This evening I investigated #555941 in libxml-filter-xslt-perl, and was able to downgrade it to "important". I'm working on a proper fix, but it's not RC any more. (Gunnar, I don't mean to make you feel bad! I've been inactive for a while myself - I'm just making up for lost time.)
And now for conversation via blog!
Clint, I'm inclined to agree about ego, fiefdoms and so on. But I'm unconvinced that personal relationships themselves are harmful. Actually, I was thinking more about "professional relationships" - I don't care much whether mentors take their mentees to an art gallery, provided they work with them over a period of time, and therefore get to know the quality of their packaging. (I was a bit careless in my phrasing last night.)
Having said that, let's do that as well! Indeed, building relationships so that we don't flame each other to a crisp the rest of the year is the very reason we hold DebConf, right? (Apart from the beer. And the holiday.)
I reckon the mentoring system would be more effective if we started thinking along these lines, and this in turn would help address the wider problem of resources within various parts of Debian. Maybe not directly, but it could free up other people to work on the complicated stuff. We could probably turn debian-mentors into a sort of "team" in its own right. (Apologies if someone's suddenly made debian-mentors active again behind my back.)
And if I ever get approved by DAM (ahem), I intend to propose a deal to the debian-mentors list that each upload of an updated package will cost them one RC bug NMUdiff, and uploads of new packages will cost two. ;)