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Re: private email aliases considered harmful (Re: bits from the DPL for September 2011)

On Tue, Nov 08, 2011 at 01:13:46PM -0500, Filipus Klutiero wrote:
> I believe the first thing to do is to make project leadership
> transparent. For as long as the constitution will give it such a
> crucial role, and as long as it will be so low on resources compared
> to the project's size, the team has high risks of seeing its
> performance degrade to sub-optimal levels. It often got minimal (if
> not worst) for fairly damaging durations.

I'm not sure of I should interpret "project leadership" here and in the
rest of your mail. In some parts it seems to refer to the DPL, in some
others it seems to be more broad.  Under the assumption that you
actually meant the DPL, I feel obliged to comment on this.

There are different kinds of transparency. For the DPL, a democratically
elected role, IMO the most important kind of transparency is
accountability towards Project members --- as it is them who get to vote
in DPL elections, and it is them who are represented by the DPL.  I've
worked quite a bit on that front, by daily documenting since the
beginning of my first term what I've been doing with my DPL hat on. The
corresponding daily logs are, however, accessible only to project
members.  I've discussed the reasons of this choice not a long ago in
reply to a follow-up by Paul Wise to a "bits from DPL" mail. It can
easily by found on -devel archives.

The second kind of transparency descends from the general commitment to
openness of the Debian Project. I've tried to fulfill that kind of
transparency with monthly "bits from DPL" mails (see wiki.d.o/Teams/DPL
for an index), that are essentially summarized versions of the daily
logs for the corresponding reporting period.  My implicit assumption in
all the above has always been that people should be able to understand
the DPL "team" has a problem (e.g. has gone MIA, burned out, whatever)
as soon as he/she stops reporting.

As long as the DPL remains a single-seat position, it's not clear to me
what more can be done to play that role more transparently.  We could do
better if, for instance, we had a board of DPL helpers that shares the
corresponding TODO list. Such a board + the DPL could hold periodic
public meetings on IRC to discuss the status quo of the open tasks and
also spare some time for interaction with attendees for questions and
the like. That is the sole arrangement I can imagine that would have
chances to increase the transparency of DPL-related activities even
further.  (Bonus point: people on the board will get some de facto
"training" in DPL tasks and could, if they want to, apply in subsequent
elections with more awareness of the task than DPL candidates usually

To get there, however, the raw material needed are volunteers to help
with DPL tasks. Having thought about the above since quite a while, I've
repeatedly called for volunteers to work on DPL-related tasks.
Unfortunately, with little success so far ... but I haven't given up
hope yet (hint hint :-)).

Stefano Zacchiroli     zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} . o .
Maître de conférences   ......   http://upsilon.cc/zack   ......   . . o
Debian Project Leader    .......   @zack on identi.ca   .......    o o o
« the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »

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