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Re: Vote Robinson for DPL!


It is true that SPI still is not performing like it should be.

It is also true that SPI has never performed like it should in its
entire history.  SPI has been dysfunctional from its very beginning.  
It's also been short on manpower through its entire lifespan.  For
whatever reason, SPI has not been of much interest to many Debian folks
for most of the time, except for the occasional flamewar.

Some of us are trying to make SPI better.  It is a difficult thing to
do, given the magnitude of the problems in the past, the lack of
volunteer manpower (our single biggest problem), general lack of
interest, and disagreements about the best way to proceed.  Since your
term as president of SPI ended, I have seen nothing but trolling from
you.  "SPI sucks, SPI sucks, you suck" sort of thing.  Yes, we all know
there are problems -- big ones, even.  Yelling about them doesn't fix them.

It is unfair to lay all of SPI's ills at Branden's feet.  If memory
serves, the treasurer before him literally *disappeared* for long
periods of time.  The board at that point often failed to meet due to so
many members failing to show up.  Branden inherited a huge mess.  Yes,
he made mistakes, but I think you are misconstruing this incident and
incorrectly magnifying it as part of some sort of vendetta.

In this particular instance, if memory serves, you sent the invoice to
Branden inside a large box of other papers -- even though Branden had
already resigned as treasurer by that time.  The rest of us were not
aware of it until later, and you had given mixed signals previously
about whether or not you would charge SPI for your helpful efforts.

It is unfair to lay all this at Branden's feet for another reason.
While preside, you tried to usurp the authority of the SPI treasurer, a
move that put SPI itself in quesitonable legal waters.  While you were
ultimately stopped, by the rest of the board and the expiration of your
term, your actions led directly to Yet Another SPI Treasurer Crisis, not
to mention one of the nastiest flamewars in SPI history.  While it is
true that Brainfood provided valuable help processing part of the
accounting backlog, it is also true that the manner in which you handled
it caused huge problems that linger today.

Finally, you argue that Branden said nasty things about you publically.
What you didn't state was that there was not one single active person in
#spi at the time, and, again if memory serves, probably fewer than 20
the entire time.  So, while technically true that #spi is not a private
channel, you made the comments far more public than he did.  I suspect
that nobody paid much notice to them, and that Branden expected as much.

Let's talk about some of the good things happening at SPI, too.  David
Graham has made tremendous work catching up with old never-posted
minutes and resolutions.  Several people have helped with that effort by
updating many pages on the website.  Several new projects have joined
SPI.  Jimmy & Branden recently produced the closest thing we've ever had
to a true treasurer's report and successfully migrated to a more useful
bank.  The trademark committee has been actively working on projects in
multiple countries.  Wichert has migrated some of the SPI services to a
new machine.  I produced the first ever (as far as I can tell) annual
report last year (a responsibility you neglected).

In short, I think that SPI is finally *starting* to act like a real,
competant organization, after almost 8 years.  These are tentative baby
steps, of course, and much remains to be done.  I hope that 8 years from
now, we can look back and see how far we've come, rather than continuing
to point fingers.  Maybe then, you, me, Branden, and everyone else can take
some pride in the little contributions we have made to make SPI better,
and SPI's past will no longer haunt its present and future.

-- John

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