have already explained, this is from GLEP39 and it has an
historic background. The council after some discussion wasn't able to
agree they could change it and as I've said before, I'm one of those
that believes this cannot be changed by the council or by a simple
"proposal" from any dev. Any change to this policy in my opinion
requires a global vote by the dev community.

> The role of the council is the following one:
>
> "The elected Gentoo Council decides on global issues and policies that affect
> multiple projects in Gentoo"
>
> I am not sure that everybody is aware of the councils' role. The only council
> members who look active to me are Petteri and Denis. We miss 5 more people but
> I am pretty sure they will be present to the next meeting hence they will be
> considered as "active members". This is why the current policy looks wrong to
> me.

What you and others don't seem aware is that not everyone agrees with
this interpretation or with your view about what the council is or
should be.

> I feel sorry to admit that the current council failed to become a good leader
> for Gentoo and his inactivity demotivates both users and developers[1][2] [
> etc etc ]

I disagree with you, but more importantly I disagree with the way you're
bringing this up. Yes, you can disagree with the current council and you
may not feel represented by it. Furthermore, you're free to express your
divergent opinion. But if you want to "replace" the council. you'll have
to wait for the next election where you'll have to convince developers
to vote in a different way and if you feel so strongly about the council
work you may even want to stand for the election.

- --
Regards,

Jorge Vicetto (jmbsvicetto) - jmbsvicetto at gentoo dot org
Gentoo- forums / Userrel / Devrel / KDE / Elections
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