Critique & self-critique

27Nov07

Thanks to Murray, Jeff and others we are seeing now explicitely that critique and self-critique is not necessarely easy in open environments populated by volunteering freedom lovers. You think you are in an open environment where everybody can speak out, until you try to challenge the boundaries. Starting with yourself and your inner boundaries.

Are you telling everything you would like to tell? I certainly don’t. Shyness, respect, busy time, evaluation of potential reactions, lack of better alternatives… there are many reasons to freely decide not to be totally open about something / someone.

Are you being self-critique, even to yourself? That’s even more difficult to know. I think I am, and for instance this is why I decided not to run for re-election. I could be wrong, though. Many times someone told me something about me that I had been overlooking / ignoring / avoiding. Self-critique is a tough exercise, easier once you start though.

But what is relevant to the GNOME Foundation and the elections: we are not prepared to critique and self-critique. Board members leave a mandate without telling what went right and what went wrong, who did better and who did worse. We are volunteers and we respect each other: why getting into these potential personal troubles. There is not a mechanism for evaluation or even self evaluation, besides you being free to speak out or shut up.

Due to the function of the board, the critique is not so much about politics (opinions about topics) than about efficiency (ability to administer stuff individually and in a team). In this sense the opinions of those working regularly with the candidates are useful to figure out who to vote. Getting the positive opinions help, but getting also the hard critique would help more.

Political opposition in democratic systems help the citizenship to figure out what is really going on. When someone presents explicit opposition he is helping our democratic process, no matter how accurate his arguments are, no matter how much you agree or disagree about them. Speak out, listen, discuss, vote: these are the basis of democracy (and consensus).

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8 Responses to “Critique & self-critique”

  1. 1 Luarvique L. Luravique

    >There is not a mechanism for evaluation or even self evaluation, besides
    > you being free to speak out or shut up.
    But *there is* a such a mechanism. Open or not, you evaluate your performance by the amount of progress being made by the project because of your actions. The rest is just irrelevant chatter.

  2. Note that “performance” and “progress” are subjective values. I can honestly think I have shown a good performance and I have contributed a good amount of progress through my actions. You can honestly think the opposite about me. There is no way to objectivize this without some kind of public evaluation.

    In a professional job you get evaluated all the time. In a volunteering context fortunately not, but this leads easily towards lack of critique or some kind of controversy/confrontation.

    Not easy, but probably not that relevant either – personal differences apart. No matter who is elected to the board next year, what Murray or Jeff do in their contributions, the GNOME project will do more or less equally good or bad.

  3. 3 Luarvique L. Luravique

    > Note that “performance” and “progress” are subjective values.
    > I can honestly think I have shown a good performance and I have
    > contributed a good amount of progress through my actions.
    > You can honestly think the opposite about me. There is no way to
    > objectivize this without some kind of public evaluation.
    There is a plenty of ways, in terms of new applications released, new features added, bugs fixed, copies downloaded, etc. etc. All these are numbers. They do allow for some subjectivity in interpretation, but not for a huge lot.

  4. 4 bkor

    Luarvique: Those examples have no relation to being a board member.

  5. 5 Mike

    For someone like me who has no idea what all the bickering is about, this is pretty sad to see. Are these people children or adults? If they are actually over the age of 12, they should just grow up and learn to deal with conflict and disagreement like adults. Otherwise their parents should send them to bed with out any dinner and take away their internet privileges. What utter nonsense.

  6. 6 Dscho

    If it is true what they say about you blocking Theora in HTML5, I quite welcome your move not to run for director of GNOME again. Because blocking open standards is just disgusting.

  7. @Dscho please check your sources. I’m not blocking Theora in HTML5 (I’m not even remotely involved in that process) and I’m advocating for open standards within my modest possibilities for over a decade now (including this past year working at Nokia).

    I didn’t run for reelection just because I hadn’t put the time needed in the board this year and I didn’t expect this to improve next year.


  1. 1 Life is so good, it gets better every day » Blog Archive » GNOME Handbagging

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