Board Candidate jhutch

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(2009) Joshua Hutchinson, or jhutch

Personal statement

jhutch: Joshua Hutchinson

Who I am:

I am, in no particular order, a father, a husband, a book-lover, a collector, an "information manager", a good friend, a terrible birthday rememberer, a great movie quotes rememberer, a library board member, an Amish buggy dodger, a push over for cute babies and the family tech guy.

As far as which of those apply to Distributor Proofreaders ... well, all of them and probably some others I didn't even think of. After all, DP is collection of some of the most widely diverse people (with widely diverse viewpoints) that I've ever been apart of. Yet, somehow, the arguments are kept to a minimum and an amazing amount of "work" gets done.

I think that a governing Board for DP needs to be involved not only the day-to-day/year-to-year mundane things to keep everything working (which Juliet and the squirrels do an AMAZING job of currently), but also a direction for the future. One thing DP has never had any trouble with is ideas. Just like opinions, we all have 'em. And while some ideas can be crap (yes, I've had my fair share, so I can say that), some of your ideas are amazingly good. Some make it to the early stages of implementation, but all too often I've seen very good ideas whither and die on the vine because they fail to get that magic number of adherents that pushes something from "fringe" to "mainstream".

The bigger the idea, the harder the mainstream is to reach. And while this is not always a bad thing (scattershot approaches can yield some amazingly outside-the-box results), it also can make for slow progress. Since a board is a group and not a single person, it becomes harder to say that any one person is taking over, yet a board is small enough that the constant bickering and discussion can eventually be moved through, if only because of the more limited number people!

I don't want people to think that I'm advocating a board that rules without the community. I don't think ANYONE wants that, and I certainly do not. I would just love to see more direction to give our efforts more focus and help move this community forward.

Views

(All of these excerpts are cited from the Discussion of DP Foundation Board Restructuring forum thread. They are posted in roughly chronological order. Any questions asked by other community members are in italics. The excerpts were chosen to show the candidate's viewpoints and philosophy, while clarifications and asides were avoided.)


April-13-2009

To answer some original questions:

I think that Simon and Frank had some very good points. We need to address the "round imbalance" issue in some way. I'd really like to see some work on three fronts:

1 - rfrank's tools for PP'ing are VERY good tools. But, since they aren't integrated into the site framework, not everyone uses them. I'd love to see some work in integrating PP'ing tools into the website.

2 - and that leads to improving the tools in the F2 rounds. Right now, we don't have a "WYSIWYG" mode. I'd like to have a "rich-text" editor in place that allows people to see what the finish product would look like (roughly) and if we had that, I'm betting we'd have a much more consistent formatting product (and since consistent formatting helps make rfrank's tools work even better, this one feeds BACK into #1 above)

3 - Move to a CiP roundless system. (This discussion has spanned MANY multiple threads and hundreds of posts, so I won't rehash it further here).

If I had to prioritize, I'd like to see them done in this order, too, mainly because I think that is the order we get the biggest bang for the buck. rfranks' tools are working today. Converting them for integration in the site is the lowest developer cost. The new rich text editor would definitely speed up formatting, but at a higher developer's cost (as an aside, I think this would lead to the ability to have a stricter formatting set that would allow a Tidy-style automated check after each formatting round). The roundless system has been the "promise land" for so long because while it will make many things more efficient, it requires a HUGE developer commitment.

JHutch

I think the biggest responsibility that the Board will have in improving the DP experience, is by providing direction. We have a lots of ideas, lots of great people and we get an amazing amount done considering, but I, at least, would love some direction of "We are working on feature X" now.

This isn't to stop people from trying out ideas, but a more top-down plan to help us get from point A to point B instead of a lot of talk that has a tendency to get nowhere fast.

JHutch


April-15-2009

Some of the suggestions I've seen so far tend towards homogenising the way people work. Maybe they prefer their own methods and don't want to be harmonised?

I see how you came to this conclusion, but I see it differently.

There are some functions right now that REQUIRE people to "roll their own" methods so to speak. Especially PP/PPV. Some people use GuiGuts as an editor. Some use Notepad++. I know of one person that uses vi regularly! These various methods all work but a lack of a "standard" makes the learning curve for newbies harder than it probably needs to be.

Furthermore, in the F rounds, we use a pseudo-markup to handle the formatting we do, but it can absolutely be improved (as well as the tools we use to create it). For the old-timers that can remember what it looked like around Slashdot I, you know we've made huge strides. I think we can make just as many improvements. See my posts above about rich-text/WYSIWYG editors and Tidy-like automated checks. I'd be thrilled to see a color-coded editor that differentiates between content and markup at a glance. etc

I don't think we're saying that we need to move into a more "homogenized" environment. I'm certainly not. To a certain extent we already are. I don't want to increase that factor, but rather improve the existing tools and processes we use. I've given examples of things *I* see as being the most important for DP to focus on. If you agree with me, then elect me and that's what I'll work for. If you don't, then I'm not the person you want on the board.

JHutch

I certainly don't disagree there (I think nobody does), the more people are standing behind a decision, the better. Especially in an organization that exists of volunteers.

I've dealt with all the people that have nominated themselves for this board and I can say, without a hint of reservation, that all of them will be very open to discussion and will do their best to engage the community for feedback and ideas.

I realize this is an important issue, but I honestly believe it to be a NON-issue with the current board candidates. Just MHO, of course. Smile

JHutch

April-25-2009

And most of the nominees have had toes in almost everything. For instance, I've done work back in the 2 round days and the current 4/5 round days. I've PM'd, PP'd, PPV'd, posted to PG directly, done limited WhiteWashing, helped with the rollout/testing of PGTEI as a master format, posted a huge number of audio books from Librivox, done a LOT of mentoring in the P rounds and moderated in the UberProject forum area.

And that list is by no means abnormal among the nominees.

JHutch

When did you PPV? I didn't see you on the list.

It was never as an official PPV. I've PPV'd about half dozen or so PGTEI based ones. And this was back before PPV got as formal as it is now (there was no PPV scorecard yet, for instance, if I remember correctly).

JHutch



What skills do you think a GM should have?

  • Comfortable with (though not necessarily extensive experience in) all aspects of the DP production line.
  • Relative expertise in at least one aspect of DP production. ie, has done extensive mentoring or has PP'd a fair number of projects, etc.
  • Has shown the ability to keep an even keel in the face of irate DPers. JulietS has really set the bar high in this regard. There have been many times when it would have been easy for her to sneak in a snide comment or a heated retort ... and I've never seen her lower to that level.
  • Good organizational skills. A GM needs to have a good handle on where things stand in ALL ongoing development in order to keep the Board well apprised. The GM doesn't need to have a hand in the developments, but they need to keep an eye on them. Information ... GOOD information ... is key to good governance.

JHutch

PS I reserve the right to say, "Yeah, that is a good one, too," whenever I see a good idea from someone else.