fedora_board
MINUTES
18:10:03 <jsmith> #startmeeting Fedora Board IRC Meeting: Protocol listed at https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Board_public_IRC_meetings
18:10:04 <zodbot> Meeting started Fri Sep 10 18:10:03 2010 UTC.  The chair is jsmith. Information about MeetBot at http://wiki.debian.org/MeetBot.
18:10:04 <zodbot> Useful Commands: #action #agreed #halp #info #idea #link #topic.
18:10:29 <jsmith> #chair smooge mdomsch caillon ctyler jds2001 spot
18:10:29 <zodbot> Current chairs: caillon ctyler jds2001 jsmith mdomsch smooge spot
18:10:38 <jsmith> #meetingname Fedora Board
18:10:38 <zodbot> The meeting name has been set to 'fedora_board'
18:10:59 <jsmith> #topic Open Questions and Answers from the Community
18:11:11 <smooge> I guess we need to do the Roll call again just for logs sake
18:11:22 <smooge> mdomsch
18:11:22 <smooge> * caillon   for a while
18:11:22 <smooge> * jsmith is here
18:11:22 <smooge> * mbroyles is here
18:11:22 <smooge> * ctyler here
18:11:28 <smooge> smooge is here
18:11:43 <smooge> ok done my part :)
18:11:48 <jsmith> #info mizmo and jds2001 can't make it today
18:11:56 <jsmith> OK... now on to questions!
18:12:05 <Camberwell> ?
18:12:16 <jsmith> => Camberwell
18:12:33 <Camberwell> sorry if this isn't the place to ak, but will f13 see the new kde 4.5
18:13:17 <smooge> not the place to ask in my opinion. that is more of a FESCO question
18:13:29 <jsmith> You can certainly ask, but that's really a FESCo decision
18:13:36 <Camberwell> ok sorry
18:13:46 <jsmith> That being said, the Board (before I got here) created a vision statement for updates
18:13:55 <ctyler> the package maintainers would be the best ones to talk to, or the kde sig
18:13:55 <caillon> also, the KDE sig probably can answer such questions too.  http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/SIGs/KDE
18:14:25 <jsmith> To make a long story short, we set the vision for the updates, and FESCo then creates the implementation based on that vision
18:15:04 <SMParrish_mobile> FYI. Kde 4.5 is in testing ATM. Still a few issues to work out
18:16:07 <Camberwell> ok thanks your replies anyway
18:16:17 <jsmith> No problem
18:16:17 <inode0> ?
18:16:25 <jsmith> => inode0
18:16:43 <inode0> A few weeks back spot proposed something regarding appointments/board approval - anything more come of that?
18:17:01 <jsmith> No, not really
18:17:14 <jsmith> As the FPL, I decided to take a step back for a bit, and try to do a few things first
18:17:21 * jsmith wanted to make sure we did things in the proper order
18:17:46 <jsmith> First of all, I want to make sure that the Board is working well, and that I have a good working relationship with each member of the Board
18:18:15 <jsmith> After that, I want to make sure that I have a chance to meet with the steering committees (FESCo, FAMSCo, etc.)
18:18:34 <jsmith> Once that's done, I think it's proper to discuss the governance structure
18:19:03 <inode0> Do you expect those things to be done this year?
18:19:10 <jsmith> When we do that though, I'd like clear proposals on 1) What problem are we attempting to solve, 2) Have other attempts been made to solve said problem, 3) How does this proposal solve the problem
18:19:57 <jsmith> I would hope that the Board is working well and I've met with the steering committees this year, obviously.  As for the other changes, I can't venture a guess.
18:20:16 <jsmith> It'll depend on the proposed changes.
18:20:48 <inode0> No, I was asking about whether the discussion of those other changes might be able to begin by the end of the year really.
18:21:08 <jsmith> Sure, the discussion will obviously happen before the end of the year
18:21:10 <inode0> That is good, thanks for the update. EOF
18:21:25 <brunowolff> ?
18:21:47 <jsmith> => brunowolff
18:21:59 <brunowolff> jsmith, do you plan on using your blog more going forward?
18:22:29 <brunowolff> Paul used to post a lot of Fedora stuff and it seems you are using it sparingly?
18:22:55 <brunowolff> It seems that this is a good soap box for the FPL to be using for advocacy. EOF
18:23:10 <jsmith> brunowolff: Yes, I do.  As I explained in one of my (infrequent?) blog posts, I'm still in "listen to lots of people" mode.  I'll certainly blog more once I have to say.
