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Re: Your opinion on Debian Maintainer status

Hi Jonathan,

On 18-03-13 08:49, Jonathan Nieder wrote:
[...DM status before entering NM...]
> I do not even agree that it is useful as a stepping stone.
> DM privileges recognize that a contributor should not have to wait on
> a DD to apply improvements within a specific domain where the DM has
> shown she can be trusted.  This can be a good way for a new
> contributor to become useful to the project and to make daily
> maintenance less painful while waiting for recognition as a DD, sure.
> With the specific goal of preparing to be a Debian Developer as
> quickly as possible in mind, though, it mostly hurts:
> The DM process is an excellent answer to new contributors asking the
> question "Why must I wait so long for my improvements to be
> incorporated in Debian?"  On the other hand, I think it is a bad
> answer to "I want to be a Debian Developer.  What is the first step?"

Perhaps it would be useful to explain *why* I think it is a good idea.

For full disclosure: I have been an AM off and on for a few years now,
and was at one time also a member of the NM frontdesk.

It is an unfortunate fact that there are occasionally people who apply
to NM when they are not yet ready to do so. This may be because they
underestimate what would be required, or because they overestimate their
own abilities, or because their advocate overestimates their abilities,
or because of any number of other reasons. When this happens, the result
will be that the NM process of the person in question will take more
time than is the case for the average NM process.

This is bad for everyone involved: for the applicant (because they have
to research a lot when answering the questions, which is boring and Not
Fun(tm) in general), for the AM (because rather than looking at the work
of the applicant involved for the tasks and skills step, they have to
come up with "interesting" exercises and/or ask *more* boring
questions), and for everyone in the NM queue after the applicant in
question (because if an NM process takes, let's say, two months rather
than one, that means everyone else needs to wait a month longer than
they would have if the process would've been fast).

Before this policy was in effect, the queue was fairly long, which had
the unfortunate side effect that some people would apply (and be
advocated) before they were ready, in the assumption that by the time it
would be their turn, they would have learned more and be ready then.
Except that didn't always turn out to be the case, so the result was
more people needing more time to finish the NM process, which made the
queue even longer, increasing the chance that people would apply before
they were ready. There's a loop in there somewhere.

This policy therefore exists to ensure that people who apply for DD-ship
have, in fact, some expertise in Debian work, which will make sure that
the NM process is as quick, easy, and painless as we can make it. It
doesn't completely fix the issue of people applying before they're
ready; but it does make it somewhat less likely to happen. That's a good
thing for everyone; and it also explains why occasionally the NM
frontdesk will waive this policy for people who are 'obviously' ready to
become a Debian Developer *now* rather than in six months: if the goal
is to weed out the people who are not yet ready, then if someone *is*
ready, it doesn't make sense anymore, so it's waived.

Copyshops should do vouchers. So that next time some bureaucracy
requires you to mail a form in triplicate, you can mail it just once,
add a voucher, and save on postage.

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