Re: sub-committees [was Re: Board Minutes 29 September 2004]

On Mon, 2004-10-04 at 15:24 +0100, Mark McLoughlin wrote:
> Hi,
> On Fri, 2004-10-01 at 21:00, Owen Taylor wrote:
> >         Leslie raised the idea of mixed board/non-board sub-committees
> >         for Marketing, Fundraising, Developer development, and so forth.
> 	Something about this kind of talk has been worrying me lately. Maybe
> its not a big deal and I'm rambling, though.
> 	Thinking about how our community might evolve over the next number of
> years, you might imagine two very different scenarios:
>   1) Global GNOME forward thinking is handled by small groups, 
>      sub-committees, teams or think-tanks. These are usually board 
>      initiated, consist largely of GNOME "luminaries" and have minuted 
>      meetings.
>   2) Any new initiatives or looking towards the future are started by 
>      individuals in public, open to all to discuss. Loose, informal 
>      groups sometimes form around ideas to get them going.

Well, I think you should probably wait to see what Leslie writes up.
But the whole idea of mixed board / non-board sub-committees is to
enable people who say "I'd like to get involved with X" and have a
place to go with it. Also, providing some quasi-official status for
some of these activities can be a definite help when going out to
talk to companies, goverments, NGOs, etc.

(As seen in the recent past, we'd really like people to be working
somewhat in the GNOME structure when they go out and say "I represent

There may not be a significant difference between this and the 
current idea we have of "teams" (docs, i18n, etc.).

> 	What worries me about (1) is that perhaps its makes it more
> difficult/daunting for new blood to get involved in these important
> matters. Maybe it gives the illusion that things are being handled when
> in fact the people involved are already overstretched and would love to
> see new people involved.
> 	i.e. instead Marketing, Fundraising and Developer Development
> committees, surely we want to leave the void in which a new leader can
> "explode, fully-formed out of freak lightning strikes and nuclear
> waste"[1]. How can we expect someone to scratch an itch if we keep
> putting slapping on band-aids?

But how often does this happen for anything but code? Even if somebody
steps up, expresses interest, does a bunch of work, I think we tend
frequently to basically ignore it until the person loses interest.

> 	Does (2) more closely reflect what how we'd like this community to
> operate? Or is it inevitable, given the size of the community, that any
> attempt by someone[2] to take on any difficult issue in public will find
> themselves bogged down by indecision, flames and huge discussions about
> irrelevant side matters?

I just don't see how you get somewhere in making the marketing of GNOME
better by *just* posting emails. How do we transition from talk, to say,
getting brochures printed up to hand out at tradeshows?


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