Makin’ whuffie from discussion – AKA FAD NA, Day 1

Here are some of the highlights of FAD NA, Day 1:

  • Took in a fabulous presentation and ad hoc tour of the VRAC at Iowa State University.
  • Had some productive discussions around a number of ambassador topics, including the delegation of some of the Fedora / comm arch budget to $otherentitylargerthanMax.
  • Discussion around how to better track, and thus, get in the cycle of regularly estimating the purchasing of, swag in the NA, or possibly even other geos.
  • Discussion of the possibilities of a karma-type (or whuffie-type) system for encouraging / rewarding a plethora of contribution types.
  • Discussion about how to find events with alternate (but likely) types of contributors – and how to go about (1) encouraging and/or just getting the word out that “we has money, if you can show $otherentitylargerthanMax the benefit we get from the cost, you could go!” and (2) figuring out the logistics of sending non-Ambassador-members to those events with the “event gear” they need – be it swag, booth setup, etc. – when those folks aren’t on the ambassador emailing list.   How can we help them estimate what they need, what type of presence to have given their audience, etc? How can we essentially cultivate Ambassadors for – not just Fedora – but for individual subprojects and/or SIGs, where the person attending has a vested interest in a subtopic and maybe how it relates to Fedora. In other words – can we send Fedora Marketeers, or Fedora Design folks, to events where they are more likely to find people who could potentially contribute to the Fedora Project in ways that are conducive to that attendee’s particular project within Fedora?

So – you’ll note that I use the word “discussion” a lot, because it seems like – despite having a lot of concrete discussion, we aren’t doing the hottest job of either: (a) coming out with a documented resolution, or even undocumented consensus, or (b) coming out with a document / wiki page / template / whatever that is a concrete thing we can point to and say, “HAI, we did this. Therefore, FAD NA money was a worthwhile investment of  Fedora’s pool of available dollars.”

And so, please bear with me as I type up some of the goals we should aim for tomorrow .

  • Do a better job of articulating before the start of each session (1) what we’re discussing and (b) what is the “thing” we want to finish by the end of the hour.
  • Do a better job of timekeeping – have someone isla

(This is where I actually passed out in bed writing this. Yes. isla? I have no idea what I was typing. La Isla Bonita? Who knows. Now you’ll have Madonna in your head all day, though, which could be awesome.)

  • I’ll try that again.  Do a better job of timekeeping – make sure we know that we’re discussing for one hour, or whatever the designated scheduled period of time is, and have someone be responsible for saying, we’re coming up on 15 minutes left, we need to make decisions.
  • Do a better job of just saying No! to ratholes.  We need to not be afraid to say we’re getting off topic, or that, yes, all discussions are important, but we don’t have time – or even, we do have time, once we have completed the agenda item we are currently working on.  “This dovetails nicely with…” is usually an indicator that we’re going to be getting off-track.
  • Make sure we’re identifying actual tasks along the way, ensuring they have owners.  And a way to come back in a week or two and see if all of those items that people volunteered to were completed or at least – on track, or at the bare minimum, started – not just a list of even more things we’ve identified that we could do given copious amounts of spare time, but in actuality will never get to.
  • Or better yet – that we’re actually DOING those tasks along the way.  We can be working in the wiki, or gobby, typing up what we’re actually discussing.  We can take those 10 minutes at the end of an hour to actually throw at least a basic framework of what we’re looking at together – there are people playing along at home (i hope) who might be willing to help finish / clean up some of the items we’ve started on as well.
  • Keep a lid on Robyn’s endless blog rambling.  Jeez! You should get a big blue ribbon for actually being able to pay attention for this long.  I should get an “F” in coherency.  😀

I would like to hand it to all the awesome folks who are here:  It’s always fabulous (FABULOUS!) to work with a group of people who are SO passionate and dedicated and, well, just freakin smart.  So even though I guess most of my post is sort of Negative Nancy sounding, it’s really not a terrible situation where we’ve been talking about lumber mills and squirrels all day; it’s just that I think we’re saying and talking about awesome and interesting things – and not actually taking those things and being diligent about putting them into a format that is not something simply encapsulated for our brains. Braaaaaaains.

In short, I have no solutions to anything, but I will do better to try and keep us all on track today, and help out more in IRC transcribing.

One thought on “Makin’ whuffie from discussion – AKA FAD NA, Day 1

  1. I find that even when it’s difficult to get consensus on an issue, it can be tremendously useful just to articulate the problem and then drop it on someone’s plate. Action items make the world go round.

    Sounds like a big times in Ames. 🙂

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