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Re: Mailing lists

Wouter Verhelst <wouter@grep.be> wrote:

> On Thu, Feb 19, 2004 at 05:52:25PM +0100, Mathieu Roy wrote:
>> Wouter Verhelst <wouter@grep.be> wrote:
>> > On Thu, Feb 19, 2004 at 02:49:12PM +0100, Goswin von Brederlow wrote:
>> >> Thats a pretty hostile remark.
>> >
>> > Funny, this thread started with claims being made about people who spend
>> > almost all of their free time to Debian, which should be replaced, as if
>> > their contributions weren't considered useful.
>> I'm surprised to hear you saying that. Generally, you express more 
>> subtle point of views:
> Well, let's say he's hit the wrong button.
> [...]
>> How the hell did you reach the conclusion that doing much means being
>> always right, never wrong?
> Well, see, I didn't say that. But since you bring it up: if you're doing
> a lot of work in a certain area -any area- then you'll, no doubt, earn a
> lot of experience in that area. James and Ryan have been working with
> wanna-build and buildd for a long time; much longer than I have, and
> certainly much longer than you have[0]. So, it's fair to say that their
> experience in this area is worth a lot more than mine, and certainly a
> lot more than yours. 

What is your point? Nobody said the contrary.

> If they say "I think it's best we do it this way", I'll generally
> take their expert opinion for granted. If they tell me I made a
> mistake, my first action would be to believe them, and to correct my
> error. Even after having been the buildd admin of a few machines
> since halfway 2001, that would still be what I'd do.

And it would be logical to do so.

> Does that mean they're always right and never wrong? No, certainly not.
> Both James and Ryan are human beings, not computers (at least not to the
> best of my knowledge), and unlike well-designed computers, human beings
> are known to make mistakes.  However, if I think they're wrong, what
> I'll do is make damn sure I'm right before claiming they've missed the
> ball. Send them a private mail, pointing out the tidbits that I think
> they might be wrong at, with a (short!) reasoning as to why I think
> that's the case.  Not a long one, since I don't want to waste their
> time[1]. 
> What I won't do is start a flamewar on -devel, which will annoy the hell
> out of everyone who reads it, including both Ryan and James who'll then
> probably ignore me or give my requests lower priority if I mail them for
> some other reason. After all, such flamewars don't really change
> anything, even if the DPL does waste his time to explain what happened,
> and why. Best case, it takes a month before everyone who was not
> directly insulted will have forgotten all about it. Go ahead, try me. A
> month from the last message in this flame, ask a random developer whom
> you know is reading -devel, whether he remembers what that flame was
> about again.

There is a problem if you think of -devel like a flamewar area. The
public list are publicly archived. So any question that may be
of interest of several persons should get there, in order to avoid 
DDs to reply every month to the same questions.

The fact that people talk about killfiles and how good or bad one guy
is is a different issue. People interested in fixing the trouble
should calm down and express what they want precisely, by saving all
the insulting-stuff for another day. Unfortunately, few people
involved in the issue seems willing to do that -- not surprisingly, the
one in inferior position.

> What I'm suggesting is that hostility towards people, even if they annoy
> the hell out of you by not replying to your requests, does not buy you
> anything but them turning away from you. If you want people to do
> anything to you, be nice to them. Even if that means you have to wait
> for a long time. Even if that means you have to outlive their attitude,
> if you think it's an annoying one.

It is a workaround, not a bugfix.

> Because frankly, a sysadmin's job is a thankless job. If you're ever on
> IRC, #debian-devel, and watch what happens when some nice guy who uses
> the 'elmo' alias says something, you'll see what I mean: James is
> stumped with requests. It usually takes a while for a request to be
> handled, and they're *all* urgent. No matter what. If you think that
> time is unacceptable, then I have a suggestion: help them out, instead
> of requesting for them to be replaced. *Be* their (partial) replacement,
> and have the flames be directed at you, instead of flaming James and/or
> some of the other admin people. That's helpful; claiming that they're
> doing a lousy job is not.

We are off-topic.

Bye the way, note that I'm only focused how the debate is going on,
I am a complete outsider. 

>> All this discussion about how hostile are Nathaniel and friends, how
>> bad it is to question DD choices, it just looks like a way to avoid
>> discussion the real issue raised by Nathaniel and friends: "Re: Debian
>> needs more buildds. It has offers. They aren't beingaccepted.". It
>> makes the issue looking even more strange, just like if there was
>> little nasty secret to hide. Why is it so hard to get an official
>> statement about why buildd offers aren't being accepted?
> There has been one. Two days after the start of this flamage, the DPL
> has posted a mail that outlined the reasons for the machines not being
> accepted:
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2004/debian-devel-200402/msg00463.html
> That's with his DPL hat on ('From: leader@debian.org'), so I guess it
> can't go any more official than that.

I was thinking about an official statement from the people that
rejected the offers.

The DPL said "I suppose Ryan had reasons for turning down the
offer" (a previous one). Admit that it does not look like a clear
official statement. I looks that the DPL is not aware of the
specifics, so maybe it would be best if the one that know the specific
was making the official statement.

> Yes, I know the answer has not been accepted by some. As someone who's
> been maintaining a buildd machine for almost 3 years now, however, I'd
> like to say that I understand Ryan's motives for not accepting the
> buildd offer, even if I don't agree with all of them. His mail to me in
> which he declined the offer was short, to the point, communicative, and
> friendly; thus, in my experience, many of the accusations ("they're not
> communicating!", etc) are simply wrong. And yes, both James and Ryan
> seem to be ignoring this thread. Can't blaim them for that.

Is the mail you are referring available in public list archives?

If not, maybe they should post a this mail that address the issues 
reported by Nathaniel and friends, without personal attack
obviously. That would be communicative, allowing people subscribed to
-devel, that now bits of the story, to have a better overview.

If it is the case, a pointer to this mail would be of interest.

Mathieu Roy

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