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Re: Work-needing packages report for Jul 11, 2003

On Fri, Jul 18, 2003 at 06:45:22PM +0100, Mark Brown wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 18, 2003 at 11:06:38AM -0600, Joel Baker wrote:
> > s**t together enough to even *respond* to people who have invested at
> > least a few *weeks* of time, often more, in going through the application
> > process, and who have been told, at that point, "Everything looks good, we
> I think it's important not to overstate things so much here - it doesn't
> help address the issues.  If the NM process is taking someone weeks of
> effort (as opposed to wall clock time) then there's something seriously
> wrong elsewhere, possibly with the level of questions being asked by the
> AM or with the readiness of the NM.

Do not mistake "T&S + P&P" time with total time - and don't mistake "weeks
of effort" with 24x7x* hours of effort. Someone can put in 2-3 hours a day
of "Debian Time" (reading debian lists that are meaningful to what one
is doing, reading upstream email lists, setting up packaging, handling
bugs, reading the Policy manual front to back, re-referencing it when
actually doing package stuff, and let's not forget the compile time on most
non-trivial packages...) for a good 2-3 weeks, before all of the pre-DAM
stuff is done.

Maybe some maintainers don't do any of this, except perhaps actually
writing things in debian/* and looking over the occasional bug. Frankly,
*those* are the folks I don't particularly want as fellow DDs, but funnily
enough, a lot of them aren't found in the NM queue (not, granted, that
going through the full NM queue as it stands today is a guarantee of doing
all of those things - but the AM stage, at least, is not, at least IMO,
broken, and servers it's purpose well and usefully).

Seriously - how many DDs who are not *paid* to work on Debian as part of
their jobs, and aren't students, spend more than a few hours a day on
Debian, among the rest of their lives? A few hours is enough to get a lot
done, but I wouldn't dream of saying that someone who's put a few hour a
day over three weeks into Debian hasn't put out 'a lot of effort'. As much
as the Release Manager or the DPL? Almost certainly not. I won't even try
to compare it to the DAM, because 1) I can't see anything about the DAM
time requirements, they've never been talked about much, and 2) The primary
DAM is also a lot of other things (ftpmaster, etc) which I *know* take a
lot of time.

But they've put in hours of their lives that they'll never get back, just
like we have, and it behooves us to at least *acknowlege* that fact with
some basic courtesies. To steal a much-overused dotbomb term, go look at
how almost any 'brick and mortar' volunteer non-profit deals with volunteer
applicants. Those that want to keep getting applications take the time to
keep in touch with their applicants while they're reviewing things.

If Debian really doesn't *want* applicants, as some folks seem to express,
that's fine too - but if so, we should close the NM queue, and be honest
about it. Trying to have our cake, and eat it as well, just makes us look
like idiots with cake smeared all over our faces.

Yes, I feel strongly about this. Why? Because of the people I talk to
regularly who know anything about Debian, they have *all* expressed
incredulity at the ludicrousness of waiting six months or more without
hearing *anything*, if you apply and make it through the AM stage. These
same people think that P&P, T&S, sponsorship, and advocation before even
starting the process are all worthwhile ideas (whether or not they think
they're *good* ones varies, but they all think they're something other
than useless). But *every* *single* *one* has commented on how stupid it
looks to them, to have someone sit on their thumb for six months, with no
feedback whatsoever.

It reflects badly on the entire Project, because we are, in fact,
responsible for it - we elect each DPL, each DPL has the power to change
things with the DAM or leave them as they are, and we make a big deal
about Debian being an electorate. So we all look like we can't find our
hindquarters with both hands, a flashlight, and a map - or, perhaps, that
we don't really care about anyone volunteering to join. Newcomers need not
apply for Cabal Membership (hey - look, *everyone* is part of the Cabal,
now - not just the Evil elmo and his henchmen! Oh, wait, TINC...)

Seriously, however - I trust elmo's judgement, even if I don't agree with
it. I don't even necessarily think that the setup with the DAM is flawed
in a fundamental way, at this point, *except* for the fact that there is
utterly no feedback, for a very, very long time.

However, since the current DAM(s) have not seen fit to say why this is, or
what anyone else could do to help fix it (or if they have, it hasn't been
anywhere that I, at least, could see it), we're left in a position of being
unable to do anything *but* gripe about it, and hope that someone with the
power to do something takes it as a sufficient indicator of dissatisfaction
that action *should* be taken, and does something.

Even if it doesn't solve the problem, it would be an attempt at it. We can
keep making attempts until we find something that works. But, much like the
DAM stage itself, we can't do much until we have more information on what
might be necessary, and so we're left sitting in the dark.
Joel Baker <fenton@debian.org>

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