#438 Ambassador Response Expectations
Opened 2 years ago by bex. Modified 2 years ago

Do we have expectations for the response time for an ambassador receiving an email? I understand that people travel, get sick, etc. But assuming no special circumstances what are our expectations?


No, and we won't set any rule on this. I think a week or max 10 days is a reasonable time.

I'm not looking for a rule but expectations. I have a bunch email directly to ambassadors that has received no response in 10+ days. I am concerned because when someone doesn't respond it makes out project look bad. When no one from a country responds it is even more worrisome.

Yes sure, but this is a difficult issue to handle now.

  • We can't measure ambassador's activity
  • We expect them to reply to requests, but some of them are active maybe only 3 months a year. If you contact them in the other 9 months they might not reply at all
  • We know, that from the 590 ambassadors listed as active, only 25% are really active, and with really active I mean what you understand as active (contactable, visible online, constant contributions in other groups etc)

I don't have an answer right now, but for the future I would see this as a country-specific topic. The process shoul look like:

  • Mindshare asks outreach teams and their local contributors to file a list of which ambassadors are really around and active. Most of us know perfectly in our country, who would reply to an email and who probably would never or very hard respond.
  • One of the priority things I would like to see is the ambassadors map, rewritten with a KPL file or even with a json or whatever. I spoke to Hubs folks during Flock and this could be done soon, but we need helping hands for that.
  • With that list we can set ambassadors as actually not contactable or something iike that, without the need to change anything in FAS.

We don't have a contact process right now, so people try what they find around. Once we have these tools, we can setup a contact page which can guide people to follow the right process. WDYT?

Why don't the "9 months unavailable" people (or any length for that matter) use automated email replies?

Yes sure, but this is a difficult issue to handle now.

We can't measure ambassador's activity

While we cannot measure the Ambassador activity in an automated manner, there are only about 480 ambassadors listed in the verification service. I would expect that we could query 40 of them per month via an automated process to just ask, "What did you do in the last 12 months" so we can award a badge and know they are active. If we had each region do their own work on this we could reduce the admin load even further.

I realize this is less than idea, however I have not seen any proposals for automated reporting and this seems to be a consistent blocker.

We expect them to reply to requests, but some of them are active maybe only 3 months a year. If you contact them in the other 9 months they might not reply at all

If we believe this is happening with any regularity we simply must have a system of knowing when people are active. They could, at a minimum update the vacation calendar today as other teams ask.

We know, that from the 590 ambassadors listed as active, only 25% are really active, and with really active I mean what you understand as active (contactable, visible online, constant contributions in other groups etc)

I got 480 from the list at https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Ambassadors/MembershipService/Verification - I've included the 53 ambassadors who we don't know where they are in the world (and who should really be asked to mark themselves with a location or we should change the heading to note they help anyone anywhere). I did the math by hand, but am not sure I made an error of this magnitude.

I don't have an answer right now, but for the future I would see this as a country-specific topic. The process shoul look like:

Mindshare asks outreach teams and their local contributors to file a list of which ambassadors are really around and active. Most of us know perfectly in our country, who would reply to an email and who probably would never or very hard respond.

I am not sure who this would actually be directed too? This feels like an Ambassador question that today would be resolved by the regions. Who does this in the future? Marketing, for example, isn't really in a position to know which ambassasors are active. I believe the same is true for Translation.

One of the priority things I would like to see is the ambassadors map, rewritten with a KPL file or even with a json or whatever. I spoke to Hubs folks during Flock and this could be done soon, but we need helping hands for that.

Do we have a project description? If this is longer we can possibly put it into the outreachy program.

Also, is this KML?

With that list we can set ambassadors as actually not contactable or something iike that, without the need to change anything in FAS.

How will this work? What is the process? This seems to be the data we need today and have no way of gathering. I don't understand how changing the way a map is drawn fixes this.

We don't have a contact process right now, so people try what they find around. Once we have these tools, we can setup a contact page which can guide people to follow the right process. WDYT?

I'd like to see this process sketched out so we can get an MVP out the door on this. I'd rather release early and often on this than be blocked waiting on all the pieces.

While we cannot measure the Ambassador activity in an automated manner,

That's the point. We strongly need a reporting system, maybe editing a website page, where each ambassador "must" fill a standard module in order to check and gather infos about his/her activities. This is useful for a several reasons:

  • check ambys activities;
  • monitor the money we spend
  • collect data for metric/statistics
  • marketing survey

And we should collect data from final users (not Fedora contributors) by a similar module to fill by people visiting our booths at events.

I would expect that we could query 40 of them per month via an automated process to just ask, "What did you do in the last 12 months" so we can award a badge and know they are active. If we had each region do their own work on this we could reduce the admin load even further.
I realize this is less than idea, however I have not seen any proposals for automated reporting and this seems to be a consistent blocker.

As you know the marketing side of Ambys job consists also in contacts and attempts trying to reach some results. Those are less measurable than a booth activity. Well, in a mktg perspective, sometime, this is more valuable than a presence at booth. E.G. I'm trying to promote Fedora in a higher level than events (I always thought that people, even if free-software oriented, must undergo decisions of the companies in which they're working); well, how we can measure the attempts to convince them?

We expect them to reply to requests, but some of them are active maybe only 3 months a year. If you contact them in the other 9 months they might not reply at all

In a marketing perspective I cannot accept this statement. I understand the fact that some Ambys, due to their daily job, can't be very active, but an Ambassador is the Business Card of the project, and they have a valuable impact for the Project, so they ever must be reached by mail, and reply in a max. 3 days. IMO, the check should on the shoulders of FAMA and a script that push out mails and matches the replies couldn't be so complicated to do.

