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From "Gav...." <>
Subject RE: future of Forrest Friday get togethers
Date Mon, 26 Jun 2006 13:45:07 GMT
Replying to the original post, but I'll try and reply to other comments

> -----Original Message-----
> From: David Crossley []
> Sent: Monday, 26 June 2006 2:00 PM
> To:
> Subject: future of Forrest Friday get togethers
> (chair-hat=on ... no big deal, it means that the
> views are not necessarily my personal opinion. They are
> concerns that i am raising as the chair.)
> When we started our Forrest Friday monthly IRC get togethers,
> we tried to address the long-standing ASF concerns about
> mailing lists being the primary communication.
> We agreed to go ahead as an experiment, be careful
> with its use, be sure to summarise proceedings,
> commit the logs, enable the whole community to be
> involved, make decisions on the mailing list.
> One of our board reports [1] referred to the commencement
> of these sessions. The board followed up to ensure that
> there is wide community participation. We had a discussion
> on the Forrest private pmc@ mailing list to address
> some specific concerns. Those have subsequently been
> raised on the dev@ list.
> [1] The minutes are now public, so i can point the dev@
> list to them:
> 1_16.txt
> Two of the concerns were:
> ---------
> A) Hard to match IRC handles with developers identities.
> To ensure that participation and oversight is sufficient
> we would need to at least be able to determine PMC members.
> We have tried to deal with this by using better IDs.
> Also some of the committers have applied for "IRC cloaks".
> We need to follow up again to get that list registered.
> ---------
> B) We started out well with the Summaries, but were
> becoming slack.
> We did try to make an effort. This should not be left
> to one person. The situation now feels worse to me.
> ---------

Dirks summary of his notes says:-

	"...General discussion item -> encourage/allow more of this IRC
  	   but experiment with better ID's and summaries to mailing list
	   until we confirm wide community participation ?..."

So to me it seems the board is not against IRC as such, and will keep an
Eye out to see if it works then maybe it can spread elsewhere.

To me as a dev community member it has worked (for me) and has been most

Having real time chat sessions means that I can 'get in the zone' of
something, ask a question, try it, come back, get some more feedback
More or less straight away, ask some more etc... and I get something done,
something more understood that day.

Sure, eventually after a few emails to and from the list over a few days I
might end up with the same result. But each time I have to re-enter the zone
of thought, try it out, email the list, wait a day or so, try it again.

So IRC for me is invaluable for some aspects of Forrest to get my head
around with some real talk. It is by no means a replacement for the main
mail lists - which would also benefit by the logs.

> It is now time to assess whether we want to continue.
> I have been wanting to raise this issue for a while
> The discussion at Incubator [2] spurred me.

I might answer that one too if the conversation looks like it might like my

> Is it successful for us at Apache Forrest?

So far I think yes. I agree with some of what Ross says re:XHTML2. In other
words maybe we should not try to make major decisions on the future of some
aspects of forrest via IRC and those that participate at the time. At the
same time I do not think IRC sessions should just be narrowed down into code
only and close some Issues. 
People have ideas and I've been to every forrest Friday and in every one
someone has said 'I have an idea that might work for such and such, what do
others think...' and then a new idea gets realised. Sometimes people need
that immediate reaction to bounce ideas around and then come up with
reactionary replies. This can not be easily achieved with the main
communication of the lists.

> Does it enable the whole community to be involved?

I don't see why not. If you can install forrest you can install IRC on
whatever platform you use. With the 24 hour period then everyones timezone
is covered. If someone can't make it then the logs or summaries of logs and
also the commits and continued discussion on the lists should ensure the
rest are upto date and kept informed. The important thing here going back to
what I said earlier is to ensure no 'big' decisions on the direction of
forrest or parts of are decided on IRC, but continued on the list so
everyone gets a say if they want.

> Can we address the concern about the summaries?

No single person should be responsible for the summaries as has been
mentioned. Having more than one person at the same time working on a summary
also has its problems. Now, where is that discussion on voluntary allocation
of roles for certain things? This needs revisiting and come come in handy
here. Someone, possibly different each time needs to shout up and say 'yep,
I'll do it this time' then put it up on the website somewhere where it can
be tinkered with later if needed. Summaries of past events should be up the
site somewhere don't you think?

