[rfc-i] RSE models

SM sm at resistor.net
Tue Nov 30 12:51:37 PST 2010

Hi Ted,
At 23:09 27-11-10, Ted Hardie wrote:
>Reading through the most recent draft and the threads on this list,
>I've been struggling with both a sense that we're missing something
>very fundamental and a humbling lack of ability to say anything
>that digs it out.  Below is my best current effort, because I think something

I unfortunately have to agree with you.

>I think, at the base, we're struggling because for the past decades
>the folks acting as RFC Editors were people who were widely admired
>by both our community and the wider world.  In a variety of ways,
>we seem to be asking Glenn to write a job description that echoes
>a very deep desire within the community to have the person holding
>this job be someone admired by at least this community and, hopefully,
>the wider world.


>We've changed the basic model organizing the RFC series to split the
>functionality into various pieces.  The Independent Stream and the decisions
>that went into placing things in it were a big part of the previous 
>RFC Editor's
>power, discretion, and community standing.  Now that the RSE and ISE
>are split, I think we're very much struggling to find ways that the
>RSE can be a
>leader within the community.

With the RSE and ISE being split, I don't see why this community 
should keep searching for rare birds.  It will take years for a RSE 
to define the role.  The RFC Editor has been stripped of its 
institutional history.  It is not up to me to determine whether this 
is by design.  The fact is that we are starting with a new slate.

>And I think we're back to making a mistake that almost all organizations
>make at some point--conflating the characteristics of the incumbents
>with the roles they have to play.  The role the RSE has to play is one


>focused on keeping the series going by making sure that its form
>and format keep up with the changing needs of archival continuity,
>searchability, an international group of contributors and lectors,
>and subject matter that may require explication in complex forms.
>Anyone doing that job well will be admired by the community,


>There are huge amounts of this job that will always be invisible if done
>well, much as it is for the site selection team or the IAD's 
>work.  And I think
>we have to trust ourselves to admire someone who does that invisible
>work well, rather than finding ways to attract people whom we already
>admire or loading the job with other difficult jobs that require stature,
>gravitas, or the appropriately long white beard.



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