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Results of strawpoll on proper @d.o usage

(Resending this with a subject on its own to get it noticed. See the
original mail for the GPG signature, I'm AFK right now)

On Thu, Jan 08, 2004 at 06:19:55PM +0100, Michael Banck wrote:
> Could everbody interested please fill out that small query below and
> send the answers to me?

Thanks a lot to everybody who participated. I recieved around a hundred
submission, which is a significant part of the Debian developers at
least numerically.

> I will then present an anonymous summary on this list, in order to cut
> down on traffic.

Voia, here are the raw results. As they sum up pretty much to 100, I
just put them here in order to avoid rounding problems:

> 1. Using @d.o for dealing with FLOSS with a tight debian-relationship
> (e.g. being upstream or the (co-)maintainer of it)
>       Alright       Not Alright     Don't mind     Depends
          99              0               1            0
> 2. Using @d.o for dealing with FLOSS with a loose debian-relationship
> (e.g. reporting a bug/patch in the upstream bug tracker of an unrelated
> package, posting on mailing lists of projects without being the Debian
> maintainer etc.) 
>       Alright       Not Alright     Don't mind     Depends
          88              9               3            0
> 3. Using @d.o generally on technical, computer-related mailing lists
> (Debian/FLOSS not being the main scope)
>       Alright       Not Alright     Don't mind     Depends
          56              33              6            2
> 4. Using @d.o as a general-purpose email-address (e.g. using his @d.o
> address for all private mail traffic, too)
>       Alright       Not Alright     Don't mind     Depends
          20              76              4            1

> 5. Putting the @d.o address up on one's personal homepage when
> mentioning that one is a DD
>       Alright       Not Alright     Don't mind     Depends
          92              4               1            1
> 6. Using @d.o for things not connected to Debian and/or FLOSS (e.g. to
> register domains/having @d.o in the WHOIS-record of a domain which has
> no relationship to the Debian project or FLOSS, or as a contact for
> things not directly connected to Debian and/or FLOSS)
>       Alright       Not Alright     Don't mind     Depends 
          24              70              1            0

> 7. Giving away business cards with (your GPG-fingerprint and) your
> @d.o address to people you are not connected to via Debian and/or
>       Alright       Not Alright     Don't mind     Depends
          58              26              5            8

Statistical notes:

 - I tried to parse 'Don't mind' and 'Depends' as good as possible for
   those who wrote comments

 - The big majority of participants (78) just sent in their poll without

 - 15 people considered every option to be 'Alright' 

 - To my knowledge, 3 non-DDs participated. They voted according to the
   majority, as long as there was a bigger than two-thirds preference
   for an option amongs the DDs. 

 - I did not rigorously check the authenticity of DDs. I did, however,
   lookup last names in the db when the mail was not sent from a
   @d.o-address or I did not recognize the name as being a DD instantly

(Hopefully) objective comments on the outcome of the individual
questions, along with a couple of quotes. (I quote the comments here in
the hope that others will consider them for their own actions on this
matter. I hope nobody is offended I quoted him anonymously)

Question 1: There's no dispute over this whatsoever. Everybody
considers this alright.

Question 2: Again, no dispute over this. Almost everybody (~90%) thinks
this is alright.

Question 3: Opinions were quite split over this one. Only a bit more
than the half thinks using @d.o here is alright. A significant number
didn't mind here, or said it dependend. Also, I got a couple of
interesting comments to consider:

- "For instance it would be ok in the mailing lists of legal/standards
   bodies even if the standard was non-free, if it affected Debian in
   some way."
- "If I approach a Microsoft mailinglist critisizing their non-FLOSS
  approach in an attempt to enlighten them on FLOSS, I may find it
  obvious to "put on my Debian hat" to clearly point out my FLOSS
  engagement.  In other words, Debian/FLOSS is not the main scope of the
  list, but of my email. If you refer to the list then it is IMO
  alright, but if you mean my email then it is not alright."

- "No need to, really, unless you're representing the Project (eg. at

- "[Alright], But only when discussing Debian for some reason."