> Should we let it continue?

Yes. Some projects have blogs some have wikis, some use Jira others Bugzilla
(or I like the new Scarab). A couple are now investigating IRC and we have
it already. I would like to see it continue here as it is a great benefit to
me personally and to forrest as a whole.

Ross has suggested and others have already given their thumbs up to trialing
an alternative approach. 

1. - Have shorter sessions, say 2 hours. With a much tighter set of
objectives, for example, one or two related issues that need resolving or
preparing for a release.

I am happy to have a tight set of objectives. In the past there has been a
theme for forrest Friday which is general. Those participating were free to
choose whatever they wanted to do to achieve outcomes which are good for
their agendas/goals but also good for the community as a whole. It is also
true that people participate in forrest project in general to the same
agendas and goals. I believe the term widely used is 'its your itch, go
scatch it'.

So, the problem here then is, if the objectives are set tighter, then it
will appeal to a lesser audience, god knows that there are few enough
attending the IRC sessions currently, we should encourage more participation
not less. Hmm, a catch 22, as I agree that more focused objectives will be
needed for shorted IRC sessions and also that probably more success will be
the result.

2. - One week before the session call a vote as to whether we will run the
session. To proceed a session would need a minimum of three +1, meaning the
voters will attend for the full 2 hours, and no -1, meaning the voter wants
to attend that session but cannot.

Ok, so what time of day will the 2 hour session occur? Having it at the same
time every time is bound to exclude some people globally every time. This
boils down to the same people being able to attend, with a different topic
each time some of those may not be interested in all of them.

I am possibly different from the norm in that I have no agenda and if the
time is reasonable for me to attend then I will be there every time unless
something crops up. I liked the 24 hour sessions because I could nip out, do
a job, come back carry on etc. With a 2 hour session I could also ensure I
would available for the whole time.

Is 2 hours enough ? Sometimes in takes me that long to get into the swing of
things, but that's me. I'd be happier with say 4 hours. I agree with
Cyriaque in the suggestion of having two a month if the time is going to
reduced so much.

Also, why the no on a -1. Everyone who will not attend is automatically a -1
I'd assume.

3. - In addition, one of the attendees must commit to writing a summary
immediately after the session, (this could be done collaboratively during
the session using Guppy or similar - it works on mac now I think)

Agreed, it need not be the same person each time. I think one person who is
going to attend should volunteer this role up front so everyone else know
they don't have to, and that it will get done - then as mentioned others
could perhaps tinker with it afterwards if needed. (Especially if I did it!)

4. - During the session discussion is limited to the identified issues and
social chat. Anything else is deemed off topic and moved to the mailing

Agreed. (woohoo, short answer)

5. - We can keep a list of topics we want to tackle on an FF and vote for
more than one each month, the one with the highest attendance will be the
one to go ahead. This way we ensure maximum community involvement.

Yep, that's cool. If someone has a Eureka moment I don't think it should be
held back though.

6.I feel a tighter focus and a shorter time frame will make it easier for
people to participate effectively, it will also prevent problems such as the
different XHTML2 solutions from occurring since someone with a vested
interest can vote -1 on a session if they are unable to attend.

Agree, with caveats mentioned previously.

> People other than the Forrest PMC can also help with
> this decision. What is your experience?

Erm, see above :)


> (chair-hat=off ... i will try to do followup as an individual.)
> [2] Yesterday the use of IRC came up at Apache Incubator.
> Projects who are experimenting with IRC are asked
> to report their experiences. I tried to relate some
> of ours.
> I find mail archives hard to refer to.
> The current thread starts around here:
> general/200606.mbox/%3c16d6c6200606222119u7c0f64aan8a330f6f8b174df7@mail.g
> or the same via gmane:
> 9
> Re: Extensible Ajax Platform (XAP) Project Update
> Re: primary email, balanced use of IRC
> -David
> --
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