Bits from the NM people

During this weekend FD/DAM had a meeting in Essen to discuss various things and issues around the New Maintainer process.

Good news

The queues are (almost) empty:

No more rejections!

Canceling an application is currently called a "rejection". We are actually very rarely rejecting people from Debian, and the most common case is that an application is canceled because a person is not ready, and is invited to join again after they gain some experience. This wording issue has causes bad feelings in the past.

For this reason we have decided to refer to what was previously called "soft rejection" as "cancelling the application". In most cases, applicants can re-apply after a while, and "cancelling the application" more clearly communicates this fact.

People who are not knowledgeable or experienced enough are not rejected by Debian: they are instead provided with more appropriate ways of joining, such as finding mentors who help them gain experience and sponsor their packages into the archive.

What was known as a "strong rejection" will however still be referred to as a "rejection", because that is what it is.

Account name rules

A new account name should be at least 3 characters long, and must be reasonable, according to the DAM's judgement. We've rejected account names in the past that were trolling attempts, or things like "root".

Website rewrite

We started to rewrite our website at This cleans up the internal implementation and allows for future improvements in the NM process handling.

GPG keysigning coordination

FD/DAM would like to to move the GPG keysiging coordination over to someone else. It's not really part of FrontDesk work; and as we are rewriting the webpage anyhow we feel this is a right time to move it over to someone else and not make it part of the new page. Volunteers to pick up this job are welcome.

Advocation in the NM process

We discussed how advocation of New Maintainers should be done. We agreed that advocation should be done on a public mailing list and more than one advocations are appreciated. This is the same as in the DM process and gives a much better picture about applications. In order for this to be effective immediately, we ask prospective advocates that for now, they explicitly Cc the mailinglist; the rewritten website will make this automatic, once it goes live.

More and well-motivated advocacy messages make the whole process faster. Though the current NM website does not allow for more than one advocate, the mailinglist process will, and this is another reason why we think the process should be made public. Note that after a person has been advocated, additional advocates need not go through the website; a simple signed reply on the mailinglist will suffice. This process is certainly suboptimal, but we are working on this for the new website.

When you advocate a person, you are saying that they need and should get unsupervised upload rights on the entire archive, right now. In the past some people were advocated who at the time had not yet done any Debian related work. Please only advocate people who have contributed to Debian already, don't advocate someone that you expect will get involved in Debian later on. Having to cancel an application, or having someone disappear while in the NM process, is a waste of time and motivation for everyone involved.

As such, we prefer that people who want to apply to NM have been active in Debian for a while already, and have built up some experience. In the last few months, we've already redirected some people to the DM process when we felt that they were not ready to become a DD yet, and we will continue to do so. Please consider this an official policy as of now.

More AMs wanted

The NM process is always short of application managers. Applicants are waiting to get one assigned. As usual, we invite experienced DDs to join up and help out. Remember that AM work is a fun and interesting way to learn more about Debian and the people involved! It's always better to have AMs waiting rather than NMs.

S3cr1ts about the NM process

There are many things many people don't know about the NM process: