[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: two questions: fund raising money and publicity

On Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 05:59:43PM +0100, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> Hi Ana!
> On 19/03/14 at 10:21 +0100, Ana Guerrero Lopez wrote:
> > * Publicizing Debian
> > 
> > We have several officials ways of publicizing stuff in Debian:
> > press releases, identi.ca, bits.d.o and the DPN. We also have the bits
> > from the DPL that sometimes overlap with the above sources and announce
> > stuff that should be announce somewhere else instead of mixed with the
> > DPL activity.
> > 
> > That said, the coordination between the above sources doesn't work very
> > well, all of them have a lot of room for improvement (and I say that
> > being closely involved in one of them) and I have seen Debian contributors
> > lost about what to do when they want to announce something, sometimes
> > being played as a ping pong ball between teams.
> > I would love to know your vision about how publicizing Debian should work
> > and if you think you can do something as DPL to improve the current
> > situation.
> The big question here is: does it hurt? 

Yes, it does.
As a former press officer, editor of DPN and bits.d.o, I've had the
privilege to work on all of the above publicity "sources".
I've left for a (little?) hiatus some months ago, so maybe the situation
is changed now and if so I hope the people from those teams will correct

> I think that it's better to have
> something published twice, rather than not published at all. Of course,
> it would be better if we used all our official ways of publicizing stuff
> in a perfectly coherent and organized way,

Lack of coordination among the different sources: that's a first
problem, indeed.
Debian-publicity (the ML) should act as a node for all the publicity/promoting
people in Debian, but it doesn't.
This means that sometimes a piece of news is published twice on two
different media (and I agree this is not all bad)
and sometimes it's ignored by all of them (and, yes, as you may guess *this* is
extremely bad).
I'd like to add also that the existence of different media is not
about redundancy, but about choosing the most appropriate medium for
each kind of news (which should be the responsibility of an editorial
team, and not done on a whim).
You cannot publish an entire interview on DPN, nor announce a big
donation via identi.ca, nor link a blogpost on a press release.

> but I'm not sure that the
> current situation is so bad at the moment: our official communication
> mediums work pretty well, and are quite complementary. 

No. I'm sorry to be a bit harsh, but it doesn't work well.
In some cases, doesn't work at all.
Do you know that since the transition status.net → pump.io, the
automatic publishing of rss feeds for news and planet on identi.ca is
Laura Arjona did a fantastic analysis of the situation [1] many months
ago and asked for help on fixing it: she is not a coder, and she cannot package
Spigot [2], which would solve our issue.
And that's only an example. Try confronting the number of press releases
per year before 2012 (included) and those in the last two years.
Last hear, we didn't have even an announcement for the election of the

I'm saying this not to be overly critic with the relevant teams/groups:
they are doing a fantastic job in extremely difficult situation. 
What I find extremely worrying is that these
sources (press, identi.ca, dpn, bits) are all basically a one (wo)man team:
sooner of later if all the weight is on the same shoulder, the person
behind it will burn out.
For teams like DPN and bits, especially, we don't have a fallback. Press
is another problematic one, where people are or busy with many other
responsibilities, or simply MIA.
It doesn't help that such teams receive very little feedback or
appreciation, but I guess that's not a publicity-only problem.
We've tried to recruit new blood, so to speak: but Debian as a whole is
still very bad at recruiting people with non-coding/packaging skills and
publicity is one of the team suffering for this. (Even though I think
that the Debian Desktop team got it worse).

> So I'm not sure
> that more organization here is worth the effort. Do you have specific
> issues in mind that you think should be solved?

Lack of vision.
That's the one to top all of this.
There is no plan.
There has not been - at least in the last 4 years - any kind of
collective debate on what to do about publicity in Debian, what kind of
style and editorial choices do, how to organize the work and make it
more efficient. Or who we want to reach, really, with our news.
(And many other things, but this could easily become a rant, so I'll
stop now ;)).

I dearly love publicity in Debian: it is where I started to contribute,
I hold in high esteem many of the people working there, and I have many
idea and enthusiasm for it.
But I learnt my lesson and I'm not willing to fix any of these problems
if there aren't at least 3-5 people willing to working on them as well.
Because otherwise it wouldn't be sustainable on long term.

Thanks Ana for asking this question, and thanks to everyone who made it
to the end of this mail: for me, it was very difficult to write it but I
hope it will give you a more realistic view of the publicity universe in

[1] https://lists.debian.org/debian-publicity/2013/10/msg00000.html
[2] https://pypi.python.org/pypi/spigot/
<ana> the real problem is when you turn 32 and you need an
extra bit

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

Reply to: