Gentoo Archives: gentoo-project

From: "Michał Górny" <mgorny@g.o>
To: gentoo-project <gentoo-project@l.g.o>
Subject: [gentoo-project] Concerns about low Council member involvement outside meetings
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2019 13:56:24
Message-Id: 67d8be9b81a458d5b01d3121cde9c91d73bd9cd0.camel@gentoo.org
Hello,

I'd like to discuss a problem I've been noticing for quite some time
already.  I've expressed it during yesterday's meeting open floor,
and I'd like to expand on it here.  I figure that most of the voters may
be unaware of it simply because they recognize Council members for
effects of their actions, and possibly from meetings summaries, while
the problem becomes visible if you end up participating frequently or
reading logs.

I don't want to generalize or blame specific Council members but I am
repeatedly getting the feeling that some of them fail to find time to
fulfill their duties outside of monthly meetings.  The degree
of the problem differs but it ranges from delaying feedback on proposals
until the actual meeting to -- in extreme cases -- coming completely
unprepared and reading all the proposals during the meeting.

I believe Council should work (whenever possible) in a transparent way. 
The procedure is somewhat built upon that concept -- you are expected to
publicly discuss your proposals first, then ask for them to be included
in the agenda and the agenda is sent a week before the meeting. 
Ideally, this should provide enough time for everyone involved to review
the proposals, provide feedback and answer feedback.  Then Council
should have all the data it needs for the meeting, and should be able to
quickly decide.  Sadly, this isn't always the case.  I will provide
a few examples now.

The most recent example is GLEP 80.  The pre-GLEP was submitted for ml
review on 2019-03-04 [1], the GLEP was sent for the agenda on 2019-04-02 
[2] and the agenda was sent a week later [3].  So in the best case,
Council members had almost 6 weeks to review it.  In the worst case, one
week.  Nevertheless, during the yesterday's meeting one of the Council
members has provided new feedback, and indicated that he didn't have
time to send it earlier [log not yet uploaded].

I probably wouldn't mention it if I hadn't hit a similar problem with
earlier GLEP 63 update (to v2).  In this case, once again a significant
amount of new feedback was presented during the meeting.  It felt as if
Council members had reviewed the GLEP earlier but instead of submitting
the feedback right away, they saved it for the meeting.  [4]

This is problem not only because it can prolong the GLEP progress by one
month or even more.  This is a problem because instead of having
a transparent discussion with everyone involved prior to the meeting,
the problems are discussed at the last minute.

However, the problem is not limited to GLEPs.  Let's take a look
at 'Forums (specifically OTW)' item from Feb 2019 meeting [5].
The Council has decided to 'defer discussion to mailing lists'. 
However, for two months now Council members have failed to actually
start this discussion, whatever its purpose was supposed to be.

If I go back even further, to the time when I was on the Council,
I recall people asking for time to read the agenda items.  I can
understand that things like that can happen once but I feel like they're
more common than that.

I understand that people may not have a lot of time to spend on Gentoo. 
However, I believe that if one stands for the Council, one simply must
be able to find necessary time to put more time than 1-2 hours a month
during the meeting.  Or -- to put it bluntly -- if you don't have time
to be on the Council, please don't stand for the Council.

As I said before, I believe the main purpose of the Council is to
encourage and facilitate feedback from the community, and make decisions
based on that feedback.  If Council members fail to participate
in Community discussion phase, and instead express their feedback during
the meeting and vote based on that data, they take unfair advantage over
other community members who are prevented from being able to freely
address the new comments.

[1] https://archives.gentoo.org/gentoo-project/message/9177c3c3dd9eacec4f74b8c9cd38131f
[2] https://archives.gentoo.org/gentoo-project/message/3561b881d8094b2a7c9e52ba2bc02b1b
[3] https://archives.gentoo.org/gentoo-project/message/81126506f08d0f11c5a6d4c0c459baf5
[4] https://projects.gentoo.org/council/meeting-logs/20180729.txt
[5] https://projects.gentoo.org/council/meeting-logs/20190210-summary.txt

-- 
Best regards,
Michał Górny

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