in the last year we had/did a lot of work with merges and syncs,
and sometimes people get angry because somebody stole their merge,
or because somebody sponsored an upload stealing one
(we have also Ubuntu Sponsors, whose job is to sponsor merges).
I propose to write down some basic rule on this topic,
so we can hopefully avoid misunderstandings in the future,
or at least try to let people merging stuff without having to fear of somebody
getting mad for the work.
E.g. we have a lot of outstanding merges in the page, some of them are more than one year old,
and probably the last uploader is not even an Ubuntu member anymore.
So the proposed solution is really simple:
1) The last uploader for a merge is considered the last Ubuntu Developer who worked or sponsored the package. We exclude: - no change rebuilders (because they didn't work on the package) - security uploaders (because otherwise security team will be the last uploader for half of the archive, but their job is just to apply security patches, not to maintain the archive)
So, in case there is an UbuntuN, you should go N-1 and iterate until you find a changelog entry showing somebody did the work or apply a delta to the package.
2) you can consider a merge as "orphaned" if the previous uploader didn't touch it for 6 months, without putting a "Comment" on the merge page. - if you want a package not being merged, you need to state it explictly on the merge page, otherwise after 6 months, the upload is considered "orphaned", and everybody is happy to take it over. This doesn't mean you *should* upload without attempting to communicate with the last uploader, maybe with IRC or email exchanges, but nobody should feel bad for a package being stolen if they prove to lack time to do it.
3) if the last uploader didn't make the package migrate, because he stop caring, you can steal the -proposed merge with a delay of 1 month, but in this case since the upload is recent, communication or bug is requested, so we can track reasons for the -proposed delay
if you agree, I propose to edit the merging  wiki page to reflect the above