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From Noah Slater <>
Subject Re: Comments threads on Github
Date Fri, 15 Mar 2013 16:31:35 GMT
I'm sorry to hear that you're having problems with the way we do things at
Apache, Matt. But there are very good reasons for all of these things. And
I am happy to talk to you about them, if you're interested?

We keep things on our own infrastructure so that we are vendor neutral, and
so that we can assure the provenance and longevity of the work we are
doing. This is exceptionally important for an organisation like the ASF.

We try to keep everything on the mailing lists, similarly, because that
helps to cement the community around a single channel of information. It is
expected that every committer on the project reads the developer mailing
list, as well as the commits mailing list. This way, you can be sure that
if you have something important to say about development, you can post it
there, or check it in to Git, and the committers will see it. There is no
such requirement for participating or monitoring Github, or Google+, or any
other supplementary community. That is why we must make sure that
conversations are mirrored back to the one place we know that everybody is
watching. This is not an attempt to stifle activity away from the mailing
list. It is an attempt to make sure that people can subscribe to the
mailing list and receive all the necessary information they need to
contribute to the project.

(My wording in my original email in this thread was very unfortunate, and I
regret sending it now. I apologise for it. I was making an assumption about
the solution, instead of talking about the problem. The problem was not
that things were happening on Github. The problem was that the activity
wasn't being sent back to the mailing list which we know everybody reads.)

I'm also sorry to hear that the mailing list is too high traffic for you.
It is my personal experience that the CouchDB lists are moderately light in
traffic. But I suspect I am not your typical mailing list subscriber, in
that regard. ;) One option is to filter the list. That might be filtering
out things you are not interested in, or filtering specifically for things
you are interested in.

Also, you are perfectly free to talk about CouchDB wherever you want. And I
really hope I haven't given you the impression that this would be a bad
thing, or that anybody would perceive it in a negative light. Benoit's idea
for the Google+ community was a great one, for instance. But now we have a
conversation about how to mirror some of that content back to this lists.
(Again, because the lists are the project's "virtual office" if you will,
and we form our community around them.) This doesn't mean Google+ is a
bother, and I wish it would go away. In fact, having to worry about this at
all is something I would class as a Good Problem.

I am sorry you feel like the Foundation's policies are beurocratic and
poorly explained. For what it's worth, when I first joined, I also felt
like this. Over time, I figured out the bits that were not in the docs
(which are often poorly organised) and started to understand the logic
behind why we do things this way. So if you wanna chat about it, just lemme
know what causes you the most pain.

I guess the main doc that you should read is this one:

That sets things out in very broad strokes.

Again, I am sorry for your frustration. Obviously, we have to follow ASF
policy, because we are an ASF project. But if something truly did not make
sense for us, we can change it. The reason we even use Git now is because
that made sense for us, and people like Paul worked very hard to introduce
that to the Foundation in a way that would play nicely with everything else

The policy is not meant to be here to frustrate. And it is certainly not
meant to be here to shut down activity happening on Github. My email was
poorly worded, and I think you should open your PR again. :) Sorry if it
felt like I was picking on you. I actually think your PR is a very good
one, and is exactly the sort of thing we should be doing. One of my plans
post-1.3.0 was to convert all of our top level documentation (README, etc)
into a format so that we look very nice on Github.

Please, if you have any questions, just let me know! Happy to help!

On 15 March 2013 15:54, matt j. sorenson <> wrote:

