Bug#636783: minimum discussion period
Bdale Garbee writes ("Re: Bug#636783: minimum discussion period"):
> 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?
Yes, that is my proposal.
> 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.
I would accept increasing the required number of stoppers to two
(which is also the quorum for passing a resolution).
Regarding your desire for as you put it "a simple up/down vote on an
The problem with this is that someone would have to decide what the
simple question is that ought to be voted on. In a controversial
situation it is very common for the form of the question to itself be
Now one solution to this is to have a free-for-all where everyone puts
forward their pet proposal and immediately calls for a vote.
There are a number of problems with that. Two that immediately spring
to mind are:
Firstly, that it gives a tactical advantage to TC members who surprise
their opponents by unexpectedly calling for votes. This is at the
very least an undesirable incentive to build into the process. (In
the recent case it is the cause of my substantial and still-
unresolved anger - see below.)
And, secondly, that the ultimate outcome of separate votes on
semantically related resolutions might be incoherent.
One answer might be a procedural vote to decide what to vote on. So
you would have a pre-vote (with Condorcet, presumably) to decide which
option should be presented as a yes/no question. Everyone would put
forward their favourite option(s) and the committee would pre-vote on
which one to vote on. But of course having done the pre-vote, the
outcome of the actual vote would be known. The actual vote can be
done away with, and we can just have the pre-vote. (This is a
property specifically of our Condorcet voting system.)
This is why the Standard Resolution Procedure contemplates a proposal
with a number of amendments, resulting in a set of variations to be
dealt with in a single ballot.
With Condorcet there is no problem with having many options on a
ballot, apart from the additional cognitive load on the voters. For
the TC, and options proposed only by TC members, this is not going to
be a problem.
(There is a tactical voting bug related to FD, which is actually the
same bug as the supermajority bug and was introduced at the same time.
We are going to fix that, and in the most recent dispute those of us
who were aware of the bug were careful not to exploit it.)
> To date, I can only recall two categories of issues in which we've
> had immediate calls for votes. ... 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.
As I say, this is problematic because it gives a tactical advantage
to a TC member who acts unilaterally to call for a vote on their
preferred form, over a TC member who acts in a collegiate way and in
accordance with the intent behind the rules.
In the most recent dispute, after Steve complained about my own CFV, I
supported the cancellation of my own CFV and canvassed the other TC
members to do so likewise, as a favour to Steve and to cooperate on
process. I explained clearly what I was doing and why.
If I had known that you were prepared to act in the unilateral way you
did even after I had clearly critised your abuse of the process, I
wouldn't have supported the cancellation of my own vote.
What you did was to ambush me to your tactical advantage. We need a
set of rules which do not tempt TC members into such dishonorable