9 Oct 2007 14:19
Re: electing multiple people
Josip Rodin <joy <at> entuzijast.net>
2007-10-09 12:19:43 GMT
2007-10-09 12:19:43 GMT
On Tue, Oct 09, 2007 at 02:22:41AM -0700, Russ Allbery wrote: > The problem most often materializes when there are heated opinions, but > the fundamental problem is when people can't work together with mutual > respect. If you end up with people who intensely dislike each other, the > group will have an exceedingly hard time reaching consensus on anything. MJ and Bernhard made good points already, I'll just concentrate on a few bits that troubled me: I don't agree with these two premises - that any two elected Debianites would so intensely dislike each other to cause a deadlock in the rest of the group, or that this deadlock would spread onto all other issues (other than the one they over which they originally came in conflict). I do not see any historical precedent in Debian history to reach that harsh a conclusion. > One of the things that I find troubling about the idea of the social > committee is that I think it takes the idea of a democratic body and some > vague notions that smart people can work anything out and applies them to > problems that are considerably thornier than the technical problems our > existing example deals with. Constructing organizations that can > effectively deal with social problems is way harder than constructing a > technical committee and I'm worried that insufficient attention is being > paid to some of the fuzzier aspects of how such a group can work together. It's not just a matter of us Debianites really being smart people who can work anything out :) it's that we actually currently try to do the soc-ctte job in conflict situations *without* having a soc-ctte, and we generally succeed. And the whole project is practically a social experiment, we deal with social problems every day, whenever there's a misunderstanding on a bug report or a squabble on the mailing lists. Having soc-ctte couldn't undo this history of good faith effort to get along with each other; should it ever go so perverted to actually harm the... social fabric of the project(?) we can always repeal it. > I am perhaps excessively wary, having served on the governance boards of > things like Usenet hierarchy administration in the past and having seen > some of the spectacular ways in which this can go wrong. Boards of > directors do do this sort of thing all the time. But they usually don't > have to address quite the same kind of problems. Yes, and the circumstances in these two types of organization are different - in both cases the membership comes together to work on a common interest, but there is an inherent desire to maintain control of the organization. In Debian, however, we really have no tangible control over the organization, because the main asset of the organization is - the people. (Hm, that sounded awfully like "the network is the computer" :) > > If the social committee represents only the majority, it instantly loses > > credibility, and in Debian, that would pretty much be its ruin. > > I think it depends a lot on what role you expect the committee to take. > If the role of the committee is to serve as peacemaker and facilitator, it > doesn't matter as much whether or not it's representative; it would matter > a great deal more whether the members were people capable of acting in > that role. In either case it would not be nearly as useful if it wasn't credible. History has shown, in real life and in Debian, that ad hoc peacemakers can't get much work done, whenever the parties in conflict don't put trust in them. -- -- 2. That which causes joy or happiness.