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To: gentoo-project@g.o
From: Steve Long <slong@...>
Subject: Re: Re: CoC enforcement proposal
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2007 00:10:03 +0000
Donnie Berkholz wrote:
> On 08:38 Mon 12 Nov     , Steve Long wrote:
>> I feel less comfortable with the following:
>> 1) "a strong lead to ensure the team's actions fit the council's CoC
>> interpretation."
>> 
>> While I agree the team needs to act consistently, and in a united manner
>> (ie speak with one voice, as it were) I do not think placing emphasis on
>> one individual is a wise move. It places greater onus on that person, and
>> often leads to more stress followed by burnout, with all the attendant
>> problems which are much more difficult precisely because the individual
>> has greater authority.
> 
> What I'm reading here is that a leader needs to lead, with its attendant
> responsibilities. Having a leader creates a single source of
> responsibility and accountability.
Understood, but that single point of failure is exactly that imo: a weak
point, since more pressure is placed on an individual. Given the voluntary
nature of it, the likelihood of burnout in Free software is even greater
than in commercial development, where it's an acknowledged problem. Since
so many of us work in IT, we really don't need the stress in our time out.

> That way, you don't have to disband the whole team if you decide to take
> action against it (sound familiar?).
Hmm it does, but I don't think that was a considered, collective decision by
the Council. There are already procedures in place for the Council to take
action when they feel a team is losing direction, are there not? Plus I
think the review process is seen as something important, so I feel the team
would both be properly supervised and focussed on the task.

> A single person is putting his or her reputation on the line 
> instead of getting caught up in groupthink and avoiding accountability.
> Committees are a fantastic way to avoid blaming anyone for anything.
>
Yeah, totally :-) I don't see this as a Committee in the sense that they're
not deciding future direction, like the Council, but much more akin to the
forum moderators or irc ops, who discuss actions. Each member is free to
mute a thread, or kick an individual, but they expect to justify that
action if called upon.

> Being impartial, in my opinion, is a pipe dream.
Ideals always are: you still have to have the goal in mind though, and be
ready to admit mistakes, since we all make them. That's the only effective
way to improve processes, that I know.

> Gentoo isn't a large enough community for people to not know each other.
Yeah I think that's the issue though: 2 or 3 years ago it was a very small
knit group. Now there are herds and projects all over, with several
overlays feeding excellent work into the tree after it's been refined in
consultation with interested users. While the sense of community is still
quite strong, especially amongst users, it is qualitatively different.
Isn't this whole process about how you grow from a small group to a larger
one, while not losing the ethos?

> The only way I can 
> think of to deal with that is to admit your previous experiences and
> thoughts so others can take them into consideration.
>
Agreed.

>> I don't think it should really be a job given to people who want to do it
>> for the sake of it. The last team appeared to be the right set, based on
>> their experience, and seemed to take the job because it needed to be
>> done, not because it was seen as some sort of elite team. Maybe I'm being
>> a bit sensitive to the nuance of the language, but I think the tone
>> matters.
> 
> In a volunteer community, people only get really committed to things
> they want to do. How do you propose to change that?
>
Heh, not at all. The question is whether someone is interested in helping
their community, or in a "highly selective position" they had to compete
for. Forum moderators and irc ops don't get a lot of thanks most of the
time, afaict, but without them the experience would be a lot worse for
everyone. I'm curious now, as to how they recruit people.

Certainly I've never given ops on the basis of desire for the position. Yes,
there's kudos involved, but thinking back the people I've asked have all
been reluctant or perhaps wary, and are people who don't like using the
authority; they discuss first, and give clear warning. The fact that that
is done openly, reassures some who might have found the behaviour
intimidating, and reminds others that there are boundaries. Of course, this
isn't IRC.

Of course, many people do similar work with no position and in private. I
guess it's a bit like politicians: you really don't want the people who are
after the job.

> I agree that the time zone coverage could be a bit limited with this
> number of people. One reason for this is that we don't need to catch
> 100% of the possible things that could happen, and we don't need to
> stare at IRC windows or mailing lists all day lonng.
>
Sure. Life's for living, after all :)
 
> You're right, Gentoo's members come from all over the world. That
> doesn't mean that Gentoo itself cannot have a single culture, though,
> wherever we came from originally.
>
No indeed; I just think that people who only speak English tend to miss that
things can be misinterpreted. Having a team with nobody who speaks other
languages (preferably as a mother tongue imo) would be disastrous afaic.
Much of this is really about how you get people into that culture, so they
understand the humour and the norms.

>> Wernfried Haas wrote:
>> > This is quite similar to how warnings andbans are done on the forums,
>> > we always document who warned/banned whom and for what reason and it
>> > has worked quite well so far there.
>> 
>> ++ to documentation, and the points others raised about an appeals
>> mechanism. Amne also mentioned discussion with the "offender" before
>> sanctions are imposed. While I agree that you don't want to get into an
>> argument with people, I think you're going to have to accept that people
>> *will* argue about it (even more so given that it's techies) and your
>> team needs to be ready to justify their decisions. I have no issue with a
>> mute being imposed first (for a few hours) and the discussion taking
>> place at that point. But there does need to be that discussion, and the
>> earlier the better, so that people are brought into line with community
>> expectations at an early stage, when the conflict is less.
> 
> I agree that the team could certainly make its rationale available
> (logs, interpretations of the CoC) upon request by someone it took
> action against.
Yeah, that would be good. I think the action email should make it clear that
the person has that right, and who to write to to request the
logs/deliberations.

> I don't agree with discussions or arguments with that 
> person, because they will drag the team down.
> 
Yeah, I mean more for people who are new. Having a quiet, friendly, word in
private the first time someone appears to be having difficulty
communicating with the herd seems like a good idea to me. If the situation
escalates and it leads to a mute for a few hours, at least that person
would have had an avenue to express their side of the conflict to someone
who is trained to consider the CoC and what it means for all parties, and
has some experience of conflict resolution.

Thanks for your time and hard work. (The commit reviews are great! :-)


-- 
gentoo-project@g.o mailing list


References:
Re: CoC enforcement proposal
-- Steve Long
Re: Re: CoC enforcement proposal
-- Donnie Berkholz
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