Thanks.

Gabri

I think we are raising additional barriers if we want to have all this stuff you mention. Remember that most of our ambassadors are doing this in their spare time, you cannot apply anything you would apply in a comany, because we risk to loose our ambassadors.
I am strongly against any automatic query, asking for what they are doing and how often they contribute to Fedora. You just won't get any reply, and people would choose probably to leave. It is that what we want?
I don't understand the goal of all this ambassador control, and if an ambassador does stuff for three months a year because he organizes only a local event like a Linuxday, then he is active in my eyes and we should see if we can get him on board even more, not pointing fingers at him by saying this is unacceptable from a marketing perspective.

If the goal is just: we want people being responsive to mails. Then we can just set up a list (while we wait for Hubs) where ambassadors need to fill in their name, country, state/region/location, contact address (email).
We can for sure communicate to ambassadors they need to be contactable and we can check their @fp.o alias and registered email address in FAS. If both are bouncing people will get removed from that list.
As we would need to rewrite the script which lists ambassadors to add their location, we can also add a blacklist of bouncing ambassadors emails so they would not show up anymore.

@robyduck
I only like to see responsive ambassadors. Are you sure that a little "gardening" is not a good thing?
Otherwise we could erase the Ambassador group assuming that each contributor is an Ambassador, so they can going on as they are. Isn't it easier?

@robyduck
I only like to see responsive ambassadors. Are you sure that a little "gardening" is not a good thing?
Otherwise we could erase the Ambassador group assuming that each contributor is an Ambassador, so they can going on as they are. Isn't it easier?

Sure, and I agree on that, what I am saying is that we can make this happen even without slamming the hammer. Let's choose a soft way.

This all leads to the never ending debate whether Fedora Ambassadors is a title for life or whether you have to justify it by activity.
We went through this several years ago, suggesting we should remove inactive ambassadors was met with severe opposition because it's hard to objectively measure ambassador's activity. So we settled for a compromise: We won't strip anyone of their ambassador title, but we will mark their FAS accounts as inactive if they don't have any trackable online activity for certain time and that's decided based on objective metrics.
It solved the issue of having completely inactive ppl listed in the Ambassador verification list and it also allowed ambassadors coming back from inactivity to get on board again quickly because they don't have to go through the mentorship process again, they just have to go to the FAS account admin and mark their account as active.
It's, of course, debatable if the metrics aren't too benevolent to exclude all inactive ambassadors, but that was the consensus back then.
I just would like to warn you that this is a really sensitive issue to some, so proceed cautiously with any policy changes.

@eischmann thank you for participating. I remember the discussions we had and the reason and why we decided for a compromise, but actually Infra will not set any accounts as inactive unless there is a good reason. It sets the whole account as inactive, not only ambassadors (with consequences also to mail aliases and fedorapeople) and no subgroup should have the power to set people as inactive even in other groups. That's why we changed the policy slightly and now remove people from the FAS group if they don't show up for 18 months (the rest is the same policy we worked out in the past).
I also know this is a hot topic, that's why I suggest to find some soft ways to make sure we will have ambassadors replying to requests by email.

@robyduck I realize that we are a volunteer organization, however volunteering comes with some responsibility. The volunteer gets to decide what they are going to do but is also making a promise to the rest of us to do it. It seems like with ambassadors we don't have a willingness to define what we want from people. The current guidelines are apparently so flexible we are willing to consider the person who is inactive for 17 of every 18 months equivalent to the person who answers emails daily.

To be more specific, we seem to consider all of the following people Ambassadors (non-exhaustive list):

  • Someone who helps with one event per year (the three month active person mentioned above)
  • Someone who answers emails sent from new people
  • Someone who serves in an elected position
  • Someone who does things but never reports them
  • Someone who has been inactive in all ways for a period of less than 18 months
  • Someone who has done one of the above at least once in their life

Because we have no way of differentiating in these people we run into problems where we simultaneously have a large number of contributors and not enough to do what we want to do.

I honestly have no opinion on how the title is managed and how the FAS group is arranged. What does bother me is that we can't effectively handle some things because we can't figure out who is doing what, if anything. This is even more terrible of an experience for people trying to figure out how to work with Fedora. As an example, I have had a reason to send 24 ambassadors across 4 countries email over the last 6 weeks. I've received exactly 2 responses. This is a horrible response rate.

We can't fix this without identifying people who are actually willing to answer email. However, there seems to be unwillingness to even ask people what they are doing. Where is the evidence that so much is happening from people who will be so offended by us asking what they did that they will leave?

I suspect we are actually scared to find out exactly how many of the 500+ ambassadors are actually active. However, without this data we won't know where the holes are. Right now several regions have been struggling with quorums at meetings. Wouldn't it be better to know that 85% of the active people were present, rather than 3%?

@robyduck I agree with you that we want to tread lightly and to move in a way that is cautious and assumes good intent. However, I don't see how asking someone "Hey, we know you've been doing good things over the last few months. We'd like to help increase the effectiveness of your efforts by letting the world know about them. What have you been up to?" is a horrible request.

Your point about scaring people away from becoming Ambassadors if they see lots of rules or requirements is appropriate. However, we are also demotivating those we have when they see that everyone is treated the same without regard to their actually activity, if any. I haven't seen any serious proposals that would add a ton of requirements. I think the most strenuous might be my suggestion that every so often we just ask people to tell us what they are doing so we can both know what it is and figure out if it is something we can somehow hook up to fedmsg.

