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Re: Candidate questions/musings

On Wed, 24 Mar 2004 14:13:41 +1000, Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> said: 

> On Tue, Mar 23, 2004 at 09:59:24AM -0600, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
>> On Tue, 23 Mar 2004 16:48:51 +1000, Anthony Towns
>> <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> said:

>> > Yes, it is. And Debian's response to that was unpleasant enough
>> > that Bruce decided to leave two or three times.
>> Hmm. You make it sound like the lack of people willing to give up
>> heir ideas of right and wrong to be herded like sheep is the
>> problem.

> No, the problem is that if you try to lead people you'll quickly get
> someone accusing you of, eg, trying to herd them like sheep. Or
> otherwise implying that you're a disrespectful fool, incapable of
> dealing with people. Or not transparent enough. Or too busy with
> bureaucracy. Or something else.

	Pardon me. We seem to have gotten our wires corossed, probably
 because I was not really thinking of the role you (or raul) played
 in the non-free vote as leadership roles; I was quite as
 vehemently opposed to the non-free removal back in 2000 when it
 first came up; I thought we had common cause. I happened not to couch
 this in terms of leading and being a follower.

	I personally listened the arguments, and made up my own mid;
	not necesarily following anyone's lead but my own.

>> Traditionally, this is known as failure of leadershipt;

> Yes, it's traditional to talk about "failures of leadership" in
> Debian.  How about we work out how to stop that happening, rather
> than just hoping we don't run out of folks to crucify?

	Umm, I am not sure this is something I want to be involved in
 solving, unless I was attempting to lead, which I have no great
 desire to do.  Good leaders are not made by potential followers. If a
 good leader comes along, wonderful. If not, we can go on having good
 coordinators -- I don't particularly feel the need for a great
 leader, speaking for myself, not enough to compromise on someone who
 can't come in and inspire me on their own.

>> > Seriously: you say you want to be lead; but are you willing to
>> > follow?

>> Speaking personally, only when I feel I have a worthy leader to
>> follow.

> Do you want worthy leaders to follow?

	Those are the only people I would follow -- but I have no
 great, unsatisfied need to follow, if that is what you mean.

> If so, you (and the project generally) are certainly doing _nothing_
> to attract them.

	*Shrug*. C'est la vie.

>> A leader needs have qualities that convince people that following
>> him/her would be a good idea -- that would further whatever the
>> followers are wont to do, and frequently, convince the followers
>> that the leaders vision is better, even when it contradicts
>> previously held notions of the "follower". For me, it is being able
>> to trust the judgement of the leader better than my own, which
>> requires a bit of a track record.

> That'd be nice, except people don't do that: every issue is expected
> to be justified on its own merits to every member of the
> project. That's the underlying issue when people ask for
> "transparency" in processes.

	Quite. Unless you have a bunch of followers, who cut you a lot
 of slack, you need to convince people that what you are doing is the
 right thing.  Until people trust you to be a good leader, and become
 good and loyal followers, you'll hear this call for openness.

	I must say that I am not sure there are a whole lot of people
 that have thus earned my trust in their judgement.

>> Winning an election is rarely enough to satisfy these criteria.

> No, elections are meant to happen after you've found people you're
> willing to let lead you;

	Oh. In that case, we should stop the proceedings right now.

> and to allow us all to choose a common direction to travel in, in
> spite of having different destinations at the top of our
> preferences.

	I see. Not the way I see elections and voting, but what ever
 you say.

> (Consensus, likewise, is about choosing a direction that satisfies
> the vast majority; it's not about mind-numbing unanimity, whatever
> your dictionary says)

	OK. What was this apropos of, BTW?

> And in spite of us trying to be "the Universal Operating System",
> there're very few opinions which are held universally. If we're
> going to get anywhere, we need to work to resolve issues that we,
> personally, might not see as problems.

	I personally have never been quite convinced of the universal
 os  vision thang. I just want Debian to be the best darn OS there is
 -- and am willing to go along with the universal vision thing, as
 long as it does not interfere. 

> That includes concerns about lack of leadership, it includes
> concerns about sexism in Debian, and it includes concerns about
> unreasonable conduct on mailing lists.

	Would be nice, yes.

>> > But you really don't need to look any further than the "non-free"
>> > debate to find examples of people standing up for what they
>> > think's right, and trying to lead the project in that direction,
>> > and being shot down for being a bigot, a hypocrite, at odds with
>> > Debian's purpose or whatever.

>> A leader is not a dictator. A leader has to get people to follow
>> him -- if you do not have followers, well, I guess it is easy to
>> blame the followers.

> No, a leader's not a dictator. Let's delve into this some more: I
> spent a fair bit of time advocating what I thought was the
> appropriate course of action on non-free. I prepared a resolution,
> and it even won the day.  For my involvement in this debate, I've
> been called a hypocrite [0], told I've personally broken the
> fundamental compromises behind the social contract [1], and told
> that I deserve to have the absolute worst assumed of my motives [2].

	No good deed goes unpunished.

