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Re: Debating difficult development issues in essay form

On Thu, May 09, 2013 at 08:45:08PM +0100, Lars Wirzenius wrote:
> The executive summary: We'd like to see more thoughtful debates
> of important Debian development issues, and have created
> <http://wiki.debian.org/Debate> as a way to encourage them.

Dear Lars and Russ, thanks for this initiative. I applaud the effort and
generally agrees this is something worth trying.

We've been asking people to summarize discussions in the past, but most
often we did so asking new summaries on lists, and that is prone to the
lack of a "running documentation" for a given discussion at hand. What
you propose might be a solution to that, aside from having other nice
properties. Let's see how it goes!

I've a general question here and a couple of more detailed comments
inline below.

Question: there are various overlaps from this proposal and DEPs
( http://dep.debian.net/ ). Not only in some of the explicit goals you
state (e.g. documenting the state of discussions), but also in the fact
that other FOSS communities out there are using DEP-like solutions to
address the "debating difficulty". Given that Lars has been one of the
main proponents of DEPs, I suspect you have put quite some thought on
the relationships of the two approaches. Can you share with us what you
think are the pro/con of this wrt DEPs?

> * Write a document explaining your point of view. Make it as
>   convincing as you can. If you like, gather a group of
>   like-minded people to help write the document.
>   Add your names to the end of the page so it's clear whose
>   viewpoint it represents.

About this, it's not clear to me if you actually encourage sign-offs
from people other than the original authors or not. There's no mention
of it here, but Russ' answer to Wouter on -project seems to hint at the
fact that they would be welcome. (Yes, it's very clear to me that this
is not a voting system, but I think sign-offs, possibly clearly
differentiated from the essay authors / proposal drivers, might be
useful. In fact, I think this is very similar to the proposer/seconds
distinction we have in GRs, which I find useful in the initial phase of
the opinion formation process.) If this is something you encourage, I
suggest adding a "Signed-off" section to your page template.

> * Publish the document on as a subpage of the topic page
>   in the wiki. Add a link to the subpage from the topic page.

Technical hint: subpages syntax in Moin can be quite frustrating,
especially for those who do not often edit Moin pages. It might be
useful to have some sample (dangling) links for subpages pointing to
alternative positions directly in the page template.

(Of course I can implement the above changes myself in the wiki, but
first I need to know if you agree with them or not :-))

Thanks again for this initiative,
Stefano Zacchiroli  . . . . . . .  zack@upsilon.cc . . . . o . . . o . o
Maître de conférences . . . . . http://upsilon.cc/zack . . . o . . . o o
Former Debian Project Leader  . . @zack on identi.ca . . o o o . . . o .
« the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »

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