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From: "Jared K. Smith" <jsmith(a)fedoraproject.org>
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2018 9:17:02 AM
Subject: [Ambassadors] Request for comments on changes to the
As an elected representative on the Mindshare Committee, I would like
to kick off a discussion on behalf of the whole committee about our
Ambassadors program and how we can improve it. We encourage you to
read the plan below, make thoughtful comments or suggestions, and help
us frame the plan going forward.
Fedora's Mindshare Committee represents the outreach leadership in
Fedora. Mindshare aims to help outreach teams (such as Ambassadors,
marketing, the websites team, etc.) work better together by providing
them with a way to unify around Fedora’s core messages. The Mindshare
Committee contains appointed members to represent the various outreach
teams, as well as members elected from the community.
* Let's clarify our focus on editions and objectives
* Let's make it easier to hold small events like Release Parties
* Let's get more people involved by creating Fedora Advocates
* Let's help ambassadors gets more done by easing some the
administrative functions and putting them on Mindshare and FAmA
* Let's make budget requests more predictable
* Let's let people step back when they need to by creating Emeritus Ambassadors
First, let me state on a personal level how incredibly impressed I've
been with the Ambassadors during my time in the Fedora community.
They do incredible work, and I want to see that great work continue.
At the same time, I've seen common "pain points" too. The Mindshare
Committee is proposing the following changes -- not as something set
in stone, but as a way to start a discussion about the overall
Ambassadors program. We hope to spend the next few weeks listening to
your feedback and incorporating it into the plan, with the goal of
having the plan solidified in place by May 10th so that it can be
voted on by the Mindshare Committee before the end of May.
The following list helps to explain and what we expect from our
Ambassadors. This shouldn't be anything new or surprising to our
ambassadors, but I include it here as a reminder.
An Ambassador should:
Be an active contributor to the Fedora community.
* Show a basic level of knowledge about Fedora and its key marketing
messages (as shown through a mentorship program). Know the teams,
subprojects, working groups, and special interest groups, to help
guide new collaborators to areas of interest.
* Lead public-facing events with a Fedora presence, and request
reasonable funds to support such events. Be able to work in a Fedora
booth and both represent the Fedora community, but also demonstrate
Fedora in a way that attracts new users and contributors to the Fedora
* Be available for contact from new users and contributors who need
help getting started in Fedora.
* Understand Fedora's limited resources (volunteer attention, time,
and budget) and uses them efficiently and effectively.
* Communicate with the rest of the community, and stay current on
developments in Fedora
We think it is important to note that an Ambassador may not do all of
these things personally all of the time. In particular, an Ambassador
should be willing to sponsor the attendance of others at events to
speak or work booths where their specific expertise is valuable. For
example, sending someone from the Kernel team to a kernel conference
to represent Fedora may be a better use of our resources than sending
an Ambassador who is not a kernel expert. This is a great way for us
to address audiences with specialized needs that Fedora can help but
for whom we may not have skilled ambassadors.
It is also important that ambassadors are communicating with related
groups. For example, communicate with the Join SIG if you're focused
on being available for new users and contributors or communicate with
the Rust SIG if you are going to attend a Rust event.
- - Comment: This is a good start to getting everyone on the same
page. My concern is we need a centralized documentation and
information that when someone does have a question we do not spend a
lot of time trying to figure things out. I totally agree with all of
== Messaging ==
As the public face of Fedora at many events, we expect Ambassadors to
be aware of the areas of focus that have been set forth by the Fedora
council. The primary focus for ambassador messaging at this time
should be on the three editions (Desktop Edition, Server Edition,
Atomic Edition) plus the three current Council objectives (Modularity,
Fedora CI, and Internet of Things).
The editions and objectives represent the goals and overall direction
of Fedora. We want to communicate the exciting things that make Fedora
unique from other distributions and projects. Ambassadors are the
communicators of these goals and direction.
- - Comment: Communicating what you want us to accomplish is the most
important part of this area. It has not been done very well in the
past and I hope it gets better.
== Administrative Functions ==
It has been my experience that our ambassadors really enjoy sharing
the Fedora message to those they come in contact with. However, when
it comes to administrative functions such as budget allocation, many
of our ambassadors are less eager to participate.
Therefore we suggest that the regions and individual ambassadors, as
much as possible, be relieved of the administrative functions
(approving budget requests, and so forth). We propose to split the
administrative roles between the Mindshare Committee (budget approval,
driving conversation, etc.) and FAmA (FAS group management,
The purpose of this change is to enable Ambassadors to focus on the
details that matter most: finding meaningful events that align with
Fedora's goals and initiatives and how to deliver the messaging.
Mindshare wants to support and enable Ambassadors to succeed at
messaging. Mindshare, with the help of FAmA, also wants to alleviate
the burden of administrative work, and provide greater transparency
into budgets and the decision-making process. More information about
FAmA is below.
To this end we are going to make budget requests more predictable. See
below for details about Release Parties and the new Advocates.
