[Ambassadors] Broadening how we empower community action - opening a dialog for change

inode0 inode0 at gmail.com
Tue Feb 15 18:03:53 UTC 2011

Fellow ambassadors,

As one of a large group of ambassadors and non-ambassadors who is
committed to empowering Fedora contributors to achieve their goals and
who has been working to make budget available to them to help them in
their endeavors I think it is time to rethink how we are trying to
accomplish this.

During the time I've been involved what might be thought of as
discretionary Fedora budget has been the province of the Red Hat
Community Architecture team and FAmSCo as portions of those funds have
been delegated in the past. There has been a consistent and I think
very positive direction of pushing budget decisions closer and closer
to those who need the funds throughout my years with the project.
There are still issues involving paying for things (who can, what is
needed, getting reimbursed, etc.) and those issues are being worked on
currently. I want to be clear those aren't the issues I am now
concerned about.

After much discussion with new and old friends from around the world
at FUDCon Tempe I've concluded that FAmSCo probably isn't going to be
the best place for non-ambassador budget decisions to happen as we
expand our efforts at increasing funding of various new events (FADs
with explicit work product to be achieved for example) as well as
non-event funding of efforts as they might arise.

While FAmSCo has done a superb job with budget issues and I expect
will continue to do so, as more budget decisions move from the Red Hat
Community Architecture team into the Fedora Project proper, to many
people it just feels wrong for it to flow through an ambassador group
to the rest of the community. As an example, for a packager who isn't
engaged with the ambassador community but who wants to organize a FAD
asking FAmSCo makes no more sense than asking the Documentation team
or QA. Some people are quite offended by this and while I don't think
they should be the reality is that they are, it just doesn't feel
right to them.

There was a subtle suggestion at FADNA last year that we consider a
new organization. I was resistant to this, I thought FAmSCo has stuff
in place and has experience dealing with budgets, etc. Now after
talking to more people, especially non-ambassadors, I think I was
wrong to be resistant. Now I think that if we can modify our structure
a bit to encourage more engagement from more contributors and have
those contributors be comfortable asking for funds we should do it.
There are lots of ways this could be done, I'm going to suggest one
possibility here.

We could create a budget or finance specific group but I think we
might want to consider one with a broader community mission. I'm
tempted to suggest a Fedora Community Architecture group, but I'm not
sure that really captures what I want. I don't want another elected
body and would like to see this group grow in a way similar to the
packaging committee (if my understanding of that one is correct).
Perhaps the Red Hat Community Architecture team (who will necessarily
be working with whoever is making budget decisions) could seed the
team with one or two people from wherever in the project. Those folks
could expand the team to include representatives from various areas
within the project. They or a subgroup they designate can be tasked
with helping solve funding issues for the Fedora community at large (I
think of this as non-ambassador event/swag/media sorts of things).

The benefits I see of doing this are that it helps the Red Hat
Community Architecture folks continue to move more funding decisions
into the Fedora Project proper. It gives contributors a place to go to
get funding for their events or other needs that isn't tied to a
specific group within the project, having a neutral nature by its
composition. If and when we get to the point that hard decisions need
to be made about whether to fund FAD X or FAD Y, I hope this body as
constructed will have diverse enough understanding of the issues
related to the work proposed to make informed decisions for the
benefit of us all.

Projects grow, sometimes that natural growth leads to problems no one
intended. It just happens. I think this is an opportunity to fix one
problem by taking a small step back and empowering others.

Flame away :)


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