Re: Two quick proposals on user names and mail aliases

lör 2003-11-08 klockan 21.36 skrev Owen Taylor:
> Regardless of the particulars of this case (there are a bunch of
> other James's in GNOME as well), it does bring up some policy issues:
>  - How many email aliases can you get?
>  - When can you get a "common" alias like james gnome org
> I'm going to suggest two simple policies:
>  - Every foundation member can get a CVS username plus one other alias.
>    (Or two aliases if they don't have a CVS account.)

I tend to agree with Matthew here. Letting anyone have an additional
alias would just further limit the available namespace for anyone else.

Also, I think it's a further recipe for confusion. Currently people have
to have the same account names in all places GNOME¹, which is a very
good thing in my opinion. Knowing that someone is the same individual in
all places GNOME without having to look it up in a database is not only
a good policy, it's also a tremendous amount of help for everyone. I
fear that adding a significant amount of additional aliases on top of
the already large collection of existing usernames will just complicate
and confuse things.

>  - You can only get your first name or last name by itself 
>    as an email alias if nobody else in the CVS user database and no
>    other foundation member has that first name (resp. last name.)
>    Once you get such an alias, you can keep it, however.
>    Since there are 1100 entries in the CVS user database, that gives a 
>    a reasonable definition of "common".

I'm not confident this will always work out in practice. The GNOME
community is an active and moving one. Some are only with us for a short
period of time, while some others are involved with the project for
many, many years. And in almost all cases there's no way to tell for
sure when the person joins the project.
Sometimes people with the same first or last names or initials may
happen to join the project at roughly the same time, and doing
judgements on what account names these contributors can use depending on
their level of commitment and/or whoever happens to be already listed in
the community with the same first or last name (since the start of the
project, or even since only a few weeks ago), is probably not more fair
or accurate in general than the simple and common "first come, first
serve" policy that has been used until now.

I believe things can turn out to be unfortunate in some cases with both
policies; just that the suggested one is more complex.

>    We might want to consider expiration times for this rule - 
>    e.g., we might allow Marc Mulcahy to get marc gnome org as
>    an email alias since Marc Ewing hasn't touched GNOME CVS since 
>    1998 or so.

These cases should probably be handled by just deleting such old
accounts that haven't been used for years.

To sum things up, what I'm suggesting is just a KISS policy of one
account name and identical mail alias per person throughout GNOME, and
distributed on a first come, first serve basis.

We should perhaps more stress that people are careful when choosing
their account name though --
currently mentions nothing about the rules for the account names. Some
suggestions for account name rules:

* Use 8 characters at max.

* Use only lowercase ASCII characters 'a' to 'z'.

* Use an account name that you want to get known by in the GNOME
community for a very long period of time, even though you may not expect
so at this point. Don't just out of habit use an account name that you
use elsewhere without thinking it through -- make sure you will be
actually satisfied with the account name for a long period of time.

* Use an account name that is in some way related to your full name, so
that other contributors will easily know that it is you. This can be any
combination of your first and last name, initials, or a nickname related
to your full name.
Good examples (if your full name is John B. Doe):
	john      (*)
	doe       (*)
Bad account name examples³:
(*) Be careful with using your only your first or last name if you
believe it could be a common name.

* Providing several alternative account names in your request and
ranking them accordingly, should your favorite alternative be already
taken or otherwise unacceptable, helps speeding up the account approval


¹ Well, there are some few obvious exceptions, like Bugzilla, where this
isn't true.
² Oh what I wish this had also been the case for IRC nicknames. Too many
memories of embarassing moments when I didn't realize that the person
with IRC nickname X was famous GNOME hacker Y...
³ I'm fully aware my account name isn't exactly a shining example
either. Past bad habits and all that.


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