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Re: Gergely and Wouter: on the need of becoming a DPL

On Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 06:15:04PM +0100, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
> Since you've repeatedly mentioned my "bureaucracy" and "procedures" (not
> to mention "bureaucrat" referred to my person, which doesn't feel as
> nice, at least in popular connotations :-)),

Sorry 'bout that :-)

> I'd like to point out that
> procedures are just a mean to an end. They are incentives. They are
> implementations of changes that we think are good for the project. Just
> a few of concrete examples:
> - I've been routinely asking delegates to provide a sort of "tasks
>   description" before renewing, or creating from scratch, delegations.
>   All those descriptions have been stored under (or at the very list
>   indexed from) http://wiki.debian.org/Teams/ . Is that bureaucratic?
>   Yes. But it allows to find out what is the scope of a delegation
>   rather than relying on folklore. And *that* is very useful in conflict
>   solving (been there).

I understand that.

However, the problem with detailed job descriptions, as it were, is that
you run the risk of having people argue over whether or not something is
their responsibility. This would introduce a conflict.

In the absense of such detail, it's the DPL's responsibility to just
interpret the delegation and make a judgement call on whether something
is one person's job or not. If done carefully (after weighing all the
arguments), such a judgement call can be as effective in resolving
conflict as are detailed job descriptions, without running the risk of
introducing inflexibility.

(for clarity, I'm not likely to remove these job descriptions. Now that
they're there, I'll leave them. Also, if new delegates join a team where
everyone else has a detailed job description, without having one like
that themselves, I doubt that'd be a good idea, so I'll probably have to
stick by this rule. I just won't introduce any such rules myself)

> - I've been routinely asking sprint participants to document their
>   sprints under http://wiki.debian.org/Sprints before asking for budget
>   approval and of sending public sprint reports before asking for
>   reimbursements. Is that bureaucratic? Yes. But is useful in many ways:
>   1/ it shows what we do with money and it helps in attracting sponsors
>   (see recent thread on -project); 2/ it dispels the risk of "cabals
>   meeting in secret on Debian money" (we have been there already, we've
>   had enough) and gives transparency on how Debian money are used; 3/ it
>   provides a flow of information about what is going on in various areas
>   of the project, increasing the permeability among teams.

This is not something I oppose.

Like I said, bureaucracy has its place; and when dealing with other
people's money, the clarity and transparency that a set of rules will
introduce is definitely a plus.

> Just examples, I'll be happy to provide similar rationales for every
> single procedure I've encouraged.

That won't be needed. I believe (or rather, would hope) that you have
rationales for each and every one you introduced.

The point is not that you're doing it without cause, but rather, that if
you introduce new rules, you always run the risk of introducing
inflexibility, which is something that needs to be weighed against the
benefits the new rule brings.

The volume of a pizza of thickness a and radius z can be described by
the following formula:

pi zz a

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