Recruiting volunteers - or, why should I become a DD?
I guess I'm probably going to get beaten from all sides, get accused
of being a troll, or simply be ignored, for this attitude of mine.
So, if it helps, let me mention up front that I do not intend to offend
anyone, even if my wording may sound a little provocative at times.
It's just that all this talk here about the hassles of becoming a DD
has made me wonder about some fundamental principles of recruiting
people to do voluntary work.
Personally, I'm still in the phase of not even knowing myself whether
I in fact would want to become a DD -- independently of whether my
skills, knowledge and general aptitude would be considered sufficient.
The essential questions for me are: What will I be able to do then,
that I can't do now? Why is it made difficult to contribute at all?
Is it really all about trustworthyness?
To me, the process has some resemblance to becoming a member of some
freemasonry lodge or other secret society, where you can only get in
if you are being recommended/advocated/initiated by someone who already
is a member of the club. The main difference being, that there I can
see a number of reasons why people would want to become a member in the
So, what is it that's so attractive for people to want to become a DD?
Sure, there are some psychological aspects (ego boost, or some such),
but it can't be just that. Of course, it feels good to show off to your
geek friends with a shiny @debian.org addy, unquestionably implying
that you managed to be accepted and got the accolade by the Grand Club.
But what else is it?
Frankly speaking, I personally don't care much about status symbols.
So why should I take the trouble (= time, work and other efforts) to
apply for a DD account and go through the NM process? What would that
give me in return? In other words, if I consider something too much
inconvenience, and there's nothing of sufficient personal value to be
expected in return, I just won't do it. Period. That's basic
motivational psychology. Maybe I'm not representative of geeks in
general, but I'll have to confess my little mind occasionally works by
such simple principles.
Don't get me wrong. I'm generally very fond of the Debian Project as a
whole, and I've undoubtedly taken advantage of the hard work that other
people have put into it. So, just out of a sense of fairness, I
wouldn't mind giving something back to the community -- after all,
that's my understanding of how the F/OSS community works.
OTOH, there are limits to my motivation to share and do voluntary work.
Call me egoistic, but I don't really see the point in "going through"
some long-winded process of becoming known, accepted and trusted, and
whatever other prerequisites are required... To finally be allowed to
do work for free?? Hmm thanks, I've got plenty of other interests and
hobbies to pursue, and I already do not have enough time for those.
No doubt, Debian will certainly survive without me, but so will I
without being a DD. Just in case there are more people like me, aren't
we unnecessarily losing potential contributors by making some steps
harder than absolutely required?
(Mind you, I'm not saying I'd have immensely valuable stuff to offer,
at least not at the moment -- but maybe others have...)
Okay, I have to admit seeing quite a number of people actually going to
the trouble of applying... So, there's obvious empirical evidence that
not everyone is thinking like me. But maybe there would be a few more
people (both women and men) willing to donate some of their spare time,
work and abilities, if they weren't discouraged in one way or another.
So, why selectively cater for only those geeks with the appropriate
mindset and motivational disposition to join the please-let-me-in game?
Just tell me that I'm way off beat and my perception of things is
entirely skewed... and I'll shut up.
(getting out her old-n-dusty asbestos suit, just as a precaution :)