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Re: Your opinion on Debian Maintainer status

Wouter Verhelst <wouter@debian.org> writes:

> On 17-03-13 02:02, Gergely Nagy wrote:
>> Arno Töll <arno@debian.org> writes:
>>> In fact, even the wiki says "Becoming a Debian Developer: You should be
>>> a Debian Maintainer for six months before applying to the Debian New
>>> Member Process" [1]. That's somewhat different to the original idea of
>>> the DM status and not really a direction we should endorse.
> [...]
>> Thank you, for reminding me of that. I haven't looked at that page since
>> I re-applied, and almost forgot those words. We really should reconsider
>> that paragraph, and preferably kill it with fire (post-wheezy, of
>> course).
> As someone who supports that policy (in the general case), can you
> elaborate on this? Why do you think it is such a bad thing?
> Note that, first, the NM frontdesk has always been willing to fast-track
> someone who is "obviously" skilled (with "obviously" being vague on
> purpose) and, second, that the DM step is not required for emeritus
> developers returning to Debian.

This is exactly why I think it is such a bad idea. Because it is too
easy to make it sound like DM is a stepping stone to becoming a DD. It
is not. It is *one* of its aspects, a useful one, but in my opinion, far
from being the most important one.

It can too easily be read as putting more road-blocks in front of people
who already know they want to become DDs, and are confident in their
abilities. It is too easy to feel discouraged, when you're reading that
you should spend half a year as DM, when that really is not your goal.

It makes it sound as if the DM status was there to limit new people in
what they're allowed to do, as if it was a stepping stone and no
more. It can be used as such, but the original intention was not to
limit people, but to empower them. The quoted paragraph goes against
that spirit.

It is great that we can use the DM status as a stepping stone,
really. But it sucks if that's what we emphasize most, and it's even
worse when we put a time-frame on it, a time-frame of six months. (Too
many assumptions hidden in there, for my taste...)

In contrast, the DebianMaintainer[1] reads: "It is highly recommended to
be a Debian Maintainer before applying to the Debian New Members process
to become an official Debian Developer (see the Applicant's Checklist)."

 [1]: http://wiki.debian.org/DebianMaintainer#Introduction

I like that much better, because it does not directly say six months
(the applicant's checklist does), and I find it much easier to interpret
this as an optional step. A recommended, but optional step. If we could
rephrase the "6 months" thing too, into something like (in case of the
checklist): "...and have been maintaining and uploading packages long
enough that both you and your advocates feel ready to take the next

That would express the intent better, I believe, without invalidating
current practice.

TL;DR: Putting the emphasis on DM being something that empowers is much
more useful than putting the emphasis on DM being a stepping stone.


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