Re: Question for candidate Towns
Thomas Bushnell BSG wrote:
Anthony Towns <email@example.com> writes:
Do you understand why judges aren't allowed to judge their own cases?
Hint: it is not because we don't trust judges.
See, that was unnecessarily snarky.
But see, I wasn't trying to be snarky at all.
No, you weren't, and that's precisely the problem: the habit on the
Debian lists is to be unthinkingly obnoxious. That's a problem.
More to the point, I
think we need a DPL who is willing to talk to snarky people.
Oddly enough, I'm still replying. I'm sure you can find plenty of other
examples of me talking to snarky people if you troll through the list
liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you require.
There's a simpler way of saying that in regards to snarkiness: be both
tolerant and polite.
"Do you understand this trivially obvious thing? Obviously you don't, so
here's a hint." is not being particularly polite -- it's showing off how
smart you are and how dumb your correspondent is. And don't get me wrong
-- I'm not saying that's any sort of character flaw on your behalf, and
I'm sure I've done the exact same thing repeatedly: half the time it
seems *necessary* to be obnoxious on Debian lists to get anywhere.
That's a problem too.
I've been trying my damnedest to bend over backwards to *not* be
snarky in this entire thread, and my experience has been that if there
is any conceivable way you could interpret my words as snarky, you
seem to me to leap at that opportunity. I would prefer you give me
the benefit of the doubt: figure out if there is a *non-snarky*
interpretation *first*; and if you can't figure one out, then even
then don't assume it's snarky, but ask for clarification.
If you don't want to be snarky, here's how you do it: assume the person
you're corresponding with is intelligent and shares most of your goals,
and just say what you want to say. Don't question their intelligence and
And yes, it _is_ because we don't trust judges -- and justifiably so,
they are deciding life and death cases in politically fraught
environments, and there's plenty of history of corruption of judges.
We do not allow judges to judge their own cases *not* because of
the great importance of the cases (for we have the same rule for all
cases, whether trivial or of great importance), and not because we
don't trust the judge. We have it because it is not only important
for justice to be done; justice must also be seen to be done.
For example, by just immediately explaining what you think the point of
contention is, rather than trying to be cute about it. It's really not
Anyway; having judges not work on their own topics often _is_ about
ensuring they're not biassed or bribed; just as is having lawyers not
represent people suing other clients of theirs. Some are completely
unimpeachable individuals, certainly, and in many cases judges will
offer to recuse themselves and the parties involved will indicate it's
unnecessary because of that.
But in any case, the primary point of judges recusing themselves is that
justice *be* done. Certainly the appearance point is relevant too; but
we don't simply "trust judges", we have checks and balances and
oversight to make sure that if they do start screwing up, they stop.
And back to this particular case, you've already indicated that you
think justice was done; and as far as justice having been seen to be
done, you can -- and have -- verified that yourself by looking at the
mailing list archives and the bug log. We do have checks and balances --
the person affected can raise the issue on the mailing list for wide
dispersal and discussion (exactly as happened), and other debbugs admins
can overrule the decision if they think that's appropriate. We've got
further checks and balances in the form of the tech ctte and GRs too.
Given you agree with the outcome, I fail to see why you think that the
existing checks and balances aren't enough.
Your style, it seems to me--and *please* correct me where I
misunderstand, don't just assume I'm wilfully trying to malign
you--seems to be to demand that we must take it on faith that you are
doing the right thing, and that you are not willing to open up your
decisions to any kind of external examination. Even if you always
make the right decisions unfailingly, I also want it to be transparent
*that* they are the right decisions.
I can't think how much more transparent you want than every conversation
being logged and publically archived.
I also find it pretty hard to give credence to your claim that this
isn't personal when you're focussing so heavily on "Your style", "take
it on faith that you are doing the right thing" "you are not willing to
open up your decisions to any kind of external examination", "if you
always make the right decisions".
Is it not a good thing to expect people to take responsibility for
And we're back to snarky. Seriously, how attractive do you think it is
to try to communicate on a mailing list when you keep having to put up
with innuendo about how you have some policy where certain people such
as yourself shouldn't have to take responsibility for their actions?
Instead of guessing at an emotional subtext for my words, an innuendo
or whatever, can you please clarify where I'm wrong? You *seemed* to
be suggesting to me that you thought it was not necessary to expect
people in leadership roles to justify their actions;
What are you talking about? I justified my actions in the bug report and
on the list, and they were, I think, scrutinised fairly thoroughly. But
there's a difference between "scrutiny" and flamage, and we've crossed
that on the lists fairly thoroughly. I think it's pretty good evidence
for that that you seem to think suggesting I have no regard for personal
responsibility isn't any sort of insult.
that we should
simply rely on them being done well, and if we are uncertain or don't
understand, we should shut up. If I've gotten it wrong, then
please--I beg you--correct me. If you are happy to provide
justification for your actions upon request, then please tell me what
a proper request looks like. Don't just say "it must be non-snarky",
tell me what words I should use, and when. Help me out. I want to
learn, but you'll have to teach me.
"Hey, why is this the right solution?" is probably a good formula.
The easiest way of avoiding snarkiness -- or avoiding being seen to be
snarky, if you prefer -- is to stop worrying about the actors, and just
worry about the actions.
But the problem is bigger than just you.
(TBH, I think the "Question for candidate ____" is a symptom too; are we
really more interested in personality politics, or in particular
problems and solutions? Why am I the subject of this thread, rather than
the subject being the issue of mailing list moderation? At a simple
technical level, wouldn't having the topic instead of the candidate make
for simpler searching after the fact?)