On 09/01/2014 11:45 AM, Todd Allen wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 1, 2014 at 9:10 AM, Marc A. Pelletier <m...@uberbox.org> wrote:
> We've heard that before.

Oh, I'm pretty damn sure that the "stick to the timeline" idea isn't
going to get traction ever again.  :-)  But yeah in general recognizing
an error is not, in itself, proof against repeating it.  Errare humanum est.

> I don't think it's that the communities don't want any direction. It's that
> large, open projects historically managed by their volunteers are not
> amenable to top-down, authoritarian direction. All that will do is start
> fights, to the detriment of everyone and especially to the detriment of
> said projects. None of us are out a paycheck if we scale back our activity
> or walk away in disgust.

There's that, but there's also the (unavoidable) issue that Wikipedia
was revolutionnary, so it attracted a great deal of people who had
little to no desire to abide "The Man".  The problem is we /are/ "The
Man" now.

> That's contradicted by, among other things, ACTRIAL as mentioned above. The
> en.wp community came to a clear consensus for a major change, and the WMF
> shrugged and said "Nah, rather not."

That, IMO, is an example of what I call a shortsighted change.  It
*might* have been a good local change, in the end, but it nevertheless
was a fundamental dent in the project values in order to solve an
extremely local problem.  If I were the Foundation back then I probably
also would have refused to proceed without Licence-change-level
consensus and a long consultation process - at the very least.

Like or not, the Foundation is in the odd position of being the guardian
of the "Big Picture"; local projects are exactly that - local.  What may
be a good local change may turn out to be globally disastrous (because
divergence, precedent, etc).  But that's getting into a discussion of
federalism as a concept (and whether the projects are de facto
federated) which may be interesting in itself but is way waaaay
off-topic.  :-)

> Regardless, same again: That needs to be met with good faith on the other
> side, to stop just plowing ahead when everyone's saying "WAIT, there's
> serious problems here!". Engagement doesn't work if it's the classic
> "suggestions box" positioned directly over a garbage can.

I don't think that's true.  At least, from my privileged position (where
I see much of the "internal" dev chatter from the sidelines) that has
never seemed to be the case.

> Change for the sake of change can easily be as dangerous.

That's true, to a point, but I can say with quite a bit of confidence
that nobody at the Foundation ever said "Let's change this" without a
solid "This seems to be an improvement because" behind it (or, at the
very least "Y is demonstrably broken, we don't know what's the best way
to fix it, let's try Z".

They may be *wrong*; but every bit of development I've seen is based on
a rational desire to improve and from reasonable assumptions about what
will be an improvement.

And, honestly, it's better to try and possibly fail to fix than it is to
avoid trying and definitely stay broken.

-- Marc

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