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From Noah Slater <>
Subject Re: Decision making process (Re: Changing rev to _rev in view results (Was: Re: newbie question #1))
Date Fri, 02 Jan 2009 14:45:38 GMT
On Sat, Jan 03, 2009 at 12:27:20AM +1030, Antony Blakey wrote:
> Is this voting/decision-making process visible?

Yes, the formal decision making process is visible. However, as a group of
people who work closely together we communicate in lots of other ways, be that
public IRC, private IRC, private email, Twitter, or telephone calls. It is
important that we discuss everything official on the mailing list as per The
Apache Way, but it is a natural consequence of our working together that we
become informally aware of each other's position on various topics. Short of
refusing to discuss CouchDB "in real life," I see this as unavoidable.

> If I'm trying to effect a change, how can I judge what would get it over the
> line i.e. who objects and for what reasons?

I guess the best way would be to do a proper proposal and request a vote. This
vote wouldn't be anything official, but it would be an informal way of
soliciting definite feedback from the community and the committers.

> How do I ensure that my patch isn't stuck in development hell while the PMC
> (maybe) waits for consensus to (maybe never) emerge?

If you submitted a patch to the mailing list and requested a vote.

> If I have a change in mind, I would prefer where possible to get at
> least a majority of the PMC on side before doing (possibly a lot of)
> work.

Makes sense. I guess that's where a proper proposal would come in.

> It looks like it is only when a patch is up for approval that any real
> decision will be made i.e. I can't prompt a decision on the metadata thread
> without doing all the work, which may be pointless. That makes a proposal very
> expensive, especially if the PMC doesn't operate in a predictable fashion.

Predictable fashion?

> That in turn makes it less likely that people will contribute, and seem to be
> a strategic weakness.

I'm not sure I follow your reasoning at all.

The way I see it is that if someone suggests something and we all love it, there
is a clear consensus and we would go forward with that. The reverse is also
true. In this particular case it is clear to me that we do not have consensus. I
think part of that may be due to there being no concrete proposal, everyone
seems to be suggesting different things!

We are only at this juncture because nobody can agree on the best way
forwards. All I am saying is that maybe a proper proposal would be a nice idea,
something we can all say "+1" on, or not as the case may be. If you asked me now
what my thoughts were on the whole topic I would tell you that I don't know,
because I'm not even sure what the agreed proposal is, let alone the agreed
consensus is.

> IMO an improvement to this process would be a mechanism to submit a proposal
> to the *PMC*, to get some definitive feedback, the contract being that I'll do
> the proposal and the implementation in return for the PMC being prepared to
> give a provisional indication that a) such work would not be in vain; or b)
> the proposal won't be pursued; or c) more work is needed, but it's not out of
> the question; and/or d) some comment about what would need to be addressed to
> move forward. All of which is to say: is the PMC reified in some way that
> doesn't involve canvassing each member individually?

This process is already in place! Heh. All anyone has to do is write up a
concrete proposal of the changes and submit it to the mailing list requesting a
vote. We can move forward from there. If there are comments about the proposal,
the sponsor could collect them and draft a new proposal. Rinse and repeat.

Noah Slater,

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