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From Grant Ingersoll <gsing...@apache.org>
Subject Special Board Report for May 2011
Date Wed, 04 May 2011 22:40:03 GMT
Due to the recent incidents related to committers reverting others patches and the ongoing
discussion/impasse around modularizing Solr as well as the Solr TLP vote, the Board has asked
the PMC to provide a special report as to the status of the community and what constructive
things we are doing to make sure we are moving forward in a positive way.  While I don't agree
with the severity that some people take on this, I do think we should have an open discussion
on what we value and how we can all be more respectful of each other and how we can move forward
in a positive way.

This thread is to welcome your suggestions on how we might improve things to make the community
stronger.  I am not interested in and will not entertain a rehashing of the disagreements.
 Go participate on the other threads if that is what you are interested in.  This thread is
about what we are doing to move forward as a community that primarily outputs two products:
 Apache Lucene Core and Apache Solr.  

At our core, this means we are supporting a set of libraries that can be used for search and
related capabilities across a lot of different applications ranging in size and shape, as
well as a server that makes those capabilities available and easy to consume without requiring
Java programming for those who choose to use it.  Our goal has always been to make the parts
we like to work on as fast, efficient and capable as possible.    As with all open source
projects, anyone should be able to contribute where they see fit and to "scratch their itch".
 Open source has always been evolutionary in code development, not revolutionary.

I will throw out some ideas as possibly helpful in continuing to build a strong community,
but maybe they aren't.  And, no, I don't think any one of these solves everything.

1. No more IRC for design decisions (answering user questions is OK, IMO) even if they are
captured on JIRA.  Either that or we should make IRC logged and public and part of the public
record on Lucene/Solr.    The fact is, most mailing list subscribers are not on IRC and IRC
discussions/decisions rob many of us of the opportunity to participate in the design and it
sometimes come across that everything is done by the time it hits JIRA.  It's also very hard
for people who aren't on IRC to get the full gist of the discussion if only a summary is presented
in JIRA.  Also, due to time zones, many people are asleep while others are working. IRC also
prevents ideas from "breathing" a bit.  Also, since IRC isn't logged, there is less decorum/respect
at times (even if I think the banter keeps things lighter most of the time) and even though
most of us committers are friends, outsiders or potential contributors may not see sarcasm
or jokes in the same way that the rest of us who know each other do.

2. I think we need to prioritize getting patch contributors more feedback sooner.  I think
some of this can be automated much like what Hadoop has done.  This should help identify new
committers sooner and encourage them to keep contributing.

3. As a core principal, design discussions, etc. should not take place on private emails or
via IM or phone calls.  I don't know how much of this there is, but I've seen hints of it
from a variety of people to know it happens.  Obviously, there is no way to enforce this other
than people should take it to heart and stop it.

4.  I think it goes w/o saying that we all learned our lessons about committing and reverting
things.  Reverting someone else's code is for when things break the build, not for political/idealogical
reasons.

5. People should commit and do their work where they see fit.  If others have better ideas
about refactoring them, then step up and help or do the refactoring afterwards.  It's software.
 Not everything need be perfect the first time or in just the "right location" the first time.
 At the same time, if others want to refactor it and it doesn't hurt anything but ends up
being better for more people b/c it is reusable and componetized, than the refactoring should
not be a problem.

So, what other ideas do people have?  I'll leave this thread open for a week or so and then
add what we think are good things to https://svn.apache.org/repos/asf/lucene/board-reports/2011/special-board-report-may.txt
 The board meeting is on May 19th.  I plan on attending.

-Grant
Lucene PMC Chair
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