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Re: Updating the DebConf Chairs delegation


On 16/08/14 at 14:46 -0700, Steve Langasek wrote:
> I pointedly asked you in our private discussions: what problem are you
> trying to solve by appointing additional DebConf chairs?
> You did not respond to this question.
> Instead, you have delegated new chairs, reproducing the previous broken
> structure.
> [...]
> I would hope to have a constructive discussion about DebConf governance
> while we are all together in a week at DebConf14.  But I am dismayed by this
> delegation right beforehand, which I think reflects a misunderstanding of
> the actual problems that face the DebConf team.

Most of Debian teams (delegated or not) are small groups using consensus
to make decisions. This provides a number of features, including:
- the ability to make better decisions by taking more viewpoints into account
  (which is especially important for DebConf chairs, since this is mainly
  a non-technical role with many potential social/cultural issues)
- redundancy, when one member goes MIA for non-Debian reasons
- splitting/sharing the powers over several people

I'm not sure why you think that a single chair would be an improvement,
but I don't agree with that. I agree that DebConf chairs are sometimes under
more pressure than other teams to make quick decisions due to the timely
nature of DebConf organization. But I don't think that this is a
sufficient reason to give up on consensus. Instead, it probably means
that DebConf chairs is a team which needs to be as proactive as
possible at uncovering possible problems, to limit the urgent decisions
to the bare minimum.

But then, I agree with you that we don't have a good shared
understanding of the problems of the current DebConf governance.
But we also do not have a good shared understanding of the solutions.
There are many different ways to organize Free Software conferences, and
if we make major changes to how we organize DebConf, or organize the
organization of DebConf, we should make sure that we understand where we
are going. I would very much like to participate in discussions about
this during DebConf'14, together with the DebConf chairs.


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