Leaks, Drips, and Spills

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

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