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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
 American friends.

        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 <srivasta@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/~srivasta/>
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

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