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Empty Promises

12 Apr 2012
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Here we go again. Empty promises over and over seem to be the rule in the Joomla! leadership house.

The latest, of course, is the one called the proposed Joomla! leadership changes. Why am I being sarcastic? Well, let's examine what is now going on. First, Paul Orwig while voting for additional discussion at the upcoming J and Beyond in Germany in May, 2012 stated:

I suggest that we take the next three months leading up to JAB to form one or more working groups that will study various aspects of the proposed leadership structure changes in more depth. That way we can have a more detailed set of recommendations to review and discuss at JAB, with the goal of making a decision there about the best approach to implement.

But you might wonder if at least one aspect is pre-ordained by his followup on what the group should be working on:

Here are some of the things I think this working group might put more research and thought into, with a goal of coming up with some recommendations in advance of our joint summit immediately following JAB:
  • Details for new board, including:
    • What would a good name for the new board be?
    • How might OSM by-laws need to be changed (or new by-laws written) to accommodate all recommended changes?
    • What would the responsibilities for the new board consist of?
    • How would the initial new board be formed?
    • How would new board members be chosen?
    • What would terms a/o term limits be for board members?
    • How would board members potentially be removed?
  • Details for new committee structure, including:
    • What would be a good number of committees?
    • What would the responsibilities of each of the new committees consist of?
    • Which committees would current leaders and working groups be assigned to?
    • How would the committees and board best stay in contact and work together?
    • What are some project-wide best practices that could potentially adopted, such as:
      • Openness and transparency
      • Setting goals and priorities
      • Terms and term limits for team managers
      • Finding multiple volunteers to have backups for key team roles
      • Documentation of key team roles

  Paul Orwig

See anything there that looks like it is addressing whether or not they actually go through with the changes?

Of course not. Additionally, Javier Gomez (one of the members of the working group and an OSM board member) proposed:

Do you agree that the proposed changes to our project’s leadership >structure in the last leadership summit can strengthen communication and collaboration between teams, as well as improve oversight and accountability for all contributors and teams?

This was responded to by another working group member Jeremy Wilkin as follows:

I'm not sure we need that question, because they already voted on the proposal so it is implied at least a majority agree.

That is the farthest from the truth I have seen so far.Remember this from Paul Orwig's blog on September 29, 2011?

It was agreed at the JLS that it is important to be open and transparent about this proposal, and also to engage our community by inviting input and feedback. Input and feedback from you and other members of our community will be taken into account before decisions would be finalized or plans put into motion to implement any leadership structure changes.

Way too much emphasis on Stage 2 of the proposal and almost nothing on Stage 1. Surprised? Not me. I have been saying all along that this was pre-ordained and the decision made by at least some of the leadership to go forward without any consideration to the feedback provided by the few members of the Joomla! community brave enough to face the third degree guaranteed to be dished out to anyone who dared to offer a modicum of disagreement to the leadership.

Update April 14, 2012



The  Joomla Project Structure Working Group implemented a poorly publicized survey of:

  • Members of the Community
  • Web Developers
  • Extension Developers
  • Members of Joomla Working Groups

It was all supposed to be completed by April 1, 2012. Subsequently a push was made to complete on April 3rd. Based on the responses I found in the answer spreadsheet, there were only five responses by April 14, 2012. Here are some of the responses:

Term limits are needed to ensure COC and leadership members don't start to think of the project as theirs and so that new ideas and perspectives are constantly introduced.

People removed from Leadership privately for inappropriate reasons. If there is public voting to bring in a new member, removing a member should at least be announced.

Many times, leadership seems very out of touch with and too often hostile, with community. This is especially true about community driven initiatives which frequently are perceived to be an attack.

Some members of leadership are notorious for speaking negatively about community members whom they feel are enemies or attacking of the project. This attitude needs to evolve into consideration of what those with different ideas think or at a minimum, ignoring opinions that are not valued.

Leadership membership should increase. It is too closely held. Too often, it is said that the leadership does not have time, resources to help but they don't increase their ranks, either, and are the only ones who can do so.

Doesn't look like everything is coming up roses, does it? I suggest Joomla! leadership listen to their constituency rather then trying to make the constituency listen to them or continuing to just flat ignore legitimate issues.

For those of you who still don't get the significance of the proposed leadership changes, Paul Orwig made a presentation at Joomla Day New England on March 31, 2012. The following two slides presented by him show the before and after:

I encourage all of you to read the two petitions  linked here and sign them. It is time OSM heard from its constituents!


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David Huelsmann

Dave Huelsmann was Treasurer of Open Source Matters, Inc. from 2008 to July, 2010 and Joomla Forum Global Moderator from 2005 to November, 2010. Now retired, he was a senior healthcare executive who managed large and diverse clinical laboratory, radiology, electroencephalography, and centralized patient transport operations/departments in both not-for-profit and for-profit companies throughout the United States.

