[Theforum] (Fwd) [Admin] my ideas

aardvark roselli at earthlink.net
Mon Oct 22 14:51:03 CDT 2001

------- Forwarded message follows -------
From:           	"aardvark" <roselli at earthlink.net>
To:             	admin at lists.evolt.org
Date sent:      	Thu, 11 Oct 2001 23:24:29 -0400
Priority:       	normal
Subject:        	[Admin] my ideas
Send reply to:  	admin at lists.evolt.org

i desperately want to keep this short... it's not gonna happen, so i'm
going to talk about this in very *general* terms... i would appreciate
it if all responses to this are *very* *general*... no specific
examples, no comparing to someone's former statements in favor or
against things... dump our assumptions on what makes a BoD, an 
group, a process, etc., and develop something that just formalizes
what we already do... we really need to start over from scratch...
austin was a great step, it allowed us to take steps and try this 
and other stuff out... i don't think it's a good fit, i think we've
done well by beating the hell out of it by constantly debating it...
now we know enough to try again...

here's the general proposal:
- dissolve and reform the BoD...
- specify roles of admin, BoD, members now...

one of the things i've been seeing here is a lot of cross-over from
proces to BoD to admin to all sorts of stuff...

the BoD, however, doesn't really have a place in the day-to-day, at
least not as we know it... the BoD needs to handle the NFP stuff, 
legal stuff like that... the BoD is too large and cumbersome as it
is... the BoD is a structure that generally waits months to move on
things... perhaps we should work with that assumption, and use 
the BoD
as a long-term-planning admin...

i've tried to come up with different ways to structure the BoD and
still keep it a legally viable entity...  my strengths, however, are
not in structuring legal corporate entities...

how do we replace the BoD?  what are its roles?  what other ideas 
do i
have?  ugh... - BoD made up of minimal number of members to be
legal... - BoD worries only about legal issues... - BoD is made up of
a regularly rotating group of admins, schedule TBA (random?  
volunteer?) - BoD doesn't *set* policy without flurry of discussion on
admin, but both BoD and admin can bring ideas forward... - BoD 
worry about day-to-day, other than specific legal stuff... - admin
maintains ability to, as a group, alter the BoD... legally i have no
idea how this might work, except the BoD answers to admin and 
can be
gutted by said shareholders or whatever... - the BoD always 
answers to
admin... - admin always answers to the membership...

i see admin as a de facto board, with the legal BoD as the meta-
board... a sub-set of admins, who only act on behalf of admins...

i just don't believe duplicating admin as the board (ie, 20 people on
the board who are also admins, confusing where the line is) is the
right way to do things... too much cross-over, too much discussion 
admin, too much confusion on what belongs to which... admin 
should run
the community, on behalf of the members, and the BoD should be 
made up
of the people who are willing to handle the corp aspects of the
legality... for instance, i want to feel that being on the board is
something i don't ever have to do, because my participation in 
will be represented there...

what sort of checks does this give admin?  well, none, really...  the
BoD wouldn't have the authority to alter admin without admin sign-
off... but we instead give the community the ability to do that... we
have that in place to a small degree with thesite... that's the next
group of admins-in-training in my opinion...

sometimes i think we need to cycle admins... there's nothing 
wrong with stepping down as an admin, we shouldn't see that as a 
of frustration... people have lives, even my time has become short...
we also need to be willing to say to some admins, "you aren't doing
anything, instead of feeling obligated to stay, take some time off 
come back later"... this needs to not be a kick- out, but a way to
keep admin, and therefore members of the board, active and 
aware... i
want admins and BoD members who are on top of this stuff and 
in the day-to-day, not just watching and piping up here and there... 
couple times this summer i thought of buggering off, just to make
official my lack of time... i never did that for fear it would look
like i was quitting... i would be coming back, and i would especially
come back when something was happening... i wish i could 
quantify my
thoughts on this, but i guess i should just toss them out and see 
people think of that, too...

what about a leader?  we don't officially have one... we never did...
leaders in evolt are really the person who runs with the ball on a
project... all of us has been in the front at least once, but every
time someone feels we have an official leader, it gets hard... i don't
respond to titles, i respond to people... i don't respond to leaders
because i am told they are leaders, i respond to the person who is
leading a particular thing... one day it's rudy on the database
schema, the next it's isaac on community stuff, another i take it on
accessibility... we have many leaders, something we always 
"taking the ball and running"... let's keep that... true democracies
don't have leaders... it makes for a hard organization to run, but we
know that... we're smart people... we can get over that...

what about theprocess?  keep it... it's first task is to document how
we do things... a lot of that is done... let's finish it, make it part
of the admin faq on the site (get it off personal servers, officialize
it as the admin tutorial, help file, etc.), and start the next step of
theprocess... look for ways to improve what we *already* do... i
appreciate the value of a process, we use one at work, it helps
wonderfully... i also know not all processes work in all cases... you
can't impose a process over an existing process in most
organizations... ours works... is it efficient?  not really... does it
get the job done?  usually... is there accountability... for the most
part (but driving across the country to kick someone's ass is a pain
in one)... is any process going to do *that* much better?  perhaps
not... so let's instead use theprocess to listen to all those little
suggestions about new faq cats, changes to list admin, etc., and
return those as options to admin... admin moves on a process or
doesn't, neither is bad... but when the decision is made as a group,
we move on to the next one... sometimes we'll revisit stuff, and
that's good, too...

what am i trying to achieve?
a place where we can all get things done *despite* our different
methodoligies... kind of like how we formed this damn thing...

if you think that can't be done, i think you're nuts... i know that's
a blanket statement, but i've built a company with a group of people 
*never* agree with (on process, technology, technique, style, etc.)...
i see that as our greatest strength... and we know when the debate 
gone on long enough and people are pretty much decided... then we
choose and keep going... my company has been successful, and 
so has
admin... if you think that's not true, you're *really* nuts... look at
what we've got... *something* worked...

i know some people have concerns about how this will work as we 
grow... it's entirely possible we're *at* our best size... spin-offs? 
it can be done... meta-admin... general rules (free, democratic,
cubes) can guide them and anyone can start another evolt 
project... we
saw it with deo and feo... it can go much further than that, we don't
need to run it all from admin... there can be many admins, there 
be an evolt of people we know nothing about, as long as they follow
the core mantra...

heh, mission statement... we do need to codify our mantra, even 
though we all intuitively know it, expanding elsewhere will require
that we can say it...

all of this is up for discussion... i firmly believe that the way
admin used to work was right for the day-to-day stuff... it was
responsive, nimble, and even efficient...  i'd like to retain that on
the day-to- day...

i so wanted to do bullet points...

i am so afraid of line-by-line responses... i don't have the time to
read or respond, and after reading this tome, i doubt anyone else

please respond with your gut... let's first try to respond with "this
is a good start" (even if you disagree with 50% of the stuff i've
said) or "this is the wrong start"... we don't need to get specific
yet, but we need to start over somewhere...

if it's not scottish it's crap
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