@robyduck I realize that we are a volunteer organization, however volunteering comes with some responsibility. The volunteer gets to decide what they are going to do but is also making a promise to the rest of us to do it.

No, sorry, a volunteer is not making any promise, neither to you neither to the project, your interns do. It seems to me you are putting all in the same boat. Volunteers offer their spare time to commit something they do to the Project, and even if this is just a few lines of code or an event per year, we should appreciate that and don't close them out of the door.

It seems like with ambassadors we don't have a willingness to define what we want from people. The current guidelines are apparently so flexible we are willing to consider the person who is inactive for 17 of every 18 months equivalent to the person who answers emails daily.

This applies not only to ambassadors, but to all groups.

To be more specific, we seem to consider all of the following people Ambassadors (non-exhaustive list):

Someone who helps with one event per year (the three month active person mentioned above)
Someone who answers emails sent from new people
Someone who serves in an elected position
Someone who does things but never reports them
Someone who has been inactive in all ways for a period of less than 18 months
Someone who has done one of the above at least once in their life

Correct, and we can continue with lists like that even for websites, design, docs, marketing and and and....
Just go to a repository and type:
git shortlog -s -n

Because we have no way of differentiating in these people we run into problems where we simultaneously have a large number of contributors and not enough to do what we want to do.
I honestly have no opinion on how the title is managed and how the FAS group is arranged.

The ambassador program specifically has a long history and many topics came up already in the past. It is a bit superficial to say we don't want them anymore if people don't reply immediately to an email or organize at least 2 events per year. And you admit you don't even know much about mentoring and the FAS group. Ambassadors actually are the only group which still has a mentoring period, that's something other groups don't do anymore. Because of this, in the past people wanted to set the ambassadors title even for life...(which also is not correct IMHO)

What does bother me is that we can't effectively handle some things because we can't figure out who is doing what, if anything. This is even more terrible of an experience for people trying to figure out how to work with Fedora. As an example, I have had a reason to send 24 ambassadors across 4 countries email over the last 6 weeks. I've received exactly 2 responses. This is a horrible response rate.

Agree.

We can't fix this without identifying people who are actually willing to answer email. However, there seems to be unwillingness to even ask people what they are doing. Where is the evidence that so much is happening from people who will be so offended by us asking what they did that they will leave?
I suspect we are actually scared to find out exactly how many of the 500+ ambassadors are actually active. However, without this data we won't know where the holes are. Right now several regions have been struggling with quorums at meetings. Wouldn't it be better to know that 85% of the active people were present, rather than 3%?

Yes, that's true. Personally I don't care if we have a rate of 3% or 85%. How would the rate be in a websites meeting? Or how much is it in a design meeting? It is the same, that's why I don't agree if we point fingers just to the group we really need out there, because they help us more than others to gather new contributors.

@robyduck I agree with you that we want to tread lightly and to move in a way that is cautious and assumes good intent. However, I don't see how asking someone "Hey, we know you've been doing good things over the last few months. We'd like to help increase the effectiveness of your efforts by letting the world know about them. What have you been up to?" is a horrible request.
Your point about scaring people away from becoming Ambassadors if they see lots of rules or requirements is appropriate. However, we are also demotivating those we have when they see that everyone is treated the same without regard to their actually activity, if any. I haven't seen any serious proposals that would add a ton of requirements. I think the most strenuous might be my suggestion that every so often we just ask people to tell us what they are doing so we can both know what it is and figure out if it is something we can somehow hook up to fedmsg.

As I said above, if you want fedmsg to measure ambassador's activity you will likely fail. We cannot measure that. Before you understand my reply wrong, I agree we need to compact our ambassadors group to work better and with more active people, but we cannot achieve this if we say we would drop people from the group if they don't do xyz within a year. I totally disagree with this hardliner requests.
Speaking about promises: It is true, I am probably one of those who reply to emails and also does much more stuff than others. But remember that I do that because I know I have the possibility to say: "Sorry, I will go out with my family and do a lot of sports in the next months rather than doing anything on Fedora. I am not obliged to do anything, that's why I like to contribute. Probably, if I would be obliged by a rule which says I have to commit at least 20 commits a year (even if I normally do at least 500), I would not like what I am doing that much, unless I am paid for it. Yes, returning to the first line now, I am doing this in my spare time and therefore I can do with my time whatever I like.

All this said, and I know you understand my strict answer to your strict statement, I still agree we need to improve a lot of things in the ambassadors group, but we can do that with other actions rather than pointing out how many minutes everyone of us is contributing.

I do not seem to have been clear in my communication. I am going to try to be more clear in my responses this time.

@robyduck I realize that we are a volunteer organization, however volunteering comes with some responsibility. The volunteer gets to decide what they are going to do but is also making a promise to the rest of us to do it.

No, sorry, a volunteer is not making any promise, neither to you neither to the project, your interns do. It seems to me you are putting all in the same boat. Volunteers offer their spare time to commit something they do to the Project, and even if this is just a few lines of code or an event per year, we should appreciate that and don't close them out of the door.

When someone claims an issue and says they'll write the patch or offers to write a chapter in the documentation, I consider them to have made a promise to do that task. As a volunteer no one can compel them to do it. I think it is reasonable for the rest of us to assume good intent and believe it will be done and to ask periodically how it is going. If they stop responding we may choose to mark that task available again. I don't see ambassadors as any different. If someone promises to hold an event or to help at an online session or to serve as a point of contact for their country, then I think we are reasonable in assuming they will do it. I also don't see a problem with asking them to make the task available if they can't do it. With something like being a point of contact, that means marking themselves as no longer being a point of contact. All contributions are appreciated and all contributors deserve support and thanks. They also deserve the right to decide to not do something and support in undoing their requests.

