[Baypiggies] Moving forward (was meetup ...)

Marilyn Davis marilyn at deliberate.com
Fri Apr 28 16:53:42 CEST 2006

Good Saturday Morning,

----- On Thursday, April 27, 2006 aahz at pythoncraft.com wrote:

> On Wed, Apr 26, 2006, Marilyn Davis wrote:
>> What is missing from the lists of tasks is "decision-making".  How has
>> that been happening so far?
> Decision?  What's that?  An appropriate description would be something
> along the lines of loosely organized chaos.

Yes, so far.  And it worked most the time.  And thank you, and all the long-time volunteers for pulling so much together for so long.

>> I also remember that the poll and survey are considered "non-binding".
>> What is binding?
> Getting enough people to agree.  My bias is toward not changing things.

Gee Aahz, you didn't go to the March meeting and experience first-hand that something needs fixing/changing.  The expression is "if it works, don't fix it".  But if you drove to that meeting, and sat in the audience blinking in amazement like a deer in the headlights, you'd know that something is not working.

Also, the group of volunteers has whittled way down and there has been a call for new ones.  That's change.

>> I find it uncomfortable for a big volunteer group to be in a position
>> where they can't make a decision unless a specific 2 people are
>> involved, specially when both are too busy writing books and having
>> babies to participate.  Are we simply stuck?
> Not from my POV.  But I don't think that just because a few people are
> clamoring for change is a reason to let things move forward in a
> different direction.

It depends on the people.  If the new volunteers are clamoring for change, then it's time to change.

> BTW, note that Danny is the primary contact for baypiggies.net and
> Deirdre still owns the domain.

There you are.  Danny is going away.  Deirdre is into Ruby now.  The keys to our important resources are away from the control of the new volunteers.

The power of the group lies in the computer resources.  These need to belong to the group.  Strange things can happen when individuals feel they own them.

>> If we find a way to unstick ourselves, I hope that we make some
>> schedule where we rotate the duties, that no one holds a position of
>> power and visibility for longer than a year or two.
> That's an idea, but it also implies a lot more organization than I think
> is likely to ever happen.
>> "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.
> Not in my experience.  My experience is that volunteer groups thrive
> on -- guess what? -- volunteers.  And unless the volunteer base is large
> enough, consensus is usually more important than democracy.

Consensus, where no one disagrees, is the purest form of democracy.  We're not likely to acheive that.

I should rephrase.  We are not a big volunteer group.  There have been five(?) volunteers over the history of the group?  5/340 (pulling up the python interprester) = 1.47%  We are a group of mostly moochers, including me until that March meeting, with almost no volunteers.  To attract and keep volunteers, the volunteers need to feel it is their club, that they have voice and power in determining direction.

So, if the new volunteers are clamoring for some organization and change, it is important to hear that and support them in their efforts.  To coordinate volunteers, the good coordinator says "yes! good idea! how can I help! thank you!" -- never anything negative.

Stephen, and everyone, I'm sorry about the thread-jacking.  I'll try to be more conscious.  In our defense I'll say that it was a easy slip since we were talking about whether or not there was any point in that meeting.  But, I'll certainly try to be more conscious about it.

And Stephen, please don't tell me what to talk about.  It will never work.

And mentioning Paul's offer to give us pybay.xxx isn't just about a different name, it is about a web site that new volunteers can contribute to.  Dennis is using his own.

Too much traffic?  I see that Aahz announces meetings to python-list at python.org and python-announce at python.org.  I can't think of another purpose for this list than to figure out face-to-faces and coordinate volunteers.  It seems that every other feasible purpose has another list.

My best wishes,


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