Social committee proposal
Recent events have shown us again that we need an advisory and
disciplinary process short of expulsion. I think a social committee
is roughly the right answer.
NB that such a committee does not need to be consititutionally
established. The DPL's existing powers are sufficient to establish
it. A big advantage to not establishing the committee
constitutionally is that we don't need to worry so much about it
overstepping the mark, so we do away with the checks and balances that
hedge (for example) the TC's powers and processes. After all, as the
DPL's delegates, the social committee can be overruled by a GR if it
So let me make a concrete proposal for a DPL delegation which I hope
will be adapted and adopted by Sam.
SUGGESTED DELEGATION BY THE PROJECT LEADER
ESTABLISHING A SOCIAL COMMITTEE
A. I consider it necessary that it would be beneficial to formally
establish a Social Committee for resolving nontechnical disputes.
B. I hereby establish such a Committee as Delegates of the Project
Leader, using the Leader's powers in Constitution 5.1(1).
CHARTER OF THE SOCIAL COMMITTEE
1. The Social Committee's purpose is to promote constructive and
agreeable relations between Debian Developers and others involved
2. To this end the Social Committee may:
(1) Make a decision when asked to do so.
Any person or body may delegate a decision of their own to the
Social Committee, or seek advice from it.
(2) Offer advice.
The Social Committee may make formal announcements about its
views on any matter. This includes but is not limited to both
statements about particular cases and documents giving general
guidance. (Individual members may of course make informal
statements about their views and about the likely views of the
(3) Request Cease and Desist
Where the Committee thinks it necessary to avoid serious
hindrance to constructive and agreeable relations, the Committee
may request that a person to refrain from certain acts and
communications. The nature of the acts to be avoided should be
clearly stated in the Committee's request.
For example, the Committee might ask a Developer not to NMU a
particular package, not to contact a particular other Developer,
or not to post to a particular mailing list or not to post
discussing particular topics.
(4) Make Access Control Decisions
Provided at least two thirds of the Committee positively agree,
instruct Debian's mailing list administrators, archive
administrators, and other persons in similar positions to make
or remove access control arrangements which allow or prevent a
person from posting to certain mailing lists, making certain
kinds of uploads, or doing other specified acts.
Where the access-controlled resource is a not one maintained for
and by the project as a whole, but is instead a private resource
(including private resources hosted on project systems), the
Social Committee may only make requests rather than giving
For the avoidance of doubt no-one (the Social Committee not
excepted) is permitted to prevent a Developer from posting to
the formal decisionmaking mailing list mentioned in Constitution
(5) Decide Its Own Procedure
Provided the decisions are consistent with the above, and
provided that the Project Leader does not object, the Social
Committe may decide on:
(a) its own size,
(b) its own composition and manner of appointment,
(c) its own procedures for for decisionmaking, including
(d) how many of its members are required to agree on
which kinds of decisions, including
(e) whether to initially assign and empower a single committee
member to deal with each enquiry, and of course
(f) any appeals procedure(s) short of overturn via General
Resolution, and finally
(g) any similar matters regarding its own operation.
These procedural decisions should be published by the committee,
in the form of a revised edition of the Appendix to this
There is no requirement for the Social Committee to publish
requests made to it, its decisions or requests, or its
deliberations except that access control decisions it makes
under (4) above shall be public.
5. The Project Leader (and hence the Developers via General
Resolution) are entitled to vary this Charter or the Appendix, or
the composition of the committee, at any time, as an exercise
of Constitution 5.1(1).
6. Future Project Leaders are specifically encouraged to delegate
additional powers to the Committee whenever it seems appropriate,
especially if the Committee itself requests additional powers.
7. The initial Social Committee will consist of of five elected
Developers. The Project Secretary is requested to organise and
hold an election, in a manner similar to that for Project Leader.
8. The Committee shall be responsible for appointing new members,
removing existing members, and varying its size, as and when it
9. Initially, a decision of the committee stands if at least half of
the committee positively express their support for it. The
Committee is encouraged to streamline this process - in
particular, to allow an initial complaint or enquiry to be dealt
with at least in the first instance by only one member of the
10. Where a dispute contains both technical and social elements the
Technical Committee and Social Committee are encouraged to discuss
the matter together and come to a common decision; ideally they
will concentrate on the substantive issues rather than