Some people can plan long-term. Some people can make a daily to do list. I can do this too, but only for everyday things.
When it comes to volunteering my time, or working on my own projects, I work in cycles. Inspiration suddenly and unexpectedly comes, I work very hard on something, and then my inspiration leaves and I either have downtime or my inspiration drifts to some other topic. The problem with this is that I cannot be expected to be available or functional at any particular time. Deadlines cannot be met.
I'm perfectly functional for the nine-to-five work grind since that's not (unfortunately) inspiration-based. I say unfortunately because it's like having my hands tied behind my back. I've had some jobs where I was indeed able to leverage my cycles. When doing this, my million dollar ideas can be quite beneficial. It's unfortunately extremely difficult to have this quality recognized. These days this quality is usually leveraged in Hackers, but companies still don't "get it" when it comes to not-quite-hackers.
One of the driving forces of volunteering is a community atmosphere. This is created by a combination of altruism and hierarchical tendencies, thanks to our evolution. The effect of this altruism is that when a set of like-minded people get together, and there are no compelling reasons against it, they will naturally want to help one another with their common interests and goals.
This community altruism tendency combined with our natural lead-and-follow hierarchy means that within a group of like-minded people when one or more people step up to turn the interest into a project, the others will tend to want to help even more. These people assume a mantle of leadership of sorts, but it's not like political leadership. This position is similar to a project manager, coach or even a cheerleader. They are a focus of inspiration, motivation and direction.
It's more complex than this when multiple specialties all become involved. Each of those specialties takes on their own separate mantles of leadership and they may be a different kind of inspiration for different people in that project. Leadership is a bad word for me to keep using, but I can't think of another.
One of the other side-effects of the leadership role is that it represents a "space" which can be "filled". Because that position and its responsibilities etc are more high-profile, it is common for others to back away from duplicating those efforts. It's a "that's already taken care of" attitude.
The serious problem comes when that position is perceived to be "filled" but its responsibilities etc are not being worked on. A gap in the project forms.
Let's look at this from the perspective of open source software. A field of interest is like a particular problem which an application can solve. Imagine that a program is created to solve that problem. It has been completed and works for the author. The problem is declared solved, and others who may themselves have created their own program will instead use the one which exists. That program is like the leadership mantle that is taken and everyone else steps away from solving that problem because "it's already taken care of".
But what happens when that program which works for the author is really only 85% complete? Perhaps there are facets of that original problem which can be solved by the program but only with extra effort. Or perhaps some new variations of that problem exist now, and the program can't really solve them?
Let's imagine that there are variations of the problem. Imagine that there are many different programs each which solve their own 85% of the variations. Each one of these programs was created to solve the author's problem, and each one of these works for the author. However none of these programs is as good as it could be.
So with open source software we have a large array of "it works for me" software, each program filling a gap which tends to drive away the creation of other programs to overlap the filling of that same gap. Thankfully this isn't so true for many different problems in open source, and there is variety in a number of places.. but I hope I presented the idea.
Now what happens when a program which solves a problem, or a "leader" who fills a position, is only 85%? What happens when the author vanishes or the leader becomes intermittently unavailable? That 85% still feels solved or that position still feels "filled", and the project as a whole will suffer until the absence is recognized and the leader's tasks are supplemented or the leader is replaced.
So when a program becomes abandonware and it really needs to get updated, someone else will eventually come along and rewrite or fork it. However until then there is this long period of neglect which leaves that program's problem unsolved. This is especially painful to everyday users who have no choice but to wait for a new project to come along and at least partially solve their problem.
So because of my intermittent inspiration, I feel like I'm "filling" a position within Unity Linux which is either slowing or halting the solving of problems by that role. The project as a whole suffers because of this.
The solution? Undo the perception that I am filling a role and instead go back to being the highly-productive wiki gnome who pops up, does a lot of stuff, and then vanishes. This perfectly suits the cyclical inspiration which I have.
This means no more docs lead or anything similar. This is a two-fold benefit. First it removes the perception of filled space and lets others get those tasks done. Second it frees me from an odd weight I have with perceived responsibility being a serious detriment to my inspiration.