18:23:37 <jsmith> brunowolff: The way I like to describe is like the CEO of a company... you wouldn't want a new CEO to walk in the first day and start telling everyone what to do, or what they're doing wrong.
18:24:08 <jsmith> brunowolff: But in general, you're right -- my blog should be a good spot for Fedora advocacy, and I can certainly be more vocal there.
18:24:59 <skvidal> ?
18:25:00 <jsmith> brunowolff: Please feel free to prod me often if I'm not blogging :-)
18:25:04 <jsmith> => skvidal
18:25:46 <skvidal> What can we do to help burnout issues from contributors? I know we've seen a fair number of people just stop being able to keep up with the rate and non-stop fight. jwb as a case in point.
18:26:20 <jsmith> I think there are several things we can do.
18:26:54 <jsmith> It's been my own experience that the primary cause for people to leave a project is that they don't feel like anyone values their input or effort
18:27:24 <jsmith> So my primary reaction is that we need to be better at saying "thank you"
18:27:41 <jsmith> (and that means even if we don't agree with the person's viewpoints)
18:28:26 <jsmith> As a follow-on point, there's obviously a level of negativity and shrill voices in many of our mailing lists
18:28:55 <mdomsch> we did talk about mentorship and how to on-board more participants in our meeting - briefly...
18:29:44 <jsmith> Some people seem to thrive on the conflict in the lists -- I know I certainly don't.
18:29:48 <mdomsch> one problem with burn-out is that some people wind up doing quite a lot, and could progress to mentor others, but it is often faster and easier to simply do the work themselves rather than mentor someone new
18:30:18 <jsmith> mdomsch: That's certainly part of it too -- It takes self-discipline to know when to delegate and/or train someone up, and it's by no means easy
18:30:19 <mdomsch> finding tasks that a new contributor can do, and helping them do it, is time consuming
18:30:33 <ctyler> mdomsch: and for a geek that's not a people person, 2x
18:30:46 <jsmith> ctyler: Very good point
18:31:03 <mdomsch> I have been doing that a lot at work this year, and it is difficult, and can be hard to demonstrate progress
18:31:14 <mbroyles> how about if some people are dedicated 'teachers'?
18:31:29 <ctyler> or mentor-to-mentor
18:31:37 <mdomsch> so come performance review time, I am dorked because I did not get a lot done myself, and I have only a few I can point to as having helped them grow.
18:31:39 <caillon> there may also be value in sending $swag to contributors without making them fly to $fudcon to collect them
18:31:43 <jsmith> mbroyles: It's easy to say that, but in reality it's very hard to get someone to agree to only be a mentor
18:31:52 <ctyler> but I think a lot of the most effective mentoring is casual, not formal, and introducing a mentoring program doesn't mesh with that
18:31:58 <jsmith> caillon: Look for an announcement shortly regarding that :-)
18:32:15 <caillon> jsmith, oh?  i will indeed!
18:32:26 <jsmith> One of the things that helps the mentoring process is documentation of standard operating procedures
18:32:54 <jsmith> Having written SOPs helps on-board new contributors more quickly, and obviously helps avoid the "eaten by raptors" problem
18:33:18 <jsmith> But having someone do an "apprenticeship" of sorts of document what you do also helps get the SOPs written
18:33:42 <jsmith> So, to summarize, I really see two efforts we need to make:
18:34:02 <jsmith> 1) Show more appreciation for the people who are doing fantastic work, but get little praise
18:34:48 <jsmith> and 2) Help make sure that we effectively mentor new contributors to help shoulder the burden
18:35:02 <mmcgrath> !
18:35:13 <jsmith> => mmcgrath
18:35:30 <mmcgrath> just a quick comment.  I'm not so sure doing more work (1, 2) is the best way to prevent burnout :)  EOF
18:35:55 <smooge> 3) Remind people that "You are doing it wrong" is not the same as saying "Could you try this instead next time."
18:36:45 <jsmith> mmcgrath: Sure, there's a balance there.  Like I said, it takes discipline to know when to make the extra effort to help train someone else, and when to just keep doing it yourself.
18:37:19 <jsmith> mmcgrath: As I'm sure you're aware, it's a *hard* thing to mentor someone to the point where they're self-sufficient in a particular set of skills
18:37:38 <brunowolff> !
