[impdev] Why I can no longer contribute to Imprudence.

Morgaine morgaine.dinova at googlemail.com
Sun Jan 23 11:18:41 PST 2011

Without commenting on the specifics of this particular disagreement, I'd
like to point out that most of the TPV teams are still using the old,
centralized form of FOSS project organization, and so are suffering (in
varying degrees) from the social baggage of centralized systems rather than
reaping the full rewards of a distributed SCM.

The above applies also to Imprudence/Kokua.  This project enjoys many of the
benefits of using Git, indeed it uses multiple Git repos very effectively,
yet it has hung on to the old centralized team model, as a result of which
it still suffers from a rather common social problem caused by
centralization and rank hierarchy.

Disagreements stemming from "rank" among FOSS developers should be virtually
impossible when working through Git, because there should be no official
ranks in the first place.  The distributed repos of each developer should
merely be providing changesets for everyone else to pull, all of equal
standing, and getting pulled should be based on *changeset merit*, not on
developer rank.  And certainly not on personality type.  There should be no
rank, because rank brings with it social "issues".  Rank is not needed in
FOSS.  Focus on the code.

Specifically in the case of Imprudence/Kokua, I suggest that the
organizational split into team members and contributors be eliminated
completely.  Just pull in all the best changesets from wherever they happen
to be developed.  All of Imp's so-called "team members" already have their
own Git repos, and you're already pulling from them, so there would be no
process change needed whatsoever.  The only change would be a perceived
social one.  Eliminating official "team member" status would remove the
distasteful ranking of some developers above others.

I recommend to anyone who feels "left out" to go it alone in their own
public repos.  Good changesets will get pulled by all the better TPV,
irrespective of who has done the work or where.  Should any TPV not do so
for reasons of "rank" or for any other kind of *non-technical bullshit*,
they will fall behind, and deserve to die.  I don't think that this will
happen to Imprudence/Kokua, because there is a good history of pulling in
external code here.

I rather like what Henri is doing in this area, beavering away independently
at his own little patches, which everyone loves and pulls.  He is much
respected because he does good stuff, not because of some silly social team
ranking.  FOSS code stands on its own merits.  That direction has a great

Use the full power of distributed effort.  Centralized projects and their
hierarchies do not make the most of this new capability, and their social
baggage is very unhelpful, and counter-productive.



On Sat, Jan 22, 2011 at 3:26 AM, Jacek Antonelli <jacek at kokuaviewer.org>wrote:

> Aleric,
> I'm sorry that you feel you have been mistreated. But, you
> have a rather distorted understanding of how this project is
> organized, who has influence over its direction, and what it means to
> be a team member or a contributor.
> I accept part of the blame for that misunderstanding, because my
> explanation to you in December was too curt and prone to
> misinterpretation. In my defense, the night you confronted me about it
> coincided with the peak of my burnout, so I was already tired and low
> on patience.
> Yes, there is a team of Imprudence developers. It is not a secret
> "inner circle" or something that was "hidden from you". The team
> members are listed on the first line of the in-viewer credits, and
> from time to time we publicly announce and welcome a new team member
> on the blog.
> Beyond the official team, there are also many contributors who submit
> code, graphics, and other resources. The distinction between a team
> member and a contributor hasn't been important in the past, and the
> definitions have been emerging over time, so I never bothered to
> formally document it. Boroondas has encouraged me to write it out
> explicitly, so I've been working on that this past week. Hopefully
> that will help prevent this sort of misunderstanding in the future.
> The difference between a team member and a contributor is mostly a
> matter of expectations and formal commitment. To be an official team
> member, a person must be invited or express interest, and be accepted
> by the rest of the team. Becoming a team member carries with it an
> implicit promise to dedicate time and energy to helping out with the
> project. By contrast, contributors can submit code at their leisure,
> and aren't expected to handle unpleasant or boring project chores.
> Everyone involved with Imprudence -- team members, contributors, and
> even ordinary users -- have some degree of influence over Imprudence's
> direction. The amount of influence a person has is directly
> proportional to the commitment and responsibility they demonstrate,
> and the trust and respect they have earned among their peers in the
> community.
> The distinction between team member and contributor does not, in
> itself, affect the amount of influence a person has. Team members tend
> to have more influence than contributors, because they are willing to
> do the unpleasant chores, which demonstrates their commitment and
> helps build up trust. But a contributor or user who helped out just as
> much, would have just as much influence.
> In your case, Aleric, we did notice your talent and the effort you
> were putting in. And you did have a significant amount of influence.
> You may not have noticed it, but we frequently went out of our way to
> accommodate you. We even added an extra meeting per week just so you
> could participate.
> Normally, I would be happy to have someone as dedicated as you on the
> team. But, certain aspects of your personality, attitude, and
> interactions with other people, concerned me and made me reluctant to
> invite you. I'm not a fan of public shaming, so I won't go into detail
> here. But, I would be willing to provide you with specifics privately,
> if you want the opportunity for introspection and self-improvement.
> On December 2, you confronted me in IRC because you felt left out of
> the decision-making process, because you had not been able to attend
> the discussion about McCabe's and my burnout and the plan to take a
> month off.
> In reality, I had explained the situation on the mailing list the day
> before, so that anyone who could not attend (i.e. you) would still
> have an opportunity to share their thoughts on the matter. Rather than
> participate, you decided to use that opportunity to complain on the
> mailing list that you were being left out.
> When you asked me in IRC if you were a team member, I explained that
> you were what we call a "contributor". I tried to explain what that
> meant, but you took offense at being considered "just" a contributor,
> and jumped to the conclusion that it meant we did not value your input
> or your efforts.
> You then decided to stop participating. Given my burned-out state and
> my concerns about your attitude, I did not feel like going out of my
> way to try to persuade you to come back.
> Again, I'm sorry that you feel you were mistreated. But, I think it's
> for the best that you moved on.
> - Jacek
> On Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 11:02 AM, Aleric Inglewood
> <aleric.inglewood at gmail.com> wrote:
> > It seemed to good at first: many of the developers that I already
> > knew and respected in an IRC channel of the second-most popular
> > TPV. No longer "working" for Linden Lab... and (hopefully) a more
> > relaxed sphere (aka: "commit at will").
> >
> > I started off with lots of  enthusiasm and added many improvements
> > to the build system (for linux, which is my platform), then ported over
> > every patch that I did in the past for SnowGlobe (quite a lot), and
> > especially had to put a lot of time into bringing Imprudence up to speed
> > with regard to using plugins and webkit, so that it would get at the
> > same level as SnowGlobe 1.5.
> >
> > All of that is just "getting ready", synchronizing imprudence with
> > Snowglobe. A lot of duplicated work that I already had done in the
> > past, and certainly didn't contribute anything to "viewers" in general,
> > only to Imprudence, that was pretty lagged behind in these respects.
> >
> > In December of last year, I was finally working on something new:
> > I refactored the plugsin (split the base classes in two: a basic version
> > and the more specialized "media" types), and implemented a plugin
> > for the filepicker, so that now it is possible to upload files and save
> > snapshots without freezing the whole viewer and timing out your
> > network connection!
> >
> > After having worked for Imprudence full time like that (I do this as
