Recently I was reading a thread (https://lists.fedoraproject.org/pipermail/ambassadors/2015-February/023224.html
) on "Promoting other distributions and conflict of interest". And while I think https://lists.fedoraproject.org/pipermail/ambassadors/2015-February/023251.html
is the best response on the thread, it does raise a very relevant point.
For any FOSS project the Ambassadors are a public facing crew expected to be present at events large and small; participate in outreach; demonstrate the new and cool bits of the project and live the values of the project. In a manner of speaking the itinerant nature of the group brings them closer together because they would end up sharing stories - road warriors always do. A few years back the folks who were already contributing heavily to a number of aspects of the projects ended up being recognized as Ambassadors. This had the benefit of drawing upon their experience, knowledge and love for the project to do outreach activities. And since FOSS contributors often to participate across multiple projects and organizations, it was not terribly puzzling to see someone being a Fedora Ambassador, an Open Hardware person, an Open Mapping participant and a contributor to the Commons of various kinds.
The 'polymath' was and is a powerful presence. Being able to synthesize a complex worldview for an audience to look at through the lens of a particular project is a compelling storytelling ability. The original post from +Kushal Das
highlights a situation when it might be a drawback - being unable to pull together a narrative based upon actual contributions and instead falling back on simplistic either/or promotions. Seasoned contributors and experienced Ambassadors understand the power of AND - being able to learn from projects and identify ways to strengthen specific processes. Those who aren't paying attention or, have been distracted then tend to evade direct questions and provide answers which lack clarity.
The Fedora Project has Ambassador mentors and this is a great place to build in the values to live and demonstrate. Without specific examples of "conflict of interest" it is difficult to make a general assessment of what needs to be addressed. However, it is imperative to understand that the Ambassador role is unfriendly to a new participant in the FOSS culture. Unless there is shared learning, collaboration and a personal story of sustained contributions built out, it is a hard act to transfer the "joy of doing" to an audience who are eagerly latching on to each word and movement to learn how they to can be part of this process because they are convinced about the concept of sharing.