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Re: Bug#636783: proposed constitution fix for super-majority within the tech ctte

On Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 11:39:54AM +0000, Ian Jackson wrote:
> > > * Possibly increasing the maximum size of the committee.  I would be
> > >   happy with 12, given the busy nature of the existing members.
> > 
> > If there are people interested in helping drive things to resolution, that
> > would be helpful, as we're not currently doing a stellar job on that
> > front.
> I still think we should formally allocate issues to TC members as they
> come in.
> Do you agree that the maximum size should be increased ?  It would
> look something like this perhaps:

As the DPL is part of tech-ctte appointments, I'd like to comment on
that.  I don't think the issue of tech-ctte efficacy should (or could)
be approached from the "not enough manpower" angle.

People on the tech-ctte tend to be quite busy, that's true and normal.
The typical profile of a tech-ctte member is a talented hacker with a
lot of experience. Such a person has often responsibilities and
demanding duties, both within and outside the Debian Project. Augmenting
the number of tech-ctte members would not change this aspect, unless we
want at the same time to change the profile of tech-ctte members, which
I don't think would be wise.

I've been observing the tech-ctte activities for a long while, as an
external observer. In fact, I don't think the long time that some
decisions take is related to how busy are the members of the technical
committee. It looks like a recurrent pattern of decisions is:

  1. fruitful discussion
  2. long limbo
  3. someone takes the lead
  4. fruitful discussion
  5. vote

it is true that (2) is useful in some cases, to let things linger and
dissipate, but looking from the outside it doesn't seem to be a
deliberate choice. It seems to be often there just because the passage
from (2) to (3) is prone to starvation.

Look at this precise moment: Russ has decided to go through outstanding
tech-ctte bugs and suddenly a lot of them look closer to completion than
a week ago!

Let me then re-propose something that I have proposed at DebConf11 (or
was it DebConf10?) during the tech-ctte session. I suggest to the
tech-ctte to hold periodic public IRC meetings, *just* to go through the
list of open issues. It can be as quick as 30 minutes every 1 or 2
months, and it doesn't matter if only a few members could attend each
meeting. I have the impression that it would be enough to reduce the
duration of (2) by guaranteeing that, periodically, outstanding issues
are re-considered.

Back then at DebConf, IIRC, present tech-ctte members were in favor of
the idea, but in the end it hasn't been implemented. Is that something
the tech-ctte cold consider trying, before proposing Constitution
changes due to the specific issue of the time that some decisions take
to be made?

Thanks for your work,
Stefano Zacchiroli     zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} . o .
Maître de conférences   ......   http://upsilon.cc/zack   ......   . . o
Debian Project Leader    .......   @zack on identi.ca   .......    o o o
« the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »

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