Re: soc-ctte discussion at DebConf7
Firstly, wearing my secretary hat, I have no objections to
running votes for the soc-ctte membership, if we do decide such votes
are how things will be done.
Now, taking the hat off, and speaking bare headed, I have a
couple of comments to make.
The first set of comments I have is related to efficacy, and,
perhaps, the notion of fairness. There is a fundamental difference
between a technical committee and a social committee: a technical issue
is likely to be far less subjective, and while there are tradeoff
aspects to technical problems, it is far easier to come up with reasons
for the trade offs, and a rationale for selecting one option over the
other, and do so in a relatively objective fashion.
A social committee resolving disputes has no such luxury. In a
sense, since a machine interprets the end results of technical problems
(well, for the most part), we tend to speak in one language; but as
Debian contributers come from varied and diverse backgrounds and
cultures, the cultural differences have an impact on the disputes and
also the perception of the resolution.
Differences in culture make the difference between commonplace
conversation and unacceptable insults; there are various anecdotes
about ocidental and mist eastern differences in something as simple as
inviting a guest to the dinner table (us americans would be seen as
horribly rude). An anecdote I tell deals with a young developer on an
Indian mailing list somewhat rudely contradicting me about the Etch
release; the other members jumped on him not because he was incorrect,
nor necessarily because of his rudeness; but because a lack of respect
from a younger person to an older person was unacceptable.
The age based distinction would make absolutely no sense for my
I have seen no discussion on how the soc ctte is going to go
about ensuring that such cultural differences are noticed, or taken
into account in the resolution process; or that any thought has been
taken to address cultural diversity in the dispute resolution process.
Are we planning on taking into account things like cultural
differences? Or is the decision going to be that the majority rule (or
the dominant culture) be the governing one?
The second set of comments I have are about accountability (and,
yes, this applies to the tech ctte as well). Who are the tech and soc
ctte members accountable to? Is there any recourse to the membership,
apart from overturning individual decisions via a GR, to counteract a
committee (social or technical) that has turned wayward and out of
The girl who remembers her first kiss now has a daughter who can't even
remember her first husband.
Manoj Srivastava <email@example.com> <http://www.debian.org/~srivasta/>
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