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From Alex Harui <>
Subject Re: [PROPOSAL] Creation of the Incubator Ombudsman
Date Wed, 31 Jul 2013 05:54:46 GMT

On 7/30/13 5:05 PM, "Marvin Humphrey" <> wrote:

>Bertrand, Christian, Alex,
>On Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 12:44 AM, Bertrand Delacretaz
><> wrote:
>> people should feel
>> free to contact people that they trust (IPMC members, mentors, 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.
>I question how well the Incubator communicates to newcomers that such
>resources are available to them.  What if a podling contributor has no
>that they trust" because they don't know anybody around here?
I think an explanation of what to do if your mentors fail you would be a
good addition to "What to Expect".  I think I proposed one in this thread
a while back.

I've seen enough grumbling about how hard it is to find the right document
with the right information in Apache that I know it isn't just me.
Honestly, I thought I'd read all of the incubator docs when we entered but
don't recall reading the Process_Description document.  But most of the
time, I learn by searching.  Trying to read and remember all of the
incubator documentation is overwhelming and won't stick until it becomes
more applicable.  That's the value of mentors, they try to keep tabs on
the discussion in the podling and give sage advice and point to the right
document when you need it.  What we're discussing here is what to do if
the mentors run out of time to keep up with their podling.  For me, I'm
pretty sure that if you or Jim Jag or anyone who thinks they have the time
had emailed our dev list with a friendly welcome and an "feel free to ask
if you need help" I would have remembered that.  Maybe an alert needs to
be sent to general@ when a new podling's dev list is ready so friendly
folks can offer their help in a way that gets archived?  That happens a
few days after the vote result and IIRC, the well-wishing and welcomes
where then left on general@.

>I'm also skeptical that the absence of an ombud makes things easier
>because newcomers are "free" to find the best person to talk to.  That's
>saying that an airport is better off without a help desk.
My conern with "ombud" is that you don't know who you are talking to.
Airports are relatively impersonal compared to Apache.  And folks have
raised concerns about giving someone responsibility for covering ALL
podlings.  One thing I learned from other volunteering is that you can't
formalize volunteers too much or force them to do things.  It is better to
identify momentum and give it nudges in the right direction.
Creating a role could over formalize what should just be a welcoming
committee.  The person with that role is negligent as soon as they run out
of time to welcome the latest podling.  I think that's Bertrand's point.
Don't make one person do it, find a way to channel those motivated to do
it.  One possibility is a wiki page where each new podling is listed.
Then you or JimJag or anyone can send the "ask if you need help" email and
mark on the wiki page that they did it.  Other folks can also add their
welcomes, and you can see which podlings haven't been welcomed.  But
nobody is "required" to do it.

I suppose you could also have a help.a.o page where folks who have time to
back up the mentors can add their names so a podling can look to see who
currently says they have spare cycles to help.  That would be your airport
help desk staffed by volunteers, not somebody who "has" to do it.  And
then folks can pick who they want to start with.  A small photo and
description of who you are would make such a page appear more friendly and
help folks choose.

>The difference between the Incubator's overview documentation (what we
>you need to know) and the information in WhatToExpect (what you really
>need to
>know) is jarring.
>If we're so approachable, why doesn't anybody know it?
This is another lesson I learned from other volunteering.  Nothing ever
goes as planned.  The process description is how it should work, but what
to expect is about what will probably happen as you try to execute how it
should work.  I don't know if you have kids, but the What To Expect book
about pregnancy was also quite different from what I was taught in school
or saw in movies.


>Marvin Humphrey
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