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From Rob Weir <robw...@apache.org>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] Having New Committers also be on the PPMC
Date Fri, 30 Sep 2011 14:52:36 GMT
On Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 10:33 AM, Rory O'Farrell <ofarrwrk@iol.ie> wrote:
> On Fri, 30 Sep 2011 10:15:52 -0400
> Rob Weir <robweir@apache.org> wrote:
>
>><snip>
>
>> By my count we have 72 committers right now, almost all of them also
>> PPMC members.  With the new IBMers coming on board, as well as
>> possibly forum admins/moderators/volunteers (at least according to one
>> draft proposal), we could shortly have 120+ committers/ppmc members.
>>
>> This is not just quantitatively different.  This is qualitatively
>> different.  It is no longer a committee.   It doesn't work like a
>> committee.  It doesn't think like a committee.  It is not necessarily
>> a bad thing, but it is qualitatively a different thing.  It is more
>> like a congress, where factions form and individual voices are less
>> heard.  The voice of reason is less often heard in a "committee" of
>> 120 people.  It doesn't cut through the noise.
>>
>
> Without wishing to engage in this discussion in any depth, I point out that the accepted
wisdom is that the optimum size of a decision making body is between 6 and 12; our ancestors
felt twelve to be optimum (hence the traditional jury size).  My own experience is that about
seven to nine is good, if one accepts a majority vote rather than unanimity.
>

I think the potential problem that Ross points out is that Apache PMCs
select their own members.  They are not representatives in a formal
sense, they are not selected by the broader membership.  So that could
hypothetically encourage stagnation of ideas, etc.  There is a reason
why close inbreeding is discouraged in most cultures.  One way to
avoid that is to increase the gene pool by having everyone be in the
PMC.  But that has the potential to degrade the effectiveness of the
PMC's decision making progress.

The ideal, IMHO, is to have a PMC that is right-sized, and whose
members have the confidence of the overall project.  A size large
enough to fulfill its responsibilities, but small enough so that every
member of the PMC can be fully informed on the issues it is deciding
on.

Gaining the the confidence of the overall project is the tricky part.
One way is to have the PMC be elected by the general project members.
But that isn't how Apache works.  The PMC elects its own members, and
debates these votes in private.  In theory, this is because we're a
meritocracy, not a democracy.  Maybe one way to remedy this is to have
PMC votes and discussions take place on the public list, with prior
permission of the candidate?  You could argue that since it is a
community-wide role, the input of the entire community would be valued
in making that decision.

-Rob

> --
> Rory O'Farrell <ofarrwrk@iol.ie>
>

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