I was hoping to get an interactive discussion going with selected forum members regarding the direction of updates, but logistically it's not been possible. so I'll offer my thoughts here:
There are three types of user, experienced, intermediate, and new(bie), and each has different needs. The needs of the new user are, for the distribution, mor critical than the needs of the experienced, purely because the experienced user is more likely to be able to fix general issues by themselves. However, the needs of the new user can only be met with the co-operation of the experienced and intermediate users, who will fix and report solutions.
Because of the loop, there is no "one size fits all" solution. Experienced (and experimental) users need updates as they become available. Without this frequency, problems won't be identified, and monthly update packs will inevitably be based upon a very limited testing sample.
On the other side of the coin, new users want the most up to date software that they can get without serious problems, which means a regular update interval. Most new users will come from a Windows environment where "Patch Tuesday" - or monthly updates is the norm, and so that should be the goal. To achieve this, issues need to be reported and resolved 1 -2 weeks before the update pack, which means that the monthly update will always inevitably be week 1 week (maybe 2 weeks) behind current, and for some updates more if their are problems.
If the experienced and intermediate users fall off, the whole system falls down, and so a happy medium has to be found. The "who are you tracking" poll suggests that there almost a 50/50 split between LM incoming and Debian testing, which is ideal at the moment, but a way has to be found to maintain that split. If one or the other starts to get too weighty, then the whole system fails.
My (personal) suggestion is to intorduce a simple, yet annoying feature to Mint (maybe a weekly reminder to do something) that can be disabled easily by someone with experience, but not so easy by someone with no experience (init.d) that would enable helpers to determine the experience level of someone asking for help, and may help prevent potentially dangerous actions by newbies. There may also be merit in dividing #linuxmint-help into two channel (#help and #newbies) to help those who help others.
Kernel Linux Tex 3.2.2-1 (64 bit) xfce , burg
ATI Radeon HD 4670, 1GB
AMD Phenom II X4 (965BE) @ 3.6 Ghz (Overclocked)