Re: A question for the candidates

On Fri, May 25, 2012 at 9:21 AM, Allan Day <allanpday gmail com> wrote:
Hi all,

Thanks to all the candidates for stepping forward. It's fantastic that
you are interested in doing this important work.

A question for you:

Sometimes it can feel like the Board of Directors is a bit divorced
from the rest of the GNOME project. Is this a problem, in your view?
If it is, what do you think can be done about it?


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Hi Allan,

Thanks for the great question.
Before I give you an answer, I would like to empathize what great work the board has been doing in the last years. From raising funds and our financial capital to organizing hackfests and events, as well as pushing for programs to get more contributors to GNOME, all this requires a big amount of dedication and discipline. So I think a divorce from the project is not the right description.

That being said, I understand where you are coming from. From a personal point of view it seems to me that the board is so focused on *increasing* our financial and social capital, that sometimes *maintaining* the social capital is neglected. This leads to the observation of some that the board as an entity not directly involved with the community and community problems. To put it similar words to yours: It feels sometimes, that they are divorced from the community (not from the project) 

The board has been helping the community increase its social capital. Getting new contributors takes time and effort to get them integrated, this is where initiatives like OWP help alot. 
But the board needs to focus a bit of its time and efforts on *keeping* new and old contributors in the GNOME. This starts with the board getting involved in community related issues and help fascilitate solutions to ongoing disagreement. The board has been voted by the community, so I think they represent a subset of the community that we trust. 

Take the mailing-list from the last month. While some board members jumped in to help solve the disagreements, I think it could have been solved much quicker if the board had a meeting discussing the problem internally and studying a way to solve the issue at hand.
As Bastien said before, it is not the board's responsibility to decide on technical issues, or what application gets in or not. However I think the board should step in when things seem to be rough and help *detect the source of disturbance in the force*. By stepping in I mean, suggest having a meeting, and then getting the parties involved to make a *clear* plan on how the problem can be solved.

Ofcourse this can't be a long term responsibilty of the board. This is why if I am elected, I will push for the formation of a community task force, that would work on solving ongoing issues and negotiate between the parties involved, as well as maintain a healthy communication atomsphere within the community.
KDE already does this pretty successfully with its community working group. This group is a point of contact for any community problem that might arise in KDE. They've helped solve quite a few problems, among them the split of KOffice and Calligra. Thanks to them they managed to keep both parties inside KDE and the bad press around it was kept to a minimum. It took quite some time but they managed to find a solution that worked for the whole community without too much damage.


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