Appealing Debian Account Manager decisions
Debian Developers who have their status changed by DAMs have the right to appeal to the New Members Committee for a review. This process avoids - but does not prevent - a full scale general resolution to decide matters.
The original specification for this process was a mail to the debian-project list in January 2019. This page and any amendments supersede that mail.
1. Beginning the appeal
Any person who had their Debian membership suspended or revoked by DAM may appeal the decision. They must request the appeal within 30 days, stating why they disagree with the decision in a mail to DAM. DAM will notify the New Members Committee (NMC) and Front Desk.
The original action taken by DAMs remains in force during the appeal.
2. DAM statement
Within 72 hours DAM will provide a statement to the NMC and the appealer with their reasoning for the account status change.
DAM may also send additional material to the NMC only, encrypted to the individual members, if they deem it necessary for the case, and if presenting this to a wider public might cause issues of confidentiality for involved third-parties. The NMC members are expected to avoid disclosing this material to anyone else, including the appealer. The intention of this is to minimise the risk of disclosing information that was given to DAM in confidence. The appealer is not included as in some situations there is a risk of further harassment towards the reporters.
3. Appealer statement
Within a further 72 hours, the appealer has the opportunity to respond to the DAM statement with their own statement.
4. NM Committee review
The NMC has 7 days to review the received material and discuss the matter in private. They are expected not to solicit further input, as this is not an inquiry but a peer review of the DAM decision.
5. NM-Committee vote
After 7 days discussion, or earlier if unanimously agreed by the NMC, front desk will ask the secretary to conduct a secret, 3-day-long vote, with the following options:
1. Uphold the decision of the DAMs 2. Overturn the decision of the DAMs
Committee members otherwise involved in a case must abstain. DAM members are not allowed to partake in the vote.
A simple majority decides the vote; in the event of a tie, the decision is not overturned.
Abstained or absent votes are not counted. If more than half of the NMC (excluding DAM) abstain or do not vote, the decision is not overturned.
An independent Developer, usually the project secretary, conducts the vote. In the event that the secretary is a partly involved in the case, DAMs will work with the DPL to identify a suitable developer.
If the decision is overturned, the suspension or revocation of the account will be turned into a warning. The previous account status will be reactivated and all changes to it undone at the earliest of the involved teams convenience. This involves keyring-maint and DSA, none of which we can or should dictate timelines to. It is expected to be measured in days, not weeks.
If the decision is upheld, this process, like anything in Debian, does not prevent a GR.
The New Members Committee (NMC)
The NMC is defined as:
All members of DAM and FrontDesk.
All application manager that are marked as active and processed at least one NM in the last 6 months. There is a mail alias <firstname.lastname@example.org> which reaches all members, it is regularly regenerated by FrontDesk.
When an appeal is started, the committee's composition is frozen. To achieve this, and to enable them to have private discussion, DAMs create a unique mailing list (excluding DAMs themselves) and send the address and membership list to each member. After the appeal is concluded, the unique mailing list is disabled.
With experience, some aspects of the process can be improved. This is a scratch pad of DAM's notes about possible future improvements. None of these changes are in force if they appear only in this list.
- Mail templates for the various notifications we end up sending to people:
- appeal has been triggered
- NMC composition and address
- summarise the decision to make after statements provided
- notification of outcome
- Find a way of holding the vote without needing more people (NMC ought to be able to handle it themselves)
- Should we do something about triggering at inconvenient times of the year e.g. 23rd Dec?
- If the vote is to overturn, how can we safely gather some learning feedback from the NMC afterwards?