On Thu, Dec 01, 2016 at 03:46:05PM +0000, Ian Jackson wrote:
> Regardless of the reasons, this is not good enough.
> Maintainership is a leadership position, with serious governance
> authority.  Leaders must be accountable.  Bad leaders must be
> replaced.
> It is clear to me that the TC (the structure I set up for this purpose
> when I wrote the constitution) is not delivering and probably never
> will.

Let me add that this can be a big turn-off for potential new
contributors who are looking for a niche to fill in Debian.  Oh, I use
that package, there are some annoying packaging bugs, it could do with
some patching and cleaning up -- but there seems to be no way to make
it happen.

> 3. Abolish maintainership entirely.
> Of these 1 is what we have now.  I think it is entirely unacceptable.
> I don't think the project is politically ready for 3.

We're certainly not politically ready, but it's worth noting that there
are advantages to sole maintainership.  A sense of responsibility for a
package can motivate people to polish the package to a higher standard
because it has their name on it.

But this is a side discussion.

> The key question for such a new process is: who will decide ?
> It is very tempting to model such a thing on our existing
> constitutional structures.  For example, we could create a team like
> DAM, whose job was to take (private) requests for
> mediation/intervention, and who would eventually make some kind of
> decision.
> But I would like to make a more radical suggestion.  We should make
> these decision by juries, rather than committee.

Thank you for taking the time to come up with this suggestion.

On Thu, Dec 01, 2016 at 05:18:32PM +0100, Mattia Rizzolo wrote:
> No randomness please.  Probably all bodies in Debian are either elected
> or appointed (by previously elected bodies).  We all know that there are
> DD with a known bad track at mediations which would be totally unfit for
> such a role.

Although I don't personally know of any such DDs, I agree that random
selection sounds like a bad idea.  DDs who don't want to be involved in
this sort of work would feel under some obligation to respond, even if
they know they're not really suited for it or feel that they need to
focus their time into some of their own maintenance work, such as
before/during a freeze.

> > [2] Nomination of the new maintainers should be done at this stage.
> >     Thus a a frustrated contributor who, if the petition fails, needs
> >     goodwill of the curent maintainer, can ask others to front the
> >     complaint and argue the case.  This helps minimise the justified
> >     fear of retaliation.
> Fear of retaliation in such a place is IMHO everything but justified.
> Or at least it shouldn't be...

This is a big issue for non-DDs, who are very often the people who want
to take on these abandoned packages.  It's not so much retaliation, but
the prospect of looking like an usurper or insubordinator, which could
make other DDs wary of sponsoring their uploads.

Sean Whitton

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