Re: Four days
Hi Michael! Just a few responses... I think the thread that followed
answered a lot of your general questions, but I wanted to be sure you
understood where I am coming from.
On Sun, 3 Oct 2010, Michael Tautschnig wrote:
- As a mentor, as far as RFS are concerned, I can only work on packages where I
have some proper background. That is, I should be using those packages or work
on related packages.
- As a mentor, I cannot look at each and every RFS, I'll have to be able to spot
interesting packages quickly. I therefore ignore all RFS with package names
where I cannot deduce that they could be relevant for me. Hint: it might be
useful to add the short description of the main binary package to the subject
(I have no idea what, e.g., "vavoom" is about).
Indeed! I don't do a lot of sponsoring myself, though I have bit by bit.
The subject line change is a good idea!
- Although debian-mentors is a default destination for RFS, it would probably
better to contact one of the teams that works on related packages. Again, the
vavoom package (I now looked at the RFS): Why wasn't
Yup -- that's the kind of feedback people deserve in their RFSs, and if we
find ourselves saying it a lot on the list, someone can come up with a FAQ
and work on integrating changes to the mentors.debian.net software.
In effect, I want to expose the process problems we have so loudly that
more people see them, and then they can help come up with solutions.
So I was thinking it would be nice if every email thread got a
public reply within four days. That's a goal that Niels and I have
set, and we hope maybe some of you help too. Even if we reply, "Eek,
I'm swamped. Try again later," I figure that is nicer than hearing
Would you mind to elaborate on the expected benefit of such a step?
*Whom* would you expect to be doing such replies? Is that more than an
"ACK, your message made it to the list" (you can check that by looking
at the list archives as well)? I think you are only curing some
symptoms, but fail to tackle the underlying root cause (some of which
might be the points I mentioned above).
I expect that Niels and I will do it, as I tried to say in my email. We
will hold the line at 4 days, and hopefully others will reply.
Even if the "ACK, your message made it to the list" is all people get, to
many people it means more than that -- it's "a human read it, and
sympathizes with your lack of sponsorship". Also, the four-days thing
helps people say, "Well, if this list isn't working for getting a sponsor,
maybe I should try a different strategy." Just like how you can set a
timeout on a socket, and if the socket appears to be dead, code can take a
I say that because I remember sending out RFS emails to this list and
getting no answer and feeling less excited about contributing to Debian. I
see excitement and dedication to Debian as scarce resources.
Eventually I got that excitement back when a friend of a friend (Mako)
took interest in sponsoring my packages. If I had reached out to him
sooner, then I would have become a DD sooner!
In general, I encourage mentees and mentors to consider 4 days the
timeout on your debian-mentors conversations. So if you email your
usual sponsor and don't hear an answer within 4 days, try once more.
I'm not sure how mentees usually handle the situation where a package has
already been sponsored once. I'd expect mentors to be ready to handle further
uploads, and IMHO such RFS shouldn't even pop up on the list. After a few
rounds, people should be both ready and willing to apply for Debian-Maintainer
And yet they do! I find it pretty odd, too. There's perhaps some process
problem that we don't know about, and I want to help people figure that
So when the "(updated package)" emails come to the list, and we look at
those people weird, we can let them know that they should reach back to
their usual sponsor. Or we can just know that and not tell them.
After another four days, email the list asking for a sponsor
(explaining that you have a normal sponsor).
Should the mentor indeed be non-responsive, this should be *clearly*
indicated in the subject of an RFS email to debian-mentors.
I'm hoping to take some of the uncertainty out of the process. What do
you guys think?
And what other cultural improvements can we make to debian-mentors?
What else can we do to make this place supportive and helpful for the
progress of y'all mentees into sparkly Debian contributors and
IMHO one of the most important steps would be for mentees to look for
appropriate teams already working on similar packages. It would actually
be beneficial if people first subscribed to their respective lists to
see what's going on there and then try to get in touch with them about a
Hope this helps (mentees and mentors alike),
Thanks -- it was helpful!
You wrote in a later message how you want mentees to put in more effort,
too. That makes good sense. I think that if you write snippy emails to the
list saying what you want people to do differently, that would be pretty
useful because mentees will know better.
And I also think we need to improve mentors.debian.net. I plan to write
some patches for that code tomorrow, and start a discussion here to gather
up feedback and see if we can implement it.
I'm also excited by pabs's idea of subscribing only to packages with a
certain quality metric. I think that would go a *long* way. To that end, I
hope to work on debexpo soon.
(For anyone reading this email -- if you want to write Python code, you
can help us finish debexpo, a web interface that would make mentorship and
sponsorship easier. Drop me a line, and we'll figure out how you can help.
You don't have to be an expert in Python or web programming -- I can teach
you, and I will review your patches so you get feedback and know how you
Factorials were someone's attempt to make math LOOK exciting.