Re: soc-ctte discussion at DebConf7
On Fri, 29 Jun 2007 14:27:40 -0700, Steve Langasek <email@example.com> said:
> On Fri, Jun 29, 2007 at 02:37:46PM -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
>> The first set of comments I have is related to efficacy, and,
>> perhaps, the notion of fairness. There is a fundamental difference
>> between a technical committee and a social committee: a technical
>> issue is likely to be far less subjective
> Ruling based on the technical details of a question is apparently no
> defense against accusations of subjectivity anyway. Nor are any of
> our existing poor methods for dealing with social problems any less
> subjective, so I don't think this is a reason not to proceed.
Err, anyone can be accused of anything at anytime, apparently,
on Debian lists; so that is not really the point.
Also, why would you think anyone is talking about not proceeding?
The point is disputes over technical matters are inherently
different from disputes of social issues. If you don't see that, I
suppose we have little basis for further discussion -- I am finding it
hard to explain what seems like a self evident fact to me.
>> and while there are tradeoff aspects to technical problems, it is far
>> easier to come up with reasons for the trade offs, and a rationale
>> for selecting one option over the other, and do so in a relatively
>> objective fashion.
> The weighting of the trade-offs is always subjective.
But the rationale of the tradeoffs can be objective, as can an
explanation for why more weight is being placed on one side or the
> The technical committee works not because it's more *objective*, but
> because it's configured so that its particular subjectivity is biased
> in favor of institutional stability (= the status quo), which means
> developers are more likely to be accepting of such decisions because
> on some level the TC's bias shares an overall alignment with their
In other words, we share a common technical "culture". This is
not the case for social culture of the community; and this distinction
would tend to make a difference, in my opinion.
>> I have seen no discussion on how the soc ctte is going to go about
>> ensuring that such cultural differences are noticed, or taken into
>> account in the resolution process; or that any thought has been taken
>> to address cultural diversity in the dispute resolution process.
> I frankly think this is a red herring. The society that the social
> committee is purposed to serve is not Chinese, or American, or
> Middle-Eastern, or French, or Indian, or German, or Japanese; it's
> Debian as a society per se that must be served by this committee.
The issue is not whether the soc-ctte server the culture of
outer mongolia, or not; the issue is whether the committee recognizes
the cause belli; failure to do so would make rapproachment more
> Now each member of the project is going to bring his or her own
> cultural preconceptions to the table, to be sure, and the overall
> Debian culture is certainly going to reflect to some degree the mother
> culture of the predominant subgroups (whether that's predominance in
> terms of numbers, contributions, key positions held within the
> project, or volume of mailing list posts). But I think it's the
> responsibility of each individual developer to integrate themselves
> into the overall community, and that it should not be the role of the
> social committee to inject an artificial measure of "cultural
> sensitivity" beyond what the project as a whole is actually capable of
I am not sure I agree that Debian as the melting pot is a viable
idea. And I find the concept of cultural hegemony (in other words,
Debian culture is dictated by the predominant subgroups, everyone else
better fall in line) mildly distasteful.
But if this is the will of the masses, I suppose I must give in.
> And OTOH, I think to some degree recognition of cultural differences
> falls out *naturally* from any social committee whose charter includes
> rapprochement instead of just judgement and sentencing. If
> rapprochement is your goal, all the cultural background that
> contributes to explaining *why* an individual views a situation the
> way they do is much less important than understanding *that* they
> understand the situation in that way.
My point was that unless care is taken in ensuring the ctte
diversity, the ctte might not even be aware that one of the disputants
views a situation differently (and why they might not be open to
explaining that); far less than knowing the reasons behind the views.
>> Are we planning on taking into account things like cultural
>> differences? Or is the decision going to be that the majority rule
>> (or the dominant culture) be the governing one?
> Do you take into account cultural differences every time you send a
> mail to a mailing list or reply to a bug report, or do you allow your
> cultural ideas to dominate by virtue of your position of authority (as
> a package maintainer or as a community "elder")?
Is this akin to asking me if I have stopped beating my wife?
But, on the off chance that the question was not meant to be a
put down, yes, I do take into account cultural differences based on my
understanding of the cultural background of my correspondent, and the
audience (my posts to the indian mailing lists differ in tone, for
instance, and I tend to respond differently to, say, a Japanese
respondent and an American one.
BTW, I don't think I have a position of cultural authority
conferred to me by my role as a package maintainer; I find it curious
that you seem to think it might.
And I have been far too long a part of a community where age has
long since ceased to denote respect.
Are the STEWED PRUNES still in the HAIR DRYER?
Manoj Srivastava <firstname.lastname@example.org> <http://www.debian.org/~srivasta/>
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