Membership and voting and consensus... (Re: Membership)

I think there is alot of obsessing around membership in this discussion that isn't
worthwhile.  And culturally, I believe it is a poison to draw distinctions:
the distictions are of course real, but you really don't want "insiders"
and "outsiders".  The only way to get new contributors is to keep the inertial
barriers to getting involved as low as possible.  Tom Sawyer's fence needs
whitewashing today (for those who have read Mark Twain).

***I think a view of someone being a member is someone who believes they want
to be a member is sufficient.***

Given the size of the project, already, it seems that any administrative
burden determining who is or is not a member is likely to be overwealming:
I've read several examples in the stuff that has been going by of this
being the case. (e.g. Debian).

We all know the reality: them's that do the real work get the real power.
No board is going to have it, other than by the people on the board and
the respect in which they are held by the community.  Any decision making
beyond general policy is a sign that one's consensus building has failed.
Such failures can/will happen, and you do have to have mechanisms in place
for those circumstances.

And voting is again a sign of consensus building having failed: votes should
be reserved for the most rare of circumstances, where you are stuck on
a tied situation, and even there, it should generally be to ratify an
individual's decision who understands the issues most clearly. (Example:
IETF area directors occasionally have to break the ties; they get backed
up (and problems with AD's behavior resolved) by the IAB).

Again, since it is clear that them that do have the power, you want a
situation where rough consensus can be declared (by agreement among those
that really matter, rather than by some numeric formula that weights people
the same, or in some complex weighting fashion).

The last thing you want are frequent votes, where someone who doesn't
know the issue has the same power as someone who knows the issues. I
guarantee that having a situation where people believe they have formal
votes can be poisonous...  There are people who then believe they should
be able to vote about everthing, no matter how trivial, and make the most
amazing fuss when you don't put absolutely everything to a vote.

				 - Jim

Jim Gettys
Technology and Corporate Development
Compaq Computer Corporation

[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]