Technical committee workflow
Often people come to the TC just wanting a second opinion and a new
voice, perhaps to inject fresh insight into a stale discussion. We
normally seem to be reasonably good at this task provided the answer
to the original question is reasonably tractable, although we are
But we're hopeless at actually getting a formal decision passed when
We've had various discussions on the causes. As you know I think one
cause is that our membership is rather too small for the average
distractedness of TC members (and having TC members that are often
distracted because they are experienced and involved in many other
things is by and large a good thing as it means we tend to have people
who produce good decisions).
But having thought about it some more I think that part of it might be
a problem of the psychological dynamics of committees. We all have
joint responsibility and that means that sometimes we all do nothing
and sometimes we all nitpick.
I have an approach which I'd like the committee to consider trying as
* When an issue comes in, the first TC member to get to it and claim
it becomes primarily responsible for it. We'll call them the
* The Rapporteur discusses the issue - off the main TC list - with
the various parties. debian-devel might be a good place, with
an initial CC to other lists and the bug of course. Other TC
members could participate there if they had time available.
Other Developers could show their usefulness as future TC
candidates by their contributions to these discussions.
* The Rapporteur would issue a report which explains
- relevant facts
- the arguments made by all sides, including those
arguments the Rapporteur rejects
- the Rapporteur's conclusions
- a decision about what should happen and a timeframe
and if they don't do this within 14 days then they can be
relieved by any other TC member.
* If the parties are not satisfied with the Rapporteur's opinion,
the Rapporteur would come back to the whole committee and present
their report. Obviously this involves discussing the matter again
but now we will have one person whose clear role it is to drive the
We'd have to have some rule to avoid a fast-replying TC member from
getting all of the business: perhaps, if you're the person who took
the last issue, you must wait 72 hours before claiming a new one; if
you're the person who took the second-last one, you must wait 48