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Re: It's all about trust


thanks for your comment. For reference, people might not have noticed but
my initial mail was not only a reply to liw's mail but a real alternative
proposal. BTW, I added some further explanations on my blog:

On Mon, 27 Oct 2008, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> What you want to do is to create a small group of DDs, called "Debian
> Community Managers", that would have super-powers and be able to manage
> the rights of other DDs.

It will start small but it might get rather large if we have a real set of
developers that trust each other enough to be able to follow the
(predefined) rules to distribute the rights. And I believe that we have such
a set of developers.

> Something I really like in Debian is that it tries to keep everybody at
> the same level. Sure, some people have special privileges, but they are
> usually necessary to accomplish special tasks, and those tasks are often
> not very fun ones.

Well, it's true that the "same level" that is shared would be somewhat
lowered but as this level includes the right to vote and to propose GR
I don't think that it's a real problem in term of fairness as people could
always get the rule changed or have their say in the orientation of the

> Your proposal changes that, by creating a group of super-DDs who
> wouldn't have any special task to do, except exercise their super-DD
> powers. That sounds like a perfect role to have for power-hungry people,
> but also like something that could create huge feelings of unfairness,
> jealousy, etc.

They have a task: ensure we don't loose confidence in the quality of the
work done by our volunteers. They are not alone working on this but the
fact that they would control privileges distribution would give them a
special role on this.

Power-hungry might well be interested by this role but when 20 other
people have the same power, you really don't gain much with your power.
Unfairness is difficult to avoid as all human judgment have a subjective
part… but I don't see why this would be exacerbated with this proposial
compared to the status-quo or to the N-advocations model.

> Since apparently, the NM process doesn't allow people to trust new DDs
> anymore, I would prefer to move to a system where trust comes from the
> fact that a large number of normal DDs advocated someone (like what Lars
> proposed).

Several (possible) problems with this approach:

- increasing the number of advocations by DD to increase the trust has a
  real cost. A contributor will usually have interacted with very few
  sponsors that can advocate him at little cost since they already
  reviewed his work. The other advocates will then have to review the work
  by themselves to gain the required confidence. Chances are rather large
  that we will have DD who won't do that job and advocates people just to
  reduce the backlog of applicants that look motivated.

- finding many advocations to grant a right might be doable, but removing
  a right is much less fun and will never happen in practice if it follows
  the same rule of a "large numbers of DD"

- this process might be too heavy with fine-grained privileges as it would
  require the intervention of many DD each time we have to grant a right 
  (when trusting the decision of 2 members with special rights would be enough).
In general, I find it more productive to have a few trustable individuals doing
a serious review than to have many doing a not so serious review and
trusting the advocation already done by other DD. It also cristallize
better the responsibility to decide what one is allowed to do. With the
current NM process it's spread over many individuals and at the end nobody
is responsible if someone has gone through when he really shouldn't.

Raphaël Hertzog

Le best-seller français mis à jour pour Debian Etch :

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