Alec Warner wrote:
> On Sun, Aug 31, 2008 at 1:24 PM, Chrissy Fullam <email@example.com> wrote:
>> Refer to bylaws that were approved in today's Trustee meeting:
>> I cannot understand why a person cannot be on the Council and on the
>> Trustees? We had someone do so in the past and no conflicts or issues arose.
>> What is the reasoning that a person cannot serve on the technical team and
>> the legal team?
> a) Should the member go missing we would be down 1 position in both
> bodies, a subcase of Single Point of Failure.
I figured I'd raise an issue that is probably worth thinking about which
doesn't appear to have come up. In the past the largest point of
failure for the trustees has been simply not having enough of them.
That being the case, does it make sense to do anything to limit
potential contribution to this team? In theory council members are in
the place they are in because for whatever reason they are willing and
able to devote a lot of devotion to Gentoo. They should be far more
capable of wearing multiple hats than others. I'm fine, of course, with
general controls to prevent too much concentration of power - but that
would apply to individual non-council trustees as well.
Having dual-membership would also help to increase alignment of the two
bodies. Ideally I'd probably only have one body (like most
corporations), but there are good practical reasons for the current
split (differing expertise/interest required, US residency issues).
In my thinking, if the only thing the trustees did was attend a 5 minute
monthly meeting, cut the odd check to somebody helping out the
organization, and renew the annual paperwork that would be a success.
In order to do that we need a number of bodies for oversight, but not
everybody needs to be willing to spend 10 hours a month on the
foundation. If one or two are willing that is probably plenty - but
they'll need to avoid being frustrated with others who might only appear
to be dead weight (but dead weight is better than running into a
situation where only 1-2 people even bother to run for office).
I think that some of the problems in the past with the trustees has been
a desire to bite off more than they could chew. Sure, maybe one or two
members could have handled it, but if everybody isn't willing to go
along then what happens is that nobody voices the problem out of a
desire to go along with the team, but nobody contributes either and then
1-2 people get burned out carrying the load. The solution isn't to yell
at the other non-contributors, but rather to not take on more than
absolutely essential without fully counting the cost.
Gentoo has some serious manpower constraints. That doesn't make us a
"dying distro" or anything - but we do need to be careful about not
focusing too much effort on non-essentials. If somebody wants to
volunteer to do something extra that is great (that is how a community
effort works), but it is important that we not assign "jobs" to
volunteers that aren't absolutely essential.
My personal opinion is that the trustees would do best to focus on
making the foundation minimally functional (ie all essential legal
paperwork in place - drop anything controversial and focus on bylaws
that all can agree to). Then it should really look to try to join an
unbrella organization that will handle the routine issues. That will
actually free up trustees to provide more high-level guidance to the
organization without getting tied up in administration.
All of this is just my personal opinion and I think the trustees would
do well to at least think about some of this. I really don't
need/demand any reply - you guys are the ones in the hot seat and you
wouldn't have been elected if the rest of us didn't respect your
judgment. Just be careful about limiting help - at the next trustee
election we might find devs volunteering to run on a platform of "I
don't intend to lift a finger do do much work, but I don't want to see
the trustees die from not having a quorum so I'll run" and getting
elected due to a lack of candidates. I'm not actually convinced that
this is an entirely bad thing except that it deviates from what would be