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Paradigm shift in a Debian project culture

[Ian has asked me to repost to -project, so here it is.]

Hey all,

just a thought I am having by reading the emails in the Debian Mailing
Lists. This represents only my view of the situation and not necessarily
any grand truth.

It seems to me that we are having a paradigm shift how the internal
culture in the Debian project should look like. Several things has
happened that might have contributed to this change: a) the project got
bigger, b) we got older, c) new generation came, d) [add yours...]

I rememeber that a while back we have valued contributing people
(almost) only based on the level of their technical expertise, and no
matter how difficult they was to work with, we didn't take the social
aspect into the merit.

Right now I am seeing that a considerable part of the project moved into
the direction that they think that the social aspect of the
communication is also important for the project and it affects the
project as a whole, and the technical expertise should not be the only
scale we care about.

This might be very scary for everybody since this is something you can't
measured[1], but it can be only shown in a conversation with other
folks. Also a Debian might be a "safe place" where you don't have to
think about what you say. Or perhaps there's another reason for people
around. And also it's a huge paradigm shift, and paradigm shifts are
always resisted.

Personally I really think that this paradigm shift is what the Debian
project need to stay alive. And if the Debian project is doomed to end,
it won't be because of some technical decision, but because we are no
longer able to work together. I also think we need to take an action and
reflect this paradigm change in our basic documents. I do not have a
solution right now, but perhaps we can talk to other groups of people
who are not constantly entangled into a flamewars how they have solved
this problem and learn from them. But I am deeply convinced that we need
to reflect the new paradigm and we need to transform Debian project to a
place that is safe place[2] just for everyone from bottom to up. Debian
is part of our lives and it's quite similar to your home, to your work -
you wouldn't want to stay in a place where you don't feel good.

1. Well, you sort of can, but we don't want the people to take
personality inventory questionnaire as a part of becoming the DD.
2. The safe place doesn't mean "unicorns and rainbows"...

Ondřej Surý <ondrej@sury.org>
Knot DNS (https://www.knot-dns.cz/) – a high-performance DNS server

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