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From Michael McCandless <>
Subject Re: Special Board Report for May 2011
Date Sat, 07 May 2011 10:47:12 GMT


On Sat, May 7, 2011 at 6:41 AM, Simon Willnauer
<> wrote:
> On Sat, May 7, 2011 at 9:52 AM, Greg Stein <> wrote:
>> I've seen several people note that "IRC is not logged". Fine. LOG IT.
>> I see absolutely no reason for you guys not to set up logging for the
>> channel that you use. We do this for Subversion development:
>> If IRC is posing so much of a problem, then just log it. I saw a
>> comment about civility on the channel. Well... if it is logged, then
>> you may see that fixed. Discussions can then be referenced when it is
>> brought to the dev list. And people can always refer back to the log
>> to read about the nuances around some particular discussion.
>> Seems to be a simple solution to me.
> huge +1! IRC is so powerful we should not put it down just because we
> don't log the channel.
> We already have a logged channel #lucene-dev and its logged here
> having tech discussion there should be ok I think and for major
> decisions we can still send a mail to dev@l.a.o referencing the
> discussion. I think we all have the discipline to do that right?
> I am moving there now... we should also eventually add this channel to
> the website and maybe mark #lucene as the user channel?
> Simon
>> Cheers,
>> -g
>> On Fri, May 06, 2011 at 10:17:07PM +0300, Shai Erera wrote:
>>> bq. shall I say required reading?
>>> You should ! If only so that people don't miss that great article :)
>>> On IRC, I agree with Grant (and partly w/ Mike). IMO, we should scale down
>>> the amount of discussion on IRC. While there are several advantages to IRC
>>> (faster response time, easier to hash things out etc.), I think there are
>>> several drawbacks:
>>> * As Grant mentioned, TimeZone -- IRC makes it hard for people to follow
>>> discussions that happened while they were asleep
>>> * IRC is not logged
>>> * Even trying to follow discussions on IRC, the nature of the UI sometimes
>>> makes it too hard. Many times I've seen two and more discussions happen
>>> simultaneously, and the way the UI is constructed, they're all mixed with
>>> each other. This is not so with email threads.
>>> * I myself have too many communication mediums I need to follow today: my
>>> job's email and messaging system, Gmail (Lucene and other mailing lists, as
>>> well as private stuff), phone, people stopping by for questions .. IRC is a
>>> very busy and demanding channel. You're kinda expected to respond
>>> immediately (which is why, I think, it's easier to hash things out -- the
>>> response time is instantaneous). If you only want to follow, you must stay
>>> tuned to it. If I turn on "flash the taskbar for new messages", it drives me
>>> crazy. If I turn it off, I miss important discussions ... it's impossible
>>> :).
>>> With emails, I can prioritize things. At least, Gmail helps to some extent.
>>> That that we now receive all JIRA emails under one thread is a great
>>> progress too.
>>> With emails, I can always go back when I have time, and re-read the
>>> discussion. I can respond to it 2 days after the last email, and people will
>>> immediately know what I respond about, because we can include quoted text.
>>> And if people's memory is very bad, they can (at least in Gmail) scan
>>> quickly previous messages. Hack ... I can do that 1 month after the email
>>> was sent, and most people will be able to quickly pick up from where we
>>> left. This is not so with IRC ...
>>> * Getting in the middle of a discussion is practically impossible on IRC. I
>>> have nothing to read for reference (unless I had my IRC client open and I
>>> turned on the 'logging' feature).
>>> * Is it really that easier to hash things out on IRC? I mean, the response
>>> time is great, so you get answers really quick. But then, there are usually
>>> only a handful of participants in that discussion, which makes hashing out
>>> and agreeing much easier anyway. If the same group of people (usually <=3)
>>> communicated in email, they'd hash things out in almost the same speed.
>>> After all, IRC mandates they are all awake at the same time, so they could
>>> also email each other in NRT :).
