Okay, let me explain in detail.

Undertakers contact devs who didn't touch CVS for at least two months,
are considered inactive in the bugzilla and have no current .away set.

After the initial contact, something like 3/4 of e-mailed people
respond very quickly and explain why they are gone (usually family and
work trouble, weddings, army service, health issues, moving out/in and
so on, so called real life) and in such cases we do not retire them
but let them resolve whatever trouble they are in and return to the
project afterwards.

There are dozens of devs in the project who had such a conversation
with me or other undertakers and all can confirm retirement was
abandoned right away after they gave valid reasons for their absence
and the only consequence was poking about missing .away and asking
when they are planning to get back to work.

Those people wouldn't even be contacted if their .aways stated why
they are gone and for how long. Therefore a REMINDER: Please do set
your .away. Thanks.

The rest are usually people who already gave up on the project, just
for various reasons didn't say bye yet. They often have no commits for
many months despite undertakers poking them a bunch of times. Half a
year period without even touching CVS and bugs isn't that uncommon for
them. I can give you specific examples if you really want some. I'd
prefer to avoid pointing fingers at people though.

Those folks either say goodbye to everyone after being contacted by us
or do not respond at all, in which case, if we get no response to our
two e-mails and an open retirement bug from them after more than a
month, we consider them missing in action and go on with their
retirement. If they appear suddenly at any point of this procedure and
say they want to stay, we either abandon retirement completely or only
send them to recruiters to redo their quizzes if their absence was
extremely long.

I don't think how we can proceed differently in above kinds of
situations. Do you suggest we stopped e-mailing people who seem gone
from the project (how would we find out those who are really gone
then?), stopped retiring people who mail -dev/-core and say goodbye or
stopped retiring people who aren't responding to their mail and bugs
named "Retire: Person's Name" for months?

There's only one controversial group of inactive devs:

There are some people who would prefer to stay in the project although
they can't really give a good reason what for. Usually they claim they
belong to a number of projects although they don't put any regular
work into any of them and leads of this projects often haven't even
heard there's such a person on board. They sometimes were members of
this projects years ago, sometimes wanted to be members and sometimes
only imagine they are members of them. I can give specific examples if
you insist.

Those we try to encourage to find a new job within Gentoo and often
they do. I can name one who yesterday did start his new Gentoo work
after years of slacking. :-)

They are the smallest group of those we contact and process, I could
maybe name 5 or 6 of those currently in Gentoo and that's it. There's
no pending retirement of such a person currently.

Really. Situation you name, when someone wanted to stay in Gentoo
despite not doing any actual work and got retired happened once or
maybe twice during the last year out of about a hundred retirements we
have processed. And all were extreme cases of close to zero activity
over many years with no promise of it ever increasing. We consider
those very carefully, they are always consulted with devrel lead. This
kind of decision isn't made lightly I can assure you.

Finally, if someone really wants to be a dev but got retired, he can
return to Gentoo within couple of weeks by reopening his retirement
bug, submitting quizzes to recruiters and waiting to get useradded.
Recruiters process returning devs extremely fast so returning to
Gentoo if someone really wants to isn't a problem at all. And there's
absolutely no way anyone from undertakers could stop someone from
being recruited again.

So summarising, the situation you're complaining about is extremely
marginal. You are invited to subscribe to retirement@ alias and read
its logs on bugzilla and see for yourself how rare occurrence it is.

I hope I explained everything completely. I'm happy to take questions
if you have any, and of course am open to suggestions.

Kind regards,

Lukasz Damentko

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