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Re: General Resolution: Declassification of debian-private list archives

On Thu, Dec 01, 2005 at 09:40:52AM +0000, Julian Gilbey wrote:
> On Wed, Nov 30, 2005 at 04:04:31PM -0600, Debian Project Secretary wrote:
> >     In accordance with principles of openness and transparency, Debian
> >     will seek to declassify and publish posts of historical or ongoing
> >     significance made to the Debian Private Mailing List.
> I see a glaring contradiction here: on the one hand, the opening
> paragraph talks about publishing selected posts: those with historical
> or ongoing significance, but the rest of the GR talks about
> declassifying *all* emails with stated exceptions.  I'm sure these are
> not the same: why does the GR not say:
>     * The team will automatically declassify and publish posts made to
>       that list ** which have historical or ongoing significance ** 
>       that are three or more years old, with the following exceptions:

The reason the GR doesn't say that is that determining posts with
historical or ongoing significance is difficult to do correctly, so if
you want to ensure the important things are public, it's more reliable
if you make everything public that you can. By and large the way Debian
works is determined by an extended discussion, not a single keystone
speech here and there.

> I am also wondering what would be done with emails that discuss
> specific developers (flame wars, disciplinary matters, legal matters,
> whatever) - they may have historical significance, but would they be
> excluded under the "personal information" clause?

Questions of whether it's appropriate to admit someone into Debian have
been raised in the past, as have issues of whether to expel a developer;
the rationale for discussion those issues on -private is so our take
on the matter doesn't prejudice future potential employers. I wouldn't
expect those to be published, though in some instances publishing them
with identifying information removed might be plausible. The concerns of
both the authors and other people affected come particularly into play
here -- it's not impossible that some folks may prefer the accusations
published so they can be publically refuted, rather than being made in
private and left unchallenged.

I don't think there are any flamewars or legal matters that'd warrant
such treatment though. If there are, the same clauses apply.


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