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Bug#636783: minimum discussion period

Ian Jackson <ijackson@chiark.greenend.org.uk> writes:

> I would like to present an improved proposal for a minimum TC
> discussionn period, which will allow the committee to move quickly
> when there is consensus (at least, procedural consensus) within the
> committee:

In the general case, a discussion period is clearly desired.

To date, I can only recall two categories of issues in which we've had
immediate calls for votes.  The first is the category where we have
obvious broad consensus and there's just no need to waste further time
on process.  That works just fine as-is and doesn't need a change.  The
second category is the case where one or more members of the committee
want to conflate issues in a single vote but others would prefer to vote
separate simple ballots.  We've had exactly one issue to date where this
seemed to be the case.

Under the current rules, if a majority of the committee believes an
immediate call for votes is a bad idea... they can stop it with a
sufficient number of FD-first votes.  We saw this happen recently, so we
know it really does work in practice.

>  * Constitution 6.3(1), delete
>     -   There is no minimum discussion period;
>    and replace it with a new paragraph inserted into the end of
>    6.3(1):
>     +   There is a minimum discussion period of 5 days.
>     +   However, the persion calling a vote may waive the minimum
>     +   discussion period; in that case the vote may be cancelled by
>     +   any member of the committee, if they do so within 5 days of
>     +   the vote being called.

If I understand this correctly, either there is a 5-day minimum
discussion period, *or* there must be unanimous consent of the committee
to waive the minimum period?

I don't think this is a good idea, as it gives a single committee member
applying "stop energy" the ability to over-rule the desires of a
majority of the committee.  So much of our constitution is clearly
structured to prevent the abuse of power by a single individual that
this seems incongruous. 


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