User:Mchua/Braindumps/Support gang

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These are the things that made us start thinking about the below proposal.

  • Support-gang is becoming more and more inactive.
  • We don't have clear responsibilities - tickets pile up, pages go unmaintained, and folks are still looking for things to do.
  • It's unclear what we're supposed to get out of being on support-gang.
  • It's hard to sustain energy and a regular commitment for a long period of time when the job description is open and undefined, and feedback is intermittent.
  • The creation of a vague, undefined, and semi-elite "insider track" isn't healthy for an open project - especially if that "elite" group isn't clearly defined.

Proposal in a nutshell

This is a suggestion for a re-envisioning of support-gang. Its focus is still on providing high-quality volunteer tech support, and the tools (irc channels, mailing list, RT, wiki) remain the same, but the way in which SGers are organized to carry out this mission will be somewhat different.

Tour of duty

The biggest change is that instead of an initial acceptance interview followed by an indefinite, open-ended membership with no set responsibilities, active SG membership will be a tour of duty of some set length (probably ranging between 5 weeks and 3 months), with specific commitments and privs within the time frame you sign up to be an active member.

Becoming a member

  • You have to apply to be on support-gang. "Training" consists of the intro round for all new members along with one tour of duty as a "trainee" with a more experienced SG mentor (or, ideally, two) supporting you.
  • During your "training" tour of duty, you work with your mentor(s), and your mentors are responsible for you - tracking and watching you, etc. At the end of your first tour of duty, your mentors help you present your case for full membership, and give both public and private feedback on your performance.
  • You also have to apply to be an active member for each round; active membership doesn't last infinitely.
  • Past but inactive support-gang members can stay on an "alumni" mailing list, but are not privy to the sensitive details of meetings, and so on.


  • During your tour of duty, you must attend n-2 of the n weekly meetings (or some other substantial number)
  • You take on a specific commitment - "I'll handle all wifi questions during these 3 months," or "I will staff the channel every MTW evening for 3 hours," or "I will maintain the FAQ" and so forth.


  • badge on user page
  • active support-gang mailing list membership
  • support-gang alumni mailing list for inactive members
  • T-shirts
  • email addresses - active up to 3 months after your latest "tour of duty"


This is similar to the Ubuntu membership process [1] [2] and similar processes exist on Wikipedia.