[Volunteers] Undisclosed banned discussion topics (was: yum extender)

J. Paul Reed preed at svlug.org
Tue Jul 12 03:09:50 PDT 2005

Having skimmed most of the email on the matter, and thinking people
probably are expecting me to weigh in here, I'll respond to Bill's email.
I'll probably also respond to Bill's quotations of Rick's email.

But there is one thing I want to say up front, and very publicly: these
last two emails? Pretty useful. We're nailing down ambiguous policies and
airing some organization greivances, so they can be addressed.

The emails between various people about this topic on svlug@ ? Completely
useless.  And that's what people are going to remember; that useless,
flame-exchange between an officer and a volunteer, not this productive
exchange between an officer and a volunteer.

I would like to see us all move from the "useless" conversations to the
more "useful" conversations, especially on a very-public forum like svlug at .

Having said that:

On 12 Jul 2005 at 00:25:30, William R Ward arranged the bits on my disk to say:


> I'll let Paul comment on the idea of elected vs. appointed officers.
> I think that there may be a mismatch of vocabulary that we should be
> able to resolve.
> Please note that Paul is the President of SVLUG and the final word on
> policy.  I may be a "hearbeat away" but I try not to set policy.  Paul
> has given me some discretion in the area of mailing list administration
> but that is all.

The term "officer" implies some duties and privileges that I'm not willing
to give to others outside the structure defined for us by SBAY.org. I don't
know the history, but unless we have a charter that allows "appointed
officers," we're not going to be doing that, for all the questions and
issues that Bill raises below.

Having said that, I think it's clear, Rick, that you do a lot of the
webmaster work (and we're all very appreciative). Chris, similarly, has
been a "right hand man" for the LUG. If you'd like to give official titles
to those positions, then I'm up for discussing it. I do think giving people
a title reflective of their contributions is an important thing (and for a
bit of history, I got started in LUGs in general way back when as the NCLUG
"Slackey" :-)

Let's talk about at next week's dinner; I will again be bringing up "How
can SVLUG make your life, as a volunteer better?" Let's discuss then.

> >I'm sure you didn't intend to do that, but it's been sort of a running
> >pattern.  Suddenly restricting the term "officers", against all prior
> >SVLUG practice, to just yourselves is just one example.

The reason we did that (and did so with the mailing list) is because we
have a bit of a defined organizational structure that we didn't have
before. Therefore, our own organizational behavior needs to reflect that

> >Let me remind you of my perspective:  On at least two occasions (the two
> >I cited), you (in my view) maligned me personally, in error, in public
> >on svlug@ , and then immediately either "killed the thread" (forbade me
> >or anyone else from commenting) or ordered me to move any commentary to
> >a small, totally private forum, access to which is controlled by you and
> >Paul Reed.

On "killing the thread" and telling people to take it to volunteers@, I am
100% in favor of this, and I have not seen a situation where Bill has made
that call that I would've disagreed with him.

I do want to clarify that volunteers@ IS NOT a private forum, and it is not
controlled by Bill and I.  Anyone is able to join at any time, and archives
are available to members.  That may not be your definition of "public,"
Rick, but we can agree to disagree on it. *IF I AM WRONG* and the Mailman
config is set up incorrectly, then we need to fix that. Anyone should be
able to join the volunteers list at any time, period.

And the volunteers list is a MUCH better place to have this sort of
discussion. I wish it would've moved here two or three emails earlier.

[ Discussion of list policy cut; could someone print this out, so we can
discuss it at our Volunteers meeting. It looks like we've got four major
areas to discuss: mailing list, website, picnix, and "other" ]

> If people who are regular SVLUG members and not officers jump in with
> corrections then they may feel unwelcome and leave.  For one thing, who's
> to say it's just one person doing it?  If several people do, they may
> feel ganged up on.  If the person(s) doing it aren't "officers" (for
> whatever definition we end up using), then they may just feel it's just
> one person's opinion and argue the contrary, leading to unpleasantness
> that can drive some people off the list.  Either way, people may decide
> to give up on the group.  Without new people constantly coming in, the
> group can wither and die.

This is my position as well, and I completely agree with what Bill says
here. This is precisely why we enacted this policy in the first place.

> >And I'd actually prefer that the elected officer who declared each such
> >"rule" have to have his name listed next to it, in part so that, if
> >you enact a dumb one, posterity will know.
> I disagree.  The mailing list archives should be sufficient
> documentation of that.

I disagree as well. We're not here to record precisely who did what so we
can later judge them. If the group makes a rule, and they got it wrong,
then THE GROUP screwed up.

I don't think anyone can make the claim that Bill and I don't listen to
input from the group, so trying to do this is a counterproductive endeavor.

> Please note that all of the above refers to the Marc & Don
> administration, so I don't think it's fair to use that as a criticism of
> the current leadership of SVLUG.

I didn't go back and read through the URLs, but I'm generally with Bill on
this. The one rule I would state, if you really need it, is that the
officers reserve the right to remove anyone from the mailing lists for any

I can't believe I would ever have to do that, though (or... I hope I

> >Suggestion 4:  Start an svlug at lists.svlug.org FAQ, maybe collaboratively
> >via wiki.

This is a good idea; I'm hoping Heather and Ian have something to show us
next week. I think we have a lot of things we could put in a Wiki. :-)

Silicon Valley Linux Users' Group
preed at svlug.org

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