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What is the DebConf team?
Posted by rkd on Mon 23 Aug 2010 at 18:37

Now that I've mentioned the general timeline of a DebConf, let's talk about the "global team", "local team", and decision processes.

Who is the "global team"? Basically, it is the active people on the debconf-team IRC channel and mailing list. Anyone can contribute, but we know who is who. Those with the most moral authority tend to be those who have organized a past DebConf or been involved for many years, and their opinions always have a high weight. Many of them are still around.

So then how are decisions made? It's a combination of consensus-based and "whoever want to, do it". We discuss ideas based on what experienced people have seen work/not work, what new people want to try, and perhaps most importantly, who can make it happen. (this is where you fit in). There aren't necessarily leaders picked beforehand, instead leaders develop themselves. Overall, this is similar to any other team in Debian.

There aren't formal gatekeepers who can veto anything, but if someone sees a problem, they should speak up and get critical mass of people to fix things. Those who hold the money (SPI, FFIS, the DPL) of course will monitor our processes and would intervene if someone started going off course.

Typical global team tasks are fundraising, travel sponsorship selection, talks, registration.

The local team starts out as the winning bid team. They started out figuring out local logistics for their venue, and up until arrival, they are the ones who are handling the local tasks (venue, food, accommodation, entertainment, day trip, Debian Day outreach). They should keep the global team updated on their status and what they are arranging, so that the experienced ones on the global team can give feedback. Global people will, of course, get involved here where they see fit and can help.

The local team shouldn't exist in isolation though, anyone local is highly encouraged to get involved in "global team" tasks. The more coordination and bi-directional help we have, the better.

It isn't the job of the local team to put on all of DebConf themselves. They aren't selected and left with free reign, they should integrate with and understand the history of DebConf, and then work on whatever improvements they want, whether they are local or global.

So in short, there are the names "global team" and "local team", but really, it's all one big Debian team. Those who are interested work and make things happen through a consensus-driven process. Things aren't always perfect: we have conflict, disorganization, leadership turn-over, lack of volunteers, lack of time, all the usual things that happen in volunteer organizations. I think most people want to work towards this ideal, and we hope that this series of posts will help us to improve. Most importantly, when you see something you'd like to work on, you can get involved.