Fedora-Council/tickets ticket #448: Election Interview Questions (F38)

@bcotton filed Fedora-Council/tickets ticket #448. Discuss here and record votes and decisions in the ticket.

Ticket text:

We’re far enough along in strategy2028 that I’m not sure the fourth question adds a ton of value anymore. I propose we replace it with this:

  • The Fedora Council is intended to be an active working body. What will you stop doing in order to make room for Council work?


I’m not sure we have crafted a good message on the Council being a working body and not a decision-making body. But I agree that active hands makes for a more engaging and impactful term on the Council.

Perhaps one way to rephrase it:

The Fedora Council is intended to be an active working body. If you already contribute actively elsewhere in the community, what work will you stop in order to make room for Council work?

It does feel mildly intimidating to me though. I can’t decide if it is fine or if there is a better way.

This feels like a given? I can’t recall a candidate that hasn’t been active somewhere in the community.

That is also fair. I guess I was trying to soften the language. Maybe it is fine as is.

It does feel a bit invasive.

Like what if someone decides to become a Fedora Council member because their kids went to college? Or health issues? Should they write it like - I have now free time because I can not leave my home that often? Or “I am starting my PhD so the procrastination levels are at their highest”?

While I understand the intent of the question, that participants should commit to the role and be reasonable about time it will consume, asking about unrelated things doesn’t feel right to me. Whether people have enough time for the work is the decision people make on their own, and it should be prerequisite for nominating themselves.

And even if someone’s answer is - I will sleep 4 hour per night and use all my free time on Fedora - that’s their decision.

So I would maybe remove this question completely. Or replace with something more in line with: what kind of work you commit to as a member of Fedora Council? Are there any specific projects you would like to work on while you are there? to see if a person is willing to be active participant vs being a passive observer.

I agree with this reframing.

It would be nice to know what passions someone is bringing to the Council. They should already be telling us why they are running, but that can sometimes be abstract. I like asking about specific projects of interest because that could be something that the elected person “owns” as part of their term on the Council.

It also gives voters insight to what they might expect as outcomes to multiple candidates’ priorities.

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The reason I proposed the wording I did is because we have a history of people who are very active in the project being elected to bodies and not having the capacity to take on more. As we discussed some in the hackfest back in February (and in various other conversations before that), we should make it clear that being elected to the Council means taking on new work.

Aleksandra’s proposal is well intended, but it doesn’t address the key issue: we already have people committing to work in their interviews, either explicitly or implicitly. The issue is that the commitment doesn’t get met. So asking explicitly for a commitment to work without acknowledging that they’ll have to actually make space for it doesn’t get us anywhere.

How about “Which of the current Council initiatives you would work on?” So that it is not about what pet project someone will bring additionally to the Council, but what someone is going to pick from the existing things.

I understand your concern, I am not sure that turning the interview question into a sort of “public pledge of commitment” is the good way to address it.

I feel like there are two issues:

  1. someone doesn’t understand the commitment required to do the work;
  2. someone understand the amount of work required, commits to it and then fails to deliver on the commitment.

The latter is the real pain, but I don’t believe that interview question is helping with it. When I apply for a position I expect to have enough time for it. Then things happen. I will feel guilty, but that will not make me work better.

With the former I think there is a potential.

Year ago if you would ask me: what a council member does - I would probably do a handwavy answer - comes to meetings and discusses whatever it is to discuss there. Which is not very helpful in setting up commitments. It is hard to put a priority label on it, and it doesn’t create a lot of value, as it is basically just “+1 to what Matthew and Ben say, because they are that good”.

Currently if you ask me what Council member supposed to be doing - i’d say look into any of the strategic initiatives and make them happen :slight_smile: This creates some better focus and some purpose for me at least. It doesn’t mean I am becoming good at tracking and delivering on time, but it is easier to prioritize this kind of active work toward a goal over just “be there”.

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I’m not sure what you mean by that. When you say “Initiatives”, I think of the Artist Formerly Known as “Objectives”. If you’re talking about the areas of strategy2028, the complication here is that we haven’t approved any of that yet, so it’s asking people to commit to something that may or may not exist. I think I understand the general direction you’re heading with this, but we need to make the wording more clear.

Yeah, that’s a good point. Unfortunately, it’s kind of the only mechanism we have for it at the moment. There’s really no other place in the process to say “before you sign up, you know this requires active work, right?”

We deliberated in detail during today’s Council meeting, and came to an agreement on this:

“The Fedora Council is intended to be an active working body. How will you make room for Council work?”