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From Terry Ellison <>
Subject Re: [migration] Decision making
Date Thu, 25 Aug 2011 18:18:07 GMT

Thanks for your thoughtful and thought-provoking response on this.  I 
think that we broadly think along the same lines on this.  But the word 
that I would pick out of you reply to flag is "reversible".  There are 
two counter scenarios:  (i) something just isn't reversible so there's 
no way back (but there might be a way costly forward close to where you 
were trying to get to; and (ii) there is a way back but it's going to 
involve time, effort and therefore cost consequences.  In either of 
these, it does seem sensible to do the proposal+ 3 day lag as you 
suggest and as I have just done before hitting the "go" button.

Regards Terry

PS (i) does certainly exist.  Ask BP about Deepwater Horizon.  I've had 
to lead the fire-fighting team on a quite few IT scenarios in my career 
though the cost-consequences were usually a few 0's less in size :)

> On Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 11:58 AM, Terry Ellison <> wrote:
> <snip>
>> We seem to have a Catch-22 here, and this email is about how we break 
>> this
>> and move these aspects of the project forward. My interpretation of this
>> Catch-22 is that whilst our current interactions on the DL are a good 
>> basis
>> for individuals articulating views on a particular thread (and some 
>> seem to
>> generate hundreds of viewpoints) we have no functioning mechanism to move
>> to, and adopt some form of, a consensus policy or decision. The exact
> I've noticed this as well. I think the catch-22 is caused by our
> collective lack of experience with Apache-style lazy consensus. This
> fact, combined with the us having more list participants with opinions
> than list participants able and willing to help with migration, easily
> leads to bikeshedding. This is easy to work through by applying lazy
> consensus.
> The term "lazy consensus" perhaps is misunderstood. It doesn't mean
> that everyone agrees with you. It does it even mean that every
> project committer agrees with you. It means that no committer is
> strongly opposed to your proposal and is willing to back up their
> opposition with technical arguments and the willingness to implement
> an alternative solution.
> Lazy consensus does not even mean that you propose the idea first on
> the list. If something is reversalable and you are convinced that no
> one would object, then JFDI. That is the basis of Commit Then Review
> (CTR). Try to avoid unnecessary discussions on the list. That helps
> us all focus on the things that actually require discussion.
> However, if you think the idea might be controversial, then go ahead
> and post a new [Proposal] thread. State what *you* would like to do,
> and say that you will assume Lazy Consensus if no objects arrive in
> 72-hours. But again, objections must be from committers, backed with
> technical arguments and the willingness to implement alternatives.
> With a list of this many subscribers (over 200 now, I believe) it is
> inevitable that every proposal will garner a range of response. Some
> might be even voiced as +1 or -1. But these notation are often
> misused as well. +1 should mean, "I strongly agree and am willing to
> help". -1 should mean, "I strongly oppose and am willing to help with
> the alternative approach". Intermediate values like +.5 or -0 or
> whatever express various softer opinions [1].
> So let's work through this by:
> 1) Don't ask questions unless you really think something requires a
> discussion. You are a committer. We voted you in because we trust
> you.
> 2) If you think something requires discussion then post a new
> [PROPOSAL] thread, preferably one per separate proposal, and state
> that you will assume lazy consensus in 72-hours (or some longer time
> period at your discretion). If you don't get any legitimate -1's by
> that point, or get other insights that make you want to reconsider
> your proposal, then do it.
> 3) Those who comment on the proposals should try to respect the
> meaning of +1 and -1 and use fractional values to express intermediate
> positions. They should also consider saying nothing. "Silence is
> consent". You might have what seems to you to be a brilliant insight.
> But is it really so important that you should distract us all with it
> right now? Does it really matter. Does it matter enough to hold back
> the progress of migration, or can we deal with it later? (I'm as
> guilty of this as anyone)
> Regards,
> -Rob
> [1]

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