In the last weeks I have been talking to Yalaforge, Lukas, Robert and Keschte about integrating Keschte back into MusicBrainz server development. Now, one thing that I have learned from the GreatDispute is not to do mediating behind the scenes, but to MakeIssuesPublic. Therefore I will now tell you what came out of these talks:
Robert said that he owes Keschte a second chance — if only because the way he handled the conflict was shitty — but that he “does not really believe in it”.
Keschte told me that he wants to work on mbserver again, but on the other hand he will wait and see how the MB community evolves after the dispute. He also said that he probably does not want to start seriously getting involved before next year.
So that’s the situation. There is also a lot of hurt pride and lost trust in there. This does not make things easier. However that is Rob and Keschte’s problem, and nobody can help them with it.
What I can do, and kind of did, was to negotiate a kind of compromise — a situation in which both of them could work together again. This is what it could look like:
Keschte would get a kind of sovereign territory in which he can work his way, while Rob can be sure that whatever comes out of it has been thoroughly checked and is of good quality.
Keschte does not want to work alone and needs feedback from someone. Robert made very explicit that he cannot and will not fulfill this role. However co-hackers, interested users could do this. That means that Keschte’s development process would have to be opened up to the community. He would need communication tools like forums, a dev-blog, a test server of his own on which “Keschte’s Bleeding Edge” is always available to the public, etc.
On the other hand, Keschte would have to work more focused, in better delimited projects, one at a time, than he has on the XHTML server project. Initially this could mean to work with branches (it is clear that major refactoring cannot be done this way, but ArtistPageRedesign could).
I do not believe that bug triaging and buffers between Keschte and the users would do any good. Those were discussed in a chat session mediated by Lauri. As I wrote at the end of the Great Dispute, Keschte had been set up in a double bind. You cannot solve this kind of problems with padding, only by changing the setting.
So, this is what it could look like. I say “could”, because both Keschte and Robert stated that they will not put a lot of work into making this happen now. For me this means that I won’t do it either. While I would love to help both in setting up a “sovereign territory” which is helpful and acceptable to both, I will not try to do all the work that they are not willing to do.
The conclusion? There currently is no MusivBrainz server developer. Sad thing, but the truth.