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From Joe Schaefer <>
Subject Re: Java download link on AOO site
Date Sun, 15 Jul 2012 22:03:58 GMT
The beauty of it is that you are only exposed to a level of complexity
consummate with the task at hand.  Making modest changes to a webpage
with the CMS is quick and largely painless.  The most difficult aspect
of the entire exercise is figuring out how and where to put the bookmarklet
in your collection of bookmarks.

The only thing unique tothe site is that given the
size of the tree it takesnearly a minute or so for svn to update itself
when pulling in changesto build, which can be confusing for new people
anxious to see the effects of their changes.  The builds themselves are very
fast;it's the svn ops that are relatively time consuming.

Making site-wide changes requires a much deeper understanding of how 

the system as a whole works.  But for a task like this, as Dave said
it can be accomplished in a handful of minutes.  Everything is reversible
since it's all version controlled, so it's not possible to make a
catastrophic fuck-up.

With basic website management technologies at the ASF, you don't have
a wide range of choices.  If the CMS is unappealing the other options
will be less so, which is why most projects who have adopted the CMS
are satisfied with it.  It's not pretty, and is very simple and basic
technology-wise without reams of code behind it, but it gets the job done.

Let me not go without saying that yes, all contributions are welcome,
and yes Hagar made a valuable contribution to the project by raising
the issue and getting someone to apply the right fix.  I'm trying to
raise a higher-level issue here about how things "could have gone",
had Hagar figured out how to use the CMS well enough to accomplish
this himself.  The upshot is that one more person has a core skill
that can work to the project's benefit, which is a good thing for all

No one can force someone to do something they don't want to do for
whatever reason, but at the same time don't expect that sort of
activity to hold up to scrutiny as model behavior.  Sysadmins are
known for calling out people on that sort of thing, not to demean
them, but to discuss it with an aim towards improvement.  That's all
I've tried to do here.

