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

Sam Hartman dijo [Fri, Oct 27, 2017 at 08:18:48PM -0400]:
> 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 read your blog post earlier today, and it left me wanting to come
back to it. I'll take this as the cue to do so :-]

> 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?"

The problem you point out is (surprise, surprise) a hard and recurring
one. I cannot look at it from the TC perspective, as even though I am
now trying to follow the public discussions in the ctte list, it would
be silly if I didn't admit to occasionally (hey, it's you who
mentioned the init system discussion!) kill whole threads when they go
over the level of detail I am comfortable in dealing with.

I understand your frustration stems from the much more recent (and
swift) issue with modemmanager. I was also surprised with the time it
took to be resolved, but the seeming uneasiness that still comes out
of this. Other than this point, from my (again: Incomplete)
perspective, the CTTE today works amazingly well and frictionless. I
am sure that Debian as a project is way more mature than when I
joined, almost 15 years ago. Makes sense: A good portion of us are
still around, and we have surely matured individually! Newcomers who
join us no longer have to grow thick skins, because that is no longer
the project's identity. Thankfully.

You mention, "our community is more important than technical
correctness". This might be, if any, the recurring lemma for the
period I have been involved in Debian. I feel we are getting much,
much better at it - But human issues are just harder. And, as a CTTE
member, you are subject to be the receiver of much of that
attention. It's easy to reach a technically sound decision, but it's
hard to uphold it without someone somehow getting sore about it. I
don't know how inevitable this is, but I recognize it happens in many
different areas. And a few sore people "hurt" more than a silently
sympathetic big crowd.

I know the domains we work at within the project are quite orthogonal,
and that's why I'm drawing a parallel with what we have done (OK, bad
joke... Anyway...) We did the keyring migration, pushing towards it in
late 2014. We had many people questioning procedures and requirements,
but IIRC only *two* felt we were pushing them aside. The decision was
unequivocally sound technically, but it hurt socially (mainly to those
that were socially or physically disconnected from the "core"). This
year, we had a sort-of-rehash with the set of DD retirement notices
(and corresponding DM retirement actions) we saw since late August. We
saw some interesting, constructive criticism in d-private; DDs can
refer to late September and early October for the related discussion
in debian-private.

And, yes, one or two sore cases will suck a lot of energy and
bandwidth. And will leave a *great* process with few but very
resounding unhappy tones clinging to it.

Anyway — If this serves in any way as motivation, I do hold the CTTE
as a *great* team in the project, and I do look up to you and others
who have volunteered and been selected to be a part of it. I am very
glad it outgrew being "just" a technical decision body and assumed its
social place, as your post shows: Technical and social go hand in
hand, we cannot expect to hold a technical decision without hurting or
empowering some of the involved parties.

So... don't know what else to say. Of course, there are no recipes. We
are just people, we are a bunch of individuals working together on
something we all think is worth our time (and that's as far as "doing
consensually things together" goes). I hope this mail (or whatever
other mails sum up in this thread) helps you feel better a sense of
togetherness and shared purpose again.

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