Upstreams are doing their best packaging their tarballs, and then we redo most of their work when we debianise them. I personally find this situation wasteful and boring.
I like how debhelper7 allows to write debian/rules files that describe only when something diverges from the norm, and I think that debianising a package should be the same. I want to debianise a package by just saying "I'm fine with everything upstream says, and put this in Section: foobar". I want to fix upstream's packaging by sending them patches instead of redoing it in debian/. I want most policy or toolchain updates to be handled with just a binNMU. I don't want to manually do any of the work that can possibly be done by a computer.
debdry is a prototype tool that tries to address that by running autodebianisation tools, which exist and work reasonably well for at least perl, python, haskell, ruby and node.js, and then applying semantically significant, manually maintained tweaks, if any is needed.
The bulk of my debian work should be adding Debian-specific metadata, testing, interacting with upstream, dealing with the BTS. It should not involve writing files that say that the README needs to be installed with the package documentation.
Let's make it happen.