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Re: Debian contributor Register of Interests

]] Didier 'OdyX' Raboud 

> Assuming a hypothetical Debian contributor with financial interests in
> a hotel business, part-time software engineer and affiliated to a
> political party: not all three connections matter in all Debian work,
> or discussions. The first might matter though iff people start
> considering paying for accomodation in hir hotel; the second might
> matter in a discussion about a piece of software they are paid to work
> on, and the latter might matter when discussing the Debian project's
> eventual reaction to a complicate situation somewhere in the
> world. But these only matter in specific discussions, not constantly.

Indeed.  I also think there's a hang-up about financial conflicts of
interest in the discussion, but for at least me (and I suspect others),
money is a pretty weak motivator.  I generally have enough that it's
something I don't need to spend much mental energy on.  An example of
what I do think could cause conflicts of interest is where I'm part of
some community (free software or not) and my interest is in ensuring I
have a good standing or status in that community and this colours
judgements I make in Debian.  I object to collecting all that
information, though.  It would feel entirely too intrusive.

There's a question of what is a legitimate interest and what is not, and
this might be worth exploring, but I suspect it all comes down to «it
depends» and reasonableness tests.

> Where I'm going to is that I feel we're much better in a situation
> where we don't load all our conversations with references to _all_ our
> "real-life" interests. It opens the floodgates to interpret any
> position under the light of these interests, neglecting the mere idea
> that for plenty (if not all) of Debian interactions, we are genuinely
> acting as independent individuals.

I think «geniunely acting as independent individuals» is a meaningless
concept, since everything we do is coloured by the context we're in and
that includes social relations.

> That said, I still think that there are situations in which declaring
> one's conflicts of interest _does_ matter, but I do expect the
> affected individual to either explcitly retract (or stay away) from
> the discussion, or declare the conflict of interest at that point.

I agree with this, if you do see a possible and reasonable conflict of
interest, declare it and discuss it.

Tollef Fog Heen
UNIX is user friendly, it's just picky about who its friends are

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