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Take a deep breath...

This is an edited copy of something I posted to -private yesterday.  I
think it is relevant to all the discussions here, and have a few things
to add.

Back in the old FidoNet days, the policy for discussion was something
along the lines of:

  Don't be excessively annoying, and don't be easily annoyed.

I think that we all need to make sure we step back before we post to a
mailing list and consider: does this post really help make Debian

Along with that, there are a lot of arguments here lately.  It is
natural for people to want to "win" an argument.  But too often, we
forget to ask: is this argument worth the trouble?  There have been so
many arguments lately that aren't really worth it, and in the end, the
participants all wind up looking silly for having perpetuated that

I am annoyed with this acrimonous attitude in Debian, and have been for
years.  The scary part is that it's actually *better* than it used to
be.  But that doesn't mean that we are all acting like responsible
people all the time.

You might want to read my blog post [1].  There are quite a few
people in Debian that have done things to annoy me, including many of
the people on your list.  The right thing to do about it, though, is to
forgive and move on -- not to stew about it for weeks or months.  If you
forgive and move on, you show that you are being a productive member of
the project, instead of one that fans flames.

When I wrote that blog post, I knew it would be carried on Planet
Debian.  I didn't write it specifically for Debian, but I feel it is
tremendously relevant for Debian.  There are a lot of people that carry
their dissatisfaction with one thing into other areas, and it doesn't
hep Debian.  Let's remember to always evaluate things based on their
technical merit, not based on the list of people in favor or opposed to

To those who are withdrawing because of various recent events, I would
say this: please consider trying to change Debian for the better instead
of leaving it now.  Remember that dunc-tank is still a one-time
experiment, and with your voice, could stay that way.  Remember that
political winds can change.

To those who say all this makes Debian less fun: you're right.  I've
found Debian to be a lot more fun if I unsubscribe from a few mailing
lists.  There's no need to be involved with every discussion.

We all need to compromise, to work together on things rather than try to
beat each other over the head with policy, GRs, the constitution, and
all the other bureaucracy.  These are tools to empower us to work
together efficiently and produce a great OS.  Using them to try to "win"
over others is not helping.  Let's try to be more open-minded, and at
least understand that people with differing viewpoints are still trying
to do what's best for the project.  This attitude I have seen all to
often recently (including from myself) of "I have a strong conviction
that action A is best for Debian, so I will do everything I can to make
A happen, no matter what happens as a result" is not healthy.  I've seen
that from every side of every debate we've had recently.  Does it remind
you of any current world political situation?  Let's try to be better
than those people.

As an example...  we have this dispute about policy.  Rather than rush
to a GR right away, and rather than start making accusations of
impropriety against both of the main people involved in it, why not try
to help everyone understand why the dispute exists and help to make it
go away?  The GR will be just as good if it waits 24 hours.  And in the
meantime, perhaps things can get resolved just as well -- but without
weeks of debate, and faster than a GR.  (In fact, I saw aj and manoj
talking about it on IRC yesterday, and yes, it seemed that they were
inching closer towards agreement.)

Let's give peace a chance[2].

[1] http://changelog.complete.org/posts/555-We-need-to-follow-the-Amish-example.html
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Give_Peace_a_Chance

-- John

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