Dunbar’s number, a cognitive limit on the number of people with whom an individual can maintain stable social relationships, is demonstrably valid. If working in a larger organization, you’ll need to communicate in smaller groups, but those groups should be cross-functional to eliminate bottlenecks and misunderstandings. Communication doesn’t just mean talking with our human voices or replying to interminable email threads, either; much like Consul’s gossip protocol, we need cross-talk in our orgs to keep communication flowing.
Nobody is doing résumé-driven development with shell scripts; I’m willing to bet that all the janky bash ever written was meant to solve a real problem. When we start getting fancier, there are often motivations less pure than "Let’s do this well," and even if there aren’t, intention alone doesn’t create maintainable software.
Does your cat prefer to sleep like this ⟳ (clockwise), like this ⟲ (counterclockwise), or has no preference? Let’s figure it out:
To start with, I don’t think the email that started this discussion poses the right question. The problem not really about complex applications, we already have those in Debian. See, for example, LibreOffice. The discussion is really about how Debian should deal with the way some types of applications are developed upstream these days. They’re not all complex, and they’re not all big, but as usual, things only get interesting when n is big.