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Re: Technical committee resolution

On Wed, Mar 12, 2008 at 10:36:38PM -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:
> Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> writes:
> > I don't think the committee would be worse off without you; and I find
> > it fundamentally disturbing that any of the founding members are still
> > members ten years later.
> I think this sentence strikes at the core of my reservations about this
> proposal.  The whole thing feels like an appeal to novelty fallacy.  

Well, if you assume change isn't going to change anything, then, well,
I guess you've got your conclusion.

Personally, I find that a fallacy in and of itself, though.

There's two fundamental things that persuade me. First, change doesn't
just happen, it takes people to cause it; and different people will cause
different changes. The current crop of people have had their go -- all
the current members have been on the technical committee in excess of
two years, half in excess of six years. And their ideas haven't brought
a lot of success to the committee; but _even if they had_ it would be
time to try a new set of ideas.

A good formula for almost everything is:

	Keep the things that have already been tried that worked.
	Try new things.

Calling novelty a fallacy is just crazy if you ask me. *shrug*

The second aspect is there are three levels of "problem" involving people
or personalities:

	1. No problem, everything's fine, keep on keeping on!
	2. Some problem, but not enough to cause a fuss
	3. Major problems, where doing something about them can't be avoided

If you don't have a no-fault means of transitioning people, problems in
the second class don't get fixed, and Debian has a pretty strong tradition
of considering as many problems as possible in case (2) rather than (3).

It takes a _lot_ to remove someone for cause in Debian -- see the DPL
recall vote, or any of the expulsions we've had, or any of the groups that
haven't changed membership for a while in spite of complaints about the
job they're doing and how others could do it better. Having a mechanism
to regularly transition people without fault is an important safety valve.


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