:: [devuan-dev] About Crisis managemen…
Top Page
Delete this message
Reply to this message
Author: Nico Schottelius
To: devuan developers internal list
Subject: [devuan-dev] About Crisis management and communication

Good morning fellow Devuan enthuisiasts,

recent events led me to believe that we, as a Devuan community, should
review where we are and how we want to move forward. Not content wise,
but communication wise.


Good communication is hard. Because communication is hard,
it is important to focus on what we say.

Long version

Looking at the current communication, I would describe the Devuan
community as being in a crisis. However, this is not a bad or unusual
thing. I will take the time to shortly describe how I see the
situation. Whether this is an actual representation of facts, is a
totally different matter.

A) How to (not) contribute - about stepping down

Devuan is not only an OS, but also a community. As such, everyone who
wants to participate, needs to be aware of the "why". Why do you
participate? Why do you contribute? Why is this community and projects
important for you?

The reason why anyone is here, is multifold and very specific to each
and every person. If you don't know why you committed to this, it is
hard to fight for it.

B) Fight for it

If and only if you are aware why you are here, it is your own duty to
fight for it. Whether you are here for ensuring a systemd free
distribution exists or you want to have fun with people. Or if you are
looking for appreciation of your work. There are many answers to the
why, but you are the only one who can be responsible for yourself and
your actions that you take.

If you ask others to take a decision for you, you are giving away
responsibility. This again is not per se a bad thing, but if you give
away power voluntarily, you will also need to bear the consequences.

B) Facts over emotions

As stated initially, communication is hard. It is even harder, if we
don't clearly separate personal emotions ("I don't like X") and facts
("Y is not working").

My personal take on a CI breaking is "so what?". Is it annoying?
Yes. Did anyone particular suffer from it? Maybe. If yes, we might want
to change the architecture. The significance of something breaking ("1st
of April joke", "CI", "my morning coffee") heavily depends on the

So when arguing with others, find out what is your motivation
for discussing:

- "I don't feel good" => keep it personal and maybe also private
- "Something is broken" => involve others to fix it

C) Emotions over facts

At the same time, we are all humans. There are not only facts, but there
are a lot of emotions. We do hard work and expect to be seen, to be
recognised. It is *not* possible to communicate without the emotional

So when you communicate, think about the other side, how she/he will
react and what you will cause.

Even just stating "x is broken" in the context of "x is run by A", might
be offensive, if you just fought with A in another thread.

Anticipate that you are talking to other humans with feelings, even if
you think you are only talking about facts. Fact: there are no facts.

D) Clear lines

There are some things that repeat over and over again over various
communities, so I would like to raise some awareness:

- claiming that somebody did something in a personal context does not
belong to the public, it is toxic

- crisis' need clear leadership that distances itself from the events
happened and takes a neutral role

- fuckups happen. Anticipate it. As the one who fucked up: apologise.
As the ones who are affected: accept it, move on.

E) Blurry lines

I have seen some of you asking others to take decisions for you. It
seems that the process of "who decides" is not clear in this project.

It is not my role to decide, however I can give some suggestions:

- Don't externalise: Replace
"They don't like me, so I will stop contributing."
"I do good work, independently of whether others are complaining."

- The objective of Devuan is in principle the same as Open Source in
general, to empower people. If you disagree, it is your responsibility
to raise your voice.

- In every kind of "free form" community such as a club or hacking group
there is an unwritten law: the one who does work, does have
power. Just because you do, you change, contribute and steer.

- If you want to contribute to the cause, contribute. Don't make
yourself dependent on other people.

Long text long, I am looking forward to the next Devuan conference
at which we will joke about the fighting, stepping up/down screwing
up/sidewards topics that happen right now.

It is part of a process and everyone of us can drive Devuan into the future.

Greetings from the mountains,


Your Swiss, Open Source and IPv6 Virtual Machine. Now on www.datacenterlight.ch.