Thanks for sharing
Bjorn recently blogged about the importance of Eclipse projects being “open, transparent and permeable.” I completely agree, but think there are some hard questions around this.
First, there’s the volume of information. For any given Eclipse project, there are a number of communication channels. In no particular order:
- web site
- mailing lists
- wiki pages
- source code
- other mailing lists associated with the project (e.g. Eclipse Councils)
- meeting minutes
- conference presentations and discussions
There’s probably more – 10 seems like a reasonable example set. Now, let’s multiple these channels by the number of projects I might be interested in (some projects might not use a particular channel, others might have specific channel… you get the idea…) and that’s a lot of information to absorb. Too much: I’m deeply involved in DTP, and I’m running as fast as I can to keep up with the DTP channels, never mind other projects.
Certainly I pay attention to other projects (example: the platform… who doesn’t?), but my view is a specific slice of their information content. There’s simply not enough time for me to do otherwise.
What I need is information summaries or alerts for topics I care about. I appreciate knowing about technical discussions, and having input into decisions I care about. But how to I isolate this information? I submit that another mailing list, wiki page, or such is not the answer… Telling me “it is there, just read this or that” misses the whole point.
Secondly, there is a back-channel of communication for dealing with individuals or organization/companies who want to have a “private” conversation. There are a lot of reasons why, and maybe I’ll blog about it later if people are interested. Most Eclipse project members I know encourage these conversations to come “into the light” as soon as possible, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a private component as well. Do you think this is a bad idea, out of the spirit of Eclipse? Maybe. Are all Eclipse project members willing to step into a panopticon with the community? I would, but only if I were convinced that everyone else would too (otherwise, I cut off an important and useful channel without corresponding benefit).