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Re: Summary of the debian-devel BoF at Debconf9

Russ Allbery wrote:
> Michael Banck <mbanck@debian.org> writes:
> I think the most effective way of tackling this would be if we could
> somehow reassure people that the loudest voice isn't going to carry the
> day in discussions of project technical direction.  I think the fear that
> if one doesn't keep rebutting one's position will be steamrolled is what
> drives much of the repetitive discussion in those large threads.

Agreed, but given the fast branching nature of email lists it seems
inevitable that arguments will be repeated at different points, perhaps
in response to different people joining the discussion, even if the
intention isn't to hammer a point to oblivion but instead to genuinely
counter a new point.

The fact that referencing other emails on the thread isn't ideal
(doesn't guarantee full context; demands shift of attention from current
thread) also contributes to this problem.

I don't presume to know an easy solution to this, but perhaps
encouraging a public policy of moving to another format as soon as
possible (Wiki?) could help provide a central point of reference and
discussion, where all arguments could be arranged and linked in a single
As a bonus, encouraging anonymous edits to the wiki (or at least leaving
the author's name just in the history and not right next to the
argument) could help avoid some biased reactions against certain
arguments based on author: IMHO reading the From line of emails before
the content can affect us in ways we don't even notice.

Of course this could all be in vain and all it achieves could be turning
petty insistence on a point into petty wiki redacting wars, but might be
interesting to try.


Leo "costela" Antunes
[insert a witty retort here]

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