The more I think about it, The more I’m convinced that the both approaches that have been proposed to change the way we deal with Debian membership (Joerg’s new statuses for non-developing contributors, and Lars’ counting of advocates) are both steps in the wrong direction.
I really would like something simpler, and less technical, to become a Debian Developer. After all, what matters is that we trust new developers to make the right decisions (for example, not touch something that they are not confortable with). We currently verify that they know each and every technical bit about things that they may never encounter during their DD life, but that doesn’t say anything about their ability to work with others inside a community, or their judgement when touching packages that they don’t maintain.
For example, we could have something inspired by the current process to become a Debian Maintainer: instead of going through 50+ questions, we could rely on advocations from existing Debian Developers to judge new applicants. The advocation wouldn’t simply be “+1” emails (as in Lars’ proposal), but would instead contain a detailed description of what the applicant did. A group of DDs (DAMs, basically) would then read the advocation emails, and decide whether there’s sufficient proof that the applicant can be granted DD status.
That would allow a much faster process, removing the load from the Application Managers and NM Frontdesk Members. And it probably wouldn’t reduce the quality of new DDs, because of the need to collect advocation emails from several DDs.
Probably the best way to move forward with that would be to work on a document (DEP?) that would list all the changes and explain them, and then ask all the developers to vote on it, like it was done for the Debian Maintainers GR. Are there some people interested on working on a first draft of such a document?