18:37:58 <jsmith> mmcgrath: But if Fedora as a community is going to scale, we have to scale the internal processes as well, which either means more people doing the work, or more work for the people in the middle
18:38:02 <jsmith> => brunowolff
18:38:19 <brunowolff> Since this case kind of applies to me I'd like to comment. I am doing work as a temporary fill in because currently
18:38:47 <brunowolff> there isn't anyone else willing to do it. I am not good at recruiting new people, which is a skill needed for the position
18:38:53 <brunowolff> I am filling in.
18:39:28 <brunowolff> Saying "Good job" helps a little, but I am going to stop doing the temporary stuff at some point and go back to working on
18:39:44 <brunowolff> the parts of Fedora I find more fun/interesting to do.
18:40:07 <brunowolff> That will either happen after the F14 or F15 release, I haven't decided yet.
18:40:26 <brunowolff> So what do we do about a situation like that?
18:41:00 <ctyler> brunowolff: we don't have a "Fedora Job Postings" board, but have you tried to publicize the need? Perhaps via planet and/or the lists?
18:41:05 <brunowolff> Someone needs to be recruiting a replacement (actually more like two people)? EOF
18:41:12 <jsmith> I'm assuming you're talking about the Spins work?
18:41:22 <brunowolff> Yes, the Spins SIG.
18:41:42 <brunowolff> I am effectively both the lead and the wrangler and I really don't want to be either.
18:42:04 <mbroyles> it would be nice to have a "board" of some sort...i would like to help, however not sure the best entry point to the project
18:42:26 <caillon> fyi i need to drop off now
18:42:43 <jsmith> In general, SIGs are self-guided.  If you're the only one working on it, and nobody else feels strongly enough about the work to step up and help, there's not a lot we can do.
18:43:11 <jsmith> I'd hate to see the Spins SIG die, but at the same time, I know it's a burden on you that you'd rather not have to do by yourself.
18:43:24 <brunowolff> How is that going to affect spins? Are we willing to drop the add ons or review or what?
18:44:00 <brunowolff> It's me and Kevin Fenzi, though Kevin is more busy with Fedora than I am and I don't want to dump it on him.
18:44:13 <jsmith> This is what I often refer to as the STP problem
18:44:16 <brunowolff> There are some spin owners but mostly they just worry about their own spins.
18:44:22 <jsmith> (STP = Same Two People, or Same Ten People)
18:45:09 <smooge> by caillon
18:45:19 <jsmith> Not speaking about the Spins SIG, but about SIGs in general for a moment -- We either have to recruit more volunteers and help them get up to speed, or decide that "That's a great idea, but we don't have the resources to do it now"
18:45:55 <jsmith> If people are interested in a particular SIG and think it's a good idea, they should be willing to help
18:46:29 <jsmith> "scratch the itch yourself, pay someone else to scratch your itch, or convince someone else that it's their itch", as the saying goes
18:46:33 <brunowolff> The trouble with Spins SIG is that right now it's mostly a gatekeeper, not really an interest group.
18:47:36 <jsmith> I'd love to sit down with you and FESCo (and anybody else that might be interested) and discuss the Spins SIG in more detail, and see if we can't form a plan for helping you out
18:47:48 <ctyler> The SIGs behind each spin are more like SIGs than the Spins SIG itself
18:48:05 <brunowolff> I am certainly willing to do that.
18:48:13 <skvidal> !
18:48:17 <jsmith> That brings up another point I should probably mention... If you're a Fedora contributor and you're feeling burned out -- please speak up before you hit the tipping point
18:48:27 <jsmith> We want to help!
18:48:33 <jsmith> => skvidal
18:48:34 <mdomsch> jsmith: +!
18:49:00 <skvidal> nevermind
18:49:04 <skvidal> EOF
18:49:36 <jsmith> OK... we've got about ten more minutes for questions here, or as always feel free to ask questions asynchronously on the advisory-board list
18:50:48 <smooge> mdomsch, ?
18:51:00 <mdomsch> smooge: typo - keyboard failing today
18:51:08 <smooge> ah ok
18:51:10 <mdomsch> or just my fingers
18:52:51 <smooge> I think one of the issues with burnout is that we have a culture of trying to do as much as we can and usually hit a rock before knowing we have taken too much
18:53:38 <Camberwell> !
18:53:40 <smooge> we then end up saying "No" (in various forms getting worse and worse)
18:53:58 <jsmith> => Camberwell
18:54:01 <smooge> and not "I don't know how." or "I don't have time."
