Re: Re: Digest of QA/Developer Lead Discussion

From: Matt Shomphe <mshomphe_at_comcast_dot_net>
Date: Sat Aug 09 2003 - 17:39:28 CDT

At 03:08 PM 8/9/2003 -0700, you wrote:

> > When you sent your dialogue with Anand, I couldn't really make heads
> > or tails of it. ...
> >
>But you didn't have to either. If someone picked up something relevant in
>the discussion, that's fine. If readers don't get anything out of it,
>that's okay too. Most people on this list haven't really studied all the
>messages posted here. It's not necessary that they study and understand
>everything.

But if this meeting has stuff relevant to me, I have to be able to
understand it. I cannot understand the text of a chat without a
significant investment of time & effort, much more than someone coming up
with a summary of the meeting.

> > It's like listening to the tape of a meeting, but with "smileys"
> > interjected. In addition, someone reading the text might misinterpret
> > something, or something that looked resolved earlier in the text is
>changed
> > later on.
> >
>Fine. Nobody is forced to read it.

But if we're just pasting chat transcripts (and believe me, if they are
required, that's the ONLY thing that will be sent out), *I'm* going to be
forced to read it. I need to be on the up & up wrt everything.

>That's fine, so long as the text is cut and pasted and posted somewhere.
>
>Let me be very clear on this point: I have a lot of experience in bug
>meetings. One time I missed a bug meeting during one of the projects I
>worked on at Intel (R&D lab Hillsboro Oregon) and one of the catastrophic
>bugs I posted got classified as a "feature request." No lie. I would have
>enjoyed hearing just how that happened and who said what at the meeting,
>but, obviously, such discussions regarding commercial products at a place
>like Intel are highly sensitive. There is no way any such meeting would
>ever be recorded, and the bug databases themselves are highly
>confidential -- subject to non-disclosure non-compete agreements etc.
>
>I got it fixed eventually, but if I had been at the meeting it would never
>have been classified as a "feature request."

Okay, maybe I'm missing something, but I'm not seeing how this is
relevant. It's not that our discussions are secret; they are not subject
to NDAs, etc. The discussion here is what is the most appropriate way of
transmitting information to the group. The summary that comes out of the
meeting is implicitly agreed to by the participants of the meeting --
otherwise corrections would fly around as soon as it was published. Using
chats as a medium would be an abysmal failure.

Look, Noam Chomsky bases his whole formal syntax program on the "paucity of
data" argument: that children can't learn language just by listening to
people talk, there's something "hardwired" that makes language
learnable. Chomsky came to this conclusion after reading a transcript of
one of his lectures. This may speak poorly for Noam, but it's also the
crux of my argument: verbatim transcripts are not a viable medium for
transmitting data.

>My desire to monitor bug meetings in this project was reinforced by the fact
>that of the first four bugs I posted here, two of them became "feature
>requests." They were not feature requests. They were requirements.

That was a decision made by an individual, as far as I know, and quickly
rectified. Bugs will be monitored and the process will be open. In fact,
if you notice on the SourceForge "bug" page, you end up with a record of
all actions & comments attached to a bug.

>This project is very different from the process by which proprietary
>software gets developed. Let me quote a few things from the Doug Jones
>letter draft here:

[snip]

These ideas are at the very core of the larger project. I want to extend
>this "open" idea to all aspects of the construction of the demo too.

Everyone can attend these meetings, and all the output from these meetings
will be available for public consumption. There is no secrecy.

This is my argument:
(1) Chat transcripts are not a viable way of conveying information. The
signal to noise ratio is terrible.
(2) If we require chat transcripts and *only* chat transcripts, they will
be the only thing people send out. I know I would do it if it was
considered to be sufficient.
(3) I still fail to see the benefit of sending out
transcripts. "Open-ness" is preserved without sending out
transcripts. Meetings are open to anyone. The results are open to everyone.

If this is what you require, I'll do it, but I'm not convinced that we need
this...

Matt
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Received on Sun Aug 31 23:17:05 2003

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