Project leadership and politics

Discussion in 'Mobius Engine Project' started by Rolken, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. Rolken

    Rolken

    Tech Members Tech Member
    A lot of Retro projects (including Retro itself) have had trouble with focusing on the wrong things, endless chatter, drama, etc. In the interest of nipping that off in the bud, note that on a project like this...

    Democracy is bullshit.

    Democracy is the best we've come up with for running a country, but this isn't a country. You can enter or leave any time you want. And since the project is open, if you disagree with the leadership, you can fork it and try to do better, and let the marketplace of ideas decide.

    One person (Gen?) or a very small group of people should have absolute authority. The role and responsibility of a good leader, then, is to demonstrate to everyone else that that authority is well-placed; that their judgment, insight, taste and just plain good sense can be trusted. This is a very difficult task to live up to and requires an excess of self-awareness and self-doubt. It's, frankly, a huge pain in the ass, and not for everyone.

    The most important role of a leader at Retro is probably to settle debates on details and provide canonical answers before the debate stops being productive. This is where having trustworthy judgment and taste comes in.

    “If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

    The only way to succeed with a volunteer project like this is through mutual trust, respect, and dignity, with a focus on building something beautiful. This can't be forced; it can only be nurtured. Everyone should bear that in mind.
     
  2. synchronizer

    synchronizer

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    If a project is to be community-based, then indeed, I agree that there should be a small group of leaders, or even a single one, that takes charge, and considers helpful and realistic suggestions from the rest of the community. Is this basically what you are proposing?

    Exactly what is the purpose of this thread? I can surmise that there are some internal changes being made in the Sonic 2 HD project. Am I correct?
     
  3. Rolken

    Rolken

    Tech Members Tech Member
    There's no purpose other than the overt one: to offer tone and guidelines on what leads to a successful project, as someone who has run and participated in successful projects, including specifically running a successful Sonic fan community. I'm an outsider here, so I have no idea what's going on with S2HD internally.
     
  4. dsrb

    dsrb

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    Are you sure you're in the same subforum that you think you're in?

    Anyway, good post, Rolken. I'd like to see it be followed, so I'll be watching with interest (in lieu of talent, that is :ohdear:).
     
  5. HeartAttack

    HeartAttack

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    Excellent post, Rolken. SO true. It's a similar idea with online forums in general - it simply is NOT a democracy. People can whine and bitch but it comes down to one or just a few people - the owner and/or the administrators. If you try to include any more people, then it will likely get ugly and progress will never be made. It's why so many "community projects" die nearly every single time; people argue over insanely trivial things and they end up getting nowhere.
     
  6. Sofox

    Sofox

    Member Member
    Fully agree with you Rolken. I'd been feeling the same, but you put it better than I could.

    So the question is, who's our Dictator/Leader?

    I thought it was Gen. He was the one who got this project going and in the Recruitment Thread he put down "Project Lead(s): Gen".

    So is this offical? Does Gen have full responsiblity over the project and seeing it through to completion? Because that sounds like an aweful lot for one person to take on board.

    Having said that, we need to push us forward and make decisions that may not have clear answers.
     
  7. Gen

    Gen

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    As far as leadership, for now you could effectively consider me the leader of the project.

    Ideally, what I'd like to see is a core team established that has the most significant decision making power of the project, while accepting useful code contributions from others.

    I feel that guidelines should be developed to better establish what should be considered submission criteria to the project, and some sort of standard for feedback as well.

    For example, some people see this as a project to help them learn C++ and engine design in general, however a production engine should not include code that's generally prone to mistakes, so code review may be a good idea here.
     
  8. Conan Kudo

    Conan Kudo

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    I'd like to see a Mercurial system set up with Review Board (which is like Gerrit for Hg). Since Review Board supports pre-commit reviews as opposed to post-commit reviews, code can be reviewed before being merged into Mercurial. Review Board supports hooking directly into BitBucket, so we don't have to run a repo on the same server that Review Board is running on. It also supports SourceForge and Google Code. It can also integrate with BitBucket's issue tracker, I believe. I know it integrates with Google Code's issue tracker, though.


     
  9. steveswede

    steveswede

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    from my perspective observing this community project, Gen seems to be leading this project very well so it would be best for him to be project leader and have the final say on everything. A project like this needs someone to be decisive to get shit done and he appears to fit the bill.