This is not about kicking people out, but everyone understanding what people are offering to do. This is why I wrote later that I am not concerned about FAS membership. Membership in a FAS group does not inherently mean someone has promised to do something for most groups. Maybe it does for Ambassadors, if so I cannot find that documented. It seems that Ambassadors, unlike many groups, has an activity requirement, therefore we need to measure that in a meaningful way. It sounds you believe that fedmsg is not a good way to measure activity for Ambassadors, yet it is the standard you seem to be advocating. This is confusing.

I am not sure what interns you are talking about as I haven't mentioned any. If you mean GSoC or Outreachy students, then I would say that they are in a program where they are more than volunteering as their programs require them to participate. If for some reason you mean interns who work for companies, like Red Hat, then I believe that anything they are doing as part of their internship may be either volunteer oriented (not required by their employer) or required by their employer and therefore more than volunteering. If you mean Fedora Interns working with the Ambassadors, I am not aware of these people and would like to meet them.

It seems like with ambassadors we don't have a willingness to define what we want from people. The current guidelines are apparently so flexible we are willing to consider the person who is inactive for 17 of every 18 months equivalent to the person who answers emails daily.

This applies not only to ambassadors, but to all groups.

I don't know that this is the case. I am not aware of other groups that have requirements for continued membership. The groups I am most familiar with have only considered cleaning up the FAS lists when it grants permissions to systems and then only seem to do so infrequently and on an ad-hoc basis.

To be more specific, we seem to consider all of the following people Ambassadors (non-exhaustive list):
Someone who helps with one event per year (the three month active person mentioned above)
Someone who answers emails sent from new people
Someone who serves in an elected position
Someone who does things but never reports them
Someone who has been inactive in all ways for a period of less than 18 months
Someone who has done one of the above at least once in their life

Correct, and we can continue with lists like that even for websites, design, docs, marketing and and and....
Just go to a repository and type:
git shortlog -s -n

I am not aware of other groups in Fedora that produce pages like https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Ambassadors/MembershipService/Verification

This page implies more than just membership in the FAS group, otherwise why would it exist?

Because we have no way of differentiating in these people we run into problems where we simultaneously have a large number of contributors and not enough to do what we want to do.
I honestly have no opinion on how the title is managed and how the FAS group is arranged.

The ambassador program specifically has a long history and many topics came up already in the past.

Just because something has come up in the past does not mean we shouldn't revisit it as the project changes and the world changes.

It is a bit superficial to say we don't want them anymore if people don't reply immediately to an email or organize at least 2 events per year.

I don't believe it is unreasonable to ask someone to no longer serve as an email point of contact if they don't answer email. I don't think it is unreasonable to ask someone how we can help them if they keep promising to do events that never happen.

This isn't about creating a standard to judge people by, this is about making sure that we know what people want to be doing so we can help them be successful in their contribution.

And you admit you don't even know much about mentoring and the FAS group. Ambassadors actually are the only group which still has a mentoring period, that's something other groups don't do anymore.

Actually, I had an interview and it was decided that I didn't need hands on mentoring. I was only recently made a member of the Ambassadors FAS group at Flock and am now listed on the Membership verification page. Additionally, you personally know I am answering the email sent to me, as I recently CC'ed you on one as I am worried we will get no response from anyone in Uruguay.

Also, I believe that Fedora Infra has a very good mentoring program, albeit titled as an apprenticeship. The goals seem to be the same.

Because of this, in the past people wanted to set the ambassadors title even for life...(which also is not correct IMHO)

Being listed as a point of contact for the project for life is what I disagree with. Someone can stay in the FAS group for as long as they want, barring it creating permission or other problems. I don't want them being forced to be a point of contact when they don't want to be or blocking things from happening because people assume they are going to do what they have always done, despite their having decided not too.

What does bother me is that we can't effectively handle some things because we can't figure out who is doing what, if anything. This is even more terrible of an experience for people trying to figure out how to work with Fedora. As an example, I have had a reason to send 24 ambassadors across 4 countries email over the last 6 weeks. I've received exactly 2 responses. This is a horrible response rate.

Agree.

We can't fix this without identifying people who are actually willing to answer email. However, there seems to be unwillingness to even ask people what they are doing. Where is the evidence that so much is happening from people who will be so offended by us asking what they did that they will leave?
I suspect we are actually scared to find out exactly how many of the 500+ ambassadors are actually active. However, without this data we won't know where the holes are. Right now several regions have been struggling with quorums at meetings. Wouldn't it be better to know that 85% of the active people were present, rather than 3%?

Yes, that's true. Personally I don't care if we have a rate of 3% or 85%. How would the rate be in a websites meeting? Or how much is it in a design meeting? It is the same, that's why I don't agree if we point fingers just to the group we really need out there, because they help us more than others to gather new contributors.

I was trying to refer to the idea of false active Ambassadors becoming a blocker. If 4 people in a region feel like they can't do anything because they don't have quorum this is a problem. The problem could be that of the 100 Ambassadors in the region, a quorum of 10 is reasonable and those 4 people really don't have quorum. Or the problem could be that of the 100 Ambassadors listed as active in the region only 6 are actually active. That means that not only is the 10 person quorum requirement a problem, but that as a group of 4 they definitely have quorum.

Other groups in Fedora seem to operate the same way. They know who their active members are and adjust their processes accordingly. In Ambassadors we seem to not know who our active members are.

