Gentoo Archives: gentoo-project

From: Rich Freeman <rich0@g.o>
To: gentoo-project <gentoo-project@l.g.o>
Subject: Re: [gentoo-project] Concerns about low Council member involvement outside meetings
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2019 14:19:33
In Reply to: [gentoo-project] Concerns about low Council member involvement outside meetings by "Michał Górny"
On Mon, Apr 15, 2019 at 9:56 AM Michał Górny <mgorny@g.o> wrote:
> > 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.
While I agree with the principles behind most of your email, I also want to balance them with the fact that in almost any organization the people who tend to be viewed as having the most wisdom tend to also be the ones with the least time available for interaction. I guess a cynic might suggest that being more measured in your interactions with others tends to cause them to inflate their estimate of your wisdom. Perhaps that isn't even a bad thing. Certainly I've found that the less I talk the more people pay attention when I do. There needs to be a balance, and ultimately it is up to devs to elect the representatives that they want in charge. I think one issue we get on these lists is endless back-and-forth that doesn't go anywhere. I think this tends to drive a lot of people to just keep their thinking to themselves or just discuss it in private. If a council member knows that something they object to will get voted down, why would they engage in a lot of argument on the lists which takes time and perhaps damages their reputation. They can just show up and watch it get voted down. I don't think this is healthy for the community, but part of the problem is that we have bad incentives. I don't think we need more "slacker marks" but I would encourage Council members to at least: 1. Read agenda proposals before the meeting. 2. Share their thoughts on proposals on the lists. They shouldn't feel obligated to get into back-and-forth, but at least get their tentative thinking out. 3. At least read the general responses to their thinking. 4. Not be bound by anything they previously said when it comes time to vote. We want frank discussion at all points, and it is normal for opinions to change as a result of engagement. 5. Volunteer to chair meetings and issue timely documentation of summaries, ideally created as the meeting goes along. On the flip side, I think the community at large and those making proposals to the Council also need to keep in mind that if you "punish" people for sharing their opinions, you just won't hear them in the future. It is ok to disagree or provide some argument. Just try not to make the process so painful or ascribe ill will to a degree where you're poisoning the well. -- Rich