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Re: tb's questions for the candidates

On Fri, Mar 05, 2004 at 02:49:23AM +0000, Martin Michlmayr wrote:
> * Branden Robinson <branden@debian.org> [2004-03-04 21:21]:
> > People who have simply become inactive should be treated as much
> > like those who have resigned as possible.  We should thank them for
> > their efforts, put them on the emeritus keyring, and find new
> > maintainers for their packages.
> I disagree with this.  I think that maintainers who neglect their
> duties and don't follow documented procedures (orphan their packages,
> inform the keyring maintainer that they are leaving the project [1])
> should not be treated the same as maintainers who leave the project
> properly.

I guess I'm just going to have to disagree with you here.  I fully agree
with you that it's important to follow the documented procedure when
leaving the project, but I don't think you're going to persuade more
people to avoid silently "idling out" by threatening some sort of
denigrated status.  People at risk of doing so are only going to brought
back from the brink by some sort of *postitive* reinforcement, not the
threat of punishment.

On the one hand, I simply don't think that failing to dedicate volunteer
time to the project, given that the Constitution recognizes the right of
developers to do so[1], is as serious an offense as betraying our trust
or taking deliberate action to violate our procedures.  Not only would
it not be fair to lump inactive volunteers in with such people, but it
would undermine the seriousness of explusion from the Project.

On the other hand, I don't think it's fruitful to create a lot of
categories of dishonor.  The general public won't be able to keep them
straight (some of our own developers might not, either).

On the gripping hand, I believe any procedure permitting an emeritus
developer back into the project should evaluate the circumstances
surrounding their departure.  Both for people who properly resigned and
for those who idled out, we're going to need to be asking them if they
think they'll have the time and energy to uphold their responsibilities
this time around.

We can make those questions a little more pointed and rigorous for the
idlers, if need be.  Let's also not forget that we can actually refuse
them re-entry, if they really have lost that much of our respect.

[1] http://www.debian.org/devel/constitution

G. Branden Robinson                |     It's not a matter of alienating
Debian GNU/Linux                   |     authors.  They have every right to
branden@debian.org                 |     license their software however we
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |     like.  -- Craig Sanders

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