Rename the Trusted User role
- Date proposed: 2021-10-07
- RFC MR: https://gitlab.archlinux.org/archlinux/rfcs/-/merge_requests/7
It was shown in some cases that the Trusted User (TU) role naming led to some confusion and misunderstanding in broader contexts outside Arch Linux. Furthermore, it has been discussed that it also resulted in similar confusion among members of Arch Linux internally. This RFC remedies that with a better-suited term to reflect more accurately upon TUs' roles and responsibilities as well as their position in the Arch Linux Organisation.
There have been several discussions among Arch Linux members both on IRC and on the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list  about the "Trusted User" naming (later referred to simply by "the naming" or "the name") and its associated controversies.
Some relevant points of the discussion:
- The naming, i.e. "Trusted User", puts an unnecessary boundary between Trusted Users and the rest of Arch Linux Staff, sometimes purely conceptually but sometimes proved pivotally a burden. It suggests Trusted Users are not full members of the project but external actors purely related by a trust-only relationship to the rest of the staff. While this is important during the application process, it becomes detrimental to developing more meaningful and closer relationships between team members.
- The name should represent being a full member of and having a stake in Arch Linux.
- The name is also confusing when interpreted publicly by third parties, e.g. on CVs, public profiles and pages. The naming cannot be directly understood as a position with real work and responsibilities involved.
- There are also situations where the naming cannot represent the contribution/work made by TUs themselves very well. TUs are shown as the "user" of such work rather than the main body involved in the R&D and implementation.
- The name impedes conveying the due diligence needed to become a TU: the public tend to assume that a TU is just a user that happens to know an Arch Linux Developer in person.
The "Trusted User" role is hereby renamed to "Package Maintainer" as is. As such, all Arch Linux Trusted Users would become Arch Linux Package Maintainers. No other changes about the position in question are included in this proposal.
The simple name change should have minimal impact internally and externally for Arch Linux. In terms of their responsibilities and descriptions, the roles remain unchanged making this the minimal incremental change given the ideas discussed (Sections Motivation and Alternatives Considered). Possible difficulties exist in amending the legal documentation and making sure all relevant Wiki and other public and private information is updated timely to mitigate any confusion.
However, there is a the partial naming overlap with the role of ArchWiki Maintainer  where this proposal will have Trusted User be fully read as Arch Linux Package Maintainer or simply Package Maintainer. While this could lead to partial ambiguity it will address many more and more serious issues discussed in section Motivation.
It should also be noted that this change should be allowed to propagate internally and externally for enough time so that members and the public become accustomed to the naming before allowing any further re-structuring of the relevant roles. The drawback here is that any more considerable role re-design will have to be delayed by some time. Judging by previous such changes with significant impact, Arch Linux has usually provided about 6 months for everyone to adjust.
There should be no specific outstanding and unresolved questions. The new naming has been chosen based on a semi-broad set of comments from TUs and other Arch Linux members both on IRC and the mailing list. The broader non-member community of Arch Linux and the public should possibly have no impact on this decision. Unless, of course, there is a specific reason raised to re-think this point.
Furthermore, there have been ideas towards renaming the role of "Developer" to "Core Maintainer", the role of "Trusted User" to simply "Maintainer" and creating a new role called "Developer" solely reserved for members of Arch Linux who do code development work directly relevant to Arch Linux .
Also, this proposal has been seen by some as the first step towards a larger, more meaningful re-design as so ("->" is to be read as "becomes") :
- package maintenance, in [core]/[extra] (Developer only) and [community] (everyone, especially TU) -> (Core) Maintainer
- sysadmin (including dedicated tooling), which is partly dev but not only, and even non-TU -> Devops (currently in Support Staff)
- tooling development, be it pacman, archweb, devtools -> Developers
- Wiki, forum, IRC/Matrix, bug wrangler, (...) -> Support Staff
- AUR handling, especially PRQ -> Trusted Users
Finally, a two-round-system vote was held at this RFC's MR discussion thread to chose the final naming scheme proposed here. It consisted initially of all popular labels and then kept only the two most popular options in the final round to achieve majority.
|||(1, 2) https://lists.archlinux.org/private/staff/2021-July/000673.html|