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Please don't feed the troll (was: [Debconf-team] help clear up Debians reputation; Debconf misdeeds)

On 10616 March 1977, Ted Walther wrote:

Note to all others here: Please do not feed the troll and answer him. I
answer this mail purely to have the correct thing on the list, for
others reading it (later), but as the past showed it's impossible to get
any clue into this subject, so please don't try to.

Note: if you actually thought about your questions before you posted them
you possibly would be able to answer them yourself. Or if you helped
in organizing a conference like this, but it seems you can't do anything
else except show up LONG after everything is running and try to make
up something thats just not there.

> At the request of Joerg Jaspert, a member of the debconf sponsorship
> team, I am posting this message.

For anyone interested in the irc log: 

> Shadows of accusation have surrounded Debconf6, and they affect Debians
> reputation directly.

Bullshit, as usual...

> To clear this up, I am going to ask some questions.  Members of the
> sponsorship team chose not to answer these questions on IRC, but
> indicated they would answer them on the mailing list.

You got all answers on IRC already (Read the log above). You won't get
more here.

> Debconf has been given more than $100,000 USD this year by various
> sponsors, to pay for the venue and free food and accomodations for
> everyone.  This is great.  So far it has been nice.  The remaining money
> has been handed out to pay for peoples travel expenses.  But there isn't
> enough to pay for everyone.  So only some people could get free travel.
> It is in the choosing of who gets free travel, that the accusations have
> arisen.

There was a clear deadline. Anyone who asked in time got considered.
As we don't print our money ourself we then need to select who from that
set gets money. Thats just logical.

For that we had a sponsorship committee, where some other Debconf
organizer and the DPL was involved. We had a meeting where we talked
about anyone asking for money. Basically the criteria was:

 - Involved organizing DebConf?
 - Gives a talk?
 - Involved in Debian?
 - Local to the Conf (ie south america located), as its their conf?

> From the announcement on debian-devel-announce, I, and others had the
> impression that Debconf is a Debian function, subject to the rules and
> principles governing Debian.

> Debian presents itself to the public as being open, transparent, fair,
> and just.  Debconf this year has acted in ways that seem to go directly
> against those principles.

Wrong. We are as open as we never were before.
Of course we won't make details public like who requested how much
money. Thats not our thing todo.

> First:  Is Debconf an official Debian project?

No. It is the Debian Conference. It is for/around/with Debian, but its
not a Debian (sub)project. Its run by some DDs and *lots of* non-DDs,
some of them not even package maintainers.

> Second:  If it is not, are the sponsors of Debconf aware that it is a
> private project, not subject to oversight of its conduct by the Debian
> project as a whole?

Yes. They sponsor DebConf, not Debian.

> Debconf has offered to sponsor various people to attend, including
> paying for their airplane tickets.  From the original announcement by
> Andreas Schuldei, the sponsorship would be offered based on a
> "consensus" by the sponsorship team.
> 1.  Who is on the sponsorship team?

Andreas Schuldei.
Gunnar Wolf.
Branden Robinson (as DPL).
Neil McGovern.
Amaya Rodrigo Sastre.
Margarita Manterola.
Marcela Tiznado.
Faidon Liambotis.

> 2.  Why are some developers and maintainers being rejected for
> sponsorship?

People are rejected because we don't have enough money to sponsor
everyone, and there needs to be a selection. If you can provide us with
more sponsors (I need around 35k USD) then we can sponsor all of them. If
you want to sponsor also latecomers then please print additional 50k

> 3.  How many developers and maintainers have been rejected for
> sponsorship?

Enough people are waiting to have travel costs of 35k USD open.
Some people are rejected completly. No, you won't get their names or
the order in which they applied for money.

> 4.  Why isn't this information made public?

The people who requested money in time either got a mail saying we are
still waiting for money, and if we get more money they will receive
sponsorship, OR, if we won't sponsor them they got a mail stating that.

You won't get any names.

> 5.  Why isn't the sponsorship of airplane flights handed out on a
> first-come first-served basis? (FIFO queue)

If you give me enough money I can do that. If not there needs to be a
selection, depending on the above criteria. This is not a race for
money, this is making the best conference possible that we can do.

> 6.  How do you plan to assure us you didn't give priority to your
> friends, and leave others out in the cold?

See the names above, that should be a wide enough range through the
project and the Debconf organising.

> 7.  People were prioritized by consensus, and given a queue number,
> unrelated to how early they signed up.  As new money comes in, people in
> the queue are being given tickets.

Yes, if you give us enough money we will pay everyone. Thats just not

> However, at least one member of Debian says she was rejected outright
> and not given a queue number, so she wouldn't get a ticket even if
> more sponsorship money became available.  Why was this?  Doesn't every
> Debian member have a right to attend, if there is enough money?

Tell me names (in private if you prefer to not make it public) or i can't
say any details for this. And see above: Give me enough money and all
get a ticket.

Right now I can say that there is no female Debian Developer that got

> 7.  Was anyone given airplane sponsorship who is neither a developer or
> a package maintainer?  If they were, why did they take priority over
> developers and maintainers?

Yes there were. See the criteria above. There is no "You're a DD, you
are ranked before anything else, you must be better" criteria.

> 8.  Why were there various deadlines to apply, with provisions for
> selective extensions, instead of giving out sponsorships until the money
> runs out?  If you need the deadlines so you can schedule things ahead of
> time, why not recognize that with a FIFO queue, you wouldn't need
> deadlines because people would rush to be early?

There was one deadline for the money. Various?

> Another issue is the planning of talks.  There is a voting page
> presented where we can select those talks we wish to attend.  However,
> we are only allowed to vote on a subset of the talks people offered to
> give.  Several very good talks didn't make it to the list.

You never organized a conference, right?

> 1.  Why aren't conference attendees allowed to vote on all the talks
> that were offered?

Because they won't get presented.

> 2.  Several very good talks were rejected; how do you plan to assure us
> that there was no favoritism in the selection of talks?  I particularly
> wanted a chance to vote for the following:

Similar to sponsorship: We have only a limited number of slots, so not
all talks get selected. If you want them then organize your own
conference and invite the speakers. Maybe they come.

All rejected talks got the offer to be turned into a BoF...

> 3.  From the website it is not clear what is happening with the Birds of
> a Feather sessions; they are neither accepted or rejected.  What is the
> situation with them?  How do they work?

People can always have BoFs everywhere on the area. At times where a
conference room is free they can also have it in there. There is no
limit for BoFs, not in time, not in place, not in topic.

> Please come out in public and show us the rumors aren't true.

You are the only one who tries to spread rumours.

> I was not rejected for sponsorship.  I never applied for sponsorship.  I
> was contacted by a contributing, useful Debian member who told me about
> her sponsorship being rejected.

Names please or you won't get any comment on that, as far as I can tell
that's just false, looking at the lists I have.
You can also direct her to mail sponsorship@debconf.org, thats the
correct address for any issues with sponsorship.

> Ted
> Debian Ombudsman

Good laugh.

bye Joerg, on behalf of the Sponsorship team and everyone who works on
           organising this DebConf

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