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Re: [all candidates] Removing or limiting DD rights?

Steve McIntyre <steve@einval.com> writes:

> Are we strict enough with our existing contributors? When we're trying
> to work together as best we can to make the Universal Operating System
> happen, what could/should we do with contributors who hinder our work?

I do not believe we're strict enough, not in general. On the other hand,
I'm not a big fan neither of overruling DDs, nor of limiting them. I'll
explain below.

> Sometimes that hindrance is inadvertent, sometimes it seems
> deliberate. At other times it looks like we have developers who are
> just not paying attention to what they're doing or who just don't care
> about the goals of the project. Occasionally we see direct action to
> censure or even expel DDs, but these are only ever in the most blatant
> of cases. By the time that happens, large amounts of damage may be
> done to the project: delayed releases, lost users, loss of motivation
> for other contributors.
> I'm wondering: is this something that you think is a real problem, and
> if so what do you think we could do about it?

The worst case (when it comes to expelling or severely limiting a DD) is
fairly rare, and I certainly hope it will stay that way (and we really
should not let things get that far). However, causing damage (due to
negligence and/or lack of attention) is far more common, and is a real
problem, one we should be dealing with much, much better.

The salvaging effort was/is something that gave me great hopes, because
it approached the problem from a less personal angle. The less personal
an effort is, the more successful it can be in this case, as far as I
see. Telling people they're harming the project is a lot different than
telling them that a particular package needs more love, and then going
ahead to aggressively hug said package to give it more love. I think the
salvaging idea is something that we should push forward with,
aggressively. While this is not a solution to every problem, it would
help in quite a lot of cases. How well this works, also depends on the
people involved, so great care must be taken to avoid as many bruises as
possible. (But not at the expense of dropping it alltogether and doing
nothing! Better some bruises and a handshake months or years later than
silently holding grudges forever.)

But alas, salvaging will not solve everything, and in some cases, it is
likely not an option either. In those cases, we should not be afraid of
overruling the maintainer, and if need be, forcibly transfer the package
to someone else. Yes, this would also have consequences we'd rather
avoid, there would be bruises, but if there's no better option, when all
other kinds of negotiations failed, then I see no better option.

Negotiation is something we should perhaps be practicing more, and

In short, we have the procedures to completely revoke or severely limit
DD powers, but this is a power we should exercise rarely. Instead, we
should work towards discovering problems much earlier, and work more
aggressively towards resolving them, before more harm's done. Among our
tools to help with this quest, we have salvaging, and once a problem's
discovered, earlier negotiation attempts, possibly involving the DPL as
a mediator.


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