> > a volunteer, but it's a day time job: I work 8+ hours per day, 7 days
> > per week on SL viewers; without getting paid thus), I sudden got
> > a very very cold shower...
> >
> > As it turned out, a fact that had been kept hidden from me from
> > some reason, there exists an "inner circle" in Imprudence.
> > They call it "the team". If you don't know if you are on this "team"
> > then you are not. It's a special team of select people who make
> > all the decisions, and it's invite only. If you're not in this "team"
> > you have no say.
> >
> > Obviously that is not acceptable for me. I'm a professional coder
> > and I put a LOT of time into this project; I fill my days with. It's
> > completely unthinkable that I'd be considered as some "third rank"
> > contributor who should shut up when the big people talk...
> > However, exactly that is how Jacek sees it.
> >
> > After she called for an urgent meeting of "team members" to make
> > important decisions, in December, I confronted her with the question:
> > Why on Thursday? I can't on Thursdays, that's a known fact.
> > I had to DRAG it out - but after a while, me being almost annoyingly
> > persistent, I got her to admit that "I wasn't on the team" and I was
> > informed about it's existence - and finally it became clear that
> > no matter my experience and the time I put into Imprudence, I actually
> > had no more say in Imprudence than the say I have in the Linden Lab
> > server protocol decisions.
> >
> > Now that alone wouldn't have been enough for my decision
> > that I had to drop Imprudence (I'd say 'leave', but I apparently
> > was never a part of it in the first place). What was, was that
> > what is supposed to be our leader spoke for the whole team
> > with the following words:
> >
> > "Dec 03 02:54:06 <jjacek> At the moment, there are two main obstacles
> > that keep you from being a team member. The first is that it is difficult
> > and stressful to work with, talk with, and generally deal with you.
> > I know that you know that Armin is not fond of you, but he's not the
> > only one. I don't think there are any team members who would be
> > pleased to have you on the team."
> >
> > For your information, this "team", at that momentm existed of the
> > following people:
> >
> > "Dec 03 02:39:09 <jjacek> The team at the moment is me, McCabe,
> > Armin, Elektra, Codie, Revolution, and Boroondas."
> >
> > I'm currently working very closely together with Boroondas
> > (on snowstorm, and even another project) with no problems
> > whatsoever. I never saw or talked with Revolution, I think
> > I saw Codie a few times during meetings in-world, and my
> > cooperation with Elektra was fine. We never had any argument
> > or problem. McCabe and me got along. Didn't have any personal
> > problems, but also not a relationship that resembles friendship.
> > Just purely efficient and professional. So, that leaves Armin
> > who indeed has frustrated me so much while I tried to cooperate
> > with him that I felt the urge to shout and shake him (and apparently
> > he complained first to jacek, who then told me, after which
> > Armin and me talked it out. It is (and was) clear to me that
> > Armin and me aren't the best of team (ake, we can't work
> > together) but I have nothing against him as a person, and
> > didn't feel he disliked me (anymore) after we talked out our
> > misunderstandings.
> >
> > So there it is: There are no team members that would be pleased
> > to have me on the team, because it's difficult and stressful to
> > work with me... according to jjacek.
> >
> > I haven't really talked about this... Shortly after Jacek got a
> > burnout, and McCabe too I understood - so she decided to
> > put Imprudence on a hold. I took my time to weigh my options
> > and came to the conclusion that it would be very unthankful
> > way to spend all my free time working for a project with a
> > "leader" that deals with her team in this way. If she wants
> > to make all the decisions for an Open Source(!) project, then
> > that will have to happen without my support.
> >
> > Funny thing is, neither McCabe nor Jjacek contacted me in
> > the past 7 weeks. It must have been clear by now that I
> > decided to silently leave, and apparently they are happy
> > about that. Never mind that I was first abused and sucked
> > dry and then insulted and left in the cold. They are happy
> > that I left and never felt the urge to talk about this with me.
> > Great social skills.
> >
> > The only sign that things now are permanent is the silent
> > change back to meeting on just Thursdays. That triggered
> > this post.
> >
> > I wish everyone good luck, if they decide to continue put
> > time into kakoa/Imprudence. But realize this: you will never
> > have any real say here, even if jacek is now going to tell
> > you that I REALLY am an asshole that nobody can work
> > together with and that this very mail is the proof of that.
> > And then smiles at you and puts an arm around you tells
> > you that of course you are welcome in the team and things
> > will change... Ask yourself what will happen in the future
> > when an important decision has to be made and your
> > opinion is different from jaceks...
> > Add to that that imprudence only has a small fraction of
> > all users (LL and Phoenix have about half each; the
> > rest is neglectable), then does it really make sense to put
> > time into this.
> >
> > I understood that not only they have a burn out, but
> > things are just in general not going so well anyway with
> > this project. Scaring off your most productive and
> > talented coders won't help much in that regard.
> > I recognize doomed projects usually pretty soon (I was
> > late with this one). Imprudence/kokua has no interesting
> > future.
> >
> > I'm sorry I wasted several months of my life doing things
> > that I already had done before, and that now turn out
> > to be have been a complete waste :(
> >
> > Regards,
> > Aleric
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