> Now, I don't believe I've attempted to dictate anything on this
> issue, and I've spent a lot of effort trying to make sure that we
> can come to a conclusion -- all the way from working through the
> voting system changes needed to come to a conclusion on this

	Quite. A number of people (Raul comes to mind, and even yours
 truly contributed a modicum of work on these points).

> issue. I think I have managed to convince people to follow my lead
> on this particular issue, and given the majority of participants in
> the vote indicated they agreed with my preferred direction, I think
> it's fairly ludicrous to claim it's a matter of blaming non-existant
> followers.

	This is where I part company. I did vote for keeping non-free,
 but it was far from following your lead on it; I had long since made
 my determination, and have worked towards this goal on my own accord.

>> Were it not for you stupid people out there not willing to be my
>> followers, I would be the supreme god-king out there.

	I should have added a smiley there.

> Odd, I seem to recall explicitly pointing out that we need to
> protect ourselves from blindly following stupid whims; and I seem to
> recall explicitly listing some of the bad ideas Bruce had.


>> > How, exactly?

>> Someone who can convince most of us to trust their judgement?

> Okay, so I seem to have done that.

	In most issues, possibly.

>> Someone who can come up with ideas, visions, and solutions that
>> further the agendas of most people, enough so we go along with
>> tangential tasks?

> Think I've done that too.

	Umm. Well, for the sake of amity, let us leave it at that.

>> Someone who inspires one, and motivates one to be part of their
>> vision, and pull our wieght as a part of his team?

> And you seem to have voted for the take on non-free I proposed, so
> you seem to share at least one vision with me.

	Quite so.

> So why do you feel the need to accuse me of wanting to treat
> everyone else in the project as sheep to be herded with a few
> whistles and some well trained kelpies?

	Oh, I did not so mean to accuse you, and I apologize f that is
 what you got out of my mail.  It had not occurred to me that you were
 speaking from personal experience when you were talking about the
 travails of leadership in Debian (I was actually thinking of Bruces
 Fiat's when I wrote that).

>> > The "Bruce" lesson is a pretty easy one IMO: if we want to
>> > encourage people to take leadership roles and actively develop
>> > and push agendas to improve Debian then we need to make sure we
>> > don't have an environment that makes leaders like that throw
>> > hissy fits and quit the project.

>> Ah. It was the environment, not the person. A leader can't always
>> get handed things on a silver platter, you know.

> If it were the person, we'd have simply found another to fill the
> same role, without the same drawbacks. That we haven't indicates
> it's not the person, but the environment.

	The environment did not cause Bruce'shissy fits. And the fact
 that no one else has thrown quite the same hissy fits seems to
 indicate that it was indeed not the environment: had it been, bdale
 and wichert and tbm ought to have been deleting archives right and
 left and stomping off in fits of pique.

>> > AFAIK, I'm yet to see anyone willing to give up anything much in
>> > order to change that though. See the "chicks in Debian" thread we
>> > just had on this list, eg, which was pretty much used by every
>> > single participant to advance their own agenda, rather than
>> > trying to work out a single direction we can all choose.

>> Perhaps there isn't a single direction we call all choose.

> Then the people who can't accept what the majority choose for the
> project need to create their own fork. That's fine, but I suspect
> you're overestimating your own cantankerousness, let alone everyone
> else's.

	Oooh, my cantankerousness. No, I don't suffer from such
 hubris. Me, I am just a poor lowly developer; I am basing my
 observation of the polarized votes that the last few GR's have
 resulted in: I truly think we have grown too big to really have very
 many common directions left beyond the SC.

> In [3] you personally apologised for the project's aggressive
> response to Helen Faulkner's suggestions. Are you, personally,
> willing to make good on that apology and try to find a mutually
> acceptable outcome on this issue without implying, eg, that people
> who disagree with you are trying to be dictators?

	Strawman. Leading people in directions they do not wish to be
 lead requires force; hence the term dictator. Whether they agree with
 me or not is immaterial; whether they are trying to go where the
 project members want to go is not.

	I think you do need to stop thinking it is all about you: I
 was not attacking your purported leadership; it causes you to go off
 putting all kinds of weird chips on your shoulder.

	You were ranting about how people wanting to lead were abused
 for their efforts, and brought forth the example of previous leaders,
 notedly Bruce. I recall his remark about laoding for Bear and going
 for microsoft, whereas most of the rest of us wanted to just improve
 Debian, and were not interested in the marketing tactics and asking
 "How high?" when the users said jump that Bruce insisted were
 required for shooting said bear. It really isn't all about you.

> Would that not be a reasonable first step towards ensuring you don't
> have cause to make a similar apology in the future?


	If you notice, it was not my conduct I needed to apologize for
 before. I hope you are not considering doing something I shall have
 to apologize to others for in the future.

"Pok pok pok, P'kok!" Superchicken
Manoj Srivastava   <srivasta@debian.org>  <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
1024R/C7261095 print CB D9 F4 12 68 07 E4 05  CC 2D 27 12 1D F5 E8 6E
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

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