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Re: Bug#798476: Returning to the requirement that Uploaders: contain humans

On Thu, Aug 03, 2017 at 12:11:07PM -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:
> Tobias Frost <tobi@xxxxxxxxxx> writes:
> > Some time ago I did some spring cleaning going over DDs that have
> > retired but still in the Maintainer/Uploader fields: There were quite a
> > lot "team maintained" packages where the team did not recognize that the
> > (sole) Uploader wasn't there anymore and the packages were
> > bitrotting. Without the Uploader field there would have been excactly
> > zero change to find those packages and get them back into maintainance
> > again.
> I'm dubious about this assertion and would like to dig into it a bit more.
> The way we hopefully would find bitrotting packages is that they are,
> well, bitrotting.  This is based on lack of uploads, open bugs, old Policy
> versions, incomplete transitions, and in serious cases, missing from
> stable releases.  While we can *also* find bitrotting packages via the MIA
> process, it shouldn't be our primary or even a major way of finding them
> since it's entirely possible for someone to be quite active in Debian
> while still neglecting some of their packages.

Regressing on being able to orphan all packages of a known-MIA/retired
maintainer would be very bad.

Think of it as a 3 step process:
1. a bitrotting package indicates a potentially MIA maintainer
2. the maintainer agrees to orphaning all packages, or after several 
   failed contact attempts the MIA team declares that the maintainer is MIA
3. for every package where the maintainer is in Maintainer or Uploaders
   the MIA team either orphans the package, or informs team or 
   co-maintainers through an "Updating the <package> Uploaders list" bug.

Just by going through bugs, I compiled during the past 10 months a list 
of currently 250 (sic) names of people listed in Maintainer or Uploaders
of packages in unstable where I suspect the person might be MIA.

Automating this part would not be a problem, the intersection of
"in Maintainer or Uploaders of a package in unstable" and
"no email to a Debian list or the BTS in the past 12 months"
should give approximately a superset of my list.

Step 2 is actually a lot of work.

The part where removing the Uploaders: requirement could cause 
regressions is step 3.

Give for a person a complete list of all packages where this person was 
active" - if we regress on this, it means that packages will continue to
bitrot in cases where they can currently be orphaned.

> Currently, when the MIA team finds someone who is no longer active, teams
> have to go do a bunch of work to strip their name out of uploader fields.
> That work doesn't really make Debian any better; it's just bookkeeping.
> When the team has other ways of knowing the health of their packages, I'd
> like to let them not do this bookkeeping.

You are assuming that the team notices without the current notifications 
from the MIA team that a team member is no longer active in Debian.

You are assuming that the team has a non-zero number of active members 
left after a member becomes MIA.



       "Is there not promise of rain?" Ling Tan asked suddenly out
        of the darkness. There had been need of rain for many days.
       "Only a promise," Lao Er said.
                                       Pearl S. Buck - Dragon Seed