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From Upayavira>
Subject Incubator structure (was Re: Vote on personal matters: majority vote vs consensus)
Date Sun, 31 Mar 2013 10:13:31 GMT
On Fri, Mar 29, 2013, at 01:56 AM, Chris Douglas wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 4:30 PM, Benson Margulies <>
> wrote:
> > Your position is that the IPMC fails to supervise. The consensus of the
> > IPMC is that this is not true. Otherwise, someone would be reading the
> > monthly report and objecting to the failure to report 'failure' to the
> > board.
> "If your statement were true, then someone would make the assertions
> you're making."
> > If you want to change minds about this, you might need to come up
> > with some concrete evidence of actual failure: bad commits, bad doings on
> > mailing lists, etc.
> Is this a question of standing, where material harm needs to be
> demonstrated?
> The IPMC is needlessly inefficient and abusive of its podlings. Novel
> "compliance" mechanisms are literally invented and argued about on
> general@ during podlings' release votes.[1] The cultural clashes that
> Chris's proposal refers to generate huge amounts of traffic on
> general@ and private@, as ASF members argue the semantics of core
> concepts. And it's not just edge-case legal issues; some are as basic
> as the definition of "veto".
> These discussions create needless confusion and deeply resented churn
> for podlings. The asymmetry in power teaches submissiveness to ASF
> members, rather than independence and self-sufficiency. There are, in
> truth, *many* active interpretations of the Apache Way practiced
> across the ASF. Reconciling them is not the mission of the incubator.
> Putting esoteric debates on the critical path of new projects is
> absurd and harmful.
> [1]
> > What the IPMC now does is use the shepherd process to compensate for mentor
> > weakness. It's not perfect. Under your plan, instead, the board would have
> > to cope, directly, with 'starter' projects suffering from inevitable
> > attrition -- or the Foundation would need to start many less projects, as
> > only those who could attract very strongly committed foundation members
> > could start.
> The incubator doesn't deal with this effectively, either. To take one
> example, Chukwa's "retirement" was a fiasco.
> > there are many possible
> > places to take the conversation if you start from the premise that no
> > variation on the existing scheme is workable. I personally don't know how,
> > organizationally, to reach that conclusion, especially insofar as the
> > recent disfunction is not about supervision, it's _merely_ about sorting
> > out who can be a member and thus a mentor.
> The recent discussion is about the mentor role. The ongoing
> dysfunction is about supervision, and the IPMC failing to discharge
> its purpose efficiently. It exists to put its podlings through a
> curriculum that transfers some cultural norms, makes podlings aware of
> resources, and establishes clean licensing. Even if it succeeds well
> enough not to be disbanded by the board, its inefficiency is worth
> correcting. -C

The incubator has the feel of the PRC before it was disbanded (actually,
it was split into trademarks/brand, fundraising and press). That split
made the structure match the territory, and all three areas have been
pretty quietly effective at what they do.

We need to find a similar transformation for the Incubator. This is what
many of the suggestions that have been floating are, in my view, trying
to address, we just don't yet have a suggestion that is garnering
sufficient collective support.

What we need is an effective way to reduce the number of people who are
'responsible' for the day to day running of the incubator. We need one
set who are 'incubator people' and another who are 'mentors'. We need a
structure where the 'many' are happy to delegate responsibility to 'the
few'. We have that in press@, fundraising@ and trademarks@ (perhaps too
much so!!). 

So, the question is, what models are there that will achieve this? Chris
has suggested disbanding the Incubator PMC. Ant has suggested mentors
leave the Incubator PMC, and the Incubator PMC become 'the few'. Ross
has suggested that the Incubator PMC votes a group of shepherds to be
'the few'.

It seems to me there are two principal roles that the Incubator has had
- one is to help define processes, and social mores. This, it could be
argued, has been done well enough - it doesn't take as much effort
anymore, and perhaps we have reached a point where it is not possible to
'define' it anymore. The second role is to provide 'oversight' or
'supervision', providing a layer above mentors to ensure that podlings
are progressing and that mentors are active. It is this latter role that
is still very much needed, as we would expect there to be more issues in
newer podlings than in established TLPs. It seems to me that the board
*wants* to delegate this responsibility to another committee.

To summarise. The incubator *is* broken (but not necessarily beyond
repair). We need as many mentors as we can get, and a smaller group of
people who are delegated responsibility for the incubator. The board
wants a group of folks to take responsibility for overseeing the early
life of communities at the ASF. These are, to my mind, the criteria that
we should be using to evaluate any suggestions as to how the incubator
should be structured. If it doesn't meet these, it won't float. 

Judging the success of any new structure will be easy: does it create
peace and quiet (and more effective working) like the breakup of the PRC


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