RFC: Policy process considered harmful
Disclaimer: the below is a half-baked long-term proposal for a process
change. If you're wondering about how to do useful work today, please
ignore it. But comments welcome.
My experience has been that the policy process works pretty well when
a policy delegate is involved in the discussion. Seconds for good
proposals are not hard to find, most parties have good faith, and the
result is that the proposals that get adopted are well reviewed and
carefully thought out.
On the other hand, when policy delegates are not involved, it seems to
me that some participants are frightened by the complex process into
not participating, and others are perhaps not fearful enough,
resulting in a chaotic discussion.
I would like to propose an alternative policy process. In practice
for policy delegates, I expect it might be similar to the current one,
but for contributors I think it would be more intuitive. It would
work like this:
1. Person proposing a policy amendment describes the change, with any
supporting information she can find to help explain it.
3. When the amendment looks, in the policy delegates' opinion, like
good policy (they may decide what that means), a patch gets
applied to the debian-policy repository.
Likely impact of this change: less diffusion of responsibility when
policy proposals get stalled. Imagine a proposal that is stalled
because it is unclear. The advocate sends pings now and then
summarizing the discussion and asking what she can do to help move the
change forward. Eventually someone would reply, explaining what about
the proposal is muddy and how it could be fixed.
Disadvantage: loses the checks and balances involved in the current
system (though I have never seen them needed).
What do you think?
Thanks for your kindness,