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From Steven Noels <stev...@outerthought.org>
Subject Re: Private mail lists [was: Inappropriate use of announce@]
Date Thu, 23 Oct 2003 21:34:01 GMT
Santiago Gala wrote:

> When I said:
> 
>> Just tell them. I think they are all PMC Chairs are subscribed to  
>> board, so it should be easy to tell them there to

Sideway comment from my little peanut gallery: this is (only) the second 
time I overheard that PMC chairs can subscribe to board@ - in three 
years of (increasingly intensive) reading of non-project-specific ASF 
mail lists. Whether this is a 'can', a 'should', or a 'you are required 
to' is one of these hidden nuggets of information I would like to see 
novice chairs to be informed of in some explicit way.

About the rest of your mail:

I totally agree that private lists can shield valuable, not-so-private 
information (especially about decision making processes) away from the 
people for which this information is part of their community experience. 
Since Cocoon has been moving into a TLP, and has its own PMC list, we 
have seen some traffic on that list, at times even too much traffic.

The nice thing is that, most of the times, one of the private list 
members jumps up and says "I'm gonna move this to dev or users". Still, 
due to the fact we @ Cocoon concluded all committers (should) care about 
the Cocoon community and the legal status of its codebase, so we have a 
policy where all committers can join the PMC list, and now our PMC list 
sometimes is just a hanging-out place for committers only. And yes, even 
though it _might_ produce unwanted side-effects (non-committer 
developers feeling shut out), it appears as if the subcribers of the PMC 
list actually like this hanging-out place to exist. We sometimes happen 
to discuss the proposal of new committers on the PMC list (but not 
often), to give an example, or whether we are going to send a mail to 
someone who is on the verge of infringing Cocoon's brand.

Fortunately however, no technical nor strategic vision stuff has been 
emerging from the PMC list so far - all discussions about Cocoon's 
design and future are routinely done on the dev list.

Apart from security stuff (for obvious reasons) and brand conflict 
issues (where public discussion might affect third parties negatively), 
I see the Cocoon PMC list (as it is ATM) as some way to channel friendly 
inter-person chat into a group thing, similar to the difference between 
IM and IRC - a way to have more people sharing the fun. One might debate 
that this fun should spread into the open lists as well, but apparently 
people are aware of their audience when speaking up, and sometimes 
prefer a cozy little list of 40 subscribers, rather than a massive forum 
of 500 dev-list participants. Stage freight, I assume.

Personally, I think a private list should exerce some kind of 
self-control to keep its existence worthwhile. It's pretty hard to ban 
all kinds of direct inter-person communication from a community (nor is 
this what you are aiming at, of course), but a closed list might move 
some of the inter-person banter into a channel where more people can 
make sense of it.

Just some thoughts...

Cheers, Santiago!

</Steven>
-- 
Steven Noels                            http://outerthought.org/
Outerthought - Open Source Java & XML            An Orixo Member
Read my weblog at            http://blogs.cocoondev.org/stevenn/
stevenn at outerthought.org                stevenn at apache.org


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