Resolving conflict in technical debates in an ideal world
daniel.holbach at ubuntu.com
Wed Sep 3 13:37:46 BST 2008
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I'm somewhat side-stepping the other discussions that are happening at
the moment and instead of apportioning blame I'd like to try to find
out: what can we do in an ideal world to avoid serious disagreement on
Ultimately we all know, there's the Technical Board that can make final
decisions if required. Naturally we'd like to avoid having the TB to
find consensus if we can't, so what can we do?
After thinking about it for a bit, I realised that we'd need more
"high-bandwidth communication" between the stakeholders who are involved
in the discussion in those cases.
* experienced users facing the problems
* the developers who are interested in fixing the problem
* Upstream and Debian developers
* members of the TB or the release team (if the releasability should be
I feel it's important to have people in the discussion who are
attempting to improve the experience for our users. That's why I list
experienced users (e.g. sysadmins that have to deal with the issue) are
very good to have in the debate.
It is my personal experience that has showed me that phone or VOIP calls
(even better: face-to-face meetings) are a very good thing to discuss
issues where arguments were heated before and the discussions were stuck.
Questions like these might help moving things forward:
- How would it work in an ideal world?
- What's the least intrusive change that still improves the situation?
- What would we like to see change here, there or upstream in the long run?
- Which additional concerns are there?
- Are there examples in other areas where something like this has been
The good thing about this proposal is: at whatever stage of the conflict
you are, you can always step in and say: "would you mind if we invited a
few others and had a call about this?"
The subject of this mail contains "in an ideal world" because I don't
know of a great VOIP service we could easily use right now.
I'd like to hear your opinions about this.
Have a nice day,
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