please note my inputs to this email.

From: "Jared K. Smith" <>
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2018 9:17:02 AM
Subject: [Ambassadors] Request for comments on changes to the Ambassadors program

As an elected representative on the Mindshare Committee, I would like to kick off a discussion on behalf of the whole committee about our Ambassadors program and how we can improve it. We encourage you to read the plan below, make thoughtful comments or suggestions, and help us frame the plan going forward.

Fedora's Mindshare Committee represents the outreach leadership in Fedora. Mindshare aims to help outreach teams (such as Ambassadors, marketing, the websites team, etc.) work better together by providing them with a way to unify around Fedora’s core messages. The Mindshare Committee contains appointed members to represent the various outreach teams, as well as members elected from the community.


* Let's clarify our focus on editions and objectives
* Let's make it easier to hold small events like Release Parties
* Let's get more people involved by creating Fedora Advocates
* Let's help ambassadors gets more done by easing some the administrative functions and putting them on Mindshare and FAmA
* Let's make budget requests more predictable
* Let's let people step back when they need to by creating Emeritus Ambassadors
First, let me state on a personal level how incredibly impressed I've been with the Ambassadors during my time in the Fedora community.  They do incredible work, and I want to see that great work continue.  At the same time, I've seen common "pain points" too. The Mindshare Committee is proposing the following changes -- not as something set in stone, but as a way to start a discussion about the overall Ambassadors program. We hope to spend the next few weeks listening to your feedback and incorporating it into the plan, with the goal of having the plan solidified in place by May 10th so that it can be voted on by the Mindshare Committee before the end of May.

The following list helps to explain and what we expect from our Ambassadors. This shouldn't be anything new or surprising to our ambassadors, but I include it here as a reminder.

An Ambassador should:

Be an active contributor to the Fedora community.
* Show a basic level of knowledge about Fedora and its key marketing messages (as shown through a mentorship program).  Know the teams, subprojects, working groups, and special interest groups, to help guide new collaborators to areas of interest.
* Lead public-facing events with a Fedora presence, and request reasonable funds to support such events. Be able to work in a Fedora booth and both represent the Fedora community, but also demonstrate Fedora in a way that attracts new users and contributors to the Fedora Project.
* Be available for contact from new users and contributors who need help getting started in Fedora.
* Understand Fedora's limited resources (volunteer attention, time, and budget) and uses them efficiently and effectively.
* Communicate with the rest of the community, and stay current on developments in Fedora

We think it is important to note that an Ambassador may not do all of these things personally all of the time. In particular, an Ambassador should be willing to sponsor the attendance of others at events to speak or work booths where their specific expertise is valuable. For example, sending someone from the Kernel team to a kernel conference to represent Fedora may be a better use of our resources than sending an Ambassador who is not a kernel expert. This is a great way for us to address audiences with specialized needs that Fedora can help but for whom we may not have skilled ambassadors.

It is also important that ambassadors are communicating with related groups. For example, communicate with the Join SIG if you're focused on being available for new users and contributors or communicate with the Rust SIG if you are going to attend a Rust event.

- - Comment: This is a good start to getting everyone on the same page. My concern is we need a centralized documentation and information that when someone does have a question we do not spend a lot of time trying to figure things out. I totally agree with all of this portion.

== Messaging ==

As the public face of Fedora at many events, we expect Ambassadors to be aware of the areas of focus that have been set forth by the Fedora council. The primary focus for ambassador messaging at this time should be on the three editions (Desktop Edition, Server Edition, Atomic Edition) plus the three current Council objectives (Modularity, Fedora CI, and Internet of Things).

The editions and objectives represent the goals and overall direction of Fedora. We want to communicate the exciting things that make Fedora unique from other distributions and projects. Ambassadors are the communicators of these goals and direction.

- - Comment: Communicating what you want us to accomplish is the most important part of this area. It has not been done very well in the past and I hope it gets better.

== Administrative Functions ==

It has been my experience that our ambassadors really enjoy sharing the Fedora message to those they come in contact with. However, when it comes to administrative functions such as budget allocation, many of our ambassadors are less eager to participate.

Therefore we suggest that the regions and individual ambassadors, as much as possible, be relieved of the administrative functions (approving budget requests, and so forth). We propose to split the administrative roles between the Mindshare Committee (budget approval, driving conversation, etc.) and FAmA (FAS group management, administrivia, etc.).

The purpose of this change is to enable Ambassadors to focus on the details that matter most: finding meaningful events that align with Fedora's goals and initiatives and how to deliver the messaging. Mindshare wants to support and enable Ambassadors to succeed at messaging. Mindshare, with the help of FAmA, also wants to alleviate the burden of administrative work, and provide greater transparency into budgets and the decision-making process. More information about FAmA is below.

