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Re: Draft GR for permitting private discussion

Kurt Roeckx <kurt@roeckx.be> writes:
> On Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 10:31:15AM +0200, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:

>> I would agree that if yours here is the common interpretation of the
>> current wording of the Constitution, then we have a problem. (It is not
>> *my* reading, but that's meaningless.) I don't think that anyone would
>> want to inhibit private discussions to happen at all. But I do think
>> people would expect them to be reported ex-post.

> I have no problem interpreting "are made public" to mean that a
> summary is send to the list.

I don't believe this is feasible, or at least, it's not feasible for me.
I've tried to do that off and on for years now at work, since it would
have often been a useful skill, to both participate in a verbal discussion
and take notes about that discussion.  I've sadly reached the firm
conclusion that, while there may be people who are capable of both taking
notes and participating in a discussion at the same time, I'm not one of
them.  I can do one or the other, but not both.

I can try to reconstruct a summary from memory, but it's not going to be
"discussion [...] made public on the Technical Committee public discussion
list."  It's likely to be very partial, full of gaps, and not reflect the
complete content of the discussion.  (Well, at least for the verbal
discussions.  Obviously, a Usenet discussion is amenable to summary.)

I think this is why, if you look at procedures for other organizations
that require deliberations to be made public, that requirement is only
placed on formal meetings and is done via either having an appointed
secretary who doesn't participate in the discussion and whose only job is
to record the notes, or by enforcing a meeting structure that makes people
stop talking at intervals long enough for the secretary to record what

>> Note the above is nothing new and is just consistent with the well
>> known mantra that most Free Software projects try to apply that "if it
>> didn't happen on a mailing list, it didn't happen".

I am not familiar with any free software project that bans private
discussion or requires that the discussion be reported on the mailing
list.  Not even the IETF does this, and they're one of the strictest about
requiring all formal process happen on the mailing lists.

This appears to be a social experiment unique to Debian.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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