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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: An invitation to committers to the OOo Community Forums
Date Thu, 01 Sep 2011 20:40:23 GMT
On Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 4:29 PM, Dennis E. Hamilton
<> wrote:
> This should really be on its own thread as Terry requested.
> In any case, I believe the private forums are for roughly the same reasons that the PPMC
list is private.  The administrators address disputes, deal with bad behavior, etc.

But that fact is we don't use ooo-private for that kind of thing.  You
know that.  We've never, ever discussed a bad behavior, dealt with
disputes, etc., on ooo-private.    We resolve disputes here, on
ooo-dev, in full public view.  Why would you suggest that we have ever
done otherwise?

> I notice that moderator actions on lists here are not dealt with "transparently" and
why should they be?  We don't even know who the moderators are, in general, especially for
lists created before there were any lists on which to learn such things.

We don't do moderation in the sense that the forums do.  We don't hold
back posts that are off-topic, that are showing bad behavior, etc.
That is not what list moderators do.  All we really do is catch posts
that come from non-subscribers and do a quick glance to see if they
are spam.  If not, we let them through.    If you read Drew's
description of how the forums are dealing with moderation, it sounds
like they have a much more intense, secret, deliberative process
around moderation.

> I believe this is similar, in that there are moderation privileges and a place for those
with such privileges to discuss matters in private.  If not there already, it would be easy
to have a public forum in each cluster for issues about the forum itself.  There still needs
a private means of communication on what are sensitive matters, in the current live system
and any counterpart under Apache auspices.

We have such a method, if it were needed.  It is called ooo-private.
If we think that 30 private forums are needed in order to discuss "bad
behavior" in support posts (3 forums per each of 10 languages) then I
think we're doing support moderation wrong.


>  - Dennis
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rob Weir []
> Sent: Thursday, September 01, 2011 12:59
> To:
> Subject: Re: An invitation to committers to the OOo Community Forums
> On Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 3:44 PM, Terry Ellison <> wrote:
>> On 01/09/11 20:14, Rob Weir wrote:
>>> On Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 2:56 PM, Terry Ellison <>
>>> wrote:
>>>> OK, Rob, I now understand your point.  I will do as you request.
>>>>  However,
>>>> it seems to me that by making this request you are creating an
>>>> interesting
>>>> catch-22:  I far as I can see there are two facets to this invitation.
>>>>  * *Sufficiency*.  These forums are closed because this gives the
>>>>    attendees freedom to discuss matters (such as individual poster
>>>>    behaviour) that shouldn't be discussed on a public forum.  We only
>>>>    invite "trusted" forum members to join these lists.  (That's is
>>>>    that they've demonstrated that they are responsible and have built
>>>>    up a body of "karma" with their forum contributions.)  I would
>>>>    have thought that being elected a committer could reasonably be
>>>>    deemed to be sufficient to show such trust.
>>>>  * *Necessity*.  You seem to want to discuss policy on the governance
>>>>    of the forums from within this DL or ooo-private.  I also recall
>>>>    some of your previous comments which indicate that these people
>>>>    (who have committed hundreds if not thousands of hours to
>>>>    supporting this service) do not merit committer status unless they
>>>>    have a wider engagement in the project, and they are therefore
>>>>    excluded from any ooo-private discussions.  Yet, it seems to me
>>>>    that it is entirely reasonable that anyone contributing to this
>>>>    discussion should at least have a working knowledge of how the
>>>>    forums operate in practice and currently govern themselves.  So I
>>>>    do think it necessary as well.
>>> This is incorrect. We're obviously discussing the policy on the
>>> public list. We have not discussed this on ooo-private. Discussion
>>> of policy regarding the treatment of confidential information is
>>> itself not confidential. In fact, such discussions should probably
>>> always be public.
>>> You are also incorrect in your assumption that volunteers need to
>>> contribute in several areas in order to be committers. Someone who
>>> makes substantial contributions as a support forum moderator could
>>> make a great committer candidate. Ditto for a documentation writer, a
>>> tester, a translator, etc. Committers are not just coders. It is
>>> about commitment to the project.
>>> You are suggesting two problems:
>>> 1) We have forum moderators who understand how the forums work, but
>>> have not made visible contributions to the project yet, so they are
>>> not currently being nominated as committers.
>>> 2) We have committers who are not familiar with how the forum operates.
>>> And I'm raising the 3rd issue:
>>> 3) How the forum operates should not be something that occurs in private.
>>> There is a clear solution here:
>>> 1) Have those who understand how the forum operates today write this
>>> up in detail as a contribution to the project's website
>>> 2) This would help other committers understand how this works and
>>> avoids the newbie problem you are concerned with, though we are
>>> probably not half as dumb as you seem to be assuming. I, for example,
>>> have run a phpBB board before.
>> The issue isn't about phpBB, its more about we operate *these* forums.
>>> 3) This also gives the PPMC and Mentors an opportunity to review the
>>> forum procedures and ensure they conform Apache expectations, etc.
>>> This is something we should be doing anyways.
>>> 4) This effort, both in writing up the procedures, and educating the
>>> existing committers, and through this mutual discussion, would
>>> probably be a sufficient sign of commitment to get the moderators who
>>> are do this work to be nominated as project committers.
>>> So a win-win situation, all around.
>> Rob, I think that on your last comments we are lot closer than on your first
>> reply.  However, we can either choose to make this change:
>> A) a disruptive one: that is we lay down some (from the perspective of the
>> volunteers who are currently doing this work) arbitrary and seemly
>> irrational new rules on a love it or leave it basis.  In my experience many
>> or most will leave given this sort of diktat.  It's a good way to kill off a
>> service.
>> B) an evolutionary one: that is we engage constructively and get to
>> understand the range of perspectives then move the service incrementally to
>> an end-point that is mutually acceptable.
>> In my experience many or most supporters will leave when faced with the (A)
>> sort of diktat. (B) works a LOT better, especially when the people involved
>> are making their commitments pro-bono. So I tend to feel that people who
>> start with (A) really have an agenda of shutting down a service and those
>> who start from (B) want it to prosper.
> Transparency is not just a "nice to have" at Apache.  Transparency is
> not irrational.  Transparency is not something we slowly evolve
> towards in order to accommodate working habits of volunteers.
> Transparency is fundamental about how we do things.
> If operating transparently is seen as disruptive, then that may mean
> that we are doing a poor job as a PPMC at explaining the importance
> and value of transparency to our project participants.
> If you are concerned about embarrassing things in the existing legacy
> private forum contents, that is easy to deal with.  We could simply
> expunge that data during the migration.  We can start fresh.
> Could we get the forum moderators to participate in this discussion?
> It will be seen as a less of diktat they participate in this
> discussion directly.  If they are not already on this list, I'd be
> glad to invite them, if you can point me to their addresses.
> -Rob
>> //Terry

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