Planning the 2023 Council Hackfest agenda

Howdy folks! I wanted to kick off a discussion on the agenda and topics for the first face-to-face Council meeting in a long time happening next month. For context, the Fedora Council is planning a face-to-face meeting from 7-9 February. These hackfests give the Fedora Council members an opportunity to connect offline and work through topics that are challenging for a virtual format.

From discussions and conversations, I discerned three headline agenda topics (open to feedback):

  1. 5-year strategy planning
  2. Top-level organization
  3. Team-building

5-year strategy planning

This would be the topic with the heaviest weight. The outcome is to finalize the timeline for a new 5-year strategy for the Fedora Project. This might include a detailed review of the drafted material to-date, mapping a timeline for launching the new strategy with additional rounds of feedback, and planning outreach activities around the new strategy.

@mattdm hoped that we could identify Council champions for different goals,. These could be closely tied to the kind of seat that a Council member holds. This way, major parts of the strategy would not fall on any one or a few people’s shoulders. One use of the hackfest time would be figuring out as a team what goal ownership looks like.

@bcotton adds that we should focus on defining the right-side of the logic model, so we get the impact and outcomes documented right. The focus of the hackfest should not get too deep on the left-side of the logic model in implementation details. Implementation details will take and won’t be finished there. But we should make sure we get the impact and outcomes right as a group, so the implementation details are easier to plan later.

Top-level organization

This agenda topic is about the Council charter and reviewing our composition. @mattdm could expand more on this one for a specific outcome or direction he wanted this to go.

Team-building

We’d like to do something fun as a group and celebrate our first face-to-face meeting after so long. @jbley shared a repository of possible ideas for local things that we could do (see below). The Council can review the list of options and decide on something unrelated to work to do together.

Adding one more topic to the agenda wish list:

Code of Conduct: The next step

The Fedora Council previously ratified a new Code of Conduct in 2021, led by the esteemed @riecatnor. Now that some time has passed, we want to bring our Code of Conduct to the next phase. There is a (very!) loose structure for a Code of Conduct Committee (CoCC), but we haven’t really figured out what that looks like, who can participate, and how selection to this group works.

The goal for the Council hackfest is to review a proposal for the Code of Conduct Committee, share feedback and propose any edits, and then vote to make the change. Ideally, we would have a CoCC with seats nominated by the Council, yet it is still independent and separate from the Fedora Council as an entity. This would give the CoCC a more neutral position to do its work free from undue influences, and in the case of an appeal or conflict, the Council could be a fallback.

There are details to figure out, and we don’t want to start from the beginning at the hackfest. We will have a proposal to go through together and hopefully ratify by the end of our hackfest.

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Howdy folks, one more update here. I received a request from @jbley, who works from the Red Hat Frankfurt office where we will run our hackfest.

Could we bundle a “Fedora town hall” into one afternoon of our hackfest agenda? This would be informal Q&A and ideally gives more visibility into Fedora, open source community, and what we are doing in Fedora to Red Hat colleagues who work in Frankfurt. Julia also offered to provide pizza/sandwiches/snacks for us in the office for this town hall!

I like this idea because I think it helps other Red Hatters understand “the Fedora way” better and also makes connections with people in the office where we will share space together for the week in Frankfurt.

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@jbley brought it up in our 1:1 meeting call and it really resonated in me the number of ideas that we can share (and of course, get to know about) from the folks in the office. It does not really have to be just the folks who are directly involved with the technical side of things but I like to think that it would be really interesting to show folks, in practice, how a community around upstream projects is maintained and what we do to drive things forward.

Here’s an explicit +1 lol.

I’m weakly opposed to this. The Council hasn’t met in person since late 2019, so I’m hesitant about giving up part of this time. I like the general concept, but this is also something that could be done virtually or by one or two people. Having the whole Council there seems like a poor allocation of our limited time together.

@bcotton Would you feel the same even if we made it part of a scheduled lunch break, where we otherwise might go and walk around Frankfurt to find somewhere to eat, and then walk from said place to eat back to the office? I get the point you’re making though. Just trying to think around how to make this request work.

I’m sort of with @bcotton here. If we bolt on more things to what is a Fedora Council in person gathering, we’re going to exhaust ourselves and lose time. I personally don’t like scheduling things during lunch because I can’t both have lunch and do the thing especially if it’s a Q&A panel.

For me, if it were outside of our working hours then I think we could manage. What I would want to prioritize is our Fedora Council gathering first and get that done and then we can have a Q&A.

All that said, if one is planned outside of what I said above, I will participate.

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For the 5-year strategy, Engineering topics I would like to have on the agenda:

  • Communication channels (IRC, Matrix, Discourse, mailing lists, etc)
  • Pagure
  • bugzilla.redhat.com

For all of the above I want to discuss what we want things to look like 5 years from now. Not the how necessarily, but the way things look today probably won’t be how they will look in 5 years. Or shouldn’t.

I also want to discuss Fedora’s relationship with downstream consumers of Fedora content and how we want that to work 5 years down the road. This may not be possible, but we should give some thought to the relationship between Fedora and RHEL, Fedora and CentOS, and Fedora and other projects. The relationship between CentOS and RHEL is very different than it was before RHEL-8. Odds are that will continue to evolve. Where should Fedora be in this picture and how can we make sure that we remain flexible enough for the needs of downstream projects.

And lastly, potentially controversial Engineering topics I would like to discuss:

  • Fedora LTS?
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My concern is that those topics are too detailed for where we are in the strategy discussion. I’m open to having those conversations if we get the top-level strategy set,.

They may be. I am thinking long term goals. Maybe we can have a discussion that arrives at “we don’t have enough information at this time to further discuss things”.

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This is more of a note for myself following the Council meeting discussion today. Some filters for our team-building activity:

  1. Something with a greater ratio of time spent outside than inside.
  2. Nothing that involves heights.
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Yeah, there a few reforms I’d like to make to the Council charter. These are:

  1. Getting rid of the concept of “Auxiliary Seats” and making all council members equal in weight. This affects the Diversity & Inclusion Team Representative and Fedora Program Manager roles.

    When I was working this out with the Board, some members of the then-current Board were concerned that a full vote for the diversity role would lead to someone unqualified making technical decisions. In the almost-decade since then… I don’t think it’s necessary.

    Similarly, there was some concern that having three full-time paid RH roles on the Council overweights things in RH’s favor. I think there are two key things that mitigate that. First… well, it’s really the time that makes that difference, rather than the voting rights, so I don’t think this is a good way to address any problem of that nature in practice. But second: because we require consensus for decisions, the number doesn’t really matter that much. It’s not like it becomes an easier majority or anything. (And, well, third: I think it’s well-established that many people who work for RH have very different opinions.)

  2. Speaking of the DEI role: I’d like to put that back to “DEI Advisor”, rather than “Team Rep”. The team is important, but the role is an individual one.

  3. Adding the concept of Executive Sponsor to Objectives — in addition to the objective lead, each objective should also have an existing council member to champion (and take some responsibility for) that objective.

  4. Adding some more specific responsibilities to various roles. To be discussed.

Yeah… I’d hoped to have us further along by now. But for where we are, this is the outcome we need. I’m working on another post about how I hope this all to go. For the council meeting, I hope to spend some time mapping things on a whiteboard while we all talk excitedly.