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From Berin Lautenbach <be...@wingsofhermes.org>
Subject Re: PPMCs and oversight
Date Mon, 29 Dec 2003 07:15:14 GMT
Aaron Bannert wrote:

> On Sun, Dec 28, 2003 at 03:43:56PM +1100, Berin Lautenbach wrote:
> I'm confused by what you are saying. Do you believe there should
> be one person in an authoritative position for each PPMC or not? I
> am strongly against having "roles" within the ASF. Roles go against
> the way volunteer organizations work. Volunteers at the ASF will
> contribute when they can. It is difficult for most people to commit
> to certain responsibilities when they must keep real life at a
> higher priority (work, family, etc). By keeping things simple and
> allowing people to contribute when they are best able to, we all
> benefit.

One of the reasons I like the ASF is that it is a formal structure 
around volunteer work.  If you look at volunteer organisations, they 
don't just take people and let them do whatever they want.  They channel 
and put some formality in place to ensure the right things are being 
done in the right way in the right place.

That requires formalised roles.  They exist in volunteer organisations 
everywhere.

Similarly here.  It's not enough to just have enthusiastic volunteers. 
There needs to be some focus around those areas that the organisation 
(in this case the ASF) sees as important from a governance perspective.

I will absolutely agree that we want to keep them to a minimum.  But 
that minimum must exist for the ASF (as an organisation) to work.  PMC 
Chairs, board members etc.  Without that structure, the ASF would simply 
be another Sourceforge - which is not a bad thing, but it is very 
different to the ASF.

> 
> I also don't understand what kind of "accountability" you expect
> someone to step up and accept? What magic feats do you see mentors
> performing for which the Incubator PMC would not be better? I fail
> to see any benefit to this sort of artificial bottleneck. Besides,
> if there are serious issues to be taken care of (which I would hope
> would be rare) would not a mentor be doing the Incubator PMC a disservice
> by hiding those issues from the PMC?

Exactly my point!

As an Incubator PMC member who is not actually a mentor on any project, 
I don't personally give a tinker's cuss whether any of the projects 
(with one or two exceptions :>) succeed in the Incubator or not.

However, I *do* care that, as a member of the PMC, I am discharging my 
role in ensuring the ASF is being protected, and that projects entering 
the foundation do so in a manner that will not bring harm on the foundation.

To be comfortable, I want to know that there is an ASF member who is 
tracking what the incubating project is doing.  If any issues arise, I 
want to know about them soonest!  My best chance of doing that is by 
knowing that the ASF member has taken responsibility for protecting the ASF.

>>>I think it's important that there are at least a couple Incubator PMC
>>>people subscribed to the PPMC mailing lists, but those people *are*
>>>the "Mentors". If a PPMC has an issue they should send an email and
>>>also cc: the pmc@incubator.apache.org mailing list.
>>
>>No - IMO these people are *not* the mentors (or at least this alone does 
>>not make them so).  As a PMC member, I subscribe to PPMC lists to make 
>>sure I understand what is going on, and so that when a question comes up 
>>that needs input/oversite from the Incubator PMC then I can adequately 
>>do my part.
> 
> 
> That sounds like mentoring to me. Or sheparding. Or incubating.
> It's all the same. You are on the PMC because you are interested
> in incubating new ASF projects, right?

Yes - but not in the sense that I am interested in seeing them 
successfully incubate (again with one or two exceptions :>).  I am 
interested in seeing that the role of the Incubator is being discharged 
as required by the board.

> 
> If you are involved in the Incubator project (not just on the PMC)
> then you already have shown that you are interested in helping new
> projects incubate. If you go so far as to actually join the PPMC
> list then it's obvious that you are interested in that particular
> community. In my mind once you get that far you are a "mentor".
> 

No.  For example, I have joined the Geronimo PPMC.  That's not because I 
am particularly interested in the J2EE project (although it's 
interesting stuff!).  It's also not because I feel I can assist (my 
background is mainly C/C++ and security).  It is because there have been 
lots of concerns around licensing and use of non ASF code.  As an 
Incubator PMC member I feel I should be fully accross this issue, so I 
have joined the PPMC.

> I make a distinction between teaching and doing. The way I see it,
> veteran ASFers who are interested in incubating new ASF project
> communities should join the Incubator PMC and any PPMCs that they
> find interesting. By participating in those discussions, they can
> teach these new projects how to behave like ASF projects.
> 

Now that is what I see as a Mentor!

> It seems to me that we have inadvertently invented the role of
> Mentor to *do* all the work necessary to become an ASF project. It
> is this idea that I am opposed to. I fail to see anything that must
> be performed by a Mentor that should not instead be done either by
> the project itself or be brought to the attention of the Incubator PMC.

I nearly agree.  The mentors are there to assist and help.  However 
there should be one person (the single mentor that we originally had) 
who is tracking the project, the PPMC etc., holding them to task and 
making the Incubator PMC aware of any issues.  That to me is a critical 
task, and one that requires a level of accountability.

> Given the above, I fail to see the necessity. Critical issues should
> be brought to the attention of the Incubator PMC. Everything else
> should be handled within the PPMC and the work to become an ASF
> project should be handled completely within the PPMC. "Mentors" as
> I see them exist as guides and to help foster new project communities
> so that they can best exist within the ASF. The best way to do that
> is to join the PPMC and development lists for incubated projects.

I think we nearly agree.  I want some formality around ensuring the 
Incubator PMC is aware of issues.  That requires a responsible person to 
ensure that it happens.

> 
> -aaron
> [I hate long emails. :)]

Me too - but I seem to love writing them ;>.

Cheers,
	Berin



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