[fedora-india] Ambassadors in India

Ashwin ashwin.lists at gmail.com
Tue May 11 07:43:13 UTC 2010

On 05/11/2010 10:00 AM, Ankur Sinha wrote:
> hey,
> I'll try and explain it from another point of view. 

I am glad.

> Volunteering means taking responsibility. I'm sure you'll agree with
> that. Now, if you volunteer as an Ambassador, who are:

In this role yes, a big serious one too, which many do not understand
initially, but do volunteer anyway.

>> https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Ambassadors#Who_are_we.3F
> and go inactive, you're not taking care of your responsibilities. This
> is what is termed as an "inactive" Ambassador. No one is asking you to
> share your life's status with the public or blog about it. We're asking
> you to send us an email or let the community know when you're not going
> to be around so that your responsibilities can be shared among those who
> *are* available.

No issues, individual with a high sense of responsibility would surely
send the desired email. But I do not see any problem even if some one
does not send the email. It indicates, he needs to be *MENTORED* a
little more to improve his self-awareness.

> You also don't have a clear understanding of the word "accountability". 

I do. Please do not put in negative accusations / statements hitting at
the individual level. This known as high handedness.

> Accountability is not related to jobs/cash/incentives/returns. 

Well it is related to all those for sure and may be something more.

> When you sign up for a project (voluntarily), you agree to take certain
> responsibilities, i.e, you agree to share the total task burden that the
> community has to do. In other words, you agree to provide a certain
> amount of input to the community. The summation of all these individual
> inputs , with some help from a *hand full* of red hat employees is what
> has enabled the Fedora community to reach F 13 with such high standards
> and success rates. 

Fedora has succeeded, yes, your views are well accepted as reason behind
the success, however, would you also like to understand that *users* but
non-contributors have been as much important to this success.

> Now, if I agree to take certain responsibility and go inactive, and lets
> assume I ignore the need to write the community an email or blog "I
> won't be around for 2 weeks". How is the community going to know that
> I'm not around? At the end of two weeks? You see, the task that you were
> to carry out goes delayed by two weeks. A project cannot function with
> slips and delays of this nature. 

Let us not find a fault here. It happens all the time, and will happen
in future too with no specific intention to harm the community.

> This is where accountability comes in. You have taken the responsibility
> of completing a task. It is your responsibility to see that the task is
> completed on time. Therefore, you have also taken up the responsibility
> of informing the community when you can't contribute (even for 2 weeks)
> so that someone else can take the task up and complete it on time. 
> Therefore, *you* are accountable to the community. They have the right
> to ask you "Whats the status of this task you had taken up?". It is not
> judging. If one has taken up a task and is not working on it, one's
> motivations are weak. If one's motivations are strong and one still
> can't work, it's one's personal problem which should not affect the
> working of the community.

Great, now we are in a little sync. The accountability, *if any* is of
the community as a whole towards the member who is suffering.

Please do not try to identify which guy ditched. Please step in (because
you will as you are responsible) if you can and eliminate the suffering.
Some one else (or may be the same guy who ditched today) will pitch in
on your behalf when you need to ditch for any reasons and come back on
at a later date.

Asking questions about the status with respect to tasks in hand, are you
sure it improves performance ? Why do you want to walk the extra length
in proving the obvious, that some one is not performing any more. What
do you stand to gain here ?

> In case of Ambassadors, there isn't a time limit. However, it's more
> important as an Ambassador that one's there when someone tries to locate
> him/her. She/He is the face of Fedora. If they doesn't respond, the
> message that goes across is that Fedora didn't respond. The easier it is
> for someone new to get in touch with the community, the better it is. If
> a new person has to mail 5 different people because the first 4 failed
> to respond, they lose interest.

See, individual attention is important. Correct ? So that is what I am
doing. Those who know me as a LINUX user, spread the word that I respond
to request for help for user issues. Those who do not know me, can
assume that I do not respond. In future, I may not have the money to
afford Internet and check and send emails, cannot afford a phone, but I
can still be an active volunteer even in this scenario. I would assume
the community knows and will keep me in its list as a helper / volunteer.

Specifically, in the rural Indian context, such scenarios exist. I have
travelled (because of the nature of my employment) extensively on a
regular basis to rural parts. Computing with LINUX is possible, local
and mutual helping exists, but these guys may not have internet to send
emails. Now, if this guy on one of his trips to the town enlists himself
as a Fedora volunteer, then he risks of being wiped clean from the list
and assumed to be dead and gone.

Or is it that such guys are not relevant for the community to succeed ?

> The Ambassadors' list is a place where we collect the active ambassadors
> together so someone looking to get in touch with the Fedora community
> can contact them. Therefore, the housekeeping and removal or inactive
> ambassadors. 

Cannot say anything here anymore, you guys have already made up your mind.

> Another thing that you must understand is that the mentors etc. have
> been chosen fundamentally by the members of the community. You didn't
> get to poll over it directly does not mean that "it was some
> autocratic decision taken against the popular opinion." All the fedora
> boards etc. are by the people, for the people , of the people of the
> community. If you don't like the way a person in a board functions, you
> vote another in the next election. Long threads like this don't help.
> You voted for them knowing they are more capable than you are. If you
> don't think that they are, please stand up in the next election yourself
> and try to get elected. If people agree with your take, you will get
> votes. 

I am not against any individual or any mentor or questioning any ones
performance here. Do not accuse me of things not done by me and paint me
as the Satan just because I do not agree with your views. Aha, this
reeks of politics in the community now. Great. Then why even discuss
such issues here. I am not a neta to seek votes in here.

> Certain sections of the community has been structured and divided
> according to people's experience and capabilities to handle different
> tasks. These are the leaders that the community chose. These are the
> tasks that the community chose that these leaders should carry out. Let
> the concerned folks do their jobs. 

Then please ask those leaders not to display a pseudo-democratic way of
functioning and not be receptive to the feedback. Take a feedback, read
it and junk it if you do not like, why do you respond ? You could have
deleted all my emails. You are reacting (that too in offensive) Is it
because there were always probing questions in the emails which dwell on
your present role and its accountability some where, and you do not want
to be accountable.

> I'll repeat:
>>> Lets not waste time on discussing this topic. The concerned people will
>>> handle it in a way they seem fit.

You did spend your time on this email. Did you waste it ?

> I hope this lengthy explanation did some good. Since I see no
> constructive input to the community being made by this thread, I will
> not respond anymore. I see it as a waste of the community's resources
> and everyone's time which could be put to much better use.

Why is it that even after having all the beautiful rules and processes
of accountability in place you end up saying the Amabassadors are not
available / responsible. Is it not the time to do a complete re-think on
this approach.

Volunteer activity is highly local community specific, the same
standards and importance attached to this role in Europe may not exist
in America or for that matter in India or China. Even then serious
volunteers exist everywhere. Broaden the scope, improve the system so
you can have a list volunteers where no housekeeping is needed in future.

with Regards,

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