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Fri, 01 Oct 2010

Four days: Removing some uncertainty from debian-mentors

Prospective Debian contributors typically follow this process:

  1. Read the New Maintainers' Guide.
  2. Find something they want to package.
  3. Create a package.
  4. Email the debian-mentors mailing list asking for someone to review the package, and if it passes review, upload it.
  5. Feel increasingly lonely and sad, as the days pass without a reply on the list.
  6. (Optional) Blame themselves when no one seems to care, when in fact they submitted a perfectly fine package.

Okay, so I'm exaggerating that last point. But I'm very interested in improving the culture of Debian, like I promised as follow-ups for that Debian for Shy People talk.

I was talking about the email list on the #debian-mentors IRC channel. I got this vote of confidence from andrewsh:

<andrewsh> silence is bad

When there are humans involved, silence isn't always golden. So now I have a plan: Niels and I promised that any email to debian-mentors will be answered within four days.

Maybe we'll say, "Sorry, we all seem to be busy!" Or maybe we'll say, "I'll try to review that next Thursday."

The goal is to replace self-doubt and worry among contributors with feedback and clear expectations.

(Thanks to Karen Rustad for help with editing.)

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