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Re: [all candidates] What to do with debian-private ?

On 2013-03-29 19:34, Charles Plessy wrote:
How is the state of -private those days ? When I unsubscribed, it was still mixing informations that are really private, like "Alice takes holidays in Honolulu", some that may be private by accident, like "Bob wants to package libfoo-perl", and some that are irrelevant, like "Claudius likes pasta well cooked", "Donna does not like discussions about pasta", and "Eros thinks that
one should not be criticised for discussing about pasta on -private".
I found
it very tiring to have to permanently remember to never talk about a lot of
things that should never have been private in the first place.

If this has not changed, is that something that the DPL candidates would like to tackle ? (Bonus question to the DPL candidates: are you subscribed
to debian-private ?)

Yes, I am subscribed.

I find it surprising that others are concentrating on whether the volume and mix of topics on debian-private are convenient for readers. For those questions, I would worry far more about debian-devel. [1]

For debian-private, my worry is about messages that have no reason to be private. I don't find the volume that high, and VAC messages are easily filtered out by people who don't want to see them. But any discussion thread there tends to quickly move to include things that have no reason to be private -- and it takes some effort to move a discussion to a more appropriate public list without leaking any clues about the original private topic or including quoted text that people may want to keep private, so people don't bother, but just continue to reply about the topic on -private.

I see this problem happen almost every time a thread on debian-private develops past a couple of messages. And I think it's bad, not only because our Social Contract says that "we will not hide problems", but for practical reasons. Where discussions don't have a genuine reason to be private, they will lead to more useful results for Debian if they are on a public list where we can benefit from the input of many more of Debian's contributors, and where they are easy to find later and can be cited in subsequent discussions.

Even if someone tries to move or restart discussion of a non-private topic that has been discussed on -private, people tend to lack enthusiasm for re-posting to a public list the same kind of ideas they have already written about on -private.

Part of the problem is that we automatically subscribe new project members to -private, but not any other list. It seems that there are a significant number of people who read debian-private without reading debian-project, which is where many -private threads would be more appropriate, or even debian-devel-announce, which we claim is mandatory. I liked Steve Langasek's previous suggestion of a one-off fix by unsubscribing everyone and posting resubscription instructions on -devel-announce.... [2]


[1] We presumably want to encourage new project contributors to read -devel, but it remains rather high-volume, and with a wide mix including significant bursts of traffic from ITP messages and "general" bugs that would logically make more sense on different lists.

I understand that the intention is effectively to get more eyes to look at these by putting them on -devel, but for individual senders "Where will most people read this?" has never been an acceptable reason to choose a list to post to, but rather "Where will this be on topic *and the readers want to read it*?" With the combination of high-volume and non-discussion mails, I worry that new readers of -devel are likely to quickly get a build-up of messages that are uninteresting to them, then lose enthusiasm for trying to keep up-to-date with it.

[2] Maybe putting the resubscription instructions as a footnote to a message about release management would be appropriate.

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