[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Process is no substitute for understanding

On Fri, Mar 24, 2000 at 11:57:49PM +0000, Ian Jackson wrote:
> If nothing else, the current state of the policy process is very
> frustrating to work with.  To get seemingly simple and obvious changes
> through you have to grind the handle on a tedious bureaucracy;
> proposals which some weenie doesn't understand can get stalled
> indefinitely until you convince them; early-stage ideas which need
> lots of discussion get bogged down in procedural detail too early,
> because they don't fit what most of the rest of the traffic on the
> list is like; and, inattention for a while on the part of the best -
> and busiest - people in the project will allow bad or even disastrous
> changes through on the nod.

This enumerates the flaws in the current process pretty well, IMO. I'd
add `people threatening to formally object to proposals' as another
annoying factor.

Ian's proposal has its own flaws though.

Elitism isn't exactly Right: you want the system biassed in favour of
good ideas (and good arguments and rebuttals), not in favour of smart
people. Sure, any successful system will *look* like it's biassed in
favour of smart people, but that's only because they come up with more
of the smart ideas. It's a correlation effect, not an engraven-in-stone

And the problems with engraving a couple of names in stone as the be-all
and end-all Masters of Policy is that when they get sick of it, there's
no easy way for someone to take it over ("Hey, you're not elite enough to
do the job!", "I don't have enough time to do all this", and so on), and
when the Czar actually makes a mistake there's no easy checks and balances
so s/he can just say "Ooops" and avoid masses of flames. Or, for that
matter, to object to where other people want to take the project without
being accused of abusing his power and being an obnoxious dictator. There
are examples of these from the ftp team, the new-maintainer team and the
last policy Czar. So I dunno. Czardom doesn't seem like a particularly
rewarding environment either.


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG encrypted mail preferred.

 ``The thing is: trying to be too generic is EVIL. It's stupid, it 
        results in slower code, and it results in more bugs.''
                                        -- Linus Torvalds

Attachment: pgpZlqSMBHcA4.pgp
Description: PGP signature

Reply to: