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From Ross Gardler <>
Subject RE: [PROPOSAL] Creation of the Incubator Ombudsman
Date Wed, 31 Jul 2013 02:32:06 GMT
Two clarifications prompted by Marvins observations:

1) by no progress I meant in resolving the issue of being crippled by
its own weight. I certainly didn't mean no progress in anything. You'll
find plenty of cases where I make that same point. Sorry for not being

2) I don't see how anyone can -1 moving forwards "as appropriate" when
that means as is proper for the IPMC after a review of the opinions. I
think you interpreted "as appropriate" as meaning I knew what the
outcome of your review would be - that is not the case.

Thank you for conducting the review and summarizing the thread and the
various views within it so that we can see what "as appropriate" is ;-)


Sent from my Windows Phone From: Dave Fisher
Sent: 7/29/2013 11:03 PM
Cc: Ross Gardler
Subject: Re: [PROPOSAL] Creation of the Incubator Ombudsman
On Jul 29, 2013, at 8:55 PM, Marvin Humphrey wrote:

> On Sun, Jul 28, 2013 at 8:13 PM, Ross Gardler
> <> wrote:
>> The IPMC has been incapable of any kind if action for a long time. Full
>> consensus is not possible, what is required is progress.
> The Incubator is making plenty of progress.  Day by day out on the podling
> lists, contributors are absorbing information and Mentors are guiding; here in
> the nucleus on general@, we are also finding ways to move forward.
> For instance: While the proposals for exit interviews and an Incubator ombud
> may not have panned out as expected, the discussion around them yielded a new
> documentation page which has gone over very well:
> <>.  Even better, it was penned
> by someone who had not previously contributed to the Incubator in such a
> capacity: Alex Harui, who I hope we hear more from in the future.
> There is a perception among a small group of highly invested Incubator
> contributors that the IPMC is immobile.  Historically, the members of this
> group have sent an extraordinary volume of email to general@ advocating for
> their favored initiatives (which typically involve restructuring the Incubator
> or refactoring its processes), often in highly contentious rapid-fire
> exchanges.  It is true that such discussions often achieve little despite
> their extreme length; my perception is that they go nowhere because more
> effort goes into restating the same arguments time after time and outlasting
> the opposition than into trying to think outside the box and find creative
> solutions.
> The chief effect of these long, hot threads is to suck up all the oxygen in
> the room.  In this case, Alex's contribution is going unacknowledged because
> we're fixated on the ombud proposal thread -- even though WhatToExpect
> constitutes "progress" on the very same issue of mitigating podling
> contributor discontent.
> It's unfortunate that we have allowed the obsessions of a strident few to
> obscure great work being done throughout the Incubator.
>> The minority position holders should step aside (assuming their objections
>> are unlikely to cause long lasting damage) or step up (assuming they have an
>> alternative proposal).
> People *have* stepped up -- Alex for starters.  Then there's Dave Fisher, who
> argues that the proposed ombud role serves basically the same purpose as the
> existing institution of the "Incubator shepherds".  Dave *is* a shepherd, so
> by his argument he's been shouldering a portion of that workload for quite
> some time now.
> Establishing an Incubator ombud is not an imperative and it is not the only
> way forward.  The state of the current ombud proposal remains: no consensus --
> and that's fine, in my opinion, even though I'm in favor.
>> Lets give Marvin a little space to review the thread and then lets move
>> forward as appropriate.
> -1 on "move forward as appropriate" because the chair does not have the power
> to overrule the objections of other IPMC members.  Nevertheless, since my
> assistance has been requested in reviewing the thread, I'll oblige.
> Chris Mattmann, Roman Shaposhnik and Chip Childers were concerned about
> role redundancy:
> (mattmann)
>    +1, the chair is already the Ombudsman. Or should be at least.
>    No need for duplication and more overhead (and confusion).
> (rvs)
>    Personally I don't see much value add over a set of active
>    mentors + IPMC chair.
> (chipchilders)
>    IMO, a PMC chair should both behave and be seen to the community as acting
>    in this capacity.  However, others have commented on at least the
>    perception not being that this is the case.  Given that, I'd be
>    comfortable with this as an experiment...  so +0.
> (mattmann)
>    I'm not in favor of an Ombudsman. Seems like an extra layer of overhead
>    beyond what the Chair already provides. Seriously does someone need a
>    title in order to be the clearinghouse for folks' honest assessments of
>    the Incubator, its personnel, or other sensitive issues?
> I think the best response to this is that while the IPMC chair needs to serve
> as a good confidante when petitioned privately, it is not obvious to people
> who are new to Apache that such an avenue is open to them.  Having a dedicated
> ombud address will encourage conversations which wouldn't happen otherwise.
> Dave Fisher, as mentioned above, focuses on overlap between ombud and
> shepherds:
>    I think we are looking for people in the IPMC who are willing to help
>    podlings solved their real and their perceived problems. An Ombudsman is
>    one title for someone like that  and so is Shepherd.
>    I think that there exists an ever changing group within the IPMC that in
>    their own serves this function. These people meet at private@.
>    Why can't a PPMC go to private@ with any issue and then someone can take
>    care of it?
> My response is that we need as many shepherds as we can muster, but the role
> of ombud is best handled by a single individual for the sake of maximizing
> confidentiality and minimizing conflict of interest.
> Bertrand was skeptical about an ASF-wide ombud, but didn't raise any objection
> to an Incubator-specific position.
>    We don't have that, and I don't think we need it - people should feel free
>    to contact people that they trust (officers, board members, ASF members)
>    privately if there's a need, and not having someone elected in the
>    ombudsman role means people are free to talk to whoever they think will
>    help.
> My reaction is that it probably makes sense to run an experiment with an
> Incubator ombud -- if it turns out we don't need one, then we conclude that
> the ASF at large doesn't need one either.
> And then there were my own objections, which have already been addressed.
> A separate thread started by Joe Schaefer explored what the ombud might be
> tasked with.
>    1) proactively solicits opinions of exiting podlings
>       about their experiences in the form of interviews
>       and surveys.
>    2) make anonymized results of (1) available to the IPMC
>       on a regular basis.
>    3) provides advocacy and facilitates solutions for
>       committers who report issues with their podling's
>       mentors.
> Alan suggested a modification to bullet point 3 which was received +1s from
> JimJag and Chip Childers.
>    provides advocacy and facilitates solutions for podling, and IPMC members,
>    who report issues that cannot normally be solved through normal
>    established processes.
> In other threads, the subject of anonymity has proven controversial, which
> might argue for leaving it out.  To my mind that's an implementation detail,
> though.
> I suggest starting a new thread with a modified proposal that addresses or at
> least acknowledges some of those concerns.  If there are no objections after
> 72 hours, go ahead.  My hunch is that with JimJag as the candidate, a new
> proposal is unlikely to garner unyielding opposition.

Thanks for all the quotes. My position is evolved as yoursmay have. If
Jim is willing to be the initial incubator ombud I certainly support
the experiment.

Do we really need a new thread? I think that 72 hours after Ross's
email is plenty of revolutions of the globe.


> Marvin Humphrey
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