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Bits from the NM process: advocacy messages


after some recent debian-newmaint and IRC conversation, it makes sense
to post a quick note about advocacy messages.

I have been quoting this bit from [1], which I think captures quite well
the gist of advocating people:

  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.

Now, this does not mean that an advocacy message should be a cumbersome,
long and convincing thing that takes a day to write. It's more to do
with what is written on it.

This is, for example, a perfectly good advocacy message that can be
written in less than a minute:

  I have personally worked with NAME <EMAIL> <GPG KEY FINGERPRINT> for a
  sufficiently long time and I know NAME can be trusted to have full,
  unsupervised, unrestricted upload to the archive right now.

Advocates who are desperately short of time can even reuse that bit and
fill in the blanks: we really don't mind as long as they mean it, sign
it and put their reputation behind it.

If the advocate is not a DM yet, please also add a line about why they
haven't been advocated as DM before. This is because it sometimes
happens that people get advocated for NM when the intention is to
advocate them for DM.

We welcome everyone to be more verbose, though. Extra details really do
help: they might help FD in making a better choice of AM, or they might
help the AM in seeing the existing Debian activity and make the process
faster: http://wiki.debian.org/FrontDesk/Tips

Rule of thumb: if you're writing something that shows the work of the
applicant, you're doing a good job. If you're writing something that
sounds a waste of time, skip it: it very likely is a waste of time.

Another tip: multiple advocates are always appreciated: if you work on
projects A and B, please get an advocate from A and one from B, instead
of asking someone from A to also go and dig details about your work on

Another tip: skip the rituals. NM is not a university exam or a job
interview: there is no dress code and no need of flowery words or fancy

Still quoting from [1]: "Common sense is more effective than you'd



[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2009/11/msg00005.html)
GPG key: 4096R/E7AD5568 2009-05-08 Enrico Zini <enrico@enricozini.org>

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