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Re: RFC: Changing the NM system

On Sun, Dec 17, 2000 at 09:27:19AM -0500, Ben Collins wrote:
> On Sun, Dec 17, 2000 at 09:33:35AM +0100, Martin Schulze wrote:
> > 
> > Here are the questions I thought about.  Please take into account
> > that this is just a repost of a mail from Jun 12, 1999 and things
> > may have changed (i.e. debconf isn't mentioned).  There is also
> > one bug included, feel free to find it :)
> > 
> This really kicks ass. I think the ideal thing would be to have several
> hundred questions within each topic, and have the questionare generated by
> a program for a particular New Maintainer applicant (say 10 questions for
> each section).
> That way we wont find any "Debian New Maintainer Cheat Sheets" or "Debian
> Cliff Notes" floating around, so long as we keep the questions many, and
> random.

And every developer has to answer such a randomly gnerated questionary four
times a year, so they prove that they are still interested in Debian and
their knowledge about it is up to date with recent policy and other
developments. No exception.

1. Where does elmo live?
  [ ] a. Garbage can.
  [ ] b. openprojects.net.

BONUS question: What is his/her real name?

2. How many useless flame wars have there been on debian-devel in the last
   quarter, and how many off topic threads? Summarize at least one of each,
   and discuss the various sides of the issues involved. Try to get the
   majority of the developers agree with your interpretation of the thread.

3. What is more worth, your involvement in the project, or your @debian.org
   address? WARNING: Giving the wrong answer here can lead to automatic

I also suggest to hand out punch cards for automatic evaluation of the

Seriously, you are feeding the fire. If you raise the barrier, you make
membership artificially more valueable, increasing the risk that someone
just applies to become a now difficult to get debian.org email address. Your
fear that people might create cheat sheets to circumvent the test
demonstrates this inflation.
OTOH, you risk to loose the contribution of people who think such a funny
quiz is better left to monday evening TV. I certainly wouldn't bother to
spend my time with them.

Even if granting the concerns raised in this thread (which I don't), the
proposed "solutions" do nothing to address them. As with any volunteer
project, there is nothing in Debian to pinpoint a developers
responsibilities. From the constitution itself:

  2.1. General rules

    1. Nothing in this constitution imposes an obligation on anyone to do
       work for the Project. A person who does not want to do a task
       which has been delegated or assigned to them does not need to do
       it. However, they must not actively work against these rules and
       decisions properly made under them.

In my eyes, appropriate ways to address some of the concerns are:
1. Make it easier for people to help, not harder. This does not necessarily
mean to make it easier to become a developer, it could suffice to make it
easier for non-developers to contribute by removing technical barriers.
This also includes making it possible for people with little time and/or
knowledge to participate.

2. Some said a developer can do a lot of damage. Reduce the amount of damage
a single developer can do to the actual package uploaded. Make package
upload easily reversible. Remove single points of failures.

3. Many more standard technics towards more efficiency and less risk.
We have not exploited the possibilities here, and swinging the social club
(the one from the stoneage) will not solve any perceived (or real) problems.


`Rhubarb is no Egyptian god.' Debian http://www.debian.org brinkmd@debian.org
Marcus Brinkmann              GNU    http://www.gnu.org    marcus@gnu.org

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