Requests that don't fit in those categories will come to Mindshare (or
a later designated group) for approval. The goal is not to centralize
control, but is instead to get a way of thinking about the impact of
each request relative to its budget request. The council has indicated
that local events are better than large events. This doesn't mean no
large events, but it means we need to understand why flying people
around the world is better than having them advocate on a regular
basis in their own "backyard".
Continuing with the theme of predictable budget requests, we would
like to make things as streamlined as possible. Mindshare will try to
work in tickets as much as possible. A request can be approved by a
variable number of Mindshare committee members. Tickets will stay open
for some time as well to ensure consensus.
* Budget requests of $250 or less require two Mindshare members to +1
and must be open for a week.
* Budget requests of $500 or less require three Mindshare members to
+1 and must be open for a week.
* Budget requests of more than $500 require a majority of Mindshare
members to approve and will typically be brought up in a meeting.
- - Comment: I agree very much with a centralized process, this
relieves the burden of meetings for most of North America. We went
from weekly meetings to twice monthly trying to get participation up
in order for us to get events pushed through for our area. My only
concern is the meeting frequency of Mindshare Committee and the
ability to have enough participation to vote on events. It seems to be
running well now, but things can change and cause some back ups.
== Advocates ==
We would like to create a new "level" for people who want to be
advocates for Fedora, but aren't yet willing to go through the formal
Ambassadors mentorship program. While this is a bit of an experiment
and may need to be changed over time, we hope that having a new "lower
friction" process will help future Ambassadors get started. Unlike
Ambassadors, the Advocates will only be able to request up to $100 in
budget for a particular event. While we haven't decided on the exact
mechanism for allocating budget for Advocates, we anticipate it will
be similar to the low-friction process for Release Parties (see
- - Comment/Concern: How to you vet Advocates? My concern is you have
a person that want us to pay for an event admission to advocate for
Fedora. My experience with this type of program usually proves that
the same person we task with representing Fedora doesn't really put
Fedora as a priority but either only wants to attend an event at our
expense and have their own agenda. Sure we can have a reporting
process but if there is no one else there to validate what we tasked
individuals with and what they really do at the event. I would set a
specific set of guidelines for this type of program. We will find
ourselves with a steep learning curve and/or failure to control the
amount of requests.
== Low Friction process for Release Parties ==
We are proposing a new low-friction process for funding release
parties. Anyone (not just Ambassadors or Advocates) can request up to
$100 USD in reimbursement for a release party. The general stipulation
will be that the person requesting the funds must provide some
critical pieces of information both before and after the event, to
ensure the event meets with Fedora's release party guidelines. Only
$25 USD of the release party budget may be used for transportation
costs, and a limited amount of swag (stickers, buttons, pens, etc.)
will be sent to the organizer.
The idea is that if someone wants to get a reasonably sized group of
people together to celebrate the newest release, we'll happily buy
some chips/sodas/pizzas/snacks and send a small bit of swag.
=== Before the event ===
Open a Mindshare ticket with the following information:
* Expected number of attendees
* Expected cost
=== After the event ===
Update the Mindsare ticket with the following information:
* Actual number of attendees
* Photos of the event
* Actual cost
* Any lessons you learned from the event, or tips for other events to
help them be successful
* A link to your blog post, ideally in the Fedora CommBlog, or on
Fedora Planet about the event
=== Other notes ===
* Costs (up to $100 USD) will be reimbursed after the event. We will
not send money before the event. No more than $25 can be spent on
transportation. No money may be spent on swag.
- - Comment: This is fantastic! The low Friction Process Idea is
great and in my opinion get more people to conduct release parties.
== Becoming An Ambassador ==
In order to make this easier, we'd like to unify the processes, where
it makes sense, around the world. Ambassador's time is a precious
resource and having it spent on administrative processes or
unnecessarily duplicative onboarding is not a good use of it. Similar
to today, Ambassador candidates need to be mentored. Ideally a mentor
is someone familiar with the candidates location who can provide
guidance, however any mentor should be able to mentor any candidate.
Once a candidate has met the goals of mentorship (see below), they get
made an ambassador after a ticket is filed in FAmA and an announcement
is sent to the ambassadors mailing list. This isn't to trigger a vote.
Instead this is an announcement to ensure there are no concerns.
Typically this ticket is assumed to be ok after a week (a bit more
time is appropriate if there are lots of holidays during the week).
Objections aren't automatic "failures" they just lead to discussion.
Where needed, Mindshare will help with guiding the conversation and
getting us to a decision.
The goals of mentorship:
* Ensure the candidate knows about Fedora and is active as a contributor.
* Ensure the candidate understands the role of an Ambassador.
* Help the candidate generate ideas for their first two events.
* Ensure the candidate understands how to request assistance, file
tickets, and knows what is expected of them before and after an event.
