* Within our decision processes, what do you think is more important - the community or the individual?
The community. Individuals participate, but the distinction between an ASF project and a, say, sourceforge project, is that the ASF project is more than one individual. One hopes they survive the departure of any given individual, or the influnces of one specific individual
Sadly, that doesn't always happen.
Also, the ASF has established PMCs and PMC Chairs so that when a community breaks down, there is someone to step in and take responsibility. This can happen because a community does not properly handle legal issues or because of severe disharmony which distrupts the community.
What Stephen is trying to get at is that he believes that the community was completely behind the "Single Avalon Platform" initiative and that I disagreed and as PMC Chair recommended the shutdown of Avalon, thus allowing one individual to trump the will of the community.
However, this isn't a very accurate view of what happened.
The community was not 100% behind the Single Avalon Platform, more specifically, we weren't behind the manner in which the Merlin programmers wished to implement this initiative. Stephen didn't really care that others didn't agree and moved ahead anyway. Eventually, enough people got sick and tired of this behavior that rather than fight, they left, i.e.- consensus by attrition. What this means is that a few months after the initial vote, there were really only one or two of us left who didn't agree with Stephen's vision. So now Stephen can say, "well, hey, the whole community agrees with me, what's your problem?" Of course, all that really happened was that the Merlin team highjacked Avalon.
In their defense, all the Merlin developers ever wanted was a place to call home. They wanted their own project space to develop in peace. I don't think anyone, intially, had nefarious plans. But the project started in Avalon and that's where it grew until it got so big it started to eclipse the original Avalon project.
What should have happened was to allow the Merlin project to grow somewhere outside of Avalon. But breaking up is hard to do, so no one really wanted to kick Merlin out and we all thought we could work things out within Avalon. However, we should have moved it to the Incubator instead of incubating it within Avalon. By the time we realized Merlin should be separated from Avalon, the Merlin developers wanted their own TLP and felt incubation would be some sort of punishment or demotion.
Merlin never became a TLP for a couple of reasons. One, not everyone understood the need and the technical differences between Merlin and Avalon/Excalibur. Particularly, not everyone was convinced we needed both Merlin _and_ Avalon or Merlin _and_ Excalibur.
Additionally we have the fact that even at this point, Merlin was mostly a one or two man show. And one of those developers, Stephen, had a history (right or wrong) of causing contention. The Merlin team had shown they could develop great software, but not that they could develop a community which espoused the principles of the ASF. Moreover, they weren't really interested in compromising. It was a TLP or nothing at all. Add these all up and we can see why the Board was leary of a Merlin TLP.
Eventually, everyone lost patience and the situation broke down. Merlin forked to become Metro outside of the ASF and I recommended the shutdown of Avalon. Stephen feels I didn't follow proper procedures and tries to paint me as disloyal to the Avalon community and a puppet of Board members bent on destroying him. That' fine. I can understand that Stephen doesn't love me right now. I'm not losing sleep over it.
The thing is, and the reason for sharing this with the community, is that PMC's and communities need to watch out for this sort of thing in your own community. Don't wait for the situation to get critical. PMCs and PMC Chairs can intervene and should rather than watch a community tear itself apart.
So, to answer Stephen's question, communities are most important in the decision process, but individuals need to step up and step in when a community breaks down.
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