Forum OpenACS Development: Response to OpenACS 4 Search Integration, what should it look like?

At 2:30pm on Thursday, I left my small Tribeca office and headed to
LaGuardia, where I caught the 3:30pm Delta shuttle to Boston. The
turbulence in flight and 45-minute runway delay should have alerted me
to the pending flamefest in OpenACS-land, but I didn't take notice. I
spent time with friends, and at 11pm, Dr. Wolfman himself interrupted
my brilliant game of pool: "So what's up with the community and this
'sex on friday' thing?" I chose to temporarily ignore my email and get
some sleep.

So, now that I am rested and have read through the volumes of
contributions, I have a few important, harshly honest points to make:

- Don has been doing an incredible job leading OpenACS 4.x. Much
  better than I did on 3.x, and much better than many "professional"
  project managers I've worked with. Doubts as to my support of Don's
  approach in resolving OpenACS 4.x issues are wholly unfounded.

- Don's style is direct, but honest. I appreciate that, because I know
  that if I slip up, I might get a nastygram from Don, and that keeps
  me on my toes. In fact, it helps bypass the politics and get to the
  meat of the issue. If the meat of the issue involves significantly
  readjusting expectations, then we don't beat around the bush.

- Most successful open-source projects are led by a small set of
  individuals with strong opinions who aren't afraid to put their foot
  down. The "bazaar" model is fun marketing, but it's not exactly
  correct (oh no! The OSI black helicopters are on their way...). This
  means that sometimes people in the community will not be
  satisfied. No matter what model you choose, that's going to be the
  case. In this model, at least the project has a direction and vision
  offered by people who have time and resources to actively

- However, in order to perform efficiently, one must attempt to
  decentralize the effort to a certain degree. Mostly, this is done by
  pushing the overhead of communication and management as far away
  from the center as possible. When I managed OpenACS 3.x, I
  repeatedly ignored the first email I received from new potential
  contributors. I would wait until the second reminder email, and then
  add them to SourceForge and respond with instructions. At first, it
  was because I was overwhelmed. Eventually, I realized that this was a
  good process in general (gasp! I did it on purpose...) because it
  filtered out those unwilling to put in the extra effort to retry,
  adapt, and generally be pro-active about lowering the communication

- Jerry, I responded positively to your initial posting because I
  think you could be an excellent contributor to OpenACS
  core. I like a lot of your ideas, and many here agree that the
  quality of what you produce is quite high. However, I agree with Don
  that you've not helped us on the communication overhead issue. Your
  contributions are currently standalone, following your own
  priorities, and any attempt you've made at integration with the team
  involves a suggestion that the management process change. Sorry, too
  much overhead. We'd love to get your contributions, but we can't
  seem to find a way to do it without taking on huge amounts of
  coordination work on our end. This is why it doesn't feel that
  you're a team member, because it seems you're working on your own,
  following your own track, and leaving us to figure out how the heck
  to make use of what you've produced. If you can help us by
  taking some of this work on, by finding ways to contribute without
  requesting too much time from others, I think we'd begin to see the
  light at the end of this flamefest tunnel.

- Please refrain from making statements of the "go have sex"
  kind. I'm not about to censor anyone, but I would like to encourage
  people to channel their frustration in more productive

- The reason people bring up the issue of "stepping down," frankly, is
  that talk is cheap, and we are all volunteers with other interests,
  too. I met Don through his bboard code. Don met me through some
  code/posting interaction. The mutual respect we have is not based on
  talk, it's based on actions of collaboration and true attempts to
  work things out. I don't care how often I'm outvoted by Don, as long
  as we discuss the issues at hand. The moment it seems that someone
  is more interested in *their* point of view than in contributing to
  the community, I tend to stop listening.

Thus, follow Roberto's recommendation. Take all that energy, that time
you have to post to the discussion forum, and find a way in which *you*
can contribute more or less within the current structure. Use the
gatekeepers as coordinators, but try not to impose tons of additional
management work because of some brilliant idea you have, even if
you're Einstein.

Okay. I'm taking another shuttle back to NYC in a few hours. It's
Friday. I hope everyone takes some time to enjoy themselves in
whatever manner they choose to.