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Re: Reforming the NM process


I'm trying to only address those parts of your mail that I haven't
spoken about in other places in this thread - if you feel something is
missing, ask again, please :)

Raphael Hertzog <hertzog@debian.org> writes:
> On Tue, 11 Apr 2006, Marc 'HE' Brockschmidt wrote:
>> Quite a lot of applicants are frustrated by the NM process. The reason
>> for this are mostly unresponsive AMs, waiting for AM assignment or
>> waiting for FD/DAM approval. This has become worse in the past few
>> months, mostly because our mailing list archives show applicants that
>> they're not alone with their problems, but nearly nothing has been done
>> to improve the situation.
> And the bigger problem is that people who are ready to become DD may be
> waiting on the AM assignation list while people who are not ready are
> currently learning with the help of an AM whose job should not be to play
> the sponsor of the applicant (unless he fully agrees with that).

Well, yes. It's not the sponsoring alone, but the need to teach people
large parts of the knowledge we only want to check increases the load on
AMs a lot. With very good applicants, who don't need this kind of
mentoring, it's no problem to finish the process in a few days. OTOH,
it's sad I need to refer to people who *know* what we want them to know
as "very good" :-/

> The solution may involve two changes:
> - ask each AM if she wants to process people who should be ready, or if she
>   accepts to take more time with applicants who are not ready but who can
>   learn with her.

Well, I don't see why this sould be organized in the NM process. We have
debian-mentors for mentoring, the debian-women has some kind of
mentoring program (though I don't know how often it was used and how
successful it was) [1] and normal sponsor/sponsoree interactions.

> - first require each appliacnt to document their contribution when
>   registering on nm.debian.org. Then the FD checks if it's enough
>   or not. If not, he's immediately put on hold and the applicant can come
>   back a few months later (unless we have an AM who is willing to also
>   play as "trainer").

Well, yes. I'd like to add a text field which should be filled out when
starting the application (or using a wiki page like you propose).

> (I would be perfectly happy if we only required the second point and
> decided that the job of the AM is only to check that the applicant is
> ready)

That's IMO better - I think the task of an AM is to check and fill in
the gaps in an applicant's knowledge, but not to teach the basics.

>> 1.1.2 Application Managers
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>> The lack of free Application Managers that led to the accumulation of
>> applicants waiting for an AM is mostly based on the fact that many
>> developers don't care about the NM process, so only a few people are
>> actually helping out. 
> And also that you rarely ask for new AM on d-d-a and that the AM HOWTO is
> difficult to find and outdated.

Actually, the AM HOWTO is up-to-date - it needs perhaps some more
informations, but what's there is correct. I'm reluctant to ask for new
AMs on dda, as this could attract people who are not really interested
in becoming an AM...

>> 1.1.3 Front Desk
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>> That one's easy. Brian has not much time, I'm bored by reading the same
>> answers over and over and over again. Also, the amount of time I'm able
>> to invest fluctuates, as my studies sometimes take up quite a lot of
>> time (usually right before exams...)
> The internal working of the NM team also lacks some transparency.

Uh, it's really not that complicated...

> I understand the need of "privacy" on some issues, but that privacy
> doesn't need to be restricted more than to Debian developers.
> There are many different email whose use is not clear.
> new-maintainer _AT_ debian.org
> nm-committee _AT_ nm.debian.org
> front-desk _AT_ nm.debian.org

OK, new-maintainer@d.o is an alias for front-desk@nm.d.o (mainly to
allow the FD to control who gets that mail on their own, without the
need to ask the DSA for a change). All problems and questions about the
NM process which are not fit for public mailing lists should be send
there. At the moment, this alias is archived and distributed to James
Troup, Joerg Jasoert, Brian Nelson and me. The archives are on merkel
and owned by the nm user.

The nm-committee@nm.d.o alias reaches all AMs that have finished an
application in the last recently (about 6 months, the alias is updated
manually). It is very seldomly used and as far as I know, was only used
to discuss DAM rejections in the last two years. Archives are on

[... archiving all AM/applicant communication on debian hosts...]
> On this topic, I would really like that we setup a centralized system
> which would not be mandatory but we that we strongly encourage to use.

Well, I'm not too sure this is something really needed - I, for example,
would not like to use it. It would make my private communication with an
applicant public instantly, something I don't like very much. 
Also, applicants sometimes do not reply to my mails and send a new one
to my private address or don't keep the CC. This would increase the load
on AMs a little bit, with a questionable gain.


[1]  If I remember correctly, Helen and Erinn organized it - it would be
     nice to hear a bit about the results and if it's something we
     should make more official (by explicitly documenting it in the NM
     docs, for example).
BOFH #364:
Sand fleas eating the Internet cables

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