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Re: Question to Jonathan: how do you intend to prioritise?

Hi Sean

On 2020/03/17 00:18, Sean Whitton wrote:
> It is good that you have shared with us all, in your platform, your
> broad vision for what it is most important for the project to address.
> No-one could reasonably expect you to complete everything there in a
> single term, but it helps us choose how to vote if we have a more
> complete idea of where you think the project stands.
> I would also like to know, however, what you seek to prioritise -- which
> parts of your platform are a matter of you sharing with us your long
> term vision, and which parts do you actively plan to accomplish in the
> next twelve months?

Great question, thanks! I'll try to explain it without throughing more
bullet points at you while at the same time navigating all the clichés
that exist for so many good reasons.

By the end of the term, I would like to have a shared sense of 'business
as usual' within the project. I'd like our contributors and project
members to have a sense of belonging, and that they can focus on their
work and improve Debian's technical excellence without having to spend
too much time on unproductive drama. I know that sounds incredibly
broad, and at the same time somewhat vague, but I believe it's what the
project needs right now.

I very purposely want to avoid big, potentially damaging and
controversial GRs or discussions that will divide our community. I know
that those are sometimes necessary and I won't shy away from them when
they are necessary, but I don't think we need to make particularly huge
project-wide changes in the short term. I think Brian's Debian
Foundation ideas are good, and even though he doesn't think that that
should be a GR, I do. It seems big enough that project members should
have an explicit vote on both if and how this should happen, especially,
for just one example, if assets like trademarks will be transferred to
one of these new Foundations. It's a big enough change that we should do
it properly and involve all stakeholders within the project.

Overall, I want us to work better as a community, I don't particularly
care exactly how we get there. I do think that my current list of ideas
is a good starting point, and I hope that project members will feel
comfortable to approach me with their own ideas on how we can build on
and improve our community. I also intend to be available, present and
approachable, and when any new problem crops up, I want to be able to
help deal with those swiftly without having my head stuck in 10 rabbit
holes of different projects that I'm trying to finish before my term ends.

> Right now, the most concrete part of your platform is pushing forward
> changing our nomenclature for project members.  So when I reached the
> end of your platform, it seemed to me that this was the only thing in it
> I could be sure you intend to pursue, if elected, over the next year.
> And surely this was not the impression you intended the platform to have
> on your readers :)

Indeed. Full disclosure: I was writing that platform in a hurry while I
had a cold, so I did have a tough time getting all my points across
properly. My platform was initially very long, so I ended up cutting out
a lot, including some explanation, but I'll expand a bit below...

> Please help me get a more concrete idea of what sort of project-level
> changes I could expect you to attempt if you were elected.  Thanks!

This gets a bit more complicated because I tend to pursue the more
concrete project-level stuff whether I'm DPL or not, but let's jump into
some concrete aspects of my vision anyway...

In terms of improving online participation this has been something that
myself, Rhonda and paddatrapper have already invested some time in. We
haven't formally announced it yet within the project (we're likely to
send an announcement to d-d-a within the next 1-2 weeks) about a new
project called debian.social. Even though it's not yet announced, it's
not a secret either and you can read a bit more about it on our wiki
page: https://wiki.debian.org/Teams/DebianSocial

debian.social would just be one leg of improving communication and
online collaboration.

An idea that I had after I finished my platform, that I've been enjoying
thinking of, is to start a team for a MiniDebConf Online. The situation
with COVID-19 means that many conferences over for at least the next two
months will be cancelled, so maybe we could put all our online tools
(including tools like storm.debian.net) to the test and see if we could
actually pull off having an online MiniDebConf. I think it will help
make a lot of people feel better giving them a bit of a social lift with
all the physical distancing we have to practice, and at the same time we
can improve Debian, and find weak spots in our tooling that we can
improve. Evaluation of these tools are also already happening, Kyle has
written a nice summary of some of the shortcomings in Jitsi:
https://writefreely.debian.social/paddatrapper/remote-conference-software -
but I'd like to keep encouraging this kind of work whether I'm DPL or not.

For local teams, I was really happy to see Fabian Rodriguez excited
about re-invigorating the local teams concept at DebConf17. He was also
involved in Ubuntu local teams where it worked well for a while, so I
believe he has the right combination of skills and ambition to pull it
off. I think he initially found the lack of response a bit lackluster
and lost interest. I don't think Debianites were particular
unenthusiastic about it per sé, but I think it was just a case that his
initiative wasn't announced widely enough, and that it could have had
more support from leadership within the project (and with that I mean
absolutely no criticism towards the DPL of the time).

I'd like to reach out to Fabian and ask if he's still interested in
this, and I think there should be a small budget for stickers and
materials set up so that local teams could receive some free packs of
goodies. I think it could help ingest at least a little bit of new
energy into our local teams world wide. Stronger local teams have so
many positive knock-on effects too, like more teams who could bid for
DebConf. So many people would like to see a DebConf in Europe again, and
there are so many big cities there, yet those cities generate few bids.
More strong local teams will result in more bids everywhere. Strong
local teams also help strengthen translations and help address
locale-specific issues in Debian, and make support easier for newcomers,
but I digress. When it comes to local teams, I don't intend to
personally and directly lead local team efforts, but I'd like to help
and encourage others who have had the ideas to try it out and give them
every possible shot at making it work.

I could give you concrete examples of the rest of my platform too if
you'd like, although this mail is already long and I think I've shown
that the ideas listed there are more than just a bunch of nice words on
a platform.


  ⢀⣴⠾⠻⢶⣦⠀  Jonathan Carter (highvoltage) <jcc>
  ⣾⠁⢠⠒⠀⣿⡁  https://wiki.debian.org/highvoltage
  ⢿⡄⠘⠷⠚⠋   https://debian.org | https://jonathancarter.org
  ⠈⠳⣄⠀⠀⠀⠀  Be Bold. Be brave. Debian has got your back.

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