@robyduck I agree with you that we want to tread lightly and to move in a way that is cautious and assumes good intent. However, I don't see how asking someone "Hey, we know you've been doing good things over the last few months. We'd like to help increase the effectiveness of your efforts by letting the world know about them. What have you been up to?" is a horrible request.
Your point about scaring people away from becoming Ambassadors if they see lots of rules or requirements is appropriate. However, we are also demotivating those we have when they see that everyone is treated the same without regard to their actually activity, if any. I haven't seen any serious proposals that would add a ton of requirements. I think the most strenuous might be my suggestion that every so often we just ask people to tell us what they are doing so we can both know what it is and figure out if it is something we can somehow hook up to fedmsg.

As I said above, if you want fedmsg to measure ambassador's activity you will likely fail. We cannot measure that. Before you understand my reply wrong, I agree we need to compact our ambassadors group to work better and with more active people, but we cannot achieve this if we say we would drop people from the group if they don't do xyz within a year. I totally disagree with this hardliner requests.

I am not aware of any hardliner proposals for membership. I believe that I have never advocated for one, and if I have I rescind it. I am suggesting that we should ask people what they do. I think this has a lot of value to Ambassadors and the project. It would identify who is active, allow us to know what people are doing and to get better publicity for it both to praise them and to amplify their work by promoting it, it would allow us to connect like minded ambassadors together and it would allow us to direct people to the right ambassadors for the right reasons.

I do not believe I have ever specified any criteria to judge the responses by. I am of the opinion that we should start by fully accepting anything that we receive in response.

As far as fedmsg goes, we may discover that we can award badges for certain kinds of highly repeated Ambassador activity which would give us something to search on, if we chose to do it. We won't know what we could do, if we don't start asking. Fedmsg is not required here, but it seems that adding some output to that bus could produce value for us.

Speaking about promises: It is true, I am probably one of those who reply to emails and also does much more stuff than others. But remember that I do that because I know I have the possibility to say: "Sorry, I will go out with my family and do a lot of sports in the next months rather than doing anything on Fedora. I am not obliged to do anything, that's why I like to contribute. Probably, if I would be obliged by a rule which says I have to commit at least 20 commits a year (even if I normally do at least 500), I would not like what I am doing that much, unless I am paid for it. Yes, returning to the first line now, I am doing this in my spare time and therefore I can do with my time whatever I like.

I agree 100% with this. The key here is that you agreed to do it and then you said you couldn't continue for some period of time. I am 100% in favor of this kind of a system. We don't seem to be getting the "I am busy" messages from ambassadors and instead are trying to make membership decisions based on fedmsg events. That isn't a good way to handle this today (see above).

All this said, and I know you understand my strict answer to your strict statement, I still agree we need to improve a lot of things in the ambassadors group, but we can do that with other actions rather than pointing out how many minutes everyone of us is contributing.

This thread started with a question about what we expect for responses to emails. This is because we have a list of people by country who are presumably listed as points of contact. If no one is supposed to email those people, we need to clarify why we list them and why we put their email addresses next to their names.

I continue to believe it is not unreasonable to ask people who want to be points of contact to respond to requests in a timely manner. I also think it is reasonable to remove the names and addresses of those who don't want to be points of contact.

I don't want to count minutes, I don't have time for that (:P). But, I do have a very serious need to be able to know if we have people on the ground in a country who want to be contacted.

Sorry, this is tl;dr till the end and it is not possible to reply anymore inline without getting boring to others who want to read this topic. If more clear means to wear me down I don't think this is useful here.
I don't get why you mix up things, apparently:

  • I am not advocating fedmsg, I believe it is wrong to measure ambassador's activity with that, but we do it to make an equal decision to remove someone from the FAS group or not (and also set the period to 18 months, which is very long)
  • Topic is response expectations, not ambassadors activity, or is this the same for you?
  • I understand you want to remove people from the FAS group just because they don't reply immediately to an email; If this is still the case I don't agree. There are other ways to re-compact the ambassador group again.
  • Now, after my comment, you speak about point of contacts and not about the FAS group. What really is your final goal?

Also, I think you understood my comment before, it is not necessary to speak about Fedora interns asking to meet them...

Sorry, this is tl;dr till the end and it is not possible to reply anymore inline without getting boring to others who want to read this topic. If more clear means to wear me down I don't think this is useful here.
I don't get why you mix up things, apparently:

We are both in agreement here - we are definitely talking across each other and not too each other. I don't know why.

I am not advocating fedmsg, I believe it is wrong to measure ambassador's activity with that, but we do it to make an equal decision to remove someone from the FAS group or not (and also set the period to 18 months, which is very long)

I am suggesting that if this is wrong we fix it and pick a real measure, not just use this one because ... $reasons.

Topic is response expectations, not ambassadors activity, or is this the same for you?

You brought up activity so I answered it.

I understand you want to remove people from the FAS group just because they don't reply immediately to an email; If this is still the case I don't agree. There are other ways to re-compact the ambassador group again.

I want people not listed as a point of contact if they aren't going to answer emails. I don't care if we do that by FAS group removal, another method, or magic.

Now, after my comment, you speak about point of contacts and not about the FAS group. What really is your final goal?

Same as it was when I opened this topic. What are the expectations for people to answer email when they are listed on a web page where they appear to be points of contact.

Also, I think you understood my comment before, it is not necessary to speak about Fedora interns asking to meet them...

I am still very confused by this interns comment.

