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Re: new maintainter process [was: Re: Orphaning my packages]

On Thu, Oct 03, 2002 at 08:32:42AM -0500, Chris Lawrence wrote:
> On Oct 02, Joseph Carter wrote:
> > That's not to say that I don't believe James hasn't made bad calls in the
> > NM area.  However, I can't rightly say I believe anyone else could do the
> > same job any better.  The final stages of the NM process come down to a
> > single judgement call.  If there is disagreement, who is right?  Until
> > there is some reasonable way to determine that, there will be no sure-fire
> > way for everyone to be happy with NM.  I don't believe this problem has a
> > complete solution, either.
> Well, it seems to me that if the buck needs to stop with someone, it
> should be the DPL; after all, he nominally is empowered to replace the
> DAM, so he ought to be trusted to overrule his/their judgment.  In
> practice, I don't see this as a serious problem, especially since I
> don't think James' workload would be reduced much if we added extra
> people but had him review each application still (in which case adding
> extra people is pointless).

Okay. So, what we have is someone who wields (because it must be wielded) a
large amount of power, by the simple fact that they have the final decision
on a fairly crucial thing.

This person is not elected (and probably shouldn't be). It is considered
by many to be unacceptable to require specific tasks of them, because it
would be "excessive overhead" (and it might be; I don't agree, but I will
stipulate it for the moment even so).

See below.

> That doesn't solve the issue of widening the trusted set to make these
> determinations; I'm unwilling to put forward names of people who might
> see it as being volunteered for duty, but it seems there are plenty of
> obvious candidates: former DPLs, people trusted with other core
> project functions (vote counting, monetary accounting, etc.), other
> long-serving delegates of the project, etc.  But I think it's clear
> that we often have serious problems where there is a single point of
> failure in the project, and we should try to address these situations
> (and more importantly, to make sure they don't come about in the first
> place--because when they do, it leads to overwork or burnout that
> often results in these very problems).

The only person, it seems, to whom the DAM is actually responsible is the
DPL - who can appoint and remove the DAM. I don't want Mr. Troup removed,
mind you; my frustration is with the process, not the person (at least,
right now; he's given me no personal reason to be frustrated).

Perhaps what we should be looking for is an opinion from the DPL -
hopefully he would have some notion of who could be so trusted (not
necessary to shout it to the world, just to talk to the people he'd
consider). There doesn't seem to be any reason, though, that the DAM stage
*must* be only person - only that it *must* be composed completely of
people who are ultimately trusted with that amount of power, and that it
*should* remain a small enough number that they can coordinate amongst
themselves easily.

I'm not suggesting a commitee vote, however - rather, that any one of the
appointed could approve an NM. It might also provide a sounding board if
there were some doubt about someone, or a concern over bias (please note: I
am not accusing Mr. Troup of this - but I know that, even when I'm *paid*
to deal with people, there are some who just push the wrong buttons, and
whom I try to hand to co-workers if they're available - and vice versa -
simply because it results in less frustration all around).

> The irony is that we spend a lot of time seeking "co-maintainers" for
> packages when we have a procedure to deal with AWOL maintainers
> already (NMUs, package hijacking); however, we don't have a fallback
> if the ftpadmin group goes on a two-month retreat to neverneverland or
> Joe Cabal boycotts updating the LDAP database.

Thank you for putting into words something that had been hanging around the
back of my mind. "Your task is of Priority 'standard' or higher. You should
really consider getting some co-maintainers."
Joel Baker                           System Administrator - lightbearer.com
lucifer@lightbearer.com              http://users.lightbearer.com/lucifer/

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