Question for Chris: organising more meetings?

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Question for Chris: organising more meetings?

Steve McIntyre
Hi Chris,

First of all, thanks for standing!

I think we've been trying to encourage people to organise more sprints
and mini-debconfs and other face-to-face meetings over the last few
years, but I'm worried that we're not getting very much traction. what
would you do to improve the situation here?

--
Steve McIntyre, Cambridge, UK.                                [hidden email]
"Every time you use Tcl, God kills a kitten." -- Malcolm Ray

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Re: Question for Chris: organising more meetings?

Chris Lamb-8
Hi Steve,

> First of all, thanks for standing!

No, thank you for your kind words. :)

> we've been trying to encourage people to organise more sprints and
> mini-debconfs and other face-to-face meetings over the last few
> years, but I'm worried that we're not getting very much traction.

Organising meetups is not only difficult in itself but moreover can be
quite the thankless task with a lot of hard work that is hidden from
others. This is compounded by the skills required to run meetups, such
as liasing with venues/caterers, etc. are — how can I put this — not
generally part of the repetoire of the typical developer.

To address this, I intend to take a three-pronged approach:

Firstly, I would identify meetups that "fell through" or didn't happen
a second time due to (for example) the lack of a suitable venue. I'd
proactively look into finding alternative solutions for these to help
them get back on track.

Secondly, I would work on ensuring that the various organisation teams
are given the credit they deserve. Whilst nobody is taking their work
for granted, we should be trumpeting their effort far beyond a cursory
applause, a nod and a thanks as we leave on the final day. Conversely,
nobody is organising a meetup simply for the pat on the back at the end,
but I think we could strike a better balance here.

Lastly, I would organise some meetups myself. Hey, that's one way of
ensuring they happen, right? :)


Regards,

--
      ,''`.
     : :'  :     Chris Lamb
     `. `'`      [hidden email] / chris-lamb.co.uk
       `-

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Q to both: facilitating meetups (was: Question for Chris: organising more meetings?)

martin f krafft
Following the three-pronged approach Chris wants to take towards
facilitating meetups in Debian (I am replying to the message)¹ —

¹) <[hidden email]>

I have three questions to both our candidates:

In what ways do you see Debian itself being a bit of the rust on the
cogwheels making organisation harder?

Contrariwise, what do you think is already working really well?

What could be done from the side of the project to
improve/facilitate the organisation of meetups?

Thanks,

--
 .''`.   martin f. krafft <[hidden email]> @martinkrafft
: :'  :  proud Debian developer
`. `'`   http://people.debian.org/~madduck
  `-  Debian - when you have better things to do than fixing systems
 
"prisons are built with stones of law,
 brothels with bricks of religion."
                                                    -- william blake

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Re: Q to both: facilitating meetups (was: Question for Chris: organising more meetings?)

Chris Lamb-8
Dear Martin,

> In what ways do you see Debian itself being a bit of the rust on the
> cogwheels making organisation harder?

Could you elaborate on what you mean here? I wouldn't want to misinterpret
your query and slander Debian unnecessarily — after all, a gentleman is
defined as someone who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally…


> What could be done from the side of the project to
> improve/facilitate the organisation of meetups?

I think there are lots of ways we could improve the meetup process.

Publishing a battle-hardened "HOWTO" to run a BSP would be one angle I
would look into — many people simply feel that organising such meetups
is beyond them or they simply become overwhelmed at the start of
thinking about it.

I'm not claiming that organising a meetup is straightforward or
diminishing the effort and stress involved, but the more unknowns that
are removed from the process the more likely we are to see grassroots
volunteer efforts.

Highlighting that there is a benefit to a meetup, however small, would be
a part of this too as many DDs might only have interacted with DebConf,
an enterprise clearly orders of magnitude above the typical BSP.

Even promoting fortnightly social meetups that are more — how can I put
it? — "IPA" than "ITP" would be really beneficial to the project.


Regards,

--
      ,''`.
     : :'  :     Chris Lamb
     `. `'`      [hidden email] / chris-lamb.co.uk
       `-

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Re: Q to both: facilitating meetups

Laura Arjona Reina-4
Hi again

El 26/03/17 a las 18:05, Chris Lamb escribió:

> Dear Martin,
>
>> In what ways do you see Debian itself being a bit of the rust on the
>> cogwheels making organisation harder?
>
> Could you elaborate on what you mean here? I wouldn't want to misinterpret
> your query and slander Debian unnecessarily — after all, a gentleman is
> defined as someone who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally…
>
>
>> What could be done from the side of the project to
>> improve/facilitate the organisation of meetups?
>
> I think there are lots of ways we could improve the meetup process.
>
> Publishing a battle-hardened "HOWTO" to run a BSP would be one angle I
> would look into — many people simply feel that organising such meetups
> is beyond them or they simply become overwhelmed at the start of
> thinking about it.
>
> I'm not claiming that organising a meetup is straightforward or
> diminishing the effort and stress involved, but the more unknowns that
> are removed from the process the more likely we are to see grassroots
> volunteer efforts.
>
> Highlighting that there is a benefit to a meetup, however small, would be
> a part of this too as many DDs might only have interacted with DebConf,
> an enterprise clearly orders of magnitude above the typical BSP.
>
> Even promoting fortnightly social meetups that are more — how can I put
> it? — "IPA" than "ITP" would be really beneficial to the project.

