Easing new CLT members into the team

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Brad Baker

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Aug 7, 2011, 7:49:28 PM8/7/11
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Just scribbling down my thoughts from our brief 10-15min discussion on this subject on video chat last week.

Problem: Numerous times we (collectively and individually) are being misrepresented. Perhaps some of this is our fault for "sharing" too much of the history (trash, politics or whatever else you call it) with one another *especially* newer members. What is "heard" is often not what we feel, or would actually act upon.

Example statement: John Smith has done this so many times before. Let me tell you about his 6 forum bans, and constant attacks. I refuse to work with him.
What is "heard": The CLT hates John Smith and refuses to work with him. Therefore I (new CLT member) am at odds with the CLT and am going to have a difficult time handling this issue as I talk to John Smith all the time, we're good friends. I'm going to have a hard time on the CLT with this attitude towards John Smith, my friend, hanging constantly hanging over my work with him and my work with the CLT.

Result: While some individuals on the CLT may individually have an issue with John Smith, that may not in any way mean that the CLT would prevent John Smith from working with CLT members or even on the Joomla project. However, that is not the *message* that new CLT member #42 heard, or is acting under the assumption of.

Suggestions: 

  • We can be more careful about discussing history with new CLT members. For example, do we even need to mention John Smith's history unless new CLT member #42 is asking about voting them on to the CLT? Even then, do we have to bring it all up?
  • Can we use this period of adding new people to the CLT to clear the slate with differences and opinions we have of one another past actions and feelings towards us and people who we may associate with.
  • Perhaps new CLT members can be encouraged to "listen" for a few months rather than feel compelled to jump in to CLT discussions. ie perhaps they can be like (I say like in a very loose way) non-voting members for a time, as they learn how things work etc

Random Rambling: I have noted that a few of us on the CLT have tended to become more focussed on one area of the project or another. While others on the CLT like me, for example, have had the exact opposite happen. I think this has happened without us knowing it. I think it's a good thing, and we can perhaps use to this to realize that for example CLT members #42 may not be that concerned with for example what Matt is doing on the JED. Perhaps internally we're moving towards a small structure where CLT members all working together, but respecting that each of us may have quite a different focus, or even reason for being involved. Can we embrace this and leave certain issues to one who have a specific focus in them.. ie JED and conversely, issues of a more general nature more to other CLT members?

Your thoughts, opinions etc.. I know there were some other excellent contributions to this part of our discussion.

PS, while others who work in the Community Workgroup have access to post to this thread, it might be best to allow only CLT members to reply, at least initially.
Thanks

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Brad Baker

Wendy Robinson

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Aug 8, 2011, 1:29:34 PM8/8/11
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Hi Brad,

Thank you for continuing this discussion from our video session at the CLT summit.

As leaders, we have an important role to maintain civility on joomla.org sites. Over numerous years it becomes easy to recognize problematic situations and we all get better at dealing with them over time. Fortunately they are few and far between. I think it is absolutely necessary for us to be able to share our knowledge on to newer members about how to see and handle such problems, and do so without influencing them with our personal opinions of people. 

Some notes to your suggestions:


We can be more careful about discussing history with new CLT members. For example, do we even need to mention John Smith's history unless new CLT member #42 is asking about voting them on to the CLT? Even then, do we have to bring it all up?

No, I don't think it's necessary to bring it up at all. I think a better course of action would be "this kind of behaviour has happened more than once and in the past we've dealt with it like this...", rather than "John Smith always does this, he's been banned before." 

 Can we use this period of adding new people to the CLT to clear the slate with differences and opinions we have of one another past actions and feelings towards us and people who we may associate with.

I definitely think that we all need to make this effort.


Perhaps new CLT members can be encouraged to "listen" for a few months rather than feel compelled to jump in to CLT discussions. ie perhaps they can be like (I say like in a very loose way) non-voting members for a time, as they learn how things work etc

I think the non-voting role is a reasonable suggestion, for just a little while though. I do not mind for new members to jump into discussions though. I think that we could benefit from their perspective quite a bit and that might help us to  adjust some of our past discussion patterns such as the example problem you outlined about John Smith.

