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From Terry Ellison <>
Subject Re: What is needed for Support Forums to be fully integrated into the Apache project
Date Sun, 04 Sep 2011 21:11:47 GMT

There is a small control domain where any Hosting or sponsoring 
organisation may decide to define a set of constraints on the subgroups 
for which it is responsible.  It may also wish to shape direction.   
This issue is for the mentors to give guidance on.

Look, I am not practising a Christian, but even I know Matthew 22:21: 
"Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s ... "   Here you are 
just another PPMC member, and you have absolutely no track record on 
running forums, as far as I know.   In my view, you should leave the 
running of user community forums to people who know how to run these 
forums and have been doing it for years.  Ditto, developers are the best 
people to work out how to develop, etc., or are you going to start 
people how to debug code next?

Surely we all stick to should our core competencies, and win the trust 
of other groups before we stick our noses it their business.  I phrase 
it this way because I know that the same criticism could also be applied 
to me.

Regards Terry

On 04/09/11 21:36, Rob Weir wrote:
> I'm putting aside for sake of this note the alternate approach,
> suggested by some, of allowing the support Forums to operate
> independently outside of Apache.  I'm merely talking about what would
> make the forums into a well-integrated part of the project, in terms
> of decision making, accountability, branding, etc.  I'm not talking
> about technical integration, since that appears to be the easier
> topic., and one that Apache Infra and Terry are already working on.
> If the Forums are to be well-integrated into the project, I think we need:
> == PPMC Oversite and Approval of Forum Policies ==
> Remember, the Forum volunteers -- 75 of them -- are not all committers
> or PPMC members.  Very few of them are.  Very few of of them are
> following this ooo-dev list.  Obviously we should give great deference
> to the real-world experience of current Forum volunteers, but we also
> need to ensure that the Forum works well with project and Apache
> policies as well.
> 1) The Terms of Use and other policy documents used by the Forum
> should be reviewed and approved by the PPMC, and for the former, also
> by Apache legal.
> 2) We need to develop a privacy policy for the Forums, also to be
> reviewed by the PPMC and Apache legal
> 3) Changes to Forum policies, TOU and privacy policy would require a
> proposal on ooo-dev, and discussion and consensus reached there.  It
> is possible that preliminary public discussions could occur in other
> places first, such as on the Forums themselves.  But the project's
> official discussions and decisions are made on ooo-dev.    In other
> words, if it didn't happen on the project's main list (ooo-dev), it
> didn't happen.
> 4) We need the Forum website to conform to Apache branding
> requirements, including the podling-specific requirements
> ==Approval of Forum roles==
> My understanding is that forums have essentially three roles:
> a) Users
> b) Moderators, who delete, edit and move all posts, ban users, etc.
> c) Admins who can also create new forums and assign moderator rights
> 5) Users require no special treatment.  They are like subscribers to a
> users list.
> 6) Being listed as an "admin" or "moderator" on a public-facing Apache
> website suggests endorsement by the project, and aside from any
> enhanced Forum capabilities enhances your ability to keep order on the
> Forums.  In other words, it is the star that makes the sheriff, not
> the gun.  But this endorsement, to be meaningful, should be made
> authentic.   So Admins and Moderators should be approved by the PPMC.
> This kind of routine approval is given all the time for those who want
> to be list moderators.  I see no reason why we cannot, initially at
> least, simply receive a list of current volunteers to ooo-private and
> approve them all.
> 7) Future grants of admin/moderator rights would require a proposal to
> ooo-dev seeking lazy consensus.  Such a proposal could originate from
> a forum volunteer or could originate from anyone on ooo-dev. This is
> no different than someone asking to be a moderator for a mailing list.
> 8) Any project committer, on request, will be made a forum admin or
> moderator.  This is how it works with every other project resource --
> mailing lists, source code, website, etc.   Committers have rights to
> pretty much everything on the project.  We trust our committers. We
> don't segregate the project into exclusive zones of ownership.
> ==Transparency==
> 9) We need all private forum discussions to be echoed to a log or
> mailing list where PPMC and Apache Members can view them.  One way of
> doing this is to echo posts to ooo-private.  Another way is to
> periodically commit logs to the PPMC's private directory.  There may
> be other ways as well.
> 10) The use of private forums must be used for only discussions of
> specific moderation cases.  It must not be used for discussion of
> routine board operations.
> ==Integration into the larger AOOo community==
> Although the forum volunteers appear to have been previously isolated,
> not involved in larger project discussions and decision making, this
> is not optimal for providing support, and it is not optimal for the
> project overall.  We need to encourage cross-pollination and sharing
> of information.  Forums operating in isolation from the rest of the
> project will limit our future success.
> 11) One admin or moderator from each of the 10 language-specific
> boards should be signed up on the ooo-dev list and ooo-users list.
> This could also be done by requiring that Forum Admins also be
> Committers, but that is not something we are starting with, though it
> could be an eventual goal.
> 12) We should also encourage existing committers to participate
> directly in answering questions on the support forum.  It is valuable
> to see how ordinary users use the product and the difficulties they
> encounter.  It puts our coding decisions in perspective.  This is a
> two-way street.  It is not just to encourage support volunteers to be
> more aware of other parts of the project, but also to make other parts
> of the project more involved with support, or at least more aware.
> We're all on the same project.  Our actions and decisions impact each
> other.
> 13) The PPMC should give serious consideration to forum
> admins/moderators who help with the above tasks, for approval as
> Committers and PPMC members.   It is important that the PPMC always be
> looking out for merit that should be recognized.  It does not matter
> that the forum volunteers did not previously participate in overall
> discussions of the project's direction.  That was then, this is now.
> We will all benefit from having support volunteers as part of the
> decision making process, including the important decision of approving
> a release.
> Regards,
> -Rob

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