----- Original Message -----
> From: Dennis E. Hamilton <>
> To:; 'Joe Schaefer' <>
> Cc: 
> Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2012 5:40 PM
> Subject: RE: Java download link on AOO site
> I think the situation would have been different if the web site were being 
> created from scratch at this time.  Instead it was a heavy migration job 
> accomplished by a few people.  That means there are very few people with 
> hands-on experience maintaining the web pages.  There are many folks who know 
> how to handle static sites, but they then get to learn that this isn't one 
> of those.
> Also, when the migration was happening, I don't think there was much of a 
> CMS meme.  The challenge was more about how the deployment mechanism worked from 
> SVN through the robots to pending and then published pages. Probably the folks 
> such as Dave Fisher who dealt with the templates a great deal learned more of 
> it, and I know a few people understand how to use the bookmarklet properly and 
> understand what the effect will be.
> I think this reveals some of the difficulties of toolcraft promulgation in a 
> headless structure.  Not many folks even know what the tools are and what the 
> connection is between the ASF CMS and what effect they want to have on pages.
> So, there is self-interest, and there is scratching-an-itch, and there is 
> overcoming whatever friction/inertia that makes a diversion into learning a 
> custom system appealing. ... Or not.
> I know I don't get to decide for them.  I can only appreciate what comes up 
> based on my own experience.  
> - Dennis
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Joe Schaefer [] 
> Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2012 13:18
> To:;
> Subject: Re: Java download link on AOO site
> There is an interesting dialectic here between acting with "enlightened
> self-interest" and being entirely selfish.  All I have suggested throughout
> this episode is that the project be egalitarian towards its website assets
> and expect all committers to abide by the same set of expectations (which means
> everyone is expected to at least TRY to follow the documentation others have
> generously provided).  Remember, the prerequisite skills here are an ability
> to follow instructions combined with a familiarity of how links are created in
> html pages.  Nothing more is required, and as Hagar has figured out how to use
> Roller, I'm guessing he has the requisite knowledge about html.
> Only those who expect special treatment beyond the expected normsof the project
> should be offended by what I'm saying.   Yeswe all have a DUTYto act in ways
> that aligned with community expectations-no peeing in the communitypool please.
> After all Apache operates these assets in the model of an intellectual commons
> that everyone should treat with an appropriate amount of respect towards each 
> other
> and the org.
> I haveoften described my role in this org as akin to being a park ranger, and we
> all know how well the average citizen pays attention to the rules of the park.
> I haverefrained from using any labels here other than to say that the behavior I
> amquestioning is less than model behavior.  Yet I have received a lot of flak
> and not a lot of rationale behind the defense of that behavior.  That people
> unfamiliar with the documentation see nothing wrong with what Hagar offers here
> is not surprising, those people aren't going to read and apply it either.  
> Oh
> well, it's your community folks.
> ----- Original Message -----
>>  From: Dennis E. Hamilton <>
>>  To: 'Joe Schaefer' <>; 
>>  Cc: 
>>  Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2012 4:00 PM
>>  Subject: RE: Java download link on AOO site
>>  <orcnote comment="below" />
>>  -----Original Message-----
>>  From: Joe Schaefer [] 
>>  Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2012 12:00
>>  To:;
>>  Subject: Re: Java download link on AOO site
>>  The thing is Dennis, it is self-defeating for the org to fund my work
>>  on the CMS to make it a more effective collaboration tool for Apache
>>  communities if projects don't start expecting committers and end users
>>  alike to take advantage of it.  If this is the new norm, where application
>>  of project documentation is no longer expected for Apachedev-list 
> participation,
>>  then I'll adjust my plans accordingly.  I do know that Infra would 
> never
>>  survive with only 3-4 staffers if we didn't expect committers to
>>  read/apply/critique/fixour documentation.
>>  Whether it is difficultto use the CMSor super easy makes no difference
>>  to anyoneif only a select few areexpectedto even try.
>>  [ ... ]
>>  <orcnote>
>>  I find this very strange in an open-source context.  The expectation that 
> there 
>>  is an eager or required group of users seems odd.  How was that arrived at?
>>  I also find it strange to project a duty onto volunteers.  Most volunteers 
> get 
>>  to choose what their duties are. 
>>  - Dennis
>>  Notes from my personal, narrow perspective on how I deal with finding 
>>  low-friction, high-payoff places to put my attention and energy:
>>  I am not adverse to "build-it-and-they-might-come" development 
>>  (because if I don't they definitely won't), but not with any 
> expectation 
>>  that there are any people anxiously waiting to dog-food my efforts.  That 
> means 
>>  I seek satisfaction in the effort itself, without much expectation beyond 
> that 
>>  beyond a hope of being of some use to others.  I also don't expect 
> anyone to 
>>  pay me for such self-indulgence on my part.
>>  With regard to the ASF CMS, the only thing I know about it is the on-list 
>>  encouragement of folks to use a bookmark that makes editing the web site 
>>  easier.  I know nothing more than that.  I don't even know what browser 
> the 
>>  bookmark may be limited to (nor am I in a hurry to find out).  
>>  There are many more things that I know how to do that are where I will put 
> my 
>>  attention more readily. 
>>  I've not learned MarkDown, for example, because I never needed to 
> before, 
>>  although I can fake wikiText well enough, and learn little bits more as 
> needed 
>>  in dealing with a particular wiki format.  Meanwhile, I have many ways to 
> edit 
>>  (web) pages in an SVN Working Copy.  But the ASF site-publishing process 
> and the 
>>  way pages are merged on the site is still something I haven't picked-up 
> on.  
>>  I will eventually learn MarkDown more systematically because I want to pay 
>>  closer attention to Ward Cunningham's Smallest-Federated-Wiki, not 
> because 
>>  it is used underneath anything at the ASF.  I may end up supporting SFW it 
> on a 
>>  site of my own.  For that, MarkDown gets more of my attention.
>>  I only managed to write Apache OO(i) blog posts by finding out how to use 
>>  Windows LiveWriter to compose them off-line and publish them 
> automatically.  
>>  Although I got the required use of drafts wrong, I have succeeded in making 
>>  posts the way I know best and that serve some personal requirements that I 
> have 
>>  around blog authoring.
>>  I also refused to give up maintaining an AOO(i) roster and committer-intake 
>>  tracker in OpenOffice Calc when folks complained that there are no diffs 
> for 
>>  commits to that binary-format document.  Instead, I make sure that the 
> commit 
>>  messages describe what was changed or added for those who want to follow 
> along 
>>  via reading commit messages. 
>>  In all cases, it is about finding ways to get the work done that I have 
> taken 
>>  on, not on diversions into toolcraft.  It's different when 
> everything's 
>>  new.  That's not where I find myself these days.
>>  </orcnote>  

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