Scarce community leadership resources allocated to "non-problems"

Reported by Randall Ross on 2009-12-15
6
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
ubuntu-community
Undecided
Unassigned

Bug Description

With recent UDS session(s) and follow-up activities centred on ensuring that the lists of community teams is culled, massaged, groomed, and polished one might get the impression that this is the biggest (or one of the biggest) issue(s) facing the community. I did.

Have we grown so large that we need to worry that too many community groups might advocate and support Ubuntu? Where is the corresponding bug report saying: "The Ubuntu Community teams are growing too fast and we are in danger of spreading Ubuntu everywhere?" (Tongue-in-cheek).

Steps to reproduce:
1) Search Community Bugs for instances of "board", "governance", "council".
2) Note that there are no open bugs indicating that the community is becoming too big, unwieldy and/or in need of further refinement of its structure
3) Search the UDS Lucid archives for community blueprints and session summaries. This page is a good entry point: http://summit.ubuntu.com/uds-l/track/community/
4) Note the number of instances of "board", "governance", "council" and other terms and note the disproportionate representation

Daniel Holbach (dholbach) wrote :

Can you please try to explain what the actual problem is you're seeing and how it should be fixed?

Changed in ubuntu-community:
status: New → Incomplete
Randall Ross (randall) wrote :

The actual problem I am seeing is a dire shortage of LoCo's in the truly local sense. A shortage of LoCo's leads to:
1) Poor (face-to-face) community,
2) Ineffective grass-roots marketing,
3) Overuse/misuse of online channels to get support (e.g. IRC),

Applying additional layers of governance and rigour on the existing list is premature. If there were hundreds more LoCo's then it might make sense. I feel that governance activities are better deferred until LoCo's are popping up everywhere.

Can the Community Council introduce a plan to create 1000 LoCo's in a 12 month timeframe? That would be an amazing accomplishment....

Daniel Holbach (dholbach) wrote :

I think it'd make sense to start working on some documentation for this, talk to people to find out best-practices of well-running LoCos.

I don't think the CC should "go out there" and jump-start LoCos. To have a well-working team you need people who are excited about Ubuntu, about doing something locally and who can persuade others to start working on their ideas.

Thanks for your ideas. Please allow me to elaborate:

I will hazard a guess that there are Ubuntu users in every major city
and town. Unfortunately, they usually have no idea that there are others
nearby. This comment is a recurring one: "I thought I was the only
Ubuntu user around here. You mean I'm not alone?"

Connecting these people together is critical to the incubation of LoCo's
(in the truly local sense, not CoCo's or ReCo's). Sure, many of the
newly connected people won't bother to start a LoCo, or perhaps won't
know what one is, or perhaps they'll start one that fizzles out.
However, none of those reasons should deter the CC from helping catalyze
the creation of LoCo's more actively and with haste.

Compare that to layering additional process and policy on an already
small LoCo list. Might that send the wrong signal at this point in time.

Randall Ross (randall) wrote :

Would love to hear the opinions/ideas of other LoCo leaders.

Paul Tagliamonte  (paultag) wrote :

> Paul, Thank you for noticing and for chiming in. Your case is an
> excellent example of what I am calling a ReCo (Regional Community), with
> apparent LoCo's in Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland (ReCo capital),
> Columbus, Dayton, Lima, and Toledo (which you call ReLoCo's according to
> http://ohio.ubuntu-us.org/reloco)

Yup. That's it.

> Let's assume though (as a thought experiment) that Ohio is not a corner-
> case, and that every sizable ReCo in the world has (truly) LoCo's
> already in place and that this represents a template of sorts. This
> would mean that the burden of LoCo approval does indeed rest with the
> ReCo in question and not with the Community Council, that has

LoCo Council *

> conceivably already delegated this responsibility. (i.e. in Ohio's
> case, Cleveland has approved the LoCo's?). This would also mean that a
> CoCo (Country Community) would be the top-level entity and would approve
> (or periodically evaluate) state/provincial teams such as Ohio. I don't
> think this is the case. Should it be the case?

Our ReLoCos have shared events, and we have state-wide events. Since we are so close we have shared membership. As such, we went for membership together, don't think of it as a city winning over a state.

> Thought experiments and org structures aside though, can we at least
> come to consensus that with our current statistics and reality the term
> "LoCo" is inaccurate and potentially misleading? It would be a fairly

Nosir. I think it's fitting, and a change of terms could be pretty bad.

> simple matter to re-badge the list of teams with their appropriate
> monikers: CoCo, ReCo, LoCo and sort out the governance over time and

I don't like this. I think teams should be able to call them what they want. LoCo is really a funny poke ( loco = crazy in Spanish ). There is no reason to ruin a good joke

> with due process, if that is a priority. If the burden of approval is
> still too high at that future time, then perhaps the approval team needs
> to expand, restructure, or delegate... That's likely a different bug

A state level leader is able to better figure out where the lines should be drawn. A global rule would not fit well. There is no reason us-ri needs city level locos ( it's smaller then most counties ).

I think the current is system is fine, and all we need is a review of best practices. As such, I say we mark this invalid, and we ask that you help us work forward. I don't think posting on a bug is the best way to get this stuff done.

> though, possibly related to the prioritization bug that I've filed
> separately, https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-community/+bug/497051, and
> possibly related to your scaling comment.

Not sure. I'll take a look at it soon

Paul Tagliamonte  (paultag) wrote :

Haha sorry. Wrong bug!

Randall Ross (randall) wrote :

Linking this bug to Jono's blog posting because I think the two are related. http://www.jonobacon.org/2010/12/02/the-loco-council-optimizes-loco-teams-for-success/

Perhaps it would be worth defining a Problem Statement and then developing a plan to address. I think Jono's blog post touches on this, especially the 'optimization' part. However I don't see that catalyzing the Ubuntu community at a local level.

My problem statement:
There is a dire shortage of LoCo's in the truly local sense. A shortage of LoCo's leads to:
1) Poor (face-to-face) community,
2) Ineffective grass-roots marketing,
3) Overuse/misuse of online channels to get support (e.g. IRC).

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