To this end we are going to make budget requests more predictable. See below for details about Release Parties and the new Advocates. Requests that don't fit in those categories will come to Mindshare (or a later designated group) for approval. The goal is not to centralize control, but is instead to get a way of thinking about the impact of each request relative to its budget request. The council has indicated that local events are better than large events. This doesn't mean no large events, but it means we need to understand why flying people around the world is better than having them advocate on a regular basis in their own "backyard".

Continuing with the theme of predictable budget requests, we would like to make things as streamlined as possible. Mindshare will try to work in tickets as much as possible. A request can be approved by a variable number of Mindshare committee members. Tickets will stay open for some time as well to ensure consensus.

* Budget requests of $250 or less require two Mindshare members to +1 and must be open for a week.
* Budget requests of $500 or less require three Mindshare members to +1 and must be open for a week.
* Budget requests of more than $500 require a majority of Mindshare members to approve and will typically be brought up in a meeting.

- - Comment: I agree very much with a centralized process, this relieves the burden of meetings for most of North America. We went from weekly meetings to twice monthly trying to get participation up in order for us to get events pushed through for our area. My only concern is the meeting frequency of Mindshare Committee and the ability to have enough participation to vote on events. It seems to be running well now, but things can change and cause some back ups.

== Advocates ==

We would like to create a new "level" for people who want to be advocates for Fedora, but aren't yet willing to go through the formal Ambassadors mentorship program. While this is a bit of an experiment and may need to be changed over time, we hope that having a new "lower friction" process will help future Ambassadors get started. Unlike Ambassadors, the Advocates will only be able to request up to $100 in budget for a particular event. While we haven't decided on the exact mechanism for allocating budget for Advocates, we anticipate it will be similar to the low-friction process for Release Parties (see below).

- - Comment/Concern: How to you vet Advocates? My concern is you have a person that  want us to pay for an event admission to advocate for Fedora. My experience with this type of program usually proves that the same person we task with representing Fedora doesn't really put Fedora as a priority but either only wants to attend an event at our expense and have their own agenda. Sure we can have a reporting process but if there is no one else there to validate what we tasked individuals with and what they really do at the event. I would set a specific set of guidelines for this type of program. We will find ourselves with a steep learning curve and/or failure to control the amount of requests.

== Low Friction process for Release Parties ==

We are proposing a new low-friction process for funding release parties. Anyone (not just Ambassadors or Advocates) can request up to $100 USD in reimbursement for a release party. The general stipulation will be that the person requesting the funds must provide some critical pieces of information both before and after the event, to ensure the event meets with Fedora's release party guidelines. Only $25 USD of the release party budget may be used for transportation costs, and a limited amount of swag (stickers, buttons, pens, etc.) will be sent to the organizer.  

The idea is that if someone wants to get a reasonably sized group of people together to celebrate the newest release, we'll happily buy some chips/sodas/pizzas/snacks and send a small bit of swag.

=== Before the event ===
Open a Mindshare ticket with the following information:
* Time/Date
* Location
* Expected number of attendees
* Expected cost

=== After the event ===
Update the Mindsare ticket with the following information:
* Actual number of attendees
* Photos of the event
* Actual cost
* Any lessons you learned from the event, or tips for other events to help them be successful
* A link to your blog post, ideally in the Fedora CommBlog, or on Fedora Planet about the event

=== Other notes ===

* Costs (up to $100 USD) will be reimbursed after the event. We will not send money before the event. No more than $25 can be spent on transportation. No money may be spent on swag.

- - Comment:  This is fantastic! The low Friction Process Idea is great and in my opinion get more people to conduct release parties.

== Becoming An Ambassador ==

In order to make this easier, we'd like to unify the processes, where it makes sense, around the world. Ambassador's time is a precious resource and having it spent on administrative processes or unnecessarily duplicative onboarding is not a good use of it. Similar to today, Ambassador candidates need to be mentored. Ideally a mentor is someone familiar with the candidates location who can provide guidance, however any mentor should be able to mentor any candidate. Once a candidate has met the goals of mentorship (see below), they get made an ambassador after a ticket is filed in FAmA and an announcement is sent to the ambassadors mailing list. This isn't to trigger a vote. Instead this is an announcement to ensure there are no concerns. Typically this ticket is assumed to be ok after a week (a bit more time is appropriate if there are lots of holidays during the week). Objections aren't automatic "failures" they just lead to discussion. Where needed, Mindshare will help with guiding the conversation and getting us to a decision.

The goals of mentorship:
* Ensure the candidate knows about Fedora and is active as a contributor.
* Ensure the candidate understands the role of an Ambassador.
* Help the candidate generate ideas for their first two events.
* Ensure the candidate understands how to request assistance, file tickets, and knows what is expected of them before and after an event.

A mentor should expect to be a primary point of contact for the candidate for some time, including after the candidate becomes an ambassador.

