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Re: Let's Stop Getting Torn Apart by Disagreement: Concerns about the Technical Committee

Hello Sam.

Sam Hartman - 27.10.17, 20:18:
> As a member of the technical committee, I've grown increasingly alarmed
> as I think about the impact of the issues that come to us.
> Yes, we're giving answers.  However, I think we are doing a lot of harm
> to the members of our community in the process, and I would like to
> explore whether we can do better.
> I've written a blog entry describing my concerns.  It's on Planet, and
> you can see it at https://hartmans.livejournal.com/97174.html
> I've reached a point where I'd like to share my concerns and ask "anyone
> else feel similar?  Anyone else want to work on solving this?"

Thank you for that.

I always found that just focusing on the technical aspects of the Init system 
discussion left out… everything else. Even the issue in itself was not purely 
technical, although back then I had the a feeling that almost no one agreed 
with me that it was not. Just focusing on purely technical means in that 
discussion was in my eyes harmful in itself.

During posting in those endless mailing list threads back then and then being 
moderated by listmasters… asking myself "why me? … and not everyone else as 
well?" I felt so hurt, that I wanted to give up maintaining my few packages. 
So the discussion process itself *even* before involving the Tech-CTTE was 
harmful in my perception.

> In thinking about my concerns I went over a list of issues that have
> come before the TC going back somewhat before the Systemd discussion.
> However, I did not perform any quantitative or statistical analysis.

Do you think decisions of the Tech-CTTE or the process around it changed 
significantly during the Init system decision process? I can imagine that this 
debate back then left a lot of bitterness in quite some of the people who 
engaged with it and I would not be surprised that the decision processes after 
this debate more easily turned into fierce battles than before.

I know the one of the most important ingredients to heal wounds of the past: 
It is forgiveness. The past… is in the past. I know how challenging it can be 
to let go of it.

> If we get to a point where we want to propose a specific change, we'll
> need to convince the project it will make things better.  That's a ways
> down this road.

I have no firm idea how a change could look like, but I think I have a hunch on 
some important aspects in this:

I think it is important to understand the nature of conflicts in order to move 
beyond. Common responses to conflicts are either fight or flight, or stand still 
and hope no one will notice you. These responses can be life saving in death-
or-life conflicts, but are often not beneficial in complex decision processes 
that involve technical, social, ethical and personality aspects like within 
Debian. So an important question is: If I neither fight nor flew away or stand 
still and freeze, what will I be doing then?

I agree with you that an important aspect is that each party receives the 
chance to fully express their own position and be heard, seen, felt and 
valued. So I think there needs to be a shift to see conflicts as something 
positive and provide a safe space to express them.

Challenging for me is the answer to the question: How can such a safe place 
look like in a community that is spread around the globe and can often only 
connect via the means of the internet?


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