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From "Jean T. Anderson" <...@bristowhill.com>
Subject Derby communications channel policy
Date Fri, 24 Feb 2006 18:50:01 GMT
I've sensed some tension lately on the derby-dev list about the topic of
 offlist communication.  Many projects have a "Communication" page. I
think Derby should do likewise and develop and document a communication

This post uses [n] notations that are dereferenced at the end to avoid
overwhelming the text with URLs.

As a starting point, here is the ASF policy documented in [1]:
> Communication is done via mailing lists. These identify "virtual meeting rooms" where
conversations happen asynchronously, which is a general requirement for groups that are so
geographically distributed to cover all time zones (like it's normally the case for the various
Apache communities).
> Some projects additionally use more synchronous messaging (for example, IRC or instant
messaging). Voice communication is extremely rare, normally because of costs and the language
barrier (speech is harder to understand than written text).
> In general, asynchronous communication is much more important because it allows archives
to be created and it's more tolerant on the volunteer nature of the various communities. 

Most importantly, code decisions *don't* get made on IRC [2]; decisions
only get made on-list where they are formally archived.

Beyond the basic guideline that decisions get made on list, there's a
lot of leeway and projects develop their own policies.

For example, JMeter discusses development issues on IRC and welcomes
user questions [3]. Other projects that promote IRC include Jelly [4],
Lenya [5], mod_perl [6], and Tomcat [7], just to name a handful.
However, not all projects promote wide use of IRC. For example, Forrest
limits IRC to specific time windows for a specific purpose and actively
discourages off-list posts [8]. (Incidently, Forrest posts the logs for
its Forrest Friday IRC sessions.)

The community@apache.org list had a long discussion on the use of
instant messaging at the ASF [9]. In [10] Sam Ruby wrote:

> 1) People should not be any more upset about the use of IRC than they 
> should if two committers on a project happen to bump into each other at 
> an ApacheCon and take the opportunity to discuss a problem that they are 
> working on.

However, in [11] Ben Hyde mentioned the paranoia that can develop with
offlist conversations and made a simple recommendation:

> One thing that helps if people are willing to step forward and testify. 
>   Say "I got into a long conversation with A and B.  We got to thinking 
> This and That, and B admitted he's starting to like Those."  While 
> these admissions may make others feel nervous that these off the record 
> discussions are happening they also help people to know that they 
> aren't, to first order, seed crystals of a conspiracy.

Here's a starting suggestion for Derby guidelines, based largely on the
Forrest guidelines.

Communication Channels
The primary mechanism for Derby communication is the mailing lists.
Anyone can participate, no matter what their time zone. The ASF
maintains a reliable searchable archive of past discussions. Oversight
is enabled. Many eyes ensures that the project evolves in a consistent

The main channel for development is the "derby-dev" mailing list.

The main channel for user support is the "derby-user" mailing list. As
is usual with mailing lists, be prepared to wait for an answer.

The Derby community also maintains an IRC channel on the freenode IRC
network. You are welcome to stop by:

 /server irc.freenode.org
 /join #derby

However, keep in mind that all decisions occur on the Derby mail lists
and not on IRC. Please summarize any off-list knowledge gained and post
it for the benefit of all. For example, if a user asks a question and
gets a response, post that exchange to derby-user. If developers work
out a strategy for solving a problem or figure out how something works,
post that to derby-dev. The more discussions are on-list, the more the
rest of the community will benefit from the understanding that is developed.



[1] http://www.apache.org/foundation/how-it-works.html#management
[2] http://www.apache.org/foundation/faq.html#what-is-apache-NOT-about
[3] http://jakarta.apache.org/jmeter/jmeter_irc.html
[4] http://jakarta.apache.org/commons/jelly/irc.html
[5] http://lenya.apache.org/community/irc.html
[6] http://perl.apache.org/help/irc.html
[7] http://tomcat.apache.org/irc.html
[8] http://forrest.apache.org/guidelines.html#communication

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