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From "Henri Yandell" <>
Subject Re: IRC Channel?
Date Thu, 10 Aug 2006 16:45:29 GMT
On 8/9/06, William A. Rowe, Jr. <> wrote:
> Craig L Russell wrote:
> > Has anyone ever considered making IRC chats available (on some basis) as
> > an Apache archive? Seems that Apache (myself included) doesn't like IRC
> > so much because it is not available to those of us who because of time
> > zone or other reasons can't attend.
> No - mostly because IRC CANNOT BE USED to make project decisions.

Which is a shame, because the biggest advantage of IRC is nothing to
do with the projects and decisions and everything to do with
community. My belief (though I'd be stunned if it was a novel belief)
is that communities are founded on the personal relationships between
people and not the community as a whole. The core of the project is
less the individuals at the core and more the relationships between
those individuals at the core; and their subsequent relationships with
other people in the community. This is the latticework on which the
public community sits. A community is weaker if it lacks these private

IRC, and to a greater extent private email/IM, are an order of
magnitude more powerful for building that latticework than mailing
lists are. Even with the necessary evil of timezones - which some
people seem to solve by being on IRC 24/7.

> It's lovely for beating down a problem, kicking around ideas, but those
> ideas MUST COME BACK TO dev@.  Decisions themselves must be made on dev@.

I think this is an oversimplification. We have projects who have
multiple mailing lists, those mailing lists do not constitute the
entire community, or the entire pmc. Decisions get made on them every
day. We also have people's minds, in which decisions are made without
their being made in front of anyone else.

We have private email and IM, in which decisions also get made (or is
the ASF going to ban pair programming? :) ).

The issue isn't one of decisions being made - it's of big decisions
being made. This is going to happen in official meetings - much like
the board meeting. The solution is to have minutes to such things -
and a concise summary. It's the same as the monthly board meeting on
the phone. Someone would chair the meeting, it would be announced on
the dev@ list. I'm sure we can design a set of recommendations for irc
channels that would be better than a general "THOU SHALT NOT".

> It's the responsibility of the project participants to grab any useful
> log thread, forward it on to the dev@ list to get people thinking and
> voting.

And yet I've heard so many of the experienced ASF people, and read in
the books and oscon sessions on management by the SVN guys that
consensus is far more important than voting. I might be being pedantic
on this one :) The important part is that major decisions are put
before the whole community before they go into effect. Minor decisions
are handled either by no one complaining or by sending out an email of

> Automatically capturing IRC logs undermines this responsibility and harms
> the project (for exactly the reasons you point out above).

Being able to turn on and off an IRC logger for meetings etc is a good
thing, though my understanding is that most IRC clients can do it so
the meeting chair just needs to make sure things are being logged. I
know a lot of people don't like the idea of automatic logging for IRC,
especially if it's not known that you're being logged (#maven is
logged?!? :) ).


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