Stepping down from the IRC Council

Lorenzo J. Lucchini ljlbox at
Wed Dec 17 17:11:09 UTC 2008

On Wednesday 17 December 2008 12:14:04 Matthew East wrote:
> Hi Lorenzo,
> While I echo all of Daniel's comments in his earlier response, I'd
> like to add a couple of points here myself.
> On Wed, Dec 17, 2008 at 12:22 AM, Lorenzo J. Lucchini <ljlbox at> 
> > While I was starting to feel a bit more comfortable lately, I definitely
> > believe there don't need to be so many members in the IRC Council, so
> > I'll pass the ball.
> As far as I am aware, the IRC Council had 5 members when it was set
> up. The complaint that 5 members is excessive or inappropriate has
> never been made to the Community Council so it was a surprise to me to
> read this, but for what it's worth, I think that it's healthy to have
> *at least* five members on a Council such as this one. We can of
> course discuss it further if you think this is a genuine problem and
> care to put forward some reasons for your statement.

It's a subjective evaluation. I don't think a cohesive group of people can 
exist with seven members.

Six, or seven, is recognized to be about the limit of instinctive, automatic 
human counting. Typical human beings need to initiate a conscious counting 
process to recognize and identify items passing this threshold. That's what I 
think I've read in various places, and my personal experience would seem to 
confirm it.

With people in particular, at or above this limit my experience hints that 
sub-groups spontaneously start forming, and slowly go on strengthening their 
internal ties and isolating from the other sub-groups.

That's not my goal.

> > I also must admit that I've been feeling, in the past weeks, like there
> > were debates ongoing and decisions being made about the IRC Council
> > without the IRC Council, or at least myself, being in the least invited
> > or involved; I may be mistaken, but I think this email I'm now sending
> > was partly indirectly instigated.
> {snip}
> > Feelings of secrecy, of things "being done behind one's back", really
> > don't help, and lack of communication fuels such feelings; trying to
> > "fix" it with a sudden burst of communication, on the other hand, may
> > easily be felt as "stomping on feet".
> For the purpose of the future relationship between the IRC and
> Community Councils, it's worth just clarifying that this is a complete
> conspiracy theory and has no basis whatsoever.

Note that I was careful to always employ the word "feeling". I'd say that, 
almost by definition, feelings like this cannot be proved or disproved.

I may not have made this entirely clear, but I believe it's very important to 
attentively watch for, and actively act upon, such feelings, regardless of 
whether they have any basis in reality.

I feel that more people may be affected than just me. If that is the case, 
then it would be a considerably positive step to look at ways to bring that 
level of confidence back to the front of people's minds, although as I wrote 
earlier, it could very well be my own gut feeling alone.

Active steps to avoid creating such feelings are a necessity. The knowledge 
alone that such feelings are really unwarranted isn't enough.

I'd also like to point out that my comments weren't directed solely at the 
Community Council, but just as well to the IRC Council itself, and what's 
more, just as well at myself.

> In July, the IRC 
> Council itself put forward the need to increase its members because
> Seveas had just left the Council and you were perceived to be
> inactive. The process of nomination of potential new members was done
> on an open basis and the IRC Council put forward recommendations for
> the individual candidates, who were considered and recently approved
> by the Community Council. The process certainly shouldn't have taken
> as long as it did, but there was nothing secret or private about it.

Maybe... however, the very fact that it has taken so long and that, 
eventually, things were decided that look to be somewhat in contrast with 
general expectations (such as voting by the IRC Team, as anticipated, not 
taking place, and the increase of members count) leads me to think there was 
a process during which the IRC Council, or at least I, was put out of the 

During the past couple of months, things felt so static and frozen to me that 
I felt like we were lost on an iceberg and any even slight motion might break 
the ice.
That may have contributed to feelings of the IRC Council being unwilling to 
ever act, which I know existed.

> Lorenzo, you are of course free to leave a Council or any group in the
> Ubuntu community when you decide to do so, but it shouldn't be on the
> basis of a misunderstanding like the one I've described above. If you
> have to leave, let it be for genuine reasons.

There are other reasons, some vague and some more well defined, but not ones 
that I feel particularly appropriate to talk about on this mailing list.

Whether they're valid or not is not something I feel able to objectively 

by LjL
ljl at
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