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Relentless advocacy, particularly by outsiders, on Debian lists

We have recently had what I think is a problematic thread in
debian-devel, where an advocate for a particular program has been
vigorously advocating its adoption by Debian.

Now it is good and useful to have knowledgeable outsiders contributing
to our lists.  But I think there comes a point where the value of an
outsider's contributions falls off, and they start to be a waste of

This is particularly true if they are advocating a controversial
change.  Whenever a controversial change is proposed, readers worry
that if they do not object it might go through.  If the objections are
constantly replied to with alleged rebuttals, objectors feel the need
to respond.

Ultimately, this is a recipe for endless discussion.  

Even a clear statement by those within Debian responsible for the
decision that nothing is going to change without proper consultation
does might not help if the advocates of a particular side are
constantly pushing their point of view, with tendentious statements,
or assertions that the objectors feel need to be contradicted.

I don't know exactly where the line should be drawn, but I would
encourage the listmasters to be consider whether sometimes certain
posters should be be asked to refrain from such advocacy.  This is
particularly relevant for outside posters who naturally do not feel
the same social pressure towards restraint from the rest of Debian.

Speaking personally I would be happy for the listmasters to take the
initiative, without necessarily first spelling out a specific policy
covering these cases.  In the end, policy or no policy, there's going
to have to be a judgement call about what is "too much", and I trust
the listmasters to make those judgement calls.

I will forward a copy of this email to listmaster@ to draw their
attention to this thread, but I haven't CC'd them to avoid clogging
their mailbox.


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