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Re: Problems with NM Front Desk

"Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo" <manuel.montezelo@gmail.com> writes:

> I have to reply briefly, I hope that you can infer the rest of the story 
> from the replies or pointers.

It wasn't particularly brief!  But I've read through your entire message
twice now.  I don't think there was a great deal of new information in
this followup message, which implies to me that I have a reasonably good
understanding of the situation from your perspective.

This probably isn't going to make you any happier with me than you are
with Christoph, but I feel obligated to say it anyway: I think you are
reading way more hostility and negative reaction into e-mails that you
were sent than was actually there.  I also don't think you're seeing how
hostile your mail messages sound.  I'm not saying that the conflict in
e-mail is entirely your fault, but from your mail messages here and the
additional mail that you've quoted, in emotional tone you seem to be doing
roughly the same thing to others that you feel they're doing to you.

Please try to use a charitable reading of other people's messages when
understanding e-mail and, as you said yourself:

> The first thing that a Front Desk person has to do is to investigate,
> try to understand what the people is saying (applicants are not [always]
> familiar with Debian's inner ways of working), and more important, read
> it twice or ask if you don't understand what the applicant is saying,
> not mocking them.

I think the situation would not have escalated in the way in which it did
if you had followed the smae advice, because I don't believe either
Cristoph or Joerg meant their messages anywhere near as negatively as you
perceived them.

> c) Re: the MIA stuff: he is not MIA, he does some work to some of his
> packages, you can see it in the PTS; but didn't do any work on these
> ones for 3 years, nor replied to offerings of help, bug requests telling
> to orphan them, etc.  And I'm no DD to start inquiring DDs and bothering
> people with MIA stuff, I think.  BTW, He just replied to a bug report
> after I we updated the K3D package.

I appear to have not been sufficiently clear here, so I'll try to be even
more direct.

Absolutely nothing changes about this procedure whether you are a DD, a
DM, or someone with no official relationship with Debian.  If the package
is unmaintained, someone needs to follow the process described in the
Developer's Reference for dealing with this.  If the maintainer is not
responding to bugs about that package and not maintaining that package,
they are MIA with respect to at least that package, even if they're doing
other Debian work, and regardless of terminology, that's a problem that
needs to be addressed.

You do not need to be a DD to address this, and if you're interested in
maintaining this package, you *should not* wait to be a DD to address
this.  You can start working on this now.

This sort of social process is as important in Debian as technical
abilities.  Without the social process and without resolving problems like
unmaintained packages, technical skill cannot be applied appropriately or
fully utiliized.

> Given two people working on package GIMP, with 6 months or 1 year of
> collaborations each and similar work done (e.g. they're technically
> about the same good), one being DM and another not and they both decide
> to apply for DD the same day; on which grounds do you deny the one which
> is not a DM to apply for DD?

If the contributions are the same, then it shouldn't make a difference,
but they do need to be the same at all levels, not just technical
competence.  OpenSceneGraph has an incorrect Maintainer and Uploaders
field from what you've said, which should be fixed, and the other packages
you've done work on have not been properly investigated and orphaned and
are being maintained via NMUs.  Those are both things that I, were I your
application manager, would expect you to fix before I would be comfortable
approving you as a Debian Developer.

Debian is *not* just about technical work.  It's also about interacting
well and effectively with other developers, including developers one is
not already working with.

Also, note that being a DM lets you get experience with parts of Debian
that you cannot without being a DM, specifically the process of doing
direct uploads and unattended and unreviewed work in Debian.  They're not
major things, and I don't think they're absolute requirements for applying
to be a DD in all cases, but it's still experience and there's no point in
turning it down, IMO.

> Also, Christoph Berg and the rest of the Front Desk understand it like
> me, since they apply the "unofficial policy" of requiring DM, he said
> that very clearly.  If they had understand it like you, it would not be
> unnofficial policy, it would be official.

This line of argument is just not going to go anywhere.

The job of the Front Desk, and the New Maintainer process, is not like a
legal process where you are following a set of exhaustively documented and
completely rigorous and unchanging steps, at the end of which you become a
Debian Developer.  Part of the job of all of the Front Desk, the
application managers, and the Debian Account Manager is inherently
subjective.  The process needs to judge, at least to some extent, social
and procedural skills as well as technical capability, since the goal is
to ensure contributors will fit in with a collective and shared project.

The New Maintainer process, for good or ill, is a lot of work for all
parties involved.  One of the things that reduces that work is to have
people demonstrate their technical work and their judgement when making
unreviewed uploads via the Debian Maintainer process.  You can certainly
ask for special consideration of your work without following that path if
you feel it is warranted, but the Front Desk does not have unlimited
amounts of time.

No one likes dealing with procedures they feel are just bureaucratic, but
humans have yet to come up with any better way of organizing large numbers
of people towards collective action other than using at least some degree
of bureaucracy.  As with any system of this sort, some bits of it are
going to feel like hoop-jumping to any particular person.  There's always
some amount of waste of people's time.  Debian doesn't always get the
tradeoffs right, but then neither does any other fairly large
organization; it's just the cost of lots of people working together.

> I planned to do all this (except the MIA procedure, which is a bit muddy
> and unclear to me, and the developer is not really MIA), and planned to
> put myself on those fields (Maintainer, Uploader, whatever) when I was a
> real DD or a real DM, not when I'm doing it unofficially.

Please don't wait, on either of those.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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