Please excuse maybe a stupid question with an example but... Why would anyone want to email a specific ambassador anyway? If I want an event or have some business with Fedora in some region (one of the main regions) then I would like to email a list for said region. I don't want to randomly point a finger with my closed eyes at a list of people to choose who to email.

Inactivity in any organization or open source project is a matter of fact, and the best solution to that is carpet bombing. Throw it at everyone and see where does it stick. A mailing list? Maybe the answer to this problem is to make sure that there are mailing lists that the ambassadors join and follow, and to better communicate that information to the outside as well as internally?


And I also think that FAS membership and inactivity is an issue overall (not ambassadors-only but project-wide) that should be somehow addressed. There are so many FAS groups with people who once joined and never left, never contributed. FAS membership in my opinion means nothing and should not be considered an indicator of ones contribution.

Hmmm. I definitely appreciate every contribution volunteers make to Fedora, whether it be a small fix or a little bit of advocacy or years of ongoing commitment.

But, I don't think that having hundreds of uncertain-status volunteers is necessarily the only way. @rhea's suggestion of "carpet bombing" requests for help might work, but it's definitely not the only structure for a volunteer organization. For example, my wife used to work for Ten Thousand Villages, a non-profit organization which depends largely on volunteers to staff retail stores. There, volunteers would sign up for a number of hours a week, take specific shifts, and really have a personal commitment to being there at the given times.

I'm absolutely not suggesting that we do that for Fedora — we're not a retail store, and our whole structure is different. But, many volunteer organizations do ask for a basic level of commitment, and I don't think that's unreasonable.

Now, maybe it's fine for the general title of "Ambassador" to be a low bar. I've heard otherwise argued through the years; I know @kushal for example has argued that people should be active elsewhere in the project before joining Ambassadors. But I can see the argument that it's good to encourage basic participation at whatever level, however we can get it.

Maybe we need a second tier — something like Ambassador Active Contact? No one would be obligated to have this label, but those who choose it would commit to making a best effort to meet certain standards (show up at meetings, respond to email in a few days, etc.)

@mattdm

Maybe we need a second tier — something like Ambassador Active Contact? No one would be obligated to have this label, but those who choose it would commit to making a best effort to meet certain standards (show up at meetings, respond to email in a few days, etc.)

Don't we have them yet? I think mentors (they're ambassadors as well) are fully qualified people and are also available to sustain the Ambassadors.

If I remember correctly @kushal meant that people joining the Ambassadors group should be active elsewhere in the technical area. In this case (I know it is not a huge loss) I never could join the group.

When @rhea and @robyduck say (in two different manners) that volounteer don't have to be forced of doing, they're right, but in the other hand I still think that the Ambassadors are our business card, so I don't like when someone external is saying something like "I tried to reach someone in the Project and no one replied me": this means that we have some holes somewhere.

Well maybe a more general mail "ambassadors@fp.o" could be a slight solution, some people could have access to this mail and address the answers to the right person.

Thanks

Well maybe a more general mail "ambassadors @fp.o" could be a slight solution, some people could have access to this mail and address the answers to the right person.

One of the problems with this approach is that when no one in particular owns an action, it's often as good as having no one at all, because for every individual on the list, answering a particular mail can just be someone else's problem.

One of the problems with this approach is that when no one in particular owns an action, it's often as good as having no one at all, because for every individual on the list, answering a particular mail can just be someone else's problem.

Of course.
So the question is: "is there anyone who wants pick up this kind of issues? And if yes, which conditions for getting everything moving forward?"

Is it the case to ask one person for each region? Could he/she be the storyteller? At least storyteller has contacts with the base of Ambassadors.

@mailga

that volounteer don't have to be forced of doing

I never said that though. I said that it's happening as matter of fact as the current situation - I never advocated that it's the right course of action. I think the opposite actually.

As for the mailing list, it's an idea how to improve the^ situation. There may be much better ones, but brainstorming is throwing all the ideas out and working with them, see if we can come up with something really good.

answering a particular mail can just be someone else's problem.

That is a good point...

I think mentors (they're ambassadors as well) are fully qualified people and are also available to sustain the Ambassadors.

How would the "active ambassador" be different from "mentor?" Can we merge these two things?

How would the "active ambassador" be different from "mentor?" Can we merge these two things?

Well, speaking of commitments.... :) To me, mentorship implies a pretty large commitment to making yourself available for bringing someone into the community and coaching them on how things work and various expectations. Someone might just want to say that they're able to answer general queries, look for volunteers for a particular need, etc., without feeling comfortable with mentorship.

I guess actually on the other hand, someone might be acting as a mentor to several other community members, and not feel like they have time for that general other stuff. I think on the whole, mentors would be active ambassadors but not all active ambassadors would have to be mentors.

How would the "active ambassador" be different from "mentor?" Can we merge these two things?

Well, speaking of commitments.... :) To me, mentorship implies a pretty large commitment to making yourself available for bringing someone into the community and coaching them on how things work and various expectations. Someone might just want to say that they're able to answer general queries, look for volunteers for a particular need, etc., without feeling comfortable with mentorship.
I guess actually on the other hand, someone might be acting as a mentor to several other community members, and not feel like they have time for that general other stuff. I think on the whole, mentors would be active ambassadors but not all active ambassadors would have to be mentors.

Totally agree with that.

@rhea please when you quote someone, don't add quotes to a person who didn't say that, that's confusing.

