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Re: first proposal for a new maintainer policy

Most of Christian's message has been answered by other people.  I'm
sorry if the following sounds combative and excessively personal, but
that's my general style.  Christian should not take offence.

Christian Schwarz writes ("Re: first proposal for a new maintainer policy"):
> Ian, I really respect you as project leader, but please let me note that
> you have been away for a long time now. From the last comments you sent to
> debian-policy, I got the impression that you've missed some major changes
> in the project: the project is a lot larger now than it was before, we
> have much more consistency problems, and we have a _lot_ more discussions
> about technical policy.

You've obviously been looking for me in the wrong places, or perhaps
think that being present means having a very high posting rate.  I
haven't considered myself `away' since last May.

> I know that you've seen my job rather as `Policy Editor' than as `Policy
> Manager', but just documenting `existing practise and consensus' wouldn't
> work! Either there is no consensus, or this consensus would conflict with
> other aspects of policy. It is very important that there is a common line
> for policy (policy shouldn't be self-contradicting, and it should be
> logically so that people can see the reasons behind policy and don't have
> to look up every single aspect). 
> So my main job was to `coordinate' policy discussion and try to _actively_
> work out a consensus that everyone finally agrees with. (Note, that there
> is no `force' involved.) Until now, I've never used my fiat power to
> implement new policy. 

I agree that the policy manager should be trying to help work out a
consensus, and you've largely been doing that, and in this you have my
support (as leader as well as personally).

However, I have two concerns, which are related.  One is that you seem
to have a couple of ideas of your own about package ownership which
you seem to want to push, despite there being IMO a clear consensus
_against_ policy as you have documented it.

The other is that you seem to want the authority to dictate to
developers by fiat (when you consider it necessary, rather than
routinely, but still at your discretion).  I'm not going through the
process of writing a constitution and setting up procedures for
technical and nontechnical dispute resolution in order to allow such a
key set of decisions to be made and `enforced' without review.

If you're not happy with the fact that under the proposed constitution
you do not have the power to dictate technical decisions to developers
- only to document current and future intended practice, reflect
consensus and give advice - then you need to go to debian-devel and
propose an amendment to the current draft to give yourself that
authority.  I think the developers would probably oppose such a move.

You cannot grant yourself extra authority by writing policy documents
that say that you have more power than stated in the constitution.  In
order to have as little confusion as possible the policy documents
should say what their meaning or effect is, or how disagreements over
policy are resolved, or something.

I've posted a couple of suggestions for such rubrics, some of which
have been ill-received by many people including you - that's fine.
I'll continue to refine my own views and post them here; when there is
consensus - even if it goes somewhat against your own views - I hope
that you will put the results in the manual(s).  Guy and Raul seem to
be doing a good job of explaining things.  Perhaps some of their words
can be adapted.


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