[theforum] Brief notes on the sanctity of theforum, and double-standards relating thereto

Martin Burns martin at easyweb.co.uk
Tue Sep 12 03:47:47 CDT 2006

On Mon, 11 Sep 2006 18:30:11 -0400, "Matt Warden" <mwarden at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 9/11/06, Tara Cleveland <tara.cleveland at gmail.com> wrote:
>> In my experience, the process for approving what goes live on a website
>> where a group is making decisions goes something like this:
>> 1. someone proposes something - testing the waters for their idea
>> 2. people say "hey that's a good idea"
>> 3. someone produces an example or mockup
>> 4. said mockup gets commented upon/changes get made
>> 5. mockup gets approved by group vote
>> 6. final product gets put live on site.
> This is the process you would suggest for a group with 4 messages last
> month? The problem with this has *always* been that we are volunteers,
> and we are all very successful and therefore busy with our day jobs.
> Free time is unpredictable, and when we have it, we want to
> contribute. There have always been people here who want to apply their
> enterprise processes 

First off - the above is *NOT* an enterprise process. If you think it is, let me show you the 3 weeks of email trail I've just been through to hire a contractor for 3 months for a role that no-one's arguing that we need. It's a relatively simple sensecheck, which apart from anything, protects the active someone from the kind of bitchslap just demonstrated by m'learned colleague from Cork.

Second - if you (generic) believe that you're wiser and more talented than our collective selves and can just do stuff without expecting any comeback other than the thanks of a grateful nation, then way to demonstrate zero respect for your peers in the community.

Thirdly - it was a consequence of just this lack of respect that the above kind of sensecheck is now demanded. If you want to get out of it, show it's not necessary, rather than just demanding iconoclasm.

TBH, it would work even at a simpler level of:
1) Propose an idea - demonstrate it to make it even clearer
2) *WAIT MORE THAN A COUPLE OF HOURS ON A FRIDAY NIGHT* for some response on "should I do this (like this)" more than than on the "how do I do this".
3) Implement it, in the full knowledge that the less time/effort you've put into (1) & (2), the more likely it is to be accepted.

Here's something that might be useful to think about: Pynchon's 10 Commandments of Intrapreneuring (ie how to work dynamically in a bureaucracy):

1. Build your team. Intrapreneuring is not a solo job.

2. Share credit wisely.

3. Ask for advice before you ask for resources.

4. Underpromise and overdeliver — publicity triggers the immune system.

5. Do any job needed to make your dream work, regardless of your job description.

6. Remember it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

7. Keep the best interests of the organisation and customers in mind at all time, especially when circumventing the bureaucracy.

8. Come to work each day willing to be fired.

9. Be true to your goals, but be realistic about how to achieve them.

10. Honor and educate your sponsors — the people who are providing you support.

It's far too easy to focus on points 5 and 6, but without the rest, it tends not to work.

>> Well a quorum certainly does not equal two guys who are discussing
> something
>> how to do something in a thread with an obscure title. I'm not sure how
> this
>> particular instance can get used as an exuse to bemoan the lengthy
>> discussions that take place in theforum since this is exactly what
> *should*
>> get discussed before it goes live. What if Alan had put up a mission
>> statement that was fundamentally incorrect or had terrible spelling
> errors
>> (thank goodness he didn't)?
> We'd change it? He sent an email as soon as he made the change, and I
> reviewed the text. If we still had a test environment, it would have
> better been tested out there. But, we don't.

As pointed out, we do, and if he'd thought to ask (formally or informally), he'd have found that out. It's a reasonable thing to assume that there *might* be, as we're not as half-assed as might be thought :-)

> Or we could bitch and moan about how it happened over a weekend when
> the doer had some free time and persons 1, 8, and 25 weren't around to
> give their input, when no one knew we had to wait for those persons
> anyway, because this group is amorphous.

See, the point was that persons 1-25 were obvious and active in the discussion, and could reasonably have been expected to have a point of view on the matter. But the only question asked was "how do I?" at a time of the week when it's reasonable to assume that a fair number were asleep/in the pub/with their families/working to beat an end of week deadline.


"Names, once they are in common use   | Spammers: Send me email to
 quickly become mere sounds, their    | -> yumyum at easyweb.co.uk
 etymology being buried, like so many | my filter. Currently killing over
 of the earth's marvels, beneath the  | 99.9% of all known spams stone dead.
 dust of habit." - Salman Rushdie     | http://nuclearelephant.com/projects/dspam

More information about the theforum mailing list