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acme (189)

acme
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http://www.astray.com/

Leon Brocard (aka acme) is an orange-loving Perl eurohacker with many varied contributions to the Perl community, including the GraphViz module on the CPAN. YAPC::Europe was all his fault. He is still looking for a Perl Monger group he can start which begins with the letter 'D'.

Journal of acme (189)

Sunday March 04, 2007
04:14 AM

Meritocracy

[ #32559 ]

If open source projects operate as a meritocracy then why do they often develop so much politics? Projects often have a leader - I can understand why, someone needs to make the final decision or commit. These leaders come to the top because of their ability. However, when the leader stops having any interest in the project it seems to me that people are very wary of saying "X hasn't done anything for six months and is killing the project, Y (or I) want to be in charge". Here's advice to you: stop being touchy-feely about open source politics and JFDI.

(In some respect, this applies to companies too: salary should be linked to profit for the company rather than number of meetings or underlings).

Discuss.

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  • Okay, so that title doesn't sound like Charleton Heston when I type it.

    I ran across the talk "The Great Failure of Wikipedia" [archive.org] by Jason Scott. Besides all the other stuff he thinks about Wikipedia, he talks at length about what happened when Wikipedia started having users instead of anonymous editors. The concept of identity really screwed with things and opened the door for politics. He also talks about how Jimmy Wales's insistence on not setting rules is really a way of setting rules.

    However, the Jason als
    • I've now written, taken over, and given up control over a fair number of modules.

      I very much think that one of the underlying problems with a lot of open source projects is that the leader themselves don't know how and when to clearly hand-off a project to the next person with 1. Enough time, and 2. The skills (in that order) to provide continuity for the project.
    • spake acme:

      If open source projects operate as a meritocracy then why do they often develop so much politics?

      Basically (although this can be summed up in the subject line), the merits of a particular person or idea are not always obvious, and are usually quite subjective, which leads to argument and faction.

      Profit is a mostly objective form of merit in business (although I disagree that salary should be linked only to profit, but also to replacability and so on, though maybe acme would include that as well; it's not like he went into detail), but where's the objective merit in Perl? I wrote this modul