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From Aaron Bannert <>
Subject Re: PPMCs and oversight
Date Mon, 29 Dec 2003 03:52:05 GMT
On Sun, Dec 28, 2003 at 03:43:56PM +1100, Berin Lautenbach wrote:
> Aaron Bannert wrote:
> >Why must it be one person? The entire Incubator PMC is responsible, so
> >why should we limit this to one person?
> Not saying there should be only one mentor (in fact I would argue 
> against it).  But I do think it important to have *identified* mentors.


I disagree on the terminology but I think we all agree it's important
that the Incubator project have veteran ASF people involved in
incubated projects.

> Having said that, I continue to maintain that having an identified 
> single person as holding overall accountability for something (in this 
> case the mentor role) is a good thing.  Makes things more likely to 
> happen.  There can be other mentors as well, but there is one person for 
> the Incubator PMC to go to.

I'm confused by what you are saying. Do you believe there should
be one person in an authoritative position for each PPMC or not? I
am strongly against having "roles" within the ASF. Roles go against
the way volunteer organizations work. Volunteers at the ASF will
contribute when they can. It is difficult for most people to commit
to certain responsibilities when they must keep real life at a
higher priority (work, family, etc). By keeping things simple and
allowing people to contribute when they are best able to, we all

I also don't understand what kind of "accountability" you expect
someone to step up and accept? What magic feats do you see mentors
performing for which the Incubator PMC would not be better? I fail
to see any benefit to this sort of artificial bottleneck. Besides,
if there are serious issues to be taken care of (which I would hope
would be rare) would not a mentor be doing the Incubator PMC a disservice
by hiding those issues from the PMC?

> >I think it's important that there are at least a couple Incubator PMC
> >people subscribed to the PPMC mailing lists, but those people *are*
> >the "Mentors". If a PPMC has an issue they should send an email and
> >also cc: the mailing list.
> No - IMO these people are *not* the mentors (or at least this alone does 
> not make them so).  As a PMC member, I subscribe to PPMC lists to make 
> sure I understand what is going on, and so that when a question comes up 
> that needs input/oversite from the Incubator PMC then I can adequately 
> do my part.

That sounds like mentoring to me. Or sheparding. Or incubating.
It's all the same. You are on the PMC because you are interested
in incubating new ASF projects, right?

If you are involved in the Incubator project (not just on the PMC)
then you already have shown that you are interested in helping new
projects incubate. If you go so far as to actually join the PPMC
list then it's obvious that you are interested in that particular
community. In my mind once you get that far you are a "mentor".

> A mentor is a far more active role than that.  The mentors are supposed 
> to be actively assisting the new project (not just the PPMC!) in getting 
> into the ASF.
> By saying that anyone from the Incubator PMC on the PPMC list is a 
> mentor for that project, we are loosing sight of what a mentor is 
> supposed to be.

I make a distinction between teaching and doing. The way I see it,
veteran ASFers who are interested in incubating new ASF project
communities should join the Incubator PMC and any PPMCs that they
find interesting. By participating in those discussions, they can
teach these new projects how to behave like ASF projects.

It seems to me that we have inadvertently invented the role of
Mentor to *do* all the work necessary to become an ASF project. It
is this idea that I am opposed to. I fail to see anything that must
be performed by a Mentor that should not instead be done either by
the project itself or be brought to the attention of the Incubator PMC.

> Of course, being an incubator PMC member in a PPMC list does not 
> preclude one also being a mentor, it's just that more is necessary.

Given the above, I fail to see the necessity. Critical issues should
be brought to the attention of the Incubator PMC. Everything else
should be handled within the PPMC and the work to become an ASF
project should be handled completely within the PPMC. "Mentors" as
I see them exist as guides and to help foster new project communities
so that they can best exist within the ASF. The best way to do that
is to join the PPMC and development lists for incubated projects.

[I hate long emails. :)]

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