[haiku-development] Re: Banning Jorge G. Mare

On Thursday 13 May 2010 21:33:24 Ingo Weinhold wrote:
> Greetings,
> 
> first of all, this not a voting thread -- I will start one in a few days
> (with "[VOTE]" in the subject and a concise and neutral message text). This
> thread is for presenting and discussing arguments for/against banning Jorge
> G. Mare (aka koki) from the project. The primary audience are the
> contributors with voting privilege.

[snip]

First, a disclaimer: I am not a member of project, I have no voting rights. I 
am only a fan of the project, but this story seems oh so familiar to me. In 
fact it appears to be an exact replica of a similar story in Debian a few 
years ago [1], when Sven Luther -the lead kernel and powerpc port maintainer - 
was expelled from Debian. I was in Debian myself then and Sven happened to be 
-and still is- a very good friend of mine. 

The reasons were pretty similar, he was considered a noise maker -replying to 
pretty much every mail- stubborn and of fixated opinion, etc. The result? He 
was expelled. Soon afterwards I resigned from Debian, after 9 years in the 
project, disgusted at the way this issue was handled. Debian is/was considered 
a "democratic" project, eg. voting is very strong and most important decisions 
are taken by voting. Haiku is very similar, only the number of voters is 
smaller, but again it's a democratic project all in all -from what I have seen 
so far at least.

The process of expulsion was pretty bad. Debian had (has) more than 1000 
developers with voting rights, and the decision of expulsion was still made by 
a handful (the "cabal" as we called it, similar to the "cosa nostra" that is 
mentioned here). I'm saying this in jest, it's pretty obvious that any project 
big and important enough will have small and closed groups for higher 
efficiency, so I don't consider this bad. 

So, why am I saying all this now? Of what use is a comparison of Debian and 
Haiku? Well, I consider myself "experienced" in this matter now (note the 
quotes) and I would just like to offer a possible solution that won't be 
harmful to anyone: 

Emails are very easy to write but very hard to actually "communicate". You can 
never tell the tone of voice of another person, whether he's angry or sad or 
just indifferent. Making these hard decisions (ban/expulsion, name it what you 
want, it's never nice), by email only is faceless. It represents hard people, 
and emotion is not even allowed to get in the picture, when it could allow for 
compromise from either side.

So my suggestion is this: act like mature and responsible people -this goes to 
both sides- get Haiku Inc, to fund some plane tickets so that some people of 
Haiku meet with Jorge -dunno how and where it should be done and what's more 
convenient- and sit down in a table and solve the problems. Write down a list 
of things to discuss and just spend a few hours discussing. Perhaps you will 
find that it's easier to do that in a face to face meeting rather than a 
mailing list. You may agree and find some compromise or not, but in the end 
you will have given it a good shot. If that fails, perhaps a phonecall/video 
conference will be the next best solution.

I cannot say more, because it's not my business at all, I just found it sad 
that another project which I love, again falls in the same pit of problems - 
human interactions. I really hope you find a good solution and that Jorge 
remains to contribute in the project.

My 2c.

Konstantinos Margaritis
ex-Debian developer

[1] some mails can be found in debian-project, eg. 
http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2007/03/msg00241.html
but most of the discussion that led to the expulsion was in debian-private 
which has no public archive. 

Other related posts: