[Baypiggies] Please delete April's unconfirmed agenda items from baypiggies.net

Stephen McInerney spmcinerney at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 10 09:35:18 CEST 2006

Hi Aahz,

We established that two of the current Apr agenda items on baypiggies.net 
are unconfirmed - please delete and replace with "agenda unconfirmed, Apr 
meeting may be cancelled."

I tried to reverse-engineer how this extreme confusion came about, so we can 
improve the group process. I am trying to be purely constructive and not 
critical here, please everyone take this in a helpful way:

[Sprint]: plans for a Sprint do not exist, and they never existed. No-one 
ever said they would undertake it. You threw the topic out on the list in 
this thread:
but you didn't make clear that you weren't volunteering to administer it 
yourself, nor did you mention that you were very unlikely to attend Apr 
You can see Dennis's unanswered dangling question to you about sharing the 
("Aahz, I would be willing to split the meeting with you/someone."):

[IDEs]: my suggestion about IDEs encountered similar lack of volunteers, and 
was also a dangling thread:
(I think I was fairly clear I wasn't volunteering; only JJ volunteered.)
This then went off-topic due to your objection to off-list discussions
(me and JJ had decided it was more effective to attempt to get that ball 
rolling offlist,
and I believe that was still the correct method. "offlist" != 
But let us resolve that philosophy at a future point).

[Discussion about group direction, focus, naming etc.]
No-one really formally proposed this, the agenda just drifted into it, many 
people explicitly said they do NOT want to discuss it, and again as yet 
no-one has volunteered to moderate it, although since we now have no other 
topic Tony and Wes suggest that we go ahead with this (who will moderate?)
It got started when Ben Bangert raised the (somewhat off-topic) issue of 
group name in our thread about the Apr agenda:
and I am to an extent also guilty since I replied to that post, although I 
clearly flagged the discussion topic change.
Seems people took that to mean the discussion morphed into "let's add 
discussion of the group name to the Apr meeting agenda".

We are making the big mistake here of assuming that the list chatter is 
representative of what the wider membership want to focus on at meetings. It 
isn't, necessarily.
Specifically, let's please NOT quibble over the group name at this meeting 
as Dennis said.

I'm sorry to sound pedantic but I think we have to get back to the 
discipline that:
- if a specific person wants to present/moderate a specific topic at a 
specific meeting, they make a clear proposal with a topic and a date. If 
they need volunteers they say "Volunteers needed for topic X". Until 
volunteers are identified, they do not exist.
- the individual proposers (plus the list moderator?) must take 
responsibility for reaching a final decision and communicating it to 
- the proposed meeting agenda must be approved and cross-checked before it 
is posted on the website (this never happened here). In particular, each 
agenda item must have a clear presenter/moderator. If each item does not 
have a clearly defined owner, no-one can know if it's for real or not.
- if a meeting has no agenda, it should ideally be cancelled, or at minimum 
be flagged as not having any agenda.
This will flush out whether other people are prepared to step into the gap, 
or not (as at March).
- threads about the agenda have to be kept ruthlessly on-topic (by the 
moderator), and loose ends tied up ASAP. Ambiguity is lethal.

I guess we have all learnt a harsh lesson about list clarity, communication, 
staying on-topic and confusion about list netiquette.
And I'm as guilty as the next guy.

Again, please only take this in a constructive way. Hope this analysis is 


More information about the Baypiggies mailing list