[Linux-aus] Inflection Point - A Strategic Plan for Linux Australia

Russell Stuart russell-humbug at stuart.id.au
Thu Jan 7 11:12:53 AEDT 2016

On Wed, 2016-01-06 at 22:26 +1030, Janet Reid wrote:

> Would it be a useful compromise to use a wiki? or is that another
> trickiness?

As a point of reference, Humbug changed over to using a wiki for it's
web site years ago.  And it was administered as a true wiki that
everyone was with the slightest relationship (ie, everyone bar spammers)
was allowed to edit.  If you look at Humbug's wiki you will see it's
pretty substantial for such a small group, thus proving once again if
you remove the barriers stuff gets done, often by the most unlikely
people.  In other words, in my view it was a open source wild success.

There have been several times when I wish LA's site had the same degree
of openness.  Most recently, it was when I tried to find conferences run
by LA that were coming up.  Since LA's primary lot in life is promoting
and financing such conferences, it had to be there right?  Providing a
place where your members can see what events you are running so they can
attend is the most basic of PR.  But not, it wasn't.

I can understand why.  The same thing happens with the most basic of
things on Humbug's wiki - after a regular meeting the exec doesn't
update meeting schedule because they are useless, or have lives, or
something.  (I'm currently the president).  But it always gets updated
regardless because someone gets annoyed it's wrong, but they can already
hear the "why didn't you fix it yourself" retort ringing in their ears,
so they do just that.

The point is, LA is an open source organisation, and as a way of getting
things done I _know_ to the very core of my being that open source
works.  As Jonathan Corbet of LWN once remarked of LCA, letting a
different set of rank volunteers to run it each year seems insane, yet
time after time because LA shoulders the major barriers of capital and
liability they do it, and they reliably produce one of the best open
source conferences on the planet.

So we all know in our hearts open source does work.  You just have to
have enough faith in it to remove the barriers, let others take control
and own the results.  And all the while ensuring it doesn't go off the
rails.  It's a tricky path to walk, but we manage it for LCA and so does
the Apache foundation, Mozilla and a lot of similar organisations.

Wiki's are unfortunately ugly.  Humbug's certainly is.  But we are
clever people, and I'm sure some combination of brochure front page and
Wikipedia free for all content engine could be made to work.

On Wed, 2016-01-06 at 23:36 +1100, Kathy Reid wrote:
> Excellent point Tim. A lot of CRM/Membership tools provide the ability
> to email sets of Members based on attributes, such as; 
>   * All members
>   * Members who have an attribute - such as Victorian, or Student etc
>   * Members who have various Roles (such as a member of a
>     Subcommittee)
> If we move to a new membership tool, my expectation would be that the
> tool allows us to undertake both targeted and mass communication to
> members, including key announcements. 

My guess is you are attempting to solve a non-problem.  LA's membership
is one of the most plugged in bunch of people on the planet.  They know
exactly what is going on, not just with LA but in the entire open source
world (with the notable exception of what conferences LA is running in
the next 3 months - but that's not their fault).  It would be a very
rare LA member indeed that didn't monitor some combination of web sites,
mailing lists, twitter, planet feeds, facebook and whatever else todays
kids use.  Copy your messages to all those channels and not only will
all members see them, so will all potential members.

I'll admit my biases here.  The idea of LA council deciding which email
is important enough to end up in my inbox makes me shudder.  It sounds
similar to the attitude the plethora 2 cent web stores that flood my
spam folder have - if I shove it down his throat often enough, he'll
love it.  If you look at the email addresses I use, it's not difficult
to infer I guard my inbox ferociously.  (I use it to organise a large
portion of my life.)  I don't love it.  If the opt out link doesn't
work, I like most LA members have the wherewithal to use other, more
final solutions.

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