[Linux-aus] DKIM yet again

Russell Stuart russell-linuxaus at stuart.id.au
Mon Dec 31 13:15:36 AEDT 2018

On Mon, 2018-12-31 at 10:44 +1000, Noel Butler via linux-aus wrote:
> huh? you need a council meeting to determine if someone can add a
> simple setting to mailman? like...  WTF ?
> Are any of you actually system administrators?  if you are, hang your
> heads in shame if you are that dictatorial over what the sysadmin
> team can do on the mail/list server, a task that would take no more
> than 30 seconds.


It's a people problem, not a technical problem.  I'm on the council and
I manage Humbug's servers.  Humbug's servers run mailman, DKIM sign
everything, use SPF and do DMARC just fine.  Clearly if I ran things it
would be fixed.

But I don't run things.  I'm part of a bureaucracy that runs things
because that's how the organisation must be run.  A dictatorship would
be untenable to most of LA's members, but more importantly completely
untenable to me.  It runs against everything I believe in.  That aside
it's completely impracticable - no one individual has the time to do
all the things that LA does.

I'm fond of saying there is nothing dumber than a bureaucracy.  I
sincerely believe that it's true, but it does mean I am part of
something that sometimes behaves in ways I like you find inexplicable. 
But I'm conceited enough not to consider myself stupid and the other
council members are some of the smartest people I've had the pleasure
of working with.

Why it turns out this way is a bit of a conundrum, but I suspect it has
something to do with all having limited time to work with each other,
and the shear amount of time and effort it takes for all of us to come
to appreciate each others point of view so we can act as a group, and
not a dictatorship.  This problem gets worse as the groups get larger,
and LA and it's subcommittees are a very large group.  (You may not
realise that most of LA's activities and that includes almost all of
the money the money that flows through the organisation is not managed
by LA's executive or me, the treasurer.  Rather it's handled by the
subcommittees, most of whom I've never met personally.  Yet aside from
the odd niggle like this, it works pretty smoothly.) 

It helps if everyone behaves constructively.  For example, we all know
to fix a problem you have to find the root cause.  If you are posting
about an apparent technical problem to linuxaus, you know the root
cause will almost certainly not be technical as you are dealing with
one of the most technically astute groups on the planet.  It will
probably lack of something - time, motivation, equipment, or perhaps
organisational bitrot (eg the person with the private keys has moved
on).  Whatever it is, if you care about it pro-actively seeking out the
real cause and coming up with a fix is helpful, telling them what they
already know as you did here is not.  It really does help when everyone
pulls in the same direction.

Apart from that I'm not sure what the solution is, other than to say
things tend to work themselves out over time.  A bureaucracy may be
slow, but it has a inevitability to it that rewards those who are
patient and persistent.  This is Russell's second year at it, and if he
keeps it up I am sure it will be fixed.  Eventually.

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