Dave was a Navy Corpsman who served in Vietnam while attached to Seabee battalionmcb71

Read more about Dave Huelsmann

0 # Andrew Eddie 2012-04-14 17:03
I'm reminded of an episode of My Bean where he writes a birthday card to himself and then acts surprised and delighted when he finds it. Now, I'm rather suspicious that those five responses are actually from you Dave (no way to prove it either way is there), but wait, they aren't 5 individual responses, it's five points from the same person (the way you present the quotes is deliberately misleading) out of eight total responses (at the time of writing). The person also neglected to answer the first control question which is unfortunate suggesting they aren't actually a member of the community anyway. But to my eye the negativity is heavily towards Joomla "the product" (some fair, some not). At any rate, eight replies is hardly a representative sample (at least that's what they taught me in university) for proving anyone's point, least of all yours - which is quite obviously that Joomla is not being run the way *you* want it to be. That's just too bad :)
0 # David Huelsmann 2012-04-14 19:14
Let's see, "here are some of the responses". Couldn't be clearer than that. Not all of the responses but only some of them.

Sorry, as much as you would like to think so, none of the responses are from me. As I said, Andrew, Quoting David Huelsmann:
I suggest Joomla! leadership listen to their constituency rather then trying to make the constituency listen to them or continuing to just flat ignore legitimate issues

True - not representative but then again, neither is the response from the leadership about this proposal. :eek:
0 # Andrew Eddie 2012-04-14 17:39
Let's look at those points in detail:
Term Limits - agree and the new structure deals with this.
People removed - I only know of people removed for appropriate reasons, but if the will of the people is to know about dirty laundry, so be it.
Out of touch - sometimes fair, sometimes not but it goes both ways. I would call this blog out of touch with the real needs of the Joomla Project.
Speaking negatively - classic case of equivocating "disagreement" with "personal attack". I firmly believe if people are being disruptive, they should be called out.
Leadership has no time - well it's true in one sense but just adding leaders doesn't necessarily solve the real issue.

You left out that this person thinks leaders should put in 10-20 hrs a week. While I know some do, it's unrealistic to "demand" that of volunteers (is the person making walking the talk I wonder?).

How about we address "Joomla the product doesn't meet my needs" eh?
0 # David Huelsmann 2012-04-14 19:17
Good start Andrew. About time someone started to try to reconcile community complaints with the leadership change proposal. How come you are the only one even remotely recognizing that is an issue? So, instead of trying to make it my isssue, try making it a leadership issue, eh? 8)
0 # Andrew Eddie 2012-04-15 04:05
Dave, you know my position on the leadership changes so please don't play the word games. I am supportive of them so don't deliberately misconstrue my opinion to the contrary. I realise you can do no wrong in your own eyes, but not everyone feels the same.

I'd be really interested in knowing who you would consider meets your very high standards on the board of OSM (s'ok, I know I'm off your list). Care to share some names?
0 # David Huelsmann 2012-04-15 12:06
Hmmm...I didn't actually know your position on the leadership changes. You made one remark in all of your comments to the effect that you supported the elimination of the CoC. That didn't translate for me that you supported the proposed change. Good to know.

So, here we are back to the word games again. If you wish to characterize following their own bylaws, following the laws of the State of New York, following up with and keeping their promises as very high standards then you are right. So far no one on the OSM board would qualify today. Based on your willingness to countenance such failures as misdemeanors, then you too would fail the test. ;-)
0 # Andrew Eddie 2012-04-15 17:02
Your last paragraph: "I have been saying ... to go forward without any consideration to the feedback ..." My opinions were strongly expressed in that feedback. If you missed that, then what else did you miss (or should I say ignore)? I still hold the position that the case "for" is stronger than the case "against". If the leadership feels the same, that's not a broken promise, that's a decision, which incidentally was a topic in the spreadsheet you refer to. I also hold an equivalent structure can be produced under the current bylaws anyway, so your complaints about the structure changes are moot.

Forgive me, I already knew your opinion of the current OSM board (not shared by me in case you'd missed that in any of my comments too). I'm asking you to put forth the names of people you trust to live up to your standard. I want to know who would be on *your* OSM board imagining you had the power to select it.
0 # David Huelsmann 2012-04-15 19:06
Don't have a problem with decision making. Have a problem with promises that they would consider community feedback and failure to do so..

I don't care who is selected for the board. I care if they follow laws and promises and listen to feedback. If they can't do that then they don't have any right to be a member of the board.
+1 # Andrew Eddie 2012-04-15 17:24
For what it's worth, here's what I'd do with the structure as an interim, possibly permanent, measure. According to III.10 and V.1, OSM can appoint any committee and any officer. It seems to logical to me that OSM just create the PLT and the CLT as official committees of OSM, and elect a chair and vice-chair out of those existing teams. For me, that establishes the accountability "glue" that I think is missing in the existing OSM-PLT-CLT triad. It's then a simple matter for those committees to report to the board at their regular meeting. Problem solved without any change whatsoever to the bylaws. I still would like to see the name of OSM changed to the "Joomla Foundation" or similar - the initial idea that OSM would act as a conservancy is really not realistic anymore. I still think the CoC can go - it wasn't part of the original OSM nor do I know of any other board that operates in the same way.
0 # David Huelsmann 2012-04-15 19:01
Not a bad alternative. One that should be suggested, I would think. Given the failures of the current board to follow their own promises, bylaws, and NY laws, I would suggest that now is not the time to remove the oversight of the board till they get their act together.

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