User:KSmith (WMF)/ArchCom thoughts/Stray notes

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Notes on existing practices[edit]

RfC process[edit]

Any major change to a process or technical direction should go through an RfC process, to ensure that the relevant stakeholders have had a chance to give input. After comments have been received and addressed, ArchCom would determine whether it has sufficient consensus to proceed to implementation. Note that different levels of consensus might be required for different proposals, based on size, risk, etc.

History[edit]

Prior to the RfC process, proposals would be emailed to wikitech-l, and discussion would happen there. A lack of discussion might be interpreted by some as an indication of consensus. This was formalized as the Requests for comment/Process, which directs the discussion to wiki pages and/or Phabricator tasks. See also Requests for comment.

Details[edit]

Anyone can draft an RfC. It must have an associated phab task, and will often have an associated wiki page. The phab task enters the ArchCom process by being added to the #ArchCom-RfC phab project. Tasks start in the Inbox column, where they can be triaged by RobLa or someone else in ArchCom.

An RfC generally goes through the following states:

  • Needs triage
  • Not ready for ArchCom to consider
  • Needs an ArchCom shepherd
    • Only for “important” RfC’s; others could go straight to backlog
  • Backlog
    • Don’t even have a plan for a plan yet.
    • Might not have a shepherd if it’s not needed
  • In progress/on track
    • No consensus yet
    • ArchCom has said “the idea sounds good”
    • Developer is working (e.g. on a prototype) to help frame discussion or build consensus
    • Doesn’t need discussion; “maybe check back in 3 months”
  • Under discussion (via phab comments or other channels?) (“Needs Discussion”)
    • No consensus yet
    • RFC meeting might accelerate it
  • Ready for interactive RFC meeting (weekly on IRC)
  • Final comment
  • Approved

NOTE: It would be great to have a diagram showing the possible state changes

ArchCom shepherds[edit]

Each RfC is assigned a member of ArchCom to act as its “shepherd” The shepherd:

  • From https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T125865 :
    • Makes sure that stakeholders are informed.
    • Guides the discussion.
    • Once the discussion plateaus or stalls & in coordination with the RFC author(s), announces and widely publicizes a "Final Comment Period", which is one week.
  • Acts as the single point of contact within ArchCom for communication about this RfC
  • (other shepherd responsibilities?)

Phabricator[edit]

Columns in #ArchCom-RfC[edit]

  • Backlog (blocked or draft)
  • Inbox
  • Needs shepherd
  • Under discussion
  • Ready for RFC meeting
  • Final comment
  • ArchCom Approved

Other related projects/workboards[edit]

#Architecture - No longer actively monitored. Candidate to be deleted?

#ArchCom - Unclear purpose. Probably need to update the phab project description.