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Re: [Debconf-team] Patch to DebConf orgateam structure


Thanks for the reply.  Having read this, I think that the problem lies
at what each of us identifies as "local team", we are clearly thinking
of different things. I wish we could have had this discussion at

When I say that there should be a local team, it does not mean that
members of the local team cannot participate in the global team.  Of
course, each and everyone of the members of DC16 organization that
were present at DC15 (or previous DebConfs, but I think all of them
were at DC15) are -in my vision- both part of the local and the global

When I advocate for the local team it's not for these people, but for
the volunteers that will show up along the way.  For those volunteers,
joining debconf-team is traumatic. There's too many flamewars, too
many things going on at the same time, and they have no idea how to
fit into the already existing structures, they just want to help.

I've heard this comment many times in the past, and even this year,
from people that had been part of Debian for a long time, but had no
idea how flamewary debconf-team was.

We need those volunteers, we need to be able to delegate stuff towards
them, otherwise the DC16 organizing team has too big of a burden.  But
asking those volunteers to join debconf-team, follow the tons of
discussions, follow the IRC meeting on #debconf-team, etc, has been
proven to be too much. They just don't, which makes it much harder to
integrate them so there's a high chance that you'll lose them.

Of course, if any new recruits that join that local team feel like
they want to integrate into the global structure they are totally
welcome to join. It's not like being part of the local team precludes
taking part in content, fundraising, or any other teams. It's just
that it's not a pre-requisite to understand and fit into the structure
in order to volunteer for working towards DC16.

In my experience, the group of local volunteers will form whether you
want it or not.  This year we operated under the "there is no local
team" rule, and we still had plenty of people that helped and showed
up only because it was in Germany. Some of them went away because they
didn't feel like they fit into the structure, and plenty of them
stayed even though they were not part of any of the official teams.
The point is that this local team existed even if it was not allowed
to exist according to the structure.

This will happen for DC16 as well. There will be Southafricans that
will join the team and want to help. The easier you make it for them
to *belong*, the more motivation and energy they will have to work on

On Sat, Aug 29, 2015 at 1:52 AM, Allison Randal <allison@lohutok.net> wrote:
> - Another supporting reason was to clearly define who would be working
> on social activities like the day trip and evening events, but there's
> no reason that has to be exclusively local people, so it made more sense
> to just create a Social Activities team. We had a similar conversation
> around budget and facilities, where it makes more sense to combine
> people with varying levels of experience and proximity, rather than
> artificially segmenting the work.

I don't object to these new teams. I just want to point out that the
intention of the original team structure was to ensure that people
stayed on the teams through the years. These teams will have an
extremely high turn-over (i.e. most members will only be members for
one DebConf). In my original proposal, only the local team would have
such a high turnover, but I'm fine with accepting that there's a bunch
of teams in the same situation.

These teams do not solve the problem described above, local volunteers
still need to figure out which team out of Facilities, Social
Activities or Finances they fit in, and that's already a rather high
barrier for new recruits. There are also many local tasks that don't
fit that structure, like: visa help, child care, printing t-shirts,
documenting how to go from the airport to the venue, documenting
things that people need to remember before travelling, publicizing the
open part of the event in local places, and many others.

> Chill out, feel the beat of the African drums, pour a glass of Pinotage,
> and join the fun. It's going to be a great year. :)

I don't doubt this, every year DebConf is a great even despite all the
flamewars that go on through debconf-team.

But this doesn't mean that there are no things that we can learn from
past experience.  My main point is: the less you delegate, the more
you burn out; you need a large team in order to delegate to them, so
it makes no sense to make it hard for that team to grow; the
"catch-all" local team is for this.


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