My resignation

Matthew Burgess matthew at
Mon Jul 12 14:23:48 PDT 2004

On Mon, 12 Jul 2004 16:41:43 -0400
Jeremy Huntwork <jhuntwork at> wrote:

> On Monday 12 July 2004 04:35 pm, Zack Winkles wrote:
> > Long story short: I give up.  I'm tired of the fighting, the
> > flaming, the personality conflicts, all of it.  I quit.
> Where did this come from?  Why have we been losing so many good 
> people? :(

<warning>Long post below</warning>

Because I've been ineffective as a "people person".  There have been a
lot of personality conflicts which have remained off-list (and rightly
so, IMO).  I've been unable to resolve them, hoping almost that they'd
somehow magically resolve themselves.  If truth be told, I too was
nearing the point of resigning, although have managed to fight that
feeling off for the time being.

I've been told off-list, by several people, that I'm "too nice" - i.e. I
don't tell people to behave/shut-up/etc.  To that I'd respond that until
recently I really didn't think the project needed policing like that. 
When I was asked by Gerard to take on a more "coordinator" like role, I
had all the best intentions of setting/clarifying policies and/or
ground-rules in order to try and get everyone (editors and lfs-dev
followers alike) "singing from the same hymn sheet".  Alas I never got
around to producing any official docs on that, and I'm not sure they
would have helped much anyway.

Additionally, after the last fall-out we lost a few editors, so I
basically took on the first people that volunteered to perform editing
tasks.  Whilst *everyone's* work is appreciated, I'm not sure that those
that volunteered knew the direction of the LFS book (did it/does it even
have a direction?) and neither did I 'vet' any of the volunteers to
determine whether what they wanted to contribute to the book would be
in-keeping with where the book should be going. It was an attempt at
damage limitation - i.e. simply have enough hands on the pumps to keep
the project moving, but it appears to have backfired badly, creating
animosity betweeen a number of people on this list.

So, what does all that mean?  Well, I'd like to be able to stay on, for
the time being at least.  More importantly, I really think it's time
that the LFS Book had a clear statement of direction - exactly what does
it intend to achieve, and what methods will be used in order to achieve
it.  To this end I believe that (which
will make it into the book shortly as part of bug #791) will go at least
some way to resolving this problem.  The way I see it, we need to ensure
that a) volunteers know what they're volunteering for and b) The project
takes on those volunteers best suited to helping it reach its goals.
Without those goals being explicitly stated and easily accessible then I
don't think we can ever expect to reduce the turnover of staff we've
experienced recently. Personal agendas will simply get in the way of any
progress if those goals are not known.

Anyway, just some food for thought!



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