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Re: trying to do awesome and risking to fail

On 2013-03-11 11:30, Sune Vuorela wrote:
Focussing on not failing is helping ensuring to stay mediocre. And not
doing awesome.

So, how can we make debian do awesome stuff?

I think we have many people around in Debian who think they have awesome ideas and don't mind if they fail, but as a mature organisation we can end up discouraging experimentation.

As DPL, I would certainly try to be open to new ideas, even if I didn't personally think they sounded like they would work, and I would encourage others to respond to new ideas in the same way, as part of the attitude of openness I mentioned in my platform. Where we have people wanting to experiment and try out new things, we should support it. This doesn't mean I would stop teams from protecting themselves by providing technical means for experimentation without breaking existing things[1], though in many areas of Debian there's no need for that.

For experiments in our processes, it's a bit trickier, as others don't have the choice just to ignore the experiment and wait to hear the results. So we should be open, and avoid criticising people for suggesting new ideas, but we need more general agreement that an experimental process is worth trying before it goes ahead. But if we are too conservative, we will certainly find that we lose volunteers to other projects and are overtaken by them.[2]

Sure, often the naysayers will turn out to be right, but, even when ideas fail, the people involved will normally generate better new ideas from experimenting, much more than just from a discussion that tells them why they are wrong in advance. And occasionally an idea will turn out to be awesome.


[1] Roll-out of a PPA-equivalent service, as planned by the FTP team, will help here.

[2] People tend to become more conservative about their work after a long time in a role, so my suggestions on encouraging rotation between teams and cross-fertilisation of ideas might help here.

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