This page is part of the Board Strategic Work Group (https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Unfinished_Board_issues).
The initial question proposed by myself was: "Does letting thousands of contributors do what they want have a negative impact on our OS?" Upon researching this question I found it difficult to find data but it seemed the question was more about the problems and benefits of crowdsourcing. I proposed the question be changed during the meeting and it was generally agreed upon.
What is Crowdsourcing?
Crowdsourcing is basically taking a task normally done by an individual and employee and letting the community do it. Traditionally many people think of wikipedia as an example of crowdsourcing. Where it gets trickier is when we allow crowdsourcing to do decision making.
- Allows for a wider range of experiences and knowledge.
- Very low cost in Fedora's case which is good because our controllable resources are small.
- People take ownership over what they work on.
- You need lots of people to do it, if only a couple of people are working on a problem they're not really crowdsourcing.
- Can create inefficiencies in the process (managing the thoughts of many is harder then the thought of one)
- Ownership is tricky, when something goes wrong who's job is it to fix things?
One of the ongoing problems in Fedora is decision making wrt the larger community. The individual teams generally have their own process for making decisions and people know about them. The community as a whole though has a bad track record of actually making and acting on decisions.
FAB in particular has no defined decision making process. As a result many of the topic brought up there get dropped or argued but it's mostly academic. The result is our operating system is created by the people doing the work. This is, at it's core, raw crowdsourcing. It also, however, makes the larger goals difficult to define.
So is it good or bad?
No way to know. All of the pros and cons above apply to most parts of Fedora. Without further research though it's impossible to know whether the ad-hoc style of our features and engineering efforts are net good or net bad. As such the initial question of "Does letting thousands of contributors do what they want have a negative impact on our OS?" is impossible to answer at this time.