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From Mark Little <>
Subject Re: Problem with commit rights on Celtixfire
Date Fri, 06 Oct 2006 20:44:00 GMT

On 6 Oct 2006, at 21:08, Henri Yandell wrote:

> 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.

I agree. Friction is good to a point. Beer is also a good way to cool  
down friction :-)

> 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
> community.

I understand and agree. I'm happy to lurk ;-)

>> > 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*).

Maybe Leo read more into my emails then, because at no time did I say  
anything that was meant as disrespect to anyone. If you feel that  
wasn't the case, let me know.

>> > (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'.

Understood and I didn't cast aside AFAIK. Just didn't agree.

> 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've been involved with peopleware/communities/whatever for many many  
years too. But I don't think it's helpful it to start a p*ssing  
competition. Mutual respect is good: there are things open source  
communities can learn from other areas, and vice versa. I think the  
dynamic aspects of OS communities make them more able to adapt and be  
flexible than "closed source" communities, which is a good thing.  
However, adaptation is not always an easy process.

> 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.

Sounds like a need for a new incubator project then ;-)

>> > 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

Even better.

> - but the
> last email lacked courtesy.

I don't think there was a lack of courtesy. But you should try  
reading Leo's email objectively from my perspective. I don't want  
this to get personal, so won't say more on that subject.

> Email's a crap medium for that, but as
> face to face is never an easy option it's the best of the rest.

Email is crap for this sort of thing. We can definitely agree on that.

> 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.

We could start a whole new thread on this ;-)

>> 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.

I hope that this entire thread has been constructive. I'd say that at  
least 90% of what I've read falls into that category.

>> > 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 understand and agree. This may have been lost in the email tirade,  
but the impetus for the email that started this thread was believing  
in doing the right thing for the community (at least based on the  
information available). So I'm saying things because I personally  
care about them too.

> I'm soapboxing, but believing people have agendas isn't healthy.

I don't necessarily believe people had agendas. As I said in the  
response to Leo, I disagreed with decisions and wanted a healthy  
discussion around them rather than being presented with the end result.

> 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
> community.


>> > 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.

Oh, the email you saw wasn't the first one I wrote ;-) I've been  
involved in various community efforts (OMG standards, IETF, W3C,  
OASIS etc.) for over 20 years and you quickly learn the advice you've  
outlined above.

> 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
> windbag).

Nah. Good discussion to be perfectly honest.


> Hen
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