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Re: Question for Stefano: Length of the DPL term

On Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 11:39:02PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> One way to improve the bootstrap time is to have people doing smaller
> leadership things before being DPL, so that the bootstrapping happens
> prior to the election, rather than in the weeks/months following. In
> theory, that could also help with showing people whether they're
> capable of doing the DPL job or not, and thus making them more
> confident of running or less eager to, as appropriate.

I agree that there is in general the need of some sort of "DPL
training". I've thought about writing down a sort of "tutorial" based on
my experience, of course not on *how* to be a DPL which is highly
personal, but rather on tools / procedures / contact points that might
help and that most likely past DPLs have invariably had to rediscover by
themselves. It turns out that while I've accumulated material I haven't
yet wrote down a single line, so probably something else is needed as
well ...

> Personally, I think it's to a DPL's credit if when their term finishes
> there are plenty of other people ready and willing to take on the job
> next time around.
> (Q for Stefano: what, if anything, are you going to do to ensure other
> people are ready and willing to run for DPL in future, either next
> year, or when you're no longer interested in running?)

Eh, good question, the tutorial thingie was one of my idea on that
respect, but it hasn't worked out up to know.  Another intention I had,
for this year, was to decide well before the start of the nomination
period whether I wanted to nominate myself again or not. I've the
impression that clarifying that will encourage more people to apply and
I surely want to do that for next year, given how the present elections
turned out to be.

I'm very open to sharing duties with other people interested in being
candidates in the future, as long as the default remains that people
mailing leader@d.o rest assured of confidentiality with the DPL in
charge at present.

My experience in asking for help to other DDs with specific DPL tasks,
however, makes me be rather pessimistic. Finding volunteers for specific
DPL tasks is all but easy. As an example, finding Debian representatives
to go to events I could not attend myself requires in general several
call for help and constant pings to a lot of people. (That is intended
to be kudos for the people that, in the end, managed to be
representative of Debian in various larger events we as a project has
attended this year.) Arguably this is not a very good example, as going
physically to events requires more commitment than other tasks.

Wrapping up: I agree with you that *doing* some DPL-related tasks is a
good way for prospective candidates to learn in advance how to provide a
good service to the Debian community if they'll be elected.  I'm ready
to invest some extra coordination time in sharing the load with those
who will be interested into this (and whom I'm ready to trust, of
course). On the other hand, I welcome suggestions on how and when to
call for this kind of help (at the beginning of the term? shortly before
the elections? ...).

> So one way to mess with the status quo a bit with this would be to switch
> from having a fixed term to just a fixed term limit. Perhaps something like
> "Up until 18 months after being elected, the DPL can call for a new
> election. After 24 months, an election will be called automatically, and the
> outgoing DPL may not re-nominate." So if there are just a few things you
> want to do as DPL, you can get started, get them done in six months, and
> pass the job on to someone else; if you want to keep going forever, you
> still have to be re-elected; and if you find yourself disappearing eight or
> nine months in, you can direct the secretary to call an election with not
> much harm done.

That is an interesting idea, but it does not shield the project from the
risk of disappearing DPL shortly before the start of the term. I still
like more the idea of short, 6 months apart, time windows, during which
a given number of DDs can call for an election (see my reply to
Lars). It might be amended stating that the DPL as well can call for an
election to support the use case you've highlighted above.


Stefano Zacchiroli -o- PhD in Computer Science \ PostDoc @ Univ. Paris 7
zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} -<>- http://upsilon.cc/zack/
Quando anche i santi ti voltano le spalle, |  .  |. I've fans everywhere
ti resta John Fante -- V. Capossela .......| ..: |.......... -- C. Adams

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