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Re: Non-DD's in debian-legal

Theodore Tso <tytso@mit.edu>
> The d-l list has a problem which is shared by many Debian mailing
> lists (including debian-vote and debian-devel, and I'm sure it's not
> limited to them) which is that far too many people subscribe to the
> "last post wins" school of debate.  People don't listen, they just
> assert their point of view --- back and forth [...]

Yes, I think that's a problem.  There's a skill to concluding a
discussion which is hard to master even once you realise you need it.

Sadly, basic research skills seem to go out of the window when someone has
a pet licence, a pet peeve, or pet code under a bizarre licence. There
are actually good, clear summaries of most d-l topics somewhere in
the archive.  They're not always easy to find and indexing them would
be a masterpiece of guesswork, but it is usually possible to find them
by looking for similar clauses in other licences, other packages under
the same licence and so on.  Write-only participants are actually even
more damaging to debian-legal, where a few complex topics keep arising
over and over again, than to most debian lists.

> As a result, I have deliberately avoided d-l, because I have better
> things to do with my time. [...]

It is possible to manage d-l on a personal level.  Recently, I ignore many
threads which aren't obviously to do with practical package problems or
obvious requests for comment (how did I get in this one?).  I'm happy
for the random discussions of those who have time to continue mostly
unwatched: interacting with them when they matter seems to keep most of
them on track.

> Unfortunately, the only thing I can think of that might be useful
> would be active moderation of the list, combined with summary of the
> opinions (with both majority and minority opinions) that is summarized
> by the moderator, and which when it is due, can be archived on some
> web site or wiki. [...]

I think that some moderation could help, to guillotine threads that show
no sign of producing anything useful, but I think total moderation would
harm more than help.

Summaries of opinions are a good idea and there have been at least two
concerted efforts to do that in the past, both failing in different ways.
I don't think a wiki is a good idea - unaccountable edits while locking
some people out (if wiki.d.o is used).

Any summaries should be prepared personally (put them in your people.d.o
space) and then signed by whoever supports them.  If anyone does that,
I'll link it at the next (overdue) update of www.debian.org/legal/licences/

-devel readers may not be aware of my Debian-Legal Package Lists at
http://people.debian.org/~mjr/legal/ which lists which packages have been
discussed.  They are announced early each month on planet.debian.org (and
my own blog). If you only want to know the package-based work, it may help.

> However, I *do* believe that d-l is a cesspit [...]

Rather like my view of certain other debian lists.  d-l is sadly average.

My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
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