What do IPA and ITP mean in this context?

Thanks

--
Laura Arjona Reina
https://wiki.debian.org/LauraArjona

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Re: Q to both: facilitating meetups (was: Question for Chris: organising more meetings?)

martin f krafft
In reply to this post by Chris Lamb-8
also sprach Chris Lamb <[hidden email]> [2017-03-26 18:05 +0200]:
> > In what ways do you see Debian itself being a bit of the rust on
> > the cogwheels making organisation harder?
>
> Could you elaborate on what you mean here?

I feel like I'll presuppose my own question a bit if I do. I guess
one way to frame it would be to consider the difference between
decision-making processes in crafting a Debian release vs. making
a meetup happen.

--
 .''`.   martin f. krafft <[hidden email]> @martinkrafft
: :'  :  proud Debian developer
`. `'`   http://people.debian.org/~madduck
  `-  Debian - when you have better things to do than fixing systems
 
"i am not in favour of long engagements. they give people the
 opportunity of finding out each other's character before marriage,
 which i think is never advisable."
                                                      -- oscar wilde

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Re: Q to both: facilitating meetups (was: Question for Chris: organising more meetings?)

Chris Lamb-8
martin f krafft wrote:

> > > In what ways do you see Debian itself being a bit of the rust on
> > > the cogwheels making organisation harder?
> >
> > Could you elaborate on what you mean here?
>
> I feel like I'll presuppose my own question a bit if I do. I guess
> one way to frame it would be to consider the difference between
> decision-making processes in crafting a Debian release vs. making
> a meetup happen.

Making a Debian release happen involves coming to pretty good consensus
amongst a large number of people with essentially no fixed deadline whilst
a large meetup would require making a (hopefully limited) number of
executive or board-level decisions in terms of budgets/deadlines to appease
3rd parties that require them.

… but I'm still not 100% sure I'm getting what you are asking, alas.


Regards,

--
      ,''`.
     : :'  :     Chris Lamb
     `. `'`      [hidden email] / chris-lamb.co.uk
       `-

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Re: Q to both: facilitating meetups

Mehdi Dogguy-3
In reply to this post by martin f krafft
On 25/03/2017 13:13, martin f krafft wrote:

> Following the three-pronged approach Chris wants to take towards
> facilitating meetups in Debian (I am replying to the message)¹ —
>
> ¹) <[hidden email]>
>
> I have three questions to both our candidates:
>
> In what ways do you see Debian itself being a bit of the rust on the
> cogwheels making organization harder?
>
My answer might be quite general, but I think In my opinion, Debian is facing
two problems:
- Promotion: We do not explain enough how we do Debian, the important changes
  that Debian will implement, etc...
- Organization: We want to encourage more sprints, provide hardware to
  developers, etc... but we can do that only partially because we still
  lack a clear vision on our budget.

I believe the Roadmap will help us for the first subject and the partners
program, once in place, will bring new (useful) workflows on the organization
side.

> Contrariwise, what do you think is already working really well?
>

It is quite easy to ask for a budget to organize a sprint. The procedures
are quite light and simple.

> What could be done from the side of the project to
> improve/facilitate the organisation of meetups?
>

Once you have decided to organize a meetup, you have to find a location.
I think it will greatly help the teams if we had a list of typical
locations for sprints and possibly the cost of those locations (which
can be offered by partners or with a fixed cost).

Another aspect could be to work on a checklist for meetup organizers
and some guidelines to have efficient meetings. We do have [1] but we
can review it and possibly enhance it.

--
Mehdi


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Re: Q to both: facilitating meetups

Scott Kitterman-5
On Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:25:29 AM Mehdi Dogguy wrote:
...
> I believe the Roadmap will help us for the first subject and the partners
> program, once in place, will bring new (useful) workflows on the
> organization side.
...

IIRC, last year your campaign included this idea of roadmaps.  Do you have
examples from your first year of roadmaps in use or being developed?

Scott K

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Re: Q to both: facilitating meetups

Mehdi Dogguy-3
Hi Scott,

On 29/03/2017 13:34, Scott Kitterman wrote:

> On Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:25:29 AM Mehdi Dogguy wrote:
> ...
>> I believe the Roadmap will help us for the first subject and the partners
>> program, once in place, will bring new (useful) workflows on the
>> organization side.
> ...
>
> IIRC, last year your campaign included this idea of roadmaps.  Do you have
> examples from your first year of roadmaps in use or being developed?
>
I am not sure I understood your question. Can you please rephrase it?

