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From "Henri Yandell" <>
Subject Re: Problem with commit rights on Celtixfire
Date Fri, 06 Oct 2006 20:08:59 GMT
Replying from the peanut gallery because the friction is getting too high.

On 10/6/06, Mark Little <> wrote:
> On 6 Oct 2006, at 18:10, Leo Simons wrote:
> >
> > Erm.
> >
> > 1) ASF is a meritocracy.
> And people learn by questioning, not by being passive observers!

Questioning is good. Long threads are good and I even reckon long
argumentative threads are good as its a sign of a group learning
something. As long as the friction of that doesn't get too hot.
Passive observing (lurking tends to be the common word here) shouldn't
be disregarded though - it's the best way to get a feel for a

> > 2) The mentors for CXF (well, until recently) have accumulated
> > loads of merit. Enough to be allowed to be mentors, and then some.
> > The guy you're disagreeing with has accumulated so much merit he
> > has difficulty passing through airport security (*).
> And everyone makes mistakes (including you, myself and people in
> Apache). To believe otherwise is to not live in the real world. To
> not question others is to live in a totalitarian regime. If that's
> what you want, then fine. But it's not my ideal.

This'll be a theme here - but I think you're reading too much into
Leo's email. Questioning = good; let's keep respect involved (in all
directions *aimed at everyone on the mailing list because it never
hurts to remind us all of that*).

> > (1)+(2) make it rather likely that, in this instance, those other
> > people might just know exactly what they're talking about. They
> > won't pull rank on you because that's never any fun and hardly
> > useful, but it serves you well to not simply cast their opinion aside.
> So let's try to take this to some "logical" conclusion: you're saying
> that just because person A says something that person B disagrees
> with, person B should then accept that because person A is somehow
> more experienced? Even factoring experience in (and experience ranges
> across a lot of different areas, and I admit to being lacking in
> Apache experience compared to many others, but certainly not lacking
> in the field of computing), that's a crazy way to think. I'm sorry
> but I don't recall reading in any of the Apache literature that a
> frontal lobotomy was a pre-requisite to joining!

Nope. Leo didn't say 'accept'; he said 'not simply cast aside'. Much
of the stuff we do in open source when it's beyond a single person
project is not the field of computing but the field of
peopleware/communities/whatever this month's term is. There's lots of
experience in that at Apache and it's worth listening to it. I'll
agree with anyone that it often comes across as mantra, but I don't
believe the mantra exists. It's a bunch of people trying to define a
common undefined set of principles.

Plus mod_lobotomy is still too buggy.

> > On the contrary, since you're apparently trying to become a
> > committer on an apache project, what you need to do is change your
> > mindset into one where their (and pretty much anyone else's until
> > proven otherwise) opinion holds, well, merit.
> So lemmings are the kind of individuals you want in Apache?

Arseholes aren't the people we want. Not implying you are - but the
last email lacked courtesy. Email's a crap medium for that, but as
face to face is never an easy option it's the best of the rest.

This isn't a malaise that's limited to just newcomers - there are
enough people at the ASF already who dive in with a strong no-nonsense
speak-your-mind opinion. The only way you get away with that kind of
thing is to have a history of being right, and that's a hard thing to
do as a newcomer to a community. Personally I'd wish for all
speak-their-minders to take time to think.

> People
> who just follow without questioning? Sorry, but I've been in this
> industry for far too long to just follow things that appear to be
> wrong. I have no idea of your own background and you obviously have
> none about mine, so don't simply assume I'll stand quiet or fall into
> "emperor's new clothes" mode. I am willing to learn. But if
> differences of opinion aren't allowed in *any* society, we may as
> well go back to the stone-age! I think your comments show a level of
> naivete and to be honest, are uncalled for. Processes (governments,
> corporate, open source etc.) grown and evolve because people question
> them and push the boundaries. I think the original point of this
> thread was such a push.

+1 to differences of opinion. +1 to expressing those differences constructively.

> > That mindset somehow tends to start with "the people around me are
> > trying to do the Right Thing", if you can't bring yourself around
> > to that world view, you might as well look for a more productive
> > environment right now.
> Huh? OK, so you obviously live in some alternative reality to the
> real world ;-) I'm happy to take this offline, because it is no
> longer relevant to this discussion.

I think it's a pretty important part of Leo's email (yep, he's on a
soapbox, I suspect I am too - if this were just about trying to
recommend things to you it would be private - this is also about the
apache-mentoring of the new project(s)).  People are involved with a
project because they want to be - not because someone is paying them
to do it and they hate it. Maybe that won't be true as more and more
companies get involved with the Incubator and the ASF, but it's
definitely a foundation of our community. We're saying stuff because
we personally care about it and think it will be of benefit to our
involvement. Hopefully it's a healthy project where benefit for our
personal involvement maps onto benefit for all - and we're expected to
accept that the community has consensus that disagrees with us.

I'm soapboxing, but believing people have agendas isn't healthy.
Agendas exist I'm sure - the best way to deal with that is with a
healthy and strong community. Then the symptoms of the agendas will
get questioned and it'll be done politely so as not to damage the

> > Secondly, I suggest you learn, and learn right now, to stop writing
> > things along the lines of ``is random denial of initial committers
> > typical?'' or ``I've used the Redhat/JBoss example already,
> Get off your soapbox and stop trying to make this personal. To the
> best of my knowledge, until this email this entire thread was not
> personal. It was about people trying to figure out the right thing to
> do in a complex situation.

Probably a good example of when people should change the title on a
mail thread. Leo's email is community mentoring, not trying to solve
the situation at hand.

> > but there are others where the communities thrive and grow because
> > of a more "enlightened" approach!'' or any number of statements
> > I've seen as part of this thread which we tend to label as
> > ``flamebait'' around here.
> Well if you're ever willing to enter into a reasoned discussion about
> this as everyone else appears to be, let me know. Until then I'll
> treat this email as static.

The easiest thing to do in these cases is not to reply to the mail.
That's hard though as it means you're letting someone else get the
last word in and if you disagree violently with them then none of us
want to do that. The standard advice is to get the emotion out (write
a reply and kill it, take a walk, vent at a colleague) and then reply.
I'd also advise not replying to the parts of the original that made
you angry.

Apologies for all that waffle - even with editing it's hard to keep
these kinds of emails concise (or to not sound like a pompous


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