- - Comment/Concern:  This is where the documentation and guidance needs some real work. As a mentor I know where the best areas are for teaching new Ambassadors, but there is a vast amount of areas that are either not used, need updates, and not maintained. For example, the ambassadors list for North America. There are a lot of people that need to be moved into the Emeritus ambassadors group (in my opinion), for many of the names I see there have not been an active Ambassador for years or attended any event in several years which leads me to the beginning of this email and what ambassadors should be doing which includes involvement, communications, and availability. Since my involvement with the project I have seen only about 50% of the North America list at either events or irc meetings.  That doesn't mean that they have not been involved in the project but just in some aspect that I haven't seen. Also,  have experienced individuals that have been disconnected and then pop up out of no where and want to plan events without the knowledge of what is required of them to plan the said event. So this makes my job harder than it should be gathering documentation and links to the changed requirements and getting the process back on track. And some of the problem is that the ambassador finds the new requirements outside of what they wanted and find it difficult to readjust. I guess what I am trying to point out that as a Mentor and Ambassador the documentation really needs attention. In order for us to all be on the same page, the documentation and communication of the same needs to be corrected.

== Becoming a Mentor ==

In the same way that we'd like to clarify how to become an ambassador, we'd like to also make it clearer how to become a mentor. In general, a mentor needs to:
* Ask to become a mentor.
* Demonstrate their ability to meet the goals of mentorship by specifically describing how they are going to do it.
* Acknowledge they have the time to be a mentor.

Similar to the Emeritus ambassadors below, mentors will be surveyed yearly.

- - Comment: Again the documentation needs to be finalized as stated above.

== Emeritus Ambassadors ==

We are also creating an "Emeritus Ambassadors" level for people who were Ambassadors at one time, but are no longer actively engaged in the ambassador efforts. This is a way to publicly recognize them as a former Ambassador and thank them for their work, but they will not be actively listed as an Ambassador so that new contributors do not continue to contact them.

Annually, we will contact every ambassador and ask them if they want to remain active. This is based on the idea that stepping back because of burn out is hard for many people. However, when asked if they want to continue many people will feel more comfortable with saying they are ready to take some time off. The goal is not to encourage people to step down.

However, we also recognize that we need active, responsive ambassadors. Every year will also survey our ambassadors about their activity. This will be combined with the above request. In general, we'll assume they are active an only ask what they've been doing if there is question. This way we don't wind up with ambassadors who receive requests from the public and never answer them. It also answers the questions about title-seeking that have been raised in some areas. There is no minimum threshold of activity, just that ambassador activity is happening.

- - Comment: I am all for this! It will allow those who are not actively involved stepping back (not out) and also allows them to comeback when they are ready.

== What about FAmA? ==

The FAmA group remains an important administrative body. The goal of FAmA is to help the Ambassadors drive administrative functions. The FAmA group will consist of 2-4 people elected by the Ambassadors.  Members must be either current Ambassadors, Emeritus Ambassadors or a current member of Mindshare. People serve a two release staggered term and are able to be re-elected as long as they remain qualified to stand for election.

The positions in FAmA are administrative. They are not in place to serve as decision makers but are more focused on helping administrative requirements get met and to make sure that things that need conversation get surfaced. They help ambassadors succeed.

Initially they will probably focus on:
* Maintaining the Ambassadors Contact List.
* Maintaining the FAS groups.
* Moving people, upon their request, to the Emeritus group.
* Moving people from candidate to ambassador as they finish their mentoring.
* Maintaining the list of approved mentors.
* Surveying ambassadors yearly about their continuing desire to be active.
* Helping make sure budget entries get made in support of treasurers/card holders.

We plan to keep regional card holders in place to help with managing reimbursements. We'd like the regional treasurers to shift to supporting the card holders, FAmA and Mindshare.

Surfacing conversations that are needed, for example, candidates that want to become mentors about whom there are concerns.

- - Overall Concerns: How does one know that the documentation and/or information is official and approved? There is so much out there on the wiki that is outdated, or incorrect. We need to have an official/approved identification with respect to our information.
-What is the requirements for reimbursement with respect to the mindshare committee? Has the requirements changed? Will there be a page listing these requirements? Does it apply to Fedora Advocates?
-With respect to administrative burdens on ambassadors how does the mindshare committee communicate an event that an ambassador is requesting gets approved? I realize that an email is generated when comments are posted on a ticket (which getting several of those a day from various areas) can be confusing causing the same to check the status on every time someone makes a comment can also be burdensome checking the ticket every time.
-With respect to Mentors, has the process for selecting new mentors changed? if so where is the documentation? What is the process if it has changed?
-Communications and Messaging has been a sore spot with me for quite some time. We need to streamline how to communicate with ambassadors. Mailing lists are good but when you get several along with comments from others can be confusing and distract from the original message. I think that we need to detail what information is approved, where the information can be found and what you require from us.
-Documentation and approved documentation need to be completed. If you are going to hold ambassadors to a standard, the documentation needs to support the same. Without solid documentation you will not have a solid foundation to bring new people in or help those who have been involved for awhile to train those new people.

Andrew Ward

Jared Smith

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