Regarding your closing question about areas of responsibility:


Can we embrace this and leave certain issues to one who have a specific focus in them.. ie JED and conversely, issues of a more general nature more to other CLT members?

Yes. I think this is important. We need to each be effective in our leadership roles and I think that keeping our focus to our specific areas, while trusting others to handle issues in their areas, will help us to do that. When we all get involved in an issue specific to one area it can take a lot of time and then answers back to team members are delayed, other issues come out of the initial issue and we lose focus, etc.  Of course though, when a fellow CLT member asks for advice or help, we should be supportive as a team and we should also be clear if we are simply offering advice on how to deal with an issue. 

Thanks,
W


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Claire Mandville

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Aug 8, 2011, 3:08:33 PM8/8/11
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While agreeing on the points above, I would say that while some people will have pre concieved ideas and opinions on members, existing and news, for the sake of the project they should be "left at the door" as the saying goes.

On your points about new members being pushed head first into the roles, could there or is there a mentoring role. A lot of confusion and wrong footing could be remedied by the ability to  approach a more knowledgeable person, especially when it comes to making the more important choices.


Wendy Robinson

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Aug 8, 2011, 3:32:03 PM8/8/11
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Hi Claire,

Some great points there. I appreciate your wise, "left at the door" advice. I think that sums up my thoughts as well on the subject.

Mentoring is a great idea and I think that will be a natural process between existing and new members on the CLT. I hope we can be good examples to these folks and I also look forward to what we can learn from their new and fresh perspectives. I think we discussed "probationary" periods but in the end we weren't fans of that word. Mentoring sounds better.  Also, we will have some documentation prepared for our new folks as an extra aid in adjusting to their new/additional project roles.

Thanks,
Wendy


On Mon, Aug 8, 2011 at 12:08 PM, Claire Mandville <mand...@gmail.com> wrote:
While agreeing on the points above, I would say that while some people will have pre concieved ideas and opinions on members, existing and news, for the sake of the project they should be "left at the door" as the saying goes.

On your points about new members being pushed head first into the roles, could there or is there a mentoring role. A lot of confusion and wrong footing could be remedied by the ability to  approach a more knowledgeable person, especially when it comes to making the more important choices.

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Sandra Warren

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Aug 8, 2011, 5:44:32 PM8/8/11
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Hi Brad

I can't tell you how happy I am that you are continuing with this subject.  I could not agree more with you.


We can be more careful about discussing history with new CLT members. For example, do we even need to mention John Smith's history unless new CLT member #42 is asking about voting them on to the CLT? Even then, do we have to bring it all up?

Since we have been doing much better with documentation of history, there is less of a need to discuss personal views.  Perhaps some of the older historical items that aren't documented, could be added to in a fact based way for future needs.  There is definitely a need to know about certain things, just without the personal touch.  So can I ask that as you think of issues that are not documented well, add just the facts, with supporting documentation?


Perhaps new CLT members can be encouraged to "listen" for a few months rather than feel compelled to jump in to CLT discussions. ie perhaps they can be like (I say like in a very loose way) non-voting members for a time, as they learn how things work etc

I would think it would be a relief to many of them!  I certainly support it.

Re:  Random Ramblings

I am extremely happy that you have brought this up.  I find that I prefer to work in my little corner of the Joomlasphere and I like it that way.  I think there are a lot of cross team subjects that keep us working within the things that we know and feel comfortable with.  For example, There are many times when issues on JPeople coincides with Forum experiences and I am able to gleen valuable information from Peter.  There are also many times that issues with JUGs coincides with experiences and issues on the JED and I am able to go to Matt for discussion and resolution.  In this way, it does not need to be a CLT issue, it is Like teams working together for a great solution.

Thank you again, Brad, for bringing this up!
Sandra



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Peter Martin

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Aug 8, 2011, 5:55:14 PM8/8/11
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We can be more careful about discussing history with new CLT members. For example, do we even need to mention John Smith's history unless new CLT member #42 is asking about voting them on to the CLT? Even then, do we have to bring it all up?