>>> * Imagine this discussion happening on IRC. Most of us would have been able
>>> to pick only shards of it. At some point, maybe Grant or another PMC member
>>> would 'summarize' the discussion to the list. The summary could be "we've
>>> decided to not use IRC because email is better", followed by some points
>>> he's able to pull back from his memory and maybe IRC log. Would *you*
>>> (people reading this growing-by-the-minute note) want to get a summary like
>>> that? Would you be satisfied?
>>> I think that most of us wouldn't and all that would happen is that such
>>> email would start its own thread, repeating mostly what have been said on
>>> IRC, b/c people would want answers ...
>>> I'm not against IRC, don't get me wrong. I think it's useful b/c the
>>> turnaround time is great. But we should not have so many discussions there,
>>> as we do today. I don't know where to draw the line. I trust the great
>>> people of this community to know when it's better to discuss something in
>>> email. An example, if a new feature is being discussed, then it's ok if two
>>> people want to hash few things out quickly, before they send a detailed and
>>> organized proposal to the list -- the details to hash out are the initial
>>> proposal's details. The rest should be followed on list, even if it means
>>> slightly slower response time.
>>> Today's list and JIRA volume always look to me like the response time is
>>> instantaneous. We have very active people from around the globe, so you have
>>> a high chance receiving response in no time. In the worse case, it will take
>>> a couple of hours, but I don't remember when did that happen (which is an
>>> amazing thing !)
>>> Cheers,
>>> Shai
>>> On Fri, May 6, 2011 at 8:35 PM, Grant Ingersoll <> wrote:
>>> > More reading (shall I say required reading?).  Benson does a good job of
>>> > explaining some of the concepts around consensus and why we also should
>>> > primarily using mailing lists:
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > -Grant
>>> >
>>> > On May 5, 2011, at 10:10 AM, Grant Ingersoll wrote:
>>> >
>>> > >
>>> > > I'd like to throw out another idea:
>>> > >
>>> > > I think we should standardize on rotating the PMC Chair every year.
>>> > think to date, there have been two Chairs:  Doug and me.  Back when Doug
>>> > left, no one wanted to do it (both Hoss and I said we would if no one else
>>> > wanted to) and so I took it on.  For the most part, it's a thankless task
>>> > herding cats (albeit low volume, thankfully), despite the important sounding
>>> > name that marketing types love.  I would like us to share the burden across
>>> > the PMC by rotating it on an annual basis.  Many other ASF projects do
>>> > exactly this and I think it removes any political pressure.  Have I sold
>>> > enough? ;-)  Besides, I just know others are dying to file board reports
>>> > a quarterly basis!
>>> > >
>>> > > More inline below...
>>> > >
>>> > > On May 5, 2011, at 8:27 AM, Michael McCandless wrote:
>>> > >
>>> > >> On Wed, May 4, 2011 at 6:40 PM, Grant Ingersoll <>
>>> > wrote:
>>> > >>> 2. I think we need to prioritize getting patch contributors
>>> > 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.
>>> > >>
>>> > >> Big +1.  We should be using automation everywhere we can.
>>> > >>
>>> > >> But, really, we (as all projects do) need more devs.  Growing
>>> > >> community should be job #1 of all committers.
>>> > >
>>> > > Agreed, but this dovetails w/ the use of IRC.  I realize live collab
>>> > nice, but it discourages those who aren't "in the know" about the channel
>>> > being used from ever contributing.    Say, for instance, I'm interested
>>> > DWPT (DocWriterPerThread), how am I supposed to know that at 8 am EDT on
>>> > 5th (made up example), three of the committers are going to be talking about
>>> > it on IRC?  If there is email about it, then I can participate.  Nothing
>>> > do is so important that it can't wait a few hours or a day, besides the
>>> > fact, that email is damn near instantaneous these days anyway.
