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Bits from the NM people

Hello world,

during this weekend FD/DAM had a meeting in Essen to discuss various
things and issues around the New Maintainer process.

Good news

The queues are (almost) empty:

    * The DAM queue has only 2 people left. 14 have been approved and
      will now get an account.

    * Yes, this really means that we're going to have 14 new DDs as soon
      as their accounts are created!

    * The two people currently in the DAM queue are waiting for issues
      not fully related to the NM process that should be dealt with in
      the next few days.

    * The frontdesk queue is empty!

    * There are only 3 people waiting to get an AM assigned. With a few
      more AMs we could reach the ideal situation of having the AM queue
      empty and the AMs not overworking.

    * There are various people on hold at the DAM or the FD stage. These
      have all been pinged, and will either move on, or their
      application will be cancelled.

No more rejections!

Canceling an application is currently called a "rejection". We are
actually very rarely rejecting people from Debian, and the most common
case is that an application is canceled because a person is not ready,
and is invited to join again after they gain some experience. This
wording issue has causes bad feelings in the past.

For this reason we have decided to refer to what was previously called
"soft rejection" as "cancelling the application". In most cases,
applicants can re-apply after a while, and "cancelling the application"
more clearly communicates this fact. 

People who are not knowledgeable or experienced enough are not rejected
by Debian: they are instead provided with more appropriate ways of
joining, such as finding mentors who help them gain experience and
sponsor their packages into the archive. 

What was known as a "strong rejection" will however still be referred to
as a "rejection", because that is what it is. 

Account name rules

A new account name should be at least 3 characters long, and must be
reasonable, according to the DAM's judgement. We've rejected account
names in the past that were trolling attempts, or things like "root". 

Website rewrite

We started to rewrite our website at nm.debian.org. This cleans up the
internal implementation and allows for future improvements in the NM
process handling. 

GPG keysigning coordination

FD/DAM would like to to move the GPG keysiging coordination over to
someone else. It's not really part of FrontDesk work; and as we are
rewriting the webpage anyhow we feel this is a right time to move it
over to someone else and not make it part of the new page. Volunteers to
pick up this job are welcome. 

Advocation in the NM process

We discussed how advocation of New Maintainers should be done. We agreed
that advocation should be done on a public mailing list and more than
one advocations are appreciated. This is the same as in the DM process
and gives a much better picture about applications. In order for this to
be effective immediately, we ask prospective advocates that for now,
they explicitly Cc the debian-newmaint@lists.debian.org mailinglist; the
rewritten website will make this automatic, once it goes live. 

More and well-motivated advocacy messages make the whole process
faster. Though the current NM website does not allow for more than one
advocate, the mailinglist process will, and this is another reason why
we think the process should be made public. Note that after a person has
been advocated, additional advocates need not go through the website; a
simple signed reply on the mailinglist will suffice. This process is
certainly suboptimal, but we are working on this for the new website. 

When you advocate a person, you are saying that they need and should get
unsupervised upload rights on the entire archive, right now. In the past
some people were advocated who at the time had not yet done any Debian
related work. Please only advocate people who have contributed to Debian
already, don't advocate someone that you expect will get involved in
Debian later on. Having to cancel an application, or having someone
disappear while in the NM process, is a waste of time and motivation for
everyone involved. 

As such, we prefer that people who want to apply to NM have been active
in Debian for a while already, and have built up some experience. In the
last few months, we've already redirected some people to the DM process
when we felt that they were not ready to become a DD yet, and we will
continue to do so. Please consider this an official policy as of now. 

More AMs wanted

The NM process is always short of application managers. Applicants are
waiting to get one assigned. As usual, we invite experienced DDs to join
up and help out. Remember that AM work is a fun and interesting way to
learn more about Debian and the people involved! It's always better to
have AMs waiting rather than NMs. 

S3cr1ts 4b0ut th3 NM pr0c3ss

There are many things many people don't know about the NM process:

    * AMs can pick an NM from the queue, within reason. If you see a
      person that you would like to be an AM for, feel free to ask

    * There are ways to skip tasks&skills. AMs can read
      http://wiki.debian.org/FrontDesk/Tips for some tips.

    * Extremely good and very active people in urgent need of an account
      can be (and have been) fast-tracked. Feel free to contact Front
      Desk/DAM (with detailed motivations) if you see a case where this
      is needed. Please keep in mind that this is an exception.

    * Common sense is more effective than you'd imagine. 

Joerg Jaspert
Christoph Berg
Bernd Zeimetz
Enrico Zini
Michael Koch
Wouter Verhelst

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