--
Mehdi


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Re: Q to both: facilitating meetups

Scott Kitterman-5


On March 29, 2017 8:16:40 PM EDT, Mehdi Dogguy <[hidden email]> wrote:

>Hi Scott,
>
>On 29/03/2017 13:34, Scott Kitterman wrote:
>> On Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:25:29 AM Mehdi Dogguy wrote:
>> ...
>>> I believe the Roadmap will help us for the first subject and the
>partners
>>> program, once in place, will bring new (useful) workflows on the
>>> organization side.
>> ...
>>
>> IIRC, last year your campaign included this idea of roadmaps.  Do you
>have
>> examples from your first year of roadmaps in use or being developed?
>>
>
>I am not sure I understood your question. Can you please rephrase it?

In your platform from last year [1], you discussed this Roadmap (I mistakenly recalled roadmaps, but you described it singularly).

How is the Roadmap going?  Is it defined?  Where can I read about what's been accomplished?  Is helping Debian and if so, how?

That's a slightly more verbose expression of the question.  Does that help?

Scott K

[1] https://www.debian.org/vote/2016/platforms/mehdi#roadmap

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Re: Q to both: facilitating meetups

Mehdi Dogguy-3
On 30/03/2017 05:32, Scott Kitterman wrote:
> In your platform from last year [1], you discussed this Roadmap (I
> mistakenly recalled roadmaps, but you described it singularly).
>
> How is the Roadmap going?  Is it defined?  Where can I read about what's
> been accomplished?  Is helping Debian and if so, how?
>

I believe all the answers you are looking for are in:
- https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2016/12/msg00001.html
- https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2017/03/msg00004.html
- and
https://annex.debconf.org/debconf-share/debconf16/slides/51-bits-from-the-dpl.pdf
for a more general presentation about why and how a roadmap can help
Debian.

To summarize, I've asked the Technical Committee to think about their
contribution to the roadmap process and they did in
https://bugs.debian.org/830344. Then, I tried to initiate a discussion with
those who showed interest
in the roadmap. Unfortunately, the discussion didn't happen. I didn't try to
push for the idea harder as we are in a freeze and thought I should not
distract people from fixing RC bugs. So my plan was to wait for Stretch's
release and start a project-wide discussion on -project.

Hope this answers your questions.

> That's a slightly more verbose expression of the question.  Does that help?
>

Yes. Thank you.

> Scott K
>
> [1] https://www.debian.org/vote/2016/platforms/mehdi#roadmap
>

--
Mehdi

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Re: Q to both: facilitating meetups

Stefano Zacchiroli
On Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 01:44:59AM +0200, Mehdi Dogguy wrote:
> Hope this answers your questions.

So, here's a straw man for you: considering the roadmap failed to
materialize during a 1-year term, how confident you are it will
materialize during a second term?

And given you seem to argue that it did not materialize during the first
year because it was a "leading to a release"-year (which is a sensible
argument, IMO), how periodically do you think the Debian project will
manage to update such a roadmap in the long run? Once per release cycle?

And while I'm at it, thanks to both you and Chris for the time you're
putting in keeping up with the election debate. It's really appreciated!

Cheers.
--
Stefano Zacchiroli . [hidden email] . upsilon.cc/zack . . o . . . o . o
Computer Science Professor . CTO Software Heritage . . . . . o . . . o o
Former Debian Project Leader . OSI Board Director  . . . o o o . . . o .
« the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »

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Re: Q to both: facilitating meetups

Mehdi Dogguy-3
Hi zack,

On 31/03/2017 10:29, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 01:44:59AM +0200, Mehdi Dogguy wrote:
>> Hope this answers your questions.
>
> So, here's a straw man for you: considering the roadmap failed to
> materialize during a 1-year term, how confident you are it will
> materialize during a second term?
>

Very. :-)

More seriously… I think I've a done a fair bit of promotion around
this program (and I am sure it is still needs some more efforts).
The concept of the roadmap is similar to release goals. The latter
is well known to project members. So I do not expect them to reject
it. The most difficult point with the roadmap, IMO, is to create the
right team which would take care of this activity in the long term.
In order to not put this idea at risk, I intend to work on this myself.

> And given you seem to argue that it did not materialize during the first
> year because it was a "leading to a release"-year (which is a sensible
> argument, IMO), how periodically do you think the Debian project will
> manage to update such a roadmap in the long run? Once per release cycle?
>

All roadmap items will not necessary be bound to a release. So the rhythm
of the roadmap will not follow release cycles. It is reasonable to think
that we will be able to do an annual review of the roadmap (i.e. a
report on the progress of each item, an opportunity to include new items
or to drop a few, a call for help for a few items that we need to boost).
During freeze periods, the roadmap team can publish a specific report about
items implemented during the development cycle and the ones that might
need a little push to make it in the current release if still feasible.

--
Mehdi

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