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Re: Question for Stefano: Length of the DPL term

On Sat, Mar 19, 2011 at 03:20:59PM +0100, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
>On Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 05:36:37PM +0100, Martin Zobel-Helas wrote:
>> in your platform you wrote that you experienced that serving as DPL is
>> a task with a rather long bootstrap time. You didn't wrote how long
>> this exactly was, but i guess something about 2-3 month.
>I'd say that is a reasonable figure, yes.
>> Now my question: What do you think about changing the constitution to
>> extend the length of the DPL term to, lets say, two years?
>I thought about this quite a bit in the past months. I've found it to be
>a surprisingly complex problem.
>I agree that a longer term will improve the status quo with respect to
>the "bootstrap time" issue. I've even thought about proposing the
>corresponding constitutional change, but in the end I've decided that
>it's not something I want to propose myself while still being DPL, for
>obvious reasons.
>I was pondering to propose it just after having stepped down, but I see
>various contraindications that need to be addressed first: 
>- There are risks in lengthening the term, for instance the consequences
>  of a DPL going MIA / burning out shortly after the terms begin get
>  worse. I'm aware that a GR can fix that, but it's a rather difficult
>  step to take at a social level, especially considering that the DPL
>  themselves can fail to realize they're on (the verge of) burn out.
>- Being DPL it's a volunteer job and it's one where you might feel quite
>  some responsibility. A longer term will increase the "scare away"
>  factor, possibly reducing the number of DPL candidates.

Agreed. I'll be honest (in public) for the first time - about halfway
through my second DPL term, I felt very demotivated and burnt-out,
almost to the point of resigning early to trigger an election. For a
variety of reasons (and after a lot of soul-searching) I decided to
stick with things.

A year is *both* a long term and a short term in this context. There's
a lot of startup time and there's never enough time to do what you
want to achieve (of course), but it's also a lot of time to promise to
the project in one lump. Making it longer might just make it worse.

>All in all, I believe we need a solution in which the *default* term
>period is longer than now (say, 2 years), but in which there is an easy
>way out at midterm for both the project (in case people are not happy
>about the DPL) and the incumbent DPL (in case they can no longer offer a
>good service to the project and would like to quit without fearing
>Something that might work is that at midterm the DPL has to explicitly
>state whether they are willing to continue for another midterm or
>not. If the DPL decides to continue, the project can request elections
>to the secretary anyhow, provided that a given number of Developers
>(defined in terms of Q) want so. The developers who want election should
>probably be allowed to do so anonymously, for coherency with the fact
>that DPL elections are anonymous already.
>The last paragraph is just a braindump, to which I haven't given much
>thought, but since you asked ... :-)

It's a topic that stands further thought from more people, I guess...

Steve McIntyre, Cambridge, UK.                                steve@einval.com
"This dress doesn't reverse." -- Alden Spiess

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