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DPL reports [was: Re: Reflections about the questions for the candidates]

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Hi Enrico,

I have some questions about what you've written regarding the DPL
reports.  Perhaps I am just being dense, but some of it seemed purposely
obscure.  This probably isn't really germane to debian-vote anymore, so
please follow up (if you like) to debian-project or debian-private as
you think best.

Enrico Zini wrote:

> After Sarge released, it was finally the time to go back at all the
> overdue big changes that have been delayed to allow Sarge to come out.
> Big issues started to come in, and frustration followed shortly
> afterwards when it started to become clear that interaction with all the
> parties involved was much more delicate and difficult than what one
> would expect.

Which issues and which parties do you refer to?  Are these issues that
have been discussed on public mailing lists and/or debian-private?  Are
the parties in question Debian developers in specific positions?
Outside agencies?

> I just went back to the mail archive of that time and stopped reading
> after a while because of anger rising: lots of good efforts have been
> done, and the instant reaction to those was in various case absolutely
> disappointing.  It's all stuff you can't put in a report: you just have
> to swallow, be patient, keep insisting, try new things, "this is going
> to be a long-term one".
> This was the "lots of effort is being done, none of it can be put in a
> report" phase.

I'm not sure that I understand the reasons why the efforts couldn't be
reported, at least to debian-private.  Are they one or more of the
following, and if so, which?

- - Already reported on by some other team (e.g. DWN)
- - Irrelevant to the vast majority of DDs
- - Would be necessary to reveal people's private personal information in
order to discuss them
- - Security embargos (possibly could still go to debian-private)
- - Not wanting to offend or interfere with negotiations with certain
outside agencies (ditto)
- - Not wanting to offend or cause problems for specific Debian developers
- - Not wanting to discuss efforts before they were likely to come to
- - Top-secret PATRIOT act gag orders (this is a joke, I hope)

>  X: haven't made a report in two months, we should make one.
>  Y: what do we have?
>  X: "lots of difficult talking with people" and "approved two bills"
>  Y: if we make a 'last two months' report like that, everyone's gonna
>     shout "you haven't been doing *anything*!"
>  X: but that isn't fair, we HAVE been doing things!
>  Y: how do you argue that, without disclosing A, B and C?
>  X: sucks.
>  Y: sucks.

Again, why could A, B and C not be disclosed, at least to
debian-private, if they form a major part of the DPL's activities?

> Personal suggestion to all candidates:
>   make it clear from the beginning that people should't expect to find
>   big stuff in your reports unless you start making summaries of what
>   happened in the project.
>   But that would be duplicating DWN.
>   So make it clear from the beginning that people shouldn't expect to
>   find big stuff in your reports, period.  That's likely to be the only
>   way you'll be able to make a report at all.
> Lars, your crontab mail example is enlightening: boring, but essential.

I completely agree with Lars -- even if all the glamorous stuff has
already been reported by DWN, it's important to see regular DPL reports,
if only to indicate that the DPL is still working behind the scenes.
There are conferences, etc. that the DPL represents Debian at, right?
Surely not all of those are reported on by DWN.  And there is nothing
wrong in any case with a report that's a little redundant with other
sources of news.

>   DPL Report for last week
>   ========================
>   1. Security team
>   ----------------
>   Did lots of reasoning about the Security Team.  Just like last week,
>   things are tricky, but this week someone came up with a better idea.
>   2. Budget
>   ---------
>   Approved expenditure of $300 for flying person X to represent Debian
>   in conference Y.  Thanks X for your outstanding work in this field,
>   please make a report when you're back.
>   -- End of DPL report for last week --

I absolutely do not see anything wrong with such a report.  The only
reasonable complaint anyone could make about it would be the absence of
a clause after "things are tricky" starting with the word "because".
But this gets back to the issue of undisclosable things again.

I apologize for perhaps seeming to pry so much.  The very vague
statements you made about things that can't be disclosed really piqued
my curiosity.  If you can't or don't want to answer any of my questions,
I have no wish to cause you any more frustration -- feel free to
consider this email unsent and ignore it at will.  Don't worry, I'll
manage to live with the disappointment :-)

best regards,

- --
Kevin B. McCarty <kmccarty@princeton.edu>   Physics Department
WWW: http://www.princeton.edu/~kmccarty/    Princeton University
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