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To: gentoo-proctors@g.o
From: "Wulf C. Krueger" <philantrop@g.o>
Subject: Re: Documents sent to council
Date: Sat, 23 Jun 2007 22:44:41 +0200
Hello Roy!

(Usually, I'd rather not get a courtesy copy. This time, though, it was 
good to get it as I didn't get your reply on the list. :-( )

On Saturday, June 23, 2007 06:57:55 PM Roy Bamford wrote:
> > "E.  [Proctors/Devrel] determine recruiting needs and recruit to
> > achieve them."
> > Members of an institution that is supposed to impose disciplinary
> > action on Gentoo devs and others should not be recruited but elected.
> Disciplinary action is very much a last resort. 

Yes, of course, but as it's the ultima ratio it should be considered, 
IMHO.

> before they get to the point of needing disciplinary action. Much of
> the proctors work is done in /query or by personal email. 

Sounds good to me. Like that, it won't get as much (negative) 
attention. :-)

> Very little is like my email to the 'bubble' thread on the -dev ml.

Which was an honourable attempt but bound to trigger the "free 
speech"/"censorship"/"I must be heard anyway!" nonsense. :)

> I don't see the difference between recruitment and being elected
> unopposed. devrel members are recruited and not elected at the moment,

Yes, that (recruitment) is wrong, too, IMHO. :-)

> To hold a meaningful election you have to find more people who want the
> job than there are vacancies. If that can be demonstrated I have no
> issue with elections.

Even if there are not enough people to fill the vacancies, there's a 
difference between being appointed or elected. An election lends at least 
*some* weight to the position.

> > Otherwise their authority will be challenged all the time. Elected
> > members  will have at least a *bit* more autority.
> By the nature of the public part of the proctors job, whatever they do
> or do not do, they will be attacked by some group.

Yes, that's pretty much guaranteed. It helps, though, to know you can vote 
for someone else next time. ;-)

> > That'll lead to rushed (and therefore potentially wrong) decisions.
> Any group making decisions on incomplete information is likely to make
> errors. 

So don't act on incomplete information. :-)

> > IMO, we don't need proctors but if the proctors are kept, they should
> > work on a comlaint basis, too.
> Thats a nice ambiguous example to work on. Did you mean "too" as in
> "like devrel do today" or "too" as in "as well as" [working without a
> complaint] ?

The first. Work on complaints only, like DevRel.

> Its ambiguities like that in the English language that can lead people
> to feel insulted when no insult was intended.

You're right. :-)

> > Suppose both parties come from "Czamistan" - they both know "big-
> > balled goat lover" is not an insult but a compliment - why should
> > proctors react?
> Let me cite a recent live example from #gentoo-dev, which I have to
> from memory as I don't log that channel. In outline the story unfolded
> like this :-
> dev1 (a non native English speaker) said something out of character and
> when challenged, gave an explanation that dev2 "found difficult to
> believe". dev1 took that as being called a liar, which its not,
> depending on the readers understanding of the nuances of English, it
> means "that's unusual or out of character behavior for you".
> I don't know dev1 well enough to determine if the misunderstanding was
> genuine.

That's an excellent example: First of all, it's between two devs; dev1 
could complain to DevRel. Eventually, dev1 would hopefully be "punished" 
for filing a trivial complaint.

As for proctors: Don't bother to even think about such nonsense. If people 
are so easily offended, they deserve whatever comes their way.

I still think that almost 20 years after we adopted our policy in FidoNet, 
it has a very reasonable POV on disputes. Especially the two rules below 
are something worth "stealing", IMHO:

-----------------------------
9  Resolution of Disputes

9.1  General

The FidoNet judicial philosophy can be summed up in two rules:

     1) Thou shalt not excessively annoy others.

     2) Thou shalt not be too easily annoyed.

In other words, there are no hard and fast rules of conduct, but 
reasonably polite behavior is expected.  Also, in any dispute both sides 
are examined, and action could be taken against either or both parties. 
("Judge not, lest ye be judged!")
-----------------------------

I really sympathise strongly with the second rule and the dev1 one from 
your example should have taken it to heart.

> > Without proctors, we can simply ignore non-dev offenders. We may have
> > to deal with other devs but there's no obligation to interact with
> > certain users.
> As you say, we can ... but the evidence suggests that we don't, or at
> least a vociferous minority don't.

It's not so much the users (well, apart from one special, former-dev user) 
we mostly argue with. Usually, we don't need anyone but other devs. 

> > "and after some conditioning", "re-orientation" and some other terms
> > used in either or both documents.
> I'm not sure of the context of these quotes, 

proctors:development.txt:

"Note:  Several proctors recently resigned.  We are willing to restore 
them on two conditions: (1) None of them may serve as lead; (2) Each of 
them must undergo the same reorientation/interview process as the the 
current proctors."

"A.	Reorient the proctors to their tasks."

proctors:purpose.txt:

"The wise developer wishes a visit from neither organization, and after 
some conditioning, I expect the developer base to become more sensitive 
to flame situations and to work to avoid them."

The wording is, IMHO, unfortunate for someone asking others to be "more 
sensitive". :-)

> however lets consider the 
> -dev mailing list since the dust settled on the 'bubble' thread.
> Ignoring the multiplicity of views expressed there and on IRC, my
> impression is that the signal to noise has improved already

That's true, indeed. It settled down after the proctors stopped acting 
publicly there. :)

Or did "either organisation" (long live British English! ;) ) "visit" some 
poor soul? ;-)

> You may suggest that I'm supporting your view that the project is not
> required. 

Yes, you are. You just don't know it yet. ;-)

> I'm not. the project serves to provide focus. 

We probably won't come to an agreement on this but we don't have to 
anyway. :-) I'll stay within the bounds of the CoC which in itself aren't 
too bad.

> (NeddySeagoon) Writing as an individual, not on behalf of the protors

Bah! So that means I can't complain about the stubborn proctors not seeing 
the light? ;-)

If I complain about you, Roy, people will only tell me that stubbornness 
comes with old age... 

Best regards, Wulf (running and hiding now)
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Updated Jun 17, 2009

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