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Re: Debian needs more buildds. It has offers. They aren't being accepted.

On Sun, Feb 15, 2004 at 02:00:36AM -0700, Jamin W. Collins wrote:
> On Sun, Feb 15, 2004 at 03:13:53PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > On Sat, Feb 14, 2004 at 11:06:39AM -0700, Jamin W. Collins wrote:
> > > I'm assuming that when you attempt to convince them there is at
> > > least some two way conversation?
> > I've asked in the past, I've been told that they don't have
> > time. 
> So, they did respond.  Thus, two way communcation.

What communication, exactly, are you claiming was missing? Your email
included the comment, eg, "First thing you should notice from this
list is that there's an applicant that's been waiting on DAM approval
with no comment for over 3 years (almost 3 1/2 years).  Yes, 3+ years!
That's absolutely ludicrous!"

Certainly there wasn't a comment on the webpage summary; but as tbm has
since described there was a fair degree of communication, and the long
pauses were mostly due to that particular applicant not responding to
requests from the frontdesk.

> > Can you see the difference between that and flaming people on -devel?
> Sure, there was communication from both sides, not silence.

And this is different how, exactly?

> > Can you possibly imagine that choosing that path might make it easier
> > to have two-way conversations in future if something does change?
> Sure, but both parties have to participate for two way communication (by
> definition).  If one side is simply silent your suggestion breaks down.

Your mail also says:

] * Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2003 13:09:47 -0600
] I spent the morning working up a short script to parse
] http://nm.debian.org/nmlist.php and gather a list of all individuals
] that are listed as waiting for DAM approval.

Did you at any point attempt to communicate this to the frontdesk
without including comments like "That's absolutely ludicrous!", "This
is absolutely crazy!" or just asking for more information instead of
demanding that "something" has to be done?

> > > The DPL stepped in and improved the level of documentation provided
> > > to NM applicants.  This seems like a change for the better to me.
> > Did you at any point ask Martin, either as front desk or as DPL, to
> > look into this privately and in a friendly, non-accusatory manner? 
> No.  Debian claims to be an open organization, why should this have been
> looked into privately?  

Because posting to lists causes a whole bunch of people who don't have
any idea what's going on to chime in with their two cents and demand a
long justification that doesn't benefit anyone at all.

If that weren't the case, I'd agree absolutely. Unfortunately it is the
case, and everytime someone makes the assumption that flaming first is
a good way to go about promoting beneficial change, it becomes even more
the case.

> > Did you at any point offer any help (and follow through on that
> > offer)?
> Offer to help with DAM approval? No.  Didn't figure anyone would accept
> an offer of help with DAM approval from someone awaiting it.  

You've passed since, presumably. Have you done anything since then to
make James' job easier?

> It wasn't a first resort and by no means something jumped to.  And, it
> could have been avoided with a simple update on the NM status page.  The
> fact remains that communication was, and still appears to be, lacking
> where James is involved.

Personally, one of the things I used to quite like about Debian is
that you could join the project and be a gruff curmudgeon with no
interpersonal skills at all, and still be respected just because you did
good work. Aiming for technical excellence, and having people just chip
in and solve problems when they see them rather than worrying about whose
job it is to do what made for, IMO, a fun and effective way of writing
and managing software. Sure, you have to treat some people differently;
Espy and James were always terse and gruff (or at least intimidating and
awe-inspiring), but that was okay because hey, they knew everything,
and at least it was a good way of stopping no-nothing newbies like me
from babbling away about things they didn't know anything about.

Personally, I'd much rather work in that environment than one where
everyone feels they should be saying something, even when they don't
know what they're talking about, or one where people are constantly
being put on trial and made to justify their actions. The evidence would
suggest that that's not the way Debian works anymore, and I think we're
incredibly poorer for that change.

Personally, given the choice between two people, one of whom has more
technical skills and experience, and the other of whom is more popular,
a better manager, and a better communicator, I'd rather the person with
the technical skills to be the one hacking on my OS.


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

             Linux.conf.au 2004 -- Because we could.
           http://conf.linux.org.au/ -- Jan 12-17, 2004

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