> On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 7:16 AM, Noah Slater <> wrote:
> > Hey folks,
> >
> > I'd like to bring two things to your attention:
> >
> >
> ^ I opened that one (obviously(?))
> >
> >
> >
> > These just happen to be two pull requests I looked at today, there are
> > more.
> >
> > On the one hand, this is great. Obviously. Any sort of constructive
> > activity happening around CouchDB is great.
> >
> thank you!
> >
> > But on the other hand, this discussion is core development discussion,
> and
> > should be happening on the dev list where everybody can see it.
> >
> I'm not sure where you get that PR#43 is core dev at all, plz clarify?
> >
> > (This is foundational stuff for an Apache project. Community building
> > should be focused around the mailing lists.
> (I've already made it known that I don't agree with this at all)
> > I get that Github is useful for
> > people, but we're not a Github project, so our activity should not be
> > happening there.)
> >
> > I don't know what to suggest. Obviously, I think pull requests are great.
> > And I think the forking model of Github is great, because it allows
> people
> > to contribute more easily, and in a manner that suits them.
> >
> PR#43, for anyone that may have skipped the description and comments
> thread there (or who may have commented and then deleted the comment
> in a rush of "OMG-i-made-a-PR-comment-instead-of-sending-to-the-ML"
> ASF policy loyalty silliness) is precisely about surfacing the Apache
> CouchDB
> contribution policy in a "github-official" manner that will make it far
> more
> obvious ***to githubbers*** in just the way githubbers have (or will) come
> to expect!
> IOW, it aims to greatly aid the very challenge that this email rant is
> about.
> >
> > But on the other hand, we shouldn't be having important development
> > discussions in pull requests.
> disagree, again.
> > The PR isn't even against the Apache CouchDB
> > mirror. It's against a Cloudant fork! (So even less likely that folks are
> > going to see it.)
> >
> > Perhaps one of the policies we could document is that discussion of pull
> > requests must be brought to the list.
> >
> Again, could be accomplished in the manner PR#43 describes(!)
> >
> > That is, if a PR comes in to the Apache Github mirror, then we make a
> > polite comment on the PR that points them to the mailing list thread and
> > asks them to participate in that forum, so the maximum amount of devs can
> > see and contribute.
> >
> > We could also say that if you have a fork of CouchDB, and you're planning
> > to contribute the work back to Apache CouchDB (as is the case with the
> > Cloudant fork) that you do the same with any PRs that are made to your
> > repos.
> >
> > A sample template comment could be as follows:
> >
> > ==
> >
> > Thank you for the pull request!
> >
> > This is a mirror of the Apache CouchDB project, so many of the committers
> > do not monitor it for comments. Instead of discussing this pull request
> > here, I have started a thread on the [developer mailing list] and I
> invite
> > you to participate!
> >
> >
> > ==
> >
> > Additionally, the mailing list thread, or the first reply to it, should
> CC
> > the original author.
> >
> > One alternative to this (which is a bit of a mess, I know) is to write
> > an integration that copies Github comments to the mailing list thread,
> and
> > mailing list posts to the PR. Not sure that would work with forks of the
> > main mirror, however.
> >
> > Thoughts? Flames?
> >
> I'm speaking personally, and I know there are strong and varying
> opinions on the subject among participants here.
> I also know the CouchDB PMC leads have a strong desire to spur
> involvement in the project, and nothing dooms my personal desire
> to work towards contributing than some ill-explained ass-backwards
> 90's era bureaucratic mandate that EVERYTHING be facilitated over
> the ML.
> In fact it is due to that policy and general ASF-iness that keeps me
> closer to the sidelines. This is a hobby, at best, for me at this time,
> and I already have no chance of keeping up with the ML activity.
> I'd rather see the asf git become the archive mirror, quite frankly.
> How many resources could the ASF preserve (or apply more
> productively - development, conferences, promotion) by adopting
> github infra formally (for starters).
> And i'm not some 19-yro kid who grew up always thinking of email
> as irrelevant legacy tech, I've been doing this awhile myself.
> There's a lot to it. And, unsurprisingly, I don't care for essays in
> emails.
> It's about the bazaar model. It's about signal-to-noise (for each
> individual!).
> It's about being able to subscribe to the topics you care about and not
> have
> to wade through the noise of the topics you don't care about, just to find
> those topics you do care about (because at some point, the value prop
> just isn't worth it anymore). It's about *thinking like the web* and
> **observable work**[1].
> (is the ML observable? sure, in a sense, but barely)
> It's about all of that and a whole lot more.
> > Thanks,
> >
> > --
> > NS
> >
> feedback always welcome of course, and thx for listening
> --
> matt
> [1]


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