On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 11:45 PM, inode0 <inode0(a)gmail.com> wrote:
On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 6:14 AM, David Nalley <david(a)gnsa.us>
> Yet another warning that this is likely to be a long email.
> In the course of our discussion on the FAmSCo list, Joerg has
> convinced me of the logic behind raising the barrier to entry. (Note
> that of the three issues that Max presented, this one only deals with
> raising the barrier to entry.)
I don't object to raising the barrier but I want to be very careful
how we do it.
> Essentially it comes down to who we place the initial burden on.
> Mentoring is needed, but if the current virtually non-existent barrier
> remains it means that our limited supply of mentors will be incredibly
> taxed, and possibly with precious little gain.
> In the course of that discussion a number of things were suggested as
> prerequisites - a few of which are listed below (not all of them as
> honestly the discussion is 38 pages worth of text at this point (sans
> prior email quoting)
> - has to be a Contributor to another Sub-Project inside Fedora where a
> sponsor is needed
I very strongly disagree with this idea for two reasons.
(1) The notion of a sponsor is inconsistent across Fedora groups.
Some, like the art team, don't even have a notion of a sponsor. For
the ambassadors our sponsor, kital, guides new folks through the
process and then approves them as members. In packaging, as I
understand their process, the sponsor basically vouches for the new
member's competence to create packages properly (i.e., has
demonstrated appropriate skills) and recommends that the community
accept the new member into the group (which is done by vote). In
infrastructure as I understand that process the sponsor vouches for
both skills and trustworthiness.
Some of these points are nits, but I think competence in packaging is
but 1/2 of the process is also proving that you understand the
Community doesn't vote, the sponsor has the authority vested in him to
approve or deny an applicant.
FESCo does vote on proven packager and packaging sponsors to approve them.
Due to the inconsistent role of the sponsor across Fedora groups I
think this requirement is arbitrary and meaningless. Being on the art
team is no less meaningful or important than being a bug triager in my
(2) While I will not deny that being a member of other FAS groups is a
good thing, I don't think it defines in any way a good ambassador.
Someone who spends 90% of his Fedora time helping other Fedora users
solve their problems in a positive way on IRC and 10% of his time
promoting Fedora at his local user group meetings deserves in my mind
to be an ambassador every bit as much as anyone else even if he
belongs to no other FAS groups. And requiring him to join another
group that he doesn't want to join just seems silly to me.
I don't think Joerg intended these to be cumulative. Rather that any
of these is sufficient. Yes inherently some of these people. may not
meet this specific criteria, but if an individual is doing work in
Fedora in another aspect that gives them that much better of a
perspective to represent Fedora IMO.
> - is recommended by a Contributor to another Sub-Project inside Fedora
> who will take mentorship for that person
Being recommended by another Fedora contributor is a fine endorsement.
But how can the contributor be the ambassador's mentor when the
contributor isn't an ambassador?
> - has contributed to Fedora on a event before
Has contributed to the Fedora community in some demonstrable way
before? Has contributed in the role of an ambassador previously in
some demonstrable way? I don't see any reason to elevate events above
other ways of contributing.
> The idea being that this isn't a newbie group.
> So lets first look at the definition of what a traditional ambassador is:
> a diplomat of the highest rank; accredited as representative from one
> country to another
> In Fedora's case an Ambassador is a liaison to the general public and
> the open source community and represents the public face of Fedora.
> While charged with promoting Fedora, Ambassadors are more than PR
> droids as inherent in bearing the title of Ambassador comes the
> authority and expectation of getting things done and not just being a
I still want to allow people to contribute in ways they find
enjoyable. So if someone wants to be a PR droid by blogging
incessantly that is cool with me. If someone else wants to do every
single thing that an ambassador could possibly do that is even cooler.
I'm ok letting the ambassador decide in what ways they are happy
contributing. Not everyone can be the Ambassador to the UN. Someone
might just want to be the Ambassador to Fedora, South Dakota.
I don't care if someone is an Ambassador to the world or an Ambassador
to Liberty, SC (town of 3000) In my mind the standard is good
representation, be that to 5 people or 50,000.
> Looking at the more traditional examples of Ambassadors we find them
> to generally be experienced statesmen. They are the highest ranking
> diplomat sent to foreign entities.
> The problem that I perceive, and I believe others do as well is that
> these representatives of the Fedora Project aren't living up to the
> same level of quality that we expect of Fedora as a distribution, or
> of the contributors in other portions of Fedora. We have high
> standards for packagers, art people, etc, and yet we don't for the
> representatives of the project?
This is a very compelling statement. Maybe one place to start turning
this tide is by expressing this point more effectively on the wiki.
Ambassadors are critical to the mission of the project. Begin to set
the expectation of what an ambassador is in the first place people
read about ambassadors.
> I fully believe that a portion of the problem is our failure to
> communicate the authority which the Ambassadors are given. Max quoted
> me in saying that we have a large percentage of people who haven't yet
> realized that they can take ownership of things in Fedora and I fully
> believe this to be the case.
> But more specifically, I perceive a problem in the following areas
> with a good percentage of new Ambassadors:
> 1. Lack of knowledge and understanding of the Free/Libre Open Source
> Software movement and it's philosophies and principles.
> 2. Lack of knowledge about the Fedora Project, it's goals,
> foundational believes, structure, and organization.
Also all points I completely agree with.
> Please don't misunderstand me, I am not trying to create an elitist
> group or proposing that we remove existing Ambassadors because they
> 'aren't up to snuff'. What I am saying is that going forward we need
> to be able to provide a minimally acceptable quality. Every other
> subproject has work standards one must meet before being accepted. Why
> should we not hold ourselves to that same standard?
> I unfortunately fear that left unchecked our organization will devolve
> into a social club.
> Currently, the most arduous task for someone who wants to be n
> Ambassador is that they acquire a FAS account. I can't imagine many
> arguing that is enough to qualify them as the highest envoys in the
I agree with this sentiment but tempered with the realization that
many ambassadors do all their work in very localized areas and we need
to not set barriers that prohibit such an arrangement.
Again the standard that I think we attain to is quality
representation. I can't justify lowering the standards in my mind
because a person will only be the face of Fedora to 50 people. Bad
representation is bad representation. What we must guard against is
emplacing arbitrary standards that don't increase quality.
Thanks David and others who are working on this issue. It is really a
very important enterprise and one I hope we get right. The result of
this is critical to the smooth functioning of our group as we continue
to grow in numbers. I think you are definitely heading down the right
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