Reducing obligations

At this year's DebConf, Enrico Zini gave a talk on consensually doing things together that has stuck with me ever since. I recommend watching it if you haven't. The core idea that I took away from it is that volunteer projects should be both voluntary and enjoyable to stay healthy, and an important component of this is for those involved to stop doing things they're not enjoying. (And for others to not pressure them or expect them to be heroes.)

I frequently have to tell myself that one cannot continuously add new obligations without occasionally setting aside existing ones, so this is something I needed to hear. I also have a hard time not responding to email or software contributions, even when I don't have the time or emotional energy to reply. I've therefore accumulated a lot of old email that I "should" respond to (that word is always a warning sign), or patches or ideas for software I maintain that I haven't implemented.

This is the time of the year when I try to step back, look over my life and my current goals and priorities, and decide if there's anything I want to change. My goal for this year is to put aside things that I'm not doing consensually, in Enrico's term, and refocus my time and effort on things that I'm truly enjoying. Or, in some cases, picking up things again that I had been enjoying but hadn't given enough energy to.

So, I'm not going away, from Debian or from free software or from replying to email, by any stretch! But I am giving myself permission to not feel obligated to do a bunch of things I was doing (or not doing but thinking I "should" do). I'm also going to remove myself from the Uploaders control field of more packages that I haven't worked on in some time, just for clarity and fewer things on my packages overview page.

I already orphaned the following packages upstream, but was still maintaining the corresponding Debian packages. I don't use any of this software at the moment, though, so that doesn't make much sense. I'm therefore going to orphan these Debian packages or put them for adoption. (In some cases, there are other possibly obvious maintainers, so I'll ask them first.)

I had not yet orphaned the following software for which I'm upstream, but I probably should have, and will fairly soon:

Finally, I have oodles of older mail messages from various people that I wish I'd had the energy and thoughtfulness to reply to at the time. At this point, many of them are years old, and everyone except me has probably forgotten about them. But I still had them saved to respond to, and they were sitting around radiating obligation. This week, I'm giving myself to go through and delete them unanswered. I'm sorry to all the people I didn't reply to! Sadly, energy is short, and even with conversations that I start, sometimes life happens.

Please feel free to try again if there's something you still wanted to talk to me about! I do manage to reply to most things.

Posted: 2017-12-26 20:18 — Why no comments?

Last modified and spun 2017-12-28