Further draft Social Committee text
See below. This is not yet ready for promulgation by Sam but I think
it more or less reflects what was discussed in Edinburgh. Sadly it
has come out _far too long_. If anyone can produce a much shorter way
of saying these same things I'll be very pleased. Failing that I
might have a go with a scythe myself.
SUGGESTED NOTICE 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 give notice that I intend to establish such a Social Committee
as Delegates of the Project Leader, using the Leader's powers in
C. Please volunteer to work on this new committee - see sections
15-17 below. Send your application to email@example.com; you have two
weeks to make up your mind and apply, and a simple message saying
that you're volunteering will do.
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, or a
class of decisions, to the Social Committee, or seek advice from
(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 SC thinks it necessary to avoid serious hindrance to
constructive and agreeable relations, the SC 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
For example, the SC 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.
Note that this power extends to any context where a person is
using facilities intended primarily for Debian, and also to any
context where a person would generally be taken by outsiders as
(4) Make Access Control Decisions
Provided at least two thirds of the SC positively agree,
instruct Debian's mailing list administrators, IRC operators,
and other persons in similar positions to make or remove access
control arrangements which allow or prevent a person or persons
from sending messages via communications facilities.
For example, the committee may ban (temporarily or permanently)
a person or people from posting to certain mailing lists or in
Where the access-controlled resource is 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) Recommend suspension or expulsion from the Project
Provided at least two thirds of the SC positively agree, the SC
may make recommendations to the relevant Project Leader's
Delegates that they exercise their powers to expel a Developer
either temporarily or permanently.
3. To the same ends, the individual members of the Social Committee
should when they consider it appropriate:
(1) Send informal comments about behaviour
An SC member may send a private message to a person or group,
pursuant to the SC's goals, giving that SC member's opinion
about anyone's behaviour, and giving such informal advice as the
member sees fit.
Any private communication by a Social Committee member, on a
matter which a recipient reasonably believes is made in the
member's SC capacity (whether that capacity is explicitly stated
or not) may be published by that recipient, without asking
permission from SC member who sent it.
(2) Send formal warnings
A Committee member may send a formal warning to a person or
group, giving that member's opinion, and such advice as the
member sees fit.
Such a formal warning from an individual SC member may be sent
privately or publicly, but should be copied to the SC private
4. The DPL will aim for the SC to consist of 5 Developers. The SC
may not use its powers according to s2 above unless it has at
least 3 members.
5. Each year, the SC membership will be reconfirmed as follows:
(1) The Project Secretary will conduct a series of separate but
concurrent votes, one for each member of the SC. In each
ballot, the options will be `Keep' and `Dismiss'.
(2) SC members for whom the majority of voting Developers choose
`Keep' will remain on the Social Committee.
(3) SC members for whom the majority vote `Dismiss' will be
immediately removed from the committee.
(4) If there are then any vacancies the DPL will invite volunteers
to apply, and then make appointments to fill those vacancies.
The new appointments will not be voted on until the next
approval round; however, the DPL will not normally appoint
someone who was previously dismissed by the Developers.
6. The Social Committee will have a private mailing list for its use;
this will be used for all formal business. Messages sent to this
list will be available to the SC (including to future committees)
but will not be published.
7. When the SC takes a formal action according to s2 above, the
notice it gives of this action will include:
(1) a statement of the decision;
(2) the reasons for that decision;
(3) which SC members concurred with the decision; and
(4) which (if any SC) members disagreed with the decision or the
reasons, and those dissenting members views and reasons.
This notice shall be sent at least to all of the parties to a
dispute and to anyone expected to implement it. Anyone who
receives it may make it public.
8. SC members will be given at least 1 week to state any
disagreement and write a dissenting statement as discussed in
9. A decision of the SC is made by simple majority unless stated
10. Appeal of any decision made by the SC is via General Resolution,
11. When there is doubt or dispute as to whether a decision should be
made by the Technical Committee or the Social Committee, the
Project Leader will decide.
12. If a jurisdictional dispute seems possible, agreement should be
sought from the relevant parties as to which committee should
deal with the matter. If such agreement is not reached, or
disagreement is evident, the Project Leader should be consulted.
13. Someone who engages in a substantive discussion with one of the
committees, without disputing that committee's jurisdiction
regarding the matter at hand, shall be taken to have agreed to
abide by the committee's ruling and should not later appeal to
the DPL to shift the controversy to a different forum.
14. For avoidance of doubt, this section is without prejudice to the
Technical Committee's constitutionally mandated ability to
request a ruling on constitutional interpretation, if the TC
feels that a matter on which it is competent has been improperly
assigned to the SC by the DPL.
15. The DPL invites volunteers to come forward for consideration as
potential members of the Social Committee. The nomination period
will be 2 weeks.
16. If sufficient suitable candidates come forward, the DPL will then
publish a proposed list of 5 members for the committee. Any
volunteer not put forward by the DPL but who achieves K sponsors
within the next 2 weeks, will also be added to the list of
17. Simultaneous but separate ballots will be held by the Project
Secretary, as follows:
* Yes/No/FD on this Social Committee proposal
* Appoint/Reject for each candidate
If No or FD wins the first ballot, the other votes are void. If
Yes wins the first ballot the Appointed candidates become the
Social Committee. If the resulting Committee has less than three
people the DPL will consider what options are suitable to
18. The DPL intends to keep the operation of the Social Committee
under review and invites comment.
19. The DPL retains the power to:
(1) Abolish the Social Committee;
(2) Change the size of the SC;
(3) Interpret or clarify this charter;
(4) Completely change this charter; and/or
(5) Remove and appoint members regardless of elections
but not to overrule any decision of the SC once made.
20. However the DPL intends to exercise these powers only after due
consultation according to the constitution and so as to give
effect to the consensus of the Developers.
21. The DPL encourages the Social Committee itself, and its
individual members, to suggest improvements; the DPL
will look very favourably on such suggestions.
Ian Jackson, at home. Local/personal: firstname.lastname@example.org
Problems mailing me ? Send postmaster@chiark the bounce (bypasses the blocks).