Fresh Step, Part 2, Subsection: Coordinators

So, there was some concern about clarifying the nature of the Coordinator role as presenting in Fresh Step, Part 1: Organisation, Section 2, Paragraph 4 deep breath. The concept I have in mind is pretty rough, but I will do my best to describe what I can.

What they are not

  • Task masters or bosses
  • People to report to

What they don’t do

  • Enforce schedules
  • Moderate community
  • Issue punishments
  • Manage roles

What they do do

  • Help shape schedules
    • With consent, help people adhere to them
  • Create and maintain roadmaps
  • Promote inter-team communication
    • “Hey, I noticed Thing X is happening in Team B, maybe you could sync up”
    • “Person A from Team B is struggling with Thing Y, could you, on behalf of Team A, help them out?”
  • Help triage and track issues

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With all that, what I hope to gain from this thread is a collaboratively written paragraph defining the role of a Coordinator and Coordinators as a group. If someone doesn’t beat me to making a first draft in the next day or so, I’ll reply with one.

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I have a few general suggestions.

The first couple sections seem to be defending against anticipated pushback to a proposal for a role that appears to exerts direct control over people. The proposal doesn’t do that, so those sections seem unnecessary.

Second, the actual role proposed seems unfocused and lacking many tools to accomplish any of the many things desired. I suggest picking the one most important thing you want people in this role to be able to accomplish, and then work backwards from there to define boundaries for responsibilities they need to have and what tools are at their disposal to make it happen. Being clear about a role’s expectations of behavior is how you avoid powers being misused.

For example: A discord moderator has clear responsibilities and tools, along with specific expectations about how the tools get used. They are to watch for and respond to certain types of communication which are not allowed. Some tools they have available are communicating to the person publicly or privately, kicking them, and banning them. It’s very clear that they can’t just go around banning folks for fun, so we don’t have to worry about misuse.

The more focused the role, the better. Remember, a person can have multiple roles. I could be a forum moderator and contribute code to part of the project, for example.

So what is this role, really? If it’s about shepherding a single large project, then what responsibilities do they have, and what tools should we make available to them under which circumstances? Or is it about triaging incoming issues? Or…?

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Antironically ( word me and my bros. coined, it means something like ironic, but more the opposite, like it’s irocnic that it’s not ironic or something…use at your own risk ) that’s a lot like an ECS or Rust traits! Create small, meaningful components, but allow entities to have more than one.

You know it’s a good pattern when it shows up repeatedly in nature! :wink:

I think the intent of the first two sections was to basically say “we’re not being employed to do this and we’re not setting up job positions with a reporting structure.” I think that’s very true. What we need are a set of focused roles that people can jump into, do for a bit, and then jump back out of, because we’re going to have a constantly-shifting volunteer force.

The better we can define these roles so that people can onboard into them and hand them off to someone else easily, the healthier the situation will be. It will take a lot of care to keep the situation healthy…like taking care of a garden. :tomato:

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Project management is a bit of an umbrella, and I’m wanting to reduce the “people management” to be more “facilitating and promoting peer coordination”. So, the role exists, but my intent is to adapt it to be less demanding of the people fulfilling the role as well as of the peers working with them.

I’m not sure how you’re concluding this? As you describe them with your Discord Moderator example, “tools” are social mechanisms for a given set of responsibilities and dynamics. They exist for project managers, adapting them to be, as I envision, more appropriate for OSS doesn’t mean this idea is starting from square zero.

To summarize in a single sentence, to keep the project moving forward. That can be broken into a few categories: making progress, measuring progress, and tracking the vision as it grows (assuming the vision is akin to a living document).

Re the Component-like nature of roles, this collection of responsibilities has a rhythm that is familiar to people who have already developed project management skills. Without having a cohesive, smooth way to incorporate it in other workflows, I’m not keen on breaking it up.

@khionu I want to make sure you understand that I’m with you on your intent. I get that you are trying to make a not-terribly-demanding role that meshes well with the community and helps it move forward. I’m not fighting you on this, I am looking for ways to help. I’m stating this here clearly because without the ability to read body language it is sometimes difficult for me to tell if I am pushing harder than I should in a discussion. I would not be offended at all if you would just like to go forward with your proposal as is and try it out. I am hoping to nudge you towards a more effective result that you like, but feel free to tell me at any time that you’re ready to make a decision and I’ll back off the suggestions. :blush:


In my experience project managers and people managers (in the HR sense) are already distinct roles, so the talk about separating them is confusing to me. I don’t think you’ll get any argument from anyone that Amethyst needs any people managers.

Let me restate what I think you are saying the list of responsibilities should be for Coordinators:

  • Create and maintain a roadmap (a sequence of projects)
  • Create and maintain projects (a sequence of issues to accomplish a concrete project)
  • Forecast the schedule of projects that are underway
  • Encourage people to participate in the projects
  • Maintain communication with everyone involved with the project
  • Forge paths of communication between folks involved within a project or across different projects
  • Triage incoming issues either route them to projects or otherwise classify them if they don’t fit into projects

That’s a lot. That’s what the professional, full-time project managers I work with do (minus the triaging and with a lot of help on the other things).

Right, I’m with you on that intent. That’s why I suggest narrowing the scope of the responsibilities further.

I agree. What do you envision? What do project managers have here that makes it so they can fulfill the responsibilities of the role? Here’s a straw-man example, feel free to replace it with you envision:

  • Direct access to foundation leadership via some means (meetings, private channel, etc.) to discuss direction of the project
  • The right to make implementation decisions on a project, or reject PRs that don’t meet certain project criteria
  • Ability to find new assignees for tasks of a project that fall under certain criteria (abandoned, stalled but critical path, etc.)
  • Ability to post to the blog for things like recruiting volunteers, project status updates, completion announcements.
  • Specific permissions and/or privileges (write access to repos, member status in the org, etc.)
  • Expectation that they communicate directly with people working on projects via issues and pull requests

Re tone/intent/etc, I haven’t taken anything personally or as an attack. I wasn’t in agreement on some things, but that was the limit of it. I apologize if I’ve been coming across as hostile in any sense. You’ve been fine.

Your list does help me see a division that might be best to uphold… though I need time to stew on it. Thinking maybe bringing in veteran status into this mix, the non-tier status I mentioned in the Org thread.

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That’s kind of along the lines of what I was thinking when I wrote the “After the vision comes leadership” post.

We have so little time as a community that we need as little governance as possible, within reason, in order to make sure we can actually get stuff done and make decisions. Still, even finding one person with that kind of time for Amethyst right now is a little difficult.

Essentially it seems like @khionu and @CleanCut might be the best candidates from what I’ve seen around so far.

Whoever it is, it would have to be at the discretion of the Board. If it were I, I wouldn’t mind sharing the role.

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