Developer Application Board

James Westby jw+debian at
Wed Jul 15 15:38:18 BST 2009

Colin Watson wrote:
> I understand the desire for transparency too. Perhaps the answer there
> is to have a public summary of the conversations involved in all
> successful applications (could even be an attached mail thread, with
> consent)? I'm not sure what to do with failed applications; I think we
> generally ought to strive to let everyone know what we've been doing,
> but on the other hand I feel that the candidate ought to have the
> opportunity to consent to us telling the world that we didn't want them
> to be a developer just yet.

If we don't have at least public announcements that someone is applying
for a developer role, then you could get in to a situation where someone
is approved when another developer has specific concerns about them from
their work together.

Therefore I think that we should have at least a message on a public
list stating that someone is applying.

However, this means that it is essentially public knowledge that someone
was rejected. A public announcement of an application, followed by
silence would indicate that.

While I can appreciate the concerns that lead to wanting some privacy,
I'm also not keen on a completely private process, it goes against
the openness and transparency that we strive for elsewhere. In addition,
it would just feel wrong to start receiving messages that would read

  Surprise! <so and so> is now an Ubuntu developer!

If there was a reason to remove developer privileges from a current
developer would that discussion also happen in private? Would the
decision be announced? Would the reasons be made public? That is also
a case where you want to say negative things about someone, and so
the same concerns may apply. However, keeping that process entirely
secret would perhaps be even more worrying. Secret processes like this
make it too easy for a small group to impose their agenda on a project
without having to explain that agenda.

A final thought, does having public discussions also encourage
accountability for actions? Would making all negative discussions
private suggest to some people that they can behave as they like,
because details on that behaviour won't become attached to their
name, and so won't harm their job prospects and the like?



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