[openstack-dev] [all] Something about being an ATC

Flavio Percoco flavio at redhat.com
Fri Oct 2 09:53:39 UTC 2015


First and foremost, thanks to all the amazing candidates running for
the TC. I'm very excited to see new candidacies, other candidacies
from the previous terms and exciting proposals.

Just like for the PTL elections, I took the time to share a few
thoughts about the upcoming TC voting week. I wanted to dedicate these
thoughts to OpenStack's ATCs, which are the ones that will elect the
members of the TC.

The link is: http://blog.flaper87.com/post/something-about-being-an-ATC/

For the sake of discussion, I'm pasting it below (enjoy markdown):

You may be probably wondering what the heck is wrong with me. If you
haven't, please, keep reading. If you have, though, please, keep

It's that time of the cycle - ha! you saw this comming, didn't you? -,
in OpenStack, when we need to elect new members for the Technical
Committee. In a [previous post](http://blog.flaper87.com/post/something-about-being-a-ptl/), I
talked about what being a [PTL](http://docs.openstack.org/project-team-guide/open-development.html#project-team-lead)
means. I talked directly to candidates and I encouraged them to
understand each and every point that I've made in that post. This
time, though, I'd like to talk directly to ATCs for a couple of
reasons. First one is that Thierry Carrez has a [great post](http://ttx.re/tech-committee-candidates.html) already where he
explains what being a TC member means. Second one is that I think you,
my dear ATC, are one of the most valuable member of this community and
of the ones with most power throughout OpenStack.

Let's start by laying down what ATC means.

Active Technical Contributor

An Active Technical Contributor (ATC) is a member of the OpenStack
Foundation that has contributed to any of the official projects in the
last two cycles. Any contributions to the projects will make you an

Being an ATC, like anything else in OpenStack, is a volunteers job.
It's not necessary to be an ATC to be part of the community and, if
you are, you're not required to cover for all the ATC
responsibilities, although you'll still get all the ATC benefits.

Why do ATCs have power?

As in any other democratic model, members of the communities have the
power to elect their leaders. As far as OpenStack goes, every ATC will
have the power to vote for the people that will represent the
community in the Technical Committee and in the Foundation Board
(Individual members only).

If you're not familiar with these groups, I'd really suggest you to
read more about the [governance structure](https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/Governance/Foundation/Structure)
and I'd also recommend you to take a look at the current [Technical

I'll abstain to give a short version of the current governance model
because anything I'll write here won't be as detailed as what's in
those links. However, I'd like to encourage you to read them before
going forward with this post.

Now that you've a better understanding of OpenStack's governance model
and the responsabilities of each of its parts, I hope it's also
clearer why your vote, more importantly your conscious vote, is so

Teach me how to vote

Glad you asked because that's what this post is about. I don't mean to
tell you who to vote for and I definitely don't mean to share this as
the definitive guide of how/why you should vote. However, I do think
the points below should be added to your list of considerations when
you're casting your vote.

Technical Committee takes time

Being part of the technical committee takes a lot of time. Just like
being a PTL and being a super active ATC. It all takes time. Don't
ever give for granted that people running for a TC seat have enough
time in their hands. If you have doubts, I'd highly recommend you to
openly ask to *everyone* whether they have enough time in their hands.

Look at the candidates tasks. Look at how many things they are doing
and ask yourself (or themselves) whether, considering their current
tasks, they'll have enough time. For example, PTLs may find it hard to
dedicate a significant amount of time to being a TC. It depends on the
project, it depends on the satus, etc. But, past has proven that this
is normally the case.

The reason you should care about that is not just because you want the
TC members to take good care of you and OpenStack. That's an amazing
reason. However, you, as an ATC, should also take care of the TC. You
don't want members of the TC to burnout when OpenStack is half-way
through a cycle. Many times, people underestimate the cost of time and
what the TC requirements are.