@mattdm I think your example of Ten Thousand Villages doesn't fit here and I am still convinced we should not force anyone, because we cannot measure what this person is doing. Talking with friends or to the University IT or just being part of a LUG and showing people what they do with Fedora and eventually explain to others how they can contribute and how much fun that is, is not measurable. And this person is still doing an ambassadors job, even without an event or whatever, or isn't he? I tried also to explain to @bex , without success, that company's rules cannot be applied to volunteers, even less to ambassadors.
I am happy you agree we should take any kind of contribution, even if it is just a small one. That's what makes Fedora different, not how many minutes I dedicate to this Linux community.

The discussion is going behind the topic, because initially the question was just how long a user should wait to get a response from an ambassador.

@mattdm I think your example of Ten Thousand Villages doesn't fit here and I am still convinced we should not force anyone, because we cannot measure what this person is doing. Talking with friends or to the University IT or just being part of a LUG and showing people what they do with Fedora and eventually explain to others how they can contribute and how much fun that is, is not measurable.

Maybe the term "measure" is the problem here?

I feel like I can reasonably ask anyone, including me, "Thinking about what did as an ambassador (for outreach of the project over the last N months), please answer these questions: What worked? What didn't work? What should we keep doing? What should we stop doing?What would you like to try? What could someone else in the project do (or the project itself do) to help you have more success?"

If the answer is "I talked to people at my local containers meetup and I converted two of them to using Fedora full time. However, I found that ..." then we've learned the person is active and we have ideas to share and ways to collaborate.

If the answer is, "I didn't do anything because I've been crazy busy with my other contributions/life/family," then we know that this may need our support or may need to step back for a bit or whatever.

If the answer is, "I didn't do anything" or there is no response, then we know the person isn't active and can decide what, if any, action is required.

That's too easy, it won't work because volunteers are not employed, that's what I am trying to say since the beginning, but probably I am not able to. They are not obliged to do anything, and some of them won't reply to your mail, even if they are active.
So, you would take action against those people who don't reply to you? And you will kick them out being sure they are totally inactive?
Do it, I am not able to explain myself, but you need to know you will probably kick also ambassadors who are doing something, maybe not much, but still in some way. Personally I want to keep all people who spread the word of Fedora, no matter if they do that more or less often.

I still don't get the final goal of all that. Does it harm to us if we have some people listed who are less active? We already remove people who are not active over the last 18 months and we want to pull this down to at least 12 months, step by step. Slamming the hammer is never useful, people need to understand why we do certain actions and then they can behave differently.

That's too easy, it won't work because volunteers are not employed

Why wouldn't it? I don't understand the whole employment argument, can you please explain what do you mean by that?

As I see it, if you take on responsibility, you should either be responsible, or step down. If I were to think about it subjectively - If I take on responsibility in any community, I'll fulfill my responsibilities to the letter and be available to everyone and will reply within 24 hours. And there are plenty of communities where I have significant responsibility and I will always reply within 24 hours, even though I receive and reply to a good hundred messages every day. Typing a few sentences to everyone won't take more than a few minutes of my time, that's the least. Worse is, if I actually have to do something. So based on this experience of mine, I don't understand why would it be a big deal to expect ambassadors to at least reply.

They are not obliged to do anything, and some of them won't reply to your mail, even if they are active.

This doesn't seem to be cool and should never happen. Ambassador or any other important contributor role. As I said, being at certain position comes with responsibility.

Personally I want to keep all people who spread the word of Fedora, no matter if they do that more or less often.

Do you? Wasn't so long ago when you objected to contribution from someone who just didn't join any FAS groups, claiming that they're not a contributor, even though he actually replied to things, lurked in meetings, and participated in code. So how do we measure contribution, by idle fas membership, or rather the actual, witnessed contribution? (i.e. replying to emails and participating in meetings and events, in case of ambassadors)

That's too easy, it won't work because volunteers are not employed

Why wouldn't it? I don't understand the whole employment argument, can you please explain what do you mean by that?

Really? Ok, employed people are paid by someone, and the one who pays them can pretend whatever he likes, from feedback within 24 hours to rules which help the employer to control his employees in their activity, etc...here is the difference to volunteers.

As I see it, if you take on responsibility, you should either be responsible, or step down. If I were to think about it subjectively - If I take on responsibility in any community, I'll fulfill my responsibilities to the letter and be available to everyone and will reply within 24 hours. And there are plenty of communities where I have significant responsibility and I will always reply within 24 hours, even though I receive and reply to a good hundred messages every day. Typing a few sentences to everyone won't take more than a few minutes of my time, that's the least. Worse is, if I actually have to do something. So based on this experience of mine, I don't understand why would it be a big deal to expect ambassadors to at least reply.

Easy, you do this as your dayjob anyway, others don't. Most of them are doing other things during the day, and hardly find time to follow all the mails in the mailing lists.

They are not obliged to do anything, and some of them won't reply to your mail, even if they are active.

This doesn't seem to be cool and should never happen. Ambassador or any other important contributor role. As I said, being at certain position comes with responsibility.

I am not saying this is cool, but it will happen.

Personally I want to keep all people who spread the word of Fedora, no matter if they do that more or less often.

Do you? Wasn't so long ago when you objected to contribution from someone who just didn't join any FAS groups, claiming that they're not a contributor, even though he actually replied to things, lurked in meetings, and participated in code. So how do we measure contribution, by idle fas membership, or rather the actual, witnessed contribution? (i.e. replying to emails and participating in meetings and events, in case of ambassadors)

Please don't mix up things here, apparently you still don't get the point. This is off topic and doesn't help here, unless you want to create another flame. Sorry but I don't have time for that.

Easy, you do this as your dayjob anyway, others don't.

