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From Benson Margulies <>
Subject Re: Stop the vitriolic name calling please.
Date Tue, 17 Aug 2010 12:33:10 GMT
On Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 4:15 AM, Martijn Dashorst <> wrote:

> As a Member, and mentor, I take offense at being called a hawk,
> lunatic, drive-by-shooter, process-obstructor, etc.
 As a very freshly printed member of this PMC, there are, of course, some
limits on what intelligent comment I can offer here. Though, there has been
plenty to read of late, and there are logs of archives.

On the one hand, I completely support Martijn's call for civility. I've
always been taught that you can't run a consensus organization without it
(though over at members@ I've decided to accept the possibility that, to
some extent, you can).

On the other hand, the spectrum of message that I've seen for the last few
weeks on members@, and for the last few days here at the Incubator, suggests
that there are real issues here. People with otherwise sane and civil
electronic personae at the ASF have sent some very heated messages.

To me, this suggests that these people have felt stepped-upon over an
extended period of time, and either (a) didn't choose to raise the issues
when they happened, or (b) felt that they got short shrift when they did.

To explain my point here, I need a neutral replacement term for 'drive-by.'
I'm choosing NMO for 'non-mentor oversight.' It's a gross
oversimplification, but at least it shouldn't insult anyone very much.

I make my 'diagnosis' due to a big perception gap: some people feel that
real damage has been done and feelings have been hurt by NMO, and others
don't just disagree -- they are unaware of the argument. When some people
feel that, for example, PMC votes on podling committers poison the well, and
other people can't see any reason for a fuss, some communications are

In principle, it seems to me, NMO could be neutral-to-positive. For that to
be the case, a few things would have to be true:

1) PMC members would have to take some care to offer NMO in a way that
doesn't come across as 'what seagull just ...'. Templates like, 'I'm not a
mentor of X, but the following phenomenon looks wrong to me. I might feel
that I have to vote -1, can someone help me understand this?' My guess, and
it's just a guess, is that the sudden arrival of a formal -1 from an
unfamiliar source has much more impact that the voter might have

2) Mentors would educate podlings to expect the occasional surprise from a
non-mentor PMC member. This is the flip side of point 1. Sensible people in
podlings should be able to understand the role of the incubator PMC in the
foundation, and understand the special circumstances of the incubator, and
roll a bit with the occasional surprise.

My other broad observation has to do with the criteria for evaluating
projects. A very hard aspect of the incubator PMC is evaluation of a
community. Anyone can count committers, or commits, or companies. The more
subjective criteria are a very fertile field for 'bring me a rock,' in which
podling persons feel compelled to satisfy an unending sequence of quests for
shrubbery from a very large group of PMC members. Note that I'm describing a
risk here, not claiming to have observed a phenomenon -- though I have
observed more or less sane people describing this phenomenon.

A recent example from the Thrift discussion struck me.

At at least one PMC where I'm a member, git usage is very common. Committers
use git-svn to clone, then work on a local branch, get something all in
order with the benefits of DVCS, and then dcommit back to svn.

Remarks on the subject of Thrift hovered, in my view, on the edge between,
'sure use git so long as you push to the ASF repo early and often' and 'git?
git! that's not the Apache Way!'

You know, a podling might teach us things that we should learn to add to the
Apache Way. Just a though to consider.

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