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Re: Recruiting volunteers - or, why should I become a DD?

On Thu, Aug 05, 2004 at 12:42:42AM +0200, Almut Behrens wrote:

> 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?

Essentially, yes.  Not only trust that someone won't misbehave, but (more
significantly in the common case) that they will uphold a standard of

The goals of the process seem clear from the process itself

1. Find an advocate

2. Are you who you claim to be?

3. Do you support the goals and principles of Debian?

4. Do you have the technical ability to work on the distribution?

5. Evaluate the results of 2-4

It is not often a trivial task to establish the answers to these questions,
starting from zero knowledge about a person, so yes, the process can be
cumbersome, but it doesn't seem excessively so.

> 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.

A key difference is that in Debian, you are openly invited to participate in
depth in the activities of the community _first_, and thereby learn about
Debian and how it works.  On the contrary, the groups that you mention above
are exclusive, and forbid participation by non-members.

> 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?

Is there a step other than #1 above which you find unnecessary?

> So, why selectively cater for only those geeks with the appropriate
> mindset and motivational disposition to join the please-let-me-in game?

Inactive developers cause problems for active ones.  If someone is motivated
enough to become an active and responsible maintainer, who will maintain
their packages (for example), this seems like a small hoop through which to
jump.  Assembling and maintaining a package of general interest seems to be
more than sufficient to find an advocate, and that is one of the most common
tasks that the applicant would be expected to fulfill anyway if they were

 - mdz

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