IRC/Mailing-List coordination proposal

Because of the WSIS emergency, most of the Debian-NP development has lately happened in IRC1, with very few involving of the list, and completely overlooking the community-building part of free software development.

As a result, the Debian-NP developments has taken the form of a kind of IRC cabal getting things done, with list lurkers watching what happens.

This way of development, while virtually destroying community participation in Debian-NP development, has resulted very efficient for performing practical work in a tightly coupled but extremely small developer subcommunity.

This situation has to end, but it would be interesting to try and exploit the value of IRC coordination on practical issues.

This has lead to an idea of a mixed IRC/Mailing-List community in which the two communication methods have some way of mediation between each other.

The idea is to try, formalize and test a kind of two-tier community organization, where in the list we discuss Debian-NP directions and in IRC we do practical development, like producing a new ISO or patching some configuration.

Everyone in IRC reads the list, so mediation from the list to IRC should be a non-issue.

There remains the problem on how to mediate from IRC to the list.

The idea would be to have someone act as a project secretary who collects news about what happens, producing some (short?) (bi?)weekly newsletter and keeping some of the Wiki up-to-date. In italian soccer jargon it would be called a "fluidificator", which means someone making things go fluid and smooth :)

In the IRC channel there is a cozy brazilian info-bot called apt-br, which is able to post a daily log to people who subscribe to the sevice. This would mean that this secretary needs not be part of IRC, but can just peek at the daily logs. Of course, anyone is free to subscribe to apt-br if (s)he's curious about what happens in IRC. Istructions are in DebianNPIRCSubscription page.

  1. The WSIS Emergency was an unknown deadline by which we would have to have bootable CDs ready for duplication and production by HP for handing out at the World Summit of Information Society. We didn't know when we would have to the CDs but we knew it could be any day so we needed to work as quickly and intensely as possible. (1)