A mentor should expect to be a primary point of contact for the
candidate for some time, including after the candidate becomes an
- - Comment/Concern: This is where the documentation and guidance
needs some real work. As a mentor I know where the best areas are for
teaching new Ambassadors, but there is a vast amount of areas that are
either not used, need updates, and not maintained. For example, the
ambassadors list for North America. There are a lot of people that
need to be moved into the Emeritus ambassadors group (in my opinion),
for many of the names I see there have not been an active Ambassador
for years or attended any event in several years which leads me to the
beginning of this email and what ambassadors should be doing which
includes involvement, communications, and availability. Since my
involvement with the project I have seen only about 50% of the North
America list at either events or irc meetings. That doesn't mean that
they have not been involved in the project but just in some aspect
that I haven't seen. Also, have experienced individuals that have
been disconnected and then pop up out of no where and want to plan
events without the knowledge of what is required of them to plan the
said event. So this makes my job harder than it should be gathering
documentation and links to the changed requirements and getting the
process back on track. And some of the problem is that the ambassador
finds the new requirements outside of what they wanted and find it
difficult to readjust. I guess what I am trying to point out that as a
Mentor and Ambassador the documentation really needs attention. In
order for us to all be on the same page, the documentation and
communication of the same needs to be corrected.
== Becoming a Mentor ==
In the same way that we'd like to clarify how to become an ambassador,
we'd like to also make it clearer how to become a mentor. In general,
a mentor needs to:
* Ask to become a mentor.
* Demonstrate their ability to meet the goals of mentorship by
specifically describing how they are going to do it.
* Acknowledge they have the time to be a mentor.
Similar to the Emeritus ambassadors below, mentors will be surveyed yearly.
- - Comment: Again the documentation needs to be finalized as stated above.
== Emeritus Ambassadors ==
We are also creating an "Emeritus Ambassadors" level for people who
were Ambassadors at one time, but are no longer actively engaged in
the ambassador efforts. This is a way to publicly recognize them as a
former Ambassador and thank them for their work, but they will not be
actively listed as an Ambassador so that new contributors do not
continue to contact them.
Annually, we will contact every ambassador and ask them if they want
to remain active. This is based on the idea that stepping back because
of burn out is hard for many people. However, when asked if they want
to continue many people will feel more comfortable with saying they
are ready to take some time off. The goal is not to encourage people
to step down.
However, we also recognize that we need active, responsive
ambassadors. Every year will also survey our ambassadors about their
activity. This will be combined with the above request. In general,
we'll assume they are active an only ask what they've been doing if
there is question. This way we don't wind up with ambassadors who
receive requests from the public and never answer them. It also
answers the questions about title-seeking that have been raised in
some areas. There is no minimum threshold of activity, just that
ambassador activity is happening.
- - Comment: I am all for this! It will allow those who are not
actively involved stepping back (not out) and also allows them to
comeback when they are ready.
== What about FAmA? ==
The FAmA group remains an important administrative body. The goal of
FAmA is to help the Ambassadors drive administrative functions. The
FAmA group will consist of 2-4 people elected by the Ambassadors.
Members must be either current Ambassadors, Emeritus Ambassadors or a
current member of Mindshare. People serve a two release staggered term
and are able to be re-elected as long as they remain qualified to
stand for election.
The positions in FAmA are administrative. They are not in place to
serve as decision makers but are more focused on helping
administrative requirements get met and to make sure that things that
need conversation get surfaced. They help ambassadors succeed.
Initially they will probably focus on:
* Maintaining the Ambassadors Contact List.
* Maintaining the FAS groups.
* Moving people, upon their request, to the Emeritus group.
* Moving people from candidate to ambassador as they finish their mentoring.
* Maintaining the list of approved mentors.
* Surveying ambassadors yearly about their continuing desire to be active.
* Helping make sure budget entries get made in support of
We plan to keep regional card holders in place to help with managing
reimbursements. We'd like the regional treasurers to shift to
supporting the card holders, FAmA and Mindshare.
Surfacing conversations that are needed, for example, candidates that
want to become mentors about whom there are concerns.
- - Overall Concerns: How does one know that the documentation and/or
information is official and approved? There is so much out there on
the wiki that is outdated, or incorrect. We need to have an
official/approved identification with respect to our information.
-What is the requirements for reimbursement with respect to the
mindshare committee? Has the requirements changed? Will there be a
page listing these requirements? Does it apply to Fedora Advocates?
-With respect to administrative burdens on ambassadors how does the
mindshare committee communicate an event that an ambassador is
requesting gets approved? I realize that an email is generated when
comments are posted on a ticket (which getting several of those a day
from various areas) can be confusing causing the same to check the
status on every time someone makes a comment can also be burdensome
checking the ticket every time.
-With respect to Mentors, has the process for selecting new mentors
changed? if so where is the documentation? What is the process if it
-Communications and Messaging has been a sore spot with me for quite
some time. We need to streamline how to communicate with ambassadors.
Mailing lists are good but when you get several along with comments
from others can be confusing and distract from the original message. I
think that we need to detail what information is approved, where the
information can be found and what you require from us.
-Documentation and approved documentation need to be completed. If you
are going to hold ambassadors to a standard, the documentation needs
to support the same. Without solid documentation you will not have a
solid foundation to bring new people in or help those who have been
involved for awhile to train those new people.