Re: Let's Stop Getting Torn Apart by Disagreement: Concerns about the Technical Committee
On November 3, 2017 9:09:31 PM EDT, Sam Hartman <email@example.com> wrote:
>>>>>> "Steve" == Steve Langasek <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> Steve> Hi Diane,
> Steve> On Thu, Nov 02, 2017 at 11:48:05AM -0700, Diane Trout wrote:
> >> I only just subscribed and only have read some of the discussion
> >> so this may be a bit off topic or already discussed.
> >> But I was wondering if the project has thought about explicitly
> >> encouraging mentoring in techniques for handling interpersonal
> >> conflict and helping members develop interpersonal skills?
> >> I know there's active research into managing team conflict, and I
> >> bet there are some Debian members who have been more effective at
> >> helping other team members that we might be able to learn from.
> >> I know we have methods to share technical skills via policies and
> >> best practices, but how do we identify and share useful social
> >> techniques?
> >> For instance I think active listening is a useful technique when
> >> trying to develop a consensus about a topic.
> >> )
> >> But I don't know how many others know about it and there would
> >> need to be some adjustment for a distributed team like Debian.
> Steve> Better skills for handling interpersonal conflict can never
> Steve> be a bad thing. However, the Technical Committee exists as a
> Steve> decision-making body of last resort, when consensus is not
> Steve> possible (because two parties have incompatible goals, or
> Steve> because discussion is not converging on agreement fast enough
> Steve> to matter).
>I think that Debian does need a decision making body of last resort.
>I personally think these communication skills are critical for such a
One critical thing I think the TC misses is to consider if it's time to invoke last resort processes or not. My impression is that if someone brings an issue to the TC, there's an assumption that the TC has to deal with it.
The last time I was involved with an issue brought to the TC, it had been brought after zero discussion between the person filing the bug and the relevant team. Complaining to the TC about a bug that's been dormant for years only a few days after resurrecting discussion about it (AIUI) seems similarly aggressive.
Diving into issues in these kinds of circumstances turns the TC into nothing more than a stick to beat other developers with. I think we need something like the TC, but I also think part of being the decider of last resort is sticking to the last resort part.
P.S. Having been through a couple of TC issues that involved packages or teams relevant to me, I totally get orphaning a package. I don't know what fraction of packages I maintain I care enough about to deal with a TC complaint over them, but I'm pretty sure it's way less than half.