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From "Danny Angus" <>
Subject Re: IRC Channel?
Date Tue, 15 Aug 2006 09:02:14 GMT
On 15/08/06, Ian Holsman <> wrote:

Obvioulsy we aren't going to agree about this, which is fine, but I'd
still like to pick up on a couple of points that you raised;

> we are talking about stopping people using what they are comfortable
> with just
> because we have a few people who don't like it. (who aren't even
> directly involved
> in the project). Thats exclusionary to me.

With this principle where would you draw the line? Should we then be
looking at extending the channels of communication which projects use
to include many more forms of communication? What about people who
prefer IM or VOIP or web forums or usenet, do you think we should be
considering ways in which to include any reasonable and popular means
of communication or are your points specifically aimed at IRC?

<snipped more good stuff/>

> because it isn't. just like a dial-up modem, while perfectly fit for
> the purpose is no longer used.
> actually email isn't being used that much locally either... SMS or
> Skype/IM is what I use most when
> I want to talk to people.

I think you may be extrapolating your personal circumstances too far.
No doubt email is becoming less popular, in no small part as a
consequence of spam and the fact that the people who should be
concentrating on evolving the technology to match our evolving
sophistication are focusing a significant part of their attention on
spam prevention.
On the other hand people do need to communicate across timezones, and
in a diverse group any instant communication will exclude people who
cannot participate in real time. Many more are prevented from access
to instant communication by circumstances, for example corporate
firewalls etc. In my circumstances email is very much still the major
form of electronic communication in day to day use.

> >
> > There is no reason why people can't carry on other forms of
> > communication, but in order to keep the community alive we should want
> > to include in the debate everyone who has something to contribute.
> >
> we disagree.
> the community will just grow in a different direction, with other
> people joining it via IRC
> sure some people might be disadvantaged by this, but others will be
> advantaged.

I'm not proposing that we compel people not to use other technology,
merely that we don't sanction it and we try to encourage people to
keep dev and management discussions on dev and pmc lists. Instant
communication is great for having private chat with people who you are
also having a public discussion with, as long as you don't short
circuit the topic.

You say that you don't think we should be concerned if people can't
participate, and that your circumstances meant that you can miss whole
discussions. How would it make you feel if you missed *every*
discussion and were only ever presented with high level decisions to
ratify after the fact?

If people discuss things on IRC and then summarise on a dev list then
experience tells us that they will tend to defend the consensus
reached elsewhere should anyone should question their decision on the
mailing list. Whereas I believe that if the discussion takes place on
the mailinglist then everyone is participating as equals and as
individuals, and no specific outcome is predicted in advance of the

> as long as governance can be maintained I don't see why we (the ASF)
> should care.

Well this is logical but you could say the same about any of our
activities or policies, why do we defend our licence when we could use
any one of many other fine open source licences? Why do we choose to
allow people only to contribute as individuals when there is
apparently, plenty of corporations who would like explicitly to
provide paid contributors? Why  have any particular structure or
goals? Surely we care because we are commited to the continued sucess
of the ASF, and we resist changing the things which demonstrably work
because they risk that. I believe that the use of email is one of the
essential charateristics of the Apache Way, it has a long history of
sucesses and a proven track record here and in other OS projects.
Changing the way we communicate will necessarily change the nature of
the ASF, the way we operate, and the way we are percieved, and
probably change the nature, the amount and the quality of our output.
Without evidence (not opinion and speculation) that these changes will
be beneficial rather than harmful I think that the risks are too
great. We should wish to maintain the factors which have contributed
to the success of the ASF, in this case that factor is inclusivity.


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