Gentoo Archives: gentoo-dev

From: Grant Goodyear <g2boojum@g.o>
To: Gentoo-Dev <gentoo-dev@g.o>
Cc: gentoo-core@g.o
Subject: [gentoo-dev] Ombudsman GLEP, second pass
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2003 23:49:11
Message-Id: 1058140112.32010.70.camel@localhost
1 Okay, It's been about a week since I sent my Ombudsman GLEP out for
2 comments, so it's time to summarize the comments so far. The original
3 GLEP may be found at So far there
4 have been comments only by tberman, klieber and, indirectly, seemant.
5 (For the existing thread, see
9 Kurt noticed that the GLEP fails to accurately document the role of the
10 ombudsman, which is to "mediate" disputes, not "settle" them. The
11 ombudsman has no actual power other than persuasion; his or her role is
12 to facilitate finding common ground through discussions and
13 negotiations.
15 Kurt asked about when it is appropriate to use the ombudsman, to which I
16 replied that the ombudsman's services may be used at any time simply by
17 sending an e-mail to ombudsman@g.o. I gave examples of
18 user-developer and developer-developer conflicts that might occur, and
19 suggested that the role of the ombudsman is first to listen, and then to
20 try to mediate.
22 Kurt also addressed the issue of logging or making public disputes, to
23 which I suggested that disputes should be logged, but not public unless
24 all parties wish it to be so. (I also clarified that the ombudsman's
25 role is to handle interpersonal disputes, not policy disputes.)
27 From tberman we have the helpful suggestion that the ombudsman should
28 rotate every 3-to-6 months, with the backup ombudsman taking over from
29 the current ombudsman. Todd also suggested g2boojum and absinthe as the
30 first ombudsman and backup omudsman, respectively. I have mixed
31 feelings on the idea of rotation. I agree that for an ombudsman
32 position to be effective the ombudsman has to be considered impartial
33 (and by having a backup one can avoid most conflicts of interest), but
34 I'm not sure that regular rotations actually help that cause. If we
35 should find a dev who's already well regarded as being impartial,
36 keeping that dev as an ombudsman may be more useful.
38 Kurt also had a number of worries about the ombudsman proposal.
39 Summarizing, he feels that the ombudsman is likely to get overwhelmed,
40 that having the position encourages whining more than fixing problems,
41 and that ideally the ombudsman should really be listening to people and
42 then proposing big-picture fixes. After a lot of reflection, I think
43 Kurt may be correct, but that none of his worries are actually _bad_
44 things. If the ombudsman gets overwhelmed, then that _is_ a sign that
45 things need to be fixed, and I have no problem adding to the GLEP a
46 section documenting that one of the roles of the omubudsman is to look
47 for trends in interpersonal conflicts and work on finding more global
48 solutions. As for encouraging whining, I still tend to think that the
49 requirement that the person with a complaint submit a written complaint
50 to the ombudsman will help to set the bar high enough that most of the
51 disputes will be more than whining. Assuming that nobody objects, I'll
52 add a comment to the GLEP stating that e-mails to the ombudsman may be
53 rejected outright if they are not well-written or they contain an excess
54 of vitriol or abuse.
56 Seemant has proposed an ombudsman subproject to the devrel project
57 (, so if people have comments on
58 this proposal it would be very helpful to make them soon. Please feel
59 free to reply to this message (to gentoo-dev@g.o), and I'll
60 cheerfully put together another summary if needed.
62 Best,
63 g2boojum
64 --
65 Grant Goodyear <g2boojum@g.o>


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[gentoo-dev] Re: [gentoo-core] Ombudsman GLEP, second pass Jay Pfeifer <pfeifer@g.o>