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From "Geir Magnusson Jr." <>
Subject Re: Transactional _bulk_docs
Date Fri, 06 Feb 2009 09:50:54 GMT
I had to think about this for a day...

On Feb 5, 2009, at 8:34 AM, Damien Katz wrote:

> On Feb 5, 2009, at 6:14 AM, Geir Magnusson Jr. wrote:
>> [sending second time, as I see my first is stuck in moderation, and  
>> I want to reply in a timely manner]
>> Sure, ideally.
>> But you can't have "everyone" together at the same time on IRC,  
>> where at the ASF, we define "everyone" to be, well, "everyone", not  
>> you and the 4 others on the PMC.
>> I see 579 people on the user list.  I see 294 people on the dev  
>> list.  Just focusing on the dev list, that's 290 people, or 98.6%  
>> of people supposedly interested in CouchDB development, that had  
>> zero opportunity to see, review and participate in the discussion.   
>> Further, there's now zero chance that any future project  
>> participant can look back to understand design decision and  
>> philosophy.  No institutional memory.  Your goal, besides building  
>> a great software project, should be to get the community to the  
>> point where you can step back and do other things w/o material  
>> effect on the community, and that requires information like this to  
>> be somewhere accessible.
>> And unlike Ted, I don't agree that a pointer to an IRC log is  
>> sufficient to represent a "done decision", and he may not have  
>> meant that anyway.  Sure, I can see a chat starting on IRC about a  
>> topic, but I'd hope that one person would force the move from IRC  
>> to the mail list - and at that point, maybe posting a pointer to  
>> the *initial* discussion log would be useful.  And after that,  
>> discussion is on the mail list.
>> I think IRC logs are a very poor substitute to mail traffic (and  
>> yes, I grok the downside of async communications).  A primary one  
>> reason that they are very "in the moment" - if you are in the  
>> conversation, it's easy to stay in, but after, when things cool and  
>> the context of the moment isn't there, it's neigh impossible.  You  
>> also can't hit reply and quote a piece for others to see and  
>> discuss, further broadening the discussion.
> We get a lot of value out of IRC.

At a high price, IMO.  And who is "we"?  This may hint at one of my  
biggest concerns here, the balkanization of the PMC from the rest of  
the community.  I don't think I've ever seen a project where the  
dividing line between the PMC and the rest of the community was so  
often and brightly drawn.  The PMC is a *legal* mechanism through with  
decisions and governance of the project become decisions of the ASF as  
a corporation.  IMO (and this is only my personal opinion), the wall  
between PMC and committers, or PMC and community should be as  
invisible as possible.  Yes, only the PMCs votes are binding.  But if  
you want to build a broad, deep and sustaining community, people need  
to feel they have a voice, even if it's advisory only.

> We are going to discuss this on the ML. I was waiting until I got  
> the patch work to talk about all the implications and how we'd set  
> the flags and modes of operation and all the implications. The code  
> is going to get more powerful, the plan is for the feature to go  
> away, not the capability. If we decided the feature was too  
> important, we'll put it back. But as it stands, the changes to the  
> code that I'm making now all need to be made regardless if we change  
> the feature or not.

I hope you can understand my confusion over this, as this is what I  
was reading yesterday :

On Feb 4, 2009, at 9:13 PM, Damien Katz wrote:

> Geir, there was a decision made by the PMCs to change the  
> transaction model to support partitioned databases. It is a change I  
> am currently working on.

So what's going to be discussed?  flags?  I can sorta guess how this  
is going to play out - you're going to do the work, commit the code,  
and then ask for a salute from a PMC that from my POV tends to  
salute.  At that point, people won't dare speak up since they'll feel  
like it's futile.

And I apologize in advance to any other PMC member that is insulted by  
what I wrote - I intend no offense - but it *is* my perception (and  
I'm fairly sure the perception of others) that is how things work at  
the moment.   There's a comment later in this thread where Chris  
describes his role as ... well, for lack of better words, your  
handler, to shield you from the community.  Things like that feed my  
perception.  More on that later.

I have an idea :

1) Stop coding.
2) Write down a summary of the change you want to make, and why.
3) Invite and engage discussion, and give serious consideration to any  
that isn't supportive.  I think people mean well.
4) In the end, when everyone has had their say, do what you feel is  
5) If someone still objects, then decide if that opinion matters.

And when I say "matters", I don't mean only in the "Is the vote  
binding?" sense.  You'll have to take into account technical  
relevance, how this affects the perception of the project as a whole,  
etc.  It's complicated, but anything involving humans tends to be. :)

At that point, you could continue as you want, reverse direction,  
discuss more, call for a vote, etc.  But it's not clear that you're  
anywhere near that point already.

To be fair, I've found you to be open - e.g. our discussion regarding  
the reality around durability - which is why I'm spending the time  
proposing this.

>> What got me engaged on this wasn't the decision itself (only  
>> because it was a secret decision), but -like Ted - the mode of  
>> operation.  It seemed that a very dedicated, engaged and interested  
>> community member had to privately petition the PMC for redress on a  
>> technical decision that none of us had any awareness of, nor a  
>> chance to review.  And IMO, from a guy that probably should be a  
>> committer and PMC member to boot!
> He mailed us privately. Now he's mailed us publicly.
> Any discussion about Antony being involved with the project should  
> probably be private.

Indeed!  I'm on the list.


> -Damien
>> (By the way - from my count, not all PMC members are even on the  
>> PMC's private@ list, so I have *no clue* where project private  
>> discussion - like new committer candidates - are even discussed....)
>> geir
>> On Feb 5, 2009, at 2:11 AM, Damien Katz wrote:
>>> Ideally yes, but real time communication with everyone together is  
>>> damn useful.
>>> -Damien
>>> On Feb 5, 2009, at 2:07 AM, Ted Leung wrote:
>>>> Uh, project decisions are supposed to be made in the public  
>>>> mailing lists...
>>>> Ted
>>>> On Feb 4, 2009, at 6:51 PM, Damien Katz wrote:
>>>>> This decision was discussed and made on IRC.
>>>>> -Damien
>>>>> On Feb 4, 2009, at 9:26 PM, Geir Magnusson Jr. wrote:
>>>>>> can you point me to a reference to where the PMC made this  
>>>>>> decision?
>>>>>> I'm interested in the subject for it's own sake, and I'm also  
>>>>>> interested in figuring out where decisions are made in this  
>>>>>> project, since I didn't see this one go by on a mail list.
>>>>>> geir
>>>>>> On Feb 4, 2009, at 9:13 PM, Damien Katz wrote:
>>>>>>> Geir, there was a decision made by the PMCs to change the  
>>>>>>> transaction model to support partitioned databases. It is a 

>>>>>>> change I am currently working on.
>>>>>>> -Damien
>>>>>>> On Feb 4, 2009, at 8:46 PM, Geir Magnusson Jr. wrote:
>>>>>>>> and original question #2?
>>>>>>>> geir
>>>>>>>> On Feb 4, 2009, at 8:38 PM, Antony Blakey wrote:
>>>>>>>>> On 05/02/2009, at 12:02 PM, Geir Magnusson Jr. wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> 1) where is this being forwarded from ?
>>>>>>>>> I sent it to the PMC.
>>>>>>>>> Antony Blakey
>>>>>>>>> -------------
>>>>>>>>> CTO, Linkuistics Pty Ltd
>>>>>>>>> Ph: 0438 840 787
>>>>>>>>> A Buddhist walks up to a hot-dog stand and says, "Make
>>>>>>>>> one with everything". He then pays the vendor and asks
>>>>>>>>> change. The vendor says, "Change comes from within".

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