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Re: NM queue and groups [Was: NEW queue and ftp-master approval]

On Wed, Jan 26, 2005 at 12:06:06AM +0000, Andrew Suffield wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 25, 2005 at 10:52:48AM -0700, Joel Aelwyn wrote:
> > [1] Which is a separate rant, and frankly, I think Debian needs to be
> > clear about what we really mean by "We won't hide probles" in our Social
> > Contract
> It's a literal statement. We won't hide them. As always with the
> social contract, do not attempt to assume the inverse is true. Just
> because we won't hide them does not mean we're committed to going out
> of our way to make them well-known and easy to understand. It is not a
> commitment to some higher notion of transparency, but rather merely to
> avoid *obstructing* transparency.
> Complaining that you didn't know what the issues with the NM process
> were is precisely equivalent to complaining that you didn't know about
> some random bug which nobody had filed. Nobody was hiding anything,
> it's just that nobody bothered to document the problem; they're very
> different things.

I notice that you conveniently trimmed the portion of my statement that
went into detail about what I consider the core issue to be: what is meant
by "problems".

One could argue that failing to acknowledge, or do anything about, an
utter lack of transparency in our basic processes is, in fact, hiding
problems, by tacit acceptance and omission rather than deliberate
obfuscation. Complaining about a bug nobody has noticed is useless;
ignoring the existance of a "bug" and refusing to make it possible to even
see that there IS a "bug" when there appears to be one is a very different
thing. Our software is "open" - it can be reviewed, understood, and
potentially updated (even if that isn't accepted upstream in all cases);
our non-electoral processes appear to act, at least in practice and for the
most part, a great deal more like closed models.

However, it's a pointless debate if the majority of developers consider the
usage of "problem" in that clause to be strictly equivalent to "bug in the
software we ship". Certainly that meaning has been asserted more than once
in my experiences on the Debian mailing lists. I, personally, don't agree
with it, but there are very plausible arguments for both views.

*If* it means "problems" in the more general sense, then it's meaningful to
discuss what we think the problems are, and what we think that commitment
to "not hiding" them means in terms of practical application. But until the
question of what our Social Contract actually commits us to considering
as problems in the first place is clear, it won't go anywhere because it
*can't* - I, at least, have already seen enough evidence that I believe
that trying to change anything of the sort would simply get bogged down in
"But that isn't even something we promise to do", long before dealing with
the questions of "Is there an issue, and if so, what is that issue?" and
"How can we resolve the issue?"
Joel Aelwyn <fenton@debian.org>                                       ,''`.
                                                                     : :' :
                                                                     `. `'

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