[tei-council] Taking on Sourceforge tickets

Lou Burnard lou.burnard at retired.ox.ac.uk
Wed Aug 17 11:38:17 EDT 2011

Hi Brett

Apologies if you felt I was having a go at you personally -- I really 
didn't mean to!

The purpose of the SF system is two fold. It allows people -- anyone -- 
to record problems that need to be fixed or discussed. And it also 
serves as the "institutional memory" of the fixings that are undertaken. 
When someone fills in a ticket saying "typo on page 34" they're doing 
the first thing. When someone goes to subversion, checks out a file, 
corrects the typo, checks the file in again, and updates the ticket to 
say "I fixed the typo on page 34", they're doing the second.

Since everyone (who has the patience) is allowed to do the former, does 
it follow that everyone is also allowed or required to do the latter? I 
would say, probably not. Not everyone has the skill or, more 
significantly, the patience to find the right file, fight with the svn 
system, etc. There is more than one way of contributing to the 
succesfull development of the TEI, and I would certainly not want to 
require that all Council members had to be able to deal with svn as a 
condition of taking up office. But equally we want to be sure that there 
is more than one person on the Council with the requisite skills. In 
fact, no single member of Council is well suited to do the whole job, 
which is why we work collaboratively. We put effort in Chicago into 
trying to increase the number of Council members able to do some of the 
tasks contributing to that collaboration. This is important to ensure 
continuity, surely. And, yes, the Council is now effectively the 
"editorial board" in so far as there ever was such a thing.

Ack, I see Martin has just posted a much shorter and more cogent reply. 
I agree with him.


On 17/08/11 15:55, Brett Barney wrote:
> All,
> Most of you will probably want to skip this, as it's mostly addressed to
> Lou and boils down to a plea for tutoring, but I decided to write to the
> list because it's a reaction to something that came up during the call just
> a minute ago and because it's possible that others besides Lou will have
> and be willing to share helpful pointers.
> I want to start by publicly copping to being the person (or at least one of
> the persons) who submitted a bunch of "easy" tickets w/o fixing them
> myself. I am honestly sorry both for having given Lou more work to do and
> for just being annoying. It's now clear to me now that I've been operating
> under a false sense that I had a reasonably good understanding of how the
> Sourceforge ticket system is supposed to work. My submitting Sourceforge
> tickets at all owes to the fact that Lou explained to me, after I pointed
> out a problem with the guidelines in a public talk, that the proper way to
> address such things was to submit a Sourceforge ticket. That was the first
> I had ever even heard of TEI on Sourceforge. And I know it's probably
> surprising, but even after the wonderfully clear and detailed discussion of
> how to make changes it wasn't clear to me that I had license to just plow
> ahead. Is it by virtue of my Council membership that I'm being allowed to
> unilaterally decide what's a non-controversial change and implement it? If
> so, I guess I can get my mind around that idea, but it had just never
> occurred to me, frankly. Is that something that I should have recalled in a
> description of my responsibilities? It did cross my mind as I was filling
> out the ticket that it would just be less hassle for everybody if I quietly
> went in and made the changes, but I didn't seriously consider doing it,
> since I'm not an editor (nor a member of the "editorial board"). Is it
> perhaps the case that the Council as a body has now assumed the duties of
> the editorial board, which as I understand it is no longer being funded? I
> suspect that the Sourcefourge framework, especially that "Assignee" column,
> implied something more . . . formal. I suspect that another part of my lack
> of vision is cultural: Votes of confidence or no confidence are pretty
> foreign to US politics, but we *are* big on "checks and balances." So
> people aren't generally allowed both to decide what the law should be AND
> enforce it.
> None of that was intended as complaint. I'm actually just embarrassed and
> frustrated that I'm still not doing the right thing. Would you mind just
> quickly explaining what sort of thought process I should be using as I look
> through the tickets trying to lighten Lou's burden?
> Thanks,
> Brett
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