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Re: Making -devel discussions more viable

Well, obviously that wasn't a good idea at all, and I apologize for
bringing it up.  Not only are most people rather opposed to having
different social expectations for people contributing to Debian or not,
they're so strongly opposed that the nuance of my original message was
lost.  (And, seriously, that's largely my fault, since I knew the line
that I was drawing was probably too fine to be visible when I tried to
drew it and posted anyway.)

So we won't do that.

I do feel like I should make at least one comment in self-defense, because
a couple of people who are valuable contributors to debian-devel seem to
have felt personally attacked by the idea, or at least by the follow-up
discussion of how Ubuntu handled a similar situation, and that wasn't my
intention at all.

"Milan P. Stanic" <mps@arvanta.net> writes:
> On Tue, 2012-05-08 at 15:19, Miles Bader wrote:

>> ... and as a non-DD who's been using Debian for 15 years (and reading
>> this list for many of them), and understands at least some of the
>> technical issues, I find the suggestion that I be automatically
>> considered a negative influence and excluded kind of annoying.

> I'm in the same bandwagon.
> Sometimes I even package some packages which are not in Debian for some
> users. Few years ago I backported selinux to Sarge to Woody (IIRC) and
> some people from over the world downloaded it and used or played with
> it. These days I maintain Kannel development release (packages are on
> the Kannel site) for Debian Testing and people use it.

> Do I help Debian? I really don't know but I'm sure that I did help some
> Debian users.

> This (and some other) Debian list are helpful for me and I sometimes
> post some comment, question or even opinion about some subjects which
> are interesting me.

> If I have to pass some kind of meritocracy to post to this list I'll have
> feeling of the 'second class' participant and probably will not post
> anything.
> That wouldn't be big loss for Debian anyway ;-)

To be quite clear, I don't want to exclude people or even assume that
people are not valuable contributors to the mailing list just because they
aren't doing other things for Debian.  (And both of your names are
familiar to me as valuable contributors to the list in the past.)

The phrasing I used in the original message was that I wished that people
who were in some sense house guests would behave as such; in other words,
it's more about social dynamics than a default assumption that people
*won't* behave as guests and need to be kept in a locked room until they
prove themselves.  :)

But from the reaction this seems to be pretty clearly the entirely wrong
direction to go at this problem from, since the idea is just way too much
of a mismatch with expectations about how Debian mailing lists work.
Which, honestly, I should have realized in the first place.

What I'm getting from the rest of the thread is that there's no elegant
way to dodge around the core problem: some people (contributors or not)
sometimes start behaving in toxic ways on mailing lists, and someone with
authority to kick them off the list probably has to intervene when that
happens, and reporting that privately to the mailing list administrators
is the best method we have available to deal with that.  (And probably the
best one that we're going to get, at least for the forseeable future.)

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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