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To: gentoo-devrel@g.o
From: Daniel Ostrow <dostrow@g.o>
Subject: On the present subject
Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2005 12:35:18 -0400
All:

I have intentionally stayed out of the discussion over the past  
several days. I did this because I believed that in the state that  
the discussions were I could not provide any valid input as things  
were far to heated to be useful. Now however we have seen things calm  
down and are getting to the meat of the problem. I am very happy with  
the proposed changes that have been set forth but want to elaborate  
on them a bit more.

#1). We seem to be concentrating entirely on dealing with problems of  
the social nature were issues require interpretation, investigation  
and an impartial adjudication (in this particular case buy a body  
that will both serve as judge and jury in a form of summary  
judgement). I can understand why this has been the case given what  
precipitated the conversation but we have been ignoring the other  
half "HR" responsibilities that devrel carries. While it may be  
believed otherwise the QA group does not (nor should it) have the  
power to deal with problems of the technical nature when it comes to  
"punishing" developers for repeated action either due to an innocent  
lack of knowledge or malicious intent. The QA group should come to  
devrel when such problems occur. In general problems of this nature  
are more clear cut and not open to interpretation, either something  
is broken or it is not. To that end the only purpose of the  
"investigatory body" in technical matters is to determine weather the  
damage was malicious or not, a very hard task sometimes. While the  
case may be made that the punishment for this kind of action (again I  
need to stress that I am including both a totally innocent lack of  
knowledge and malicious intent) is subject to the interpretation of  
the judging body I feel that it must not be. Having subjective rules  
is scary as it means that even in an act of innocence hundreds if not  
thousands of end users can be effected without being forced to take  
steps to ensure that such a thing will not happen again. I agree that  
the "punishment" for a malicious action and the "punishment" for an  
innocent one should not be the same but it has to be understood that  
the end result of either action is indeed the same. I feel that this  
needs to be discussed...I have some ways I'd like to handle it but  
all of them require not only the intervention of devrel to decide  
what "punishments" fit such actions but infra as well; namely the  
inclusion of a branch tree for "approved" operations by repeat  
offenders) to prevent damage to the main tree (which would require  
the use of svn for our main tree btw :-/). I just feel that this  
responsibility of devrel is often overlooked.

Well that was the long one....

#2). I feel the need to state that under no circumstances can devrel  
make up an investigatory body, and a judiciary of any valid size with  
it's present makeup. I think this needs to be addressed in addition  
to just formalizing the layout.  We need more help from good  
developers willing to throw their weight behind the process. Not just  
for the purpose of these two bodies but also to make the "Developer  
Handbook" a more open project for developers to submit to, for the  
recruitment quiz to move with the times at an appropriate clip and  
for everything else devrel does. We have to be at the forefront of  
the development effort, anticipating development needs with  
recruiting and documentation and standing as a transparent body for  
all developers to see.

Well that's my 2 cents. I also want to thank all those who have been  
vocal over the past week, on both sides of the aisle, as I feel that  
without this kind of passion we wouldn't be at the point we are  
today. It's no fun getting here but these are very necessary growing  
pains as our beloved distro grows beyond it's original bounds.....

Thanks for listening,

Daniel Ostrow
Gentoo/{PPC,PPC64,DevRel}
dostrow@g.o


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Updated Jun 17, 2009

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