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Re: debian-private declassification team (looking for one)

On Sat, 26 Jun 2010, Frans Pop wrote:
> On Saturday 26 June 2010, Don Armstrong wrote:
> > My own opinion is that we've done this backwards, and that everything
> > on -private modulo vacation messages and posts explicitely marked with
> > a header indicating that they shouldn't be declassified should be
> > declassified automatically after three years.
> But that's not what the project decided to do, so it's rather moot.

It may be moot for the current -private archives, but we can always
change going forward.[1]

> > Unfortunatly, a large majority[1] of the messages to -private
> > shouldn't be private in the first place, or they only need to be
> > embargoed for a short period of time.
> Any real evidence to support that rather strong claim?

From our most recent huge thread, with 97 messages, 50 of them at
least were trivially off topic; only about 15 of them contained any
useful information discussing the actual content, and the rest were
near-contentless +1/-1 messages. Two other threads of 30 and 41
mesages didn't belong on -private in the first place. So out of ≈210
non VAC messages, at least 111 of them didn't belong on -private (and
probably 50 of those didn't belong on any Debian mailing list except

> IMO most threads on d-private get started there because the sender
> actually wants the subject to be private.

The very first message may be private (or partially so), but the main
part of the discussion usually isn't, and certainly the OT leaves of
the discussion aren't. [In past four big threads we were 2/4 of
starting messages being appropriate for -private...]

> But it seems to me that those are also often the least interesting,
> so what's the gain in declassifying them?

Little, which is why no one has bothered to spend the time to do so.
[The fact that I feel strongly about openness and still won't spend
the time to devote to declassifying -private speaks for itself...]

> IMO the whole idea of partial declassification stinks anyway. Is it
> really desirable to declassify some messages in a thread but not
> others? Does that give "the public" a balanced view of a discussion?

If people are concerned about having their views represented when the
discussion is declassified, they shouldn't withhold them from

> It also seems to me that in any declassification scheme the risk of
> declassifying a message which its author did not intend to ever
> become public is very high.

Frankly, if someone sends a message to -private which they think
should remain private forever, and it's not obvious that it should
remain so to the normal DD, it probably didn't need to be read by a
thousand DDs in the first place.

> Just consider that an objection also extends to any replies that
> quote (part) of it.


> I think it's safer to err on the conservative side and simply
> respect the privacy of the list unconditionally.

That option was further discussion, and lost...

Don Armstrong

1: It's mootness certainly doesn't change my opinion that we made a
mistake. [Hell, I seconded the current process, so *I* made a mistake
LEADERSHIP -- A form of self-preservation exhibited by people with
autodestructive imaginations in order to ensure that when it comes to
the crunch it'll be someone else's bones which go crack and not their
 -- The HipCrime Vocab by Chad C. Mulligan 
    (John Brunner _Stand On Zanzibar_ p256-7)

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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