[openbeos] Re: Openness

  • From: "Jorge G. Mare (a.k.a. Koki)" <koki@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: openbeos@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 14 May 2007 11:14:26 -0700

Hi Axel,

Axel Dörfler wrote:
Hi Jorge,

"Jorge G. Mare (a.k.a. Koki)" <koki@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
My entry to the admin group was NOT easy by any measure. As a matter of fact, only after I started the sort of heated debate that some are chastising me for here did I get the attention of the admins. And some of the points that I made in the course of that debate even generated some hostility towards me, so the "we welcome you with open arms as long as you want to do hard work" is not necessarily true.

That's not really how I perceived it, though. You were invited pretty quickly, and then the discussion started, because you wanted some clear set of rules to follow. Where you may have seen hostility, I only saw misunderstandings - and certainly not because you were new to the group.

I don't think it was mere perception.

I had to pass the "what is your problem?"...


...and "Jorge, stop pretending Haiku is something it isn't..." ...


...hostility tests, as well as the "we don't need just talk"...


...skepticism test.

I believe that at the moment of deciding whether an individual should be admitted to the group or not, the developers end up using a set of criteria that may not necessarily be objective.

How could the admin group be "objective"? They are as objective as a dozen or so individuals can be when they discuss things. But please note and understand that there is no "developer" archetype that only does one thing well. I doubt I am the only one who feels offended when trying to reduce him into some pigeonhole.

Please, don't take my observation as a personal offense; you know that's not the intent. :)

I am trying to make the point that the admin group does not have a clear and transparent yardstick that they can use for the selection of non-coding contributors, that the "just go do it" approach does not work for certain type of non-coding "tasks" (so to call them) as it does with coding.

A developer can study the code in the repo, browse resources available online, find an area where he/she can contribute, and start submitting patches or whole chunks of code. If he/she has any questions, a message to the mailing list will usually find positive echo leading to clearing the way for moving forward.

In contrast, in the case of someone who wanted to contribute with marketing, for example, there is no equivalent process for the person to follow. Furthermore, attempts to kick start something or to clear doubts, say, by sending an email to this list, are usually met with responses that do not necessarily encourage the person to further pursue the initiative. In some cases, the responses are even discouraging (such as "don't beat the dead horse") or lack transparency ("that has already been decided" or "the admin group will have to decide", and never again to be heard).

In such an environment, you are not going to get more contributors not matter how much you say "we are waiting for you with your open hands".

So there is a clear and transparent process that coders can follow (and that everyone can openly see and scrutinize) to become engaged and be recognized for contributions that can potentially lead to a decision-making position. What is the equivalent process for, say, a marketing person? I don't think there is one.

Of course not, or else you wouldn't need any staff managers anymore. And yet, it's possible to note that you did not just make an effort, but produced valuable work.
If you think that's not recognizable outside of coding you're wrong.

But that's not the point. The issue that I am trying to raise is that it is too hard for people that may be interested in contributing to get involved (in non-coding areas), and that in many cases there is no yardstick or criteria by which the admins can assess a potential candidate objectively.

Axel, contrary to what you say, being part of the admin team did not work for me; it's dynamics hindered my productivity and motivation. Hopefully it is just me. But it seems that others have also tried and failed in the past, so it may well be fair to say that something in Haiku makes it difficult for non-devs to make it to the higher ranks and be productive, and that unless something is done, that is most likely not going to change.

There are no higher ranks within the admin group, it works purely democratic. And I won't start any online discussion on why it hindered your motivation or productivity :-)

Yeah, I know the decision-making is designed to be democratic, and I also admit that I don't necessarily advocate democracy, at least not blindly. I am a practical person, and I would rather use the best tool available for any job at hand over advocating the idealism of democracy.

For the devs who are the absolute and perhaps irreversible majority of the admin group, a democratic model may seem like a fair, ideal or acceptable mechanism they can work with. But for the only marketeer who always had all the odds against him, democracy just meant being less efficient and having to bear an excessive burden.

But since you bring up the issue of democracy, if you really wanted to make the admin group truly democratic, then the admins would have to be chosen by their constituents, that is, the community, and not between themselves. :)



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