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No Food for Thought

FHoS - Ana Beatriz Guerrero Lopez: Discussion is not an option

admin Sunday February 28, 2016

In January, I announced my "resignation" from Debian's public relations. My last contribution to the team was a few fixes and other improvements to its wiki page. All of these changes were integrally reverted by an editor who used the helpful edit summary "remove changes from chealer".

Those who have worked with me know how I deal with troublemakers. I am as respectful to them as they are respectful to their colleagues. I reverted the editor with the equally helpful edit summary "uh... I guess "remove changes from x" shall be a good enough explanation". The editor then again integrally reverted my revision with an even worse edit summary: "hi chealer, please do not make edits in this page.".

At this point, you may think this is just another episode from an open wiki. And you would be right, except for the fact that the editor in question is no other than Ana Beatriz Guerrero Lopez, who has been a Debian member for a decade, and who is one of the 4 team members recently "appointed" by project leader Neil McGovern. I was already contributing to Debian KDE when Ana joined the team, so she knows very well who I am.

All of that explains why I went as far as creating a discussion page for the team's page before going further. But that still wasn't enough to get Ana to try justifying what she had done. She would still "[revert] unwelcome changes". Not only that, but by the same reversion, she removed the link to that discussion page. Appropriately in a sense, since she also deleted the discussion page.

Thankfully, that latest reversion was not integral. Apparently, she finally accepted most changes. Those she still rejected may be an indication of what really bothered her.

To be fair, I am not the only former member Ana removed. Her very next edit removed the current members and emeritus members sections, commenting that "there is not[sic] such thing as "emeritus" members and everybody belongs to the publicity team". I certainly agree with the former statement. Congratulations, Ana, for being the first to have the guts to make that statement. Unless you were simply the first one to need such an edit, to justify your previous edit. As for everybody belonging to the publicity team, if the delegation was not a coup, and if "The listing below includes regular contributors also.", it is strange that this listing only includes the so-called "DPL-delegated members". And if your co-delegate found it important to have all members listed on the page, is it consistent that all of those who added themselves at her request (Thomas Vincent and yours truly) have been removed by your edits, just a few months later?

In the end, the answer to those questions does not matter. That we have to speculate is enough to diagnose a communication problem. And since this is not the first time you have serious issues communicating, I have the dishonor of hereby enshrining you into the infamous FHoS.

Your last edit to the wiki page is surely just the tip of your contribution to Debian. I have not followed your activity closely, but I am convinced you are a useful contributor. But this is no excuse to undo other people's work and to be incapable of civil discussion after a decade of participation in a huge project like Debian, at the risk of demotivating your colleagues.

Do not despair. The FHoS is one very special hall, which you can (and are encouraged to) leave. This is no more a condemnation to permanent humiliation than a challenge for the continuation of your contribution. Demonstrate that you have understood the importance of communication and I will have the true honor of removing you from the FHoS. Have the Debian wiki become a real discussion platform, so that no one can do something quite as bad again. Show me you got it to run a discussion system a la Flow, and I will replace this post with one singing your praises.