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Re: Announcing the elephant in the room BOF

On Tue, Jul 30, 2019 at 02:04:22PM -0400, Sam Hartman wrote:
>>>>>> "Carsten" == Carsten Schoenert <c.schoenert@t-online.de> writes:
>    Carsten> Was it really needed to give this "wanted" "discussion" a
>    Carsten> specific announcement on DC19? If someone wants to discuss
>    Carsten> these topics they can simple do it by the normal ways we
>    Carsten> have for this.
>I feel like I ought to step forward and take some of the blame/credit
>for pushing for the Elephant in the Room BOF to be widely announced.
>I did not ask for this BOF, but once I became aware that it was going to
>happen I took a strong position that it should be widely announced.
>My position when talking to the organizers and DC committee is that if
>we were going to have the discussion it should be widely announced.
>There are several things that contributed to that decision.
>1) The reasoning behind Social Contract #3 while not directly applicable
>influenced my thinking.  We don't hide problems.
>2) Debian is a generally open community.  Part of that is making sure
>that people on all sides of the discussion are aware of the discussion.
>It makes it easier for those of us who have to think about project
>opinion and consensus if discussions actually have all their
>stakeholders present.  Especially if a discussion is organized at the
>last minute, it is more important to announce it more widely.

I'm curious - who exactly were the stakeholders here? I've heard
rumours about a "Boycott Debian" group, and found their website where
nobody claims to be a member. Were we just trying to appease this
anonymous set of people for some reason?

From being present in the room for the discussion, I'd say that we had
a reasonable, tolerant, respectful discussion around DC20. But I'd be
hard-pressed to say that we actually achieved anything with
it. Instead, I'm concerned that by shoe-horning this session in at
such short notice we maybe just gave oxygen to a toxic argument. I've
spoken to multiple people (some present, some not) who share those
worries. :-(

>3) In this specific case, I felt that the announcement was important.
>People with strong views had made it clear they were going to have the
>discussion no matter what we did.  The question was whether it was going
>to be narrowly advertized and effectively open only to people who had
>fairly strong views, or whether it was going to be broader and open to a
>wider subsection of the project.
>I did not push for an announcement in an attempt to give any particular
>position a platform.
>Instead, I pushed for an announcement  so that we had more
>representative views across the entire community and so people with
>strong views on both sides were able to see more of the positions in the
>Also, I honestly do believe this discussion needs to happen.  I think
>that we ended up shutting this down a bit too prematurely after the
>decision was announce.  I think people have not been fully heard on this
>issue, and I think that is harmful for our community overall.

So where does it go from here?

Lots of project members were not in the small session that we
held. I'm not necessarily convinced that all arguments always need to
be heard, but even if we concede that point I don't think we achieved
that either.

Steve McIntyre, Cambridge, UK.                                steve@einval.com
< liw> everything I know about UK hotels I learned from "Fawlty Towers"

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