>>> > >
>>> > > Also, keep in mind that until about a year ago, most everything was
>>> > on the mailing list and I think we progressed just fine.  Since then, dev@has
almost completely dried up in terms of discussions (factoring out JIRA
>>> > mails which have picked up -- which is good) and the large majority of
>>> > discussion takes place on IRC.  I agree, however, we should have the IRC
>>> > discussion on another thread.
>>> > >
>>> > >>
>>> > >>
>>> > >>> 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
>>> >
The board meeting is on May 19th.  I plan on attending.
>>> > >>
>>> > >> How about also "PMC members will be more proactive in tackling
>>> > >> that erode the community?  I think this would start with a thread
>>> > >> general@.  We need to get in the habit of discussing even tiny
>>> > >> elephants as soon as they appear, somehow.
>>> > >
>>> > > Yeah, I agree.  The hard part for me, is I often feel like people
on the
>>> > outside make big deals about this stuff and don't get that even having the
>>> > discussion is a very healthy sign.  Besides the fact, that no one likes
>>> > confrontation and uncomfortable topics.  We also, I think, are all tired
>>> > endless debates that go on and on w/ no resolution.  It's one of the big
>>> > downsides (and, of course, upsides) to consensus based open source as
>>> > opposed to the dictatorial approach.
>>> > >
>>> > >>
>>> > >> Here's an example: "Is Lucid abusing their too-strong influence
>>> > >> Lucene/Solr"?  It's a great question, and I personally feel the
>>> > >> today is "no", but nevertheless we should be able to discuss it
>>> > >> similar could-be-controversial topics.
>>> > >
>>> > > I hopefully would agree we are good stewards of the fact that we employ
>>> > good number of committers (but not nearly all the active ones), but I know
>>> > some disagree.  I do, however, think that the recent spat shows that we
>>> > Lucid are still free to speak our minds when it comes to open source, as
>>> > clearly not all Lucid employees agree on the issue and were pretty outspoken
>>> > about it.  I firmly believe we baked this into the company from Day 1 and
>>> > consider it one of our best strengths, but of course, most can't see that
>>> > from the outside.  Does that mean we are perfect?  Of course not, but
>>> > think we try to follow the ASF guidelines and show up as individuals.  I
>>> > also know we work pretty hard to mind the ASF TM policy, etc. (just ask
>>> > marketing folks how much I remind them.)  I think we all realize that there
>>> > would be no such thing as Lucid if it weren't for the ASF and for
>>> > Lucene/Solr, so why would we want to hurt that?
>>> > >
>>> > > The fact is, every single committer here and a good number of
>>> > contributors are paid to work on Lucene all day, (most) every day or have
>>> > some other financial stake (i.e. via a book, consulting biz, etc.)  Any
>>> > us could be accused of only acting in our own financial interest.  At the
>>> > end of the day, I like to think that instead, the cool thing is we all have
>>> > a great opportunity to have our financial interests aligned with a great
>>> > project that we like to work on.
>>> > >
>>> > > For the record, we have pretty diverse PMC and committer base.  As
I said
>>> > in our Dec. 2010 Board Report, we are comprised of:
>>> > > "[a] total to 17 PMC members from 12 different
>>> > > companies, spanning the globe. The flagship Lucene/Solr
>>> > > has 26 total committers from 20 different companies, again
>>> > > spanning the globe."
>>> > >
>>> > > The only one that has changed since then is Robert has joined Lucid.
>>> >  Now, one can argue that some of those members from other companies are
>>> > active, but that isn't Lucid's fault.  ASF development has always been
>>> > those who do the work and we do a fair amount of that.  Those who are not
>>> > active, should, ideally, leave on their own by stating they wish to go
>>> > Emeritus.  Beyond that, we have a pretty standard policy that inactive
>>> > people are removed after 1 year of no activity.  That has been the case
>>> > since I joined Lucene way back when and I think makes sense.
>>> > >
>>> > >
>>> > >
>>> > >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >

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