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Re: Downscaling responsibilities

Enrico Zini <enrico@enricozini.org> writes:

> it has been clear to me for a while that I am unable to stay on top of
> my Debian responsibilities. I feel like my usual pattern of things in
> debian has gone like this:
>  1. I see a problem, I have an idea how to solve it, I make a prototype
>     for it, I deploy it, look after it until I see that it actually
>     solves the problem, I'm happy.
>  2. I get stuck looking after it forever.
>  3. Goto 1.

I hear this so much, and I've been there in various ways in the past.

> I consider this unsustainable, because I feel like everything I do is
> just adding to the pile of things that will haunt me forever.  As a
> consequence, for some years I have been actively avoiding starting new
> fun things, for fear of getting stuck with even more things that I am
> responsible for.

Yes.  This also sounds so very familiar.  Also, the maintenance work on
things that you believe should continue but that you are not currently
passionate about is enervating.  Even without the fear of being stuck with
more maintenance, I find that it can start draining away my energy for
starting something that needs a big surge of energy to get over the
initial barrier.  By the time I'm done with "chores," I can no longer feel
like doing all the various things that I was previously excited about.

(Not, btw, a Debian-specific problem.  I've run into this at various jobs
as well.)

I got pushed into doing a somewhat similar reset over the past year
because of a ton of non-Debian things I needed to focus on, and speaking
from the other side of having done so, it was very freeing.  It turns out
that the important things find new maintainers, you can finally shed the
low-level background guilt for the unimportant things, and it's so much
easier to tell the difference and to let go of unimportant but pet
projects with the additional perspective.

I was somewhat afraid it would begin a slide away from caring about
Debian, but it's been invigorating instead.  It provides a great
opportunity to get some space and think hard about what you most enjoy
working on, and the freedom to refocus on those things.

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

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