On Sun, Aug 06, 2017 at 10:25:01AM -0400, Daniel Pocock wrote:
> As an example, one of the steps involves questioning applicants about
> licensing knowledge.  As it is dependent on volunteers sending emails
> back and forth, it can take a couple of months to complete, even though
> it is only a couple of hours work/reading for a strong applicant.

In my experiences as AM, FD and DAM it is generally not P&P which takes up
the time.

> What
> if we were to offer a license workshop and multi-choice exam at events
> like DebConf and anybody who completes the workshop would receive a
> PGP-signed certificate that can be submitted during the NM process?

On Sun, Aug 06, 2017 at 12:06:48PM -0400, Daniel Pocock wrote:
> On 06/08/17 10:50, Enrico Zini wrote:
> > On Sun, Aug 06, 2017 at 10:25:01AM -0400, Daniel Pocock wrote:
> >
> >> Has there been any previous discussion of completing steps in the NM
> >> process at real-world events?
> > [...]
> >
> > I disagree with your description of the P&P part of the NM process, to
> > the point of finding it offensive. Please do not describe it worse than
> > it has been for ages, you make a great disservice to everyone involved.
> I'm sorry if you felt that way, it was not my intention to disparage the
> existing process, only to start a discussion about whether parts of the
> process could be replicated, in parallel, in real-world meetings/events.
> > A license workshop would not be significant for the NM process, where we
> > assume a person, already at the point of applying, is ready to have an
> > account and use it responsibly.
> >
> > I consider a multi-choice exam a terrible idea, since interacting with
> > an Application Manager is more about actually having a conversation,
> > rather than proving one's knowledge.
> >
> > An exam at an event would actually be harder than answering an email at
> > home, since at home one would be able to relax, take time, sip one's
> > favourite beverage and search on the internet.
> If applicants are ready to have an account then they should hopefully
> not find it too much harder though.
> Once again, I'm sorry the multi-choice example is crude, it was more of
> a starting point for discussion, not a suggestion that the existing
> process should be thrown out the window and replaced with multi-choice.
> Some people do actually perform better in exam scenarios and some people
> perform better with other types of test.  It could be helpful to offer
> some of these possibilities if there are volunteers willing to help
> administer them and if similar outcomes can be achieved.

Application managers are free to conduct the process in a way which makes
the applicant feel comfortable. Most AMs do in fact use the pre-prepared
question templates as a basis for their discussions, and those applicants
who are most at ease taking an exam are at liberty to treat the questions
like one. They should still expect follow-up discussion and gentle probing
along the way.

Working in Debian for the long haul is very much *not* like taking an exam,
so I don't think it's helpful to treat this part of the process as a
simple factual evaluation.

> > Finally, I noticed a tendency at real-world events to advocate people
> > just because one finds them pleasant to talk to. I would rather limit
> > this kind of bias rather than encourage it.
> It is more complicated than that.  Real world events do provide a lot of
> bandwidth.  People are having a drink and they casually ask "have you
> thought about becoming a developer?" and somebody replies "I never
> really thought about it, can you tell me more?".  This discussion might
> not start at all if there was never any face to face contact.

But you are describing two different parts of the process here. There is
nothing wrong with prospective members in a social environment discussing
what it means to be a member; that is not the same as assessing that person
for their packaging skill or ability to work well remotely for 11 twelfths
of the year.

> Of course it would be silly to suggest that two beers later that person
> has an account and starts uploading.

Nevertheless there have been such advocacies in the past, even so flimsy as
"sofa-surfed with me last night and seems an OK kind of guy" (to paraphrase

> However, with the bandwidth that exists at real-world events, maybe
> parts of the process could be complemented or enhanced.
> From the perspective of volunteers, e.g. the AM, it is not just a
> question of extra bandwidth.  When people attend DebConf or another
> event, we are in a frame of mind where we are largely focussed on Debian
> in that time and place and some volunteers may feel that is the best way
> to have discussions with applicants.

I also don't have a problem with AMs and their applicants getting together
and discussing parts of the process or some other details. But it's
important that the majority happens in writing, because at the end of the
process DAM reviews the entire discussion and assesses the applicant from

If an applicant is focussed on Debian in the one week of DebConf, but once
they go home with an account they become missing for weeks on end, that has
not benefitted the project one bit.

Please remember that the people involved in the NM process is not limited
only to the advocate and the applicant.

Jonathan Wiltshire                                      j...@debian.org
Debian Developer                         http://people.debian.org/~jmw

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