18:54:03 <smooge> sorry
18:54:11 <smooge> EOF
18:54:33 <jsmith> smooge: No problem... I'm sorry that I assumed you were done :-/
18:54:40 * jsmith should follow protocol!
18:54:53 <smooge> anyway Camberwell when you are ready
18:54:55 <jsmith> Camberwell: Go ahead :-)
18:54:56 <Camberwell> its a shame that there people in the project who are wanting/needing help and then theres people like me who are just joining and anxious to help
18:55:23 <Camberwell> has anyone thought about a position vacant board?
18:56:03 <jsmith> In some ways... every position is vacant
18:56:15 <jsmith> Every team and SIG and group in Fedora can use extra help
18:56:45 <Camberwell> but then i suppose you need people who are good at one thing rather and ok at lots f things?
18:56:45 <jsmith> And one of the great things about the open source way is that leadership changes happen all the time too
18:56:56 <Camberwell> s/and/than
18:56:57 <jsmith> Not necessarily...
18:57:15 <inode0> !
18:57:19 <jsmith> Look, we have some of the smartest and most amazing people in the world helping out
18:57:26 <jsmith> Some of them choose to concentrate on one area
18:57:36 <jsmith> Some of them spread out among a lot of different areas
18:57:40 <jsmith> Both approaches are OK
18:58:03 <jsmith> I just wanna make sure that they have the support they need, and the gratitude for what they do
18:58:09 <jsmith> => inode0
18:58:12 <inode0> Camberwell: we have lots of open positions that we don't even know exist. They are created by people like you.
18:58:23 <skvidal> !
18:58:36 <jsmith> => skvidal
18:58:54 <skvidal> there's an issue of trust - some of the heaviest hit, least flexible, highest-impact positions are ones that require that people who do them be highly trusted
18:59:06 <skvidal> being available to work on new things means something, that's ture
18:59:08 <skvidal> err true
18:59:27 <skvidal> but we cannot let anyone push pkgs or maintain various services.
18:59:29 <skvidal> EOF
18:59:43 <jsmith> Good point, skvidal
19:00:04 <jsmith> In some parts of Fedora, we require formal "approval" or mentorship
19:00:17 <jsmith> Especially in areas of high risk, such as infrastructure and packaging
19:00:37 <jsmith> In other areas (such as documentation), almost anybody can dive in and start helping without a lot of formal process
19:01:14 <Camberwell> !
19:01:20 <jsmith> There are certainly things I can do as the FPL to help lower some of those barriers to entry, but trust is a big part of dynamic that makes Fedora tick
19:01:24 <jsmith> => Camberwell
19:01:52 <Camberwell> i have applied for the docs group as i am interested in creating some kde documentation....
19:02:17 <jsmith> Great!
19:02:17 <Camberwell> i'v also joined the triage group because someone said they are crying out for help
19:02:30 <Camberwell> i just need a mentor
19:02:34 <jsmith> (Docs was the first group I signed up for too!)
19:02:47 <mdomsch> apologies, I must leave now
19:02:55 <jsmith> mdomsch: Thanks for your time!
19:03:37 <jsmith> Camberwell: The two best ways to get some mentorship are to ask for it on the mailing list, and then hang out in the IRC channels and show people that you're willing to help.
19:03:47 <jsmith> Camberwell: If you have questions, don't be afraid to ask.
19:03:57 <Camberwell> but then in a burnout context its asking someone to put more time in to help me
19:04:56 <jsmith> It depends on what part of the project you're working on
19:05:12 <jsmith> In many cases, we have people who have the time and energy to help mentor new contributors
19:05:17 <jsmith> In others, it's more difficult
19:05:23 <Camberwell> ok cheers i will ask about the kde sig as to anyone else interested or already working on kde documentation
19:05:40 <Camberwell> can i just start putting drafts up on the wiki?
19:05:41 <jsmith> I'm sure they'd appreciate it :-)
19:05:48 <jsmith> Camberwell: Yes -- it's a wiki :-)
19:05:53 <Camberwell> ok excelent
19:06:09 * inode0 thanks the board for sharing its time with the community today
19:06:09 <jsmith> Ok, we're past the top of the hour
19:06:23 <jsmith> inode0: You're most welcome... thanks for keeping us on our toes :-)
19:06:33 <Camberwell> indeed thankyou all for your time with me too
19:08:12 <jsmith> #endmeeting