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From Benson Margulies <>
Subject Re: Next steps for various proposals (mentor re-boot, pTLP, etc.)
Date Tue, 20 Jan 2015 00:15:39 GMT
I'm in the odd situation of not particularly wanting to argue in favor
of the proposal I wrote, yet finding it hard to resist the provocation
of messages that appear, to me, to misunderstand it. So I'll restrict
myself to the following, and I won't reply to any further dispute.
Anyone else is welcome to have a last-er word than me.

The incubator is like no other Apache project. It is not a
meritocratic, volunteer, community, producing a software product for
the public good. It is a volunteer, meritocratic, group of people
solving a problem for the board.

The problem that the incubator sets out to solve is this: "How do you
bootstrap a community from scratch?"

Because it is a group of people solving a problem for the board,
there's no special 'merit' in shaping it in the usual ASF PMC growing
community mold. There may by some problems with that shape related to
scale, noise, and responsibility. Some people who find those problems
to be severe want to make changes. Others, not so much. The board is
always free to solve any problem with any structure that it finds
effective; there's no 'constitutional' requirement that everything is
a meritocratic PMC. Witness what happened to ApacheCon.

We have here two competing visions. The current vision says: "Let
people who have never run an Apache community it start doing it with
coaching and supervision from 'mentors'." The alternative vision says,
"Start with a kernel of people who have done it before." Those of you
who are happy with the current vision? Great! I wrote up the
alternative vision to try to put some clarity onto a lot of prior
writing that found fault with the current model and looked for an

In neither model are people powerless in any meaningful sense. In the
current model, people have an interaction with the full IPMC. They can
get pretty frustrated, but, as Mavin has documented, the frustration
is more the fault of the lack of documentation than of the behavior of
the IPMC. In the alternative model, they _start out_ with a group of
'strangers' at the center of their community, but those strangers are
chosen specifically for their ability and experience in building a
consensus community. And, in any case, they they will rapidly become
an ever-smaller fraction of the group.

Badly-behaved mentors (and other IPMC members) can overbear in the
current model, and badly-behaved seed-PMC members could overbear in
the alternative.

I very much doubt that email discussion will yield any consensus to do
anything radical. Which might be fine. When the time comes to find
Roman's successor, an interesting situation may arise in which
candidates might declare their intention to implement changes. And
just to be clear, _I_ am not running on the platform of implementing
what I wrote -- or any other way.

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