Wolftune's personal check-ins

As part of doing some more public updates, here’s a check-in from me.

While writing blog posts takes more careful time and editing, I’m a little more comfortable just putting something down here (though I still want this to be clear, succinct, readable enough).

Things on my mind

Intro video

Excited to publish this soon! The process of putting all the pieces together and collaborating with a musician friend (who will get an @ mention here once he joins the forum) brought up some script changes that really improved things dramatically without changing the messages. One example: switching “Join Snowdrift.coop today and help clear the path to a free and open future” became “Coordinating this way, we can clear the path to a free and open future. Join in at Snowdrift.coop!” Reading this, it’s pretty interchangeable. But the flow in audio and fit with the video is really better with the improvement.

Music is mostly done, just need to add a few finishing touches and mix it. Then, I’ll be up for publishing it even though there remain some issues with the visuals that would be nice to fix. But a new edition can go up later.

Sysadmin issues

I have enough from @chreekat that I believe I can access anything essential and do things like deploy the site. I’m not comfortable with them and will be happy for him to do what he can, but if an action is a blocker and he’s not available, I can try to step in. I’ve discussed with @smichel17 about being another reserve sysadmin, but the real goal is to recruit someone who wants to be a more dedicated primary sysadmin.


One struggle with delegating is in trusting others. There are many things I would love to trust that someone else will take care of adequately and in a timely fashion. So, to get there, this is what’s on my mind and in my task-list (which needs some grooming):

  • figure out a better full structure for what roles / accountabilities are needed for a fully-working platform, define them clearly enough
  • read some resources recommended to me about this stuff
  • express clear expectations of what it means to accept a role (primarily that someone can truly be trusted to be on top of their accountabilities with the exception of communicating in advance when they will be unavailable).
  • once complete, check with existing team and community about who is or isn’t going to hold a role at this level of reliability
  • I want to write a blog post describing the fully working team and where there are openings to fill, then use that as part of outreach to fill out the team.
  • I’m going to test more use of @ mentions and assignments here and GitLab and “invite” features here to find the best ways to delegate items to others. Instead of replying to a question, I want to think of who else could answer it and delegate to them.

Board recruitment

Skipping details, I’m getting together my list of people to recruit along with thinking through (and discussing with others) about getting the Board responsibilities and structure clear.

Other stuff

I have a long list of tasks assignment to me (took me a minute to create/find that link; note that it won’t show tasks that are in private repos unless someone with access is viewing the link while logged in, otherwise it’s just a partial list).

I have a bunch of open browser tabs related to Snowdrift stuff.

At least I’m at inbox-zero for my personal emails and just 2 inbox emails for snowdrift.

Looking ahead

  • Meeting is tomorrow, still need to capture tasks from last meeting more fully.
  • I have a few lessons and some family and personal appointments this week and a totally booked next two weekends. But I have time to push forward during the week.

I invite anyone to provide feedback on this check-in itself or the details or ask any questions…

I hope that with more foundations in place (like building a habit of posting check-ins), each new one can be shorter (or concise at least, I hope that so much progress will be happening that we’ll have more not less to report…)

Thanks for reading.

4 Appreciations

Oh no, it’s been over a month since my previous check-in and nobody else has done one. Anyway:

  • I did a ton of work learning about GDPR, how Discourse relates to it, and rewriting our privacy policy with help from @smichel17 (the final update isn’t live yet, but should be soon, awaiting feedback from others)
    • I’ve also done some outreach to aligned projects to collaborate on optimizing our privacy policies etc.
  • I’ve gotten through a bulk of unrelated personal things and time-management stuff. So, I’m staying close to or at inbox-0, and I’m getting through my open browser tabs (7 to read or put-off ASAP, all articles and references related to management/leadership/team etc. stuff for my role in leading here and recruiting and supporting the rest of the team).
  • I have drafts/notes still in progress about Board recruitment and defining clearer team structure in order to recruit further and to build more consistency within the team practices and check-ins (like this check-in I’m doing)

Stuff on my mind going forward:

  • Post more to aligned lists and places where advisors are to get more perspective and feedback on things going forward (including privacy policies etc)
  • Get through my tasks marked in GitLab, at least reviewing them more regularly, triaging/grooming
  • Update the wiki, particularly the history page, to get things up-to-date
  • Post to the blog announcing Discourse finally and then link to that post in announcements to the old email lists which can then finally shut down.
  • Post the blog about the team structure / recruitment stuff

There’s other details, but the overall idea in my mind right now is about preparing everything (and myself) for opening the floodgates when we fully and widely announce this forum. I want to be in position to reduce getting distracted by every post, giving space for others to interact while having the resources and quick links available to be efficient in answering questions etc. And my hope is to use the likely energy and interest and direct it to where it will make the most difference to pushing the project forward.

2 Appreciations

Check-ins haven’t been happening, many of the team members have been sidetracked by other things… but I’ve made lots of progress over the past few month.

  • This forum is finally really solid, no particular immediate issues left to tweak
  • I plan to write a nice blog post announcing the forum (followed by posts about our updated Code of Conduct, updated ToS, Privacy Policy — all those took a lot of work and are all overhauled in many ways, particularly to fit the forum among other things
  • Some small forum announcements have gone out, but the big ones will happen after the first blog post is up
  • notes about roles, governance, and recruitment are the one area where I have notes on my laptop not yet organized in our tasks (thanks to @smichel17 coworking with me on many things, all the rest of stuff is organized in git.snowdrift.coop issues and we’re starting to make better use of milestones (note that beta is not complete, it’s something we haven’t even organized yet)
  • we had a Board meeting last month, but I need to organize another and finish recruiting the updated Board
  • the intro video work has been all done for a while and will be on the homepage live soon (and that’s another thing to blog about…)

My primary focuses going forward are team-building and general announcing / blog posts etc.

