[aur-general] On TU application, TU participation and community/ package quality

Ivy Foster iff at escondida.tk
Sun Nov 11 19:31:27 UTC 2018

Santiago, thanks for writing up the discussion to date!

On 11 Nov 2018, at  1:29 pm -0500, Santiago Torres-Arias via aur-general wrote:
> 1. Add a council of TU's to introduce oversight on the whole voting
>    process

> Creating a council of TUs who, by means of experience and involvement,
> make sure the approval of new TU's is properly reviewed. As such, this
> council will be in charge of voting in and/or sponsoring a new TU
> applicant.

> This raises questions about the horizontal power structure of the TU
> community. The consequences of bringing a hierarchy like this need to be
> discussed, as more than one TU is concerned of the implications of this
> model.

I'm pretty new to the whole TU thing, but I'm a little leery of this
idea for a few reasons. As you mention, there are power dynamics at
play once you start getting into things like this.

Perhaps more importantly to the discussion at hand, I would also argue
that such a set-up would do little to take the load off of the handful
of high-participation TUs; if anything, I can see it *adding* to their
load by formalizing their ad-hoc status.

> 2. Increase the minimum number of sponsors per application

This could be helpful, particularly when it comes to giving advice to
newly-appointed TUs.

> However, one question raised during the discussion is whether this model
> is enough to warrant the goals outlined above. Namely, this measure
> doesn't seem to tackle the lack of participation of the broader TU
> community when reviewing new TU applications. 

Granted. With any luck, this very discussion will help *some* with
that issue, but if we go with proposal 2, perhaps participation issues
could be handled as a separate problem altogether. I know that,
personally, I almost never participate in new candidate discussions
simply because I don't feel I have anything to add.

> 3. Create a working group of TU's to review recent applications and
>    warn TU's that do *not* appear to be performing their duties
>    appropriately

> Finally, a third proposal (and the one I'm championing) is to generate
> an elected organism within the TU community to overlook the performance
> of Trusted Users on the duties they agreed to fulfill. This oversight
> committee would track the activities of individual TUs and ensure that
> they are in fact participating in reviews, submitting proper
> high-quality PKGBUILDS, and moving packages to and from the AUR when the
> package's popularity changes.

I'm pretty conflicted about this idea, to be honest. Although I'm all
for having some sort of oversight, the cynic in me forsees all kinds
of problems even if you assume that all parties involved are acting in
good faith (which I do choose to assume here).

Even given the existence of TU guidelines, we would probably need to
set up some very specific, enforceable rules in order for this to be
at all workable. Would there need to be a participation quota? How
strict do we really want to be about package popularity? Whose idea of
"high-quality" are we using? Unless there are definite answers, we're
right back where we started, with a set of guidelines to be played by
ear--but now with the added overhead of a subcommittee structure.

Personally, I'm inclined toward simply increasing the number of
sponsors and encouraging sponsors to help their candidates learn the
ropes of proper Trusted Using. If nonparticipation continues to be a
problem, that can be a separate discussion.

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