- "You may be missing a category: for FLOSS with no (particular) Debian
  relationship, but which is still FLOSS-scoped. This is getting iffy,
  but would probably be fine; on completely non-FLOSS, non-Debian things
  it's even more iffy, and I would default to "no, unless there is a
  clear reason to do so", which would probably bounce it into "Debian
  related" by the very nature of the reason."

- "Alright in the case of e.g. answering a question directly related to

Question 4: Around 3/4 of all participants think that it's not OK to use
@d.o as a general purpose email-address, only 1/5 thinks it's OK. No
comments other than to render the answer more precisely were written,

Question 5: As for the first two questions, there's no dispute over
this. More than 90% think that this is alright. Comments:

- "However, the page really ought to indicate that the d.o address is
  not general-purpose, and give alternate contact info for other

- "[Alright], while stating (or maybe obvious) that it should be used
  for communication related to Debian."

- "If the homepage's main goal is FLOSS, it's ok. If the majority of
   the content is private, its not ok."

Question 6: Again, almost 3/4 of the participants believe using @d.o for
things not connected to Debian is a bad idea. There were a couple of
comments complaining about the scope of the question, including this

- "There are too many border cases for me to answer this question. For
  example, if I use my debian email as the contact address on a personal
  domain, it may not be, but then I add a .debian.net CNAME for that
  domain, and begin using it in a way that benefits debian, it may be

Question 7: Around 60% think it's OK to give away business cards with a
@d.o address to people who are not connected to Debian. This was also
the question wich resulted in the most comments or 'Depends' votes:

- "Alright only if its only one address among others on the card."

- "For extending the GPG web of trust, yes.  For other reasons, no."

- "[It depends on the situation]. If its for commercial stuff then no.
  Everything else yes."

- "I would find it silly if Debian blocks me from "finding new friends":
  When in non-FLOSS communities curious questions like "what is GPG" or
  "what is Debian" provoked by that info as part of my card may be the
  beginning of new FLOSS adventures."

- "I, for one, put both my d.o address and my regular mail address, and
  I urge people to use my regular mail address if it's not strictly
  Debian related."

- "Only if there is a primary non-debian address and the d.o address is
  only offered as an alternative for Debian-related issues"

- "It would be fine to give to a potential developer or something else

- "The context of it would, of course, be 'Feel free to contact me at
  this address with any questions you have about Debian or FLOSS in

- "You can never tell if they might be connected to any FLOSS, and if
  they are into keysigning it just strengthens the WOT."

- "Just use two different b-cards, one for debian-signing and one for

- "Depends on why you are giving the info, but generally okay since
  being a DD is still a part of what defines you."

End of (hopefully) objective presentation of results

So, what are we gonna do with these results?

Questions 1, 2 and 5 were clearly considered to be 'alright', while
questions 4 and 6 were quite clearly to be considered 'not alright'. The
borderline case 3 is probably in the realm of common sense. I will
discuss question 7 below.

IMHO the overall message which can be drawn is: "Way more than 2/3 of
the DDs think that @d.o should used for Debian-related issues only,
while using common sense on borderline cases. Around 15% think that one
should be free to use @d.o however one sees fit."

The question now are:

1.) Are the DMUP sufficient to reflect the opinion of the participating
DDs on the usage of @d.o?

2.) If they are not, should they be changed? How could they be changed?

3.) Would it suffice to document the (presumable) opinion of the project
in the Debian Developer's Reference as 'best practice'?

4.) Perhaps both is alright? I.e. change the DMUP (in case 1.) is not
met) to say '@d.o should only be used for Debian-related purposes',
while documenting best practices in the Developer's Reference.

5.) After all is done, should a summary be posted to d-d-a?

Now, to question 7. There does not seem to be a clear preference for
this. However, I realized that the case here might be a bit different
than the others. In the case of giving away business cards, the possible
'collateral' (i.e. somebody else or a perhaps even a large group
noticing the misuse of @d.o) damage is quite low. For most of the first
six questions, one must be aware that communication might be archived on
the web or otherwise be noticed by people not directly related. Thus, it
is my opinion that we do not need to really have the carve the usage of
Debian business cards in stone.

6.) Should we regiment the usage of business cards with @d.o addresses
on them?

Again, I'd like to thank everybody for the participation and hope we can
have a fruitful discussion on the basis of these results.


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