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Re: thoughts on liw's non-platform?

Hi Paul,

On 14/03/2016 04:25, Paul Wise wrote:
> Hi Mehdi,
> Lars Wirzenius recently wrote a blog post entitled "Not-platform for 
> Debian project leader elections 2016". I wonder if you have any 
> thoughts on what he has written there:
> http://blog.liw.fi/posts/dpl-2016-not-platform/

liw's platform is devided into two parts. First part shows describes
opinion about DPL's role. Then, another part follows about the idea of
the "social committee".

I mostly share what he wrote about the role of the DPL. It describes
in a few items where a DPL can be expected to act. There might be a
little mix between people's expectations and real priorities of a DPL
though. Inspiring and motivating people is, at least IMHO, a little
different from making things run smoothly. Indeed, DPL's primary focus
should be to make sure there are no big blockers, and that people are
able to get things done (in a satisfactory way by Debian standards).
Inspiring and motivating people should be everyone's job! It is not
something that a DPL should do specifically. It might be a way to make
things run smoothly, but it is not a goal per se. Motivating people
day after day can be done simply by trying to be helpful, replying in
a respectful way, being welcoming, etc… Inspiring people is a much
harder job, and people should not wait to become a DPL in order to
try! As I said in my platform, innovation is expected from every
project member. Inspiration is no different.

The second idea of the platform is about the fact that the DPL is
overwhelmed by social conflicts and spends a lot of time trying to
resolve them. liw explains that a dedicated committee might help by
taking this burden off the shoulders of the DPL. I acknowledge the
issue and I sympathize with the idea but I am not sure how it could be
applied in real life.

Conflicts can hardly be characterized. Mediation is not an easy task
and requires (IMHO) some creativity and patience. I don't think that
finding a committee that will be suitable for all sorts of conflicts
is realistic. If a problem escalated to the DPL, then I see (at least)
3 main situations: 1) The requester doesn't know who to ask to resolve
the issue; 2) Involved people need a new opinion on the matter; 3) The
issue got worse and nobody is able to speak to each other. First, I
expect the DPL to understand the nature of the conflict and identify
involved parties. I don't expect the DPL to do miracles in conflicts
like #3 above. Then, a DPL may try to resolve the conflict by himself
or delegate, when possible. This is all theory though.

I don't have an accurate idea of the amount of conflicts where a DPL
is asked for help. I don't imagine the number to be huge, but I expect
subject to be lengthy and require a large amount of time until
resolution (in best case). We don't know who would be motivated enough
to help when issues occur. Maybe that's the purpose of the proposed
committee. But I don't see what kind of special authority it could
have (anyone is free to send mails and talk to people). It'd help to
have a list of people available and ready to help resolving conflicts,
if ever asked to. That surely will ease the DPL's job to some
degree. Whether the list is a committee or not doesn't seem relevant.

As the committee is described in liw's non-platform, I am tempted to
say that our social committee is all project members. It should not be
bound to one entity.



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