[Baypiggies] organization, owners of responsibilities

Stephen McInerney spmcinerney at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 28 13:52:08 CEST 2006

>From: Marilyn Davis <marilyn at deliberate.com>

>What is missing from the lists of tasks is "decision-making".  How has that 
>been happening so far?
>I also remember that the poll and survey are considered "non-binding".  
>What is binding?
>"Benevolent dictator" makes a lot of sense for a technical design or a 
>programming language, but not for a big volunteer group.  Volunteer groups 
>thrive on democracy.
>Is "democracy" a forgotten art?

Exactly. We all agree that consensus is desirable, when achievable. When 
not, the people who own specific tasks make decisions as they see best. In 
order to keep it running, those responsibilities are clearly defined for a 
fixed term and theerafter rotated.
Where we differ is what are the mechanisms to attain the consensus, and who 
gets to arbitrate
(this is NOT the list moderator's task).
Hashing every issue out on the list is not feasible and not scalable as you 
move from 20 members who meet face-to-face in an SF coffee shop (2000) to 
340 members widely distributed around the Bay Area (2006) and indeed the US.

>----- On Tuesday, April 25, 2006 DennisR at dair.com wrote:
> > [things which need to be done to allow Wesley to "become a civilian"]
> >>... and time-moderate meetings
> > I did this at last IronPort meeting.  I see the Random Access/Mapping 
> > I would like to moderate as the final event so I serve as an advocate 
> > ending regular program on time.

I think Dennis has done a great job on that so far and I second him to 
continue - if he wants.
Many other people esp. new or infrequent members expressed gratitude that 
the random access allowed them to make themselves known and easily connect 
with people and answers.

> >>- setup/maintain locations with hosts
> >>- organize offsite meetings when main site(s) aren't available
> >>- hang/tape up signs at sites to direct folks to meeting room
>If there is a meeting-starter position, this sign duty should go along with 
Sounds like it falls under Logistics to me (security access, directions, 
room confirmation, videoing...)?
Which is really a two-person job.

> >>- collate and hand out swag to speakers
> > Seems like another possible topic for Stephen's meeting.

Historically this very minor task was tied to O'Reilly (plus non-O'Reilly) 
book reviews and was one of Wes's many responsibilities. In conversation 
with Wes we also discussed e.g. putting all speakers for 2005 into a draw 
for a couple of books. TonyC - do you want to own this one?

I have one side issue on that - I tried to hit up Pixar for a couple of 
tshirts for the survey (I contacted Elizabeth Palmore 5 times), since they 
do post jobs regularly now. Zero response. Very disappointed at Pixar.
I suggest we do have a charter that defines "corporate members or recruiters 
agree that in return for access to the list and/or group, they will give us 
small freebies (tshirts/books) in return".

> > There are some issues here with no clear owner yet imo.  Stephen is 
> > an organizing meeting and this topic is included, as he has specifically
> > identified "current alternating location setup" as a discussion topic.

Unfortunately, not happening. I twice attempted to call an organizing 
meeting since several people asked me to hold it, but then almost everyone 
dropped out due to other commitments they had not mentioned.
- I will mix these topics into the Q&A at end of Thu May 11 survey 
presentation, insofar as 15-20 minutes will allow us to at least touch on 
the diversity of opinion on these matters. But the forming of consensus has 
yet to emerge fully. Some people post very productive comments on the list, 
but then other people complain about list volume or the topics... how to 
accomodate these?
Many people are losing patience. Some are unsubscribing.
Is it time for a baypiggies-announce list? Or can we make decisions and get 
back to the old ways.

> >>- update/maintain the website
> >>- manage/moderate mailing list (rejecting spam, etc.)

For further discussion. These two tasks are separable and maybe they are 
better separated since the workload is increasing steadily (e.g. now likely 
looking at more than 12 mtgs/year).

> >>- keep meetings going even if there is no topic
> >
> > I have a difference of opinion on this one.  If we don't have a topic, I
> > don't think we have a meeting.  I would want to put my energy into 
> > content in the meeting.  If there is no content, then cancel the meeting 
> > my feeling.

Let me make some observations I have seen from the survey results (96 so far 
and counting).
- Some people value the social/networking content of a meeting equally or 
more highly than a particular talk, and are happy to just chat, network, 
discuss their issues and meet people.
- Some people (esp. who have 3/4-hr roundtrip commutes) need to be assured 
the event they are promised will actually happen as advertised. We can 
accomodate both by being well-organized.
This is one of Rick Moen's laws: 
"6. You need to make sure that meetings happen as advertised, without fail."
Rich Morin posted that excellent article and it is well worth a read from 
top to bottom.
(It is possible some members could also propose social events, meetups, cafe 

>[Marilyn] I am intrigued by Paul Gavin's generous [webhosting] offer:
>Do I remember that Dennis asked for the power to upload his working 
>schedule to the web site?
>I think it would be cool to have an alternate web space with the name 
>pybay.xxx.  Short and sweet.  Maybe Dennis could upload his document there? 
>  Maybe the baypiggies site could be echoed there.

Let us please not inject "domain name change" into the mix. I suggested we 
table that until June at earliest.
If Deirdre owns the baypiggies domain name, would she agree to transfer it 
to someone else?
I think that is a good step to take for the time being. Without prejudice to 
any possible future name change or not.
If Danny is the point of contact that may be problematic, since he's moving 
to the East Coast.
So let us identify "domain name contact" and "webmaster" as unresolved 

> > This has been an excellent list.  Thanks for being explicit.

If we can make decisions we can and should get the list volume back down.
(I'm thinking of a certain John Lennon song.)


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