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From Ben Hyde <>
Subject Thinking about roles...
Date Wed, 04 Dec 2002 13:55:36 GMT
It's much better to treat the various roles that individuals may adopt 
as distinct attributions, or booleans, rather than try to sort them 
into some hierarchy.  That helps to keep the discussion focused on how 
the role managed: how people enter the role, what rights and 
responsibilities come with it, and how they exit the role.  For example 
pmc-member and apache-foundation-member are overlapping sets, but they 
are different roles.  I
believe there are some examples of pmc-member that aren't committers to 
anything, or even never have been.

Yeah, we have lots of roles.  Manager of release R, mailing list 
moderator of mailing list Z, members of wheel on machine M, treasurer 
of foundation A, participant in design debate D.  Many of these roles 
are much more critical to the vibrant operation of the thang than the 
ones with legal entanglements.  For example: performance-geek, or 
documentation-writer in language L, operator of mirror,  Capturing 
short descriptions of as many of these roles as possible is healthy.  
Particularly because it avoids people getting all fixated about one or 
two of these roles.

Roles are are also associated with entities ( R, Z, M, A, P, D).  
Capturing short descriptions of those is healthy too.  I like the 
glossary as about the right weight for getting started on those tasks.

I enjoy use the software OOP design paradigm, among others,  to think 
about this tedium.  There is also the legal paradigms that overlay some 
of it.

There are lots of other paradigms.  For example economists have 
something they call a 'public-good' for example the levees along a 
river are a public-good, as is a cure for cancer or RFC 2616.  Many 
public goods are managed by people who adopt or are assigned the 
responsible role over that good.  A levee for example fails if only one 
of these people screws up anyplace along it's length.  A cure for 
cancer on the other hand succeeds if any one of the people working on 
it succeed.   We keep our source open to capture cool new (cures) to 
our problems, we limit commit rights to help guard the quality 
(security) of the code (and the project).

There is also a large literature on the theory of organizations.  Max 
Weber, for example, wrote volumes on this as a consequence of picking 
apart the Prussian government bureaucracy.  In fact he teased out 
what's practically a moral framework: that people are impersonally 
separate from their offices, that written down procedures guide 
operations, that objective attention to  details and orders is "de 
rigour", that people are treated fairly and impartially under the law, 

We could us a modicum - not to hot, not too cold -  of that mixed  into 
the foundation's operations.  I'm glad I trust the folks in incubator 
that have taken on that task, since it's really easy to kill the 
butterfly as you attempt to dissect it.

  - ben

ps. The analogies to how my teenage sons play Magic also amuse me.

On Wednesday, December 4, 2002, at 07:52 AM, Nicola Ken Barozzi wrote:

> - copying incubator as a notice of RFE about the docs -
> Steven Noels wrote:
>> Nicola Ken Barozzi wrote:
>>> Ok, then let's not even try then, who cares, oh and while we're at 
>>> it let's remove the PMCs, why are they needed, oh and the board too, 
>>> oh and why Apache at all... get real, try to be constructive. If 
>>> nobody cares, tell me what we should do to solve the problem instead 
>>> of institutionalizing it.
>> I see this and I also see you stating that there exist 'various 
>> levels of legal protection'. Maybe we should make those levels more 
>> explicit, for:
>> * contributors (patches)
>> * committers
>> * PMC - non-Members
>> * PMC - Members
>> * Members
>> * Directors (VPs et al.)
>> * Board
>> Gee - I assume many will be surprised seeing _that_ many categories 
>> existing within the Apache community. Also, given the fact committers 
>> might receive wide-ranging commmit rights within federations of 
>> non-topleveled projects (e.g. the future xml.a.o), I'm convinced 
>> there exists several superfluous levels or differences in this 
>> classification.
>> And I saw Sam already mentioning his inclination to be more liberal 
>> with this 'Member'-thing on some list/blog (don't know where anymore, 
>> information overload ;-)
> IMV there are
> 1 contributors-committers
> 2 PMC members
> 3 members
> Maybe I'm oversimplifying, but it's simply that 2 and 3 will be 
> protected by Apache, the more if what they do is done following the 
> Apache guidelines and in the interest of Apache.
> IE, if you are a member but deliberately commit illegal stuff to CVS 
> and do other things like this, I don't know how much protection you 
> will recieve, but that's IMVHO and Personal opinion.
> -- 
> Nicola Ken Barozzi         
>             - verba volant, scripta manent -
>    (discussions get forgotten, just code remains)
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