No I don't, my dayjob is OpenShift support and .NET Enablement. Gaming communities that I lead, Community Management tools and services that I provide, are all on my off-time and on my own wallet. When I wake up before I go to work, and after I get back home. Then I spend 20 hours of my Sunday writing code for already mentioned projects. Oh yes I still have a life, go to a bar twice a week with friends, create youtube videos about mountain biking, and manage cloud and websites for my family. My dayjob as it is now, has nothing to do with vast majority of my contributions to Open Source or any other communities.

So how do we measure contribution, by idle fas membership, or rather the actual, witnessed contribution? (i.e. replying to emails and participating in meetings and events, in case of ambassadors)

This is off topic

Measuring Ambassadors' contribution is not off-topic.

you want to create another flame

Right. I am that evil greedy c*&#. I forgot. Good bye.

@robyduck, let's please not assume bad intentions ("you want to create another flame") on others' part.

@rhea Although that assuming of intentions was not ideal, he said nothing like that! Let's please not escalate.

Particularly, there's this part from the code of conduction:

Be respectful. Not all of us will agree all the time, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behavior and poor manners. We might all experience some frustration now and then, but we cannot allow that frustration to turn into a personal attack. It's important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one. Members of the Fedora community should be respectful when dealing with other contributors as well as with people outside the Fedora community and with users of Fedora.

what a passionate discussion - imho @robyduck has a point that the topic is going a bit overboard ... ;)

As there are several non-elected people in this famsco discussion, even myself not an elected member - i can not hold back to put in my 2 cents ;)

The basic idea behind Fedora Ambassadors? To enable a contributor to speak for - and represent the Fedora Project along with the Fedora Ambassador code of conduct.

Serving as a first level contact along an SLA to people from outside the project is certainly not something that is a defined task for Ambassadors ...

I have done accountable reporting to Red-Hat for my Credit Cards for years on time without any issue, something which makes sense and is necessary. But if you would require a regular accountable reporting for my Ambassador work i would see it as a sign of mistrust (again other story if one uses Fedora Money

Internally i think it does not harm to ping contributors from time to time to see if they are alive - we even used this to clean up high numbers of Ambassadors 9 years ago where passive membership in india exploded. If you feel it is necessary today, do it - but do not make it a regular task. A single - i am here - must be enough (other story if they use fedora money)

Hi guys,

IMO this discussion has become a bit too long for its purpose. Let's try to not running off-topic.

The question, as @bex pointed out is: Do we have any response time (also not written) for Ambassadors when they are reached by mails?

Well, the answer is: no.

If we are seeking for reasons for not having established any precedent, there are many:

  • we are not able to measure Ambassadors activity;
  • we actually could check only FAS users by fedmsg (a script runs ad-hoc);
  • Ambassadors activity could include speech activity that is not check due to its nature;
  • we would prefer having Ambassadors also if they're doing a little job;
  • likely Ambassadors couldn't be comfortable to be asked for more engagement.
  • Ambassadors could be busy due to their dayjob or even because they don't have the willing;
  • ..... maybe more .......

IMO when @rhea says that Ambassadors have some kind of responsability, he's right. If we decide to discharge them from the responsability we simply say that we want everyone on board. So it become unnecessary the mentorship, the polo and all the rest.

I know we want an easy access to the Project, but a sense of belonging is build with little sacrifices. And I don't think that asking to reply to a mail is the same of asking to kill themselves.

Being Ambassadors doesn't means only write four/five paragraph in their blog, or only be present in some events; being Ambassadors means be part of the Project, also with specific requests from the project.

We can solve this creating an Ambassador page (in the wiki or wherever) with all the list of them and pushing out a request asking that each one will mark his availability to get reached. This doesn't mean we kill the ones who won't edit their infos, but at least we know on which one we can count on.

Thanks.

Gabri

Hello guys,

If I understood well, then We want to know the (a).active and (b).non active ambassadors AND we want to (c).understand people whom not really communicate not just here, I think in their life too. Thats the point ? We need to define a,b,c ?

Rgeri77

I have tried to read all the comments here, but will likely miss a few points.

First I want to summarize what I think the issue is:
1. It is undesirable to have a person seeking to connect with the Fedora project find the Ambassador list, submit a 'ping' to the list and get silence in return. (no attribution to the cause at this point).
2. It is undesirable to put extra road blocks in the way of people wanting to be ambassadors to the world for Fedora (there are many ways to do this, but the key thing is that it is a people to people role)


We had a similar discussion somewhere else... and some ideas I tossed out then are:

A. Build a ticket like system with built-in escalation that people submit their ambassador 'pings' too. This would allow for any ambassador to 'claim' the request and help the person. If the item does not get responded too in a defined period of time it can be escalated to a regional ambassador who has agreed to be 'more active'. They can assist personally or reach out to find someone who can.

B. Have a system that asks for Ambassadors to 'check-in' to maintain their ambassador status. This could be once a year or some other period of time (I suggest no less than a year). No reporting, no need to 'show' you work. Just sign-in and confirm that you are still interested. The Ubuntu project did this with membership in their projects be defining a membership expiration date (with a ten day grace period) that would send out reminders starting 30 days before expiration. All a person had to do is login and click a button to extend their membership for another year. No hassles with paperwork or contacting a person.

Hello everyone,
I like a lot the "check in" system to maintain Ambassador status. Also, I don't think both ideas exclude each other.
On the other hand, I don't like much the ticket-like system because for non-tech users it may look strange or even confusing. But if it's implemented in a fancy way then I think is a great idea.
That's all from me by now.

Login to comment on this ticket.

Metadata