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

Hi Owen,

On Mon, 2004-10-04 at 20:21, Owen Taylor wrote:
> 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.

	Yeah, I'm not attacking the idea, or even just talking about this idea.
Just trying to start a friendly conversation :-)

> 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

	But isn't "I represent GNOME" just "I'm a GNOME foundation member and
represent the rough consensus of the foundation"? Any time someone is in
that position of representing the consensus, do we form a new team and
make that person leader, just so he/she can feel they can go out and
represent GNOME?

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

	What I like about these teams is that they're defined by very specific
tasks and responsibilities.

> > 	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.

	Yep, unless that person is a member of some committee or team and feels
empowered enough by that to just run with their idea. Do we *want* to go
further down that road, or are we just going there because we've no
better ideas?

> > 	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?

	Okay, but what if the GNOME summaries didn't exist, someone had the
idea of doing them and thought the best thing to do is suggest it to the
marketing committee? Good chances nothing would happen, right? But if
the marketing committee didn't exist, maybe the person would just go off
and do it?

	So, a group formed to handle specific tasks is good (the tradeshow
team?), but a group formed to own a large, vague, poorly defined area is
dangerous, IMHO.


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