[Linux-aus] Communication (was: Re: Videoing LUG Talks)

Anthony Towns aj at azure.humbug.org.au
Sat Feb 9 05:33:09 UTC 2008

On Fri, Feb 08, 2008 at 11:40:31PM +1100, Sridhar Dhanapalan wrote:
> All I have done is raise an issue that I felt was not known by the LA 
> Committee and mirror team.

Right, and _raising_ the issue is brilliant; it's when the issue doesn't
get raised but just gets left to fester that things suck. It's absolutely
impossible to get perfect communication [0], the best you can do is hope
to make up for that with lots of retries and alternate channels...

> I won't delve into that one, but I will say that we have been trying for 
> quite some time to get this issue resolved.

But without, ttbomk, contacting the secretary, the president, the
committee as a whole, or the linux-aus list? You see how any or all of
those would've been a good idea at the first sign of things not going
smoothly, right?

On Sat, Feb 09, 2008 at 01:39:27PM +1100, Silvia Pfeiffer wrote:
> The miscommunication with insurance and SLUG was that nobody ever
> communicated that AJ was doing the treasurer work and we were sending
> message after message to Terry, including phone calls etc. They just never
> got anywhere.

As it happened, Terry was in fact dealing with the insurance; in
particular working out the terms under which we can cover what.

For comparison, OSDC's PLI coverage was handled by Arjen talking to Jon and
the committee as a whole:

	- Arjen talked to Jon about getting insurance coverage directly
	  (by phone I guess)

	- Jon mailed the committee, cc'ing Arjen and Donna [10th Oct] to
	  see if we thought that was a good idea, and how it would be
	  managed (if, eg, OSDC would have to be run as an LA event, rather
	  than an OSDC,inc event)

	- Some discussion amongst the committee and with Arjen over the
	  next couple of days, basically amounting to, "Yes, if we can"

	- Jon re-raises the issue [17th Nov] proposing forming an
	  LA sub-ctte for OSDC consisting of the current OSDC organisers

	- Terry responds [18th Nov], "To be an LA event, it simply needs
	  to be something we're formally involved with. We don't need
	  a sub-committee, we can just be a sponsor, that's fine."

	- Jon replies to Arjen [19th Nov] that it's easier than we'd
	  thought, and we'll do a motion

	- Arjen replies to the committee [19th Nov] asserting for the
	  record that LA's an official sponsor of OSDC

	- We passed the motion on the next meeting [21st Nov], and
	  forwarded the necessary details to Arjen [22nd Nov]

	- The conference went ahead under LA's PLI [26th Nov]

There might've been some other bits I'm not aware of or have forgotten; but
from my perspective the important point is:

	- it was brought to the committee's attention as a whole
	- other committee members could ask questions to make sure
	  everything makes sense
	- there was a clear deadline for the decision (ie, the start
	  of OSDC)
	- there's a written trail of what happened for later review

I'm not trying to say that not getting coverage until the week before
the conference is an ideal outcome by any means, but it's a lot better
than not getting any result, right?

For SLUG, after Terry's mail on the 18th, other committee members
could've helped work out a structure for LA to "support" SLUG and thus
cover PLI, whether permanent or a transitional thing until we've got some
"affiliate" status worked out -- but not if none of the rest of us have
any idea what's going on.

Basically, as far as I've seen, the best way to get results is to contact
linux-aus, the council list, a local council member you're friends with,
the President, Vice-President or Secretary, or a random council member,
in roughly that order of preference. Retry every now and then if things
aren't progressing, or try a different contact point. Make sure you've
answered any questions that got asked, and explicitly ask if there are
any concerns you could help address. 

Basically, don't give anyone the opportunity to be a single point of
failure -- failure should always be a team effort.

aj, enjoying assigning all sorts of responsibilities to the secretary now ;)

[0] Okay, impossible for me. Maybe others can manage it, but it's
    a _really_ big ask.

[1] And yes, I know other organisations work differently, and some
    people would prefer if LA worked differently. Personally, I think
    we've got a pretty good organisation as-is, and it's not that hard
    to make it work for you. [1] [2]

[2] Yay for ref-counted footnotes ;)

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