No, we don't. IMHO we should only focus on behavior, and not on people.
John Smith, the person, should not be important. Only his current behaviour.

That's at least the stance I try to use with my work on the forum.
If we get new (Global) Moderators on the forum, they won't be not warned that "Jeany Smith" (sister of John ;-) is a potential trouble maker.
Because if people are continually violating the forum rules and misusing valuable volunteer time, they get (temp) banned.
Forum users (without a ban) should be treated all equally.


Can we embrace this and leave certain issues to one who have a specific focus in them.. ie JED and conversely, issues of a more general nature more to other CLT members?

I agree. I think that we should trust our team members in a certain area about what they are doing or considering is the right thing to do, as long as they have good founded arguments for that...
E.g. I don't know very much about JPeople, I consider myself "a regular user" on that subsite, and because of that, I trust the Jpeople Moderators expertise.
In any discussions regarding Jpeople, I can only share my view on why & how we handle certain issues in other areas (e.g. the forum).

Paul Orwig

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Aug 8, 2011, 7:01:14 PM8/8/11
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Thanks Brad for starting this public discussion. Unfortunately I missed the CLT's original discussion about this last week because I was participating in the OSM summit, but here are some thoughts from me:

  • We can be more careful about discussing history with new CLT members. For example, do we even need to mention John Smith's history unless new CLT member #42 is asking about voting them on to the CLT? Even then, do we have to bring it all up?
I agree completely with this point. Whenever possible, discussions about specific situations should emphasize "what happened" but not "who did it". If this point ever gets forgotten about, then everyone else on CLT should be diligent to gently remind the team to follow this point. In some cases, "who did it" may be relevant to the discussion if previous problems have come up which might impact what the consequences should be for the current situation.
  • Can we use this period of adding new people to the CLT to clear the slate with differences and opinions we have of one another past actions and feelings towards us and people who we may associate with. 
I agree completely with this point too. I think that all CLT members need to make a daily commitment to do their best to look past previous history and past differences with one another or with members of the community. As with the previous point, if this point ever gets forgotten about, then I think everyone else on CLT should be diligent about gently reminding all their team members to follow this important point.
  • Perhaps new CLT members can be encouraged to "listen" for a few months rather than feel compelled to jump in to CLT discussions. ie perhaps they can be like (I say like in a very loose way) non-voting members for a time, as they learn how things work etc
I think that new CLT members should be encouraged to actively participate in all discussions, including asking questions about how things work now. I think that the "veteran" CLT members should make a commitment to always be open to new ideas and new ways of how things work, and even more importantly to always respect different points of view. To me, hearing fresh perspectives and ideas are an important part of the value of adding new team members. 

More Public Discussions
The other point that I think is important for CLT (along with all project leadership) to follow is to make a commitment to move as many discussions as possible into public channels. Doing this will increase transparency and openness, and strengthen trust with the rest of the community. I mentioned during the first joint summit day that it would be great if the entire project could adopt a policy of putting into writing what subjects will be kept private (such as legal matters, some financial matters, and some matters concerning individuals), and then being committed as much as possible to discussing all other matters in public.

Thanks,

paul


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Brad Baker

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Aug 8, 2011, 7:36:26 PM8/8/11
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Just to clarify the part about "non-voting" that I wrote..

What I mean by that is.. new CLT could be encouraged to not feel obligated to vote on, or have a say in all CLT matters from the word go.. ie take the pressure off them as they ease into their new responsibilities.


Good point you make there Paul about more public discussions. We can ll do better with that, and as we stand on the edge of a new CLT-era, there is no better time to "turn over a new leaf" as a team in this area.

Matt Lipscomb

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Aug 13, 2011, 10:58:47 PM8/13/11
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I like all the points above, but may differ a bit on one part:  I believe it is fair to inform new members of someone's history if they find themselves in a situation where a member who has had warnings/violations in the past is attempting to contribute in an area they are responsible for.  That, to me, is about not potentially setting the CLTer up for failure.  I specifically like the idea of not going into a full "detailed history" though as it can cause both parties to be biased/jaded to the situation.

~Matt
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