Did you know the TC meetings are on Tuesdays at 20:00 UTC? That's
22:00 CEST and 8:00 in New Zealand (during summer/winter ;). The only
reason I'm mentioning this is because it's relevant for the next

Attending Meetings

You'd think that one should not require anyone to attend meetings but,
as I go through my 7th month as a TC member, I can tell you for sure
that that's were things are discussed. Yes, there are emails and yes,
there are reviews. However, the TC discusses things mostly on
meetings. It's a model that has worked well enough so far as it's
allowed the TC for reaching consensus in a decent amount of time.

All these meetings are open and
[logged](http://eavesdrop.openstack.org/meetings/tc/). The TC and
other community members share their opinions there. You can see live
how the interactions work, how the TC behaves, what each of the
member's opinions are and even if they are active or not.

The point here is that, whenever you're voting for a TC member, you
must make sure that people's visions are sound to what your visions
are. Think of what you would like OpenStack and the community to be
like and then go and judge each of the candidates on emails, reviews,

Many times, current TC members send their candidacies to stay in their
current role. Reviewing meetings is a great way to get a feeling of
what their work is like. But that's definitely not the only one, there
are also reviews. Nonetheless, I think attendance to meetings and the
contributions during these meetings are a good way to get a feeling of
what the commitment of the members is.

Reviewing TC Reviews

The governance repo is the starting point of many discussions that
happen in the meetings. You can get a great feeling of what the TC
members opinions, agreements and disagreements by just looking at the
governance reviews. There's a [dashboard](http://bitly.com/tc-review-dashboard)
that many of us use for reviews but I'd also recommend you to go and
look back to some of the approved ones.

As an ATC, you don't want to just judge the decision. You want to
evaluate existing reviews and see how the TC is doing. Having
diversity and different opinions is extremely important. The last
thing OpenStack needs is tribalism and I'd highly encourage you to
seek for folks that have good visions, different opinions and

A change on perspective

As I just mentioned in the previous section, different perspectives
and diversity is extremely important. The TC *needs* different views
to avoid making decisions that benefit just part of the community.
While I don't think this is currently the case, I do believe the lack
of a diverse set of views increases the probabilities for that to

When reviewing the candidacies, I'd like to encourage you to take a
moment to see what teams that candidate interacts the most with. Is it
OPs ? Is it Docs? Is it OpenStack 101? Is it small or big clouds? Is
it corporate or startup? Just a couple of ideas, you don't really need
to go through them all but I hope those give you an idea of what I
mean here.

Think of what you'd like the community to go from here and how each of
the candidates would help taking it there. Change is great but it must
be done cautiously. Making huge shifts in such a big community comes
with lots of risks. Many times, I've agreed with some folks
perspectives but then disagreed on the timing. This is important too
and you have the power in your hands to make changes like this happen
(or not).

The TC is not cool

Yes, exactly. Being part of the TC is not about being cool. It's not
about having lables and seriously, there wouldn't be TC without a
community like OpenStack's so, I consider being an ATC way cooler than
being a member of the TC.

A TC member is always under the spotlight. Anything that the TC does
will be, eventually, evaluated by the community. These decisions,
while they must be taken on the best interest of OpenStack, don't
always make everyone happy. Candidates should be ready to make taugh
calls that are on the best interest of the community and you, as a
voter, have the chance to ask and/or identify these candidates by
looking at their candidacies and previous works.

In other words

Many of my points above will help you evaluate existing TC members
that would like to run for another cycle but don't stop there. Take
those points and apply them to other candidates. Look at their work,
look at their points of views and please, do take the time to think
how *you* would like OpenStack to be and how these candidates can help
it get there.

I'm asking you to use that power to help the TC to be better. The TC
needs people that are active, people that volunteer for jobs, people
that have diverse opinions and people that are also capable of
proposing solutions rather than just pointing out things that are
wrong. It's always easy to say what's wrong and then sit down waiting
for someone else to fix it. We're a small group and we need to get
things done.

Look at the candidates, look at whether they are active not only in
their communities but also in OpenStack in general. The TC is not a
bunch of people that meet every week to share random opinions. Please,
base your vote on facts that will help the community because it is
OpenStack that we're trying to make better, not just the TC.

Flavio Percoco
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