[Board] Some issues occurred with one potential GSoC mentor (Warning: long email)

Jorge Sanz jsanz at osgeo.org
Sat Apr 2 03:45:36 PDT 2016

Hi all

We don't know the timing of these emails and I really don't care. My
only concern is about students applying to the GSoC and having a fair
chance to participate on the program. From the wiki page I see Brian
added himself to the list of proposed mentors on March 14th[1], the
same day the applications for students opened[2], listing himself as
SciPy, PostGIS and GDAL.

If there's been any misunderstanding please try to fix it and do your
best, assume good faith and communicate, because at the end we are all
here working for the community and welcoming new people in this case
with GSoC. Please remember our code of conduct guidelines, specially
the second one[3].

I'm totally confident on Margherita's good judge, so Brian if you have
any issue with any other member of this community please deal with it
privately and think on the hard job is needed to get the GSoC program
working and that we are all human and need each others to get things
done. As a past mentor and point of contact between OSGeo and gvSIG I
know how much work is needed to get this done and how easily the lack
of communication can make things difficult, specially on this
procedures that proceed over several months.

All the best

[1] https://wiki.osgeo.org/index.php?title=Google_Summer_of_Code_2016_Administrative&diff=prev&oldid=97385
[2] https://developers.google.com/open-source/gsoc/timeline
[3] https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Code_Of_Conduct#Specific_Guidelines

On 1 April 2016 at 15:11, Margherita Di Leo <diregola at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear members of the Board,
> I am writing to you because I am experiencing some issues with a person that
> applied to be mentor for GSoC. I don’t think it is any news that as admins
> are responsible for the mentors and, should they disappear during the year,
> admins should take over. It is our interest to *select* mentors that are
> reliable, and have a solid record in the community they contribute to.
> Managing mentors from all the project communities under OSGeo’s umbrella, as
> well as guest projects, is not easy, mostly because we don’t know each and
> every person that apply to become mentor. Most of the times, it is
> sufficient to browse the code contribution of these people. We have also
> simplified the procedure to become a mentor, so that the mentors have to
> appoint themselves in a wiki page [1], the more transparent the procedure
> is, the better. We normally contact would-be mentors if any information is
> missing or unclear, especially if we don’t know them.
> Now, it occurred that one of those people, that I don’t personally know, had
> indicated several entries in the field of “software community”, some of
> which are not under OSGeo umbrella. Normally, what I do in these cases, I
> contacted him asking to clarify what exactly was the idea he wanted to
> mentor for. I also discussed with Anne and she was in cc in the whole email
> exchange. This person never clarified his intentions, remaining vague. Anne
> and I were in doubt whether the procedure was not clear to him. I can
> extrapolate some sentences from the email exchange:
> Me: “I'm writing you because I saw that you requested to mentor this year
> for GSoC. Could you please specify for which software community and which
> idea?”
> He: “I am new to GSoC. After many years of building the SciPy Geo stack for
> OSGeo-Live, I believe I could take a student through many different paths. I
> have not looked at the ideas page much -- what is the protocol there ?   Do
> I add ideas ?”
> He had not specified OSGeo-Live as a project he wanted to mentor for, but
> since he specified several, and cited it in his first email, I assumed he
> meant to mentor for OSGeo-Live. However, I requested him again to specify at
> least one idea he wanted to mentor for, and linked him some resources,
> because he was clearly confused about the whole GSoC concept. Waiting for
> his answer, I have hold to appoint him as mentor.
> He never got back with a reply, but his next email was: “Hi Margherita --
> whats going on now ?”
> You can imagine my surprise, however, I replied that we received no students
> submissions for OSGeo-Live. Moreover, student submissions were closed and we
> accept further mentors only if they are already bound to a specific
> proposal. Then his answer was the most surprising one:
> “Hi Margherita -
>  this is confusing, since I am not listed as "OSGeo-Live" mentor.. perhaps
> someone else is giving you information and you are distracted ?
> You might be mixing this with last years OSGeo-Live and your brother-in-law
> ?
> I had two students, but I don think they were clear on the process, either,
> since this is their first time too
>  I am available as listed - thanks”
> So he never mentioned who are the students and what are the ideas that he is
> up to mentor, but he is accusing me to be distracted and confused, and he is
> mentioning my brother in law, that is, no mystery, epifanio. At this, I
> perceived his intention was more like spamming / bullying rather than
> mentoring, and I replied :
> “this is confusing indeed, because you were not clear at all about the OSGeo
> or guest project you wanted to mentor for! I guessed it was the OSGeo-live
> because was the only OSGeo project you mentioned in your email! Please try
> not to mix my family ties with gsoc and make clear to yourself your plans
> about mentoring.”
> However, the reason why I’m writing is that this person has started to
> slander my work as admin in public chats, like this:
> x: ah hm interesting -- my student just wrote me and said that he DID supply
> the application for PostGIS in time for the deadline
> x: thats a neat twist, considering that my mentor status was listed as
> "PostGIS" .. and the rejection email from Margharita definitely said "We did
> not receive any applications for OSGeo-Live"
> x: and, there is one and only one PostGIS mentor listed, which is me
> x: -
> x: so I have to give you some credit epifanio for actually feeding your
> sister-in-law some story that got me out .. effective "revenge" there
> x: you said you would get me, and you did
> Now, I’m not impressed by his bullying, and I pity him. But, beside I don’t
> have a clue of what he is talking about (not that it interests me in the
> slightest) I need to maintain my reputation crystal clear, and since this is
> a delicate matter about privacy, I don’t feel like sharing to everyone all
> the email exchange revealing the name of this person and so on. This would
> be mean. But I remain at disposal of any member of the board that wanted to
> go further in this matter.
> I also would like to point out that this is a very serious matter, since in
> the GSoC program, money are involved and I don’t want to raise the slightest
> doubt about my respectability or my favouring a member of my family in any
> circumstances. If this person continues on this way, I’m afraid I’ll be
> forced to do anything is legally in my power to protect my respectability.
> Finally, as far as GSoC is concerned: I have always given the benefit of the
> doubt to anyone. English is my second language and I cannot be always sure
> to understand every shades of what people mean, and in the doubt, I always
> assume that they mean good. However, it looks clear to me that this person’s
> behavior demonstrates a childish attitude (not to say worse) and, as long as
> the mentors selection is under my responsibility, I don’t consider him
> mature and reliable to become a mentor for any of our students.
> Please, pardon the length of my email, but I needed to bring this matter to
> the Board in order to make the situation as transparent and crystal clear as
> possible. Allow me to add that behaviours like this one really dishearten
> people from taking the initiative of doing something on a voluntary basis.
> [1] https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Google_Summer_of_Code_2016_Administrative
> --
> Margherita Di Leo
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Jorge Sanz

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