[Ambassadors] FAmSco meeting 2011-12-14 minutes

Christoph Wickert christoph.wickert at googlemail.com
Thu Dec 15 21:59:51 UTC 2011

Am Donnerstag, den 15.12.2011, 15:09 +0000 schrieb Matthias Kranz:
> On 12/15/2011 01:40 PM, Christoph Wickert wrote:
> > Am Mittwoch, den 14.12.2011, 17:39 -0800 schrieb Max Spevack:
> >> Sidestep the timezone problem by ensuring that the majority of what
> >> FAMSCO members are doing is working with, and providing a leadership
> >> presence, in their own region.
> >
> > I think we have already identified the key ambassadors, more precisely
> > the ambassadors have identified and elected them into FAmSCo.
> Oh, I am not sure whether this is the same. Someone can be a key member
> of a community without taking additional formal roles such as running
> for and serving on a board.

Hi Matthias,

of course it does not necessarily need to be the same, but if you know
the ambassadors and watch this mailing list, you will see that it
matches FAmSCo pretty well.

> > I don't see how we can sidestep the timezone problem, it is a
> > consequence of what we want to achieve.
> Well, this is exactly what all global organizations, be it communities
> or commercial orgs try to achieve. What Max is referring to is to reduce
> the number of global synchronized meetings to an absolute minimum.

So are we. But if we want to be able to deal with requests in a timely
manner, I consider a weekly meeting the minimum.

> During these meetings, agree on the most important principles, rules and
> goals. And then leave it up to the regions to organize themselves and
> to deliver in accordance to those rules.

That's not how FAmSCo works. Certain things such as the budget need to
go though FAmSCo and we need a quorum to make a decision.

I am not saying that we should not try changing this, in fact I made
suggestions how to handle the budget better, but we cannot change the
rules just because we are having problems to meet. Changing the policies
requires a FAmSCo vote, this means it requires a meeting.

> >> Use the mailing lists (this one as much as possible, but also the
> >> famsco list) to share the key points of what is going on, and come up
> >> with a way to get status updates pushed out to the list, rather than
> >> in an IRC channel.
> >>
> >> It will lead to more discussion, better discussion, and a larger
> >> group of engaged Ambassadors.
> >
> > While I agree it could increase transparency and will get more
> > ambassadors involved, I consider this ineffective. I don't want to
> > write 10 mails and read 100 for something that can be easily be
> > discussed in a meeting in 10 minutes.
> A meeting with no attendants is even more ineffective.

Please don't generalize. It was the first meeting of the newly elected
FAmSCo and I'm optimistic we will improve.

> See above, if you need to *discuss* something on a global level, a
> discussion via mailing lists is very transparent, and the asynchronous
> nature of email gives everyone being interesting the opportunity to
> catch up and even provide feedback.

Yet though it is ineffective.

Let me play the devil's advocate for a moment: If we discussed the
day-to-day FAmSCo business on this list, the feedback we'd get consisted
of 90% noise, people just saying "good idea", "thanks", "+1" and so on.

While this is indeed feedback, this is not decision making and doesn't
move a discussion forward. Only 10% of the mails are actually helpful,
and contain new ideas and opinions. Fedora is meritocracy and I want the
active people to state their opinion, to make decisions and move things

> If you need to *decide* on something, it might then be worth to bring it
> up to the next meeting, nicely summarized so that everyone can easily
> decide during that very meeting.

Did you just say you volunteer to do all this? I am already spending a
lot of time on Fedora and I don't have the time to write summaries of
weekly email traffic. I count on FAmSCo members to read the list, just
as I count on them to not miss a meeting.

And if elected members of a committee really made decisions based on a
summary instead of following a discussion, I think something is wrong.
We should leave this to politicians, their advisers and their

> > I don't see how this can be replaced with a discussion on a mailing
> > list. Take the budget for example: Do we really want to forward every
> > ticket to a list and discuss it there?
> No. Do you really want to dicuss every budget spending planned in the
> regions on a global level? I wouldn't. 

During the elections and the townhalls I already talked about this in
great length. Please bear with me if I don't want to repeat all that. 

Nevertheless I'd like to point out that there are valid reasons to
manage the budget on a 'global' level:
      * Budget is limited and we need to share it wisely between the
        different regions.
      * Most of the budget questions are about sponsoring event
        attendees. If we want to decide if it makes sense to send
        somebody from EMEA to APAC for a FUDCon, we need to have both
        people form APAC and EMEA.

Note that 'global' here not only means 'regionally distributed' but also
includes people form all projects.

> Decide once on the rules, and
> then leave it up to the region to execute. It can still be done via a
> ticketing system for the matter of recordkeeping and transparency but
> does not need to be discussed on a global level.

We are really trying to make all decisions on the lowest possible level,
but there are things that cannot be handled in the regular regional
meetings. And if we could do everything on a regional level, why did we
elect a committee in first place?

> >> My point is, all the tools exist for FAMSCO members to collaborate
> >> strongly together outside of IRC.
> >
> > What tools exactly? We have mailing lists and we have a wiki, but
> > that's all. When it comes to efficiency, none of that can compete with
> > a direct conversation. I really wish we still had Fedora talk.
> I guess it all comes down to personal preferences. I am extremely busy,
> travelling every single week, have a family. I prefer to use as many
> asynchronous communication means as possible.

Again, what tools exactly? 'Asynchronous communication' is very vague.

> >> Try it -- but try it in an organized and simple fashion by choosing
> >> one or two things to start with -- and change the culture of FAMSCO
> >> so that the mailing lists and the wiki are more important, and
> >> visible, collaboration points than any one IRC session.
> >>
> >> This is easy to say, and hard to do, because it breaks the habits
> >> that FAMSCO has fallen into over the past few years.  That's why I'd
> >> say start small, prove that it can work, and grow.
> >
> > You know FAmSCo business better than many of us. What part do you
> > think could be moved over to another form of collaboration easily?
> >
> > Really, I don't think the problem is breaking the habits. I am willing
> > to try something new, but IHMO we should be very carefully to change
> > things that have proven to work for years.
> Well, you started complaing about people not showing up to IRC meetings.



P.S.: Please do not reply to me directly, just to the list is fine.

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