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Re: What do Open Source Projects need?

Patrick Frank wrote:
> But do we need people with special priviledges in responsible
> positions like Christoph Berg aka Myon who make public
> statements about other developers like this:

There are always people and situations in which people misbehave.  I'm
pretty sure that it even happened to you and me in the past.  However,
usually, these are one-time incidents and it's not permanently bad

As long as it's not the norm, it can be tolerated to some level.
After all, we are all humans and not machines that obey certain rules
they can't escape from.

Looking at what Christoph Berg has done in the past and setting this
in relation to one single blog entry I would consider inappropriate,
but understandable from what's going on at the same time elsewhere,
I'm sure that we need him.

> Christoph Berg, Sam Hocevar and other developers should
> take the time to re-read the Social Contract they signed when
> they applied to become a debian developer.

I believe, many people should do this.  However, it won't help in
conflicts that end up personally.

> The Debian Social Contract makes a few very interesting and
> important statements.

Which of these would have helped in the conflict you are pointing at

> Christoph Berg and other developers wrote great code and did
> a good job in technical regards. But on the other side they are
> lacking empathy for other people and intuition for conflict
> situations. And from people with their special priviledges and
> such responsibilities I expect these essential social skills.

There are not many people good in conflict management.  If you have
practical ideas how to improve this situation, at least I'm interested
in hearing them - without pointing to people and beating dead horses.

Please be objective in your replies and don't add insults to your

Patrick Frank wrote:
> I would like to help people like you to understand my point:
> A person in the situation and position like Christoph Berg should not
> feel the need to deface people on his blog - or in other words - he
> should not advise people to see a psychologist.

Which position is so critical about Christoph that makes his log entry
so unappropriate to you.  He's not speaking for Debian.  He's not the
project leader.  He's not the public face of Debian.  He's not abusing
the privileges he has to be able to work in the areas of Debian he
subscribed to.

> Christoph Berg can think whatever he likes.

Good.  Let's put him aside and talk about the essence without
fingerpointing to particular people.

> But if he writes on his blog that is linked to Planet Debian he is
> doing so as a debian developer with all the priviledges and positions
> he has in the debian community. And about such people I have special
> demands regarding proper morals and ethics.

I have to disagree.

Not every blog that is aggregated on Planet Debian is written by a
Debian developer.

Not every log entry that is aggregated on Planet Debian has a
connection to Debian.

However, every log entry that is aggregated on Planet Debian reflects
the personal opinion of the person who wrote it in the first place.

The benefit of Planet Debian in this case is even that the log entry
will expire after a shot while and it not visible to the public on
that site anymore, contrary to mailing-list posts.

> if you hold the amount of problematic situations up against a person
> like Sven you are looking at the wrong end. With a proper conflict
> management the first problem Sven had could have been solved in a
> way so that all the other situations would have never happened.

I'm sorry, but it's you who are wrong here.  Just look how the
mediation attempts totally failed, how (good?!?) advices on this list
failed to reach Sven and how he continued with the same pattern.  I
begin to realise that it's this pattern of stubbornnes or something
that lead to the d-i kick which lead to the escalation.

Somebody would have to read ~10 years of mailing list archives to
debug this in particular.  It's all public, so it could actually be
done by anybody.

> The second important part you should try to see from a different point
> of view is -
> If Sven Luther was active within the Debian Project for 8 years and
> one conflict between him, Frans Pop and maybe 1 or 2 other people lead
> to drama, and this drama lead to more drama, etc. till his fight for
> justice lead to his expulsion from the entire project ...
> .... then no person with a social conciousness can expect that such a
> person thanks all of you in a polite fashion and never shows up again.


However, most people, when they feel treated the way sven felt, would
just have kissed the others' ass and left.  This is also de-escalation,
even without conflict management.

When I was in conflict with the ftpmasters who made it impossible for
me to work as stable release manager and it publically escalated, I
finally ditched it and let it go.  This way the situation calmed down
again (and it's now other people who have problems with ftpmasters,
but that's a different story, they seem to have much more patience
than me).  Sven does not let go anything it seems.

Conflict management could have helped in both cases.  We don't have
it.  Honestly, I don't believe that we'll have some in the near future

> Maybe my introduction was not perfect.

True. :)

It would probably have been more helpful to pick one scenario and one
solution, or discuss a particular problem with the idea of a solution
so that the latter evolves during the discussion.  However, taking
Sven as example will most probably lead to nowhere as he's some kind
of red rag for many Debian people due to his behaviour over the last

> A healthy community can take it when long term users and contributors
> try to have a controversial debate about thinks that should be improved.

A controversial discussion does not have to include ad-hominem
attacks, foul language and fingerpointing.  If it comes to that,
everything is lost already.  (this is also true for this thread btw.)



Still can't talk about what I can't talk about.  Sorry.  -- Bruce Schneier

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