Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (113 mails)

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[opensuse-project] Re: Goodbye Board
  • From: Jim Henderson <hendersj@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2020 23:58:14 -0000 (UTC)
  • Message-id: <r3c9em$13vj$1@ciao.gmane.io>
On Fri, 28 Feb 2020 18:38:25 -0500, Robert Schweikert wrote:

When something that appears to be a crisis happens, speculation happens
when there's no information.

So you are telling me that you have no control whatsoever about what
goes on in your brain and what you allow to flow from there through your
fingers into e-mails?

Common now.

Let's talk again about how showing respect is one of our guiding
principles, Robert.

We've known each other a while, and I know you understand what I'm
saying, so please stop twisting what I'm saying to fit a different
narrative.

Be done and move on. Respect, I think is written in our guiding
principles somewhere. That includes respecting community members
wishes about not starting speculation.

I respect Christian's decision to leave the board. That's not an
issue.

Then maybe you should also respect his request not to speculate.

Again, difficult not to do with no information (and for the record, I've
generally not been speculating, I've specifically been asking for some
transparency in order to limit speculation).

The only speculative thing I have said is that there *seems* to be a
problem in the board, and having some information would help the
membership assess the seriousness of the problem.

Being told "there's no problem here, there's nothing to see here" is not
helpful to making that assessment.

What I have a hard time respecting is the board's complete and utter
silence about what's going on that caused two members of the board to
resign so shortly after the election was held.

The board needs to also respect the concerns of the membership and
address them, rather than appearing to hide behind a veil of secrecy.

That I agree with. However, how should we expect this to happen when all
that's going on on the list is a bunch of speculation about who did what
when and where to whom. Sorry, but that's all BS, like a bunch of five
year olds, but he started it, blah blah blah....

Of all the mails in this thread there's been a bunch of speculation,
meta comments and nothing else, or phrased in a different way
bikeshedding. Why should anyone on the board feel compelled to get in
the middle of this?

There's been talk of "crisis", oooh the sky is falling and tomorrow the
world is going to end. All manufactured in people's head.

Because of a lack of information, as I explained above.

I can respect that we don't need the details. But a green wall of
silence is something I have a hard time respecting. The board has
effectively closed ranks and said "you, members, don't need to know
what's going on in the board."

And the idea that there was possibly mutual agreement between Christian,
and possibly Sahra, and those that remain on the board to not provide
any details is not plausible?

So this is only a one way street and it is all the "fault" of those that
remain on the board?

That's speculative. We don't know. That's why more information is
needed.

Or if there was an agreement between those that left and those that
remain not to share the details, do we expect the remaining board
members to break that agreement?

That is also speculative.

Because why? They are somehow accountable to the membership, but not
accountable to an agreement that might exist with Christian?

Never said that. But there are ways in which they can honor both
requirements.

If the board is *not* accountable to the membership that elected them - I
would see that as a pretty huge miss in our governing principles.

How happy would you be if you were in some way affected and then the
party you agreed with to keep things private would go out and splatter
things across the world?

I have *repeatedly* said that I don't personally need the details. But
broad brush strokes are usually possible. Even if it's just "we had a
disagreement about the foundation that we couldn't reconcile" - that
would likely provide enough information without providing details that
violated the agreements.

We see this sort of thing all the time in dealing with HR issues that
result in a departure. Staff will speculate, and to cut down on
speculation, management will provide some (often boilerplate) information
that doesn't get into specifics. For example, "went on a spending spree
during a conference in Vegas using their corporate credit card" wouldn't
be shared. "Violated our travel policy" might be, depending on what the
governing laws are in the location.

There is more than a binary choice here.

There are two sides to every coin and maybe we shouldn't be so quick to
point the finger.

I'm not pointing a finger. I'm calling for some transparency.

Which means there's zero accountability to the membership.

No it does not mean that at all. If there was an agreement between those
departing and those remaining to stay silent than that's accountability
to each other to honor that agreement.

The board should not, IMHO, prioritize protecting itself over informing
the membership of the project.

I choose to honor Christian's desire, and I quote

"""
In the best interest of the openSUSE project and everybody involved,
please don't speculate about the details or ask for them.
"""

"""
In the best interest of the openSUSE project and everybody involved,
please don't speculate about the details or ask for them. I hope that
time will heal the wounds, but this will be much harder if you "force"
someone to publish more details.
"""

Yes, I read his desire. I understand it. I'm not asking for *details*
(how many times do I need to repeat myself here?). I'm asking for some
transparency around the broad issue that led to his and Sarah's departure
from the board.

Again, 40% of the board have resigned. We're supposed to not be
concerned about this?

The person directly involved has asked twice to let it go. Who are we?
Are we the paparazzi membership falling over each other to get a peak at
some dirty laundry? Maybe we should ask the NSA/BND/GCHQ/... for the
backup of the board meeting phone calls.

No. Speaking for myself, I am concerned about the governance of the
openSUSE project, and I have serious concerns about the lack of
transparency that we're getting from the board.

I think we should be better than that.

I think we should be better than saying "nothing to see here. There is
no problem" when 40% of the board have resigned shortly after the board
election.

Obviously I am getting agitated at the bikshedding and finger pointing.
Thus I am going to be done with this thread after this response.

Not bikeshedding here. Not pointing fingers. Wanting more transparency
and accountability around what *appears* to me to be a serious problem.

I'm not sure why anyone has a problem with that.

And if whatever it is that caused 40% of the board to leave continues
to create a toxic situation with the community, so be it?

How is a possibly personal conflict between two or more board members a
"toxic situation with the community"?

I wouldn't want to speculate without more information. Yet clearly there
are those of us in the community who think this is a problem, and we're
being shouted down by those who think nothing's wrong.

At what point do
we, as a community, decide that enough is enough? When 3 resign? When
4 resign?

What does that even mean? Are you going to drag the involved parties in
front of court and make them swear an oath and make them talk?

Of course not. Don't be ridiculous. But if there is indeed a problem
inside the board that caused Sarah and Christian to resign, who's to say
we won't see more resignations? We don't have any information.

At what point should we be concerned, if not when two members of the
board resign? Should we remain unconcerned if the entire board resigns?

Really, I'd like to know - at what point do we consider this to be a
problem?

The membership does not "report" to the board. The board is elected by
the membership, and is accountable to the membership.

Correct, and the next elections are at the end of the year. We get to
choose whether we want the same board members to come back or not. And
given that 2 resigned and appointed members need to run for election at
the next possible opportunity that implies that we basically get to
elect a whole new board come the end of the year. As seats of those that
are currently elected are due for re-election.

And in the interim, the problem potentially continues to be a problem.

That doesn't strike me as a particularly good situation.

You're not the only one here who's getting agitated about this. The more
I think about it, the less I like it. The more I am being told "don't
worry about it, everything's FINE", the more I want to know what is
actually going on.

But fine. If y'all want me to STFU and go away, I'm happy to do just
that.
--
Jim Henderson
Please keep on-topic replies on the list so everyone benefits

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