We have a better overall setup to engage with the community (although there’s still several things missing like getting out CiviCRM instance fixed and usable again). I just need to do the work and then look forward to the conversations and interesting people…

I regret that I’m still putting off finalizing our co-op structure and Bylaws, but those things will go easier when we have a stronger team overall. And those things are near the top of my list either way.

2 Appreciations

Why do you have blog posts for everything? Why not just a quick forum post on the subjects? Are the blog posts just quick turn outs? Or meant to be official communications ? I’m just wondering what the rational is for the time spent, when you’ve got pressing internal concerns and tasks? Is it the right time and priority to be worrying about informing the public?

2 Appreciations

All fair questions.

Blog posts are not quick turn-outs, they are meant to be more engaged, formal, closer to public press releases. The goal is to signal activity, promote, generate interest. They are a marketing and recruiting effort.

I’ve been avoiding doing them because they are indeed questionable priority. But right now, we’re pushing ahead toward finally doing more bold public outreach, inviting people to the forum, recruiting volunteers…

The last blog post was now one year ago. I’ve seen at least one case of someone using that to question whether the project is alive.

The primary goal of blogging at this point is to generate enough attention and interest that we get a few really dedicated volunteers out of it and maybe a good uptick in patrons, maybe some donations/grants. Getting that income, engagement, and building the community and team are possible ways to accelerate.

1 Appreciation

2019-03-07: setting stronger foundations

I’ve not been posting or updating anywhere near as much as I’d like. Overall, 2019 has been a personal reset year.

In 2016, my family got a small house (our first) near my wife’s work. Our kid was just a few months old. My parents (who have their own aging issues) moved to be close to us. Throughout all of this, I kept trying to work on Snowdrift.coop whenever I could while worrying about all sorts of family and financial things. I used house repair tasks as a way to procrastinate on Snowdrift stuff that I felt was urgent but overwhelming. Put simply, while I have enough to fill up all my time without Snowdrift, I do prioritize this project. But my situation was stressful, and I lacked many core foundations for my own daily routines, health, and more — and the result was too often toward burn-out and difficulty focusing.

This year, I really prioritized my own health and circumstances. I realize that I can’t make Snowdrift succeed if my own life is cluttered and unhealthy.

It’s all relative, I’ve always been healthy by the low, low standards of the U.S., but I still haven’t even finished moving in and getting a workspace functioning and figuring out a clear daily routine. Work-life, volunteering, home-life, personal time… it all blurred together into a big mess.

Now, I have better routines, have prioritized building better habits, and I’m in progress on finally setting up my office space. I’m writing this in a sorta-okay standing desk situation after experimenting and planning on how to really work with less fatigue. I’m going to get some new monitors and monitor arms. I’m using a stand to keep my keyboard in a more comfortable position. I have a ways to go still. But I know that I’m setting a foundation against which I can stay motivated, healthy, and not burn out. Against that foundation, I can be a lot more effective in all the hours I do put in to Snowdrift.

Thanks especially to those on the team who have been coworking and connecting with me. It’s made a real difference that we work to support each other personally even as we deal with all the messy issues that are bigger than specific Snowdrift tasks.


Continued to work on personal foundations over the past months. Lots of meaningful progress there. Taking every day one step at a time. Doing more priorities right away, less procrastination.

Over this summer, I had a time working on some Snowdrift-tangential things which were productive but ended up not going forward.

Although the start has been delayed, I now finalized a freelance contract to work 15hr/week writing documentation for the IEEE Standards Association’s Open Source efforts. The contract goes through the third week of February, 2020.

While I juggle music teaching, documentation contract, parenting, and Snowdrift stuff; I’ve hired @alignwaivers part-time as a mix of nanny, personal-assistant, misc. help. He and I are coworking on a whole range of projects, Snowdrift being a significant bit. So, in that sense, I’m putting a little money into Snowdrift while I have reduced time (but hopefully higher quality energy in the time I do have).

I have a clear vision of the necessary next-steps. I’m just focusing on doing each step as I can and not getting overloaded or overstressed by trying to do more than I actually can.

1 Appreciation

I was responding to Agree on laser-focus drivers for periods of time? and realized my mention of my personal focus should go here in my check-ins topic.

Continuing on the last post here, I’ve gotten myself to the best place I recall in my adult life. I have a clean and clear workspace and home, better health, zero inbox noise or clutter. I’m able to just focus on whatever the top priorities are in the backlog. And I’m committed to the daily maintenance needed to sustain this and to help support everyone else on these same issues.

Here’s my assigned Kanban board for my Snowdrift priorities: https://gitlab.com/groups/snowdrift/-/boards/534151?scope=all&utf8=✓&state=opened&assignee_username=wolftune

However, meta to that is the issue grooming stuff. My own use of GitLab even for my own tasks is quite suboptimal. I’m learning how to do better (partly through better practices in Git and GitLab while working on the IEEE stuff).
Getting issues, projects, repos cleaned up will help my focus on Snowdrift tasks.

The more I figure out my own focus and optimized work process, the more I can help optimize our flow here.

I’m on track toward organizing more effective Board and meetings. The Board will help with a lot of meta governance issues too.

Once we’ve prepared a clearer foundation for expectations of contributors, use of tools, Sociocracy-style delegation and clear drivers etc., I’m confident that recruiting will go better and that more new volunteers will have a better experience and stay on longer-term.

I’m optimistic about 2020 while accepting the necessary patience to take everything at the pace that reality demands.

1 Appreciation