DMB: Proposal for a different review process

Chase Douglas chase.douglas at
Thu Aug 4 15:46:26 UTC 2011

On 08/04/2011 08:09 AM, Mackenzie Morgan wrote:
> On Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 10:41 AM, Marc Cluet <marc.cluet at> wrote:
>> Amongst those projects are Orchestra and Ensemble, both are mainly driven by Canonical but are Ubuntu projects, as emerging projects they do need some time to catch the community interest, so far they've been driving by very sharp minds working for Canonical (amongst them Clint Byrum and Gustavo Niemeyer, my kudos go to them).
> Dustin has made it clear that he thinks they are part of Ubuntu.  He
> and Emmet were supposed to have a discussion post-meeting about where
> Orchestra/Ensemble fit, and as mentioned up-thread, the CC is now
> going to have to weigh in on which Canonical projects are separate
> versus part of Ubuntu.  All we had to go on in Juan's meeting, though,
> was this:
> <persia>	I understand that.  Do you believe them to be part of the
> same project, or do you see Orchestra as a project to deploy the
> output of the Ubuntu project?
> <negronjl>	persia:  separate projects with a very parallel development
> and deployment cycle ( after all, Orchestra is mainly managed by the
> server/platform team )
> If he doesn't think it's part of Ubuntu... we were a bit hand-tied.
>> When our manager Dustin believed that we had gathered enough experience in order to become Ubuntu members he recommended us to do so, since he believes strongly in the community and Ubuntu (as so do we, otherwise we wouldn't be working for Canonical), and he gave us his recommendation, not out of being our manager but out of believing that we could be very useful community members and that after working with us in a day to day basis for months he thought we were more than ready for taking this step. I can completely understand Dustin's frustration from this point of view and I'm sad that this is resounding negatively with you Mackenzie, I do apologise personally (for my contributing part of being rejected) for that.
>> When I stepped in front of the DMB in the irc meeting I was rejected because they felt that I didn't interact enough with the Ubuntu community, even if I've been interacting directly with upstreams (mcollective, ruby, etc…) and there's no community involvement yet with Orchestra, although there's some already with Ensemble that I'm very happy about. As you can understand it's a very complicated situation to be in.
>> Please don't get me wrong, I'm very grateful for the DMB and its altruistic task, and I'll be the first one to defend its judgements. I learned from the DMB meeting and try very hard to downplay the negative parts of it and learn constructively from the recommendations, I'll try again to apply for contributing developer in the future because I believe I can be useful to the community not only when I'm working for Canonical but also on my free time.
>> Hope this extended explanation gives you a bit more insight from the other side :)
> I don't have a problem with anyone applying or having their
> coworker/managers encourage them.  Contributors should all be
> encouraging each other. It's the refusal to accept "not yet" as an
> outcome by some of the endorsers that is causing chunks of various
> membership boards to burn out. Why not just appoint a board stacked
> with the people who will vote the "right" way?

Here's what I see happening:

* Some individuals have the differing impressions of what it takes to
get approval for the various levels of membership offered by the DMB. I
don't think anyone at Canonical is trying to subvert the DMB, so the
other reason for these issues is that they really don't understand the
requirements. This is borne out by the fact that the
membership-through-upstream issue has been raised. Outlining the
criteria more clearly or in a different way may help.

* Few people are interested in criticizing any board that they have to
go in front of to be evlauted. I know that for me I just put up with it
for a while, but I crossed a threshold where I felt things weren't
working well enough and decided to make my voice heard.

* Canonical employees are in a somewhat unique position in that they can
often perform their work better by becoming members and getting upload
rights. This can affect how they perceive the process and how willing
they are to attempt to provide criticism (hopefully constructive). If
I'm a random contributor from outside and I'm rejected, especially at
the membership level, then there's a good chance I throw my hands up and
say "I'm gonna take my ball home". Canonical employees don't have this
luxury, we need to try to work with the system, and that's a good thing.

* I believe the last point ends up resulting in a disparity of who
voices criticism. If how well you perform at your job, which feeds your
family, etc, is determined partly by whether you are approved to be an
Ubuntu member, then if you are rejected you will likely try to figure
out why. If you disagree that you should have been rejected, then you
are likely to voice that disagreement.

That's what I find all of this to be: a series of disagreements.
Coersion and subversion requires more than just a statement of
disagreement. It requires something like a threat or harassment. I don't
think anything that has been stated here reaches that threshold.

Disagreements provide an opportunity to re-evaluate policy and
processes, to see if there are ways to make things work better for
everyone. That's what I have tried to do by proposing an alternative
work flow.

Realistically, you also can't expect that if you are on a publicly
elected board that evaluates individuals that there will not be
disagreements. It is a very personal process. It may not be apparent,
but it can cause a high level of anxiety for the individual applying.
This can increase or decrease the volume of the rhetoric. The board
needs to be able to handle individuals who disagree in a graceful
manner. Harboring assumptions of ill will and intent is not healthy for
either the applicants or the board.

-- Chase

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